It's all digital for the planners - one of the benefits that has come out of the pandemic

News 100 blueBy Staff

June 26th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The City of Burlington is now able to digitally review and finalize decisions for all types of development applications.

digitize documentsWhile City Hall remains closed to the public due to COVID-19, our virtual services are open for business and we are ready for the future beyond the current State of Emergency.

There is all kinds of information on the digital approach on the city web site at: urlington.ca//developmentinfo

*those with an asterisk must go through a pre-consultation with planning staff

Development Resources
Radiocommunication Faculty Review Protocol (PDF)    An 8 page document on the locating of cell towera
2020 Development Application Fees (PDF)  Very interesting document – worth keeping at hand.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward has been pushing for a digital approach to everything since her first term of office in 2010. “It’s great news that we’ll be able to provide this extra level of service” she said. “I have been intending to go in this direction for a long time. One of the silver linings of the circumstances we find ourselves in with COVID-19 is that some of the digital plans we’ve had at the City that had previously been on a backburner are now front and centre as we look to new ways to adapt. We’re looking forward to offering this new level of service.”

Blair Smith talking to planner Heaher MacDonald

Chief Planner Heather MacDonald speaking to a resident at on of the public preconsultation meetings.

Heather MacDonald, Executive Director of Community Planning, Regulation and Mobility now has tools that make it much more efficient for her people to complete their tasks. “With the advancements that we have made since March, we are positioned with a new modern process that will continue beyond the current State of Emergency. This is a key milestone in the intention to create a City of Burlington online portal for development applications.”

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Northern Ontario Casino scene undergoing major changes.

News 100 blue

By George Keburia

June 25th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Casinos across Northern Ontario are hoping to be able to re-open soon amid COVID-19 uncertainty

The coronavirus pandemic has affected the entire world as the number of infections globally has now exceeded a whopping nine million bar.

With over 400 thousand deaths related to the novel coronavirus infection, the vast majority of nations are trying to keep their citizens safe by implementing and maintaining social distancing rules. In these unprecedented times, everyone is held accountable for not putting the national safety at risk. The recent case of Dominic Cummings in the United Kingdom was a great example of how the societies have shifted and become more cautious amid the pandemic.

Besides individual responsibility, the same kind of cautiousness extends to business. Both people and governments try to have a specifically tailored and well-researched approach when it comes to re-opening businesses and their future operations. The Canadian government was one of the first globally to introduce a nation-wide lockdown, resulting in thousands of businesses simply coming to a complete standstill. Many of them had to halt operations while others also were put in a position of having to cancel ambitious projects and future plans.

US border closed PAID

Border to the United States closed – with no clear re-opening date in place.

All of Canada’s industries and businesses came under extreme pressure as the government decided to close its border with the United States. The Americans are the biggest Canadian economic partner with over 85% of exports going to the United States. Under such circumstances, not only exporting businesses but also local companies were impacted negatively. Countless Canadian businesses used to benefit from Americans visiting them over the weekend.

The gambling business in a tricky position

With the mid-march decision of the Canadian government and the prime minister Trudeau, all entertainment businesses were closed indefinitely. These changes naturally affected gambling venues across the nation. They had to cease operations immediately without a chance to evaluate the situation and come up with a solution in a timely manner. Many of the businesses managed to go online within the few days of the new regulations but others had to work and invest heavily in order to survive the turmoil.

In general, the online gambling sector has been on a steep rise throughout the past decade. The representatives of Playamo Canada say, that the incomes from the business across the nation have also been growing.   For firms that were always focused on online gambling, the new regulations were a positive change. They now have a chance to attract customers that can no longer visit brick-and-mortar venues in Canada.

But what happens with those who were dependent on visitors for the majority of their incomes? Canada, particularly Northern Ontario, is home to a high number of luxurious casinos and resorts that have been completely shut for almost the past three months. Their bookings and were canceled while loyal customers have no option but to visit online gambling platforms run by other operators.

Gateway Casinos forced to halt its construction in North Bay

Among many of Canada’s famous gambling operators, Gateway Casinos and Entertainment is truly a shining star. The customers’ favorite company provides high-quality luxury venues to its loyal customers across the entire country. It has popular venues located in Sudbury and Sault St. Marie.

Gateway North Bay PAID

North Bay Casino construction site.

However the pandemic meant operations of Gateway-owned casinos had to be closed.  Those crucial venues for the company remain closed to the public. The representatives of Gateway say, that the timing of the pandemic could not have been worse. Their new major project in North Bay, a casino resort that already has a green light for construction, had to be stopped. There is simply not enough certainty in the industry to continue the construction of a major venue. The costs of the construction are absolutely tremendous and the company can not afford it unless the already-existing venues are back up and running.

Therefore, ‘Gateway casinos and entertainment’ is now focusing on opening up its Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie venues to the public. The cash inflow from those venues is unlikely to result in the construction of the new North Bay venue. However, operational casinos would ensure the safety of jobs, as well as more security for the business. The latter is of utmost importance since, without any certain and specific timeframe on the process of opening casinos, Gateway’s future plans remain halted.

How can casinos open going forward?

Gateway Sudbury PAID

The thrill of the win

The chief of Gateway’s Sudbury venue, Richard Paquin commented on the company’s future plans: “We haven’t spoken to anybody about that because it’s too early in the process,” However, the Ontario’s government has recently announced its plans to gradually re-open entertainment businesses that could potentially include casinos. Gateway also had a brief communication with the government regarding the issues but no specific answers were given from the authorities.

However, what we know today for sure is that sooner or later, the casino business will start coming back. The question is in what form will it operate? What sacrifices will operators have to make? The expectation is that the opening of venues will be discussed individually.

Every space comes with its own specifications and needs to be rearranged considering those factors. One thing is apparent: the most affected part of the casino business will be the venues’ capacity. Fewer people will be allowed per room with fewer people sitting around tables. This could mean significantly lower incomes for businesses, but with social distancing remaining the only known and effective tool against the spread of the virus, the venues will have to adjust.

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Mayor has become a dog with a bone - doing everything she can to prevent a developer from getting an extension he is entitled to.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

June 25th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

That request for an extension from EMSHIH Developments and their Garden Trails II development is getting a little messy and revealing some cracks in the cohesion of city Council.

The request for an extension – several have been given in the past – on a development that is close to 20 years old.

Garden Trail Phase 2

EMSHIH Developments did the first Phasae of the Garden Trail subdivision tears ago. The area coloured green is their Phase II plan. The want an extension to the end of the year to complete the paper work and eventually get a building permit. Staff has argued so much has changed on the regulatory side that a new application should be filed.

Council spent more than an hour at a Standing Committee on this matter earlier in the month – ending up with a 4-3 vote to grant the extension.

That decision had to go to Council – same thing – more than an hour of debate during which the mayor commented on the amount of lobbying that Councillors Galbraith and Kearns has been involved in.

The vote was the same 4-3 with the extension limited to the just end of August. The Mayor worked the Council meeting and managed to get two Staff Directions added. One to the City Treasurer and another to the City Solicitor.

In her A Better Burlington Newsletter, Mayor Meed Ward sets out her position on this development:

It’s clear to me that the application has not met conditions of OMB — they’d had 20 years to meet those conditions and they haven’t. They expire in June. What should Council do? We’ve been told by staff that so much has changed, the studies the applicant will have to do, the work all agencies will have to do is the same as a new application. We’ve been told the applicant is willing to pay fees. We don’t make handshake deals, we have an accountable fees system. We heard the applicant’s concerns is time delays, not paying the fees.

MMW standing O Canada

Mayor Meed Ward standing during the playing of the National anthem at the start of a virtual city council meeting.

I believe the right path for us is to call this application what it is and that is a new one. The timeframe for processing this, we have been told, is roughly the same. We have an obligation to the applicant to ensure things are processed in a timely manner – we have new legislation to make sure. We’ve heard concerns that the new studies will cause the delays, but there are no ways around that — those studies must be done. The facts are fairly clear on this file.

This report from staff has been straightforward – the work required is that of a new application and the recommendation from them is for us to treat it as such. We need to give our planning staff the resources they need, so that Council is not the cause of any delays. A new application has protections in place for the applicant and the City.

With that said, I am OK giving a two-month extension on the deadline to hear from staff on the financial and legal implications on this file.

That is really very generous of the Mayor. She’s Ok a shorter extension wrapped with two Staff Directions that will eat up more than an hour of council time when it is on the agenda in August.  The will of Council is clear – a majority voted for the extension twice.

The last we heard a majority counted mattered. Kearns, Galbraith, Sharman and Bentivegnia voted to give the extension.

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GO adds increased cleaning to their fleet - several times each day.

News 100 greenBy Staff

June 24th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

At some point people will begin going back to work.

For those who use public transit or ride an elevator in their office building there is a concern.

For those of us in Burlington who do not ave to experience the Yong Street subway in rush hour – there isn’t a problem.  I don’t think I would want to be crammed onto that subway – even if I did have to go to work.

The joys of working iin the Big Smoke.

Metrolinx advises that starting this week, customers will notice more cleaning crews on GO buses, trains and in stations as the transit agency steps up cleaning and disinfecting throughout the day. Certain GO stations are also moving towards a self-serve model. Here’s what you need to know.

Metrolinx - cleaning arm rest #1

Arm rest, guard rails – anything people are likely to touch will get cleaned – several times each trip. Antonnette Clarke-Thompson wipes off an arm rest as part of her work to disinfect in-service GO trains (Mike Winterburn photo)

Because safety never stops, Metrolinx is stepping up in-service cleaning efforts across the GO transit network.

The transit agency is rolling out a newly enhanced midday cleaning program that complements the existing thorough daily disinfecting work.

By implementing these and dozens of other key safety measures, Metrolinx has kept GO services running safely since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

How does it work?

Metrolinx is stepping up cleaning of GO trains, buses and stations. In addition to regular daily disinfecting, all surfaces customers commonly touch, such as handles, buttons, railings, armrests and ticket vending machines, will be given extra cleaning throughout the day.

In addition to the disinfecting buses already get when not in service, cleaning crews are disinfecting buses before nearly every new trip starting at the Union Station bus terminal, Hamilton GO Centre, Square One, the Jane & 407 bus terminal, Yorkdale and Oshawa GO.

In addition to the disinfecting trains already get when not in service, cleaning crews are riding trains throughout the day to make sure things like seat handles, armrests, buttons, washrooms and railings are cleaned regularly.

In addition to the regular deep cleaning underway at GO stations, station attendants are stepping up cleaning of frequently touched surfaces while also helping customers.

Station staff cleaning surfaces at Union Station

Cleaning efforts are being stepped up at GO Stations, on buses and trains. (Metrolinx photo)

Staffing Changes at GO Stations

Metrolinx clean waste bin #2

Station staff cleaning surfaces at Union Station. Cleaning efforts are being stepped up at GO Stations, on buses and trains. (Metrolinx photo)

Also starting this week, certain GO stations will become fully self-serve. Ticket sales and PRESTO services at Bloor, Exhibition, Downsview Park, Oriole GO stations will now be exclusively available through fare vending machines.

Starting this weekend (June 27), this will also be the case for weekend ticket sales and PRESTO services at Bradford, East Gwillimbury, Aurora and Maple GO stations.

This doesn’t mean safety or cleanliness will be compromised. All self-serve stations are receiving the same high level of cleaning by mobile station staff.

Safety Never Stops

Metrolinx spill kit #3

A cleaning person disinfects a GO bus. Cleaning crews will now be disinfecting GO vehicles while they are in-service, although customers will not be asked to move. (Metrolinx photo)

Though life feels different, what hasn’t changed is Metrolinx’s commitment to customer safety. More than 40 new safety measures have been introduced since the start of year including thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting trains, buses, and stations every day. There are new innovative measures being developed now and will be rolled out this summer.

Metrolinx is also asking customers to help keep everyone safe by following the guidance of public health officials and use a face covering when on transit.

Metrolinx face maskAs admirable as all this effort is – the facts are – Covid19 is transferred from person to person – the respiratory droplets generated when you cough or sneeze are what carry the infection.  They come out of your mouth and nose – not the other orifices on your body that are exposed to the public.

That would make masks essential.  Mask up folks!

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Canadian Labour Congress asks for immediate action from the provincial and federal governments to provide emergency funding for municipalities

opinionviolet 100x100By Maureen Weinberger

June 25th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Dear Editor,

Letter to the editorLost revenue due to COVID-19 will have an immediate and devastating impact on the ability of our local government to deliver the vital services we all rely on.

Halton continues to be impacted by pandemic-related expenditures that are estimated to cost over $10 million by year-end.

Municipal governments provide vital services that include emergency response, transit, public housing, long term care, day care, libraries, recreation and many more services we take for granted on a daily basis.

We have already seen municipalities who are facing serious financial shortfalls, being forced to defer important projects, reduce services and lay off, furlough or redeploy the workers that provide these services.

Municipal governments are an important economic driver in our communities and in the greater Canadian economy. The emerging municipal crisis could act as a destabilizing force for our national economy. In addition, mass funding shortfalls at the municipal level would result in significant delays in local economic recovery and an increase in the numbers of community members who are experiencing lay off, reduced wages or job loss.

The Canadian Labour Congress has asked for immediate action from the provincial and federal government to provide emergency funding for municipalities in order to protect vital local services. Please join me in amplifying this call to save our cities, towns, and municipalities from financial devastation by providing immediate emergency assistance.

Maureen Weinberger is the President of the Oakville & District Labour Council

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Spray pads to open June 26; Redesigned summer camps and outdoor pools open July 13

News 100 yellowBy Staff

June 25th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The City announced the opening of spray pads on June 26. Redesigned summer camps and outdoor pool programs will begin on July 13.

Following public health recommendations and the Province’s emergency orders, COVID-19 precautions and preparations will be in place to reduce the spread of the virus. All redesigned programs and services will look very different from pre-COVID-19 programs and will still be high quality, fun, active and create great summer memories.

Kids in splash pad

This place will be busy on Friday.

To ensure crowd management, all programs and pool use (including lap and rec swims) will require pre-registration and payment. There is no registration required for spray pads.

All programs and offerings can be viewed online at burlington.ca/summer.

Registrations are only being accepted online at liveandplay.burlington.ca. If you need assistance, please call 905-335-7600 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday or email liveandplay@burlington.ca.

Anyone attending a camp or swim must follow strict COVID-19 procedures. Staying home if the participant or any family member is sick or has come in contact with anyone who is sick. Wash hands frequently, cough and sneeze into sleeve/arm and follow all City rules and regulations. Masks and face coverings will be optional.

sociial circles

Is this a summer day camp setting?

Summer Camps
Full-day summer SNAP camps for kids aged four to ten years will be held at Brant Hills Community Centre, Tansley Woods Community Centre, Aldershot Arena and Haber Recreational Centre.

Performing Arts Camp for kids ages nine to 15 years will be held at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre.
Camp activities will include outdoor games, crafts, art and nature-based activities.

Funny hats and smiling faces - all part of the summer day camp experience.

Funny hats and smiling faces – all part of the summer day camp experience.

Camper’s safety is the first priority. Staff will receive enhanced training on the additional health and safety regulations. There will now be one dedicated staff to every four children, with a maximum of two staff and eight campers in a room.

Each camp group will stay together for the entire week, and not interact with other groups.

To support and enhance the safety of campers and staff, caregivers will receive a phone call before camps begin to emphasize the importance of following the camp code of conduct and do a pre-camp health check.

Completing the call with staff is required for your child to be admitted to camp. In addition, parents will learn about the cleaning of facilities with special attention to high touch surfaces like door handles and counters. Each camp group will have dedicated spaces and washroom facilities to further reduce exposure to other groups.

Caregivers will also be sent an email with a video link to where to drop campers off, facility layout and set up as well as were to pick up the camper at the end of the day.

 

Registration dates, beginning at 9 a.m.:
• Monday, June 29 for camp programs July 13 and July 20
• Monday, July 13 for camp programs July 27 and Aug. 3
• Monday, July 27 for camp programs Aug. 10 and 17
• Monday, Aug. 10 for camp programs Aug. 24
Outdoor Pools

Nelson Pool and Splash Park, Mountainside Pool and Splash Park and LaSalle Splash Park will be ready on July 13.

The number of people allowed in at any time will be kept low so people can maintain physical distancing. The play features at Nelson and Mountainside will remain closed. To register online for lap and rec swims 25 hours prior to start of program time, go to liveandplay.burlington.ca.

Splash pad LaSalle - swimming

The number of kids in those wading pool will be lower.

In addition to the outdoor pools, spray pads will open on Friday, June 26. For a listing of locations, go to burlington.ca/waterplay.

At the spray pads, please ensure your child stays two metres away from anyone not in your social circle or household. If a spray pad is crowded, please try another spray pad or come back another day.

As residents continue to rediscover many of their favourite spaces and activities in the city, City services may look different as we work to stop the spread of COVID-19.

The City’s commitment to providing the community with essential services remains a priority. Sign up to learn more about Burlington at Burlington.ca/Enews and download the free City of Burlington app.

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Parks and Recreation are thinking about how they might re-open the Seniors' Centre

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

June 24, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Parks and Recreation department is sounding out people on opening up the Seniors’ Centre.

People who provide some of the programing to the city on a contract basis have been called to see if they would be interested in running classes that would be limited to 10 people.

Seniors taking in the music

There won’t be audiences this size at the Seniors’ Centre – but small programs are being considered.

There would be a limit on the number of people permitted to be in the building – the number we are getting is 90.
Cleaning crews would do a wipe down after every class.

Parks and Recreation Director Chris Glenn said: “ We are preparing a report to bring to council in the next cycle of meetings, that talks about the proposed redesigned adult / older adult programming plan, based on the stage 2 provincial guidelines. More to come as council discusses the redesign plan.

Members of the Seniors Advisory Committee are reported to not have heard from anyone within Parks and Recreation.

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Putting the pandemic into perspective

News 100 blackBy Pepper Parr

June 24th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It is the richest, most powerful country in the world.

But look at the numbers; the number of people infected, the number of people who have died – and it is far from over yet.

The man leading the country stands a chance of being re-elected.

Imagine that.

World covid numbers June 24

All one can do iis shakes their head when they review the numbers.

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LaSalle Park Community Marina update: Marina and sailing programs closed for2020 summer season

News 100 blueBy Staff

June 24th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

LaSalle Park - bring about a boat on its way to the water.

Tough year for the boating community. The boats will not be going into the water.

 

In an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and ensure the safety of volunteers and boaters, the boards of directors for the LaSalle Park Marina Association (LPMA) and the Burlington Sailing and Boating Club (BS&BC) have announced the LaSalle Park Community Marina and BS&BC sailing programs will not operate for the 2020 summer season.

The decision to close the marina made sense – it puts into stark relief the decision to use $4 million from the Hydro Reserve fund to pay for the building of the wave break.  Talk about unintended consequences.

The decision to close the marina was made by the LPMA and the BS&SC, who took the following into consideration:

• Volunteer safety – in order to install the docks at the marina, volunteers are required to work within small boats where physical distancing is not possible.

• Shortened boating season – construction of the new wave break at the LaSalle Park Community Marina was delayed due to impacts from COVID-19. While the wave break is now completed, the LPMA estimates the installation of the docks and placement of boats in the water would take four to five weeks, resulting in a significantly shorter boating season.

• Financial impacts – with COVID-19 precautions and a shortened boating season, many boaters have indicated they will not be launching their boats, impacting the funding needed to operate the marina.

Public Boat Launch
The public boat launch at LaSalle Park Community Marina will also remain closed for the summer for boats on trailers. A portion of the parking lot typically used for boat trailers will not be accessible as it continues to be used for the storage of boats and finger docks.

Residents are still able to use the marina area to enjoy views of the water, bird watching and to launch canoes and kayaks that are not on a trailer.

Lurking in the background is the matter of how will Burlington manage to renew the lease they have on property owned by Hamilton and used as both a public park and the Marina Association.  Two years left on that lease.

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New local art program will give 12 artists each an $800 commission to create art that will be put on traffic signal control boxes

artsblue 100x100By Pepper Parr

June 24th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The city has been doing this for a couple of year.

The Local Artist Program is an opportunity for  Burlington artists – they MUST live in the city – to apply for an $800 commission to tell a local story through their art. There are 12 Design Commissions Available

The application deadline: August 21, 2020

Budget: $800 per commission

The objective in the past was to tell local stories through medium-scale artworks throughout the city. They took a variety of forms including murals, small-scale sculptures and functional artwork such as bike racks and benches. Free professional development opportunities are available to assist artists with the application process and project development.

2020 Program

Angela Papariza was a recreational planner when this picture was taken. Her job was changed to that of a cultural planner and she is now the goto person on the cultural file - at least until a cultural Manager is hired. Is she a candidate for the Cultural Manager position? Papariza talks with Trevor Copp one of the movers and shakers within the arts and cultural community.

Angela Paparizo, now the Manager of the City’s cultural program, talking with Trevor Copp, a Hamilton based performer during the unveiling of the Spiral Stella at the Performing Arts Centre.

Angela Paparizo explains that “Art plays a powerful role in bringing people together to share common experiences and explore new ideas.” Sometimes the agreement is that no one likes the work.

Artists deal in hope and inspiration – even in a time of crisis.

This year the city is inviting local artists to submit digital artwork that will be reproduced and installed on traffic signal control boxes throughout the city.

Artists are encouraged to submit artwork that will inspire and uplift the community during these challenging times. This artwork will form an urban art gallery that can be experienced by residents while still practicing appropriate social distancing.

More information and entry forms – right HERE

In the past there have been some interesting work put up on public places.

ART Apples-400x261

On the left, Tamara Kwapich did the mural in Orchard Community Park; once the location for some of the best apple orchards in the province.  On the right: Hannah Sell and Liam Racine did the art work that is located in the small Port Nelson Park.

ART Port Nelson site Couple-coloured-box-400x415

ART Freeman-public-art-400x248

This pice of art work was painted on the side of the Freeman Station.

ART King-Road-400x249

The public art painted on the King Road grade separation a number of years ago was done by Judy Mayer-Grieve.

 

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Population of the Region will more than double by 2051 - some of that growth is going to take place in Burlington

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

June 24th, 2020

BURLINGTON ON

 

Mayor Meed Ward is sharing her correspondence from the Hon. Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing in which he outlined the proposed changes in population growth numbers issued by the province.

Each part of the province is assigned a number that sets out what the province expects the population to be between now and 2051

The information is in the provinces More Homes, More Choice: Ontario’s Housing Supply Action Plan.

The update is to three major pieces of legislation:

growth targets to 2051;

mineral aggregate operations; and

land-use needs/assessment.

Pop growth 2051

The two thick black lines at the bottom left mark the data projection. The figures are the number of people that will be added by 2051. The current population of the Region is about 550,000

Here are the direct links to the proposed changes on the Province’s website — the deadline for comments is July 31, and the City of Burlington will be submitting our comments to the provincial government.

According to the proposed growth targets for Halton Region, at the high end it is 1.156 million and at the low end it’s 1.060 million for 2051

Using the highest number, Halton will determine how much of the 1.156 million will go to each municipality: Burlington, Oakville, Milton and Halton Hills.

Given the current population numbers Milton is likely to get the bulk. Halton Hills does not have the water infrastructure that is needed – Milton does.

The current population of the Region is in the 550,000 people.

In his letter the Minister said:

In 2019, our government introduced A Place to Grow: Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe (‘the Plan’, ‘A Place to Grow’) as part of the More Homes, More Choice: Ontario’s Housing Supply Action Plan. Today, I am writing to notify you of proposed changes to the Plan including updates and policy changes to the population and employment forecasts, a change to the Plan horizon year, a new Land Needs Assessment methodology, adjustments to the aggregates policy framework, new policies to address Major Transit Station Areas within Provincially Significant Employment Zones (PSEZs), and other policy revisions that support our government’s objectives to increase housing supply, create more jobs, attract business investments and better align infrastructure. We are asking for your input on these proposed amendments to the Plan.

I realize the proposed changes come at a time of uncertainty when many municipalities are managing urgent matters related to our shared work to protect the health and well-being of our residents across Ontario. The Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) will be critical to economic recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak. The GGH is a key economic driver of both the province and the nation, with more than 85 per cent of the province’s population growth expected in this region by 2051. In fact, we are anticipating that by 2051 this region will grow to nearly 15 million people and accommodate seven million jobs. In order to support municipalities in preparing for this anticipated growth so that you can complete your municipal comprehensive review and official plan revisions, my ministry is proposing these targeted revisions to A Place to Grow to make it faster and easier for municipalities in the region to plan for growth.

Details of the proposed changes are as follows:

The proposed changes would work together to provide more flexibility and foresight to municipalities into demographic, employment, market demand, and housing affordability trends in the GGH. The consultation period will close on July 31, 2020.  We look forward to receiving any comments you may have.

The next phase of work on PSEZs, which will begin shortly, will examine how they can support post-COVID economic recovery to support the retention and expansion of existing industrial and manufacturing operations and attract investment. The government continues to view PSEZs as an important tool and looks forward to engaging with businesses, municipalities, Indigenous communities and organizations, and the development industry to maximize opportunities within a PSEZ.

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Burlington Massage Therapist Charged with Sexual Assault

Crime 100By Staff

June 24th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Halton Regional Police Service arrested a massage therapist who was working at a clinic in Burlington.

The incident occurred in February 2020 and the victim was a client.

Dominic Carrasco (53) of Burlington has been charged with one count of Sexual Assault.

Police believe there may be additional victims.

Crime stoppers logoAnyone with information is asked to contact Detective Keith Nakahara of the Child Abuse and Sexual Assault Unit at 905-825-4747 ext. 8980.

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

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Burlington Food Bank contacted by Feed Ontario to help the provincial government determine what the longer term food needs are likely to be

News 100 blueBy Staff

June 24th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

The Burlington Food Bank was recently contacted by Feed Ontario to help the provincial government get a better understanding of the effects of the Pandemic on Food Banks in regards to client usage and community support since Covid-19 took effect.

Bailey Food Bank March 31-20

Robin Bailey, Executive Director of the Burlington Food Bank

Robin Bailey, Executive Director of the Food Ban said “They also wanted to know what we were doing to prepare for the long term needs that many in our community will face.

“For us at the Burlington Food Bank, we have seen an increase in usage and an increase in new clients and have also recognized great community support through Food Drives and financial donations.

“We have been able to support everyone that has called us for help, increased the fresh produce and other food we distribute and in addition, when local food agencies ask us for assistance, we do our best to support them as well. One of the other results of the current state is we have seen an increase in the number of people in Burlington offering to volunteer with us which has been a huge help in managing the extra work.

“So we are in excellent shape to support more clients as needed and we are now preparing for a transition in delivery method options as we see the City moving towards Phase 3.

Food bank volunteers

The volunteers that make the place work every day of the week.

“We have been able to support everyone that has called us for help, increased the fresh produce and other food we distribute and in addition, when local food agencies ask us for assistance, we do our best to support them as well. Nice to see them asking for our numbers and seeing that they are coordinating with all city Food Banks in Ontario.

If you are in need or know of someone who could use our help PLEASE have them email us at info@burlingtonfoodbank.ca or call 905-637-2273 to make arrangements to have food dropped at their door or they can now PICK IT UP. If you live in Burlington, we are here to help.

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Lowville Park will partially reopen on Monday, June 29, 2020.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

June 24th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Lowville sign - orange aLowville Park will partially reopen on Monday, June 29, 2020.

Visiting Lowville Park will look different than it did prior to the COVID-19 pandemic; the City of Burlington is putting measures in place to help visitors have a safe park experience during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Parking

Parking lot capacity has been reduced to 50 per cent to allow for physical distance spacing and prevent overcrowding. The entrance will be monitored and vehicles may be turned away when parking has reached capacity. Street parking is not permitted, parking enforcement will be in effect. Illegally parked vehicles will be tagged and/or towed.

A river runs through the park where the salmon spawn and children get to play.

Bronte Creek runs through the park where the salmon spawn and children get to play.

What’s open and closed in Lowville Park
Washrooms will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. Water is not potable and visitors are reminded to bring their own drinking water.

The playground portion of the park remains closed. Staff levels are reduced so please clean up your area and put waste in receptacles or take it home for disposal.
No picnic permits are being issued at this time to comply with municipal and provincial state of emergency group gathering restrictions.

 

Reduce the spread

Rob Peachey, on the left, Manager Parks and Open Spaces for the city, talks through some solutions to managing the very large weekend crowds.

View of the park from thee steps of the school house.

Visitors are reminded to continue to be vigilant about public health practices and provincial directives to reduce the spread of COVID-19, including:

Maintaining 2 metre physical distance from others
Gathering in groups of 10 or fewer
Staying home if you feel sick
Washing and sanitizing hands before, during and after visiting the park.

The Lowville Park is a neighbourhood park during the week in the off season. During the summer it is a place where large families gather and cook meals on hibachis and enjoy their food.  On occasion there are several large families that become an event for everyone.

There will have to be some adjusting as we give people a place to enjoy themselves, respect the safety requirements and make allowances for each other.

Walt Rickli, often the spokesperson for the Lowville community, reported on their meeting with the Mayor and the ward councilor. “A number of Lowville residents”, reported Rickli, ” had expressed concerns about the potential for over-crowding, traffic management and the ability to adhere to Covid regulations, as we lead into Canada Day.  As a result of these concerns, the city advised us that over the short term they will be employing the follow measures for weekends and holidays when the park is most used:

Lowville Regulars - Rickli +

Walt Rickli, on the left, is often the spokesperson for the Lowville community.

“The city will be hiring two off-duty police officers.  One will be situated at the corner of Guelph Line and Lowville Park Road to control traffic coming in and out of the park.  If the park is full, traffic will not be allowed to enter Lowville Park Rd.  The second officer will be patrolling the park to ensure visitors are abiding by Covid social distancing requirements as well as park rules.  There will also be several Park Ambassadors to help out.

“The parking lot will only be permitted to fill to 50% of capacity.  To ensure this, there will be a parking enforcement/by-law officer at the entrance to Lowville Park.  As well, 1/2 the parking lot will be barricaded to prevent parking there.

“The children’s playground will be cordoned off to abide by current Covid regulations. Garbage cans which were removed during the Covid lockdown, will be returned.

“And finally, as per provincial Covid regulations, the washrooms will be manned and supervised to limit the number of people allowed in at any given time, and will be frequently cleaned and sanitized.

“During the meeting, a few points were raised that the city will be getting back to us to confirm. First are the hours the park will be manned on holidays and weekends ?  Residents advised that traffic on weekends and holidays often goes from 7:30 am to well into the evening.  The second point was regarding picnic tables.  Currently picnic tables are all grouped together which does not facilitate social distancing.  A suggestion was to remove some of the tables to ensure all are appropriately distanced from each other.

“Over-crowding has been an ongoing issue for Lowville Park, so the Mayor and Ward Counselor also advised us that a pilot project is in the works to help ease the stress on the park environment and the surrounding community over the long term.  They are looking at following a similar approach to what Conservation Halton has done with their parks, which would include installing a gatehouse with an arm among other things. This will replace the above measures once Covid regulations are reduced.”

 

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Burlington's Committee of Adjustment isn't holding meetings - small variances are being held up.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

June 23rd, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

A seasoned commercial real estate developer bought a home in Burlington in 3Q 2019.

He and his wife and their child were looking forward to the move but before the moving trucks were called the met with an architect who drew up some plans they wanted to make to the house,

The architect met with the appropriate people in Burlington’s Planning department where the plans had to be approved before a Building Permit could be issued.

City-hall-plabbing-Christmas-2013-1024x814

City of Adjustment counter at city hall during a festive season.

There was a bit of confusion that got cleared up. The Planners weren’t the problem. The property owner needs a building permit which he can’t get until there is a decision from Committee of Adjustment (CoA). The planner’s hands are tied.

An application was made to the CoA for a minor variance– that was turned down.

The property owner understood, he knew the rules and was more than prepared to abide by whatever those who gave permissions required.

The plan for the addition to the newly purchased house were revised again and ready for the second submission to the CoA early in March

Then Covid19 hit – and everything came to a grinding halt.

The problem for the homeowner who now owned the Burlington residence was that he had sold his home elsewhere in the GTA.

The need to get before the Burlington CoA took on a new urgency.

The problem was made more complex when the CoA found that it could not give dates for hearing that were going to be virtual.

Hamilton was able to hold Committee of Adjustment hearings but none of the smaller municipalities were ready.

The homeowner met with a real estate agent in Burlington looking for a home that could be rented. He found one that would meet what was becoming a pressing need.

The home that was being sold was due to close at the end of June – which was fast approaching.

All the homeowner could get from Burlington’s Committee of Adjustment was that they expected to begin holding hearings in July – not when in July – just July.

The homeowner wanted to know where he stood in the pecking order – was he number 1 or number 101.

Everyone is being polite – what isn’t understood is – what is taking the Burlington CoA so long to get to the point where they can hold virtual hearings.

No one seems to have an answer.

The property owner wasn’t able to get much from the ward 4 Councillor.  He got a bit more from the ward 1 Councillor who was more attuned to development issues

Burlington city council has been doing business virtually for a couple of months. The Regional government has been doing things virtually for several months.

Why not the Committee of Adjustment? No one is talking.

The property owner needs to know how long he has to rent for.  He is currently looking at a year.  Yikes!

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Mayor Uses an Hour of Council Time to Work Over Her Colleagues to Get the Decision She Wanted.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

June 22, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

At the Standing Committee earlier in the month a Staff Report on the Emshih Developments request for an additional six months extension for Phase II of their Garden Trails sub-division to be tidied up.

The Staff report didn’t see it as quite that simple and set out their concerns.

The subject lands are located south of Provincial Highway 403 and the CN Railway tracks, at the terminus of Genista Drive and are approximately 3.8 hectares in size. The lands are made up of two blocks within a Registered Plan of Subdivision and are adjacent to a tributary of Grindstone Creek, which is located south of the subject lands.

In 2001, the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB), now known as the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT), approved the draft plan of subdivision to facilitate Phase II of the subject draft plan of subdivision, which includes the creation of 20 single detached lots fronting onto a new municipal road, being the extension of Genista Drive; the creation of new servicing blocks and the establishment of a new Open Space block.

As part of the draft approval, the applicant was required to satisfy the conditions provided within three years. Since the time of draft approval in 2001, the applicant was granted several extensions to the timeframe in which to clear conditions, with the current lapsing date being June 30, 2020.

In November 2019 the applicant requested to extend the lapsing date by an additional three years to June of 2023. As part of this request, staff reviewed the remaining conditions of draft approval and are of the opinion that the applicant has not been demonstrating that they have been actively working toward clearing conditions of draft approval. In addition, staff is of the opinion that a further extension is not appropriate as substantial policy changes have taken place since the original draft approval in 2001, which conflict with the draft approved plans.

Despite the Staff recommendation the Standing Committee decided the developer should get the extension.

That Standing Committee decision came before Council yesterday where it got another hour of debate.  The Mayor was adamant – the developer would have to file a new application – any extension was not warranted.

The four who were prepared to give the extension stuck to their positions which produced a classic Burlington division – a 4-3 decision.

Mayor Meed Ward wasn’t able to sway any of the four (Sharman, Bentivegna, Kearns and Galbraith) but she was able to sew some doubt on the costs involved which resulted in City Treasurer Joan Ford having to write a report for the August round of meetings.  The Mayor also managed to raise some legal issues which resulted in City Solicitor Nancy Shea Nicol also having to write a report for the August round of meetings.

The motion to extend the development application for six months got revised to just two months while the Treasurer and the Solicitor wrote their reports.

Garden Trail Phase 2

Phase II of the Garden Trails development (shown in green) was the result of an OMB decision that was handed down close to 20 years ago.

At Standing Committee earlier in the month Councillors Sharman, Kearns, Bentivegna and Galbraith were prepared to give Enshih Developments the six months they felt they needed to resolve the differences with the Planning department.

At Council Mayor Meed Ward didn’t want to go along with what was a clear council majority and used an hour to badger her colleagues into going along with her wishes. She went so far as to say the developer had done a good job of lobbying Galbraith and Kearns and providing them with information the rest of Council didn’t have.

Councillors Sharman and Bentivegna thought the request for the additional six months to resolve the differences before the application was closed down by the Planning department was reasonable.

MMW standing O Canada

Mayor Meed Ward who appears to be standing by herself during the playing of the National Anthem at the beginning of a city council meeting. There were three other people in the Council Chamber. City council meets virtually – with the rest of Council elsewhere communicating via Zoom.

The Mayor along with Councillors Nisan and Stolte were opposed to giving the developer an opportunity to bring the technical parts of the application up to date arguing that the legislation and environmental requirements had changed so much that a new application would be required.

The Staff report painted the big picture –

The subject lands are located south of Provincial Highway 403 and the CN Railway tracks, at the terminus of Genista Drive and are approximately 3.8 hectares in size. The lands are made up of two blocks within a Registered Plan of Subdivision and are adjacent to a tributary of Grindstone Creek, which is located south of the subject lands.

Staff believed the policy changes since the 2001 OMB decision made any further extension inappropriate.

Sometime in August, when Councillors usually have the month off they will go at this again.

The Mayor’s remark that two of the Councillors were heavily lobbied and given information the rest of Council didn’t have may result in heels being dug in even deeper.

Some really snarky remarks passed between the Councillors with several Points of Order put on the table  that had to be resolved by the City Clerk.

Throughout the debate all of the Councillors repeated to each other that they were pleased with the “collaborative” approach that was being taken.

There was more manipulation than collaboration on this matter at City Council yesterday afternoon.

Staff, in their report did say that:

Based on a review of the submitted materials and the nature of the technical comments received, a substantial amount of additional information is still outstanding and would need to be provided to demonstrate that the proposed development is able to achieve compliance with the current policy framework and regulations. Given the time that has elapsed since Draft Approval was first granted in 2001, several studies and reports would require updating and thorough review by staff.

The policy framework has changed substantially since draft plan approval in 2001, and given the ecological significance of the lands, it is important that current standards and regulations are considered and maintained. It is not appropriate to assess the proposal using outdated policy framework given that the applicant has not actively been working toward clearing conditions. In the opinion of staff, these requirements are not minor and should not be considered as part of an extension request; but rather, be more appropriately comprehensively reviewed as part of a new plan of subdivision application.

For these reasons, staff are of the opinion that the extension of the draft approval should not be granted and that a new plan of subdivision application should be submitted by the applicant.

A majority of Council didn’t see it that way.  The decision yesterday was to give very short extension while reports are prepared by Legal and Finance.

Shih revised motion BEST

The original motion that made it through the Standing Committee earlier in the month consisted of just the first paragraph with the date of December 31st. The revised motion brought in the City Treasurer and the City Solicitor who were to produce their take for the August round of Council meetings.

Related news story:
Standing Committee agrees to give developer an additional six months to tidy up an old subdivision application.

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Police Chief issued strong statements when he learned of unacceptable police behaviour - his job is to now ensure that the reputation of the police force is upheld.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

June 22nd, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

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Halton Regional Chief of Police Stephen Tanner

Halton Regional Police Chief Stephen Tanner is to be commended for his immediate and strong statement over some police behaviour that was captured on video by a citizen and shown on social media networks.

The video, show here, is disturbing

In his statement Chief Tanner said: “I can assure you that this matter will be dealt with appropriately and as swiftly as possible, and individual(s) disciplined accordingly.

“I am extremely concerned with what I have seen in this particular video, particularly the actions of all four officers who were present at the time of the incident.

Chief Tanner adds that a “criminal process is the presumption of innocence until there is a finding of guilt. This fact is the same for all citizens including members of a police service.”

Rightly so.

Police-HQ-flgs-flying-1-400x647

The reputation of the police force is in play. Is it a collection of thugs or a barrel with some bad apples?

Hopefully the police will announce that the three police officers who looked on and took no action are taken out of active police work and put behind desks where they can shuffle paper or assigned to police escort work transmitting people being held in custody and transported to court houses.

Chief Tanner’s strong statement will hopefully be followed by swift action.

The leadership of the Oakville detachment might be worth looking at more closely – good commanding officers know the men and women they lead.

The Police Services Act of Ontario is a complex document that allows for long delays if that is what is wanted while investigations take place.  Covid19 precautions can also be brought into play if that is the wish of the police administration.

At play here is the reputation of the hundreds of police officers who serve the public daily; they deserve to be supported by a Chief of Police who is steadfast in how he carries out the mandate he swore to uphold when he was sworn in.

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Halton Chief of Police explains the options he has in dealing with unacceptable police officer behaviour.

Crime 100By Staff

June 22nd, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It isn’t often that the community hears directly from the Chief of Police.

The follow was sent out to the media and the larger public on Sunday.

On June 20, 2020, a video was posted to social media showing an altercation between members of the Halton Regional Police Service and a male party. We believe the incident took place in Oakville in April 2020. Immediately upon learning of this incident, the officer who made direct physical contact with the individual was suspended from duty. That is a decision that I am responsible for as your Chief of Police.

police pushing

An excerpt from the video the Chief of Police is concerned about. Full video is shown below.

I am extremely concerned with what I have seen in this particular video, particularly the actions of all four officers who were present at the time of the incident.

In accordance with the Police Services Act of Ontario, the only immediate option available to a Chief of Police is suspension from duty with pay. While police chiefs and Police Services Boards have long sought to have the option for suspension without pay, this has yet to become a reality in the new Police Services Act.

I fully understand the concerns voiced by our residents about this incident. And through emails, voicemails and social media comments since yesterday, I recognize that many have demanded the immediate firing of the individual involved.

The reality is that we must ensure that we conduct a full and fair investigation, as always, and pursue charges as appropriate.

In an incident such as this, there are two parallel processes.

First, there is the potential for a criminal investigation and criminal charges which would proceed through the normal court process. Built into the criminal process is the presumption of innocence until there is a finding of guilt. This fact is the same for all citizens including members of a police service.

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

Halton Regional Police Services Chief Stephen Tanner.

Secondly, there is the matter of police discipline which is a separate charge-like process which would proceed under the Police Services Act of Ontario. In this process, a separate investigation is conducted and an officer would be served with a notice of hearing, and their employment cannot be terminated until there is a finding of guilt and ruling of termination and/or the individual resigns from the service.

Unfortunately, both these processes take time depending on the circumstances; this understandably leads to frustration for many involved in the system and for those watching the process through the lens of the public. Nonetheless, they are the systems that we must function within.

The 1,000-plus members of our Service work day in and day out to foster and maintain a positive reputation with the members of the public that we serve. We know the video shows actions that erode your trust in us. As your Chief of Police, I can assure you that this matter will be dealt with appropriately and as swiftly as possible, and individual(s) disciplined accordingly.

The video that has the Police Chief concerned can be seen here

 

 

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HDSB a couple of steps ahead of the province on what the return to school in September might look like.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

June 20th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The official end of the 2019-20 school year has yet to be celebrated. It will end with a deeply felt sigh of relief by most parents and some trepidation as well when discussions arise over how school will operate in September.

Cleaners - schools

The only people in the schools are the caretakers – and they aren’t putting in shifts at this point.

The Ontario government released its safety plan for the resumption of class for the 2020-21 school year on Friday, outlining scenarios for how students, teachers and staff can safely return to classrooms in September. The plan also provides choices to parents, enhanced online learning, and additional funding.

The decision to return to the normal school day routine will continue to be based on medical advice, boards and schools are being asked to plan for alternative scenarios that may need to be implemented in September depending on the province’s COVID-19 situation.

“Nothing is more important than protecting our kids in this province. Parents expect us to take every precaution to keep their children safe when they go back to school in September – and that’s exactly what we’re delivering today,” said Premier Ford. “This plan takes the best medical advice available from our public heath experts to ensure every school board and every school is ready to ensure students continue learning in the safest way possible.”

Ontario’s plan to safely reopen schools will provide options for parents – to send their children in-class or to enter online learning – with health, safety and well-being at its core. Boards will be asked to plan for the following three scenarios to be implemented in September, depending on the public health situation at the time:

1. Normal school day routine with enhanced public health protocols – Students going to school every day, in classes that reflect standard class size regulations.

2. Modified school day routine – Based on public health advice, an adapted delivery model has been designed to allow for physical distancing and cohorts of students. Under this model, school boards are asked to maintain a limit of 15 students in a typical classroom at one time and adopt timetabling that would allow for students to remain in contact only with their classmates and a single teacher for as much of the school day as possible. This model would require alternate day or alternate week delivery to a segment of the class at one time.

3. At home learning – Should the school closure be extended, or some parents choose not to send their children back to school, school boards need to be prepared to offer remote education. Remote education should be delivered online to the greatest extent possible, including the establishment of minimum expectations for students to have direct contact with their teachers at the same time on a regular basis, also known as synchronous learning. Synchronous learning can be used as part of whole class instruction, in smaller groups of students, and/or in a one-on-one context.

The government is instructing school boards to be prepared with a plan, should it be required, that includes an adapted delivery model, which could include alternate day or alternate week attendance, staggered bell times and recess, and different transportation arrangements, among a variety of other considerations to ensure the safety of students and staff.

Halton District School Board had a Task Team in place before the Provincial announcement.

The government’s safety plan for schools was created following extensive consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, health experts on the COVID-19 Command Table, medical experts at The Hospital for Sick Children, education sector partners, front line workers, parents and students. While this plan reflects the best medical and scientific advice and recommendations available, parents who do not feel comfortable having their children physically return to school will have a choice to pursue online remote learning.

Stephen Leece

Minister of Education Stephen Lecce doing a fist bump with a student.

“We are taking every precaution, investing more, and listening to the best medical advice in the country to keep students, staff, and families safe,” said Minister Lecce. “I want to assure parents safety is our guiding principle and the right supports are being put in place to ensure our students are set up for success. I am grateful to Ontario students, education staff, and communities for stepping up during this difficult period.”

“Having careful plans in place to reopen schools in September is of the utmost importance for the mental and developmental health of children and youth, as well as their academic success,” says Dr. Ronald Cohn, President and CEO of SickKids. “The risk posed by COVID-19 cannot be completely eliminated, however, there are significant steps that can be taken to mitigate risk and protect the health and well-being of students, staff and their families.”

Key elements of the safety plan include:

• guidance for developing health and safety protocols, including the use of personal protective equipment;
• expectations of an in-class school environment;
• professional development training for teachers on the new protocols and directions;
• supports for students with special education needs;
• enhanced mental health and well-being supports;
• proposals on how educators and students can move fluidly between in-class and remote learning;
• guidelines to help schools and boards in their communications with students and parents;
• guidelines for student transportation systems;
• expectations for the delivery of curriculum and assessment across subjects and grades;
• guidance for working with First Nations students, parents and communities;
• regional options for reopening based on the advice of local public health authorities; and
• a checklist to help boards in their reopening planning.

Moreover, the government announced $4 million in net new funding for cleaning, cleaning protocols, and financial support to hire additional custodial staff in September to ensure schools are safe.

Jean Vanier secondary school

These are hallways that haven’t seen students for more than 100 days

School boards have been asked to prepare their own safety plans for the upcoming school year and submit them to the ministry by August 4, 2020. The ministry will be providing all boards with an opportunity to share their draft plans and seek feedback from a formalized table of medical experts that the ministry will be convening.

School boards will also be required to communicate with parents and students prior to the start of the 2020-21 school year, outlining the safety plan, guidance on health and safety measures and protocols, and any other changes that will be implemented when schools open in September.

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Protester run over by a transport truck and killed at the gates to the Fearmans plant on Harvester Road.

News 100 redBy Staff

June 19th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

In a Media release put out by the Halton Regional Police service earlier today the death of a 60 year old woman was reported to have taken place at Harvester Road and Appleby Line.

There was no mention of who the person was other than to say that next of kin had been notified.

Pig protester killed

Regan Russell at the intersection of Harvester Road and Appleby Line yards away from where she was killed by a truck transporting pigs.

Regan Russell, who was identified as the victim in a release by Animal Justice, was struck by a transport truck that was hauling pigs through the gates of Fearmans Pork meat processing facility at Appleby Line and Harvester Road at around 10:20 a.m. on Friday, June 19.

The truck with its cargo of pigs remained at the scene for several hours as police blocked off the area and began their investigation.

A Burlington resident sitting across the street from the plant in the Wendy’s parking lot when the incident happened, described what he saw:

“The truck was there for about four or five minutes. The protesters were there. Then they walked away from the truck when they were done,” said the observer.

“Then I saw a woman … I assumed the truck driver thought he was clear to go and didn’t see that last protester.”

Around 10 protesters who had been engaged in a regularly scheduled animal rights vigil at the plant remained on the scene following the crash.

Anita Krajnc, co-founder of the group Toronto Pig Save, talked about the victim, a Hamilton resident in her 60s.

While Krajnc was not on the scene when the collision happened, she noted Regan Russell and the other activists were bringing the trucks to a stop by standing in front of the gate to the plant and then giving water to the pigs in the truck, recording video and attempting to raise awareness of the pigs’ plight.

Animal Justice said in its media release that Regan Russell was run over by a transport truck as she attended a peaceful vigil outside of the facility.

pigs-leaving-truck

Firefighters and slaughterhouse staff attempt to corral pigs trapped in a transport truck that flipped on its side with a load of pigs.

“Ten thousand pigs are trucked into and slaughtered at the Fearmans Pork slaughterhouse every day. Advocates with the Animal Save Movement hold regular vigils outside of the slaughterhouse to document the suffering of these animals in transport. On a scorching hot day like today, many pigs are likely to arrive at the facility already dead from heat exposure.

“The tragic death comes two days after the controversial agricultural gag (“ag gag”) law, Bill 156, was passed in Ontario. Bill 156 is designed to cover up animal cruelty on farms and during transport. Among other troubling provisions aimed at preventing whistle blowers and animal advocates from exposing the abuse of farmed animals, the new law aims to restrict the peaceful protest rights of those who hold vigils at slaughterhouses across the province.

Silent vigil - pigs being photo'd

Protesters photograph the pigs in a transport truck – part of their documenting what they see as cruel.

“It does so by making it an offence to “interact” with farmed animals in a transport truck—a prohibition widely denounced by animal advocates and constitutional law experts as an unconstitutional restriction of rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly guaranteed in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”

Today’s vigil was one of the last opportunities for a vigil before the bill becomes law.

Pigs being watered - trial

Protesters giving pigs on the way into the slaughterhouse water.

Movement founder Anita Krajnc, was arrested and charged with criminal mischief for giving water to pigs in a transport truck outside of the Fearmans slaughterhouse. Ms. Krajnc was acquitted in 2017 after a much-publicized trial. Vigils at Fearmans Pork adhere to strict safety protocols.

“Regan Russell was a kind, elegant, strong, and courageous person,” said Anita Krajnc, founder of the Animal Save Movement. “She was a mentor to others, and she always did activism with kindness in her heart.”

“She had been an animal advocate since 1979, attended vigils weekly for years, and cared deeply about justice for animals, racial justice, and protecting the vulnerable.”

Related news story:

Police report on the death of a 60 year old female.

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