Mistakes get made in the news business - you apologize and correct the misitake

By Pepper Parr

April 24th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

On Saturday we published a news story and an opinion piece that had a serious error.

We reported that the Closed Meeting Investigator, who had done a review of the meetings that were the subject of an Integrity Commissioners report, were going to be heard in a Closed Session of Council

We were wrong. A trusted adviser called me at just after 7:00 pm on Friday to advise me that the agenda for the May 4th CSSAR FIX Standing Committee had been published and the reference to the report was that it was to be heard in a Closed Session of Council

That was incorrect – we got it wrong.  Our source misread the listing which said “…Closed Session report.

The two content pieces will be revised and we ask the readers and the Clerk’s Office to accept our apology.

In the world of new reporting, mistakes are made.

In 1948, when Harry Truman was running for re-election as President of the United States, the Chicago Daily Tribune called the election result just a little too early. Truman had won – the early polls misled the editors of the newspaper. Truman won 303 Electoral College votes – his opponent got 189.

 

Set out below is a copy of the New York Tines Corrections section. They list the corrections needed for errors in previous editions.

It happens in the best of families.

The New York Times runs a Correction Section in every edition of their paper.

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Buying or renting a house in Burlington - the numbers will not work for a lot of people.

By Pepper Parr

April 18th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It is a sticky situation.

The cost of a house has sky rocketed.

The inventory of houses for sale is low.

Two groups are currently looking into the housing problem.

And a Housing Working group that was brought into being due to the persistent efforts of ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte.

And she is about to get a public spanking on Tuesday for telling the public about some of the things being said in Closed sessions of Council about property that is being redeveloped by public agencies to benefit the public.

Go figure.

Having said that, the city planners are doing some solid work; gathering the information on which to base the strategy that is needed to find a way to provide housing for the thousands of people who are going to move to Burlington in the next two decades.

Expect the work that City Council has approved on the housing file to become a major election issue. Will it get the Mayor re-elected? The people who will benefit have yet to move to the city.

There is the common ground established that housing is a basic human right, and there is a collective civic responsibility to ensure that the supply of housing available within a community can accommodate the varying needs of residents throughout their lifetime, including financial needs.

Working Group on Housing, made up of both volunteers and people steeped in the business of housing has met virtually for a number of months.

Burlington has initiated a project to develop an Innovative Housing Strategy that sets out policies, tools, identifies partnerships, and actions to address residents’ current and future housing needs. The consulting team of Dillon Consulting Limited (Dillon) and SHS Consulting (SHS) were retained by the City to carry out this work, in partnership with the City’s Housing Strategy Project team, Housing Strategy Working Group, and Housing Strategy Steering Committee.

Housing: what can Burlington do and how do they go about doing it.

While there has been a lot of effort and emphasis on improving housing opportunities in the City, this Housing Strategy project provides an opportunity for a focused approach. The principal objective is to develop an innovative Housing Strategy for the City of Burlington that sets out policies, tools, and actions to address residents’ housing needs, identifies opportunities for partnerships, and redefines Burlington’s role in meeting local housing needs, now and in the future.

What is the biggest issue?  Affordability or inventory?

There are many different ways of defining affordable housing. Definitions that exist in provincial laws, may differ from definitions used in federal housing programs. For many people, there is also a very personal definition of affordability based on their own income.

Affordable Housing

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) defines affordable housing as housing with a price for purchase or rent where households spend no more than 30 percent of their gross household income on housing.

In the case of ownership housing, the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) defines affordable housing as, the least expensive of:

  1. Housing for which the purchase price results in annual accommodation costs which do not exceed 30 percent of gross annual housing income for low and moderate income households; or
  2. Housing for which the purchase price is at least 10 percent below the average purchase price of a resale unit in the regional market area;

In the case of rental housing, the PPS defines affordable housing as, the least expensive of:

  1. A unit for which the rent does not exceed 30 percent of grow annual housing income for low and moderate income households; or
  2. A unit for which the rent is at or below the average market rent of a unit in the regional market area.

In Halton Region’s Official Plan, affordable housing is defined as:

“housing with a market price (or rent that is affordable to households of low and moderate income, spending no more than 30 percent of their gross income.

      1. a) Affordable rental housing should meet the demand of households at the low end, as described in Halton’s annual State of Housing Report, pursuant to Section 86(7). Such households would be able to afford at least three out of ten rental units on the market.
      2. b) Affordable ownership housing should meet the demand of households at the high end, as identified in Halton’s annual State of Housing Report. Such households would have sufficient income left, after housing expenses, to sustain the basic standard of living.”

Attainable Housing

While there is no universal definition of attainable housing, it is often used to refer to rental or ownership housing without any subsidies which is affordable to workforce households or households with moderate incomes. In the US, it is defined as non-subsidized, for-sale housing that is affordable to households with incomes between 80 and 120 percent of the area median income.

Using the Consumer Price Index (CPI), to bring the 2016 incomes to 2021 values, the estimated average household income in Burlington for 2021 is $159,083 and the estimated median household income is $124,154.

Based on research conducted as part of this report, findings indicate the following 2021 average ownership prices in Burlington:

This development at 2100 Brant sold out before the sales office was opened.

Single-detached: $1,398,357

Semi-detached: $901,963

Townhouse: $894,997

Condominium townhouse: $575,299

Condominium apartments: $575,299

This means that, within the context of Burlington, ownership options are only affordable to households earning $164,016 or more on an annual basis, unless they had a down payment greater than 5% or spent more than 30% of their income on housing costs.

With respect to rental tenure, the research conducted as part of this report indicates the following average monthly rents in the primary rental market in Burlington9:

    • Some of these units at the Burlington GO station will be rentals.

      Bachelor: $1,229

    • One bedroom: $1,577
    • Two bedroom: $1,641
    • Three+ bedroom: $1,658

This means that, within the context of Burlington, rental options within the primary rental market are only affordable to households earning $60,072 or more on an annual basis.  This is further complicated by the low vacancy rates for rental housing in the City, which has remained below 3% since 2010.

Within the Burlington Context, where the cost of all tenures of housing is high, there are very few “affordable” housing options for households within low and moderate income deciles when applying the Federal and Provincial government’s definition of “affordable”.

Given the City’s stated objective for the Housing Strategy to provide a toolkit with options to address housing needs across the entire housing continuum, the strategy will need to provide tools to address both housing “affordability” and “attainability” throughout Burlington to best position itself as an inclusive and complete community that provides housing options for all.

When “affordable housing” is used within the context of this report it is meant to encapsulate the definition of affordable as set out in the Halton Region Official Plan and does not mean government- assisted housing or subsidized housing.

These two developments; one at the Burlington GO station and the other in the east end are part of the inventory that will come on line at some point. The GO station development has most of the approvals it needs. What isn’t know – how much will the rents be?

Burlington’s role in housing.

Through the work completed to date, it was determined that the biggest impact the City of Burlington can make, as a lower-tier municipality, is to provide innovative solutions to address housing affordability and attainability for middle-income earners. Increasingly, middle-income households are struggling to find housing that is appropriate for their needs and income level in Burlington with the high cost of housing posing significant challenges for middle-income working households.

Providing support to these households insures that they can remain housed in Burlington.

It is in addressing the middle income needs where the City can make the biggest moves.

 

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Halton District School Board studentswill be strong competitors at Robotics event.

By Pepper Parr

April 13, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Burlington high schools have always been strong competitors in the field of robotics.

Six robotics teams from the Halton District School Board (HDSB) will be competing at the FIRST Ontario Provincial Championship in Mississauga Thursday through Saturday (April 14-16).

The robot was taught how to throw that basketball. It was not drafted by the Raptors

Schools participating include Burlington Central School, M.M. Robinson High School, Garth Webb Secondary School and Georgetown District High School, each with one team, and Oakville Trafalgar High School with two teams.

Each HDSB team qualified for the provincial competition based on their results from taking part in regional competitions including those held at Humber College, Waterloo and York universities. This provincial competition is a qualifier for the World FIRST Robotic Championship held April 20-23 in Houston, Texas.

“Our Halton FIRST robotics teams worked extra hard this season coming out of lockdown, with tight timelines to build their robot in time to compete in their first qualifier at the beginning of March,” says Veronica Kleinsmith, Lead for the Specialist High Skills Major andPathways programs with the HDSB.

“All HDSB teams built impressive robots this year and three of our schools are ranked in the Top 6 in Ontario going into this provincial competition. Each team raises funds from community and business sponsors, designs a brand for their team, hones their teamwork skills, builds and finally programs their robots for a difficult field-game challenge.”

The students who take part in the robotics courses are amongst the smartest in the HDSB system.

Established in 2001, FIRST Robotics inspires young people to be leaders and innovators in science and technology by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills to inspire innovation and foster self-confidence, communication and leadership.

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New Covid19 Outbreak at Joseph Brant Hospital - two staff tested positive

By Staff

March 25th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

We were told that there would be small COVID-19 Outbreaks.

The Joseph Brant Hospital Inpatient Unit advised the public today that an outbreak has been declared on Unit 2 North 600 (2N600) at Joseph Brant Hospital (JBH) after two staff tested positive for COVID-19. All appropriate precautions have been taken to ensure the safety of patients, Essential Care Partners (ECPs), staff and physicians.

Joseph Brant Hospital’s Infection Prevention and Control team and Employee Health Services are ensuring all those who have been impacted will be contacted, monitored and tested as required.

A number of enhanced safety measures are in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and ensure the safety of our patients, staff and physicians. The unit remains open to new patient admissions. Essential Care Partners can enter the unit, adhering to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) requirements including face masks.

JBH is monitoring the situation closely and will continue to work to bring a safe end to the outbreak as soon as possible. Patients or loved ones who have questions or concerns can contact a member of the JBH Patient Relations team at 905-632-3737 ext. 4949 or by email patientrelations@josephbranthospital.ca.

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JBH Gradually Easing Public Health Measures: Surgical Activity has Reached 90 %

By Eric Vandewall

March 23rd, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

As key public health and health system indicators continue to improve, Ontario and local governments are gradually easing public health and safety measures. While many of us welcome the opportunity to take part in indoor social activities such as sporting events, it is important to recognize that COVID-19 remains transmissible to vulnerable individuals receiving care in healthcare settings. We cannot lose sight of our role in protecting the health and safety of patients and healthcare workers at Joseph Brant Hospital.

Eric Vandewall: President and CEO Joseph Brant Hospital

Individual organizations and municipalities are responding and managing these new measures differently – some may choose to adopt current practices, while others may take a more careful and measured approach depending on local conditions and the populations that they serve. The lifting of public health measures by provincial and local governments is, at the end of the day, a judgement call.

Hospitals have the discretion to establish their own guidelines and review them on an ongoing basis. At this point, JBH will continue to require that all patients, essential care providers, and visitors wear a hospital-issued, medical grade mask while in the hospital. This decision is rooted in data, evolving science and evidence-based best practices – it is what is best for our patients, our staff, physicians, learners and volunteers.

We have not changed our COVID-19 vaccination requirement for Essential Care Providers (ECPs), with very limited exceptions. ECPs are still required to complete a COVID-19 screening before coming to the hospital. It is important for patients and their loved ones to review the visitor guidelines; we will continue to re-evaluate our policies in the weeks and months ahead, with input from our patients, their ECPs and our staff.

We have made changes to the limits on ECPs, recognizing the important role ECPs play in a patient’s care, well-being, and recovery. Patients staying in hospital can have two ECPs at their bedside, and individuals coming for appointments or coming to the Emergency Department can have one person accompany them.

I am pleased to report that our surgical activity has reached 90 per cent of pre-COVID levels, consistent with the changes in provincial direction. Our diagnostics are running at full capacity. We continue to explore additional strategies to address the surgical procedures backlog and are we are working closely with our surgeons to monitor deferred procedures very closely to ensure timely access for patients requiring  urgent and time-sensitive procedures.

Throughout the pandemic, we have shared what we are seeing in our community when it comes to care needs – this includes the growing need for mental health and addictions (MHA) services. I invite you to a virtual panel about Burlington’s current and future needs for these services on Wednesday, April 6 at 7 p.m. The panel aims to shine a light on this important topic; help people to discover the available services in the community; and to provide a forum for questions and answers at a time when many are looking for more support.

Join our MHA experts, Dr. Steven Selchen and Dr. Monidipa Ravi; our moderator, Jane McKenna, MPP for Burlington and Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues; and Michelle Barr, Director of Services of Reach Out Centre for Kids (ROCK). Please go to www.keepcareclosetohome.ca for details on how to join the virtual discussion, and please take a moment to fill out a short survey about the mental health and addictions resources in our community.

These last two years have been incredibly difficult for everyone. The road behind us has been a long one, and we are moving in the right direction, with high vaccination rates and a decreasing trend in COVID-19 hospitalizations. As public health measures continue to lift, we encourage you to continue to follow the guidance of medical experts and public health officials.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, our teams have continued to care for people in our community. I am so proud of our teams here at JBH and I would like to thank all of our dedicated staff, physicians, learners, and volunteers for their incredible efforts to provide safe and quality care.

Thank you for your continued support.

Please take care, stay safe and be well.

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City Updates Vaccination Policies for Volunteers and Staff

By Staff

March 23rd, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

Masks aren’t a must but hugs are in – according to the Mayor.

Vaccinations are heavily encouraged.  For those who do not get vaccinated – there have been consequences.

The creation of the vaccine in such a short period of time will be seen as a true marvel.

The City’s COVID-19 Volunteer Vaccination Policy has been repealed.

This means  volunteers, when accessing City facilities and taking part in City activities, will not be required to show proof of vaccination.

On March 14, 2022, the City of Burlington COVID-19 Staff Vaccination Policy was amended; staff that are not vaccinated will continue to have the option to test (Fire Department staff excluded). The decision to amend the COVID-19 Staff Vaccination Policy was done in light of the evolving pandemic situation and messages from the Chief Medical Officer of Health regarding workplace vaccination policies. In addition, the Province of Ontario lifting its vaccine passport requirements and remaining capacity limits factored into this COVID-19 Staff Vaccination Policy amendment.

Being tested isn’t quite this dramatic.

Passive screening for the public visiting City facilities will continue to be in place. (Passive screening is a list of questions that are asked.) Members of the public who wish to continue to wear their mask in City facilities are welcome to do so and we ask the public be patient and kind with one another and staff as we move through these changes together. Daily active screening of City employees and source control masking will remain in place for City staff.

Passive screening means:

  • you must post signs with clear instructions at all entrances that tell people how to screen themselves
  • the signs should include the screening questions and instruct people with symptoms or high-risk exposures not to enter the premises
  • people are assumed to have screened themselves and followed the instructions
  • you do not need to ask anyone to report the result of their screening
  • a person should be told not to enter if they volunteer the information that they did not pass the screening assessment

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward: vaccinated or tested.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward explains: “Vaccination policies for our City staff and volunteers have been flexible throughout the pandemic — changing as needed to respond to health indicators and advice from health officials. Based on the current situation, and in keeping with advice from the Medical Officer of Health and the Province, in lifting requirements to show proof of vaccination in certain settings, we are modifying our policy once again. City volunteers won’t be required to show proof of vaccinations, and City staff (with the exception of the fire department, due to the nature of the job) have the choice of vaccination or testing.”

 

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Some very tough decisions to be made by the people of Ontario

By Pepper Parr

March 22, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

Ontario’s fixed-date election law sets voting day as June 2, 2022, and the formal start of the campaign period as next May 4.

Burlington now has nominated candidates for the three mainline political parties.

NDP candidate Andrew Drummond get a visit from Liberal candidate Mariam Manaa while she was doing her door to door thing.

The New Democrats nominated Andrew Drummond, the Liberals actually made a contest of their nomination and chose Mariam Manaa as their candidate.

The Progressive Conservatives appointed Natalie Pierre as their candidate.

The Greens nominated Kyle Hutton.

There may be others.

While there is all kinds of political maneuvering taking place at the party leadership level, the fight at the ground level will become fierce starting May 4th.

Drummond is well known, he has run before and has acquitted himself quite well.  Were he to be elected he would be a creditable legislator once he has learned the basics of being an MPP.

Andrea Horwath on the campaign trail

The problem with the Ontario New Democrats is their leader – Andrea Horwath isn’t seen as a leader; there isn’t all that much bench strength in the party – she would have difficulty forming a government and the even more difficulty governing.

Bob Rae who brought tonnes of credibility to the job of party leader had difficulty find the talent he needed to appoint solid members to his Cabinet.

Burlington does have a small but solid community of followers – enough to win?  There was a real chance last time out – not sure that chance exists this time around,

Manaa has no experience in government but some knowledge of the way politicians serve their communities having worked as an intern with two federal MP’s.

No one is sure just where her support came from.  If the Muslim community is large enough she could take the seat.; what is not clear is just how many Muslim’s in the riding there are.   The most recent Stats Canada data is not yet available.  The Muslim community will vote for their candidate.

The team teaching Mariam how to campaign is solid.  If she has the capacity to develop into a credible candidate she could surprise a lot of people.

Aldershot resident Greg Woodruff, right,  talking to Stephen Del Duca, provincial Liberal party leader, while he was in Burlington as the then Minister of Transport for the province.

The Liberals have not been blessed with a gifted party leader.  Steve Del Duca comes across as flailing about looking for an issue that he can use to get the foothold he desperately needs.  Not having a seat in the Legislature doesn’t help. .

The Progressive Conservatives in Burlington have struggled to develop really solid candidates. Cam Jackson served as the MPP for years.  One would be challenged to point to anything significant he achieved while in office.

Jane McKenna was nominated at a meeting where she was the only candidate; zip in the way of political experience and a one of the thinnest public profiles ever seen for a person running for public office.  She was fortunate in having some very savvy political players guiding and directing her.  It was one of Keith Strong’s better initiatives.

There has always been something suspect with PC nomination meetings.

McKenna decided there was an even greener pasture for her at the Regional level and she announced she would not run again as the MPP fr Burlington.

There was no immediate identifiable replacement candidate; we would get notes from people asking if we knew who the PC candidate was going to be.

Natalie Pierre, PC appointed candidate for Burlington

It is not known yet how, when or where the appointed candidate Natalie Pierre was found.

No experience other than having lived in Burlington for 30 years.

The PC party made the appointment on March 4th and informed the public on We were copied on an email in which McKenna appeared to be taking all the credit for finding Pierre.

Since that announcement – not a word.

Burlington has solid deep Conservative roots. As a society it tends to be conservative.

The federal candidate the Conservatives put forward was wrapped in a bubble, said next to nothing and was the poster girl for the gun club lobby.

The challenge for every political party and its candidate is to create profile – get the candidate out in front of people.

To date we have seen nothing on Natalie Pierre.

Are the PC’s going to rely on the strength thay have always has in Burlington. A sort of “she is one of us – vote for her” campaign?

Doug Ford casting a ballot

The problem the PC’s have is with their leader.  He has not exactly proven to be a rock star for the way he handled the pandemic; Ontario has yet to formalize an agreement with the federal government on the new child care program.

It is hard to fathom the PC position on climate change but very easy to grasp what they want to do in terms of building new roads rather that focus on and look for different ways to move people from place to place.

The Bradford Bypass and the Hwy 413 extension are really not needed.

Doug Ford has a small business mentality – he genuinely feels the pain of the small business person who had to close their doors during the lock-downs,

Ford understand the small business community – he genuinely cares about the problems they have had to face.

He is prepared to put at risk the health and welfare on students who would be well served with a masking policy for another two weeks until we learn what WORD are going to be as a result of the Spring Break.

What is proving to be very interesting is the number of parents who have decided they will stay with a masking protocol for the immediate future and wait for new virus infection results.

Doug Ford wants to hope that the reports are minimal and that we may have cleared the mist recent wave.  Let us hope as well that the numbers that do exists don’t get fudged.

Kyle Hutton Green Part candidate

What the province needs at this point in its growth is a well thought out vision – something a bit more than Doug Ford’s Open for Business position.

Burlington now has three candidates; two who are credible – the third too unknown at this point to be able to make a comment.

The Greens have a candidate – thin on real experience but quite a bite of on the ground electing candidates which he learned while working to get Karina Gould elected.

There are tough choices to be made.  A minority Progressive Conservative government would serve the province best,

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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Call from Alert Resident Leads to Arrest and Charges

By Staff

March 8th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Earlier today, at approximately 3:50 am, Halton Regional Police Service officers responded to the area of Bluegrass Lane and Dryden Avenue in Burlington, for reports of a male trying to break into vehicles.

An alert resident was able to notify police and provide a description of the male.

Police attended the area and located the suspect, who was found to be in possession of break in tools and items believed to have been stolen from area vehicles (currency, perfume, sunglasses, purses, etc.).

Shad Atkin (33) of no fixed address was arrested and has been charged with:

  • Possession of Break-In Instruments
  • Possession of Property Obtained by Crime
  • Mischief Under $5000
  • Trespass at Night
  • Fail to Comply with Release Order

Atkin was held in custody pending a bail hearing.

Police would like to remind residents of the value of reporting suspicious activity to police.  In this case, one phone call likely prevented further break-ins to area vehicles and lead to the arrest of a suspect.

Anyone with information regarding this investigation is asked to contact the 3 District Criminal Investigations Bureau at 905-825-4777 ext. 2316.

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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The world opens up for us on Tuesday - do we fully understand what we have to deal with day in and day out?

By Staff

February 27th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Ontario is reporting 842 people hospitalized with COVID-19, 281 in ICU on Sunday. We have broken that 1000 hospitalizations barrier – which is a good sign.

Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns – isolating

Burlington Member of Parliament Karina Gould – isolating.

At the same time Burlington’s ward 2 Councillor reported that she had COVID19 and was isolating. There is a report that MP Karina Gould has COVID19.

The province notes that not all hospitals report on weekends. There are also at least 2,001 new cases of COVID-19.

So it is out there and it is being transferred from people to people.

Gould and Kearns are committed mask wearers and are also in the public sphere.

On Tuesday March 1st, the province opens things up.

Another really important concern is the number of people who still believe this is all hokum and there is nothing to worry about.

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City of Burlington’s website and some web applications temporarily unavailable for scheduled maintenance between Feb. 15 at 10 p.m. and Feb. 16 at 2 a.m

The City of Burlington’s website, www.burlington.ca, and some web applications will be temporarily unavailable between Feb. 15 at 10 p.m. and Feb. 16 at 2 a.m. for scheduled maintenance.

A handful of technical types will be working late upgrading the city’s web site and many of the applications they run.

During the temporary shut down, the following websites and applications will not be available:

  • Parking ticket payment
  • Parking permit renewal
  • Parking exemption request
  • New dog licenses
  • Renew dog licenses
  • Tax assessment lookup
  • Business license renewal
  • Senior property tax rebates application
  • Property information requests
  • Marriage licenses
  • My festival and events applications

The following City of Burlington web applications will not be impacted:

The maintenance work has been scheduled in the evening hours to be as minimally invasive as possible. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

 

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Keenleyside reports on state of affairs at Freeman Station

By Ed Keenleyside, President Friends of Freeman Station
January31st, 2022
BURLINGTON, ON
A Report to All FOFS Directors and Members at Large
We’ve been closed for a variety of reasons: normal winter shut down; Covid-19 restrictions and accumulation of snow effectively eliminating parking at Freeman station. In spite of this a few projects continue to move along, and a couple of new projects have begun.

Ed Keenlyside, on the right, explaining a project to a citizen at a community meeting.

First of all, re: the restoration of the caboose… Before the cold and the snow closed down operations Ken Brooks and his dedicated team of experts replaced the windows in the cupola after reattaching it to the main frame. Simultaneously the station’s electrical system is being
extended to the rolling stock and ultimately to the three shipping containers at the back of the property. In preparation for next spring, tongue & groove lumber is being stockpiled in the station half has already been primed and painted and the remainder is being prepared as we speak.

Meanwhile inside our long-awaited video wall, which acts as a backdrop for the diorama, is nearing completion. Following closely behind, will be the installation of an a/v link from the basement to the waiting room to provide a visual connection for those people unable to use
the stairs. Both of these projects are being completed thanks to the generosity of the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

This is what they started out with – Sitting on some “cribbing” with a sign badly in need of several coats of paint, the Freeman Station gets ready for its big move.

Now that we have completed the restoration of the station (in record time, I might add) it is time to look at an important component of the station that needs updating. That is our website. We have struggled to find a person who has the time and knowledge to manage this
valuable communication and fundraising tool. Over the years items have been added which had a temporary importance but which were never removed. One of the most common comments is that our website could be more user friendly. Well, work is now underway to
remedy that concern. The original company in St. Catharines has been contacted about resurrecting the site. With the pandemic lock-down, there are no visitors and thus virtually no donations. Therefore the sooner the website is fixed so that it encourages donations and
makes it super easy to donate, the better.

Settled in the new home – the task now was to complete the refurbishing and make it a destination for railways buffs.

On the fundraising side of our corporation, I am proud to tell you that due to your generosity, we had a successful campaign this fall. As they say on PBS “THANK YOU!” In addition, I have recently received good news from the federal government. Our application for a $10,000 grant has been approved and those funds will be soon deposited in our account. Being a 100% volunteer organization, we depend heavily on visitors for most of our donations. Since we have virtually been closed for two years, that has put quite a strain on our bottom line.

Another new project is just getting started, and this is a review of our By-Laws. Last October 2021 the Ontario Not-For-Profit Act was enacted. All corporations, like ours, must ensure their by-laws conform to these new regulations. Thankfully, all corporations have been allowed time to make any necessary adjustments.

One more aspect of our heritage train station is to complete an accurate inventory of all items we own. Since we are a small museum, we are unable to store unused items, and we have only limited space to display other items. This has led to the establishment of a Collections Policy and a Collections Committee. This group is headed up by the hard-working Dave Ellis.

Currently they have spread out a large number of tools and other items at the station. Some of these will go into the eventual FOFS workshop in one of the three containers at the back of the property. Other items that are not needed will be sold or disposed of. The remaining items will then be properly identified and added to a comprehensive FOFS inventory.

The year 2022 also marks another milestone in the FOFS history. At the end of the year our land-use agreement with the Solenis Chemical Company will expire.

Contact has already been made with their manager in order to facilitate an extension of that contract. We are fortunate to be a partner with the city and Solenis in maintaining and operating this valuable heritage site for future generations. With the City of Burlington owning the building and Solenis owning the land we are indeed in good hands.

The pandemic has been a real challenge to your Board of Directors as well as the community we serve. The immediate future is uncertain from a health and safety point of view. We have been very careful with Covid restrictions, and so far, it has paid off. We will continue to make your health and safety our number one priority.

Please continue to support this wonderful architectural gem that has undergone a miraculous transformation in a few short years. From a utilitarian train station built in 1906 for less than $2,000, it has cost many times that amount to bring this historic piece of Freeman and
Burlington history back to life.

Please continue your support and encourage your friends to become FOFS members.

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New look for the ground floor of city hall - what do you think?

By Staff

January 20th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

City hall is getting an upgrade – at least the ground floor is.

Entering city hall from the Brant Street entrance.

Service Burlington, the people that have all the answers to all the questions you have, are moving their desks temporarily to second floor of City Hall starting February 1.

The temporary move of Service Burlington is happening to allow for construction to begin on the main floor of City Hall, as part of the City Hall modernization project.

The project is one of 22 recommendations from the Red Tape Red Carpet Task Force report, and was approved by City Council in September 2019.

Work stations?

In keeping with the City’s focus on customer experience, this project will create a more open, customer-facing area on the first floor of City Hall. Construction on the main floor starts on Tuesday, Feb. 1.

Under modified Step Two of the Province’s Roadmap to Re-open, Service Burlington is currently open for in-person service by appointment only for commissioning services and marriage licences.

Appointment-only services will continue until Feb. 1, and may be extended in response to COVID-19. Residents can visit burlington.ca/onlineservices to access a variety of City services online or contact Service Burlington directly during regular business hours, by phone at 905-335-7777 and email at city@burlington.ca.

The ground floor area will be much more open than it is now. Will the public be able to just hang around and read the paper or is this all going to be strictly business?

During construction, please access City Hall through the Brant Street entrance. The entrances from Locust Street and Elgin Street will be closed.

Once inside the building, please use the elevator in the lobby to access Service Burlington on the second floor, unless otherwise directed.

As with most construction projects, there will be some periodic noise, dust and dirt in the building.

Construction on the main floor of City Hall is expected to finish in the fall of 2022.

The plans for a new city hall look had next to nothing in the way of citizen participation.  Staff put together designs that were presented to council and it was a done deal.

There are changes planned as well for the plaza area outside city hall.  They were put on hold when hoped-for funding failed to come through.

 

 

 

 

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Kearns Ward 2 walking tour - back by popular demand

By Staff

January 20th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Back by popular demand.

Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns took more than 50 people on a walking tour of her ward last November.

She is going to do a second tour – people who missed the first tour wanted an opportunity to get a first hand look at what was planned for the ward.

Saturday February 5th – gather at the foot of Brant Street at Lakeshore Road at at 1:00 pm and watch what Lisa Kearns can do with a bull horn!

The November tour had a healthy crowd and decent weather – with Covid social distancing being observed

The map below is of the last November tour – same event in February.

If you want to take part – pop a note along to the Councillor’s office: ward2@burlington.ca

They’d like to get some idea of what to expect. Kearns has a arranged for a microphone so she can be heard this time.

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Second COVID19 outbreak at Joseph Brant Hospital

By Staff

January 13th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

An outbreak has been declared on Unit 4 North 700 (4N700) at Joseph Brant Hospital (JBH) after five patients tested positive for COVID-19.

All appropriate precautions have been taken to ensure the safety of patients, Essential Care Providers (ECPs), staff and physicians.

This is the second Covid19 outbreak announced by the hospital in the past ten days.

Joseph Brant Hospital’s Infection Prevention and Control team and Employee Health Services are ensuring all patients on the unit, along with staff and physicians who have been or may have been exposed, are being contacted, monitored, tested as required and self-isolating in keeping with Public Health guidelines. Patients on the unit are in isolation as of January 11 and have been instructed to continue the 10-day self-isolation when discharged from hospital.

A number of enhanced safety measures are in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and ensure the safety of patients, staff and physicians. This includes closing 4N700 to new patient admissions. In addition, ECPs are no longer permitted to enter the unit except under exceptional circumstances in consultation with the patient’s care team. Patients can still connect with their loved ones by telephone and video – both telephone and WiFi are available at no cost.

JBH is monitoring the situation closely and will continue to work closely with Halton Region Public Health to bring a safe end to the outbreak as soon as possible. Patients or loved ones who have questions or concerns can contact a member of the JBH Patient Relations team at 905-632-3737 ext. 4949 or by email patientrelations@josephbranthospital.ca.

Related news story

Covid19 outbreak on unit 6 SOUTH at JBH

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Engaging with the citizens important to Council - it's an election year. They did score well on a survey.

By Pepper Parr

January 10th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

Part 2 of a 2 part feature on the level of citizen satisfaction on how the city is delivering services

Engagement has been a prime concern for the members of the current city council. Mayor Meed Ward has made engagement her signature skill set.

She at one point said she had 17 different ways to communicate with the voters of the city.

All are one-way traffic lanes – from the Mayor to whoever is listening.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward engaging with the citizens of Itabashi, Japan, during a tour of one of Burlington’s sister city.

Meed Ward prides herself on her training as a journalist – she used to frequently make mention of how important local media is – yet – she has not once held an open media event where questions could be asked directly and follow up questions put to her when she might appear to be avoiding an issue.

None of this is to suggest that Meed Ward has been a failure as a Mayor. She understood the importance of moving the Urban Growth Centre from the downtown core and pushing it north and closer to the GO stations where the high rise growth is going to take place.

The Rick Goldring Council went along with the Metrolinx decision to designate the bus terminals an MTSA – Major Transit Service Area.

And – she made sure that a tiny bus terminal, smaller than many kitchens lost the designation it had as an MTSA – Major Transportation Service Area. That designation is what made it possible for a development to soar 26 stories on a lot that was far too small for that particular development.

In the survey done by a reputable organization 755 Burlington residents were randomly selected and interviewed using either a residential landline or cell phone number.

The 2019 community survey is the first time that interviews/surveys were conducted using cell phone numbers, this is an important distinction to make as more people are forgoing landlines in favour of cell phones. The Community Survey was also replicated online (from September 13 to October 15) the City’s decision-making about projects and services is reflective of the voice of a majority of residents, with two major differences; 1) it was open call where anyone registered to the Get Involved Burlington platform could take the survey and 2) the sample size was much smaller (234 online versus 755 facilitated by MDB Insight).

When it came to measuring satisfaction on engagement we saw the following:

 

One of the graphics asks where people got their news.

In 2017 the Gazette was on that list. Someone somewhere removed our name from the list of news sources people in Burlington use.

Our numbers have grown every year during the ten years we have been publishing. Thought you would want to know that.

Part 1 of the series

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Some eye popping numbers in a 'satisfaction' survey the city spent $29,000 on

By Pepper Parr

January 10th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

Part 1 of a two part report on how satisfied with citizens are with the services the city provides

Council got off to a fast start this morning. Just as soon as they confirmed that there was a quorum they went into a Closed Session. There were three different matters that had to do with litigation and the public seldom gets to listen to any of that stuff.

Rory Nisan was chairing the CSSRA Standing Committee – he advised that there would be another break in the proceedings for a different closed session later in the day.

The meeting today was virtual virtual. The practice up until this point has been to have the Chair and the Clerk in Council Chambers. This time Nisan got to stay home and run the show from his residence. He was not wearing sweatpants or pyjamas.

On the agenda was a report on how well the city is doing on citizen engagement. A report from MBD consulting, that had a price tag of $29,000 + was presented.

Since 1998, the City of Burlington has conducted community survey since 1998 to uncover resident satisfaction. The surveys typically happen every 2-4 years, the most recent surveys were in 2008, 2011, 2015, 2019 and 2021. The survey provides the opportunity for bench marking and to monitor progress of community measures over time with the goal of continuous improvement. In addition to resident satisfaction, the last three community surveys (2015, 2019 and 2021) included asking residents questions regarding communications and engagement with the City.

One of the questions asked related to taxes.

 

There are additional graphics further along in this article.

The 2021 community survey was conducted using Computer Aided Telephone

Interviews where respondents were randomly selected from the city’s population using a mix of both residential landlines and cell phone numbers. The goal was to complete 750 interviews/surveys, with 125 completed interviews/surveys per ward. The total reached was 755 completed interviews/surveys with a margin of error of +/-3.6% with a 95% confidence interval.

The interviews/surveys were conducted between September 13 to October 18 and it took on average 18 minutes to complete. Responses were weighted based on the population by age and ward. Two items that are important to note one, that satisfaction of city services results were analyzed using a priority matrix that compares performance, room for improvement and the derived importance of each service (a measure which represents the level to which each service is related to overall satisfaction) and two a combination of both randomly selected Burlington cellular and landlines were included in order to obtain a variety of responses.

These were the issues that people were most concerned about

Levels of satisfaction with the services that are being provided

 

 

 

 

Overall, the results of the survey turned out highly positive across several measures.

 

 

 

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Do you have an idea for the bird that best represents the city?

By Staff

January 9th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Stand By says the city motto.

The city has a crest with images that links to the agricultural past.

The city has a flag.

It hasn’t chosen a flower nor has it chosen a mascot – the Jefferson Salamander is a cinch for that category.

Soon the city might have decided upon a bird that represents some of what the city stands for.

There are a few days left to nominate a City Bird

The Bird Friendly Hamilton Burlington community team is seeking nominations from the public for a choice of a “City Bird” for Burlington (and one for Hamilton as well).

Is there a species of bird you think has a special connection to Burlington?

Nominations must be submitted by midnight of Friday, January 14th. Nominations will be reviewed by the BFHB team and short-listed to the top 5 to 10 most suitable bird species to represent the city. The final vote to select one City Bird will be put to the public in an online poll to follow, in late January 2022.

The City Bird Nomination Form is HERE:

Bird Friendly Hamilton Burlington is working to get both Burlington and Hamilton certified as Bird Friendly Cities in 2022, under the new Nature Canada program. Selecting a “City Bird” is part of the certification process.

To learn more about Bird Friendly City:

Facebook: Bird Friendly Hamilton Burlington
Twitter: @BFCHamBurl
Instagram: birdfriendly.hamburl
Website: birdfriendlyhamiltonburlington.wordpress.com

Nature Canada’s Bird Friendly City webpage:

Bird Friendly City: A Certification Program

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Lawson Hunter interviews Gazette publisher and former Council member Rick Craven - should be a hoot.

By Pepper Parr

January 7th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Lawson Hunter is one of those Burlingtonians who gets involved.

Lawson Hunter delegating before Burlington City Council

He has delegated at city hall on numerous occasions and served on the Board of a number of organizations.

He has a regular podcast he does each week called Burlington NOW on which he interviews people he thinks are interesting.

He was the first person to interview Scott Wallace and get part of the unfortunate story about the closure of Burlington Taxi out to the public.

Lawson Hunter also does a regular program on CFMU, the McMaster University radio station.

Lawson gave me a call before the end of 2021 and asked if I  would go on the air with him and talk about how we all got through that year.

I am a newspaper person:; radio and TV were never mediums I worked with.  I talk too fast for radio and my ears are too big for television.

But a chance to promote the Gazette was not something I wanted to miss.

The conversation we had is being broadcast over the McMaster University radio station – CFMU.

Link to that broadcast is HERE

The interview will air live at 5pm Monday on CFMU-FM 93.3. If you are in Burlington you should be able to pick up the interview on your radio.  If not click on the link above at 5:00 pm

I was advised that I share the program with former Councillor Rick Craven – hearing the differences in our opinions should be a hoot.

 

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And we thought these things were behind us - Telephone Town Hall on the 19th

By Staff

January 7th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

City will host another COVID-19 Telephone Town Hall on Jan. 19 at 6:30 p.m.


The City of Burlington will host its eleventh COVID-19 telephone town hall event.

The event provides an opportunity for the community to hear how this latest Covid19 variant is impacting us and a chance to ask questions about the on-going COVID-19 pandemic and how it is impacting city programs and services.

The event will be hosted by Mayor Marianne Meed Ward, who will be joined by a panel of local leaders, including representatives from Joseph Brant Hospital, to help answer residents’ questions.

How to Participate

Residents who would like to participate in the town hall can do so in the following ways:
Register in advance: Burlington residential phone numbers will be randomly selected to be part of the telephone town hall. Residents who would like to be added to the telephone call list can email getinvolved@burlington.ca by noon on Jan. 18, 2022.

If you registered for any of the previous town halls, you are not required to register your phone number a second time. If you wish to have your phone number removed from the call list, please email getinvolved@burlington.ca by noon on Jan. 18, 2022.

Join by telephone: Anyone who does not receive a telephone invitation can call 1-800-759-5308 just before 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 19 to join the town hall.

For those individuals calling in, please be advised more than one attempt may be required due to the high volume of traffic on the phone lines. If the first call does not connect, please hang up and dial the 1-800 number again.

Listen to audio: Live audio from the Jan. 19 town hall will be broadcast on YourTV, channel 700 on Cogeco and on the YourTV Halton YouTube page.

Once the call begins, a moderator will provide participants with instructions for how to submit their questions to the leadership panel.

A recording and transcript of the town hall will be posted online after Jan. 19 

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New disruptions on the GO Lakeshore Westbound service

By Staff

January 6th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Another hurdle.

Lakeshore West GO train customers will need to check their schedules this month as construction on the Hurontario light rail transit (LRT) project will affect some trains trips in January.

Hurontario LRT construction continues to move forward in Mississauga at Port Credit GO Station. The work will affect some Lakeshore West GO train service this month. Metrolinx News has the latest information GO customers.

Let’s start with the most significant service change, happening on Saturday, Jan. 8.

These service changes mean there will be no GO train service between Union Station and Oakville GO throughout the day.

A new signal bridge is installed over the tracks

Signal platform work will disrupt service on the GO Lakeshore west service.

Some service on the Lakeshore West corridor will be impacted by ongoing work.

GO trains will still run hourly between West Harbour GO and Oakville GO and half hourly between Aldershot GO and Oakville GO where buses will be available to take customers between Oakville GO and Union Station Bus Terminal. Customers who use Long Branch, Mimico or Exhibition GO will not have bus or train service and will have to use local transit providers.

Why is this happening? Metrolinx is carrying out important work related to the construction of the Hurontario LRT project near Port Credit GO Station which can only take place when trains are not running.

Weekday service changes in January
There will also be some temporary service changes to Lakeshore West GO train service throughout January.
These changes will take place Jan. 6, 13, 18-21, after 9:30 p.m. on weekdays.

Just like the Jan. 8 disruption, there will be no train service between Union Station and Oakville GO while crews work on building the Hurontario LRT near Port Credit GO.

Replacement buses will be available at Oakville, Clarkson, and Port Credit GO to get customers to the Union Station Bus Terminal and back again, directly from the GO station’s bus loop.

Here’s what you need to know for January 6, 13 and 18-21:

GO train service will be a little on the hectic side for parts of January – getting signal platforms in place is critical for that day that 15 minute service is available.

Westbound:

The 8:45 p.m. Union Station – 10:03 p.m. West Harbour GO train is the last westbound train to make all stops to West Harbour GO
There will be a bus bridge between Union Station Bus Terminal and Oakville GO

Replacement buses will not service Exhibition, Mimico, and Long Branch GO Stations during the service adjustment.

Similar impacts to Lakeshore West GO train service are planned for February and March. Metrolinx will update customers as these impacts to service are finalized.

Oh Joy!

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