Year in Review: February 2019 - Council passes a 2.99 % tax increase; first cannabis shop application made.

background 100By Pepper Parr

December 28th, 2019



February, the second month of the last year of the second decade in this new millennium.

February 1st, 2019: – The plight of those less fortunate than most of us made the front page with a resident deeply concerned over how homeless people were managing to survive and the Mayor offering more of a platitude than anything else.


The homeless in Burlington – city is still looking for a policy that reflects its values.

Marilyn Ansley gave money to a homeless person earlier this week; he was soliciting at Fairview and Brant St. She said: “We must recognize and provide support to the many homeless people in our affluent city.”

People are not permitted to beg on the streets of Burlington – and begging is what it is – let’s not do the Burlington polite thing and call it soliciting.

“I asked him where he would be tonight in extremely cold weather. He said Burlington has nothing and all shelters in Hamilton are full.

Ms Ansley said she followed up with calls to the Region and was told she should tell people who need help to call 311.

The Mayor’s office sent a comment to the Gazette via her Chief of Staff setting out what the city was able to do.

“Resources are available so that there is no reason for anyone to spend a night on Burlington’s streets. The City of Burlington staff and leadership are always open to feedback from the community and continued evaluation of the programs that exist along with their use and effectiveness.”

The Gazette had asked each member of Council for a comment on homelessness and what could be done to help. The response from the Mayor was all that was received – it was a sign of the kind of relationship that was going to exist throughout the year.

There was a reason for this new relationship that no one was talking about.

February 2, 2019

Festival of treesThe Festival of Trees put on by the Performing Arts Centre to raise funds for the use of the Community Theatre by different arts group was a bright spot that will be appreciated throughout the year.

More than double the funds raised last year were brought in this year – they actually sold out the draw tickets they had.

Described as a massive success, the event brought 8000 visitors between Nov. 22 and Dec 20, and $7,305 for our Community Studio Theatre initiative, which provides grants to local artists and arts organizations to offset the cost of renting the Community Studio Theatre.

February 5th, 2019: – The City’s 10-year Capital Financing Strategy is heavily dependent on both annual dividends and interest on the note receivable from Burlington Hydro – but the financial statements weren’t given even a wink at the Standing Committee Monday night. The report will get looked at again at a city council meeting on February 25, 2019.

Last night the best council could do was Receive and file finance department report F-04-19 regarding the 2019 Business Plan for Burlington Hydro.

Burlington Hydro is owned by the city – 100% of it.

Burlington Hydro Inc (BHI) and Burlington Electricity Services Inc (BESI) are affiliate companies both of which are 100% owned by Burlington Hydro Electric Inc (BHEI). BHEI is 100% owned by the Corporation of the City of Burlington.

February 10th, 2019
The city lost one of its more impressive business leaders when Pasquale (Pat) Paletta passed away this date. His many business interests through his hard work, perseverance and vision, have all contributed to the growth and prosperity of Burlington. His incredible legacy as a self-made businessman will continue to carry on now through his family.

February 11th, 2019

Meed Ward H&S

Mayor makes herself perfectly clear.

Mayor Meed Ward presented a motion that 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.

Meed Ward once again put out the word that the city “will immediately discontinue use of the “Grow Bold” term and related branding to ensure we are absolutely clear on our direction.”

Joe Dogs tables with snow Feb 2-15

The 2019 winter had arrived.


February 12th, 2019
As of 4 p.m. today, the City of Burlington is closing all city facilities and cancelling all city-run programs and rentals for Tuesday, Feb. 12. The City will work with sport user groups and renters to reschedule times.

Residents are strongly encouraged to avoid traveling as the roads are unpredictable as the city’s snow-fighters plow, sand and salt the primary roads.

All vehicles parked on the street must be removed and parking exemptions are void. Failure to remove vehicles from residential roads could result in being ticketed or possibly towed to allow snow plows and other heavy machinery to safely navigate the narrow streets.

February 16th, 2019:
Earlier in the year, after dismissing the City Manager, Council hired Tim Commisso to serve as an Interim City Manager for what was described as a six month contract, while City Council figured out what it wanted in the way of a new City Manager.

Commisso stare

Tim Commisso: He was brought in as an interim – got an offer he couldn’t refuse – a five year contract.

Commisso had earlier been employed by the city of Burlington for a number of years and left holding the title of General Manager. He left  Burlington to return to Thunder Bay, the city he was raised in, to serve as City Manager and retired from that job.

Then out of nowhere, with nothing said publicly, Commisso is described as the Acting City Manager.

We didn’t know then that he would eventually be hired as the City Manager with a five year contract after a competition that was said to have attracted 70 applicants.


The first high high rise development to be approved. The change in the city skyline was going to change.


February 18th, 2019:
The initial development application and concept for 2085 Pine St. that would have increased the height from the 5 storeys to 11 storeys was approved. The site was sold and the new owners came back with a proposal to 40 units. The issue for this location has always been the retention of the heritage structure.

The immediate area has a number of development applications that have either been approved (ADI is at the corner of Martha and Lakeshore 24 storeys) or are in the process of being considered by the city’s Planning department. They include plans for an 11 storey development on the east side of Martha south of the James – New Street intersection, the Mattamy development – 18 storeys at the corner of James and Martha

A proposal for 29 storeys – (the highest so far for the city) at the intersection of Pearl and Lakeshore Road.


City Hall BEST aerial

Civic Square was going to get a makeover – it wasn’t clear just how big a change the new council had in mind.

February 20th, 2019:
To the surprise of many a request for comments and ideas was released. The city had plans to upgrade the Civic Square.

The flag poles will be moved further up Brant Street opening up Civic Square.

The overall design has been determined and artists are being asked to come up with some ideas on what kind of shading there should be and what it could look like.

The competition was to close on March 15th.  There is a fee of $115,000 for the artist(s) chosen to do the job.

The contractor for the Civic Square shading project is anticipated to be complete and off-site by end of September. The artist will be expected to install the shade structure in October/November 2019.

Things didn’t work out quite that way.

Kearns with Mike

Kearns creates a Registry identifying those she meets with.

February 22, 2019
During the first month she was in office ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns said she was going to create a Business Registry. Anyone wanting to talk to her about a business matter would have to sign the Registry so that her constituents would know who she was talking to. We don’t yet know how detailed that Registry is going to be – just that there will be one and that it will become public starting at the end of March.

February 22nd, 2019

A statement from the Mayor on development:

My office recently received a letter from Minister Steve Clark of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing regarding their work on the provincial government’s Housing Supply Action Plan.

Minister Clark outlined their desire “to take swift action to streamline the development approvals system” and “speed up the time it takes to get the right kind of housing built in the right places”. He further explained that “land use planning and development approvals are critical to achieving housing and job- related priorities” in our communities.

Mayor Meed Ward“I agree with these assertions and am glad to see their continued commitment to expediting these processes. As part of the new Red Tape Red Carpet Task Force that my office has initiated to support local business attraction and growth, I am committed to cutting red tape for development applications that are supported by council and the community.”

“The Minister’s office continues to consult on proposed changes to the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe and review the Planning Act and Provincial Policy Statement as well, with the intention to bring forward legislation and policy changes in the coming months.

“While Minister Clark’s letter advises local municipalities to consider pausing on activities that may be impacted, such as Official Plan reviews, I want to reinforce that until we get more specific details from the Province related to the municipal land use planning process, the City of Burlington will continue to move forward as planned with our review of the Official Plan as per the motion approved by City Council on February 5th.”

The best way to save time and money is to eliminate the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal altogether. The tribunal, like the Ontario Municipal Board it replaced, provides unelected and inefficient involvement in planning matters that are best left to local councils, unnecessarily slowing down the development process.

Leaving planning in local municipal hands would not only speed approvals and remove red tape, but also provide more incentives to the development industry to work with municipalities and their residents to plan full communities rather than just build housing.

February 23rd, 2019:
Taking part in LPAT hearings: Gary Scobie attended a Local Planning Act Tribunal (LPAT) case conference meeting recently.

It was the follow up to a meeting at which he presented a lengthy document on why he felt the Reserve Properties appeal of a city council decision that permitted 17 stories the developer wants 24 – same as the one on the other side of the street.
Scobie had applied to be a Participant in the LPAT appeal back in January and he submitted his views to all Parties as required and filled in all the proper paperwork.

Yesterday the LPAT representative Chris Conti agreed with the Parties that they should all wait for the outcome of a pending trial in Toronto that will better define how LPAT functions going forward.

Scobie finds he is still a Participant in the appeal hearing, as far as he understands, but was told that his role may have ended with his submission. He apparently has no ability as a Participant to further expand or comment on the submission he made nor will anyone ask him any questions on the document.

February 24th, 2019

Burlington’s Best program comes to an end.

Burlington-Best-Header-847x254The deadline for what has been an annual event for the past 53 years is February 28th. The city asks the citizens to nominate people they feel have served the city well in eight categories.

This, the 53rd event, is reported to be the last.  Gazette sources have advised that the program will come to an end this year.

Established in February 1965 as the Civic Recognition Committee it may have outlived its usefulness.

February 19th, 2019
The site is just yards away from where Marianne Meed Ward officially threw her hat into the ring for the office of Mayor.
The application is to change the Official Plan designation to High Density Residential to allow the development of a mid-rise, 6-storey apartment building, with 160 dwelling units at a density of 258 units per hectare. A rezoning application has also been made to change the corresponding zoning.

Clearview rendering

The development was seen as very much out of place with what existed.

The lands are currently designated as low density residential in the City’s Official Plan which allows for detached and semi-detached dwellings, and other forms of ground oriented housing not exceeding 25 units per hectare.

The Meed Ward campaign was about sensible, responsible development. Yards away from where she was speaking to a small, enthusiastic audience at the top of Clearview Avenue overlooking the site on which the ADI Development Group is building the Station West community that will amount to a new neighbourhood that will align with the mobility hub.

February 26th, 2019
The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (ACGO) has received an application for a retail cannabis store in Burlington at 103-4031 Fairview St.

Council ALL 2018

The 2019 budget was very much the Mayor’s production.

February 27th, 2019: 
The tax increase for the 2019 budget will be 2.99%.   They did it.  Today the Mayor  got her first budget approved – and make no mistake about it – this was the Mayor’s  budget.  The Operations budget is set at $165,960,609.

The Fire Chief didn’t get his $50,000 drone but the Manager/Supervisor of the bylaw enforcement team did get $35,000 for a car.

There were some incredible decisions made – those people who live below the poverty line are going to be able to get bus passes that will allow them to use transit totally free of charge.

Staff had brought in a request for 3.99% – nope said this council. Make it work on 2.99% – and they did. At the end of the year there was a surplus of $900,000

February 28th, 2019
That time of year again – when hundreds of runner take to the pavement and run the Chilly Half Marathon. This time it is really going to be chilly. There were transit route disruptions on routes 3, 10 & 20.

Related news story:

 January 2019 in Review


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A young Burlington hockey player starts the World Hockey Juniors looking very good as the net minder.

sportsgold 100x100By Pepper Parr

December 28th, 2019



One of Burlington’s finest, a young hockey player who came out of the Eagles, went on to play for Guelph in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL)  and is now minding the nets for the World Junior Hockey tournament being played in Czechoslovakia.

Net minder 2

Those pads were made for Daws and this World Junior Hockey Tournament.

In the game against the United States during the preliminary round Nico Daws was brilliant – Canada took that game 6-4. The team plays Russia later today.

Daws H&S

Daws says he is up to the challenge before him.

Burlington-native Nico Daws had never participated in a single Hockey Canada practice before getting the call to this year’s world junior team. After being passed over at the 2019 NHL entry draft, Daws went on to post outstanding numbers (.939 sv% in 20GP) this season for the Guelph Storm in the OHL.

Daws finished his pre-tournament by stopping every shot he faced in 30 minutes of play time against Finland on Monday and may have stolen the starting role for Canada at this year’s tournament.

Daws turned 19 during the pre-tournament practices – his parents are with him in Czechoslovakia.

Daws goalie - in net

Daws didn’t let this one get away from him during a practice game.

The Team Canada coaches have nothing but praise for Daws – who sounds more than up to the challenge he faces.

Team Canada has won the world Juniors 17 times however the game has changed and the Canadians have to change with it.

The stunning sixth place finish last year is something these young Canadians don’t want to see repeated.

We could be looking at another great one, this one minding the nets for Canada in Czechoslovakia.

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Year in Review: January of 2019 - the change had begun. Little did we know how extensive it was going to be or how well council would work together.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

December 27th, 2019



We are about to enter a  New Year and celebrate the last year of the second decade in this new millennium.

How did we do last year? It was a momentous year for the city. With a new city council installed the last month of 2018 we began to see how different the new council would be as we rolled through the year.

But it wasn’t all about city council.

The people of the city were much more engaged – not as fully engaged as they would like to be – they are working at upping that game.

Developments were popping up all over the place.

Let’s look at the year month by month.

January 3rd – Burlington decided to work with a Strategic Plan that had a 25 year time-frame. The practice had been to create a Plan that covered a four year time-frame. Council decided  a Strategic Plan needed to be constantly  revised to be relevant and opted for a 25 year Strategic Plan.

We didn’t know at the time that this would evolve into what became known as the Vision to Focus level. More on that later in the year.

January 7th – The National Homes development at 2100 Brant – just south of Havendale, howled when they learned of a kink in the appeal process that was taking place over the proposed 233 unit development that got reduced to 212 homes.

National Homes image

Residents did not want to put up with the level of intensification that National Homes had in mind . They compared the 736 homes in a site to the north in a much larger site to the 233 National had in mind.

Ed Door, the citizen who delegated on behalf of the community set out in considerable detail how badly the development application was managed.


Mike ‘The Beard’ Taylor died suddenly on December 30th, 2018

January 9th -The city announced it would hold a commemorative event on January 13th to celebrate the life of Mike ‘The Beard’ Taylor who died suddenly on December 30th. Mike was a member of Walk Off the Earth a Burlington musical group that went viral with a video that established them as a band that was making a difference.

There was a huge appetite for more influence at city hall and participation at the levels where decision are made. In the past residents who have been very critical of the way they get treated at city hall, are now telling the Gazette that Staff are reaching out to them.

“I don’t seem to have to chase people to get information” said one resident. Another mentioned that she was approached by staff in the Clerk’s office and asked to take part in a committee. “I didn’t know the staffer but she seemed to know who I was” said the resident.  Many people didn’t have much time for the Advisory committee process used in Burlington. “They tend to be controlled by the council member who sits in on the meeting and serves as liaison to council”, was the way one resident described them.

What we appear to be seeing at city hall is a small, subtle change.

Real estate report
When all was said and done in 2018, said a real estate agents report, sales were down 12% and inventory levels were down just over 20%. Sale prices settled at 1.9% below the average sale price in 2017. Not a bad result, given the doom and gloom we heard from many industry watchers.

Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative government has announced a review of regional governments in Ontario.
Burlington is a part of the Regional government of Halton, which is made up of Burlington, Oakville, Milton and Halton Hills.

Council approves cannabis retail outlets: 

They first earned the right to determine what the city’s municipal government would do – they won the election.

On December 3rd, they assumed power.

And now they are exerting that power.

Monday night, January 16th, city council listened to some people who had an amazing amount of information on just what the newest industry in Ontario is all about.

During the debate council members listened to delegations talk about what they knew about the rules and regulations that were either in place or going to be in place.

In the end, meeting as a city council, the earlier part of the evening they were meeting as a Standing Committee, the voted 5-2 to permit cannabis to be sold at commercial outlets in the city. Mayor Meed Ward, Councillors Galbraith, Kearns, Nisan, Sharman voted for the motion – Stolte and Bentivegna voted against.

MMW at GTHA event

Burlington Mayor gets a province wide headline for her remarks on Ford policy – her peers begin to see Meed Ward differently.

January 16th – Sixteen mayors from the GTHA region met at Toronto City Hall at the invitation of Toronto Mayor John Tory for a closed-door meeting to discuss shared issues that cross municipal boundaries such as transit, affordable housing, and climate change. The Mayors agreed that no one municipality can fully address these issues alone, and with a federal election coming up, there was an opportunity for them to speak with a united voice on behalf of their communities.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward then delivered a line that media grabbed and turned into headlines. “Instead of a hatchet, we’d like more of a handshake approach from the province.”

The rest of the province just got a look at the ‘chops’ Burlington’s Mayor has. We learned as well that Burlington is not the end of the road for this women.

Opened as the Burlington Mall  the site was renamed and is now the Burlington Centre. It will take a little getting used to – but it will stick.

Burlington MPP Jane McKenna talked to staff at the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH) for clarification about the Mobility Hub legislation.

“The first thing I learned is that “mobility hubs” are identified by Metrolinx’s regional transportation plan, but do not have to be reflected as such in any local planning documents.

“The growth plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, 2017, does not refer to mobility hubs. The City of Burlington council is free to remove these mobility hub designations from the local official plan.”  Burlington might be able to remove mobility hub designations but there isn’t a hope in hades that Burlington will move away from the concept of hubs which are understood to be locations where development is increased and transportation options intensified.

The City’s Planning department is well into some deep dive research and with precincts defined and mapping work done showing where different heights and density of residential will be located.

McKenna has muddied the waters with her comments. There will be three mobility hubs; one at each of the existing GO stations.

January 21st – The Provincial Offences (POA) Courts in Burlington and Milton are getting ready to relocate to one new courthouse at 4085 Palladium Way in Burlington.

The Milton POA Court relocated its services to the Burlington POA Court on Friday, January 18, 2019. On Thursday, January 31, 2019 the Burlington POA Court and all POA court services will move to the new Halton Provincial Offences Court.

January 22nd – After years of getting to the point where there would be a Private Tree Bylaw Burlington is now ready to put at least a toe in the water of a very controversial issue: can anyone just cut down a tree on their property.

The Roseland Private Tree Bylaw Pilot comes into effect March 1. Information sessions are planned.
City tree photo

The pilot project aims to protect private trees with diameters larger than 30 cm, historic and rare tree species from damage or destruction.

The two-year pilot will conclude in March of 2021. At the end of the pilot, a report with recommendations will be presented to City Council.

January 23rd – INTEGRITY: City Council met on Monday 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.

The province requires all municipalities to have a Code of Conduct in Place and an Integrity Commissioner that the public can turn to should anyone feel that the elected officials and the appointed Staff are not complying with the Code of Conduct.

Marianne Meed Ward, now the Mayor, was a huge champion for a Code of Conduct – but she was never able to convince her colleagues to come up with something they couldn’t slide around.  The session on Monday was the first opportunity the new Council got to see what it was that they had to live by.

Clarity asked for.
January 25th – “We are three concerned Ward 1 citizens who believe council needs to act to clarify the status of the New OP and the supremacy of the Existing Official Plan (Existing OP).”


Greg Woodruff

Muir glancing

Tom Muir

Jim Young 2

Jim Young

The Region’s rejection of the New OP renders it null and void and, under the Planning Act, leaves the Existing OP “in Force and Effect” at present. Yet recent applications by developers for zoning or bylaw amendments to the City’s Official Plan appear to be receiving consideration under some kind of blending of both plans. This lack of clarity works very much in the developers favour.

Developers are submitting applications which, while paying lip service to the Existing OP to keep them compliant, incorporate features of the New OP in an attempt to cash in on its more liberal permitted heights.

Amica development rendering

The site proposal from the rear which overlooks a residential community.

There are many such applications in the works but one good example of this practice is the Proposed Development at 1157-1171 North Shore Bvd.  The developer wants 17 stories (62.5) metres in an area where the Existing OP designates 11 Storey (Max 22 metres). Regardless of the merits or otherwise of the development, the process by which it is being pursued by both developer and city staff is not only inappropriate, it is contrary to all the reasons citizens elected a new city council and creates very dangerous precedents no matter what revision of the OP eventually reaches the books.

“At the mandatory public meeting held jointly by the developer and city planners on January 9th, these deviations from the Existing OP; the misapplication of the New OP and many other issues were raised by citizens.

“Our concerns about the legitimacy of the process were completely ignored by city planning staff whose duty, we believe should be to defend the wishes of Citizens, City Council and Halton Region, all of whom have rejected the New OP and pending a rewrite of that plan following its overwhelming rejection by voters in the October election.

If that needs to be clarified to city staff, then we urgently request that council convene to provide direction to staff, as is their prerogative, to the effect that: “The Old Official Plan remains in force and in effect as mandated by The Planning Act, and is therefore the only pertinent consideration for amendment applications until such times as A Revised Official Plan is drawn up, adopted by city council and approved by regional council.”

Grow Bold gets the boot from the Mayor

Mayor Meed Ward issued a statement this morning making it very clear what she had in mind. The Grow Bold tag line the Planning department had fallen in love with was out – and council will be looking at the “approved” Official Plan that the Regional government returned as deficient.

“Burlington residents have consistently raised concerns about over intensification and development in our City. During the 2018 election, they made their voices heard and clearly indicated the need to review the scale and intensity of planned development, especially in the new Official Plan.

“As a result, I am bringing forward a motion to re-examine the policies of the Official Plan that was adopted, though not officially approved, in April of 2018, and review matters of height and density.

“Halton Region has also recently identified areas of non-conformity, so this motion seeks to gain the time to address those issues.

“Once the Region identified areas of non-conformity, that stopped the clock on approving the new Official Plan and opened the plan up for any other matters of discussion. This allows our new city council the time to define what areas we want to study, undertake that work, consult with the community, and send back a comprehensive plan. We expect that plan to truly reflect the needs, best interests and vision of the community and its elected council.

“Further, we will immediately discontinue use of the “Grow Bold” term and related branding to ensure we are absolutely clear on our direction.

Pearl and LakeshoreJanuary 29th – Developer gets rough ride over 29 storey structure. A proposal for a 29 storey development on Lakeshore at Pearl got a cold reception when the developer suggested that the 26 storey building approved next door and others on Brant St. serve as a precedent. It was pointed out from the floor that the 26 storeys was imposed by the OMB and never actually approved.

It was obvious from the presentation, and introduction by City planning Staff, that the Official Plan rejected by the region and under review by city council, is still being referred to by both the developer and city planning staff. Assurances that Lakeshore would not be narrowed during construction were not forthcoming. Many of the city planning and developers comments were met with laughter or anger.

Asked if they really think about the impact on people or how disrespectful of citizens and council their proposal to build a 29-storey building in a 4 storey zone is, the developer’s representatives declined to reply. This brought derisive applause from those present. When one attendee asked for a show of hands from the audience there was not one hand raised in favour.

January 30th – Red tape + Red carpet
Mayor Marianne Meed Ward announced plans to launch and lead a Red Tape Red Carpet task force at this morning’s State of the City address at the Burlington Convention Centre and had a media release out before people got back to their desks.
Younger set meeting

In front of a sell-out crowd the Mayor spoke about her plan to help eliminate the red tape and bureaucratic delays that Burlington businesses have faced in their pursuit of growth throughout the city.

The Task Force will begin with a broad meeting that is open to the public to raise specific issues and concerns on topics ranging from permits, approvals, and other obstacles. A smaller task force of stakeholders will then be identified to come up with actionable recommendations that will be brought to council and shared with the Province by summer.

Dates and details will be announced shortly, and the Mayor suggested that anyone interested in participating at the task force level can reach out to her via email at

Co-chairing the task force with Mayor Meed Ward will be Kelvin Galbraith, Ward 1 Councillor.

Budget: Staff came forward with a 3.99% tax increase fr the year  The Mayor had a   different number in mind and, despite putting millions intro the LaSalle Park Marina, council was able to bring in a budget increase of 2.99% – they had to raid some of the reserve accounts to do it.

January 30th – State of the city
During her State of the City address on Monday Meed Ward said her themes during her term of office would be: Partnerships, change and openness.

The business community got their first look at the women who was going to direct the direction the city grew in and the quality of life its citizens would enjoy.  She also put out the words:  – ‘four to eight storeys is more than enough for the downtown core’, that had the development community in a lather.

January was a full month – February was even fuller.

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Human Trafficking, Sexual Assault and Assault Charges Laid Against Burlington Male

Crime 100By Staff

December 23rd, 2019



On December 20, 2019, members of the Halton Regional Police Service’s Child Abuse and Sexual Assault (CASA) Unit, with support from the Emergency Services Unit (including Tactical and Canine officers) and additional investigative officers, arrested a 58 year-old male for multiple offences, including human trafficking, sexual assault, and assault.

HRPS crestThese offences are alleged to have taken place in the City of Burlington and the Town of Milton between January 2006 and December 2019, and involved more than one victim.

Mohan “Jarry” AHLOWALIA (58) of Burlington is charged with the following:

• Assault x7
• Assault with a Weapon
• Sexual Assault
• Uttering Threats
• Extortion
• Trafficking in Persons (Forced Labour)
• Receive a Material Benefit from Trafficking in Persons (Forced Labour)
• Unsafe Storage/ Transportation of a Firearm
• Contravention of a Storage of a Firearm
• Possession of a Firearm Knowing its Possession is Unauthorized
• Firearm in a Vehicle
• Possession of a Prohibited Firearm
• Possession of a Prohibited Weapon without a Licence

The accused is known to use a number of aliases, including: Gerry AHOLOWALIA, Jarry Mohan AHLOWALIA, Jarry AWALIA, Mohan J. WALIA, M.J. AWALIA, Jarry AHLUWALIA, Mohan AHUWALIA, Jarry A’WALIA, and Jarry WALIA.

Investigators believe there are community members who may have any additional information pertaining to this investigation and they are asked to contact the Child Abuse and Sexual Assault (CASA) Unit at 905-825-4747 ext. 8970.

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

Due to the fact this investigation is ongoing, no further details will be provided regarding this investigation.

Every person has the right to feel safe in our community.

Victims of violence and/or sexual assault and witnesses are encouraged to contact the Halton Regional Police Service. The following is a list of valuable support services and resources in Halton region for victims of violence and/or sexual assault:

• Halton Regional Police Service Victim Services Unit 905-825-4777
• Nina’s Place Sexual Assault and Domestic Assault Care Centre 905-336-4116 or 905-681-4880
• Sexual Assault and Violence Intervention Services (SAVIS) 905-875-1555 (24-hour crisis line)
• Radius Child & Youth Services 905-825-3242 (Oakville) or 1-855-744-9001
• Kid’s Help Phone 1-800-668-6868 (24-hour crisis line)
• THRIVE Counselling 905-845-3811 or 905-637-5256

Traffickers need customers – some attention needs to be paid to the people who deal with human traffickers.

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Do developer gifts get returned by members of council? Mayor returns what she was given.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

December 23rd, 2019



MMW baasket 4 small

Gift sent to the Office of the Mayor

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward received a number of Christmas gift baskets from several developers. She sent them along to different community organizations with a note suggesting that a Christmas card was more acceptable.

One Gazette reader asked if members of City Council received gift baskets.

We don’t know – so to members of City Council: Did you receive a gift basket from any developer – and if you did what did you do with the gift

Ward 1 Councillor, Kelvin Galbraith
Ward 2 Councillor, Lisa Kearns
Ward 3 Councillor, Rory Nisan
Ward 4 Councillor, Shawna Stolte
Ward 5 Councillor, Paul Sharman
Ward 6 Councillor, Angelo Bentivegna

We will let you know what we learn.

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Mayor sends Christmas gifts from developers along to community organizations.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

December 23rd, 2019



It is a common business practice to send a gift to the people one does business with at Christmas. In my errant youth while working in the financial sector the practice was to send along a case of Single Malt. Those days are long gone.

The development community maintains the practice but uses gift Baskets to convey their season’s wishes.

MMW baasket 1

A social media moment indeed.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward’s office received a number and posted her policy about gifts on her Facebook page and in a Tweet she sent out.

Mayor’s Office got several holiday gift baskets from developers.

“My personal policy is not to accept gifts from this with current/pending before city council.

“Baskets found a good home Halton women’s Place and Welling Square Friday Community Dinner.

“In future a Christmas card suffices to spread holiday and Christmas cheer.

She suggested that in future gifts be directed to people in need.

One Gazette reader commented:  Pretty empty gesture, however, when you’re giving the downtown away. Nice photos though – and another social media moment.

Yet another pointed out that Provincially, you aren’t permitted to accept any gift.  Keeps things very simple and very clean.

Another asked if the other members of council were favoured – and if they were what did they do with anything they might have received.

Good question. Let’s ask them

Provincially, you aren’t permitted to accept any gift.  Keeps things very simple and very clean.


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Finding the right Path for students entering high school is no small matter. Series of information sessions set up within the Region.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

December 23rd, 2019



The Halton District School Board is hosting several Pathways Information Evenings in January 2020 to allow Grade 7 – 12 students and their families to explore program opportunities offered at high schools in Halton.

The Board offers more than 80 regional Pathways Programs designed to meet individual needs and help students succeed after high school, whether they are pursuing a pathway toward apprenticeship, college, community, university or the workplace. The Information Evenings help students to be better prepared for a rapidly changing world while receiving a relevant and engaging education.

All are welcome to attend and registration is not required.

The meetings will be held at the following locations from 6 – 8 p.m.:

Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020: Georgetown District High School, 70 Guelph Street, Georgetown
Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020: Craig Kielburger Secondary School, 1151 Ferguson Drive, Milton
Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020: Garth Webb Secondary School, 2820 Westoak Trails, Oakville
Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2020: M.M. Robinson High School, 2425 Upper Middle Road, Burlington

Pathways Programs include the Specialist High Skills Major programs, Ontario Youth Apprenticeship programs, Specialty School to Career programs, the Employability Skills Certificate program, Dual Credit college programs, Grade 8 – 9 Transition programs, and more.

Agenda for Pathways Information Evenings:

6 – 6:30 p.m. – Pathways displays and meet the Pathways Program teachers
6:30 – 7 p.m. – Pathways presentation (programs and planning for post-secondary)
7 – 8 p.m. – Teacher displays and elementary transition to high school workshop

basketball robots

High school show that they have been able to do with robotics. The piece of business was built to be able to , find, pick up and throw a basketball.

The Halton District School Board recently held a Find the Fit event at the Mattamy Velodrome in Milton where more than 1500 students from within the Region spent two hours talking to people from institutions offering different academic programs and getting a sense of what was out there in terms of post high school programs.

Huntley Gibbs looking left

Superintendent of Education Julie Hunt Gibbons

Superintendent of Education Julie Hunt Gibbons is responsible for for Secondary curriculum and school program, Student success and Pathways destinations, Elementary schools: Brookdale, Eastview, Gladys Speers, Oakwood, Pine Grove, WH Morden and TA Blakelock High School.

She said that preparing students for high school is a much different challenge than it was a decade ago.  The world these students are going to work within is a lot more complex and ever changing than anything their parents took part in.

Many of the jobs that exist today will not exist when they graduate from high school – education for them is going to be a lifelong task.

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News is not always good.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

December 23rd, 2019


Getting your name in the news.

The Burlington Foundation last week announced the establishment of the Pasquale (Pat) and Anita Paletta Foundation Fund through a generous gift of $500,000.

Recently unveiled at Burlington Foundation’s 20th anniversary celebration, the gift was announced by businessman and philanthropist Angelo Paletta on behalf of the Paletta family. Honoured as Burlington’s 2019 Distinguished Philanthropist, Angelo was joined by family members including mother Anita, and brothers Michael, Paul and Remi as together, they also shared in receiving a posthumous honour awarded to their family patriarch, Pasquale (Pat) Paletta, for his lifetime of community giving.

The Paletta family’s generosity to community has been evident since the early 1970’s. Since immigrating to Canada in 1949, the Paletta family have established many successful business enterprises across meat packing, real estate development and the entertainment industry, achieving local and national success. Through their achievements, the Paletta family have demonstrated a generous commitment to many local charitable needs and causes including notable contributions to Joseph Brant Hospital, Carpenter Hospice, Paletta Lakefront Park and Mansion, and the Tansley Woods Community Centre.

Paletta legacy endowment

The Paletta Family at the Burlington Foundation event honouring the $500,000 Leadership endowment.

“By establishing this foundation fund, we’re proud to honour the long-term commitment of giving generously to the community in which we live and work, that has been modelled by my father and mother,” says Angelo Paletta. “Through partnering with Burlington Foundation to establish this endowment, we are thrilled that our family’s community legacy will continue to grow for generations beyond.”

“It is an honour for Burlington Foundation to further our long-standing partnership with the Paletta Family and support their desire of continuing to make an ongoing impact in our community,” says Colleen Mulholland, President and CEO, Burlington Foundation. “We look forward to building upon their dedication to philanthropy for many years to come.”

The second news item was different in tone and much different in the number of dollars involved.

A Canadian Tax Court ruling, Paletta v. The Queen, the taxpayers’ attempt to break into the Hollywood movie business was a flop.

In this case, the Tax Court of Canada (TCC) held that the taxpayers’ contractual arrangement was nothing more than an attempt to claim tax losses and so the TCC confirmed the Canada Revenue Agency’s (CRA) decision to disallow US$96 million in partnership losses. The TCC’s basis for its decision was that option agreements – which were key elements of the transactions under appeal – were a sham.

The TCC also considered the government’s alternative argument should the sham doctrine not apply. In that regard, the TCC held that, if the option agreements were not a sham, the TCC would have dismissed the appeal on the basis that the property the appellants purchased was an unregistered tax shelter.

This tax alert focuses on the TCC’s sham analysis, as this was the primary basis for dismissing the appeal.

Relevant facts

Night at the Museum

Secret of the Tomb grossed over $363 million at the box office.

One of the appellants was Paletta International Inc. (Paletta International), a corporation that operated several businesses including real estate and farming businesses. In 2006, Paletta International borrowed US$212 million from the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) and invested the borrowed funds, along with US$8 million of its own funds, into a limited partnership (LP). Paletta International was the sole limited partner of the LP. The LP used US$128 million of the capital investment it received from Paletta International to purchase a worldwide perpetual copyright for the movie ‘Night at the Museum’ (the Film) from Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation (Fox). The Film had not yet been released in theatres.

The LP then used US$82 million of the capital investment it received from Paletta International to pay for the print and advertising expenses related to the Film. As a result, the LP reported non-capital losses of US$82 million from the print and advertising expenses, the majority of which were allocated to the limited partner, Paletta International. As part of these transactions, the parties agreed that Fox would have the option to reacquire the Film at essentially the cost of the Film plus 97 percent of the print and advertising expenses incurred by the LP (the Option Agreement). Fox exercised its option to reacquire the Film shortly before the Film was set to be released in theatres.

Angelo Paletta (Mr. Paletta), the other appellant, completed identical transactions with RBC and Fox for a second movie, ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’, and similarly claimed non-capital losses in respect of the second movie. Due to the identical nature of the transactions, the TCC focused its analysis on the transactions related to the Film and applied the decision to both series of transactions.

The sham doctrine

The TCC set out the relevant jurisprudence and principles related to the sham doctrine. In particular, sham documents are ones that “give to third parties or to the court the appearance of creating between the parties’ legal rights and obligations different than the actual legal rights and obligations”. Furthermore, The TCC cited that for tax, “the Court will arrive at a finding of sham when the evidence shows that the parties misrepresented their arrangements in a bid to achieve a tax benefit that would be denied if the nature of their arrangements was properly disclosed”.

The government’s position was that the transactions were a sham because Fox “never truly transferred” the Film to the LP. Simply put, the government argued that the LP never owned the copyright to the Film, had no right to earn income from the Film and did not incur expenses for the purpose of earning income.

The TCC’s analysis regarding sham

To determine whether the transactions constituted a sham, the TCC first looked to the conduct of the appellants. Testifying on behalf of the appellants, Mr. Paletta stated that he entered into these transactions to earn revenue from the distribution of the Film. He stated that, although he was aware of the Option Agreement, he hoped Fox would not exercise its option. Mr. Paletta testified that he had estimated the likelihood of Fox exercising its option was 50 percent and he was confident that if Fox did not exercise the option, the appellants could earn a substantial return from the distribution of the Film.

No one from Fox testified as to why Fox entered into these transactions. Based on the evidence, the TCC determined that Fox’s purpose for entering into the transactions was to save three percent on the print and advertising costs that it was going to incur related to the Film. In other words, the TCC held that Fox did not have any intention to sell the Film and that Fox’s benefit from taking part in these transactions was to offset some of its expenses related to the Film.

Finally, the TCC believed that the transaction documents would have resulted in unintended consequences for the parties if Fox did not exercise the options. For example, the distribution agreement (pursuant to which Fox retained distribution rights to the Film) provided that Fox would pay a percentage of the profits from the distribution of the Film to the LP for 15 years. However, the security agreements permitted Fox to hold payments owing to the LP in its collateral account until the expiry of the distribution agreement. In other words, Fox, in its sole discretion, could withhold all payments to the LP for 15 years. When the TCC raised this issue to Mr. Paletta, he stated that he would not have entered into the agreements if he had known that Fox could withhold the profit payments for 15 years.

TCC’s conclusion on sham doctrine

Earth stood still

The film grossed $79,366,978 domestically and $153,726,881 in foreign markets, a total of $233,093,859.

The TCC held that the Option Agreement was a sham because, based on the circumstantial evidence, the LP never intended to earn income from the Film due to the TCC’s finding that the parties agreed that Fox was going to reacquire the Film before it was released in theatres. Therefore, the TCC concluded that the LP (and, by extension, the appellants) did not incur the print and advertising expenses for the purpose of earning income. Instead, the appellants entered into the transactions “solely to avail themselves of the tax savings that the promoters led them to believe they could expect and that they felt secure in the knowledge that Fox had agreed to reacquire the films prior to their commercial release”.

In summary, the TCC held that the Option Agreement was a sham because (1) the appellants entered into the transactions to obtain the partnership losses, (2) the appellants expected that Fox would exercise its option to reacquire the Film and (3) Fox had agreed in advance to exercise its option. Interestingly, the TCC’s basis for finding that a sham existed was different than the government’s basis for alleging sham. As set out above, the government’s position was that, notwithstanding the transactions and agreements, Fox did not relinquish the Film and the LP never acquired the Film. The TCC did not find that the LP’s acquisition of the Film was a sham that was designed to misrepresent the parties’ agreement. Instead, the TCC held that the Option Agreement was a sham because it was not, in fact, an option, but a pre-arranged agreement pursuant to which Fox would reacquire the Film. Furthermore, only one element of the Option Agreement was a sham: the purported option element. The TCC therefore treated the Option Agreement as a “reacquisition agreement”.

Will Paletta cause the CRA to increase the use of sham as an assessing basis?

It will be interesting to see if the CRA uses Paletta as a precedent to reassess taxpayers under sham more frequently. Based on the TCC’s application of the sham doctrine in Paletta, the CRA may look to apply the sham doctrine to specific elements of agreements between taxpayers rather than simply applying it to whole transactions. The appellants have appealed the TCC’s decision to the Federal Court of Appeal, so some clarity on the sham doctrine may be obtained in the near future.

The Gazette will report on any decision from the Federal Appeal Court.

The bulk of the information on the tax court case came from RSM: Audit, Tax and Consulting Services to Help Middle Market Leaders Succeed media release.

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The scammers never stop. Be vigilant. If it looks fishy - it is.

Crime 100By Staff

December 22, 2019


For those who don’t believe in honest work – the chance to scam someone is something they can’t resist.  This message came to us from:

Amazon <

The following came our way.

There is something unusual in your account, you are trying to buy a gift card with no known security and avoid a danger.

We inform your account on the close. We request information that this is you.

T33o36 88d46a11t61e12,25 57A85m42a79z74o35n73S78m70i25l41e16 83h16a28s35 72d90o32n64a25t22e75d48 48a64 85t50o25t87a65l73 72o98f53:47

• Device : Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64; rv:50.0)

• IP :

• Date : 12/21/2019 04:48:55 am

amazon scam

The scammers never stop. Be vigilant. If it looks fishy – it is.

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Fifth application for a cannabis store in Burlington filed - public comments close January 3rd.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

December 22, 2019



The application for a cannabis retail store at 3007 New St. is now up for public comment. Once approved it will be the fifth retail store in Burlington. It will be called Corner Cannabis – New Street.

Cannabis manualWritten comments about the proposed location will be received by the AGCO until Jan. 3 and may be submitted online at The AGCO will accept submissions from:

• A resident of the municipality in which the proposed store is located
• The municipality representing the area in which the proposed store is located and/or its upper-tier municipality.
Comments submitted to the AGCO should relate to the following matters of public interest:
• Protecting public health and safety
• Protecting youth and restricting their access to cannabis
• Preventing illicit activities in relation to cannabis

After Jan. 3, the AGCO will consider all written comments and available information to decide whether the application for the proposed store location will be approved.

On Jan. 14, 2019, Burlington City Council voted to allow the operation of retail cannabis stores in Burlington.

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What does it cost to live in rented accommodations across Canada? It isn't cheap in Burlington.

News 100 blueBy Staff

December 20th, 2019



CCPA graphic

Click on the link to the left – highlighted in red and learn what housing costs in different parts of the country.

This is the time of year when “home” is the most important place for everyone.

Most people know more than enough about the cost of housing in Burlington but there isn’t much in the way of data on the cost of rental properties.

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives published a number of reports in 2019 that set out an interactive graphic that allowed you to dive into the data.

Give it a go – surprising how much the different communities cost out.

The data highlights the need for a minimum wage that is higher than $14 an hour and the need for accommodations that are actually affordable.


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Mayor does something to show a little Christmas cheer in the Hall

News 100 redBy Staff

December 20th, 2019



city hall lobby

A drab looking city hall – were it not for the poinsettia you’d never know it was Christmas. There is a small Christmas tree to the left of the Security Desk

The ground floor of city hall might be a little drab looking but there is nothing drab about the Mayor’s office and the Christmas get up she and her staff wore.

Mayor and her staff 2019

This is the team that gets the Mayor through a day.

We don’t see the eggnog container – but there has to be one for that crew to behave this way. A Santa wasn’t seen in the lobby area – that might be due to the cancellation of the Santa Claus parade.

The Karma is amazing.

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City provides additional detail on the 2020 budget - for a house assessed at $500,000 the tax increase would be $96.70

Budget 2020 redBy Staff

December 20th, 2019



Burlington aerial

Taxes to keep the city operating.

City hall released the following:

City tax increase of 3.99%

The Gazette reported that yesterday.

The approved tax increase of 3.99% includes:

Investments to maintain City services
1.33% to ensure the continued delivery of high-quality services

Investments in infrastructure renewal
1.25% dedicated to the renewal of existing city infrastructure.

Major capital projects in 2020 include:
• Revitalization of the Skyway Community Recreation Complex
• Resurfacing of New Street, between Walkers Line and Burloak Drive
• Repair and renewal of assets at numerous community centres and pool facilities
• Minor reconstruction of Canterbury Drive.

Investments to address climate change impacts
0.82% dedicated to assets and initiatives that support sustainable infrastructure and a resilient environment, including:

Community busses 8-metre-cut-away-bus1

Another Handi-van added to the fleet

• Four new conventional buses and eight additional drivers, plus a new specialized transit vehicle (Handi-Van) and driver
• Free transit for children age 12 and under
• New electric vehicle charging stations at City facilities such as arenas and community centres
• A new private tree bylaw program
• Updates to the Urban Forestry Management Plan and a new tree planting initiative
• Funding to complete a Climate Change Adaptation Plan, support for the Bay Area Climate Change Partnership, and resources to implement the Climate Action Plan.

Investments to address risk management and other corporate priorities

0.59% dedicated to enhancing customer service and supporting the implementation of Burlington City Council’s four-year work plan, Vision to Focus, including:


Staffing needed for the re-vitalized Museum.

• Enhanced parks and winter maintenance operations, including sidewalk snow removal
• Four years of the Home Fire Safety program
• Improvements to cyber security resilience
• Temporary staffing to operate the newly expanded Joseph Brant Museum
• Programming at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre that celebrates all cultures.

Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward said: “Council and our community should be proud of this budget that focuses on transit, trees, and green infrastructure, among other needs. We had to whittle down requests from Council that would have put us at a 7.5% city-tax increase if they had all been approved. We aimed for enhancing services, renewing aging infrastructure and responding to the needs of a growing community, while keeping your pocketbooks in mind. We made some tough, but strategic decisions for the 2020 budget, and the priorities reflect those of our community.”

Joan Ford, Chief Financial Officer added that: “The 2020 budget focuses on providing strategic investments aligned to the City’s four-year work plan, Vision to Focus, and Burlington’s 25-year Strategic Plan. At the same time, it provides investments to ensure the continued delivery of high-quality services, renewal of Burlington’s aging infrastructure, and funding for new community programs and initiatives.”

The total annual increase to property taxes for a home assessed at $500,000 is $96.70.

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Is Tourism Burlington about to get access to significant funding to promote the city ?

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

December  20th, 2019



When Myles Rusak appeared before a Council Standing Committee last week he set out some of the Sound of Music (SOM) longer term thinking and the objectives they had in mind. He was short about $40,000 of the budget he needed to accomplish the bigger plan.

Myles Rusak 2

Myles Rusak, Sound of Music Executive Director pitching City Council for financial support.

He explained to Council that it was going to take the SoM a couple of years to get some realistic lift-off and asked Council for the $40,000 + each a year for three years needed to meet the SoM long term plan. Rusak said that he thought the funds could come from the Municipal Accommodation Tax that is expected to come into force early in 2020.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward didn’t see it quite that way. She commented that council will decide where any MAT money goes.

Rusak had suggested that the SoM might get attached to the Municipal Accommodation Tax (MAT) that municipalities can now impose.
This new tax would apply to hotel and motel rentals. The first serious look at the tax suggested that an estimated $750,000 – $1 million of annual revenues in Burlington. 50% of that would go to Tourism Burlington – the balance would go to the city to be distributed as they saw fit. Sound of Music wants to be on that gravy train.

The tourism people are certainly onside. In March the Tourism Burlington Board of Directors unanimously approved the feedback received during stakeholder consultations. Those recommendations include:

The Board of Directors supported the adoption of a 4% Municipal Accommodation Tax on the assumption that the core funding support from the City of Burlington for Tourism Burlington remains in place and that the MAT funding be considered incremental.

From 2007-2010 the Burlington Hotel Association collected a voluntary Destination Marketing Fee (DMF) with the goal of increasing visitation to the city and overnight stays.

The City has a Tourism Service Agreement with Tourism Burlington that was put in place in 2015:

The goal of Tourism is to reduce its dependence on funding from the City. All acknowledge that the receipt of funding from the City is essential to the performance of the business and responsibilities of Tourism provided for under the Agreement.

Tourism - centre

Tourism Burlington has an Information Centre with all kinds of material and staff that will answer questions.

Tourism works independently and co-operatively with the City to reduce its dependence on funding from the City and secure its own revenues by way of soliciting sponsorships and donations to provide and support the tourism undertakings and responsibilities herein.

The annual operating grant provided by the City to Tourism will not be reduced as a result of any participation by Tourism in any destination marketing program implemented in Burlington which may provide funds to Tourism for any new or enhanced initiatives beyond the scope of services provided hereunder.

A continued commitment by Municipal Council to a sustainable and predictable source of core operating funds for Tourism Burlington will enable Burlington to become a more significant participant in a very competitive tourism sector. By continuing to provide core funding, monies generated through the Municipal Accommodation Tax would bolster tourism promotion and development opportunities that would not otherwise be possible if Tourism Burlington was restrained by its existing annual operating budget.

Replacing Tourism Burlington’s core funding allocation from the City of Burlington with the revenues generated from the Municipal Accommodation Tax would merely maintain the status quo and would not achieve the intended purpose of the legislation which is to grow the tourism sector in the municipalities that adopt the accommodation tax.

The municipal portion of the MAT would be allocated to destination development initiatives that will be beneficial to visitors and residents.

The provincial legislation allows the remaining MAT funds can be retained by the municipality. Since this money is generated through accommodation room revenue, the remaining funding should be set up as some type of reserve fund to assist with destination development/ tourism capital projects and initiatives.

Tourism magazine

Tourism Burlington publishes a Guide for Visitors to the city.

Economic development stakeholders and the City would work together to develop fund parameters and criteria to ensure return on investment and community benefits. The accommodations interviewed strongly support this approach. It is imperative to see growth in hotel occupancy and revenue particularly with new properties opening in the area over the next few years increasing competition.

The Bridgewater will at some point actually open and the hotel that is part of the development will want to be very active in promotions.

The Waterfront Hotel has plans to demolish the existing structure and build something much bigger and much higher. These two hotels will add significant capacity to the city and will add to what is collected in the way of the Accommodation tax.

Short-term rental (STR) accommodations such as Airbnb, HomeAway, will also collect the MAT.

During discussions with the local accommodaters they unanimously recommended that all accommodations be included so that it would level the playing field. It is recommended that short-term rentals be Phase 2 of the MAT plan as it will take time to negotiate agreements with the various companies. At a recent industry forum on MAT it was suggested that before agreements are established with STR that municipalities consider updating their by-laws. For example, some cities have restricted short-term rentals to principle residences.

Bridgewater from the west - higher elevation

The Bridgewater development includes a hotel – that will at some point will open.

Tourism Burlington will develop an integrated strategy for the MAT funds that will include the development of guiding principles, identification of target audiences, performance measures and strategic partnerships to ensure return on investment for the local tourism industry.

Tourism Burlington worked in conjunction with the Hotel Association, the Marketing Committee and Board to develop a comprehensive DMF marketing plan which included campaigns, sales missions and incentives.

Babes at parking meters

Burlington’s parking meters are a challenge for any visitor

Regional data sets out the extent of tourism in Burlington.

Total visitor spending $303.5M ($101M Burlington)
Total person visits 4.3M (1.4M Burlington)
25% are overnight visitors
87% of overnight stays are with friends/relative

Purpose of trip
64% are visiting friends & relatives
22% pleasure trip
6% business/conferences
5% shopping
Average nights stayed 2.1
Average age: 44.8 years

Burlington at one point had a Visitor Information Booth in Spencer Smith Park – 1970. In 1985 the city worked with local tourism partners to formally strike a Visitor & Convention Centre Board. This non-profit organization evolved to become Tourism Burlington (TB) which was incorporated in 2005 and is overseen by a volunteer board of directors.

Waterfront hotel with pier at foot

Waterfront hotel – due to be demolished and replaced with something a lot taller.

TB is funded by and has a service agreement with the City of Burlington. Other sources of revenue include federal and provincial grants primarily for summer students, cooperative marketing initiatives such as their guide, maps and sale of souvenirs.

TB has 3 FTE’s who are supplemented with part time weekend and summer travel counselors and over 1,000 volunteer hours. There are 1,889 tourism businesses and 24,491 tourism jobs in Burlington.

There is an opportunity to grow tourism in the city – it will be interesting to learn what Tourism Burlington plans to do going forward – they are going to have close to half a million dollars to spend so the problem will not be funding. To bring about real tourism growth the TB will have to be very creative – something we have not seen all that much of from the tourism people.

City Council did give the Sound of Music the $40,000 + they needed for 2020, but the funding was just for the one year. They will have to come back next year with their hands out.

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Are residents being well served by the new Customer Service Response system?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

December 20th, 2019


More than eight years ago during a conversation with then Mayor Rick Goldring he remarked on how surprised he was when people would approach him in the supermarket or at some event and chat him up. It wasn’t something he expected when he was elected Mayor.


There were different views on Rick Golding’s effectiveness as a Mayor – but there was never any doubt that he cared passionately about his city. See him in a Santa Claus parade collecting loonies and twonies in a sock.

But it is what people expected of their elected representatives. In Burlington people want to keep that small town feel and know that they can approach their member of city council to talk about a problem or a concern. The practice then, for many of the council members, was to give the citizen their business cards and ask them to call their assistant, explain the problem and the Councillor would follow up and make sure it was taken care of.

Then something changed. Not sure where the change came from. We recall conversations a number of years ago from a General Manager (when Burlington had General Managers) about installing a CSR (Customer Service Response) system – this was supposed to handle all the communications problems.

The Gazette is in touch with members of Council frequently – the level of response varies, most get back quite quickly. There is one who said he had been told “not to talk to you” when we approached and asked a question.

We recently sent a note to a member of Council and used the new system – the one where you enter the ward number – – if you wanted to reach Shawna Stolte.

Here is what came back to us:

CRM notice

Being referred to as a “case number” didn’t strike me as all that customer friendly.

Maybe times are changing and it will all come down to each of us being a “case” with a number from which all our questions will be answered.

How much did the city spend on the system that assigns me my case number and are we getting value for those dollars?

Perhaps the problem is the Councillors just don’t have the time needed to respond to all the calls.

There is a solution to that problem – add more Councillors.  But that is not likely to happen for one reason – it would impact on the financial interests of the current members of Council.

Burlington has seven seats on the Regional government Council.  If we added Council member they would not get a seat at the Regional level and not earn the $50,000 +/-

Oakville solved that problem by having members of Council that are Regional Councillors as well as town Councillors and some who are just town Councillors.

Council ALL 2018

There are seven members of council in Burlington – are they able to meet the needs of the people they represent?

It is a direction Burlington should at least be looking at – soon, so they can be in a position to approach the electors in the 2022 municipal election with a council structure that meets the needs of the citizens.

Don’t expect the current council to put that kind of initiative on the table.

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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Urban Growth Centre land use study is done.

Newsflash 100By Pepper Parr

December 19th, 2019



The good news is that the Interim Control Bylaw (ICBL) Land-Use Study was produced within the one year time frame Heather MacDonald, Executive Director of Community Planning, Regulation and Mobility, said it would be done in.

It will be formally presented to Council at a Statutory meeting on January 14th. In the meantime the report – 135 pages long – will be closely read and re-read by the development community, their advisors and their legal counsel. All those billable hours will be racked up and billed before the end of the year.

Too early to say whether or not this is a gift to anyone.

Heather_MacDonald COB planner

Heather MacDonald, Executive Director of Community Planning, Regulation and Mobility

In a statement released by the city, Heather MacDonald, Executive Director of Community Planning, Regulation and Mobility said: “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).

There was a time when a much larger bus termial existed 25 yards to the left of this small terminal onm John Street - it was where people met. There were fewer cars, Burlington didn't have the wealth then that it has now. We were a smaller city, as much rural as suburban. The times have changed and transit now needs to change as well.

Is this John Street Bus Terminal a Major Transit Station Area or just a place where you can buy a bus ticket?

With the findings of the study in hand, City staff will come back to City Council on Jan. 14 with proposed amendments to the current in-force-and-effect Official Plan and Zoning Bylaw that will make it possible for new development in the identified study area to be better informed by the City’s transit, transportation and land use vision.”

The staff recommendation report and proposed amendments can be viewed online.

The full Dillon report is HERE

The purpose of the proposed Official Plan and Zoning Bylaw amendments is to:

• strengthen the integration between land use and transit by introducing policies related to transit-supportive development

• introduce the concept of Major Transit Station Areas and a policy framework

• introduce development criteria for development applications within the study area

• update or add definitions to the Official Plan to align with Provincial policy documents and/or assist in the interpretation of Official Plan policies

• introduce additional permitted uses and heights on lands near the Burlington GO Station.

A review of the Land Use study will follow – soon.

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Rivers: Who do we hold accountable if we fail to stop climate warming?

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

December 19th, 2019


“President Donald Trump, Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, and others who oppose action to address human-induced climate change should be held accountable for climate crimes against humanity.” (Jeffrey David Sachs- special adviser to the UN)

heavy smoker

He had no idea what he was doing to his body.

Have we learned anything from the tobacco companies? For decades they understood the consequences of smoking and second hand smoke. But rather than changing their product, or at a minimum, informing the public, they lied – hiding the truth about the dangers, sowing confusion and misleading the public about the health hazard of their products. It was deliberate and it was manslaughter – a crime against humanity.

So now we find out that the oil companies did the same thing. Their research as far back as the fifties pointed to today’s evolving climate change. And they too established a program of disinformation and outright lies, enabling climate deniers like GW Bush and Stephen Harper to employ the uncertainty they created as an excuse to resist climate action.

Greta Thunberg

Greta Thunberg

Alberta’s latest enabler Jason Kenney has just opened his energy war room, furthering the notion that Alberta is under attack by the environmentalists. And he’s poured $30 million to make himself battle ready for the fight to the finish against the 16 year young Greta Thunberg and those other fearsome greenies. And the chest pounding, hype and propaganda are working.

Albertans were motivated to donate more than anyone else in the last federal election, hoping to get the pro-oil Conservatives elected. And now Kenney’s blind defence of big oil has even spilled over into the classroom. Parents at one Alberta school have threatened a teacher not to use a balanced approach, pros and cons, when it comes to teaching about the oil sands. According to the oil zealots there can be no discussion of a downside to Alberta’s biggest industry.

A few days ago Mr. Kenney rode into Ottawa to shake hands with Mr. Trudeau and pretend he wanted to mend fences, offering him one heck of a Faustian bargain. Green light another monster oil sands project and reap some kind of political peace in exchange. It was an offer he thought Trudeau couldn’t refuse. But chances are pretty good he will.

The Teck Resources proposed Frontier mine oil sands project would convert 24,000 hectares of mostly northern Alberta wetland into two massive open mine pits, a bitumen processing plant and a tailing pond for the toxic waste residue. And it would likely need another pipeline to move the estimated 260,000 barrels of bitumen a day the project will produce.

Four million tonnes of greenhouse gases (GHG) a year will be pumped into the atmosphere every year for the next 41 years. The project would last over a decade beyond the PM’s commitment to achieve net zero emissions. And that does not account for the GHG emissions resulting from burning all that oil.

Trudeay and Kenney - the handshake

Kenney did eventually shake the Prime Ministers hand.

And is Kenney serious? How would Trudeau square approving this massive carbon emitting project with his 2030 emissions target. He would lose any credibility he has on the climate change file and with it the support of the third parties, whose support he is counting on for this current mandate. Mr. Kenney may not be the devil but he came to Ottawa to steal Justin’s soul and then to damn the rest of us to an ever faster and more aggressive global warming.

Look at Australia which has just experienced its hottest day ever amid the worst bush fires in the nation’s history. The massive area of scorched earth will take decades before it can be rehabilitated, its wine industry has been dealt a blow and a toxic cloud has blanketed its largest city and drifted across the Tasman Sea as far as New Zealand. The fires have emitted half of the annual GHG national contribution of carbon, and they are still burning.

Australia is the world’s largest exporter of coal, mainly to Asia. Much like Canada it has an obscene carbon footprint, not even counting the emissions from the coal it exports. It once dabbled with a carbon tax, but like we did in Ontario the Aussies booted out their environmentally conscious government for one led by a series of right wing climate action deniers.

And speaking of Ontario, premier Doug Ford is as busy as ever eliminating every single climate change mitigation program the previous government had initiated – as if somehow the climate is a partisan issue. And the provincial auditor general has warned that Ford will not come anywhere near the provincial 2030 emission reduction target. But nobody, including his environment minister, expects him to, anyway.

Ford scrapping carbon tx

He means every word in the sign before him – unfortunately.

So far he has cancelled the provincial cap and trade carbon pricing system, eliminated rebates for home energy conservation and electric vehicle (EV) purchases, cancelled plans for high speed rail travel, ended the provincial EV charging station program and the requirement for charging to be available in new housing. He has shut down almost 800 renewable energy projects, is fighting the federal carbon tax up to the Supreme Court, and has just canceled Hamilton’s light rail transit system.

Transitioning to a zero carbon society is unlikely to be accomplished at zero cost. But as we have already seen, the consequences of climate change will be much more costly. Just ask the Australians. And the fact is that the cost for many of the transitional changes can be phased in as existing infrastructure gets replaced. Or the costs can be redistributed and shared, like the carbon tax, to avoid major impacts for those in need.

Pennywise and pound foolish are those who would avoid transitioning as quickly as possible to a lower carbon footprint. Financial debt can be paid off, but restoring the earth’s climate and the life it supports, once we have passed a tipping point will be impossible. Which do we think future generations would object to the most? And who do you think they will blame for these climate crimes against humanity?

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:

Crimes Against Humanity –     Tobacco Crimes –    COP 25 Madrid

Australia –    Alberta Political Donations –     Teacher Threatened

Kenney –     Natural Gas –    Oil Sands –    Alberta War Room

Oil Deception –     More Australia –     Hamilton

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Glen Eden will open Friday - lifts will operate from 8:30 am to 9:30 pm

sportsgold 100x100By Staff

December 19th, 2019



Glen Eden hills

Pick the slope you want.

Glen Eden will be opening the hill and spinning the lifts on Friday, December 20, 2019!

Lifts will be running from 8:30 am to 9:30 pm, which are the regular hours of operation during the season, weather permitting. Glen Eden will be closed on Wednesday, December 25 for Christmas Day but will be open on Boxing Day.

It is anticipated that Updraft Chair and Ridge Chair will be running and that Twister, Challenger, Sidewinder, Slow and Easy and Nighthawk, as well as both Learning Centres, will be open.

Another devotee who will be at Glen Eden on opening day is Travis Gerrits, former Olympic freestyle skier from Milton. Gerrits wants to be there for first tracks but he won’t be taking that first chair. Instead, he will be walking up the hill, carrying his skis, as inspired by the “earn your turns” philosophy on skiing and snowboarding.

One of the most popular spots to ski and snowboard at Glen Eden are the terrain parks, located on Nighthawk and Falcon.

There’s no better place to hang out after school or work and you won’t find a community like the Glen Eden terrain park at any other hill. This season, there will be some brand new features in the terrain park, many of which will be available on opening day.

Glen Eden lifts

Staff working to have as many lifts as possible running and as much terrain as possible for opening day

“The team at Glen Eden has been working around the clock to make sure we can have as many lifts running and as much terrain open as possible for opening day,” says Craig Machan, Senior Manager, Kelso/Glen Eden. “We are so excited for opening day, the upcoming season and the opportunity to provide a great skiing and snowboarding experience for everyone who visits!”

“We are so proud to be able to offer an opportunity for the members of our community to ski and snowboard with their families at a hill that is affordable, approachable and close to home,” says Hassaan Basit, CAO, Conservation Halton. “The team at Glen Eden always works so hard to make each season the best that it can be, so I know that this is going to be another great season!”

Promo Cards
New this year, Glen Eden has introduced four Promo Cards to their offerings. Off-Peak is loaded with 5 lift tickets, Prime Time is loaded with 3 lift tickets, Youth Triple Play is loaded with 3 lift tickets for youth and Stay Tuned is loaded with 5 ski or snowboard tunes. (Season pass holders receive a discount on Promo Cards, so members can buy them for friends and family.) Click here for more information.


It’s a little like learning to walk – once she gets the hang of it there will be no stopping her.

Lesson Programs
For those that are new to skiing or snowboarding, Glen Eden is a great place to get your start with lesson programs for all ages and skill levels. There are a number of options, including Christmas Camps, Group Lessons, Semi-Private Lessons and Private Lessons. Click here for more information, or call Visitor Services at 905-878-5011 (ext. 1221).

Glen Eden also offers a beginner lesson program, known as Discover Skiing and Snowboarding, which teaches the basics of stopping and turning. Discover is available at the beginner hills on a “first-come, first-serve basis” but bookings should be arranged for larger groups. For groups of 20 or more people, please call 905-878-5011 (ext. 1278) at least one week in advance.

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Region releases figures setting out new house builds for 2020

News 100 blueBy Staff

December 19th, 2019



If you want to know what the growth of residential housing is going to look like for 2020 – have a look at what the Regional government approved in November.

New houses in the Alron community on the North side of Dundas added to the construction industry numbers for the 3Q of 2011.

New houses in the Alton community on the North side of Dundas Street added to the construction industry numbers.

Regional Council approved Allocation Program Option #1 of up to 19,329 Single Detached Equivalents (SDEs).

This includes up to 8,716 SDEs to be allocated to the Town of Milton,

7,118 SDEs to be allocated to the Town of Oakville,

3,000 SDEs to be allocated to the Town of Halton Hills, and

495 SDEs to be allocated to the City of Burlington.

Of course single detached equivalents are not condominiums.

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Rotary Centennial Pond re-opens on Thursday.

News 100 redBy Staff

December 18th, 2019



If you didn't get to strap on the blades this winter - you're out of luck. Rink closes at 10:00 pm this evening.

The Rotary Centennial Pond will be open on Thursday

It wasn’t exactly warm yesterday – but outdoor maintenance people managed to repair the water main break at the Rotary Centennial Pond.

It will re-open for free outdoor skating at 10 a.m., Thursday, Dec. 19.

Spencer’s at the Waterfront has re-opened for lunch and dinner today, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019.

The two locations were temporarily closed due to the water main break that happened on Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019.

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