Nelson Quarry to be open EVERY Thursday afternoon for all of 2020.

eventsgreen 100x100By Staff

January 7th, 2020



They are throwing the doors wide open and inviting the public to tour the existing quarry any Thursday afternoon.

Great way to let people see and get a sense of what the BIG plan is for an industrial site that has not always had a positive public following.

The Nelson Quarry is now opening its doors to the public every Thursday afternoon throughout 2020.

Phase 1 119 acres

A 200 acre parcel of land on the south side of Second Line will be deeded to the city the day the quarry agreement is extended. The shaded area to the left has the potential to become a beach area and a small lake.

“Over the past few months we have seen a lot of interest in our expansion plans and our vision for turning the site into a park over 30 years,” said Nelson President Quinn Moyer. “And there’s no better way to understand what we’re planning than to see it first-hand.”
Visitors can enter the quarry from the second exit off Guelph Line from noon until 3pm. Tours will be arranged at the front desk of the main office building. Parties of more than three are asked to call ahead to book a reservation.

The Mt. Nemo quarry has played an important role as Burlington’s main source of limestone for more than 50 years. Its aggregate forms the foundation of most roads, buildings and infrastructure in Burlington.

A proposal is underway to expand the quarry over the next 30 years, and to donate the rehabilitated land in parcels over that time to form the largest park in Burlington.

The proposed park would be nearly six times larger than Burlington’s City View Park. The size and scale of the park would allow for abundant recreational opportunities, from biking and swimming to rock climbing and soccer.

Beach 1

The evolution of a quarry pit into a place for people is not something one sees very often. Many quarry operators walk when they have taken all they can out of a site. Nelson Aggregates is doing it differently – and doing as much as it can to involve the wider community.

To find out more go to

Address: 2433 No. 2 Sideroad, Burlington
Reservation Number: 905-335-5345

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City Council has been asked by citizens to stand up for what the election was all about: citizen led development.

saltlogo1By Pepper Parr

January 7th, 2020



Burlington is fortunate to have the community organizations it has. Three that were formed within the last three years have brought about profound change.

Bus shelter - John Street

A bus snazzy bus shelter does not equal a transit hub – even if there is a tiny ticket office across the street.

ECoB (Engaged Citizens of Burlington) organized debates in every ward of the city during the 2018 municipal election, with precious little help from the city’s administration.

We Love Burlington worked with We Love Oakville to ensure that the Provincial Review of local government was made public and that a Burlington voice was heard. The “Lovelies” would very much like to see the report to the Minister which appears to be what dissuaded him from making any changes to the organization structure of the Region of Halton.

Plan B - Waterfront looking up Brant

Plan B wants to make sure that the entrance to Spencer Smith Park is as grand as the view of the lake – and that a replacement for the aged Waterfront Hotel doesn’t gobble up all that space.

Plan B is focused on what gets done with the land the Waterfront Hotel is located on. There are plans to demolish the hotel and erect something a lot higher. Plan B wants to ensure that the interests of the citizens of the city are protected; they were not convinced that the city council in place when the development application was filed would ensure that there was a clear sight line from Brant Street through to the Pier and Lake Ontario nor do they appear to believe that the Planning department is going to do what anyone you ask would want to see.

All three organization have written an Open Letter to city Council and the provincial elected officials setting out their argument for changes in the Staff report that is going to a Statutory meeting on January 14th.

Open letter logo

That report is complex and there is some doubt in the mind of this writer that every member of Council has actually read the report and that they understand its implications.

The Open Letter is pretty direct, makes a lot of sense and is very well argued.

The community organizations, ECoB in particular, were one of the, if not the biggest, citizen groups that got this city council elected.  It behooves Council to listen very closely to ensure that the Planning department understands what the will of council means.

As an aside, there was a point when Mayor Meed Ward had to state publicly that the Planning department Grow Bold concept was no longer on the table and that Planning staff were not to refer to the concept in the future.

The expiry date for the Interim Control ByLaw (ICBL) is early March. An extension is possible but would be exceptionally unfair to the development community. One developer has experienced a revenue delay of millions due to a site approval that could not be given due to the bylaw.

The Open Letter asks council to defer the Land Use report; should council do so it must be for a very very short period of time to ensure that the ICBL is lifted before early March.

All the gains that were made with the election of a significantly different city council will be lost if the matters pointed out in the Open Letter are not dealt with. The election of the new city council was a turning point for the city – let us not lose what has been gained.

Related news stories:

The Open Letter

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Taking a Closer Look at the Downtown: What if you don't like what you see?

Aerial downtown - before pier

Change: It has been going on for the last six years – the Pier in this picture wasn’t completed; the Riviera was still in place and the original Gazebo was still standing in Spencer Smith Park A new round of changes are now before us.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

January 7th, 2020



Those who watch what happens at city hall are focused on two critical meetings that will take place next week.

One on Tuesday and one on Thursday.

The Tuesday meeting has been covered before – links to that event – the Land Use Study – are below.

The Thursday meeting, which starts at 1:00 pm – has the working title: Taking a Closer Look at the Downtown.

This focuses on what the Planning Department thinks should be permitted in the different precincts in the city.

A precinct is a boundary created by planners that has height and density permission permitted along with zoning.

Planning staff have been working on this report for some time. Working with a group of consultants Staff came back with two different concepts of what the different precincts would look like with the height and density ideas that had been developed.  Illustrations of what came out of the first round of ideas from the planners is shown below.

The response from that group of people who pay attention to these things was “underwhelming”.

After getting a bit of a rough ride from most of the delegations Staff was to take away what they heard from the public and the reaction they got from city council and return with what is being referred as the “preferred” concept.

Alison Enns

Alison Enns, part of the Team that Took a Closer Look at the Downtown on a tour with a group of citizens.

The public will get to see “a recommended land use vision and concept for downtown Burlington.”

The city puts the event this way: “Discussion about the re-examination of the downtown policies in the adopted Official Plan will continue at a meeting of Burlington City Council’s Community Planning, Regulation and Mobility Committee meeting on Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020 starting at 1 p.m.

“City staff will present a single recommended land use vision and concept for the future built form of downtown Burlington. The recommendation is based on the evaluation of two preliminary concepts presented for public feedback in fall 2019, which was informed by several inputs including public feedback, technical studies, and an understanding of existing and approved development in the downtown.”

Heather_MacDonald COB planner

Heather MacDonald – leads the Planning Team at City Hall.

A copy of the report PL-02-20, containing the recommendation, will be available to the public online on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020 at

We will be giving that report a very close read and reporting on it.

Heather MacDonald, Executive Director of Community Planning, Regulation and Mobility said she “looks forward to developing the detailed policies that will implement Council’s decision on the endorsed land use vision and built form concept for downtown.”

• Early in 2019, Burlington City Council directed City staff to re-examine the downtown policies in Burlington’s adopted Official Plan, including the height and density of buildings. As part of this work, the City hosted a series of public engagement opportunities designed to give the community the chance to provide meaningful input on the community’s vision for the downtown, both online and in person.

Concept 1 3d rendering

A concept for Brant Street looking towards the lake. .. the differences

3 D rendering Concept 2 Mid Brant

…are the amount of setback from the street and the height that is to be permitted.

• The first phase of public engagement, from August to September 2019, identified 13 themes that the public felt were important to reflect in the planning for downtown. These themes were used by SGL Planning and Design to inform the development of two concepts that show two possible ways downtown Burlington could accommodate growth and development in the future. In the second phase of public engagement in October and November 2019, the City presented these two concepts to the public for discussion. Participants were asked what they liked and did not like about these two concepts. The feedback on the two concepts, along with a number of other inputs, has been used to inform the development of a single recommended concept for downtown Burlington that will be presented to Burlington City Council on Jan. 16, 2020.

• Council’s decision on Jan. 16 will set the stage for the next phase of the project, which is to develop detailed policies that will implement and support the land use vision and built form concept endorsed by Council. All of the public feedback heard throughout the project will inform policy development. While some of the public feedback heard to date has already informed the development of the recommended vision and concept, other feedback will be applied in the development of detailed policies. The policies will be recommended to Council in Spring 2020 for endorsement as modifications to the 2018 adopted Official Plan.

• A vote to endorse any changes to the policies that will guide development in the downtown until 2031 will be made by Burlington City Council in Spring 2020.


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Photo radar - now has a new name and it is coming to Burlington.

News 100 blueBy Staff

January 7th, 2020

Whitby, ON –


Officially it is known as ASE – Automated Speed Enforcement. Photo radar to the rest of us.

The NDP government brought it in in 1993.

Mike Harris killed it within a week of taking office.

The Ford government brought it back but for use just in school zones.

The Ontario Traffic Council (OTC) today announced its support for and endorsement of the program via the launch of Driving Safer Communities, a campaign to raise awareness of the use of ASE to reduce speeds in school zones and Community Safety Zones where the posted speed limit is under 80 kmph.

Photo radar sign

Coming to a street near you.

Over the past two and a half years, the OTC has worked alongside its participating municipalities as well as the Ministry of Transportation to develop a transparent, consistent and sustainable ASE program that is designed to change driver behaviour in order to increase speed compliance in school zones and community safety zones. With the regulation giving Ontario’s municipalities the ability to adopt new and enhanced tools such as ASE to promote road safety in these designated areas, Ontarians can expect to see ASE systems deployed across the province as early as this spring.

The Driving Safer Communities campaign, comprised of a microsite at, including a comprehensive list of FAQs, is designed to ensure the public is well educated about the benefits of this important speed reduction tool and how vehicle owners may be affected. In addition, the OTC has launched a campaign Facebook page at @ASEONT to provide the public with access to a platform for engaging in important dialogue about road safety.

An automated system that uses a camera and a speed measurement device, ASE is one of many methods used – along with engineering activities, education initiatives and police enforcement – to enforce speed limits in areas with vulnerable populations. Participating municipalities will implement ASE technology via a data-driven approach that reflects information they have been capturing in their own communities including the exposure of vulnerable road users in relation to vehicles; prior collisions; zone environment such as the location of schools, bridges, bicycle paths, etc.; speed data; public input; and enforcement input with this data used to identify locations where speed is a factor in road and pedestrian safety.

For example, 2018 data from the City of Toronto demonstrates that in just one week more than 50,000 drivers were identified going over the posted speed limit of 30 kmph along Rockcliffe Blvd, which is in a Community Safety Zone, with the maximum speed clocked at 156 kmph.  And 2019 data from Niagara Region shows the critical need to address speeding in school zones and Community Safety Zones with more than 25,000 and 100,000 drivers identified going over the posted speed limit of 50 kmph along Pelham and Montrose Roads, respectively.

“Despite speed being a contributing factor in approximately one third of fatal collisions across Canada, data being collected by municipalities across the province clearly demonstrates that vehicles are continuing to speed,” said Geoff Wilkinson, executive director, OTC. “On behalf of the OTC, and our members, we wholeheartedly endorse the province’s implementation of ASE, and to further support the program we have launched the Driving Safer Communities campaign to ensure Ontario residents are well informed about this safety tool as a proven method for enforcing the posted speed limits in school zones and community safety zones.”

Photo radar Toronto

This is what Toronto is using – might be the same type for Burlington.

Toronto, Ottawa, Brampton and Niagara Region will be the first of Ontario’s municipalities to implement ASE with several other municipalities also anticipated to follow in the coming months including Burlington, London, Durham Region, Mississauga, Peel Region and York Region, among others. Clear ASE signage will be posted everywhere ASE is placed including signs installed prior to the issuance of tickets to provide motorists with a warning that ASE systems will be coming to each specific location.

“With the most recent Ontario Road Safety Annual Report from the Ministry of Transportation showing that the number of people killed in Ontario in speed-related collisions increased by 13 per cent from 2015 to 2016, there is no better time for the launch of the OTC’s Driving Safer Communities campaign to raise awareness of ASE and support its use in locations where speed is a proven factor in road and pedestrian safety,” said Peter Sejrup, staff sergeant, Peterborough Police Service and director, OTC. “Ultimately, this is about safety and adhering to the posted speed limit is the law. We welcome ASE to Ontario’s school zones and Community Safety Zones as an effective way to improve road user safety.”

About the Ontario Traffic Council
The Ontario Traffic Council (OTC) is a leading voice in multi-modal transportation in Ontario, offering diverse expertise in traffic engineering, transportation planning, safety and traffic enforcement.    Established in 1950, the association was created to improve traffic management in Ontario by drawing on the knowledge and expertise of those in the field of enforcement, engineering and education.

Today, the organization promotes excellence in the multi-modal transportation field through education, guidance and sharing expertise supported by its members across Ontario regions, cities, towns, counties and industry businesses (consultants and vendors). Membership also includes individuals who have an interest in and responsibility for traffic and active transportation engineering, planning and road user safety including engineers, planners, police services, parking enforcement, other municipal staff and elected representatives.

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29 year-old female located - safe and sound.

News 100 blueBy Staff

January 7th, 2020



Samantha ALLEN (1)

Samantha Allen – safe and sound

The Halton Regional Police Service advised media that Samantha Jean Allen, 29 was located safe and sound on Monday, January 6th, 2020.

The Police Service had asked for public help in locating the young woman who had been missing since December 13th.

All is well – with perhaps some explaining to do.

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Citizen groups send City Councillors an Open Letter - Implore that they do the right thing.

Jan 14 logo

An Open Letter

TO:  Marianne Meed ward, Councillors Kelvin Galbraith, Lisa Kearns, Rory Nissan, Shawna stolte, Paul Sharman, Angel Bentivegna

Copied to: MPP Jane McKenna, MPP Effie Triantafilopoulos, Hamilton Spectator, Toronto Star, Burlington Post, Burlington Gazette, Bay Observer.


Re: Burlington Community Planning Department Report PL-01-20

(Including ICBL Land Use Study Report)

Having reviewed the above mentioned report, we the undersigned Burlington community groups wish to make the following requests of city council members.

We are encouraged by one of the primary findings of Dillon’s report, which concludes, as our groups have argued for some time, that the John Street Bus Terminal is not located on a priority Transit Corridor, nor is it supported by higher order transit, nor frequent transit within a dedicated right-of-way, and that it is not functioning as a major bus depot based on common characteristics of typical major bus depots.

Given the narrow rights-of-way downtown, the function of the John Street Bus terminal will not change.  Simply put, the John Street bus terminal is not, and will never be, a Major Transit Station area (MTSA).

The report has made it clear, that the Region classified the John Street Bus terminal as an MTSA in their ROPA 38 in 2009, that Burlington must conform to Regional & Provincial Planning Policy, to the extent that it cannot delineate or establish densities for MTSAs.

It also has been noted that local official plan policies can provide clarity on how provincial or regional plans, policies and definitions will be implemented within the local context of its municipality. We must not lose sight of the fact that the local Official Plan remains the most important vehicle for implementation of Ontario’s Provincial Policy Statement. Planning staff have recommended that the John Street bus terminal remain classified as an MTSA despite Dillon’s findings, albeit distinguished from the three MTSAs in Burlington which are served by regional express rail.   This recommended use of MTSA designation serves no purpose other than to continue to imply a level of transit infrastructure that does not and can never exist.  By doing so, developers will continue to request building densities based on MTSA designations far beyond those appropriate or legislated by provincial or regional policy, and which will never have appropriate levels of transit to support them.

Staff have further claimed that MTSA designation will not increase intensification downtown beyond the current 200 jobs/residents per hectare, because downtown is also designated as an Urban Growth Centre. This claim assumes that the Urban Growth Centre remains as-is downtown, which is far from certain and not what residents want, and is made in spite of the glaring example to the contrary provided by the OMB’s decision to allow a 26-storey building at 374 Martha Street on this basis of the downtown MTSA, against Burlington’s position.

It is apparent from the PL-01-20 report that the Region made an error in classifying the John Street Bus terminal as an MTSA, and we must not propagate the error through Burlington’s Official Plan and supporting policies.

We emphasize that we do not oppose better transit for downtown Burlington.  MTSA designation does not create more transit, and arguing for the designation’s urgent removal does not constitute an argument against better transit services.  MTSA designation is a development and building density tool, not a tool for better transit.

We, the undersigned organizations, therefore urge members of council sitting as the community planning, regulation & mobility committee, to defer receipt of the ICBL Land Use Study Report on January 14 and to reject the recommendations for Official Plan and Zooming Bylaw Amendments.

Furthermore, we implore the committee and council to take the necessary steps to advise the Region of Halton of their classification error and request that they correct it, and to direct the Burlington Planning Depot to remove any and all references to a downtown MTSA in and through their future official plan and zooming bylaw amendments, including those in PL-01-20.

Respectfully, the undersigned

Jan 14 sigs part 1Jan 14 sigs part 2


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Community engagement on Aldershot development is currently a total fraud.

opinionred 100x100By Greg Woodruff

January 6th, 2020



That headline is a strong statement but the 92 Plains Rd development is a case in point:

Planning department Staff did not come back to Council with a recommendation on the development application which gave the developer Chelten Developments Inc. an automatic Local Planning Act Tribunal hearing.

Tom Muir, also an Aldershot resident, has raised the issue of the Planning department repeatedly letting this happen: no accountability ever occurs. The current council has done nothing to address this issue. I’ve asked several times if Staff are attending LPAT hearings and if residents can get a heads up on what they are going to present. They don’t respond.

Currently, residents have no idea what the staff might present until the development application has already been settled and heading to LPAT. Council has done nothing on this practice.

National development Plains Rd Bingo hall

The development was originally for four stories of housing – the application was revised to six.

In the 92 Plains case, Tom Muir was able to get participant status at the hearing with a couple of other residents. Muir submitted several well-reasoned arguments as to process and development compatibility. He was doing the job Staff should have been doing. Some Planning Staff did attended the hearing but said nothing at that time.

Staff, who are paid by the residents through their taxes, should be on the side of truth or basic reality and represent the interests of the residents, assuming this is the will of council.

Because of the structure and process used by LPAT only people with accepted professional designations can give testimony. Staff have those designations. The developers have planners with the required designations. Staff chooses to be mute so the developer’s “land use planner” is then the only “planner” presenting evidence.

Muir, who consistently provides reams of evidence, which gets put into the file but is never heard at the hearing, because he is not a “land use planner”. If Burlington staff said the exact same words it would be “testimony” and the tribunal would have to take these points into consideration. However, since they don’t, the developer’s testimony is “uncontested”. The LPAT makes their decision based on what they hear and because there was evidence and testimony from just the one land use planner the LPAT Commissioner has to side with the evidence presented by the developer’s representative.

An LPAT decision made without any input from residents or council becomes just an elaborate farce.

It’s hard to tell if the LPAT system works or not; the negligence on the city’s part is staggering. Not only do they bungle the application by letting it go to LPAT because there was no decision within the required time frame. City staff doesn’t even say anything at the LPAT hearing. They could defend the settlement by backing up participants when the developer’s land use planner makes misleading statements.

92 Plains Go distance

Woodruff: This requirement was to take a point in the far end of the go station parking lot, not the entrance which is 600 m away.

That staff offers nothing at LPAT matters immensely because there is no evaluation of anything. The developer can just say anything true or not, real or not. For example, the developer said the development was within 500 m of the GO station. This requires them to take a point in the far end of the go station parking lot, not the entrance which is 600 m away. Would this have made any difference?

No one knows because the staff presented nothing. What residents present doesn’t matter. This because we are not “land-use planners” and cannot afford one.

Now we can get into an interesting discussion. Is the the city just insanely incompetent or is it deliberately “throwing the game”. The take-home point is “engagement” or “consultation” has nothing to do with what gets built. You either get planning staff to defend residents or we don’t have any say on development at all.

I have seen nothing that leads me to believe staff is doing anything differently than they were doing in the last administration. Nor, have I seen anything from the current council that directs staff to behave differently. Thus we are currently getting what we were getting from the old council.

That the LPAT system certainly sucks does not let the council off the hook. They don’t appear to be even trying to work the system. If the city was doing all that could be reasonably expected to give at least lip service to will of residents. However, the current new council is just working the will of the old council.

Putting the development in context.  Content taken from the developers application:

In 2008 the City of Burlington released its “Intensification Study” which intended to provide preliminary residential and employment intensification estimates to 2031 in support of the Sustainable Halton Plan. Within the study, Plains Road is identified as an “Urban Growth Corridor”

Staff outlined that there was potential for approximately 3,750 dwelling units and 7,500 residents along these particular growth corridors. The available GO Stations were an important component of the corridors, and these areas were identified as being suitable for higher intensity development. These figures were based on an estimate that indicated that future developments or redevelopments would be made up of 60% residential, 30% mixed use, and 10% retail/service commercial.

The owner has proposed to redevelop the subject site for a six storey, 49 unit apartment building with ground floor office/commercial uses.

The proposed building will front onto and have pedestrian access to the pedestrian network on Plains Road East. Vehicular access to the subject site and development will be maintained along Plains Road East.

The proposal will also be accessible via a mixture of public transit modes; the Aldershot GO Station is located within 500 m of the proposal (walking distance). Burlington Transit route 1(1x) provides east and west services along Plains Road, and is accessible just west of Birchwood Avenue, and immediately north of the subject lands on the north side of Plains Road East.


Greg Woodruff taking part in a Mayoralty debate broadcast by TVOntario


Take home points:
1) We need Council to change direction and insist that Staff defend the plans Council passes.
2) Tom Muir has basically done the work the planning department should have done.
3) Presently unelected LPAT Commissioner and developer consultants are deciding if we get to keep trees, stores, grass and sunlight in our community.

Greg Woodruff is an Aldershot resident who works as a web site developer. He ran for the Regional Chair in 2010 and for Mayor of Burlington in 2018.

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Marty Staz: There is a looming housing crisis that city council can fix - but there isn't much time left.

opinionred 100x100By Marty Staz

January 6th, 2020



From everything we read, although still little of what we see, it would appear that 2019 has brought the kind of change to our City that we all expected when our new Council was elected. I’m talking about how our City will grow.

Side view - mid rise

Staz looking over mid rise development guidelines released by the Planing department.

But the question that I believe stands in the forefront, is it the kind of change that we need and want, and have the property alternatives for growth really been considered? I realize it was too late for three monster buildings downtown, but we still hear of the same thing being the main topics of discussion at City Hall, and now there is talk of approving a 27 floor tower on the football at Lakeshore and Martha in return for a small piece of parkland. The truth is all we ever hear of is high rise towers being the solution to our growth. We can’t even consider single detached homes being part of our growth solution.

We saw a grand total of 495 newly built detached homes in our City in 2019 which doesn’t come close to addressing the problem.

What about the “Missing Middle”? This is something I have advocated for in the past and it is something that should be considered as a solution to our population growth. It would provide mid-range and affordable housing and put the brakes on turning our City into a maze of high rise tunnels.

Staz on magazine cover

Marty Staz a Chamber of Commerce member most of his professional life.

In a study done by Evergreen and the Canadian Urban Institute, the Missing Middle describes a range of housing types between single-detached houses and apartment buildings that have gone ‘missing’ from many of our cities in the last 60 to 70 years. The difference for Burlington is that we are in the process of creating a City that WILL be losing its middle, and at our current rate a lot faster than 60-70 years.

To clarify, what I am really talking about is homes that range from town-homes, 4-6 storey apartment buildings, laneway homes and triplex, fourplex type of homes. Homes that are capable of providing the 3 bedroom homes that growing families will need. Go ahead and look at the proposals of the towers currently approved and see how many units provide anything over 2 bedrooms. Go ahead and ask the future generation of homeowners where their ultimate dream home lies.

It is definitely not on the 24th floor with 2 bedrooms. They want to be able to walk out their door to their driveway or to a backyard.

The city is more than just the Escarpment to the north and the lake to the south. It is the people in between that determine who we really are. And it takes more than a magazine saying we are the #2 city in the country doesn't make it so.

The Green Belt in the Escarpment does not permit residential housing except in the settlement areas of Lowville and Kilbride and even there development is very limited. Half of Burlington’s land mass is zoned rural. No affordable homes in this part of the city.

The other consideration is affordability which must include a balanced mix of owned and rental homes. Of course a big challenge for our City is that land prices in our area, since we are land locked by the Greenbelt, are certainly not coming down. This is the argument many put forth to give credence to the high-rise solution. It’s going to take everyone from the public, private and non-profit sectors to come together to take a much deeper dive into how our City looks in the next 50 years.

3 story walk up

Good housing in stable neighbourhoods – and affordable.

Missing middle 3 levels with patio

Housing has to be within a stable community – and affordable.

The bottom line here is that our City is at a crossroads.  We have already stepped across the line. Before it’s too late we need to make some hard decisions that will make people want to stay in our City and move to our City because they see a better place to live. Isn’t that what Burlington has always been about?

Marty Staz retired from the printing business got into real estate and then found himself a candidate in the October 2018 municipal election as a candidate in ward 1.  He is an active member of the Chamber of Commerce

Background link:

The Missing Middle report: Click here

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Police looking for a missing 29 year old Female from Burlington

Crime 100By Staff

January 4th, 2020



The Halton Regional Police Service is seeking the public’s assistance in locating a missing Burlington female.


Samantha Jean Allen was last seen on December 13, 2019

Samantha Jean Allen was last seen on December 13, 2019, leaving her residence which is in the area of Headon Road and Headon Forest Drive in the City of Burlington during the day.

Samantha is female white, 29 years of age, 5’6″, thin, approximately 125bs, with blonde hair and blue eyes.

Family members are becoming increasingly concerned for her well-being as they have not been able to contact her.

Samantha is believed to know that she has been reported missing and police only desire to meet with her in person to ensure that she is okay.

ALLEN's AcuraSamantha was last seen driving away in a Black 2010 Acura TL – 4 door sedan with Ontario License Plates – BVPW137. Vehicle has tinted windows and tail lights. Vehicle also has silver winter rims currently on the vehicle.

Anyone with information regarding Samantha’s whereabouts is asked to contact Detective Constable Eric Asmuth of the Burlington Criminal Investigations Bureau at 905-825-4747 ext. 2313 or the on duty Staff Sergeant at ext. 2310.

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

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What happens if you don't pay your taxes?

background graphic greenBy Pepper Parr

January 4TH, 2020



What happens if you don’t pay your taxes – and how many people don’t pay their taxes?

Director of Finance Joan Ford does a great job of providing the data ad her department does a good job of collecting the taxes as well. It's the spending side that is causing the long term financial stress. Ms Ford doesn't do the spending.

Joan Ford, City Treasurer

In a recent report to city Council Joan Ford, City Treasurer reported that:

The City of Burlington collects property taxes for the city, Region of Halton and the Halton Boards of Education as legislated under the Municipal Act, 2001

The total 2019 tax levy is $420.6 million compared to $409.8 million in 2018.

The status of property tax collection as of September 30th, 2019 was:

Tax collection comparisons


Collections for the current taxation year are 93.6%, which is consistent with prior years as highlighted in the chart below.

Tax collection

What does the city do when taxes due are not paid?

Arrears notices are sent four times per year to aid in collections. In addition to arrears notices, tax collection letters are sent to owners with arrears in both the current year and two previous years; business properties are sent letters in the first quarter and residential properties in the second quarter.

A property title search is undertaken in November on accounts with three years of arrears and any lenders are notified. This results in most accounts being paid.

For those properties that remain three years in arrears, the Municipal Act, 2001 allows for a tax sale process to begin in January. The owner or any interested party has one year to pay out the tax arrears. If arrears remain after the one year period, the city may proceed with a municipal tax sale. Since 2000 there have been seven tax sales in Burlington.

The city offers multiple payment options including three pre-authorized payment plans which provide a convenient and reliable payment method for property owners. Approximately one third (20,000) of all property accounts are enrolled in pre-authorized payment plans.

One doesn’t get extensions like that with a bank loan.

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Halton District School Board survives 2019 - looking for opportunities to serve more effectively in 2020

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

January 3rd, 2020



Miller with students Mar 7-17

Miller works well with students – he can remember the names of students he taught science to 20 years ago. At heart he is a teacher.

For Halton District School Board Director of Education Stuart Miller, 2019 was not an easy year.

The labour issues, that are ongoing, and the penny pinching at Queen’s Park has created confusion and havoc. The one positive part of all this for Miller is the “very good working relationship we have with the local union groups”. It is the larger province wide collective agreement part that is troubling.

This government looks at education quite a bit differently than the previous government. Burlington gets a very disproportionate share of funding from the province based on population and student size.

istem Cafeteria-crowd-Nov-2018-768x371

The first public information meeting drew 1000 people to Aldershot high school.

Despite the drawbacks Miller can point to some significant successes – the launch of the iSTEM program at Aldershot High School has been a resounding success. So much so that Miller thinks the Board might be able to offer a similar program for the new high school being built in Milton and scheduled to open in 2021.

The Board is still working at finding ways to partner with other organizations in the Region – not much to report at that level.

Miller needs a new administration building but has not managed to get the support he needs from the community at large and the trustees haven’t found a way to make the case with the public.

The Board has the land in Burlington – at the intersection of Upper Middle Road and Guelph Line; Miller needs a partner who can build what is needed and had hoped someone could come forward with a proposal.

MMR Clair Proteau

MMR principal Claire Proteau pointing to some of the changes being made in the school when the Pearson high school students became part of MMR

The upheaval created when the decision was made to close two of Burlington’s seven high schools in 2017 has worked itself out. The merger of the Lester B. Pearson population with that of MM Robinson has gone exceptionally well, due in large measure to the work done by MMR principal Claire Proteau and Superintendent Terri Blackwell. They understood the need to work with the parents and students at both schools and make them a part of the process that everyone had to go through.

Bateman - crowd scene with Bull

The Bateman parents were passionate about keeping their school open – closing was as much a political issue as it was a student population issue.

The merger of the Bateman and Nelson high schools hasn’t gone as well; the fight to keep Bateman open lasted much longer – many thought the wrong school was being closed. Space had to be created at Nelson for the Bateman students – that work is underway now.

The Bateman high school site has yet to be declared as surplus to the Board’s needs. When that decision is made the Board has to first make the property available to a legislated list of institutions. Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward has plans for the space and HDSB trustee Amy Collard, who fought valiantly to keep the high school open, wants it used by the community. The building has an indoor swimming pool that the city Parks and Recreation people make significant use of. The fear that the building would be torn down and turned into a condo site is not in the cards.

The International Baccalaureate program that was at Bateman has already moved to Central where it is doing very well.

While the iSTEM program at Aldershot is a runaway success – the HDSB is not doing as well with trades training – at a time when the needs for men and woman in the trades is not being met. That is a challenge to which this school board and many others in the province have not yet figured out how to meet.

The HDSB was at one point the sponsor of The Centre for Skills Development that delivers free government-funded programs and fee-based programs to help people at various stages of life (youth, job seekers, second career seekers and newcomers to Canada) get on a path to career success.

That organization went on to become an arms length part of the board and then became a separate entity that the Board is no longer part of.  The Centre appears to be doing a good job of serving the needs of the commercial-industrial sector.

Stephen Lewis

Stephen Lewis, probably the most passionate speaker in the country was to speak at a Human Rights Symposium – a teacher strike meant cancellation. The event is scheduled to take place in 2020.

A major 2019 disappointment for Miller was the need to cancel the day long Human Rights Symposium that was to feature Stephen Lewis and Michel Chikwanine. Miller told the Gazette that he has been able to convince Lewis and Chikwanine to take part in the 2020 Symposium – the 2019 event had to be cancelled when the teachers used the scheduled date to strike.

The Symposium has Miller’s signature all over it. It was his idea and he has been the driving force behind it; Superintendent Rob Eatough was in place to make it actually happen. The Trustees, who give Miller a lot of latitude, quite frankly they don’t really hold him to account – not that there is any need to, Miller delivers, but the Trustees are there to ask the hard questions; few of those are heard at the Halton District School Board.

Miller prep at Central

Stuart Miller

Miller became Director of Education six years ago on a five year contract that was extended for a year and might get an additional extension. Miller is far too young to think in terms of retirement but he does have something he wants to do up his sleeve. He just wasn’t ready to show that card during our conversation.

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The unfinished business from 2019 is the challenge for the city in the first half of 2020

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

January 2, 2020



The doors to city hall were open this morning – it isn’t certain that a full complement is in place to get the wheels turning.

Ford on gapping

Joan Ford, City Treasurer, led a team that brought forward a budget that was given a solid work over by Council – her team responded quickly and found ways to meet the 2.99% this council wanted.

Many appear to be adding a couple of days to that magnificent period of time from the Eve of Christmas to the beginning of the New Year and returning to their desks on the 6th. There are a number of people, especially those in Planning and Finance who worked long hours responding to questions from council and revising documents – sometimes on the fly, who deserve any additional time they were able to get over the holidays.

The Clerk’s department has had its hands full; they will be dealing with a significant shake up at the leadership level – will the new Clerk come from within or will Burlington look for a seasoned Clerk elsewhere. There are a number of women in that department who could take on that job – the City Manager is one who could nurture one of several women who have shown considerable promise. A change in attitude within the department will be welcome for those who happen to deal with the Clerk’s office on a frequent basis.

Some members of council were making the best of that opportunity.

Land Uses Dec 2019

135 pages long and dense + the appendices.

The Mayor has said she would be burrowing down and working her way through the several documents that were part of the Land Use Study that was brought about when the Interim Control Bylaw (ICBL) was passed last March. The document and its appendices are not for the faint of heart; it will be interesting to hear what Council has to say when it meets at a Statutory Meeting January 14th.

Those who do read the document might well ask if the will of council has been fully discerned by the consultants who wrote the report and the Planning staff team that sent the report to Council.

Lakeshore pic 2 3d

The Taking a Closer Look at Downtown report was a blurred image to many. They get another chance on January 16th to put up a clearer picture.

Two days after the Land Use Study Statutory meeting council will see the second version of what might be included in the Re-examination of the Adopted Official Plan report that didn’t get a round of applause from Council when they reported to Council in December.

At the risk of appearing petty we wonder just how many members of Council reported the gifts they received from developers, National Homes appears to be the one looking for “por favour” from Council – they have two applications that are both at LPAT with settlements that have yet to be given the LPAT seal of Approval.

Lisa excited

Kearns chose to share the gift she got with her colleagues.

Several of the Council members said that they didn’t accept the gift – instead passed it along to a community organization – except for Councillor Kearns who, after explaining in some detail that she does not accept gifts, went on to say that she shared the gift with others on the 7th floor – which is where we house Council members.

Roland Tanner, who actually reads critical documents that come out of city hall, pointed out that the Code of Good Governance , a document signed by every member of Council, as well as being the subject of a half day Workshop, states quite clearly what is to be done with any gift that gets sent along to a Council member.

One of the requirements is to report receipt of the gift to the Clerk, who is required to report annually to the public on who was offered what. We will watch for that report.

The October 2018 municipal election gave the city a new set of wheels to move forward on; the electors chose the candidate for Mayor they believed could best bring about the change they wanted. There was no doubt about that vote.

The five newcomers have had the time they needed to get to know and understand each other; appreciate the different strengths and weaknesses and create some common cause.

In the first six months of 2020 they are going to have to make some very significant decisions – the response to the Land Use Study, getting a rejigged Official Plan in place and sending a stronger message to Staff on just what the will of council is and making sure they understand just what that will is and that it is adhered to – we aren’t there yet. Several news stories and opinion pieces we will publish in the days ahead make that point quite clear.

Football - east end

Proposed for the eastern gateway to the downtown core.

The city and its bureaucrats need to make it as clear as possible to the development community that Burlington is not a community where anything goes.

Meed Ward - tight head shot

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward: Much more than a pretty face.

Mayor Meed Ward has shown that she knows how to take the gloves off and land a solid punch on the nose – when the Grow Bold mantra had lost favour and whatever charm it had, the planners were a little slow in getting the message. Meed Ward made the course correction that was necessary when she said:  would “provide absolute clarity to staff and to the community that the City of Burlington staff are not to use the adopted 2018 plan in evaluating current/new development applications. Multiple analyses by staff in assessing development applications, downtown in particular, have made it clear we do not need to over intensify in order to meet our obligations under the Places To Grow legislation.”

Stand By says the city motto - for how long one might ask?It is going to be an interesting six months – far too early to suggest that the year will be: a great one for the city – although the potential is certainly there.

That phrase on the city crest Stand By is perhaps the appropriate phrase for the year.

And lastly – do the police have Sean Baird in custody ? And if not – why not?

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.

Related news stories:

Mayor shows how to get a message to Staff

The gifts that shouldn’t have been accepted.

Come home Sean.

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Every new home built in California now has to have enough solar panel capacity to provide all the electrical needs of the house.

News 100 greenBy Staff

January 2, 2020



On the stroke of midnight this New Year’s Eve, the American dream will get a makeover. In California, the nation’s most populous state, every newly-built home must now come with enough solar panels to satisfy its electricity needs.


The law in California requires every new home built to have enough solar capacity to meet all the electrical needs. Progress

It’s a quiet revolution tucked into the building codes approved unanimously by the California Energy Commission in 2018. Solar panels are installed on just 20% of new homes in the state. That figure will rise to 100% for every home under four stories tall. The expectation is that this this to add 74,000 new solar installations in 2020.

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Rivers on resolutions: Climate change is all that matters

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

December 31, 2019



What if my new year resolution was to stop writing about global warming?

I realize that I have been preoccupied, some might say obsessed, by what I see as the greatest existential threat facing the planet and all of its inhabitants. And there is a kind of frustration that, after spending decades working on climate change policy with governments and the private sector, so little has actually been accomplished.

coal fired elec

Coal fired electricity generators.

Brian Mulroney and Bill Clinton first talked about carbon pricing back some 30 years ago. Jean Charest, my minister of the environment, spoke of the urgency of global warming at the Rio climate summit back in 1992. Jean Chretien took us in the Kyoto protocol and McGuinty and Wynne got us off coal fired electricity.

Yet today Donald Trump is the world’s biggest advocate for dumping more carbon emissions into the atmosphere. And despite some progress on the climate file since Stephen Harper’s government was voted out of office, something as straight forward as Canada’s carbon tax is still being debated in the courts.

Today, over 90% of all new cars are still powered by petroleum and new houses are still being built with gas appliances and fixtures. The Alberta and Saskatchewan governments, with their populations solidly behind them, are promoting even more oil and natural gas development and export.

And even Ontario’s progressive development of green energy has been stopped in its tracks by a new government determined to unravel every single piece of environmental legislation developed by all three political parties dating back as far back as the 1980’s.

Yet the evidence, the signs, of what we are doing to the planet is overwhelming. The latest sign comes to us from satellite imagery of a massive patch of superheated water the size of Texas, threatening oceanic life just off the coast of New Zealand. This year flooding and storm intensity continued to expand across the globe – leaving an ever increasing path of destruction.

Wildfires in Canada now destroy 2.5 million hectares a year, an area nearly half the size of Nova Scotia and double the 1970s average. Alberta is one of the worst affected areas. Of course as the highest polluting jurisdiction in Canada, it is as if some invisible hand is administering retributive justice.


Forest fires raging through Fort McMurray Alberta

The Fort McMurray fire in 2016, smack dab in the heart of the oil sands, was the largest wildfire evacuation in our history. And Australia is a stark reminder of where we are heading. I received a Christmas card from a friend in Melbourne Australia. She wrote “The fires are a real tragedy and a reminder that we should be doing more to stop climate change.”

Indeed, Australia is by far the world’s largest coal exporting nation. That would be a good place to start.

Andrew Scheer and other climate change deniers have pointed out that Canada’s national emissions are only a fraction of those of China and the USA. For them it was a matter of ‘After You, Alphonse’ as per the old New York Journal comic strip. They conveniently ignore the fact that Canada will experience twice as much warming as these other nations – so it should matter more to us.

sea ice

Arctic sea – vital to the environment.

And the other thing they don’t tell you is that oil, coal and gas exports are not included in our emission numbers. So in 2014 we emitted more carbon embedded in our fossil fuel exports than we emitted nationally. We effectively doubled our contribution to global warming. But it is worse that that. By adding more coal, oil and gas onto global markets we help lower the prices of these commodities.

It’s simple demand and supply. Lower fossil fuel prices promote more consumption and carbon emissions, making a sad mockery of Messrs Scheer, Moe and Kenney’s perverse claims that they can combat climate change by simply exporting more fossil fuels. When he heard that kind of nonsense spoken in public, my father used to say, “they need their heads examined”. But these are political leaders at the highest levels so it has to be more than just deceptively flawed logic.

Energy use, including transportation and home heating, is still one of the biggest aspects of our carbon footprint. Lower fuel prices will forestall decisions to substitute cleaner energy for the internal combustion engine and that gas flame for your heating and cooking needs. Higher prices encourage conservation – that is why the carbon tax will be effective.

Greta Thunberg

The hope is the words spoken by Greta Thurnberg, a 16 year-old Scandinavian

A new year should bring us a moment for hope and promise. There is always hope but the promise for our future is not pretty. My annual predictions in the past have been erratic, sporadic and often just plain wrong. So this year I thought I’d just go with the collective global science community.

Their prediction is that we are moving faster than ever towards a tipping point. And if they are right, in about a dozen years global warming will become irreversible and get worse every year thereafter.

As we struggle with the effects of the proverbial hangover January 1st, we should contemplate what lies ahead for us in what seems to be a highly dystopian future. The fact is that our governments have failed to protect us. Or perhaps, and more accurately, we have mostly failed to elect the kind of governments which would have acted sooner and more effectively.

So I’m taking action in my own hands this year and suggest you join me. I’m making and planning to keep resolutions to lower my individual carbon footprint. I already have geothermal heating and cooling, an electric plug-in car and a solar panel. So this year I’m resolving to get rid of my remaining gas appliances entirely, including my fireplace and barbecue.

What about you?

Rivers hand to faceRay Rivers writes weekly on both federal and provincial politics, applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking.  Rivers was a candidate for provincial office in Burlington where he ran against Cam Jackson in 1995, the year Mike Harris and the Common Sense Revolution swept the province. He developed the current policy process for the Ontario Liberal Party.

Background links:

The Future –     2019 Predictions –    2020 Predictions –     Australian Reality

Hot Water –     EVs –    Oil SubsidyWe Didn’t Get Much Done

Cost of Climate Change –    Exporting Carbon – 


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Land Use Study a 'disappointment' to some at first reading.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

December 23rd, 2019


First published before Christmas; the location of the full report is shown at the end of the article.

In March of last year the city brought in an Interim Control By Law which put an immediate 12 month hold to any development proposals in the Urban Growth Centre, a boundary imposed on the city by the province,

The reason for the bylaw was the rate at which development proposals were flooding into the Planning department; the city was beginning to lose control over what got built where and was working with an Official Plan that was badly out of date and a zoning schema that needed updating.

The 2014-2018 City Council had passed a new Official Plan months before its term expired.  That “adopted” went to the Region for approval.  While the “adopted” plan was being considered at the Region the city held a municipal election – we had a new mayor and five new members on a 7 member city council.

Shortly after the council was sworn in the Regional government returned the “adopted” Official Plan to the city asking for what were some minor changes and added that the city could make additional changes if they wished.

The new City Council, with a new Mayor, took that opportunity to re-write the “approved” Official Pan.  That re-write is currently taking place. In the parlance that is used by the planners these days the land use study will “inform” the re-write of the “adopted” Official Plan

While all that is going on the Planning department was told by Council to bring in consultants to help determine what should be done with the Urban Growth Centre (UGC)

Study area

This map does not appear to be identical to the map we saw when the Interim Bylaw was being put in place. Waiting for some comment from the Planning department


The decision to impose an Interim Control Bylaw came out of the blue as far as the public was concerned.

For the Planning department and the senior levels of the city administration it was a move that had to be made.

Development applications were flooding into the Planning department – staff were overwhelmed and the city was in the process of losing the control it did have over what was developed, how high the towers were going to be and where they would be located.

The decision meant real financial hardship for at least one developer and a retirement home operator.

Heather MacDonald, Executive Director of Community Planning, Regulation and Mobility was given a lot of latitude and the funding needed to source a consultant – she was permitted to sole source for this task rather than have to go out to the market.  Her budget was $600,000

John Street bus terminal

It is a building that at one point was recommended for closure by the Transit department. It became a huge stumbling block for the city during an appeal the ADI Development group made on the site for the 24 storey Nautique.

Heather MacDonald,  said in announcing the release of the report “The recommendation to implement an ICBL was brought forward by City staff in response to two primary concerns, including growth pressures that continue to emerge for the lands in the study area and a need to review the role and function of the John Street Bus Terminal as a Major Transit Station Area (MTSA).

With the findings of the study in hand, the city has called for a Statutory meeting January 14th at which the public can delegate and Councillors can ask questions.  Expect this to be a contentious meeting.  Staff will listen, take notes and use what they hear at the Statutory meeting to prepare the recommendations  that will be included in the Staff report they bring to Council later in the year.

Many were concerned that the report could not be produced in the one year time frame – MacDonald surprised many when it was delivered two months early.

The 135 page document with graphics galore needs time and consideration.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward said she: “I will be  reading the staff report and accompanying appendices overt the holidays and will have more to say in January. I welcome the public participation. This is another step in the process to get the community’s vision reflected in our downtown. We are well on track to completing this work when the one-year deadline on our ICBL is up

The purpose of the ICBL Study was to:

  • Assess the role and function of the downtown bus terminal and the Burlington GO station on Fairview Street as Major Transit Station Areas
  • Examine the planning structure, land use mix and intensity for the lands identified in the Study Area; and,
  • As required, provide recommendations to the City on updates to the Official Plan and Zoning bylaw regulations for the lands identified in the Study Area.

In the report the consultants said:

“There is a strong policy basis for Burlington’s Downtown John Street Bus Terminal as an MTSA and hence the numerous policy documents at the Provincial, Regional and City levels which identify an MTSA in the Downtown. Lands within the Downtown Burlington are identified as an MTSA in the Big Move, Halton Region Official Plan and the City’s adopted Official Plan (but not within the in force Official Plan). Furthermore, a number of long range plans identify potential for transit improvements along Brant Street to enhance connectivity between the Downtown and Burlington GO MTSAs. The Province’s RTP 2041 includes a “Priority Bus / Priority Streetcar” corridor on Brant Street between Downtown Burlington and the Burlington GO Station; and Halton Region’s DMTR reinforces this opportunity, identifying the link between the Burlington GO Station and the Downtown as a Priority Transit Corridor.

The consultants added:

If there was ever a place to locate a transit terminal - that would be John Street where the only terminal in the city is now located. Transit department is recommending it be removed and tickets sold at city hall. Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward isn't buying that business case

Tough to describe the John Street bus station as a Major Transit Station Area. There was just an estimated 320 boarding/alightings in the am peak period.

“From a policy perspective, the Downtown Burlington John Street Terminal is clearly understood to be a Major Transit Station Area. From an operational perspective the John Street Terminal is estimated to have 320 boarding/alightings in the am peak period, with potential to grow to 1800 boardings/alighting in the future. However, in comparison to the characteristics of typical major bus depots, the John Street Terminal has a number of limitations which underpin its lower ridership levels, including:

  • Limited number of major trip generators in the Downtown;
  • Limited connectivity to Burlington GO Station;
  • Limited station infrastructure; and,
  • Limited number of convergence and limited number transfers.

“With the above-noted limitations in mind, it is important to recognize that not all MTSAs are equal. The various density guidelines (e.g. Growth Plan density targets, Mobility Hub Guidelines and MTO’s Transit Supportive Guidelines) reinforce the notion that there is a hierarchy when it comes to transit, with facilities which operate in dedicated right-of-ways, such as subways, LRTs and BRTs, having the greatest potential for ridership compared to bus services which operate in mixed traffic. And while the current ridership levels are low, despite the fact that the Downtown is the City’s densest area, the John Street Terminal functions as a relatively important transfer point in the context of the City’s system.

“With this in mind, the station alone is not understood to be a significant driver of intensification, however, certain forms of intensification, such as employment uses or other major trip generators would help to reinforce the function of the MTSA. Furthermore, future improvements to services and infrastructure could help to improve ridership.”


Shovels are in the ground. A development the city did not want, a development that began the high rise fever and alerted other developers with just what they could get away with in Burlington.

That, unfortunately, was just the argument that the ADI Development Group used to convince the then OMB to approve their Nautique appeal. The idea that transit will be used by people who live in the downtown core suggests a huge failure to understand just how transit is used in this city.

Put a free bus running up and down Brant Street and people will use the service – you don’t need an MTSA to make that happen.

During a Standing Committee the public was led to believe that the Region could, if asked, declare that the John Street terminal was not a MTSA.  The consultant also said that the province has never refused to permit a change in the boundaries of an Urban Growth Centre – but added that no one has never asked the Minister of Municipal Affairs to change a boundary.

This may be one of those occasions where that phrase GROW BOLD, would apply.

The Land Use Study has a number of graphics that give credence to that “a picture is worth more than 1000 words” phrase.

Two that will interest many follow.

Brant St elevations

Top graphic is what the heights on Brant street now look like as you look eastward. Bottom graphic is the opposite direction.


Existing built form from the lake

This is the elevations looking north from the lake.


Height levels within UGC

Where the height is located.

We will return to a very important document – one that the Gazette believes has to be revised if the intentions of a majority of the current council are to be achieved.


The full report can be found HERE

Appendix B is the consultants report.

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Ed Keenleyside has convinced the city to publish his second book: no royalties though.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

December 30th, 2019



Ed Keenleyside has been writing about Burlington’s war time contributions for some time. When the city put up a small notice explaining the background of the cenotaph just to the north of City Hall it was Ed who spotted the error.

Keenleyside with partial monument

Keenleyside at the foot of the Cenotaph next to city hall. His book will commemorate those lost in different wars.

He recently approached the City manager with an offer to give the city non-exclusive rights to his manuscript on the understanding that the city would publish the book.

Keenleyside will negotiate with the city manager once the details are worked out and the legal department has put their thumb print on the proposed agreement.

The title: An Illustrated History of the Burlington Cenotaph, The Story of a Community Memorial is fitting – and if anyone knows that story it is Ed Keenleyside.

The Burlington Cenotaph has been a part of the history of the community for close to 100 years. Eighty-two Burlington veterans of the First and Second Wars have their names inscribed on the Cenotaph. The first 38 names were inscribed in 1922, with the additional 44 occurring in 1947 via a bronze plaque added to the Cenotaph.

Keenleyside, a Burlington resident, a retired member of the Royal Canadian Air Force, a former high school history teacher and former City of Burlington employee has completed a manuscript of the history of Burlington’s Cenotaph.

The book was written to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the unveiling of the Burlington Cenotaph on April 10, 1922.

The City will not pay Mr. Keenleyside for the publishing or distribution rights, it would only incur the cost of actually printing the books. Keenleyside would retain ownership of the book.

Printing and distributing this book, is described as a small gesture that the City of Burlington can do to recognize soldiers from Burlington who gave their lives during war. Copies of the book could be printed as gifts to visiting dignitaries or used for special occasions such as Remembrance Day ceremonies.

Mr. Keenleyside would retain copyright of the manuscript.

Keenleyside first book

Cover of Ed Keenleyside’s first book.

Keenleyside is the author of “We Were Just Doing our Bit.” The City of Burlington does not own the rights to that book nor has any discussion taken place regarding that book.

While this manuscript has merit consideration had to be given to other requests of this type coming in. To date the City Manager’s Office is not aware of other requests of this type, nor has the City’s Legal Department drafted an agreement like this in the past.

If other requests such as this came forward, they should be evaluated on a case-by- case basis. Although no formal criteria is in place, any further considerations should take into account such factors as historical importance to Burlington, connection of the author to the community, financial considerations and opportunities for the City of Burlington to use the manuscripts.

The options considered by city staff were:

Not to move forward with an agreement and therefore not accept print or distribute the book.

Council decided at their December 16th meeting to go forward; the item was approved as a Consent item on the agenda with no debate or discussion.

The cost of printing and, we assume, the size of the print run and whether the cover will be a hard case of softback will be managed by the by Corporate Communications & Government Relations, a unit that is within the City Manager’s Office.

Design considerations are important – it isn’t clear if Keenleyside has final design approval.

There is a down side to this: once the word is out everyone with a “book” will be approaching Kwab Ako-Adjei;  this is his ball to carry.

Readers of the Gazette will have been aware of the in-depth word Mark Gillies did on the city’s war veterans.

Related news stories:

Keenleyside spots errors in plaque

Mark Gillies wrote in depth about Burlington war heroes.

Names and faces of the 38 lost in WWI by Mark Gillies

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City is in good financial shape - but not quite as good as it was in 2018; something this council will want to keep in mind.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

December 30th, 2019



The city has to contend with the reality of the market – the bank rate (the amount Bank of Canada charges BIG banks for the money they borrow) which means the city pays more for what it borrows – and the city borrows a lot.

Based on the economics of the market, staff, in a report to Council, said they “will maintain the following investment strategies leading into 2020;

• Maintain investments in the City’s long-term portfolio taking the opportunity to invest in new bond issuances. Once the interest rate environment stabilizes, invest in longer durations to maximize rate of return while managing risk to ensure there will not be a liquidity issue to meet commitments.

• Trade bonds for capital gains by taking advantage of market fluctuations generated by economic data. Staff will focus on maximizing capital gains at the appropriate times and reinvest in the market taking advantage of higher interest rates at a longer duration.

Investment income is projected to meet budget for year-end based on the detailed below which is up to and including September 30th.

Financial Sept 30 1

Not meeting the investment targets.

Appendix A, below, shows investment income (interest earned, and capital gains realized) to September 30, 2019 on the total investment portfolio. The net bank position as of September 30, 2019 has increased by $21.7M. This increase is slightly offset by a decrease in the long term portfolio.

The remaining increase is attributed to the receipt of $5.6M from the Federal Government for the one-time top up payment related to the Gas Tax as well as unexpended capital funds allocated to capital projects.

Appendix B provides a listing of the current portfolio by type of investment, and weighted average yield, in accordance with the Ontario Regulation 438/97. In following the City of

Finance - investment portfolio

Appendix B listing of the current portfolio by type

Finance securities position

Appendix A, shows investment income

Burlington’s investment policy, the City can purchase Region of Halton bonds, up to but not greater than, the amount of the debenture issued on behalf of the City. As of September 30, 2019, the City’s investment portfolio included $15.6 million Region of Halton bonds.

As at September 30, 2019 the City’s investment portfolio is compliant with the guidelines set out in the City’s investment policy and goals adopted by the City.


Finance Property taxThe City of Burlington collects property taxes for the city, Region of Halton and the Halton Boards of Education as legislated under the Municipal Act, 2001. Appendix C reflects the property tax status at September 30, 2019 compared to September 30, 2018. The 2019 total levy is $420.6 million compared to $409.8 million in 2018.

Collections for the current taxation year are 93.6%, which is consistent with prior years as highlighted in the chart below and detailed below:

Arrears notices are sent four times per year to aid in collections. In addition to arrears notices, tax collection letters are sent to owners with arrears in both the current year and two previous years; business properties are sent letters in the first quarter and residential properties in the second quarter.

A property title search is undertaken in November on accounts with three years of arrears and any lenders are notified. This results in most accounts being paid.

For those properties that remain three years in arrears, the Municipal Act, 2001 allows for a tax sale process to begin in January. The owner or any interested party has one year to pay out the tax arrears. If arrears remain after the one year period, the city may proceed with a municipal tax sale. Since 2000 there have been seven tax sales in Burlington.

The city offers multiple payment options including three pre-authorized payment plans which provide a convenient and reliable payment method for property owners. Approximately one third (20,000) of all property accounts are enrolled in pre-authorized payment plans.

The big picture:

Finance full statement to Sept 30

Department by department – broken into the four pillars of the Strategic Plan.


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National Homes and the City are reported to have agreed on settlement terms over a Plains Rd. development - Have Citizen Concerns been Swept Aside?

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

December 29th, 2019



The National Homes plan to build – what – on the 484 – 490 Plains Rd  site where the Bingo Hall was located, is one of two developments they have before the city.

National development Plains Rd Bingo hall

484 – 490 Plains Rd site where the Bingo Hall was located.

The Plains Road development is at Local Planning Act Tribunal (LPAT)  where things are a little confusing.

There is an LPAT Settlement meeting scheduled for January 21st where the final stage of  the agreed settlement between National Homes and Burlington was to be completed.

Jim Young 2

Jim Young

Jim Young, an Aldershot resident has been following this case closely and reports that “So far I don’t know any details nor do I suspect anybody else does.”  Young is a Participant in the case.

Young adds that Tom Muir has been trying to argue a case that he as a “Participant” should be allowed to present an opposition to the settlement agreement.  The National Homes lawyer, Ira Kagan, is advising Muir that presenting evidence is unlikely on two grounds.

1. Only parties get to present evidence or mount a case and there are only two parties… The City and National Homes.  Participants like Tom or I can submit an opinion but cannot give evidence or present “Expert Testimony”

2. Since the city and Nat Homes have reached a settlement neither of them will need to present any testimony.

The appeal will open, there will be little or no discussion as there is agreement and LPAT will happily accept the settlement and move on.

Young concludes that: “At the end of the day what is agreed will be the outcome.”

“If we as citizens feel strongly enough opposed to it our fight must be with the city who we elect and who agreed to the settlement… not the developer over whom we have no control.”

Muir with pen in hand

Tom Muir: He can be acerbic and difficult at times – but he usually has facts at his fingertips. He did not get a Christmas basket from National Homes. Most of the members of Council did.

Muir takes the position “that some redevelopment of this site can occur, and is permitted by the existing OP, and while not planning policy relevant to this proposal, the proposed revisions to the OP and By-laws also permit some development”

“My concern is that this proposal is asking for variances that go far beyond these stated permissions and represent an over-intensification and over-development of this site. The key question is, when is enough enough? Unfortunately, there is so much scope of redundant, discretionary and arbitrary interpretation of the policy framework used to evaluate proposals, that almost anything can be supported and justified by assertions, based almost exclusively on intensification.”

Muir differentiates between “evidence-based policy-making” , and “policy-based evidence making. This looks to be the latter – decide what you want first, and then pick the evidence. Oftentimes, sections of the Policy Framework said to be used, are selectively chosen and focused to assertions that support the recommendation to approve.

“As a result, the viability of existing business and commercial economic development is being sacrificed by planning justifications such as this one. What I continue to find disturbing is the continued de-commercialization of Aldershot. In this respect, the impacts of the loss of commercial at this site are completely ignored in the planning justification coverage of the Provincial Planning Statement as part of the policy framework.”

The Provincial Policy Statement states that Planning authorities shall promote live/work, economic development and competitiveness by:

a) providing for an appropriate mix and range of employment and institutional uses to meet long-term needs;

b) providing opportunities for a diversified economic base, including maintaining a range and choice of suitable sites for employment uses which support a wide range of economic activities and ancillary uses, and take into account the needs of existing and future businesses.

“I do not see these directions being followed in the proposal by National Homes focused on population intensification. In this regard, the proposal includes 10,748 square feet of commercial, whereas there is almost 50,000 square feet existing, and this commercial is fully serviced, providing maximum potential of uses, with commercial venting, full transport loading facilities and size, adjacent, or nearby, more than sufficient parking, and so on”, said Muir.

“There are no specifications as to what quality of commercial potential is proposed. Moreover, this seems to be inadequate replacement commercial space, and appears to resemble what the development business calls “throwaway commercial”, provided to get the real goal of intensified residential. Concern about the rent for new commercial space.  A public meeting was told that: There is an option for existing tenants to move into new space and that the market will dictate size of units. New development will be set at market prices.”

Muir points out that existing prices are well below market rates and said: ” I have talked to existing business and they say that the rents will double and become unaffordable.

The proposal asks for very significant amendments to the Official Plan and By-Laws asking for increased height, increased density and increased floor area ratio, reduced minimum setbacks, reduced amenity area, and reduced parking standards. The Planning Justification for the proposal only mentions the floor area ratio (from 1.5 to 2.14); net residential density (from 51 to 185 units/ha, to 216); and height (from 2 to 6 stories, to 8) but claims that except for these variances the proposal conforms.

Muir making a point

Tom Muir: It should be about good planning.

There is increasingly a departure from the reality of multiple car ownership per unit. I agree that not every unit will have 2 or more cars, but it’s just fantasy to say and assume that all units will have mostly 1 car, and thus dismiss the parking issue that is a reality. At the present time, residents in the Jazz building across the street are reported by residents and business nearby to be parking in the proposal site at all times of days and overnight. As well, parents of children at the school across the street also use the site to park as they pick up and drop off their kids. All those thousands of unaccounted for vehicles are not going to disappear because the planners refuse to recognize they exist.

“This is not “good planning”, but is making convenient and false assumptions to facilitate what the planners want to do. It’s the residents that are being subjected to the consequences.”




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Gifts from developers, no matter how small, are to be reported to the City Clerk. Were they?

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

December 29th, 2019



How did the request for what Councillors did with any gifts they received turn out?

The first surprise was the “message” alert we got. They had all abandoned city hall for the holidays and gave different dates for their return.

MMW baasket 4 small

Photographs of the gifts sent to the Mayor.

Two did get back to us and reported that they did get very small gifts which they passed along to a community group. They appear to have taken the Mayor’s lead; she suggested that in future a card would “suffice”.

We got an automatic response from Ward 1 Councillor Kelvin Galbraith that said – “Please note that my office is closed during the holiday shutdown and I will be returning on January 6th. I will have little to no access to email during that time.

We got an automatic response from Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns that said: I’ll be away from the office effective Monday, December 23, 2019 through to Friday, January 3, 2020 inclusive. She followed that up later with “I received the tray of nuts / candy from First National. They were opened and shared on the office floor. My policy (for well over a decade in procurement) is to share, donate or return any gifts. I also graciously decline any gestures over the value of a coffee. Ie: meals, tickets, gift cards, etc. This applies broadly, not only to those with any active application, tender or interest in city business.

We got an automatic response from Ward 3 Councillor Rory Nisan that said: “I am currently out of the office returning on Thursday, January 9, 2020”. He later responded with a note saying he was given one edible gift and passed it on to a local church that holds a community supper.

Shawna Stolte, City and Regional Councillor – Ward 4 said: “I did receive a dish of cashews and chocolate covered almonds from National Homes and I donated it to the Open Doors Community Christmas Dinner last week.

sharman and AB in huddle

Councillors Sharman and Bentivegna sit side by side at Council.

There was no response from Councillors Sharman Ward 5 and Councillor Ward 6 Angelo Bentivegna.

Roland Tanner

Roland Tanner.

Roland Tanner puts the matter of council members getting gifts of any form from anyone in a comment he made on the Gazette:

“The mayor’s “personal policy” is not actually relevant. The City’s Code of Good Governance prevents Councillors accepting gifts over $25 unless they are “an integral part of our duties as a councillor” – in which case they must be reported for the City Clerk.

In the City’s Code of Good Goverance, which every member of Council has signed saying they agree that:

“We will avoid any actual or perceived conflict of interests. We, and our family members, will avoid accepting gifts, and where accepting a gift is an integral part of our duties as a member of council, we will report those valued at more than $25 accepted, to the City Clerk who will annually report them to the public. We will adhere to the Corporate Policy on Gifts and Hospitality.”

The gifts shown in photographs are clearly in excess of the $25 limit, unless my understanding of the costs of gift baskets is way off, and therefore have to be returned/refused. Technically I’m not sure that passing them onto other groups is allowed – it could still be viewed as a ‘benefit’ to the council member. However, if local groups get some benefit out of it, great.

For those of you who are real policy wonks – the Burlington Code of Good Governance is set out HERE.

IntegrityThe collective behaviour of this council on this matter is nothing to be proud of – On January 23rd, every member took part in a half day workshop on just what the Code of Good Governance was all about.  City Council met  in the Great Room at the Paletta Mansion.  It was a closed session with two presentations being made:

A Workshop presented by Mike Galloway, CAO, Town of Caledon, on Governance for Elected Officials and Senior Management.

There was a second Workshop presented by Jeff Abrams and Janice Atwood-Petkovski, Principles of Integrity on Code of Conduct and responsibilities of the Integrity Commissioner.

Marianne Meed Ward has been a huge champion for a Code of Conduct – but she was never able to convince her colleagues on both the 2010-14 and the 2014-2018 to come up with a Code they couldn’t slide around.  The session in January was the first opportunity the new Council got to see what it was that they had to live by.  They appear to have short memories.


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An incredible feat planned to recover rocks from Mars: $7bn and more than a decade to complete.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

December 28th, 2019



One of the gifts for me came in what looked like a tube. It was a magazine The Economist, withiout a doubt the best magazine published in this world. It was the double issue holiday edition – which I’ve yet to complete.

There is an article about what this world is doing in space – I just had to copy and share with you. It izs about how we are going to recover rocks from Mars when xxx Incredible story – the lengths the scientists go to. Read on please.

THE IDEA, popular in science fiction, that alien life will do bad things to life on Earth if the two come into contact, is not restricted to the activities of malevolent extraterrestrial intelligences. In “The Andromeda Strain”, a novel by Michael Crichton, the baddies are mysterious and deadly (but completely unintelligent) microbes that hitch a ride to Earth on board a military satellite. They start by killing everyone in the town of Piedmont, Arizona, and then wreak havoc in a secret underground government laboratory, as scientists struggle to understand and contain them.

Utah is the planned landing place of the first samples to be collected from the surface of Mars. Optimists like to think that those samples might contain traces, even if only fossil, of life on Mars. And in case they do, the samples’ ultimate destination will be a purpose-built receiving facility with level-four biosafety controls—the highest category possible.

Mars surface

The location on Mars where the xx will land and the recovery process begins.

The Mars Sample Return (MSR) mission intended to achieve all this will require three launches from Earth over the course of a decade, and five separate machines. The organisations involved—America’s National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA, and the European Space Agency, ESA—are each responsible for specific craft in the chain of what David Parker, ESA’s head of human and robotic exploration, calls “the most ambitious robotic pass-the-parcel you can think of”.

At a meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco, space scientists and astrobiologists outlined the details of the MSR. The project will begin with the launch, next July, of NASA’s Mars 2020 mission. This will carry to the planet a successor to Curiosity, a rover that has been crawling productively over the Martian surface since 2012. The Mars 2020 rover, yet to be named, will land in a 45km-wide crater called Jezero, in February 2021. Its main purpose is to search for signs of ancient microbial life. Around 3.5bn years ago, Jezero contained a lake. Mars 2020 will drill for samples from the clay and carbonate minerals now exposed on the surface of what used to be a river delta flowing into this lake When the rover finds something that its masters want to bring back to Earth, it will hermetically seal a few tens of grams of the material in question into a 6cm-long titanium test tube, and then drop the tube on the ground. It can deal in this way with around 30 samples as it travels to different parts of the crater.

Once it has dropped a tube it will broadcast that tube’s location to the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, a satellite already on station that is armed with a high-magnification camera. This camera will take photographs of the tube and its surroundings, so that the tube can be found at a later date. The tubes are intended to be able to survive for more than 50 years on the surface of Mars, at temperatures less than 20°C.

The next phase of the project will begin in 2028, when a “fetch rover” designed and built by ESA will be sent to Mars to find and collect the tubes. This rover will be small, nimble and ten times faster than any of its predecessors. It will also be semi-autonomous, which will permit it to spot, pick up and manoeuvre the test tubes into the interplanetary equivalent of a test-tube rack without detailed instructions from Earth.

Once the fetch rover has collected all the tubes, it will deliver the rack to a NASA-built craft called the Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV). This rocket will have arrived from Earth, filled with fuel, in the same mission as the fetch rover. Once it has the samples, it will launch itself from the surface of Mars—the first ever rocket launch from a planet other than Earth.

Once in orbit, the MAV will throw its basketball-sized payload overboard. Waiting nearby to intercept the cargo will be yet another craft, the Earth Return Orbiter (ERO), built by ESA. This will have been launched from Earth independently of the MAV-and-fetch-rover mission. The ERO will find, ingest and seal the payload, to avoid contaminating it with any organisms that might have hitched a ride all the way from Earth. Using a gentle, solar-powered electric propulsion system, the ERO will then take the payload back to Earth over the course of the subsequent few years.

sun earth mars

From the left: The sun with earth (the closest planet) and Mars ( the outer planet in their orbits around the sun.

When the ERO eventually goes into orbit around Earth (which will be in 2031, at the earliest) it will release the payload. This will be packed into a special, dome-shaped Earth Return Vehicle designed to carry the samples safely through the ferocity of atmospheric re-entry to a landing in the desert of Utah—whence they will be taken to their new bio-fortified home for examination. Once examined and deemed safe, the samples will then be distributed to researchers around the world for study.

It is, then, an extraordinary enterprise. But all of this complexity does raise the question of why researchers would go to so much effort to collect Mars rocks. The answer, as Michael Meyer, the scientific boss of NASA’s Mars Exploration Programme, told the conference, is that although, when you are on another planet, you have to hand all the rocks that you could ever want, you are also stuck with the handful of instruments that you took with you to look at them. Using sophisticated X-ray scanners or grinding samples up and feeding them through a chemistry set is not an option.

A sample-return mission will not be cheap. Researchers from NASA and ESA, who have established a working group to harmonize technical efforts for the various stages of the project, estimate it will cost $7bn to complete.

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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