Cith hall puts out a statement: summer program cancelled - you'll get your refund in four to six weeks,

News 100 blueBy Staff

May 19th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

City hall has provided more information on the decision to close city hall that was heard at a Standing Committee; that committee recommendation will go to Council on Monday of next week.

“Following the Provincial and public health directives, the City of Burlington is cancelling all City-run summer programs. This includes activities such as summer camps, recreation programs, festivals and events, swimming and skating drop-ins that were originally offered in the Live & Play Guide.

“Organizations and residents are asked to please be patient during this time as we expect it will take 4-6 weeks for staff process these cancellations. Residents who paid for these programs using a credit card will be refunded to that same credit card if possible. All other payment methods will receive a credit to their Recreation accounts. Following the processing of cancellations, cheque refunds will be issued based on specific email requests. Please email liveandplay@burlington.ca for cheque refund requests, and be sure to include your full mailing address.

“As restrictions from the Province and Public Health are lifted, the City will implement a redesigned or modified program where possible.

“Any programs available will be advertised. To be notified of any new programs, visit and subscribe to burlington.ca/play.

Facility Rentals

No snow? There are always swimming pools. Check out the available programs and register for a spot.

Not this summer.

“All facility rentals up to and including Sept. 7, 2020, including arenas, pools, community centres, schools, sport fields and picnics are cancelled. Renters who paid by credit card will be refunded to that same credit card if possible. Others will receive a credit on account. A confirmation will be emailed once the rental cancellation has been processed.

“Requests for future booking dates are not being accepted until further notice.

“For questions about facility rentals or rental refund requests please email rentals@burlington.ca.

“For more information and FAQ’s on summer closures, cancellations and refunds visit burlington.ca/coronavirus.

“The City is monitoring the situation closely and will work with local organizations to determine any modified programs as we are able to.

“Any opportunity to re-open facilities or resume programming following health directives including physical distancing or reduced group sizes will be posted to the City’s website and social media.

baseball players

Probably not this summer either

Parks
While City of Burlington parks were never closed for walk-through traffic, residents can now enjoy a few more activities in their local City of Burlington parks and green spaces with members of their own household including:

• Playing catch, kicking a soccer ball and flying a kite
• Sitting on a blanket, grass or lawn chair
• Exercising and stretching on a yoga mat, but not in a class
• Letting young children run and burn off some energy

“We are asking everyone to remember they have a role to play in slowing the spread of COVID-19.

The Mayor explains: “I know this news will be disappointing to our community; however, we need to continue to stay apart for now to protect ourselves and each other. Public health and safety need to continue to come first. I know our City staff are working on alternative programming that can be done virtually, so watch for that news.”

He is no longer "acting"; it's now the real deal as Chris Glenn gets appointed the Director of Parks and Recreation for the city.

Chris Glenn – Director of Parks and Recreation.

Chris Glenn, Director of Recreation Services tells his side of the story:   “Summer programming is our busiest time with some wait lists forming as early as January. Please be patient as we process credits and refunds. These can take time but be assured that everyone who needs a credit or refund will get one. One of our adaptations to the COVID-19 physical distancing is our virtual programming. I encourage everyone to access our free virtual programming which can be found at burlington.ca/activeathome. There are golf tips, cooking lessons, crafts and more.”

Four to six weeks to process a refund for a cancelled programming is a real stretch.

 

 

 

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4th phase of the ambitious Elgin Promenade on target - will the $$ needed to complete be available?

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

May 17th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Elgin Promenade, that pathway that serves as a pedestrian and cycling corridor will extend from Brant Street to Martha Street connecting the downtown core to the Centennial Multi-Use path is about to embark on the 4th phase.

The idea has been on the drawing boards for some time – when a funding opportunity came up in 2017, the city moved on it quickly.
It was a grad idea when it was first presented to the public in 2017, made possible by a federal gas tax rebate grant of $700,000.

Overall area - big pictureThe Promenade will eventually allow people to cycle or walk across the width of the city from the BurlOak Park in the east end to the Canal that separates us from Hamilton on the west end.

The first thing it did was open up the space opposite city hall and a little to the south of city hall. Some parking spots were removed and the first of four phases between Brant and John Street was done.

phases graphic all 4

Done in phases; the fourth one will begin in the Spring of 2021.

 

No one was really sure how many people would use the Promenade; when a pedestrian counter was installed on John Street from October 25th, 2019 to December 2, 2019 the counter showed approximately 346 people per day which is significant number of users, especially in the off-season.

A second pedestrian counter was also installed for all of 2019 at Martha Street and the Centennial Multi-Use Trail which is located beside the east end of the Elgin Promenade. The 2019 daily average count for 12 months at this location was 688.

Phase 4 connects Pearl Street to Martha Street – Site Constraints
The final phase that will connect Pearl Street to Martha Street, comes with a series of challenges and site constraints including land ownership, vehicular circulation of the adjacent parking lot and underground utilities.

The land for this proposed walkway is not owned the City however the City Realty Services department is in negotiation with the landowner of 425 Pearl Street to acquire the northern section of this parking lot in order to build the connecting link of the Elgin Promenade.

The proposed walkway is on top of two easements; Transnorthern (high-pressure gas pipeline) and Halton Region (sanitary and water). In advance of tendering this project, all those permits and approvals from various agencies have to be in place before a tender can be released.

The existing two-way driveway into the parking lot at 425 Pearl Street will be converted into a one-way in drive lane. A secondary driveway further south along Pearl Street will be built to accommodate egress from the existing parking lot.

concept plan BEST

All of phase 4

 

enlargement area # 1

A tighter look at the west side of phase 4.

area #2 enlarged

A closer look at the west side of phase 4

The Elgin Promenade Phase 4 – Design Program

The finished phase 4 will be a 4m wide pedestrian facility that is uninterrupted by cars (except at intersecting streets).

The illustrations for phase 4 represent approximately 60% design completion.

Two additional properties

Looking east. The two white structures are properties that will have to be acquired.

view looking west

Looking west. Phase four has space for more than just a walk – there are small areas where people can congregate.

Proposed Crossovers

There will be three pedestrian crossovers where the Promenade crosses Martha Street, Pearl Street and Elizabeth Street.

Martha Street and Pearl Street will be installed in conjunction with Phase 4 of the Promenade. Transportation Services staff are reviewing the Elizabeth Street pedestrian crossover to determine if it can be installed prior to completion of the Elgin Promenade.

In addition to the three pedestrian crossovers proposed, John Street is still under evaluation given the additional movements related to the Downtown

Parking Summary
The overall parking count from phases 1 to 3 resulted in a net zero loss of city parking stalls.

The project will result in 17 parking stalls being removed from a privately- owned parking lot at 425 Pearl Street. Currently, the owners of the lot do allow the public to use the space during evenings and weekends.

Capital funds have been committed in 2020 to complete a needs assessment with the goal of developing a plan to add parking supply to the downtown.

Project Schedule
The Elgin Promenade construction is anticipated to start in spring of 2021. Below is high-level schedule for the balance of this project.

High level time line graphicThe addition of a handsome rather splendid path for pedestrians and cyclists does present a repetition of a problem at Spencer Smith Park where cyclists tend to forget to respect the rights of those walking to safe passage.

This part of the city is rich in historically significant properties. The heritage value and appropriate protections (including possible Heritage Act designations) for the potential built heritage resources and potential cultural heritage landscapes will be addressed.

A report released last September, “Cultural Heritage Resource Assessment of the Downtown Mobility Hub”, will be reporting back to Council in 4Q; a funding source has yet to be determined.

One of the potential cultural heritage landscapes, the properties known as 431 and 435 Pearl Street, which are adjacent to the Elgin Promenade on the east side of Pearl Street.

Community Planning Department staff will report back to Council in spring 2020 concerning the scope and financial considerations for the heritage study.

Given the financial constraints brought about by the COVID crisis – could this part get put on hold ?

Part of Phase 4 includes new landscape construction on the rear portion of the city-owned property at 431 Pearl Street.

The project is going to significantly improve the way people use the downtown. It is going to require the purchase of a part of that parking lot, the purchase of the properties at 431 and 435 Pearl  – all at a time when dollars are going to be in short supply.

The success of the Elgin Promenade to date is a direct result of the number of stakeholders that have participated in the development of this multi-use pathway facility. Formal engagement with the downtown business community, members of council, advisory committees and area residents started in 2017. Since the project start, there have been two formal PIC sessions as well other related initiatives such as the Urban Parks Strategy Workshop and Downtown Streetscape Guidelines public engagement process.

dfer

Marianne Meed Ward as a citizen delegating to a council that she would lead in 2018

In Q2 of 2020 staff will host a design session, open to project stakeholders and members of Council, in order to complete the conceptual design for the area behind 431 Pearl Street.

view looking west

The view looking west

There was a phrase that Marianne Meed Ward used frequently when she was the ward 2 Councillor – ‘these are nice to have projects that we can’t afford.’ Didn’t hear that phrase once during the discussion of what was a Receive and File report from the Planning department on this project.

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Conservation Halton issues a flood warning - rain on a long weekend day. Phhtt!

News 100 greenBy Staff

May 17th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Well – there goes the weekend.

CH Rivers and streamsConservation Halton advises that the Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry’s Surface Water Monitoring Centre is forecasting an incoming low-pressure system that will bring up to 40 mm of rain over our jurisdiction beginning Sunday afternoon with a chance of thunderstorms leading to an additional 10 to 25 mm locally. An additional 10 to 30 mm is possible on Monday before the system moves out of our jurisdiction.

Soil conditions within the watershed are saturated from recent rainfall meaning that much of the forecasted rain on Sunday and Monday will runoff into our rivers and streams. The combination of increased flows and water levels and slippery and unstable banks will create hazardous conditions close to any rivers, streams, or other water bodies.

Widespread flooding is not anticipated. Our reservoirs are still in range of our seasonal holding levels and have storage capacity available. However, fast flowing water and flooding of low-lying areas and natural floodplains may be expected. Municipalities, emergency services and individual landowners in flood-prone areas should be on alert.

Creek flooding - Halton

High water in the creeks and streams

Conservation Halton is asking all residents and children to keep a safe distance from all watercourses and structures such as bridges, culverts and dams. Elevated water levels, fast flowing water, and slippery conditions along stream banks continue to make these locations extremely dangerous. Please alert children in your care of these imminent dangers.

Conservation Halton will continue to monitor stream flow and weather conditions and will issue further messages as necessary. This Flood Outlook Statement will be in effect through Thursday May 21, 2019.

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What's Open - What's not -and why: Golf, City Parks, Marina, Conservation Parks

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

May 16th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The city opened up – a little today.

golfer swinging

There were golfers at some of the courses on Guelph Line.

The plant merchants were very busy. There were golfers on some of the courses and line up as the driving ranges.

Weather was nice.

3 carts on a slope

Most of the golfers we say were buzzing about in electric carts – 1 person per cart. No one was lugging a golf bag.

The city, for some reason wasn’t as prepared for the opening that everyone knew was coming. Parks and recreation announced on Friday that they have cancelled all of the summer Parks and Recreation program and were starting from scratch to figure out what they might be able to open as the rules from the province are clearer.

The LaSalle Park Marina could be open but won’t be – construction of the new water break is still taking place.

driving range May 16

Golfers at a driving range – wasn’t operated by the city.

The City’s Tyandaga Golf Course is preparing for opening Saturday, May 23, 2020 with COVID-19 safety precautions in place to help keep both golfers and staff safe by minimizing the spread of the virus.

Players wishing to book a tee time can do so online as of Saturday, May 16, 2020 at tyandagagolf.com. Booking by phone can be done starting Tuesday, May 19 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. by calling 905-336-0005.

New Rules and Operations

• Tyandaga will be open daily, 7 days a week, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
• Online tyandagagolf.com and phone booking for tee times only; no walk-in green fees
• Only credit card or debit cards will be accepted for payments (no cash)
• Food and beverage services will be limited to window take-out service only. Dining area is closed.
• No group events or tournaments at this time
• Clubhouse will be closed except for washrooms and pro-shop area. Only one person allowed in pro-shop and washroom at a time
• One person per power cart
• Lessons, practice greens, practice chipping area and rental clubs will not be available at this time
• Sand bunker rakes have been removed. Any shots in the bunker are a free drop
• All high-contact surfaces are regularly sanitized such as the payment terminals, all service-related surfaces, power carts and bathrooms
• All machinery will be sanitized daily to ensure public and staff safety

City hall had this to say about opening their parks:

Re-opening of the City parks and facilities is something everyone is looking forward to, but we must continue to do it slowly and carefully with the right precautions.

The City of Burlington remains committed to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 to protect its residents and employees.
While City of Burlington parks were never closed for walk-through traffic, residents can now enjoy a few more casual activities in their local City of Burlington parks and green spaces with members of their own household or groups of five of less, including:

• Playing catch, kicking a soccer ball and flying a kite (not on a soccer field or baseball diamond)
• Sitting on a blanket, grass or lawn chair
• Exercising and stretching on a yoga mat, but not in a class
• Letting young children run and burn off some energy
Facilities, amenities and spaces that continue to be closed in City parks include:
• playgrounds and play structures such as swings, slides, climbers
sports fields such as soccer fields, baseball diamonds, basketball courts, tennis courts, running tracks
• outdoor exercise equipment
• skateboard parks
• off-leash dog areas
• benches, picnic tables and shelters
• beaches
• marinas and boat launch ramps
• park parking lots and washrooms
• recreation centre grounds and parking lots

Respect the caution tape and keep off playgrounds, sports fields, skateboard areas, tennis and basketball courts. The City has signage and barricades in the entrances of parking lots to block vehicles from parking.

Parking lots remain closed to encourage people to stay in the neighborhood and to help prevent overcrowding at some of our larger parks.

This will be reviewed as we consider additional phased opening of park uses.

Organized sporting activities and training, such as football, softball, ball hockey, soccer, ultimate frisbee and basketball – even if they are not being played on a court or sports field – are still not allowed in City parks. Similar activities that do not allow for proper physical distancing, like running a sports or fitness class in City parks, are not allowed until further notice.

Provincial emergency orders that remain in force include:

• Prohibiting events and gatherings of more than five people
• Closure of public places and establishments
• Closure of outdoor recreational amenities

I didn’t see the words “have fun” anywhere in the city’s words.  They sound like a crabby grandmother.

Sport Facilities

The Province announced some sport organizations are able to resume activities. The City of Burlington will work with our joint venture partners to ensure there are plans in place based on provincial guidelines and their sport governing body’s requirements. The City is also working to ensure these organizations can use the facilities while complying with provincial guidelines and protecting the health of athletes and city staff.

Conservation Halton Parks.

Turtle clan longhouse at Crawford Lake.

Turtle clan longhouse at Crawford Lake.

Few people realize that there are provincially operated parks as well as parks operated by the Halton Conservation Authority. THEY will be opening five of their seven parks for hiking and biking, using a simple reservation system, starting May 22.

Crawford Lake, Hilton Falls, Rattlesnake Point, Mount Nemo and Kelso Summit (biking only) will be open to members and to the public, for paid access, from 9am-9pm. Other parks and facilities will be added in the coming weeks.

What do I need to do to access the parks now?

The new system that we have mentioned above will allow to us predict and monitor the number of people in the parks through an online reservation platform. From this point forward, parks visitors and members will be required to make a reservation prior to their visit. (The pilot has shown us that this process should take no more than 1 minute.) Here is how it works: After you have made your online reservation, and arrived at the park, you will drive up to the gate and stop. Your license plate will be scanned and the gate will open. If there is any issue with your license plate, a gate attendant will scan the barcode on your ticket. (The pilot has shown us that this process should take no more than 10-15 seconds.)

When can we start making reservations?

Reservations will be open on Wednesday, May 20 or Thursday, May 21. You can visit our website or follow us on social media to be notified when the reservation system is made public.

Why do we need to reserve our park visit in advance?

Being able to predict and monitor the number of people in the parks means that we can create the conditions needed for physical distancing, but this system will offer a number of other benefits, even once things are back to normal. For you, as a visitor, this system will show you which parks are busy and which are not, right down to the minute, before you leave your house. We know it can be frustrating to get ready for a hike, drive out to a park and then be faced with a lineup, so we hope that this system will prevent that. For us, this system will allow us to improve the experience of visiting our parks and reduce the impact that visitors have on our parks for a more efficient, enjoyable and sustainable approach to park management. We want you to enjoy nature when you come to our parks, not wait in line ups.
Why not open the parks all at once?

Trust us when we say that we would if we could. Each of the parks is a little bit different, which means that the improvements to infrastructure and operations are a little bit different for each park. We are working incredibly hard to open as many of the parks as possible, as soon as possible, but this process does take time, so we appreciate your patience, and we promise it will be worth the wait.

How many spots will there be?

With these 5 parks open, we estimate there are about 15,000 timeslots per week available for visitors to reserve, to safely accommodate about 75,000 visitors across the parks, each week. We feel this should be enough to meet the needs of our members, and the public, however we welcome suggestions through a post-visit survey on how we can continue to adjust our model.
Can I get a refund on my membership?

Halton escarpment - long view up slope

One of the views from the top of Mt Nemo

Conservation Halton Parks memberships will be extended for the duration of the park closures but memberships are (and have always been) non-refundable. Considering that memberships provide access to the parks for an entire year, that the parks were closed for just a few weeks, that memberships pay for themselves in just a few visits and that we are extending memberships for the duration of the park closures, we are confident that you will still be able to find value in them. Memberships will resume on May 22.

When will the extension be added to my membership?

With parks open on May 22, memberships will be back in effect, and the full duration of the park closures will be added to your membership, automatically. There is nothing you need to do to receive this extension.

What about camping and picnicking?

With facilities still closed, we are not currently able to offer camping. Picnicking in the parks is permitted, as long as physical distancing is practiced, visit time limits are respected and no trash is left behind. Also, picnic tables will not be accessible, so you will need to bring your own blanket. We also expect all visitors to follow Provincial Orders and Guidelines related to group sizes when gathering for any activities and staying within their household groups. As the Province updates these guidelines, we will offer more activities and options at our parks.
What about the Bruce Trail that goes through Conservation Halton Parks?

The Bruce Trail Conservancy has recently started to open some sections of the trail. As of May 22, if a part of the Bruce Trail passes through one our parks, which is open, that part of the trail will be accessible. If a part of the trail passes through one of our parks, which is still closed, that part of the trail will not be accessible.

Over all rules for everyone and everything
It has been said 100 times – and it will be said again:

Physical distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic is one of the most important steps everyone needs to take. The COVID-19 virus doesn’t move on its own; it needs people to move it. Remember to:

• Keep two metres away from others – about the length of a hockey stick
• Move to the right on pathways to make room for others to pass safely
• Carry out your garbage whenever possible

Do that and we can flatten that virus infection curve – we are still seeing new infections daily at the 300+ level

Residents who see groups of more than five people gathering or individuals using outdoor recreational facilities that remain closed can call the Halton Regional Police Service COVID hotline to file a report at 905-825-4722.

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This weekend is a challenge - can we individually keep that two metre distance and prevent the transfer of the COVID virus from person to person

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

May 15th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

During a day long council session, working as a Standing Committee, Mayor Meed Ward made the comment that “if we continued doing what we normally do as a city until the end of June we will be looking at being $10 million dollars in the hole. If we continue doing what we usually do until the end of August we will be $18 million dollars in the hole.”

Her point is well taken. We do need to get people back at their desks and their factories and get to the point where the lock down is over.

Burlington has shown exceptional discipline in adhering to the rules. City manager Tim Commisso pointed out that the infection and death rate in Burlington is ¼ of what it is nationally.

The ceremonies over the Naval Promenade becomes the fous with the Seniors' out in force listening to the All MAle Welsh Choir. Strolling along is Craig Stevens, the city's project manager on the pier project. He direction and oversight kept the project going when it got a little wonky at times - but that's another story.

This kinf of congregating won’t be permitted – not fo awhile.

We are going to have to continue to come out of the lock down we are in very slowly. Commisso said it was very easy to shut everything down – what isn’t easy is starting everything up again.

The Parks and Recreation program that was planned for the summer has been scrapped. They are working on what they think they might be able to do come the fall.

The message here is – we are doing what we have to do and we really really need to continue to following that six foot rule. That means staying at home – when you do go out don’t congregate with other people. Live within your bubble – that is the people you live with.

For some this is very hard. For very young children its is even harder – they are not used to going without; this is something they have not experienced before.

This holiday weekend is usually the beginning of being outside much more. The weather forecasts suggest that it will be warmer – T shirt weather – maybe even shorts.

Follow the rules, follow the rules. If we blow it this weekend we will have put ourselves back and the restrictions will be back in place.

We will know in two weeks if we behaved the way we are going to have to behave. This virus is passed from person to person; don’t be one of those who picks it up from a person you didn’t know all that well and got too close to.

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Brass knuckles and switch blade knives part of a drug trafficking seizure; recreational drugs?

Crime 100By Staff

May 15th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

A drug trafficking investigation by the Regional Police Burlington Street Crime Unit in April resulted in a number of arrests and charges against the following individuals;

Edlyn MILLER (27 years old from St. Catharines)
• Fail to Comply Release Order (2 counts)
• Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking a Controlled Substance (Crystal Meth)
• Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking a Controlled Substance (Fentanyl)

Naithan BACHIU-TAIT (25 years old from Hamilton)
• Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking a Controlled Substance (Crystal Meth)
• Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking a Controlled Substance (Cocaine)
• Dangerous Operation of a Motor Vehicle
• Possession of a Weapon Dangerous to the Public (Brass Knuckles and Flick Knife) – (2 counts)
• Possession of a Prohibited Weapon (Brass Knuckles and Flick Knife) – (2 counts)
• Possession of Stolen Property
• Fail to Comply Release Order (6 counts)

James SHIELDS (28 years old from Hamilton)
• Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking a Controlled Substance (Crack Cocaine)
• Possession of a Controlled Substance (Crystal Meth)
• Possession of a Weapon Dangerous to the Public (Flick Knife)
• Possession of a Prohibited Weapon (Flick Knife)
• Fail to Comply Release Order

Amanda HARPER (27 years old from Hamilton)
• Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking a Controlled Substance (Crystal Meth)
• Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking a Controlled Substance (Cocaine)
• Possession of a Weapon Dangerous to the Public (Brass Knuckles)
• Possession of a Prohibited Weapon (Brass Knuckles)

Ashley JACOBSEN-SMITH (25 years old from Hamilton)
• Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking a Controlled Substance (Crystal Meth)
• Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking a Controlled Substance (Cocaine)
• Fail to Comply Release Order

On May 8th 2020, Investigators executed search warrants at residences in the City of Hamilton and the City of St. Catharines and the following items were seized from both locations:

HRPS drug seizure May 8 90 grams of Crystal Meth
• 7 grams of Crack Cocaine
• 1.5 grams of Fentanyl
• $2,252.00 Canadian currency
• 6 cellular phones
• 5 digital scales
• Pair of Brass Knuckles
• 2 Flick Knives
$7,400 worth of drugs was seized as a result of the search warrants.

Both Bachiu-Tait and Miller were held pending a court appearance in Milton.

Harper, Jacobsen-Smith and Shields have been released from custody pending a court appearance in Milton.

Anyone with information in regards to this investigation is asked to contact Detective Scott Heyerman of the 3 District Street Crime Unit at 905-825-4747 ext. 2342.

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

Please be reminded that all persons charged are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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Human Trafficking Charges Laid in Burlington Investigation

Crime 100By Staff

May 14th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The nasty, socially ugly business of human trafficking is in front of us again.

sex exploitationOn May 13, 2020, members of the Halton Regional Police Service attended a hotel in Burlington in regards to an unknown problem.

Officers arrived on scene where they identified a female victim who wished to speak with investigators about her involvement and exploitation in the sex trade.

The accused had fled the scene however responding officers located him nearby and placed him under arrest.

Charged: Amir Mehrani (46) of North York
Charges:

-Adult Procuring by Exercise Control
-Adult Withholding or Destroying Documents
-Adult Trafficking in Persons
-Adult Material Benefit Resulting From Trafficking in Persons Material Benefit

Mehrani has been held in custody pending a bail hearing.

The Drug and Human Trafficking Unit is continuing the investigation.

For human trafficking and exploitation of women to take place there has to be a someone who is prepared to pay to be able to take part in that exploitation.

We see far too many situations where a local hotel or motel is reported as the location. Doesn’t reflect well on what some people in Burlington are doing with some of their time

Anyone who may have additional information pertaining to the offences related to this accused are asked to contact Detective Dan Ciardullo of the Halton Regional Police Service – Human Trafficking Unit at 905-825-4747 ext. 4973

HRPS crestThe Halton Regional Police Service is a member of the Halton Collaborative Against Human Trafficking along with several other stakeholders and agencies. This Collaborative is dedicated towards providing services and support to those who have experienced Human Trafficking in Halton and surrounding regions. Local organizations such as “SAVIS” (www.savisofhalton.org) are able to provide first response care and support to victims of human trafficking.

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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Major changes to service delivery in the works. Like it or not - it is scheduled to be imposed today

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

May 14th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

There is a new graphic related to what the city administration iis call Service redesign.

What we know graphic

Administration has been workiing on this for weeks. They will put it before a Standing Committee today and then make it official at a Special Meeting of Council. What’s the rush? No time for public engagement.

The item popped up on the agenda for a meeting of the CPRM Standing Committee as an addendum. It is a 64 page document about how the city administration wants to run things differently. It will be discussed at the committee this morning.

Immediately after the Standing Committee there will be a Special Meeting of Council to approve the changes – which the public knew next to nothing about.

No public engagement.

We should be getting an uncomfortable feeling just about now.

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With seven retail cannabis stores in Burlington now - there is an application for an eighth.

News 100 blueBy Staff

May 14th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

An application has been received by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) for a retail cannabis store. If approved it will be the 8th retail cannabis in the city. The proposed location at 1860 Appleby Line, Unit 11B is now up for public comment.

Written comments about the proposed location will be received by the AGCO until May 25, 2020 and may be submitted online at www.agco.ca/iAGCO. The AGCO will accept submissions from:

A resident of the municipality in which the proposed store is located

The municipality representing the area in which the proposed store is located and/or its upper-tier municipality.

Comments submitted to the AGCO should relate to the following matters of public interest:

cannabis retail outlet

A normal cannabis retail operation

Protecting public health and safety
Protecting youth and restricting their access to cannabis
Preventing illicit activities in relation to cannabis

After May 25, the AGCO will consider all written comments and available information to decide whether the application for the proposed store location will be approved.

Currently there are seven licensed cannabis retail stores in Burlington, including two approved since the ACGO moved to an open licensing system for cannabis retail store applications earlier this year. The seven stores include:

Relm Cannabis Co.; 4031 Fairview St., Ste. 103
Corner Cannabis; 3007 New St.
The Hunny Pot Cannabis Co.; 1505 Guelph Line, Units 3-4
Friendly Stranger Plains Road; 1025 and 1059 Plains Rd. E., Unit 3
Pioneer Cannabis Co.; 1200 Brant St., Unit B-004
Mihi; 3500 Dundas St., Unit A1B
Canna Cabana Burlington; 2400 Guelph Line, Unit 2

Mayor Mead Ward has this to say: “These latest locations all conform to our City’s guidelines and are in locations where we want cannabis stores to exist. Cannabis is still a new venture in our city and we were one of the first municipalities to embrace this new form of business – having these stores in spots that meet our local guidelines ensures safe access to a legal substance to those who are legally allowed to purchase it.”

Odd isn’t it; restaurants that have served the city well for some time can’t open and are going broke; cannabis shops that weren’t all that popular by many citizens are now at seven locations with an eighth application in process.  And they can be open for business.

Something isn’t quite right. Are there now more cannabis shops than there are LCBO stores in Burlington?

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Province cancels the new regional courthouse plans - mayors looking for a different decision

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

May 13th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Remember that announcement by the then MPP for Burlington, Eleanor McMahon that a new courthouse was going to be built fire the Region.

Court house location - McMahon

It was an empty field – land the province owned – it was to be the home of a new courthouse.

The current Courthouse on Steeles Road in Milton was years beyond its best before date and finding space for trial and hearing was getting hard to find.

Those plans were cancelled by the provincial government – there isn’t going to be any money to pay for what was budgeted as a $500 million project.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward and the other Halton mayors wrote to Premier Ford and Attorney General Downey saying they understand the financial pressures that have emerged due to the COVID-19 pandemic and asked the government to postpone the construction project rather than cancelling it outright.

May 13, 2020
Dear Premier Ford and Attorney General Downey,

We are writing to express our disappointment in the Province’s decision to cancel construction of the Halton Region Consolidated Courthouse. While we recognize and understand the tremendous financial burden the COVID-19 relief efforts have put on Provincial and municipal finances, this construction project would help stimulate the economic recovery of Halton Region. The administration of justice is not where to make cuts, as this is a foundational pillar of democracy.

The design and construction of the new courthouse would have resulted in close to 600 jobs for our community, while the estimated $200 to $499 million in capital costs would have provided a tremendous economic stimulus for our Regional economy. At a time when we are all looking for ways to stimulate economic recovery, the Province will be left with the cancellation costs of this project, and no economic return.

The community has been awaiting construction of this courthouse facility for many years. The new facility would have brought the Superior Court of Justice and Ontario Court of Justice operations in Milton and Burlington together in one state of the art, accessible and efficient facility in Oakville.

The new building design included innovative technology features that would allow for video conferencing and closed-circuit television to enable children and other vulnerable individuals to appear before the court from a private room, allowing the court to run more efficiently and help speed up the criminal justice system in Halton Region.

We support the request made to you by the Halton County Law Association and the Halton Regional Police Service to engage and discuss alternatives to the full cancellation of this important project.

We urge you to reconsider your decision and request instead only a postponement of this much needed facility.

Related news story:

Original court house plan announcement

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Thieves use face masks to hide their identity while they steal from unsuspecting shoppers.

Crime 100By Staff

May 13th, 2020

BURLINGTON, On

 

The Regional Police Service would like the public’s assistance in identifying three suspects responsible for distraction thefts in the City of Burlington and the Town of Oakville.

Between May 4th to May 7th 2020, there have been four incidents where a group of thieves targeted elderly females shopping in retail spaces. Suspects obtained the victims personal identification numbers of their financial cards as they observed them at these retail locations. As the victims returned to their vehicles in the parking lots, these suspects distracted them in order to steal their credit cards.
Subsequently, these suspects used the stolen credit cards for cash withdrawals and retail purchases.

These thefts occurred at a Walmart in the City of Burlington and the Longo’s and Metro grocery stores in Oakville on May 4th. Another theft occurred at a Shoppers Drug Mart in the City of Burlington on May 7th.

The estimated loss to the victims is projected to be over $5,000.

Investigators from the Burlington Criminal Investigations Bureau are looking for the following suspects:

Suspect 1

Suspect One is described as male, white, 25-30 years old, 5’9 to 5’10, medium build 170-180 lbs, wearing black shoes, blue jeans, blue coat, Toronto Blue jays baseball cap and dark rimmed glasses.

suspect 2

Suspect Two is described as male, olive complexion, 25-30 years old, 5’9 to 5’10, medium build 170-180 lbs, wearing black shoes, pants and jackets and a white baseball hat with writing on the cap

 

suspect 3

Suspect Three is described as male, white, 25-30 5’10-5’11, medium build, 170-180 lbs, wearing white/ blue shoes, blue jeans, blue coat, white sweater with hood and a camo-green Toronto Maple Leafs cap.

All suspects were wearing surgical masks.

Suspects were last seen driving a older model Grey or Silver Ford Edge. Vehicle is likely a 2010-2015 year model. No licence plate was obtained.

The public is reminded to reduce their risk when shopping and only bring your driver’s licence, health card and a few financial cards.

All identity documents should be left securely at home. Don’t let your belongings out of sight and become distracted while shopping.

Thieves will take any opportunity to rob people; the COVID crisis with people wearing face masks made these three look like many other shoppers.

Be vigilant and keep your eyes out for anyone lingering too close.  The six foot rule would have been very useful in these situations.

The security camera got two very good images of two of the three.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Constable Derek Gray of the Burlington Criminal Investigations Bureau – Seniors Liaison Team at 905-825-4747 ext. 2344.

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

Please be reminded that all persons charged are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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Emma's is now part of the city's history - closed forever.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

May 13th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Some background on the closing of Emma’s Back Porch.

Emmas lakeside

Emma’s at its best – it was the place to be.

Craig Kowalchuk, the operator of Emma’s Back Porch didn’t own the property; he rented it from Mayrose Tyco.

That company has significant property interests in Burlington. They owned that land on which the Bridgewater development is taking place.

The property to the east of Emma’s is a vacant lot, also believed to be owned by Mayrose Tyco.

The property to the west, the motel is owned by Solid Gold people in Aldershot.

The Water Street Cooker is also owned by Mayrose.

CORE tower

This is what the CORE development group is proposing; the heritage building will continue as a restaurant; traffic will flow on to Lakeshore Road the other side of this rendering. The proposal is for a 27 storey structure.

CORE

The outline represents the properties that were acquired and assembled by the CORE group

Directly across the road from Emma’s is the location of a major development proposal; some xx storeys high.

That development had some problems – there was no space for much in the way of amenities.

My guess is that the CORE group bought the property and will make it part of the development.

Nothing is going to be built on the Emma’s site.

There is a planning term: “top of bank” that determines how far back a structure has to be set back from the top of the bank.

That top of bank limitation made the development of anything very high impossible.

That part of the city, known in planning circles as the “football”, which has Lakeshore Road on the north and Old Lakeshore road on the south is about to undergo huge changes.

From Lakeshore and Martha

The Carnacelli development at the east end of the football will become the focus to the entry to the city.

The Carnacelli development on the east end of the football is before LPAT; the CORE development is before LPAT.

The property at the west end of the football is owned by a trust, one of the leading real estate agents ii the city has his fingers in that pie.

Developers saw huge opportunities in Burlington.  The city council at the time didn’t seem prepared to fight for its authenticity; of the seven just one Councillor was prepared to fight – she became Mayor in the 2018 election.

The new Offical Plan, adopted but not approved – it has to go to the Region first- has very clear guidelines – but most of these developments were filed before the Official Plan became real.

Can changes be made?  Time will tell.

Core model-3-d-0f-the-site-768x929

An architects model of what the east downtown core along Lakeshore Road could look like.

Football-1-400x232

The football – where developers have some very big plans. While no one anticipated the closing of Emma’s – it might be the cost of the developments that a lot of people don’t want. However, people are going to buy the units.

It will be interesting to see how this all rolls out.

Related news story links.

The development of the football

The background behind the CORE development.

 

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That Closer Look at the Downtown will be back on Stage for its next presentation - will this be the final one?

OPreview-FINALBy Staff

May 12th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Closer Look graphic

The Closer Look was that part of the Official Plan Review that focused on the downtown – what did we want and what was possible.

Remember the Taking a Closer Look at the Downtown? The exercise that had people taking walking tours and talking one-on-one with the planners, sitting in on Standing Committee and Council meetings to hear what the consultants had to say about what could be done and what couldn’t be done in terms of setbacks and height, and shadows resulting from the different height options?

Alison Enns

Alison Enns – she mothered that Closer Look from the very beginning. She introduced a number of innovative approaches to engaging the public; a public that wasn’t as engaged as it should have been.

The group involved in working with the the public, Alison Enns and members of the team she was leading, churned out document after document. Two options were put forward, one of which didn’t seem to please anyone – the other began to look like the best of the lot but not all that good.

The problem wasn’t so much with the ideas but with the graphics and illustrations that were used to get the concept across to people – they just didn’t work all that well.

3-D-rendering-Concept-2-Mid-Brant

A graphic of one of the concepts for Brant Street looking south: it doesn’t convey all that much information.

The announcement that we were now facing a pandemic changed everything. The province shut everything down; then the Mayor declared a State of Emergency and the city administration began running the city on a day to day basis – the crisis was something during which any immediate decisions that had to be made could be made without getting tied up in the procedural process that is required at council.

The COVID-19 infection was running rampant and it took some time for the health people to get a grip on the outbreaks that were taking place.

Most of them, it turned out, were cases where people working at several different nursing homes at the same time were spreading the disease.

Early in the game the disease was brought into the country from China, Italy, other parts of Europe and the United States.

Then the health people learned that the disease was being transmitted from one person to another in the community.

May 3 fig 5

On May 3rd the Halton Region Public Health Unit said the infections came from the following sources. Travel was significantly reduced.

We had to stay home and we had to be careful about the way we conducted ourselves around other people when we were outside.

City Hall staff didn’t go to city hall anymore.  Some exceptions – several of the members of Council go to city hall because it is a quiet place where they can get some work done.

The “Taking a Closer Look at the Downtown” project was the name the planners gave to the Scoped Re-examination of the Adopted Official Plan: it has experienced delays due to COVID-19. There is now an updated project timeline.

It includes opportunities for public engagement.

End of May 2020: The City will release:
• the recommended policy changes for Downtown Burlington,
• the associated staff report,
• consultant report and
• technical studies.

Enns group

From the left: Paul Lowes with SGL Planning and Design, one of his staff, Alison Enns and one of her planning colleagues.

These documents will be posted for public review on both the Taking a Closer Look at the Downtown project webpage on Get Involved Burlington and the New Official Plan webpage.

July 2020: The City will share two more documents:
• Financial Impact Analysis concerning the recommended policy modifications, and
• Draft Downtown Burlington Placemaking and Design Guidelines for public review.

Aug. 28, 2020: Anyone with comments on these documents should submit their comments to the project team by Aug. 28 so the project team has time to consider the feedback in advance of the Sept. 30 Committee meeting.

Sept. 30, 2020: City Council will review 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, and opportunities for the public to delegate.

Oct. 7, 2020: Council will consider the Sept. 30 recommendations at a Special Council meeting on Oct. 7.

 

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Provincial parks are opening up; Conservation parks still closed. Weather conditions are what keep us out of the parks now

News 100 greenBy Staff

May 12th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

On Saturday, May 9th, the Province announced it would be reopening provincial parks and conservation reserves starting today, with more to follow by Friday, May 15 for limited-day use. Recreational activities are limited to walking, hiking, biking and bird-watching. Parks are free until the end of the month.

Mt Nemo - birch trees

One of the really nice trails in a Conservation Halton Park – not yet open to the public.

Note that this does not include the Conservation Authority parks: – Mt. Nemo, Crawford Lake, Rattlesnake Point, Hilton Falls, Kelso, Mountsberg and Robert Edmonsdson.

Halton escarpment - long view up slope

This view from the top of Mt Nemo – not something you can experience this week.

These parks are separate from Conservation Reserves and Provincial Parks, and are independently owned and operated without tax revenues. Conservation Halton (CH) parks remain closed for now. CH is looking into a number of options that will allow monitoring visitor volume and opening parks in a safe and responsible way through pre-registered bookings in the coming days. CH will be gradually opening parks in a phased approach over the next several weeks.

Camping and other activities are not permitted at any provincial park or conservation reserve. All buildings and facilities, including washrooms, water taps, campgrounds, back-country campsites, roofed accommodations, playgrounds and beaches continue to be closed.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward said “the province’s announcement mirrors our situation in Burlington — unlike other cities, we never closed our parks. They have remained open throughout the pandemic for walking through. We continue to ask people to ‘walk, don’t stop’.”

Consistent with provincial emergency orders and Saturday’s provincial announcement, city park amenities, including playgrounds, remain closed.

Mountainside PArk

Walk through but no playing or congregating in the park

Mayor Meed Ward said: “We closed parking lots adjacent to parks to avoid overcrowding and encourage people to stay in their neighbourhoods. As we review what our neighbouring municipalities are doing, we will also review this as we prepare our phased reopening of amenities and park use, consistent with public health advice and provincial announcements. We will be coordinating efforts with local park organizations to be consistent as possible in the use of parks and trails.”

Outdoor recreational amenities that are intended to be used by more than one family, such as outdoor playgrounds, sports fields, beaches, picnic sites, and park shelters, remain closed until May 19th, as an Emergency Order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. Under the Emergency Order, green spaces in parks, trails and ravines, that are not otherwise closed, are available for walk-through access only.

“Walk-through” access means that individuals should pass through, and should not ‘stay and play’, even if they are in a group of less than five people. This is to prevent groups from congregating in green spaces in parks, trails and ravines.

Maintain 2 metres (6 feet) distance from others. You may need to change your route or the time of day that you go out in order to keep this distance.

Step aside or pass others quickly and courteously on sidewalks.

Do not enter spaces that are barricaded or have signage indicating the area is closed.

Keep your dog on a leash.

Remember to wash your hands when you return home.

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What if - we are still in lock down come December?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

May 12th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The strategic thinkers ask the “What if” questions.

Their job is to attempt to look over the horizon and figure out what lies ahead and then plan for that possible eventuality as well as they can.

The province is stepping very gingerly into opening things up. Parks and provincial conservation areas have been opened. Retail is permitted to sell you something and have it delivered to you at the curb.

I saw one clothing store promoting their product line – couldn’t get my head around buying a suit without tying it on first and then having the alterations done.

Restaurants are hoping the province will come up with some regulations they can live with – staying alive is their issue at this point.

We Canadians watch with despair and at times total disbelief at what is taking place south of us. Hearing the Premier insist that the border between us and them be kept closed now sounds like a really good idea. Interesting change for Canadians.

The province is dragging its feet just a little in announcing when and if schools will be opened. My take is that the writing is all on the wall – see you all in September is the message I think we can expect – but I’ve been wrong before.

Christmas tree

What if ?

The BIG question is – where will we be in December?

Will there be Christmas? If the province finds that every time they loosen up there are spikes in the number of new infections meaning they have to clamp down.

December is the month for retail. It is also a huge festive family month.

But what if things are just so bad that it would be necessary to put and keep regulations in place that severally limit what we will be able to do ?

The Premier broke the rules on Mother’s Day – will he, and others be able to exercise the discipline needed to stay the course should we be in December where we are now ?

The leadership of the country keeps referring to this as a war with absolutely no actual war time experience. We may be about to have to learn just what hard times are.

The people who are doing that strategic thinking are, hopefully, asking the hard questions.

There once was a small community in California named Paradise, which is what the people who lived there thought it was – until forest fires burned down every dwelling. Nothing was left standing.

We no longer have plagues; there are crop failures, tragedy hits some families. Life has never been fair.

All we have is our own inner strength – we might want to think about just how strong we may have to be.

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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In Halton one infection at a nursing home is considered an outbreak and they are all over it

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

May 11th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

Her name is Deepika Lobo.

She is a medical practitioner who has the honorific Dr. in front her name.

She is an Assistant Medical Officer of Health with the Region of Halton working as the medical lead on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Educated as a doctor in India where she worked for a year as a GP, Dr. Lobo came to Canada and earned her public health degree at McMaster University. She has also earned an MBA at McMaster.

Deepika Lobo

Dr. Deepika Lobo, Assistant Medical Officer of Health with the Region of Halton working as the medical lead on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lobo directs a team of 220 people who have the job of doing what they call “case management”.

The media refer to it as tracking and tracing, that is – identifying those who have been in contact with a person infected with COVID-19.

“We know the disease is transferred from person to person” she said.  “When we determine that a person has been infected we want to know two things:

1: Who the infected person come into contact with in the last 48 hours and

2: who have they been in contact with for the last 14 days.

It is these people who might be the next person to become infected.”

More than 150 people are assigned to this case management work.

Lobo continues to explain: “Once we have them identified as an infected person, we begin trying to get in touch with the people they have been in contact with: these are the people we are now very concerned about.

“Sometimes the infected person has only been in contact with one or two people. They may have already begun self-isolating.

“Some of the contact was very casual – there is no need to dig deeper.  We have learned to differentiate between high risk and low risk exposure.

“We explain to the infected person what they have to do – they have to self-isolate for that 14-day period during which the disease is going to grow.  We quickly become aware of the personality we are working with and determine just how much they know about the disease; more often than not the person wants to know as much as we can tell them.

“They are usually very thankful that someone is reaching out to them.

“We counsel them while they recover from the infection on their own.

“Our task is to constantly assess and follow up every other day with the infected person who is self-isolating.”

What Lobo hasn’t had up until very recently is software that will serve as a massive data base the case management staff can refer to and add information to so that when there is a staff rotation (these people have to get some rest) there is a fully detailed report on the people who are self isolating.

Mountainview

A nursing home with a 30 year reputation lost 11 of its residents.

The biggest concern is managing the “outbreaks”. Some public health practitioners see four or five cases of infection at a long term care or nursing home as an outbreak. In Halton one infection at a nursing home is considered an outbreak and they are all over it.

“When there is an infection in a nursing home” said Dr. Lobo, ” we know that it was brought into the institution – who brought it in and who have they been in contact with is something we need to know.” It is a desperate race to track that down and time is their worst enemy.

“Telephone calls are made, people are not at home, call backs are made by staff all trained not to alarm people.

“Sometimes the person with the infection hasn’t been in contact with very many people; one perhaps two. Other situations the person with the infection has been in touch with as many as 30 people. That’s when the rush is on to get in touch with every one of them, enter them into the system and begin asking questions.

“All it takes is one infected person to be in contact with 20 people and within that twenty people there are five who have been infected – you can see where this takes them.”

Lobo emphasizes that it is vital to get in front of these situations when they are sometimes far behind. It is a race – and the consequences are measured in peoples lives.

“When there is a case that has a bearing on an institutional setting – the immediate objective is to contain it and ensure that it doesn’t surge out of control.

“It is in situations like that that tough measures have to be put in place which people often don’t understand and don’t appreciate.

“Staff resources are shifted to drill down and learn who has been in contact with the infected person and work out from that person.”

wer

The paramedics came through in a major way – it hadn’t occurred to anyone to use these people.

The work for the team is exhausting – asked for her best experience so far Dr. Lobo pauses – then almost bursts when she explains “the paramedics suggested that they could do some of the testing. What really made a huge difference was the way the paramedics have come through for us by going to people’s homes and testing for the infection.

“They have 2500 of those tests – sometimes as many as 200 in a single day.

“That testing is vital – and it takes trained manpower to do it properly.

“It never occurred to us to call upon the paramedics – the said they could do it – and they did.”

Asked what the worst experience has been – there was another pause – then a recognition of those who were lost.

The pace at which this disease is racing through some locations is almost frightening.

The staff she has have to be both managed and trained. We learn something every day that we ensure is shared with everyone.

The case management people develop relationships with the people they are talking to at least every second day; it is a relationship that is under stress from the start – the job is to manage the stress and not let it take over.

There are 46 nursing homes – long-term care residences in the Region. Lobo is amazed that there have been just three outbreaks – one of which was tragic, 11 lives were lost in what was a quality operation.

Lobo has handled intense situations in the past – “but never on this scale”

Asked how much longer is this likely to go on – Dr. Lobo said “we don’t know. We are a day to day operation.”

When will they celebrate the end – “no idea”, she said, “we just hope it is soon.”

The regional public health units are directed by the province – they determine the overall direction – The Region follows that direction.

The staff have learned to support each other – they rely on one another for emotional and mental health support. These people have families at home – they volunteer hundreds of extra hours.

The province will decide to open things up a little – just a bit – we then wait that two to four weeks to see if there is an uptick or a spike in infections. If there are – the province might decide to cut back and re-impose restrictions.

Lurking in the background is the wish – a hope for a vaccine.

To date there have been 23 deaths in the Region; 11 of which were in institutional setting.

Dr.  Lobo said there have been at least 40 guidance papers written and prepared for those who have to do this work in the 34 Public Health Units in the province; directing and supporting the people who do the slogging work – listening closely to what the infected people are saying; assuring them as well as supporting them.

Few people in the Region know that there are that many people working exceptionally long hours to identify infected people and ensure that they self-isolate.

They look forward to the day when they can see there was not one new infection reported – then that curve will have been flattened.

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Rivers: Governments let this outbreak get as bad as it is: they are doing the right thing in keeping the money flowing

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

May 11th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

“All countries will wake up after the global pandemic with much higher debt levels. Canada is fortunate because we are starting at a much lower net debt-to-GDP level,”..…”If low interest rates are maintained, there is no good policy case for rushing to austerity — either spending cuts or tax increases.” (former parliamentary budget officer Kevin Page)

Isn’t it a rule that one is supposed to become more conservative as they age? So I’m looking at the ballooning federal deficit – and it’s a lot of money. This year’s red ink may well stretch into the three hundred billion dollar mark. Government revenue has dropped like a lead weight and these monstrous payouts are rising like hydrogen blimps.

720 billion

720 billion is what it would cost to pay out a Universal Basic Income annually.

Tory leader Scheer has grumbled that the $2000 a month in emergency funding (CERB) is discouraging folks from going to work, but CERB breezed through Parliament anyway. And he is wrong – it’s not the $2000 that is keeping folks at home – it’s the lockdown.

In fact Scheer should get on board with the other opposition parties, some voices within his own party, and even the Anglican Church, which are all calling for a permanent universal basic income (UBI). The COVID-19 health crisis landed on us with lightening speed and with it came the economic crisis, thanks to the necessary lockdown.

Since both crises will likely be with us, at least to the end of this year, those emergency funds will need to be extended. That sounds more and more like a UBI. Having already rejected implementing a proper UBI Mr. Trudeau needs a rethink. It is time for him to re-discover his social democratic roots and implement a permanent UBI or move aside for some one who will. There are those who once thought universal health care was impossible too.

UBI is not a new idea. There have been a number of pilot UBI projects around the world and the results have all been positive, even those in Ontario and Manitoba which were prematurely aborted. If mental health and income security mean anything to society UBI is a no-brainer. And there is no evidence that UBI provides a disincentive to work, so Mr. Scheer’s concern about ‘money for nothing’ turning us all into lazy bums is nonsense.

Justin Trudea flags beard

As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has yet to take to the idea of a Universal Basic Income.

Do the numbers. A UBI at the $2000 per month level for each of the 30 million Canadian adults might seem frighteningly high. But UBI would eliminate the need for old age security, unemployment insurance and a host of other federal and provincial income support programs in addition to the complex of welfare programs administered by all three levels of government. UBI would be taxable and possibly even clawed-back for high income earners at tax filing time. In the end the numbers should be, at a minimum, a wash.

UBI or not Canada is facing a record high deficit this year. But we’ve done this before. Does anyone remember that we were once heavily invested in the second world war? The federal government, unlike the provinces or municipalities is not constrained by debt, at least not in the short run. We print our own money and the Bank of Canada is buying up most of that debt. So we owe that money to ourselves.

But we should expect inflation when it is safe to reopen the economy. We’re already seeing some of that – especially hand sanitizers and meat products as the processing plants shut down. And inflation may affect our currency exchange rates, but even much of that is unlikely. After all, if there is an upside to this being the pandemic it is in that we are all in this together – a level playing field – this economic malaise is truly global. And inflation is an eventual pathway out of the debt, since today’s obligations will be smaller in tomorrow’s inflated dollars.

We can pay ourselves back once this is over. Canada ran sizeable deficits in the later Pierre Trudeau years, and right through the Mulroney near-decade. Yet after Jean Chretien balanced the budget both Harper and Trudeau inherited and grew one of the lowest debt-to-GDP economies in the G7. And even with a deficit of $300 billion our debt-to-GDP ratio will still be lower than when Chretien came into office, unless our economy really slips into the dark side.

Canadian paper money

The federal government can just print all the money they want to distribute.

Most economists and politicians agree with the current approach of keeping the fiscal taps running. But the truth is that UBI would be more efficient than what the PM is doing now. It would cost less, avoid duplication for some and inadvertent exclusion for others. It would also avoid the inevitable double-dipping and potential cheating inherent in the current mess of hastily developed income subsidy programs.

Still we shouldn’t be too worried about those deficit numbers even as we are getting more conservative in our golden years, at least not yet. We’re doing what we can – staying home, keeping our physical distance, washing our hands often and always wearing a mask in public. Governments may have been responsible for letting this outbreak get as bad as it is here in Canada. But they are doing the right thing in keeping the money flowing.

And they will need to do even more of that once we safely open up more economic activities. Already the federal minister of infrastructure, Catherine McKenna, is calling for shovel-ready projects to get us back to work sooner than later – but hopefully only when it is safe to do so. But even when we get back to full employment UBI makes for better social policy and sounder economic sense.

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

 

Background links:

Deficit –   Biggest Deficit –    CERB

Wage Subsidy –    Who’s Missing –    UBI

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GTA municipalities join forces to plan for a COVID19 recovery.

News 100 blueBy Staff

May 11th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

While the province improves its testing and report fewer new infections the municipal sector pulls together to prepare for a recovery.

Twenty municipal and regional governments, as well as key economic development partners from across the GTA and Niagara announced the launch of the GTA Economic Development Alliance. The formation of the Alliance is in response to the COVID-19 crisis and the urgent need to collaborate, share knowledge and ideas, and pool resources to support the regional economy in its recovery from the global pandemic.

gta MAP

This would be a very large, perhaps cumbersome committee.

Founding partners out of the City of Burlington, Durham Region, and the City of Toronto identified the need for economic development offices to coordinate a united, focused effort on delivering research and developing programming to help mitigate the effects of COVID-19, as well as advocate for effective relief measures and create informed policy recommendations.

Currently, the list of partners has grown beyond the founding partners to include Aurora, Brampton, Georgina, Halton Hills, Halton Region, King, Markham, Milton, Mississauga, Niagara Region, Oakville, Richmond Hill, Vaughan, Whitchurch-Stouffville, and York Region. The Economic Developers Council of Ontario (EDCO), as well as the regional investment attraction agency Toronto Global are also included.

The group has identified four key pillars for collaboration, in supporting businesses to get back to business once the Province lifts the state of emergency declaration. They include research, advocacy, programming and innovation.

Each pillar will have a leader, who will be responsible for executing the strategy. According to Martin Bohl, Sector Manager, Health and Life Sciences at The City of Brampton, the initiative was a no brainer.

Casasidy - Anita

Anita Cassidy, Executive Director of Burlington Economic Development.

“What started off as a check-in across municipal borders has evolved into an all hands-on-deck approach to supporting businesses and Brampton is very proud to be a part of it. After all, regardless of where businesses are located, or where municipal borders lie, we’re all in this together.”

The vision of the group is to be the champion for Ontario’s COVID-19 mitigation and business recovery through delivering effective economic development expertise and advocacy at the speed of business. Anita Cassidy, Executive Director of Burlington Economic Development, said “We’re already seeing the detrimental effects of mandatory closures, lay-offs, borders closing, and supply chain disruptions on our local economies. We need to get ahead of what’s next, which is the start of a long journey to economic recovery.”

The group says that coordination and idea sharing will create opportunities to increase impact and improve support for businesses of all sizes and across all sectors. According to Simon Gill, Director, Economic Development & Tourism at Durham Region, “Great ideas can be made even better when you have a large group contributing. This group’s coordination can help to position our communities for economic recovery.” He added, “For example, we’re all doing research, and we’re all advocating to higher levels of government for effective relief measures. If we coordinate, we can be more effective.”

The downside to this is that with lets say just three people from each municipality you have a committee of 60 people.  Not a prescription for quick action.

Keeping the initiative agile, nimble and tightly focused and looking for quick solid wins to earn some credibility is vital.

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Changes to the physical distancing bylaw - it's about your dog.

News 100 blueBy Staff

May 9th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Dog walker - 2 dogs

Walking a dog? Keep them on a leash

They forgot about the woof woofs.

The debate on social distancing was all about people and how far apart we had to stay away from each other.

It took a while – but we got the hang of it.

Apparently we didn’t fully understand that is was not just us – it included man’s best friend. The bylaw enforcement officers saw the problem – it got on to the Emergency Coordination Group, led by the city manager.

That got it onto a Standing committee agenda.

The lead up to the rather minor change is interesting.

It’s wordy and complicated but that is what the Rule of Law is all about. A city council can’t just do what they want – they have to justify it as well

Council ALL 2018

Council – learning that the rule of law determines what they do.

Whereas on March 11, 2020 the World Health Organization declared a worldwide pandemic regarding the Novel Coronavirus 19 (“COVID-19 Pandemic”); and

Whereas on March 17, 2020, the Province of Ontario declared an emergency relating to the COVID-19 Pandemic under the provisions of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, R.S.O. 1990, c.E.9 (“Emergency Management Act”); and

Whereas section 4 of the Emergency Management Act provides that the head of council of a municipality may declare that an emergency exists in the municipality or in any part thereof and may take such action and make such orders as they consider necessary and are not contrary to law to implement the emergency plan of the municipality and to protect property and the health, safety and welfare of the inhabitants of the emergency area; and

Whereas on March 21, 2020 an emergency was declared by the Mayor of the City of Burlington, under the provisions of the Emergency Management Act, relating to the COVID-19 Pandemic; and

Whereas the Provincial Government’s modelling and forecast projects that the State of Emergency will last months and will result in a severe and long-term challenge to the health care system; and

Whereas the Council of the City of Burlington considers the protection of health and safety of the public to be a paramount concern, and has suspended the operations of all City facilities, other than those deemed essential for the welfare of the citizens of the City of Burlington, during the COVID-19 emergency; and

Dr Meghani at news conference Hamilton

She ordered that when you walk outside you keep six feet away from everyone else. Dr. Meghani, Medical Officer of Health, Region of Halton

Whereas the Medical Officer of Health recommended physical distancing measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including maintaining a distance of at least 2 metres from other individuals who are not members of the same household; and

Whereas The Corporation of the City of Burlington considers it necessary to enact a regulation to support the intent and purpose of the Provincial Orders made under the Emergency Management Act in order to protect property and the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of the City of Burlington, by prohibiting certain activities and regulating physical distancing during the COVID-19 Pandemic Emergency; and

Whereas sections 8, 9 and 11 of the Municipal Act, 2001 authorize the City of Burlington to pass by-laws necessary and desirable for municipal purposes, and in particular, paragraphs 5, 6, and 8 of subsection 11(2) authorize by-laws respecting public assets of the municipality, the economic, social and environmental well-being of City, the health, safety and well-being of persons, the protection of persons and property; and

Whereas section 425 of the Municipal Act, 2001 provides that any person who contravenes any by-law of the municipality is guilty of an offence; and

Whereas on April 6, 2020, Council of The Corporation of the City of Burlington passed By-Law 17-2020, being a By-law to Promote and Regulate Physical Distancing During the COVID-19 Pandemic State of Emergency;

Whereas an amendment to By-law 17-2020 is required to regulate the physical distancing of animals on Public Property;

Now therefore the Council of the Corporation of the City of Burlington hereby enacts as follows:

Runners two dogs we know what this is about

The dogs know what social distancing is.

1. By-law 17-2020 Part 1: Definitions 1 is amended by adding the following definitions:

“Animal” means any member of the animal kingdom other than a human;

“Leash” means a line or for leading or restraining an animal, including a dog, while the animal is being transported from place to place outside of a cage;

“Owns” includes possess, or have control over, or keeps or have care or custody of;

2. By-law 17-2020 is amended by adding the following new Section 7 immediately following Section 6, with all subsequent sections renumbered accordingly:

dogs-off-leash-opening

On a leash – before the COVId19 period dogs were allowed to run all over the place. Not now.

7. (1) While on public property, every person who owns an animal shall keep the animal on a leash not exceeding 2 metres in length at all times.

(2) While on public property, every person who owns an animal shall ensure that the animal does not come within 2 metres of any other person or animal that does not reside with them in a single household.

3. Subject to the amendments made in this by-law, in all other respects, By-law 17- 2020 is hereby confirmed unchanged.

4. This by-law comes into force on the date of its passing.

City council will be expected to pass this byplay on the 25th day of May, 2020.

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14 weapons seized from a male arrested under a Mental Health warrant

oakville gun 2 ammo

Ammunition recovered with 14 rifles in an Oakville incident.

Crime 100By Staff

May 8th, 2020

OAKVILLE, ON

 

Sometime after the noon hour on May 1st, the Halton Regional Police Service received a call regarding a male barricaded in a home, possibly with weapons, on Honeyvale Road in Oakville.

The call originated from someone concerned about social media posts they had seen online.

Frontline officers, TAC, K9, and negotiators were deployed to the scene with the goal of bringing this to a safe conclusion.

Roads were closed to pedestrian and vehicle traffic in the immediate area and adjacent homeowners were instructed by officers to shelter in place in their basements until the situation was resolved.

During negotiations, a second party (female) exited the home unharmed and negotiations continued unsuccessfully with the male party.

Officers then received information that escalated our concern for the male, and entry was made into the home at which time the male was apprehended under the Mental Health Act and transported to a local hospital for assessment.

Upon his release from hospital on May 7, 2020 he was subsequently charged with the following Criminal Code offences:

-Uttering Threats to Cause Death
-Mischief Over $5000

A Criminal Code search warrant was executed at the residence of the accused, resulting in the seizure of 14 guns and over 10000 rounds of ammunition.

Oakviille gun 1

None of these weapons are covered by the recent federal government ban announcement.

Oakville guns lastThe accused has been held in custody pending a bail hearing.

The Halton Regional Police Service will not be releasing the name of the accused.

Anyone with further information regarding this investigation is asked to contact Det. Ryan Smith of the 2 District Criminal Investigations Bureau at 905-825-4747 ext. 2219.

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.

This might be seen as just another dangerous police action that was worked out – until you see the picture of the weapons retrieved and recalling the terrible tragedy in Nova Scotia very recently where 22 people were killed.

The federal government decision to ban certain types of weapons doesn’t include most of the weapons in the picture that accompany this article.

Our view – ban all guns.

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