Construction at LaSalle Park means Family Day with the Swans had to be cancelled

swan wings wide

Trumpeter Swan

eventsgreen 100x100By Staff

February 3rd, 2020



Last year the Gazette sponsored a photography contest in collaboration with the Trumpeter Swan Coalition.

We received a wonderful collection of photographs and winners were chosen by the Coalition

We were getting reading to announce and then promote a photo contest this year when the coalition told us that:

Unfortunately, due to all the construction at LaSalle and the complete obstruction of the parking lot, we decided last week not to hold Family Day this year. Having people park up top and walk down presents too much liability in case of bad weather.

Next year

Kingdon with swans

Bev Kingdon with swans at LaSalle Park

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City statement: 'We take these reports seriously'

News 100 redBy Staff

February 2, 2020



On its Twitter feed the City of Burlington reports that:

The City is aware of reports of a Parking Services employee parking in an accessible spot while doing their job. We take these reports seriously and are looking into this matter.

A question:

How does the city know the person who parked the city owned car was at Costco on city business on a weekend afternoon?

Related news story:

City owned vehicle parks in handicapped spot.
city car 3

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City vehicle takes up a handicapped parking spot at Costco; not part of the brand.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

February 2, 2020



These photographs appeared on the Facebook page of a Gazette reader.

City car 2

An electric car, parked in a handicapped space with no permit in the window.

City car 1

… and it is a city owned car. Ouch! Will the city look into this?

The comments that were sent to us read as follows:

Parking enforcement parking in handicap spot at Costco Burlington.

This was on my Facebook. Pics were posted at 2:57pm yesterday. No handicap sticker.

This is what I mean with there is a lot of work to do to clean up the city. The sense of entitlement is overwhelming with City staff, their abuse of power and the continued waste of our tax dollars

Will this person be disciplined or another wipe under the rug?

Not much we can add to that other than that the city now knows.

Related news story:

More on the Burlington Brand.

city car 3

Tough for the driver of the car to miss the markings on the parking spot and the sign – given that they backed into the space. Penalty should be whatever the fine is for this infraction plus a note in their HR file.

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There is going to be a Burlington BRAND - hopefully an improvement on 'Burlington ranked Canada’s best city'

background graphic greenBy Staff

February 1, 2020



If the city has an image problem there is a group of people that want to come up with a new look – they want to create a single brand for the city.


Coming soon – The Burlington Story delivered to you as a brand.

It is going to be a project with the goal of creating a single, unified brand that reflects one city, one story. The new brand will be rooted in a strong brand promise that reflects the community and speaks to residents, businesses, visitors and the world. A project team comprised of the City of Burlington, Burlington Economic Development and Tourism Burlington has been formed to begin the development of this new city-wide brand for Burlington. An agency will be brought on by the end of April 2020 to develop the branding with the request for proposals already posted. Brand implementation is proposed for 2021.

A unified brand will better position Burlington to:

• share our stories about who we are as a city and the value of what we offer
• build local genuine attachment and pride for our city
• compete globally for jobs, investment and visitors
• attract top employers who will create strong impact and value in our community
• appeal to and retain top talent
• increase awareness of Burlington as a tourism destination and attract more visitors

Burlington’s current brand identity was created in 2002 and does not accurately capture Burlington’s story today. Branding for Burlington is currently dispersed across three key areas; residents and city employees, businesses and visitors. The Burlington One Brand project is an opportunity to unify and update our identity and share our stories.

This project is a result of the direction provided in the City of Burlington’s 2015-2040 Strategic Plan “to create one brand for people and business,” and the Red Tape Red Carpet recommendation to “develop a clear vision and associated branding strategy at the City of Burlington with respect to business attraction and development.” The development and implementation of the brand will also directly contribute towards advancing the City’s 2018-2022 From Vision to Focus work plan and enhance the Burlington customer experience.

Burlington Escartment 005

Burlington is book ended by the Escarpment and….

When city council approves the idea this stretch of Spencer Smith Park will forever be known as the Naval Veterans Promenade. Great idea.

… Spencer Smith Park – but there is much more than these two geographic features to the city.









There will be extensive staff, stakeholder and public engagement in 2020.

Diverse voices need to be heard and represented as part of the One Brand development to create an identity that speaks to our residents, our businesses, and the world. Additional details will be shared with the public as available.

Burlington is ranked as Canada’s best community and best place to raise a family. It is a city where people, nature and businesses thrive.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward is very much onside with this one. She said: “Burlington’s brand is more than a logo or slogan. It’s our voice, a promise of who we are that we announce to our neighbouring cities and towns, across Canada, and globally. This rebranding project is an opportunity to capture why Burlington is so special and hear from the changing and diverse demographics living in our city for their input on our brand. We will work towards creating a strong brand promise that reflects our community and positions our city to attract more investment, businesses, talent and visitors.”

Tim Commisso, City Manager who has to marshal the staff that will do the early work said: “The City is pleased to work with our partners at Burlington Economic Development and Tourism Burlington on this important rebranding project. This Burlington One Brand project will closely align with our City of Burlington Customer Experience initiative. We want to ensure that each person that engages with the Burlington brand clearly sees that we are committed to upholding our promises.

Burlington was ranked Canada’s best community for a reason. Sharing our stories and value will help not only build local pride, but also allow us to compete globally for investment.”


Look for new city entrance signs when the One Brand project is completed – Major photo op on that day.

What will all this mean?  This could mean new signs on the QEW as you enter Burlington. Expect the people who develop the One Brand to pull on every teat of the cow that came up with the BBB that was brought to us via a Macleans magazine survey. What happens to the brand when we lose that top spot?  And at some point we will lose it.

Pier crane down

The day the crane toppled over – resulted a new contractor starting all over. Crane operator was said to be on the phone to his girlfriend.

The citizens have in the past come up with some real zingers; most can’t be published.

There is a huge missed opportunity with the way the city announces the closing on King Road so that the Jefferson Salamander can cross the road to do what salamanders do to procreate. Think of it – Jeffy has much more ring to it than Wiarton Willy.

City crest - old hand drawnDoes the Pier get a mention in the visual part of the brand?  Will the city crest be printed on T-shirts and handed out at festive events and appear on documents. Maybe the crest can be upgraded to include that crane that toppled when the first version of the pier was being built.

Burlington Brand cans - plums

Burlington once had a brand – and it worked very well.

The things the city was once famous for around the world was the fruit and vegetables that came out of the ground.

International Harvester tractors were once manufactured in this city; Studebaker once assembled cars here.

And an MPP once swam in Burlington Bay and lived to talk about it.

What will the city spend on this exercise and what will it mean to the people who share the L something postal code?


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Teacher strikes could make it a bumpy week.

News 100 blueBy Staff

January 31st, 2020



Get ready for a bumpy week.

Teacher strikes at three different levels threaten confusion in households all over the city.

Teachers’ unions are planning a series of one-day strikes if an agreement is not reached by the following dates:

Feb. 3: Halton District School Board elementary schools
Feb. 4: All Halton Catholic District Schools
Feb. 6: Halton District School Board elementary schools

teachers picketingThere will be no school during these days; however, community rentals will not be impacted.

Picketing may occur.

The City is advising parents and users of pools and facilities at Haber Community Centre, Aldershot Pool and Centennial Pool as well as gym renters at all schools to arrive for their programs earlier to give extra time to find parking and enter the buildings as there may be delays from picketing.

All City facilities will remain open with regularly scheduled programming.

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Rise and struggle, a ONE BURLINGTON event to take place at Port Nelson United Church February 7th

eventsred 100x100By Staff

January 31st, 2020


ONE BURLINGTON, Burlington’s annual celebration of faith and culture, is pleased to announce that it will be presenting its first Outreach event on Friday, February 7th.

RISE AND STRUGGLE is a family-friendly multi-media presentation commemorating the history of AfroCanadians from their slave beginnings through to the present time, with special acknowledgement of the legendary Underground Railroad story.

One Burlington

Siona Neale-Majewska,

It will feature singer Siona Neale-Majewska, well known throughout the GTA as both a soloist and member of the Halton Jazz Singers, and OneAccord, a Toronto-based gospel vocal group. Together they will relate Canada’s Black history through story, song and visual projections. Members of the Steel Pan Drummers of the Canadian Caribbean Association of Halton will also be performing.

Rise and Struggle will take place in Roseland Hall at  Port Nelson United Church, located  at the corner of South Drive and Spruce Avenue in the Roseland neighbourhood.

It will run from 7 to 9 pm on the evening of Friday, February 7th. In addition to the entertainment, tasty Caribbean finger foods will be served. The event is entirely free and open to everyone, including children.

There is ample parking in the Church lot.

Attendees are requested to bring a can, package or carton of food to support the Burlington Food Bank. These are difficult times in our city for the poor and homeless.

The event is supported by the City of Burlington through its Arts and Culture Fund and the Heritage Ministry of the Government of Canada.

They are presented in the context of the United Nations World Interfaith Harmony Week February 1-7, 2020, which exists to promote harmony between people of all faiths.

In August ONE BURLINGTON, which will celebrate its fourth annual summer event at Central Park in downtown Burlington on August 3rd, the Monday of the Civic Holiday Weekend, comprises over thirty faith groups from throughout Burlington. This summer the theme is Building Bridges, which makes this commitment to Black History Month for our first Outreach event entirely appropriate. These Outreach events, which we are planning to present three times a year outside of the summertime, and which will be entirely free to the public, will permit us to spread our message of inclusivity and diversity to different neighbourhoods throughout the City.

For more information contact Robert Missen at 905-632-6047 or

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Impaired Driving Offences Within Halton Region

Crime 100By Staff

January 31st, 2020



If you have been named in a police report and after going through the judicial procedure and were found not guilty of what you were charged with, or the police dropped the charge, be in touch with the Publisher of the Gazette and we will pull the original report and publish the results of the trial if you wish.

On January 28, 2020, just before 4:00 pm, Halton Police officers responded to a citizen-initiated complaint in the area of Main Street East and Thompson Road in Milton. As a result of an investigation, Cory Mowers (32) of Milton was charged with operation while impaired and blood alcohol concentration 80mgs or more, within two hours.

On January 29, 2020, just before 10:30 pm, Halton Police officers responded to a citizen-initiated complaint in the area of Hinchey Crescent and Landsborough Avenue in Milton. As a result of an investigation, Kimberley Lalonde (46) of Milton was charged with blood alcohol concentration 80mgs or more, within two hours.

On January 30, 2020 just before 10:00 am, Halton Police officers responded to a collision in the area of Trafalgar Road and River Oaks Boulevard in Oakville. As a result of an investigation, Andrej Kilinger (34) of Oakville was charged with blood alcohol concentration 80mgs or more, within two hours.

On January 30, 2020 just after 4:00 pm, Halton Police officers responded to a collision in the area of Queen Street East and Tanners Drive in Halton Hills. As a result of an investigation, Martin Williams (37) of Georgetown was charged with operation while impaired and blood alcohol concentration 80mgs or more, within two hours.

On January 30, 2020 just before 8:00 pm, Halton Police officers responded to a collision in the area of James Snow Parkway and Highway 401 in Milton. As a result of an investigation, Bogumil Sasko (48) of Mississauga was charged with blood alcohol concentration 80mgs or more, within two hours.

The Halton Regional Police Service remains committed to road safety through prevention, education and enforcement initiatives.

Members of the public are reminded that driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol is a crime in progress and to call 9-1-1 immediately to report a suspected impaired driver.

The Service’s Twitter and Facebook accounts should not be used for this purpose as they are not monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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

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Quarry development proposal moves to pre-consultation phase; public meeting scheduled.

News 100 greenBy Staff

January 31st, 2020



Yard by yard the proposal to expand the size of the Nelson Aggregate Quarry in rural Burlington moves forward. The company has been about as transparent as one can be.

They have held a number of public meetings, arranged for public tours of the site and put a lot of data and renderings on the web site they maintain.

They are now moving to the pre-application consultation meeting and are inviting anyone interested.

The Notice of Meeting is being mailed to residents within 350 meters of the proposed site. In their media release they say “we will do more than that, though.”

People are invited to attend an Open House where they will have the opportunity to view the plans that will be submitted for the Nelson Quarry expansion application, ask questions and share your comments with City staff and representatives from Nelson Aggregates.

Nelson qyarry park

The light grey area is the existing quarry. The dark grey areas, one to the west of the existing quarry and one to the south are lands acquired by Nelson Aggregates.

For those unable to attend the meeting, a copy of the presentation and display panels is available at

Questions and comments can also be submitted through the website.

Further Open Houses will take place over the course of the year.

The quarry is also open to the public every Thursday from noon until 3pm for personal tours or to meet with Nelson to discuss on-going operations or the proposed expansion.

Date: Feb. 18, 2020
Time: 3:00 pm – 6:30 pm Drop-in session, with a chance to view display panels and talk one-on-one with Nelson staff and City Representatives

6:30pm-8pm — Public presentation and Q&A Location: Burlington Springs Golf Course Clubhouse 5235 Cedar Springs Rd., Burlington ON

16 Rendering of bowl Golf club or main quarry

Artists rendering of what the existing quarry site will look like once it is turned into a park.

Nelson Quarry will be submitting applications under the Aggregate Resources Act, Planning Act and Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act to expand the existing quarry on lands located to the south of its current operations at 2433 No. 2 Sideroad, and on the site of the current Burlington Springs Golf Course, which is adjacent to the quarry.

The proposed changes will allow for the expansion of the quarry as Burlington’s main source of limestone aggregate for construction. Concurrent with quarry expansion, Nelson proposes that rehabilitated portions of the quarry will be turned into parkland that would form the largest park in Burlington at nearly 1,000 acres. Nelson encourages members of the community to attend the quarry on Thursday afternoons for a tour of the rehabilitated areas to discuss the long-term vision for the property.

Questions or requests for more information in advance of the meeting cabe sent to: or go to

In our conversations with the people who manage the public meetings we have been told that they have yet to meet with the ward Councillor (ward 3) Rory Nisan even though they have told Nisan that there is an open invitation.

Nisan has said that he doesn’t want to hear what the quarry people have to say.

Astounding comment.

Related news stories:

Nelson Quarry announces plans to turn site into a park once it is mined out.

Quarry arranges for bus tours into the site.

Locals don’t like the look of the plans; ward Councillor doesn’t have much to say.

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Mayor delivers her second State of the City Address; asks - 'Is anyone better off?'

News 100 yellowMayor Marianne Meed Ward delivered her second State of the City address this morning to members of the Burlington Chamber of Commerce.

The Gazette has published these addresses for the past nine years.

Good Morning!

How’s everyone this morning?

It’s great to see you out – thank you so much for being here.

I really look forward to sharing with you today, although you’ve gotten some really good highlights already.

I really appreciate you coming and giving the gift of your time to me and to each other to learn about what’s happening here in the City of Burlington.

I’m going to keep our focus sharp this morning – I do want to allow as much time as possible for your questions. Normally I get five minutes of speaking time at Council. I think I have 30 today, so that’s a great gift.

I’m going to cover what we’ve done and what’s ahead.

You will see that we are the “giddy-up let’s go” council.

This is a group of folks that has packed, I think, 4 years’ worth of activity into the first year, so I’m really looking forward to what we’re going to do over the next three years.

But before I get started, I would like to offer some thankyous and acknowledgements.

First of all, I’d like to thank Carla and her team for organizing this event in a brand-new spot and changing it up a little – our wonderful Performing Arts Centre – so thank you Carla for putting this together for us.

We couldn’t do this without our sponsors of course: Cogeco, Bell Canada, Burlington Hydro and Durward Jones Barkwell & Company. Thank you for your support and of course to Cogeco and YourTV for broadcasting this.

I’m also glad to have our City Manager, Tim Commisso here, members of the city’s senior leadership team, as well as representatives from our partner agencies, boards and commissions. Thank you so much for being here.

And of course, my fellow councillors are here with me today.

I will call their names…they can stand and if you can hold your applause until the very end so that you know where they are if you would like to talk to them after.

So, we have Ward 1 Councillor Kelvin Galbraith;

Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns;

Ward 3 Councillor Rory Nisan;

Ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte; and

Ward 6 Councillor Angelo Bentivegna

MSOTC crowd at BPAC

Chamber of Commerce chose the Performing Arts Centre as the venue for the annual State of the City address from the Mayor.

I’d also like to thank my husband Pete Ward who is here in the front row, and our three children for another year of outstanding support. I wouldn’t be here on this stage without the support of him and my family and I thank him for sharing me with the community to do the important work that you’re going to hear about this morning.

You, in the community, are why we do what we do.

And I want you to think as we go over what’s happened and what’s coming, think about “Is anybody better off?” “Does any of it matter?”

And you’ll hear the voices of citizens, to answer that question.


So, let’s start with Community Pride.

Burlington as you know was recognized in 2019 as Canada’s Best Community to Live and to Raise a Family. Now, we knew that already, we all know our city is number one, but it’s very nice to be recognized by others.

Many of you know that I’m not from Burlington. We moved here, my husband and I and our three kids, in 2000 for many of the reasons that we are celebrated as the number one community: we have an amazing waterfront, nature on your doorstep, healthcare, community amenities, great employment and jobs, and arts and culture.

But the very best part of Burlington is you: the people.

One of the privileges I have in being Mayor is meeting the incredible residents who quietly make our city better, from the Gift of Giving Back, Canada’s largest youth driven food drive (and we have representatives here today – they didn’t know I was going to say that and I didn’t know they were going to be here, so thank you), free weekly community dinners at our local churches, fundraisers for clothing, for cancer research, for poverty and so much more.

And as the city’s Chief Storyteller – that is on my business card – I get to tell the stories of the people and businesses that you’re going to hear about today.

Our community events are always a highlight and last year was no exception.

Burlassic Park was an amazing accomplishment and planned in a matter of days to celebrate and cheer our Raptors on to their historic Number 1 championship. I can’t say enough about the staff, many of whom are here today, who put this event together for thousands of our residents to come together and celebrate. And I heard from many people in the community – Burlington residents – that that made them proud to be a resident. I also heard from people who are not from Burlington that were envious of our ability to pull this off.

So, here’s just some of the things our own residents have told us they love about our city:

The Burlington Teen Tour Band took over the FAmily Room of the Burlington Performing Arts Centre the day the city turned the building over to the community.

Family Room of the Performing Arts Centre where the Teen Tour Band performed the day the building was turned over to the public, The Mayor addressed the Chamber of Commerce at this venue.

You love our waterfront and our Teen Tour Band.

All our incredible volunteers throughout the city.

You love how we have everything we need but still have a small-town, friendly, warm people.

You love our trails and green space, our beaches, our festivals, and how family-friendly & inclusive we are.

And you love that we have a safe city full of outdoor programming all year round.

We have so much to be proud of, and one of my main responsibilities is to recognize and honour our businesses and our residents.

In 2019, I launched the Key to the City program after Mike Taylor who was with the Walk Off the Earth band died suddenly, and we had no meaningful way to recognize him. He put Burlington on the map when they travelled internationally.

So, Mike became the first recipient and we announced a new Key to the City program at a remembrance event that we held for Mike in Civic Square that was organized, again, in less than 7 days.

The key features the city crest, and there’s a lot of neat stories about the crest – you can look that up online or ask me about it in the Q&A, but it also features green for the escarpment, blue for the waterfront, trees, and our slogan at the City, which is “Stand By” and that can be taken in one of two ways: Stand by or with me, or stand by for orders – be ready for action.

And I think both are equally true of Burlington.

Residents told me that they were thrilled with the key. It was made here by a local artist. One person told me they thought it had an ethereal look to it, and how it reflects just how magical Burlington is.

A couple of weeks ago I was honoured to present 2020’s first Key to the City to Gordon Schottlander, at his 95th birthday party. He is a veteran of D-Day, landed on Juno Beach, and fought for our ability to gather in peace and freedom and for me to stand here on this stage.

As you can see he is still going strong, dressing like a boss. He plans to learn the piano and play at his next birthday party. I would say Gordon is my 95-year-old goal.

We took the opportunity this past year to honour all our Veterans. I hosted Juno75, a free sold-out event right here in this room, and I was privileged to attend the 75th anniversary of the D-Day memorial ceremonies in France, with our global ambassadors the Teen Tour Band, local residents, and another one of our D-Day vets, Jim Warford, who sadly, died earlier this week. And we did lower our flags at City Hall to half-mast to honour his legacy to us. Jim was an awesome ambassador to our city and our country and he will be sorely missed by his family, friends and the community.

The Canadian Juno Beach Centre and Museum as some of you may not know is there in France because of Burlington residents. One of our own veterans, Garth Webb, thought of the idea in a basement on Woodward Ave. Every other country had something to honour the contribution of their soldiers on D-Day except for Canada. So he worked with the mayor of Courseulles Sur Mer to locate it there He worked with residents to raise money and get money from the federal and provincial governments. And, of course, it was designed by one of our local architectural firms, Chamberlain Architects. And we’re now discussing a potential twinning relationship with Courseulles Sur Mer, to continue to honour and solidify our connection and the legacy our veterans gave us.


So what have we done at City Hall, and what’s ahead for us in 2020?

We took a 25-year strategic plan and we broke it down into what we can accomplish in the four years of this term of council, called Vision to Focus, or V2F for those who like acronyms.

A key mandate for this council has been controlling the pressures of overdevelopment – particularly in the downtown. We have always been open for business and we want to ensure the right development, in the right place, at the right amount, and enshrine your community vision for our city going forward.

So last year we launched two studies: one was to review the Major Transit Station Area designation downtown and at the Burlington GO station and the second to review height and density downtown that was in the Adopted Official Plan approved by the previous council. This MTSA designation was used by the provincial land tribunal to overrule city council and the community and allow a 26-storey building in a 4-8 storey zone. So we knew we had to do something.

We instituted a one-year development freeze downtown and at the Burlington GO Station to study the MTSA. That study found that our Burlington terminal, ticket window, as some would say, and shelter, does not function as an MTSA, and that the bulk of new population growth is going to be around our three GO stations.

So, later today, right after this we’re going into a meeting to approve new policies in our Official Plan that reflect the difference between the downtown MTSA and the Burlington GO MTSAs and will limit the pressures we’ve been experiencing of overdevelopment. And we’re on track to lift the development freeze by March 5, as promised.

The other study was a review of the height and density in the Official Plan that was adopted by the previous council. This (current) City Council approved a new concept earlier this week that limits height in a number of areas including Brant Street, Village Square, and nearby established neighbourhoods, and it does direct height further up Brant Street where the community asked for it to go.

So we are planning to update our new Official Plan with policies that will come back in April and then send that to Halton Region for final approval this spring. And at the end of this work, we will be approaching the province to review the MTSA and the Urban Growth Centre designations downtown, which have contributed to some of the over-development pressures we’re experiencing. And the studies and work we are currently doing will position us well for those conversations.

In the meantime, Burlington has remained open for business. The Interim Control Bylaw development freeze affected 1% of Burlington’s land. The purple on the map shows all the current projects that were happening across the city last year, and we get more applications every week. We are, and we remain, open for business.

So, is anyone better off? Here’s what one resident told us:

“I’d like to say how impressed I am with the work that you and your staff are doing, especially with fighting the downtown overdevelopment. Dillon’s report sounds very promising and I’d like to encourage you and your staff to keep going and prevent the beautiful downtown from becoming a tall concrete jungle. Your efforts are much appreciated.”


Protecting our environment and our greenspace was also a key deliverable for this council.

In 2019 Council declared a Climate Emergency to ensure that all our decisions consider the impact on the environment. And we also repeated that at Halton Regional council and some of our Mayors are here today.

This week we implemented an urban private tree bylaw – after 9 years of debate! Over those years it has been a very divisive issue, but this council worked hard to hear the community and come up with something we all could support and the vote ultimately was unanimous. We also successfully advocated to the province to back off of plans to open the Greenbelt for development last year.

Our Cityview Park Pavilion will be net carbon zero using solar panels and we’ll be redeveloping the Skyway Arena to be a low carbon operation with initiatives like geothermal heating. We already have 29 electric vehicle charging stations on City of Burlington property with more on the way thanks to the 2020 budget. And we’ll continue to contribute to the Bay Area Climate Change Council with our partners at Mohawk College and the City of Hamilton.

And we’ve invested more money in each of our budgets in tree planting and are starting a task force this year to partner with citizens groups, agencies and corporations to invest in more tree planting.

So is anyone better off?

One resident sent me this note about the Climate Emergency Declaration:

“This is a great strategic imperative for our city and I appreciate the update on some of the tactics and future plan.

Proud of my city and appreciate your leadership.”


We are also looking at ways to ease traffic congestion, and one of the best ways is to increase transit use to get more people out of their cars. This is a very transit-friendly council, and in the last two budgets, we’ve added additional funding for more buses and more drivers.

We also brought in free transit for seniors at off-peak hours, for low income residents, and for students under 12. And this year we are talking to school boards about partnering on free transit for high school students. And it’s great to see the Chair of the Halton Board here this morning and at least one of the school trustees.

So is anyone better off?

Well this led to a 34% increase in senior ridership, an absolutely outstanding number, and overall a 10% increase in transit use in less than a year.

One resident said this:

“I wanted to thank you for the bus program that you guys have given people on fixed incomes allowing those using Split Pass to ride for free. It has opened up my life and allowed me to travel a little more than I normally would have. Thank you so much. When you live on fixed income it is hard to do much of anything but this program helps so much, you have no idea…thank you again.”

And about a week ago I was here in this room for Chinese New Year celebration and a woman approached me who was so appreciative of how the free seniors transit programming is enabling her and her friends to get around town easier that she made me this amazing piece of art personally and gifted it to the City as a thank-you.


So let’s talk about budgets. We actually passed two budgets last year, the first delivered the lowest tax increase in 8 years at 2.99% on the city-portion which is about a third of your bill, and more recently our budget was 3.99%. When that is blended with the Region and Education taxes it delivers an overall increase in line with inflation, at 2.44%.

Our budgets are focused on community priorities: investing in infrastructure, tree planting, more transit, a new community centre at Skyway Arena, and more. And we’re always looking for ways to save money. Each year staff find about $1million in savings. We also applied for and received funding from the province’s Audit & Accountability fund to review and find savings in several areas of the city, including the city fleet, and our planning department.

So…Is anyone better off?

I got this note recently:

“I am proud how well Burlington is trying to stay within budgets and cutting wasteful spending. Too many politicians use taxpayer money as a personal piggybank to fulfill their frivolous fantasies with little regard to whether the people want or need them. I’ve lived in Burlington since 1942 and love this town. I think our new mayor is doing a great job.”


We set a goal of fostering respect and civility at City Hall – we can disagree about issues without being disagreeable. We respect diverse voices and experiences, and we want every voice to be heard, around the council table and in the community. And we’ve delivered.

This council works together with each other and with the community, and here’s just a few examples:

I’ve partnered with Kelvin Galbraith on the Red Tape, Red Carpet task force, and the Tyandaga Quarry community council.
I’m working with Paul Sharman and Kelvin Galbraith on the review of BEDC, TechPlace and consider a potential Municipal Development Corporation.
I’m working With Rory Nisan and Shawna Stolte this year on the free student transit.
I’ve worked with Lisa Kearns on downtown overdevelopment.
And of course with Angelo Bentivegna on countless flag raisings and fundraising events.

We are committed as a team to working together for the good of our city and we’ll keep doing so in the years ahead.

And right away, people noticed a change.

One of the first comments I got after a council meeting last year was this one:

“The difference in how council, committees and staff work together is palpable at city hall and throughout the city. Citizens at city hall and council meetings are not only respected but are heeded. Thank you council and staff for listening and adapting to a whole new mindset so quickly and graciously.”


We’re also building collaborative relationships with fellow mayors through my membership in the Large Urban Mayors Caucus of Ontario, and with our local representatives at the provincial and federal level to advance the interests of Burlington. We had the Prime Minister visit us last year, and in the near future will hope to welcome the Premier of Ontario for a visit.

We’re also building global relationships through our twin city partnerships with Apeldoorn, The Netherlands, where I’ll visit this May with councillor Nisan, and Itabashi, Japan which we both visited last October. Those twin city visits occur once every five years.

The goal of twinning is to build bonds of friendship and peace, increase our understanding of other cultures so we can welcome diversity in our own community, we learn from other cities how they tackle major issues and advance our economic interests. We learned that we have much in common: from dealing with flooding and the impact of climate change, to affordable housing, transportation and building a global economy. Most of you know I love seafood, especially fish, and I learned new ways to eat fish! It was in my sake, and that’s a true story, and I even ate it on a stick at a local festival, which was wonderful!

I got this note on social media during my Itabashi trip:

“I really admire how you and delegates are not doing just fun “tourism” stuff, how you are all deeply going into areas and history of devastating parts of Japan as well – which will help move forward with understanding and knowledge on how to better promote friendship, peace and camaraderie between both communities and cities and countries!”


So I want to take a minute now to update you on business activity over the past year and what’s ahead – so many great things are happening in our community and our businesses often operate very quietly. Last year I had the pleasure of touring some of our unique and award-winning businesses that are putting Burlington on the map globally.

I toured Samuel & Son company and they make steel so if any of you drive a Tesla it might have some local steel in it.

I went to PV Labs in Burlington who recently got an investment of $4M US from Lockheed Martin and they also made the gimbal – which is a housing for cameras – that was used in the Marvel film Black Panther and have won both an Academy Award AND an Emmy for their technical contributions to movie-making – that’s amazing!

I met local businessman George ‘Sandy’ Thomson from Thordon Bearings when receiving the prestigious Elmer A. Sperry award in recognition of a new technology that they developed in the 60’s, this is an oil-less water-lubricated bearing for ships. What it means? It has prevented millions of litres of oil from polluting our lakes and oceans.

We also have a local business, Precision Records, that did the vinyl pressing for Kendrick Lamar’s album Damn, which won the Pulitzer prize ever for a rap album, and they’ve also pressed records for other groups like The Tragically Hip.

And I toured Hunter Amenities so if you’ve ever washed your hair in a hotel room, you’ve probably done it with Hunter shampoos, anywhere in the world.


At last year’s State of the City address I announced the formation of the Mayor’s Red Tape Red Carpet Task Force, that was co-chaired by my fellow councillor Kelvin Galbraith. Burlington Economic Development was also a key partner as were city staff. We spent six months listening to our business community and heard a few things about what we were doing well and we heard about what we needed to do better.

The result is 22 recommendations that were unanimously passed by Council and are already being implemented. You can follow our progress of all 22 recommendations on the website that is up on the screen and continue to give us feedback there as well.

So, is anyone better off yet?

Let’s hear from our businesses:

“I am so impressed, not just by these recommendations but by the team, the process and the time-line that produced them. Our Mayor and Council should be very proud of what they’ve accomplished. I look forward to seeing all of these recommendations implemented, and to the fruit they will bear, particularly in the Rural Area.”

One of the recommendations that we made was to create a role focused on liaising directly with business owners to remove obstacles and challenges – that’s the “roll out the red carpet” piece. Mike Greenlee at the City has been doing a great job, stepped into that role immediately and I know from personal experience that he has helped dozens of situations and quickly gotten people the answers they needed and helped move business forward.


Another of the Red Tape Red Carpet recommendations was to create a stronger value proposition and branding for Burlington and…you heard it here first…watch for the launch of Burlington’s One Brand – an initiative that came out of the city’s 25 year strategic plan to create one unified message that speaks to one city, one story, and can be used equally by residents, businesses, and City staff. It will better position Burlington to compete for investment, talent and tourism, as well as build local pride. A project team comprised of Burlington Economic Development, City Hall Corporate Communications, and Tourism Burlington has been formed to create the brand.


In closing, none of this would be possible without a great team to work with on staff and council, so I’d like to leave you with their words about what they are most proud of this year or looking forward to and maybe a few little-known facts about them.

Tim Commisso, our new City Manager is already proud to be part of our strategic leadership team, and in his words, he works for a visionary and passionate Mayor and Council. So thank you Tim. His goal is clear and aligned with our #1 Community ranking: to be the Best Run municipality in Canada based on achieving Council’s approved customer experience and strategic outcomes. My goal, and Tim’s is this: if you could choose a city hall across the street to do business with, we want you to still choose us.

Little known fact – if you have a morning meeting with Tim, he’ll always bring coffee. And maybe also a scone.

Ward 1 Councillor Kelvin Galbraith says that as a business owner himself, he really enjoyed the experience of working on the Red Tape Red Carpet initiative because business owners and entrepreneurs contribute so much to our growing economy and local employment. He found that hearing their concerns and helping to address them proved to be a very rewarding experience and helped ensure Burlington is very much open for business!

Little known fact: Kelvin is also a great source of fitness tips which are always handy this time of year! And he has the record number of kids on council at SIX! True story. Check his Instagram feed.

Councillor Lisa Kearns said the highlight for her has been the sense of possibility that runs through our city and that she is elated with the path we are on together. She’s proud of the Vision to Focus workplan, the efforts to bring a community vision to downtown, and the amazing progress we’ve made on matters that make us the best place to live, run a business, raise a family or age in place.

Little known fact about Lisa: her big smile and heart are part of her proud Newfoundland heritage thanks to her grandparents.

Councillor Rory Nisan was proud to bring forward the climate emergency declaration for Burlington, one of the first in Ontario, now being followed up with a climate action plan. He’s also noticed that since joining city council he has become an instant expert on…everything?

The highlight for Councillor Shawna Stolte in 2019 was the people: the enthusiastic, engaged residents of our community, the dedicated and hardworking staff of the city and the great group of passionate and committed Councillors/Mayor that she has the pleasure of working with every day. That’s a mutual feeling. Little known fact – although the secret may be out – Shawna is our official tree hugger, and the only thing Shawna loves more than trees is her three daughters, and the soup that she newly discovered from Saigon on Brant!

Councillor Paul Sharman from Ward 5 told me the most important moments and defining aspect of the last year was the huge learning process experienced by everyone and the degree to which our whole council has come up to speed.

Little known fact although some of you might know it well: His nickname around City Hall is “data guy.”

And finally, Councillor Angelo Bentivegna of Ward 6 told me about a few key phrases he now uses on a regular basis:

No, I don’t have all the answers
Sorry, but I can’t have your street plowed first
Please don’t ask me for a favour, and
Yes, I’ll be late for dinner

And a little-known fact about Angelo is that he will often bring you treats from the business he and his wife Diane have run together for years, Mrs. B’s Gifthouse. My personal favourite is the chocolate covered licorice. If you haven’t had it yet, you are missing out!

Like I said, this is an amazing group of people working together for your city and for you and I’m so proud of the work we have accomplished, and I truly look forward to the next three years.

I want to thank you again, so much, for your time and attention and for being engaged in what is happening in our City, for the support you offer our staff and council, myself – and each other.

— Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

Mayors’ 2019 State of the City addresses:

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Mayor's tweet account runs amuck - is social media the best way for her to communicate effectively?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Staff

January 30th, 2020




The words were barely out of her mouth and then there they were – in the land of tweets.

These appeared in the Mayor’s tweet account during the Special City Council meeting that took place after her State of the City address earlier in the day.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward had her Media and Digital Communications Specialist gathering what the Mayor had to say and sending them out to her twitter followers – the volume ranked right up there with the president of the United States – and look where THAT got THEM.
Here is a portion of the content.

Land Use cover• For clarity, any policies that reference growth in the MTSA’s should also include reference to the overall MTSA typology which differentiates the characteristics between downtown and the GO station MTSA’s

Direct the Executive Director of Community Planning, Regulation and Mobility to consider the following modification to the proposed Official Plan Amendment:

Approve the proposed Zoning Bylaw Amendment as amended attached in Appendix E (
) to supplementary staff memo dated Jan. 30, 2020 to community planning report PL-01-20; and

Approve the proposed Official Plan Amendment as amended attached in Appendix D (
) to supplementary staff memo dated Jan. 30, 2020 to community planning report PL-01-20; and

Mayor with Civic bling

As the Mayor speaks her words are captured and sent out as short tweet bursts of data.

Receive the Interim Control Bylaw Land Use Study report prepared by Dillon Consulting as amended and attached as Appendix B (
) to supplementary staff memo dated Jan. 30, 2020 to community planning department report PL-01-20; and

The motion on the floor for vote follows:
Deem that no further notice is required in respect of the proposed Zoning Bylaw Amendment in accordance with Sect. 34 (17) of the Planning Act concerning a change to a proposed bylaw made after the holding of the public meeting; and 1/8

“… This is merely another step we are taking in this process and we have a lot of miles still to go.” 5/5

“… We saw from the consultant’s report our downtown bus terminal doesn’t function as an MTSA like our Burlington GO station & it won’t, no matter how many transit upgrades occur. This is a transit-friendly council & we will continue improving transportation in our downtown. 4/5

“… That’s our next step, and the consultant’s report positions us with solid planning rationale for these conversations with the Region and Province… 3/5
“… These policies will help us better manage growth in the downtown. There is also an outstanding staff direction to review the appropriateness of the downtown’s Major Transit Station Area & Urban Growth Centre designations at the end of the ICBL/OP review studies…. 2/5

Mayor Meed Ward comments: “This is a really historic moment and I want to thank staff, Council, all members of our community and the consultant. This is a significant milestone for the City in getting a community vision for our downtown & controlling overdevelopment… 1/5

Here is a link to a copy of the ICBL Land Use Study done by Dillon Consulting and revised January 2020:

This is a classic example of what is wrong with the tweet world – no context,  just a collection of phrases thrown up into the air hoping they will land somewhere.

Responsible, public leadership meets with media regularly to answer not just questions but follow up questions and is available for clarification.  Burlington doesn’t have that level of municipal political leadership.

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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Interim control bylaw will not be repealed - it will just die a natural death on March 5th.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

January 30th, 2020



The Interim by law will not be repealed – council is just going to let it die a natural death on March 5th.

There will be a public notice in a newspaper.

There is an appeal process that will end on February 26th.

Thus – a very provocative piece of municipal legislation comes to an end.

Now what happens ?

That is what will be interesting.

Council Adopted the op changes

City council – quiet after voting to let the Interim Control bylaw die on March 5th and voting a slew of amendments to the Official Plan. They had basically delivered on an election promise.

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Black History Month will feature noted Much Music host who will talk about growing up Black in America.

News 100 blueBy Staff

January 29th, 2020



In recognition of Black History Month in February, schools in the Halton District School Board have planned events and initiatives to celebrate and honour the contributions of Black Canadians, past and present.

“Black History Month is a tremendous learning opportunity for our students to gain greater understanding of the significant contributions Black Canadians have made to the very fabric of our country,” says Stuart Miller, Director of Education for the Halton District School Board.

”This month of recognition provides students and staff in our Board opportunities for deeper learning about the extensive role Black Canadians have played in the settlement, growth and development of Canada. In addition to embedding this learning into classroom instruction throughout the year, Black History Month elevates the ongoing experiences, contributions and achievements of Black Canadians.”

Much Music VJ Michael

Michael Williams

The events taking place at Burlington’s Robert Bateman High School include former Much Music VJ Michael Williams on February 7 for a speaking engagement with students. He will show clips from a short film he and former journalist Jojo Chintoh directed and produced called, Black in Canada: The Obama Effect.

The talk will also include Williams’ experiences as a child growing up amidst the civil rights movement in America and his work in the entertainment industry, with a focus on overcoming adversity and discrimination.

Bateman high school

Bateman High School

Celebrating Black History Month aligns with the Equity and Well-being goals contained in the Halton District School Board’s Multi-Year Plan. The goal is to ensure every student learns in a respectful culture of high expectations that values diversity, and that students will see themselves reflected in their learning.

The event may well be one of the last large major student events held at Bateman.  The school is scheduled to close with Bateman students moving to Nelson High School.

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Did the Mayor just announce that there will be another trip out of the country?

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

January 29, 2020


The dialogue on the matter of lowering the city flag in front of city hall has gone on long enough.

A citizen made a request, got a very insensitive response from the office of the Mayor. Later that day the Mayor asked her Council members to join her in a minute of silence to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the liberation of the death camps in Auschwitz.

Gordon 2It was a dignified statement made more poignant when the Mayor presented the Key to the city to Gordon Schottlander, a 95 year old veteran of the D-Day landings on the Beaches of Normandy in France.

Victoria AlSamadi, Mayor’s Chief of Communications & Strategic Advisor wrote the citizen who made the original request saying:

I wanted to reach out on behalf of the Mayor, and team, regarding yesterday’s International Holocaust Day and your request to see the flags at City Hall lowered.

Please know that the Mayor and team consider it an important day of remembrance and pause – to ensure we never forget what happened and so that this never happens again.

We take every opportunity to oppose discrimination on any ground. It’s a significant date for the world, for humanity, and also personally for the Mayor, as we acknowledge the murder of six million Jews for no other reason than being Jewish as well as millions more. The crimes against humanity committed by the Nazis touch people of every background, religion, race, sexual orientation and disability, as well as our veteran community who found a way to help end the war so we can live in peace and acceptance of all people.

The Mayor has recently been invited to participate in a trip to Auschwitz to learn more and honour the victims of this heinous act of evil and she is working toward booking that in the near future.

In planning for this event, we decided to recognize this important day via social media posts as we have come to see over the past year that this is the most effective way to reach the largest audience and spread important messages in a timely and impactful manner for the Mayor. As you may know, there was also a minute of silence at council last night.

We also had planned (and will) lower the flags on April 21st, for Yom HaShoah, the day of Remembrance for Holocaust victims marked by many Canadians. Going forward, as a result of the additional request to lower the flags for International Holocaust Remembrance Day, we will do that next year and in the future.

We realize how important adding a flag lowering to this occasion is to the community and are committed to doing this going forward to ensure our community sees every manner at our disposal being used to mark this day.

I assure you that we welcome all residents to partner with us and request the flag to be lowered ahead of all dates of importance to our community. If you or any other citizens have occasions you would like to see the flag lowered in the future, please do reach out to us at and we will make it happen.

The communications advisor should have quit when she was ahead.

Did the Mayor just announce that there will be another trip out of the country?

Related news stories:

The request

The response


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As of Jan. 27, 2020, anyone within the City’s urban boundary will need to apply for a permit and on-site consultation to remove a tree.

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

January 29th, 2020



It took more than nine years but the city now has a private tree bylaw.

The property rights advocates went crazy when the idea first came forward. They put up some impressive arguments but the current city council was determined to have a bylaw to improve the size and health of the urban canopy.

Belvenia trees-1024x768

A dream street – this is the look city council would like for the city – however the tree canopy is not his healthy.

As of Jan. 27, 2020, anyone within the City’s urban boundary will need to apply for a permit and on-site consultation to remove a tree greater than 20 cm in diameter (8”) measured at 1.4 m from the ground, or if you would like to remove more than five trees between 10 and 20 cm (4-8”) measured at 1.4 m from the ground in a calendar year. Heritage trees and endangered species are also protected.

Permits are also needed for any activity that may injure or damage a tree.

Council collectively saw this as taking exciting and important steps to battle climate change through preserving and growing the City’s tree canopy.

The permit application can be found online at

Urban boundary

The Urban boundary is the line of small black squares.

A private tree task-force is being assembled with a goal of creating an incentive program for homeowners to plant trees on their private property. Details of the task-force and the incentive program are still being finalized and will be shared once ready.

To read the full bylaw, including information on permits, protected trees, exemptions and fines, visit

When do I need a permit?
Property owners will need to apply for a Tree Removal Permit when removing:

• A tree greater than 20 cm diameter measured at 1.4 m from the ground
• More than five trees between 10 and 20 cm measured at 1.4 m from the ground
• Any size of tree that is a designated Heritage Tree*
• Any size of endangered, at risk, or threatened tree species*
• If the tree is dead**
• If the tree is diseased with no chance of recovery**
• If the tree is within 2 m of an occupied dwelling**
* Additional permits and regulations apply
**Permit is still required; fees and compensation are waived.

When do I not need a permit?

• Removing trees of less than 20 cm in diameter measured at 1.4 m above the ground (no more than four per year)
• Tree maintenance (pruning)
• For emergency work, such as utility repairs
• Trees at high-risk of injuring a person or damaging property
• If the tree is located in a nursery or orchard
• If the tree is an invasive species*

Replacement Trees
Trees that are injured or removed under the Tree Removal Permit will need to be replaced. The tree’s diameter, measured at 1.4 m above ground, as well as the overall condition rating will impact the total number of cm required to be replaced. Generally, one replacement tree is required for every 10 cm diameter removed. The on-site consultation will determine measurements and replacements.

If there is no room for the replacement trees to be planted on the property, there will be a charge of $400 per replacement tree. This money will be used toward the Private Tree Incentive Program where private homeowners will be encouraged to plant trees on their property.

Fees and Fines

• Tree Permit, Development Related Application: $680/property
• Tree Permit, Non-Development Related Application: $390/property
• Cash-in-Lieu of Replacement Compensation (Cash-in-Lieu): $400/tree
• Private Tree Bylaw fine: $680/tree

Public Information Sessions
Public information sessions are being planned to help educate residents and homeowners about the bylaw. When details are confirmed, information will be posted on, on the City’s social media as well as other methods.

For more information, including the online application form, go to

Meed Ward - tight head shot

For Mayor Marianne Meed Ward this was an essential piece of municipal legislation – she had a council that let her have it.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward said: “This is a significant step for our City in protecting and growing our tree canopy. It’s taken us nine years to get here, and I’m pleased we have unanimous support for this bylaw. I’m proud of our Council, city staff and our citizens for putting in the hard work to make this bylaw a truly made-in Burlington model.”

Steve Robinson Forestry Manager

Steve Robinson, Manager of Forestry had to both revise and defend the plan – it was not an easy task. Now he has to make it work.

Steve Robinson, Manager of Forestry added: “Increasing the City’s tree canopy will require a two-pronged approach: preserving the valuable resource that we have, and adding to it for future growth. This legislation will discourage tree removal by regulating the removal of healthy mature trees, and also provide incentives to homeowners to plant more trees. Once we have the incentive program finalized, we will share the information.”

Related news story.
Councillor Sharman’s take on the bylaw which he voted for.

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Councillor Sharman: ' this private tree bylaw is still rushed and ill-conceived'.

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

January 28th, 2020



It has taken more than nine years for the city to get to the point where they could pass a bylaw that Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman could vote for with some discomfort.

In his remarks to council he said:

I will be voting in support of the private tree bylaw with some discomfort. I do so only out for respect of the fact that my colleagues were willing to approve amendments that I brought forward that made significant improvements to what was perceived, in December, by me and many members of the public, as not only rushed and ill-conceived, but also completely unreasonable.

Sharman folded

Paul Sharman – less than happy with what he is hearing.

It was driven by some sort of emotional and inadequately informed logic. The original iteration of the bylaw in December was premised on the idea that Burlington, which has perhaps a 15% urban tree canopy, should aim to increase it to 30%, including the already well canopied northern rural section of the City.

This was despite any adequate supporting information such as an accurate inventory of trees, an urban forestry plan, or even any understanding what the tree canopy percentage is or has ever been. Keep in mind that that it is likely that the tree canopy in the urban area has increased since many of the houses were built 20 to 65 years ago.

Further, the proposed private tree by law is premised on the Roseland pilot bylaw that was not allowed to run to completion. The December wording of the proposed tree bylaw was not understandable. It included a highly egregious financial burden on home owners who may wish simply to improve their existing homes, many of which under utilize the property on which they are built.

Essentially, the proposed tree bylaw required an owner to pay the city $7,000 for 10 replacement trees in exchange for cutting down a single 50 cm tree. Add to that license fees, removal costs and the need to provide scale drawings of the tree location, the costs may exceed $10,000. This was going to be applied to the entire urban area plus all rural Burlington, all the way up to Derry Road, which was absurd.

We managed to get the Rural area removed, hopefully permanently, and the comparable cost to remove a 50 cm tree down to $2,000 plus fees and removal. We also got agreement that staff will deliver a proper urban tree management plan, a proper inventory and a list of standards so that residents could understand the logic of arborist’s decisions.

Sharman hand up

Paul Sharman arguing the position he has taken

The price I will pay for the amendments and improvements is to support the amended bylaw for now, but make no mistake, this private tree bylaw is still rushed and ill-conceived and I expect it will be revised or removed when some disciplined, fact-based logic is finally available.

I fully expect that residents affected by this private tree bylaw will still be very angry with this Council when they discover the consequences of this decision.

Sharman has always been conservatively inclined.  He will always push for “more data” and tends to think strategically about decisions he makes on behalf of his constituents and in terms of his own political future – and there is most certainly a strategy on how he advances his role in the political direction of the city.  The Chain of Office can be adjusted for anyone who earns the right to wear it.

Sharman puzzled LVP

Paul Sharman during his 2018n election campaign.

The Paul Sharman we are seeing now is a much different man than the person who served on the 2010-2014 and the 2014-2018 city council where he had support from former Councillors Craven and Lancaster who tended to follow the Sharman lead.  With that support gone and a much harder election win in the October 2018 municipal election we are seeing a much different Councilor.

While reading his comments into the record Councillor Shawna Stolte raised a point of order and asked Sharman to stick to the issue on the table.  That was not a move he expected from Stolte – the stunned look on his face was something a usually confident Sharman does not display.


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Regional Medical Officer of Health not available for comment.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

January 28th, 2020



Senior public officials around the world are going public and doing their best to assure people that the coronavirus is under control when it isn’t but we do know that huge efforts are being made to get it under control.

Public confidence comes from public leaders – which appear to be in short supply at the Regional level.

virus UK

Citizens in the United Kingdom wearing masks.

virus germany

Citizens in Germany wearing masks.

The Gazette was in touch with one of the Regional communications advisers on the payroll arranging to interview the Medical Officer of Health (MOH)  Dr. Meghani.
She was unavailable. We will come back to that.

We were asked what we wanted to talk to the good Dr. about (Huh!)

The communications adviser was typing most of what we said and sent us the following:

1. Is Halton Region Public Health working with the school board to issue communications to parents? What information will be shared with parents?

• Halton Region Public Health has been in communication with local school boards. We are continuing to work closely with superintendents to ensure that school administrators and families have up-to-date and accurate information.

2. Is coronavirus a public health concern in Halton?

• Halton Region Public Health is coordinating with local hospitals and communicating with key community partners such as physicians, long-term care homes and local school boards. We continue to work closely with provincial and local health counterparts to monitor the situation and assess potential health risk.

• While the risk to individuals in Ontario remains low, residents are encouraged to tell their health care provider if they have travelled to an affected area of China, and develop flu-like symptoms.

3. What should Halton residents know about coronavirus?

• Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause symptoms similar to the common cold, but in some cases can cause severe respiratory illness.

• The best way to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, such as coronavirus is to:
• stay home if you are ill;

• cover coughs and sneezes with your sleeve;

• wash your hands with soap and water or with alcohol-based hand rub; and
• clean and disinfect objects and surfaces.

• Symptoms of 2019-nCoV infection include fever, cough and breathing difficulties. If anyone has these symptoms AND has travelled to Wuhan, China in the 14 days prior to illness onset, OR has had close contact with a person who is suspected or confirmed as having novel coronavirus infection, they should contact Halton Region Public Health immediately by calling 311, 905-825-6000 or toll free at 1-866-442-5866.

• While the risk to individuals in Ontario remains low, residents are encouraged to tell their health care provider if they have travelled to an affected area of China, and develop flu-like symptoms.

Region MoH Meghani

Regional Medical Officer of Health. Dr. Hamidah Meghani

Confidence in the leadership is critical when there is concern, fear, edginess about an issue. One can’t but know that there is a serious problem. A large part of China is in lock-down and we know that this virus is spreading.

People want to know what is being done to protect them; a memo doesn’t really cut it. The MOH can do better.

Related news stories:

The MOH knew how to communicate in the past.

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Two BPAC choices for the day hearts throb.

Hearts - red and black

By Staff

January 27th, 2020



The Burlington Performing Arts Centre has put together a neat package for those who want to go beyond the dozen roses for Valentine’s Day.

Two events are scheduled for the day that hearts get a nice rub down.

In the Main theatre the National Ballet Theatre of Odessa will perform Romeo and Juliet.

Jazz Affair: Wishes will take place in the Community theatre.

Odessa +Romeo

National Ballet Theatre of Odessa.

The internationally acclaimed National Ballet Theatre of Odessa, Ukraine, returns to BPAC with this full-scale production, set to the music of Sergey Prokofiev and based on the William Shakespeare classic. Romeo & Juliet is brought to life through astonishingly beautiful choreography featuring 55 of Europe’s brightest ballet starts.

“…full of enchantment with lovely scenery and graceful costumes…” – The New York Times

Jazz Affair

Jazz Affair

The Jazz Affair is an evening of 100% a cappella sound from a professional vocal jazz group which unites six unique voices into a colourful and dynamic whole. Their repertoire includes jazz standards from the 40s and 50s by artists like Thelonious Monk, Horace Silver, and Charlie Parker, as well as popular songs from different eras.

“…this a cappella sextet revisits the great standards of jazz with charm and intelligence.” – Le Journal de Montréal

It all takes place at The Burlington Performing Arts Centre, Friday, February 14, 2020 @ 8pm Main Theatre for Romeo and Juliet and 7:30 pm for the Jazz Affair

Romeo and Juliet

Tickets can be purchased by telephone, online or in person:

Tickets: Regular $69.50 (All-in) / Youth $35.00 (All-in) / Members $64.50 (All-in)

Jazz Affair: Wishes
Friday, February 14, 2020 @ 7:30pm
Tickets: Regular $49.00 (All-in) / Members: $44.00 (All-in)

The Burlington Performing Arts Centre is a spectacular LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) GOLD certified facility. BPAC is inclusive and respectful, combining accessibility with imaginative design and creativity, incorporating accessibility features wherever possible.

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Mayor responds to chippy letter from MPP Jane McKenna - these two women don't seem to want to get along.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

January 28th, 2020



In the world of politics keeping clear communications paths is vital.

It means being nice nice to people you may not have a lot of time for.

A number of people have commented in the Gazette and asked: why doesn’t the city do whatever has to be done to move the boundaries of the Urban Growth Centre (UGC) which is a boundary the city must have – province says so. However, it appears where that boundary line is drawn is something the city can influence.

When the UGC was created Burlington either didn’t realize they could influence the boundaries or was satisfied with what the province handed down.

As you can see from the map below – that boundary covers all of lower Brant Street which many people don’t believe that’s where the city’s growth should take place.

Urban growth centre

The precincts that are shown are out of date.

The city council elected in 2018 took a much different view and made some tough decisions. They drafted and passed an Interim Control Bylaw which froze development within the UGB – which really upset the development community.

Council also decided to re-write parts of the adopted but not approved Official Plan. That process is close to complete.

Burlington MPP Jane McKenna has written the Mayor offering her services to help with anything the province needs to do. In her letter to the Mayor there were some less than parliamentary comments.  The two women have never really gotten along all that well.

Mayor Meed Ward responded to MPP McKenna in a letter dated January 13th.

It starts out politely enough.

Read on.

Dear MPP McKenna,

Thank you for your interest in the Official Plan Review matters detailed in my January 2020 newsletter. We’re honoured to count you among our readers and subscribers!

Meed Ward hands out frnt city hall

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward in front of city hall.

We’re gratified that you have found the information useful, as have so many of our residents, and that the newsletter has prompted further dialogue about issues in our city, which is one of its purposes.

Please allow me to take the opportunity afforded by your correspondence to summarize the journey we have been on, where we are at, and next steps in the process of reviewing our Official Plan and vision for downtown.

Our current Official Plan was created in 1997 and has been updated more than 100 times since. Our current plan has enabled the city to be recognized at the Best City in Canada, and the Best City to Raise A Family, as well as achieve – 12 years early – our city-wide population of 185,000 by 2031.

We are also well on our way to surpassing our population and growth densities for the downtown of 200 people or jobs by 2031.

Nevertheless, in 2016, the previous council chose to develop a new Official Plan rather than continue to update the existing one. That led to the 2018 Adopted Official Plan, which the current city council is in the process of revising to better respond to the community’s vision for our city, particularly downtown.

To support the review of both the current and the Adopted Official Plan, council initiated two studies in early 2019: the Scoped Re-examination of the Adopted Official Plan related to the downtown policies, and an Interim Control Bylaw to conduct a land use study to consider the role and function of the downtown bus terminal and the Burlington GO station on Fairview Street as major Transit Station Areas and as well to examine the planning structure, land mix and intensity for the lands identified in the study area.

That work kicked off last February, and the one-year Interim Control By-law expires March 5th of this year.

Given the MTSA and UGC currently exist in Regional and Provincial policy and did so at the time we began our review, our work to update our Official Plan was required to conform to the existing designations.

John Street bus terminal

The transit station on John Street, which was once up for demolition as a cost saving measure, is defined as a Major Transit Service Area.

Nevertheless, council and the community are keen to discuss the appropriateness of the designations. As a result, last year, council also directed staff to, at the conclusion of our studies, to review the designations for the MTSA and UGC downtown.

The ICBL land use study has just been completed, with the report released to council and the community in late December 2019. Discussion of this matter is happening at committee on January 14, 2020. The scoped re-examination of the Adopted Official Plan policies is expected to be completed and considered by council in April 2020. After completion of both studies, staff will report to council in May 2020 on any proposed changes to the Urban Growth Centre and Major Transit Station Area designations applicable to the Burlington’s downtown and the Burlington GO that could be recommended as a result of any proposed Official Plan and Zoning By-law amendments arising out of the studies.

Over the past year, the City has consulted with the Region on the status and process steps related to the ICBL land use study and the scoped re-examination of the Adopted Official Plan policies. The City will continue to work closely with the Region of Halton and the Province on any further changes that might be proposed regarding the Urban Growth Centre and Major Transit Station designations as the result of the report directed to be brought forward to Council following completion of the studies. It is expected that the process to seek any changes to provincial legislation will be complex. While a formal request to Province would ultimately be required, there would be several steps that would first need to be completed including reporting back to City and Regional Council for required approvals.

The sequencing of steps is to ensure that our discussion on all planning matters, including these designations, is grounded in good planning analysis, policy and principle. This will be particularly important should the City ultimately seek any amendments to the provincial Growth Plan.

No invite for the Burlington MPP - was this a mistake or is it petty politics.

Burlington MPP Jane McKenna was first elected to the provincial legislature in 2010 , lost the position to Eleanor McMahon in 2014 and regained the seat when she defeated McMahon in 2018.

We believe the analysis provided by both studies will be immensely helpful to the Province, Region and City of Burlington as we move into the next step of discussions together about the MTSA/UGC designations downtown.

We welcome and will need your involvement and assistance in this next step and appreciate the offer in your letter to work with myself, the city manager and council on these matters.

I look forward to the next step in this journey and am grateful for your continued assistance in these matters.

Signed The Mayor of Burlington.

When it comes to pecking orders – MPP’s trump Mayors. The city is required to work with the local MPP.  Meed Ward does not have the best of relationships with the current MPP nor did she have a particularly strong relationship with the former MPP, Eleanor McMahon.  Based on this observer’s experience the chemistry between the Mayor and the MPP’s just wasn’t there.

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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Council pauses for a minute of silence to commemorate the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp 75 years ago.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

January 28th, 2020



Mayor Marianne Meed Ward asked Council to spend a minute in silence last night before council began deliberating on the people’s business.

The moment was to remember that 75 years ago the death camp at Auschwitz had been liberated by Russian forces

Council in memory

Council in a minute of silence to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz Death Camp.

That event was the first time the public around the world had an inkling of what was going on. Millions of Jews were being exterminated by the Nazi’s.

It was one of her finer moments.

Earlier in the day the Gazette had reported that the Mayor’s office had turned down a request to lower the city’s flag in front of city hall to commemorate the anniversary.

The request for a minute of silence corrected that unfortunate error.

Related news story.

Request to lower the flag denied.

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Is Councillor Bentivegna stuck in a Rodney Dangerfield warp; he just can't get any respect.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

January 28th, 2020



Councillor Angelo Bentivegna just might have caught a break.

While Council was going through some of the BAR reports (Budget Action Requests) that had not been dealt with he pressed once again for a review of the side walk snow clearing the city does – he lost that attempt at Standing Committee and was about to lose it again at Council when the Clerk pointed out to the Mayor that a vote lost at Standing Committee could not be brought up at the following council meeting.

Angelo - not getting it -deferal

Ward 6 Councillor Angelo Bentivegna arguing for a look at who is actually paying for a business license.

The Mayor, as chair of a council meeting decided that she would overrule the clerk and let Bentivegna continue. He then lost that same vote at council.

But his second issue gathered some traction – not enough to win him the votes he needed but it did let him get his point on the table – and it was a very valid point.

Bentivegna believes that there are a large number of commercial and service operations in the city that do not have a business license and this time he had some data to support the contention.

Bentivegna said he had conversations with the Burlington Downtown Business Association (BDBA) people, the Economic Development Corporation and several members of Staff and no one could tell him how many businesses there were in Burlington.

What Bentivegna was about to learn was that revenue from the business license sector was just under $500,000 and that it had not increased between 2018 and 2019.

He concluded from that data that there were about 1800 licenses issued and paid for – and argued that there were perhaps 10,000 businesses operating in the city.

Bentivegna wanted a conversation to take place that would educate the business sector and bring them to the point where they would make a point of getting a license.

Angelo B

Councillor Bentivegna listening to his council colleagues.

The issue got a little muddied when the Mayor commented that the BEDC did have the data on how many businesses there are in Burlington and that the BDBA also knew what the number was.

When it came to a vote – the only person who supported Bentivegna’ s Staff Direction was Councillor Stolte.

So the matter is closed – yet there is that lingering question: what if Angelo Bentivegna is right?

Why not put some effort to determining that question?

Councillor Bentivegna might have wanted to search the Gazette archives to learn how funding requests get handled. In the 2015 budget then Ward 1 Councillor Rick Craven wanted one time funding of $35,000 for the Downtown Data Collection Project pulled. “He points out that the original staff recommendation in September 2015 included the following observation: “After considering the staff and funding resources that would be required to collect accurate and useful data to inform the performance indicators and headline measures, staff is of the opinion that the value of obtaining and maintaining such data as a means to evaluating the experience of the downtown may be limited” Remove project and one-time funding of $35,000

Related news story:

Bentivegna gets called out for his treatment of a delegation

Bentivegna thinks city should be going after lost revenue

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