Getting students the education they need for the career futures they see for themselves.

News 100 blueBy Staff

November 21, 2019



The Halton District School Board has announced it is hosting its second annual experiential learning event, Halton Pathways: A Future that Fits, for approximately 1,500 Grade 10 students, on Friday, November 29 at the Mattamy National Cycling Centre (Velodrome) in Milton.

Pathway graphicThe daylong event will feature an opportunity for students to explore high school Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) programs and to meet the teachers and employers related to each SHSM sector.

The event will include more than 45 local businesses, providing a full day of hands-on interactive activities for students.

Colleges and universities will attend and provide displays related to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), Police Foundations, Trades and Technology, the Environment, Energy, and Arts and Culture. Activities will include a robotics display, healthcare medical simulation mannequin, construction and DIY projects, sound, lighting and equipment, a virtual reality trainer, fire trucks and fire extinguishers, cupcake decorating, welding simulations, therapy dogs and a fingerprinting session.

“This event will give our students the opportunity to explore many different businesses and learn about programs, like the Specialist High Skills Major and the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program, that allows them to engage in specialized programming and real-work experience in high school,” says Veronica Kleinsmith, Specialist High Schools Major Resource Teacher for the Halton District School Board.

The HDSB currently offers 60 Specialist High Skills Major programs and 15 Concentrated Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Programs with approximately 1,500 Grade 11 and 12 students enrolled in more than a dozen different sectors such as Business, Arts and Culture, Transportation, Construction, Justice, Community Safety and Emergency Services.

For more information on A Future that Fits, CLICK HERE

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Gould looking for young people to serve on her Youth Advisory Council.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

November 21st, 2019



The biggest task every politician faces is finding ways to keep in touch, close touch, with every demographic and interest group in the constituency.

Gould as a bandit

Karina at a baseball game when the city had a ball team – is she arguing with the umpire?

That and being seen – do that and you can be around for a long time. The really solid Members of Parliament are stronger than the party they represent and they can often keep their seat even if their political party loses power.

Sworn in Nov 20 2019

Burlington MP Karina Gould signing the Register after being sworn in as the Minister of International Development.

Burlington has politicians who are open, transparent, know their job and do their jobs. The city also has politicians who think that keeping your picture in the paper is what it is all about – and if the paper won’t print them then the politician does in their newsletters and on the Instagram pages.

The city has one politician that you can seldom even find.

Burlington MP Karina Gould who was sworn in as the Minister of International Development yesterday, has put out a request for any young people who would like to sit on her Youth Council.

Such Councils are not unusual – unfortunately they are at times window dressing.

A perceptive politician will tap into the views and opinions that are out there. A politician is only as good as the people advising them.

Anyone interested in serving on the 2020 Gould Youth Council should check out the link.


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Comments section of the Gazette hacked - again

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

November 21st, 2019



The comments section of the Gazette is not functioning the way it is supposed to – it appears that someone has hacked into the web site – again.

This was not random – this was targeted and deliberate. Someone doesn’t like what we have to say.

This time we think we might know who the culprits were.

In the meantime we will work with our host and solve the problem and report back to you.

Related news story.


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School Board Invites parents to Take part in a formal Bateman high school closing event.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

November 21st, 2019



The request was to be expected.

The Halton District School Board does make a point of holding an event to celebrate the history and the story of a school when it is to be formally closed.

Bateman parents

The parents and students did everything they could – they had a convincing argument but they were up against an iconic high school a couple of km away.

For the people in the community and the parents who fought to hard to keep the school open – it will not be a joyous event. They fought then and think now that the closing of the school was a mistake.

They were right then and they are right now.

But – time moves on.

The Robert Bateman High School’s Integration Committee is seeking subcommittee members and volunteers to form two subcommittees to help commemorate the school, in preparation for the school’s closing in June 2020.

Interested students, staff, parents/guardians, alumni and community members are invited to complete an Expression of Interest Form by Friday, Dec. 6, 2019.

The subcommittees will be formed prior to the first meeting on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020 at 7 p.m. at Robert Bateman High School.

The Artifacts and Memorabilia Subcommittee is being created to assist in the identification, gathering and cataloguing of the school’s artifacts and the development of a plan to honour and display memorabilia. Members of the Closing Celebrations and Activities Subcommittee will assist in the planning of closing celebrations and activities.


The Boards data told the tale.

Hopefully one of the banners that was used during the many demonstrations will be included.

“The Integration Committee looks forward to working with members of the Robert Bateman community to celebrate and honour the history of this school,” says Robert Eatough, Superintendent of Education for the Halton District School Board.

Collard and Miller

Ward school board trustee Amy Collard, livid at the time over the decision the Board was getting ready to make on the closing of Robert Bateman High school stares down the Director of Education.

There is no decision yet as to what will happen to the school.  The ward trustee, Amy Collard has some ideas; she can be very persuasive and the Mayor of Burlington appears to be prepared to do everything she can to keep the property available for use by the community.

The fear that the site will be converted into land for a condo development is not on the table now and never will be.

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Karina Gould still a Cabinet Minister - different portfolio

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

November 21st, 2019



Burlington still has a Member of Parliament in Cabinet. Karina Gould was sworn in as the Minister for International Development.

Just what does a Minister of International Development do?


Burlington MP Karina Gould

We have asked the Minister – who is usually very good at answering questions – unlike several of the Burlington City Council members. But we digress.

It is always useful to have an MP who is a Member of Cabinet; all kinds of goodies flow from that office.

Our bigger concern is – what happened to the job Gould had? She was the Minister of Democratic Institutions. Was the move to International Development a promotion or was it just a place to put Gould.

There does not appear to be a Minister of Democratic Institutions.

The promise in the 2015 election that the Liberals would change the way Members of Parliament are elected would be changed. That didn’t happen during the last Parliament. And it doesn’t look as if it is going to happen during this Parliament.

We have asked Karina Gould what the duties of her new job are – and what happened to the idea of change on the democratic institutions side of things.

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Councillor Sharman: So, what should we do, you might ask? He doesn't like the look of the numbers.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

November 21st, 2019

Burlington, ON


There is one thing you can be absolutely certain about with the current city council: when Councillor Sharman is upset – you will hear from him and his words will be very precise.

Councillor Sharman asked the Mayor for the floor to make some comments on November the 18th.

He said:

Let me begin by making the following statements:

a) The consulting report is the subject of my discontent in these notes, it is not personal towards any person or staff.

Sharman July 2016

Councillor Sharman: “Let me begin by acknowledging …”

b) My business background coupled with my consulting and professional accounting career lead me to hold reasonable expectations of consultants when it comes to them guiding investment decisions, especially using hard tax dollars, which must be performed with sincere concern for the public trust.

c) I fully support the concept of increasing the modal split in the City of Burlington and the Region of Halton.

Let me begin by acknowledging that my analysis of the business plan, as already communicated to you by Tom Muir, (via the Burlington Gazette) is correctly reported. I will confirm and add to what has already been reported:

1. There was no assessment of the actual Burlington market, its operations, long term history or projected short, medium, and long-term rider demand.

2. There was no analysis or forecast of demographic and related ridership changes in coming years even though we already have a reasonable expectation of what is likely.

3. I will add a new point. Most people are bothered by the huge level of congestion on Burlington streets at peak hours.

This is probably the most significant motivator of increasing modal split. A few considerations:

a. Peak hour traffic will only be reduced by the amount of automobile traffic that can be redirected to GO transit. However, since most of the peak hour traffic relates to people coming into the City from outside (70% according to Transportation staff) or travelling from outside and exiting through the City (30% according to Transportation staff) are most likely not well served by GO transit. Then the probability of those people continuing to use their cars is high. But we have no analysis.

b. Given that the City is still growing, and new residential communities continue to grow to the north, west and south of Hamilton, the number of vehicles on Burlington roads will increase for the foreseeable future. But we have no analysis.

c. Since Burlington Transit essentially serves only the trips of those who travel within the boundaries of the City, increased service cannot be expected to have any material impact on ridership growth in terms of re-directed commuter trips.

4. Halton modal split numbers are theoretical. Our purpose should be to figure out in realistic terms if, how and when they can be accomplished.

5. Our consultant used Canadian Urban Transit Association standards to determine what that meant in terms of how many more buses, drivers, maintenance staff, overhead staff and facilities we will need to add to the budget in each year going forward. CUTA standards are aspirational goals that have been demonstrated to not actually represent any Burlington peer municipality (Jeff Casello, Waterloo University 2012). They are more representative of highly intensified big city circumstances, which we are not… not for a long time anyway.

Intense to the point of making delegations uncomfortable ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman does know how to drill down into the data and look for results.

Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman does know how to drill down into the data and look for results.

6. When you look at the numbers in the tables provided, they are all premised on a 23% average ridership growth that is required to achieve theoretical modal split goals. For some reason it was assumed that growth will somehow occur in a way that is highly front end loaded with a 36.5% growth in year 1 of the plan, i.e. from 2,000,000 riders in 2019 to 2,730,000 in 2020, with no explanation of how.

7. The critical concern is not so much the report per se, but that the 2020 budget for the City of Burlington includes funding to purchase 4 new buses and hire 8 new drivers. The report proposes that the City should do that in each of the following four years at a cost of millions of dollars each year.

8. The risk is that that the City is about to pour all sorts of real hard dollars into a plan that is completely devoid of any substantive assessment of ridership projections or a realism.

9. Keep in mind that a 1% increase in the City of Burlington budget equals a $1.6m spending increase. Further, that transit revenue, presently, represents less than 25% of the transit operating cost. This is at a time when the City is built out and new sources of property tax increases are drying up. Remember the 2019 budget use of reserves to keep tax rate increases low. This is not going to get any easier.

10. My concern is that costs will go up way more rapidly than ridership… so will taxes in a period of low tax growth, therefore increasing taxes by perhaps 10 to15% in total just for extra transit spending over the next 5 years. What does that mean giving up?

11. We can agree that “more bus users” would be good, but we do not agree to getting there by any means or a hope and a prayer.

So, what should we do, you might ask? Well:

1. Hold off a year to see what happens in 2020 with the new grid network;

2. Hold off a year to see what happens when the new buses and drivers approved in the 2019 budget actually come on line in the next month;

3. Use 2020 to remedy the concerns I have advised you of above;

4. Use 2020 to plan acquisition of electric buses instead of traditional diesel fueled vehicles;

5. Use 2020 to plan a complete transition of Burlington Transit to a 100% electric service;

6. Use 2020 to plan the implementation of on-demand service to undeserved neighbourhoods

I hereby move that we refer this to staff

Related news stories:

Muir on the transit problems.

Council doesn’t like what the consultant had to say – neither did the Director of Transit


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Santa fun at the hospital - then take in the Santa parade.

eventsred 100x100By Staff

November 20th, 2019



The good folks at the Brant Hospital Foundation want to get you into the hospital – but not too far past the front door.

Join the JoyThey are celebrating their third annual Join the Joy Holiday Open House! They would like to see a lot of people show up and take part in a fun program. Event runs from 11:00am – 1:30pm., on Sunday, December 1st.

You can leave the hospital event and scoot over to New Street and watch the Santa Claus parade.

Admission is free and includes:

• Photo with Santa Claus
• Holiday treats (while supplies last)
• Musical Entertainment
And you can purchase Festive Activity Station tickets for additional activities including:
• Teddy Bear Wellness Clinic (please bring own stuffed animal)
• Holiday Photo Booth
• Festive Fish Pond
• Face Painting & Glitter Tattoos
• Cookie Decorating
• Stocking Ornament Decorating
• Finger-Cast Making & Germ Station

Register here to take part – no cost

In addition, you can purchase tickets for the children’s gift draw which includes gift certificates, toys and more and gingerbread Joy cookies from Christy’s Gourmet Gifts.

All proceeds from the event support the renovation of the Labour and Delivery Unit.

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Board of Education hosts Stephen Lewis and Michel Chikwanine as they lead a day long symposium on Human Rights.

eventsorange 100x100By Staff

November 20th, 2019



Stephen Lewis and Michel Chikwanine will lead a Human Rights Symposium on December 5th in Burlington,

A full-day of learning is planned at the Symposium with a selection of workshops led by children’s rights advocates and educators including UNICEF, Halton Environmental Network, Special Olympics Ontario, Community Development Halton, Rick Hansen Foundation, and more.

“This year’s Human Rights Symposium provides an opportunity to learn about the important role each of us plays in the lives of youth,” says Rob Eatough, Superintendent of Education for the Halton District School Board. “We look forward to once again bringing educators and community partners together to engage in vital conversation on how we can all work together to support the success and well-being of all members of our society.”

Michel Chikwanine

Michel Chikwanine

Keynote speakers Stephen Lewis and Michel Chikwanine will lead education and community partners through an important day of learning and collaborating about children’s rights.

Stephen Lewis

Stephen Lewis – a full blast speaker who truly soothes the souls of the forgotten. If you’ve never been in the room where he was speaking – attend this event, you will be better for it.

“I spent a large chunk of my life” said Stephen Lewis, “ dealing with the Convention on the Rights of the Child.”

“When I worked with UNICEF, I was responsible for travelling around the world to persuade governments to ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child and take all of its clauses seriously. The Convention provides a tremendous range of rights for children, all of which I hope to be addressing before you.”

“I’m really looking forward to the Human Rights Symposium,” says Michel Chikwanine, motivational speaker, author and human rights activist based in Toronto and originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo. “There are so many workshops that have many implications for young people, not just here in Canada but across the world.”

Chikwanine is more than a child advocate.  When he was not much more than a young boy he was kidnapped from the soccer field outside his school in the Democratic Republic of Congo; he and his childhood friends were “recruited” to be rebel soldiers.

The Human Rights Symposium will take place on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019 at the Holiday Inn Burlington Hotel & Conference Centre (3063 South Service Rd, Burlington).

Register HERE

For event details or support with the registration process, email


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The numbers that were 'all wrong' didn't get the review that was expected - the report that had been referred back to council got zip in the way of debate.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

November 20th, 2019



Someone on city council made the point: We are a transit friendly council.

How friendly – well they are putting a tonne of your money into new buses and they are boasting about the significant increases in transit use.

The numbers are early: Presto, the people who operate the card system that is replacing tickets, are a little on the slow side on getting data out.

The increase in transit usage was reported to have risen by 10% on a month to month basis for July of 2018 and July of 2019.

The free transit use during the off peak hours for July through to September was reported to have improved by 40%.

Mayor Meed Ward called those number “astounding” and added that “we don’t need a plan to know that we need more buses.”

The Mayor has said that she wants transit to be free for everyone – every day.

She has also said that she thinks transit should be a Regional matter.  She will have to wait until she is Premier of the province before we see anything like that.

This council has got a head lock on the idea of making the transit fleet completely electric. Director of Transit loves that idea theoretically but cautioned council that converting from diesel to electric is not a simple matter – electric buses are complex and a lot has to be learned by the people who are going to drive the electric buses and those who are going to maintain them.

connor and Dennis 2

Sue Connors, Director of Transit, does not appear to be very happy.

Council was discussing transit because a report that had been discussed at a Planning and Development Standing Committee meeting was unhappy with some of the numbers that were contained in a report – unhappy is an understatement.

They decided that rather than make any decisions they would refer the matter to the council meeting – which took place Monday evening.

Sharman on transit

Councillor Paul Sharman

But – there was nothing to discuss – whatever the concern was over the report, which could be fairly described as faulty, no one was going to talk about it Monday evening. Councillor Sharman read a statement into the record – we have asked for a copy of that statement, He added that with the changes in the grid structure and the new buses that have been added to the fleet it would be a little premature to put much stock in numbers that had been generated by the consultant. So hold off for a year.

Fine – but then – why was there a report from the consultant? And when is the public going to see the revised numbers ?

This council is sometimes a little fast and loose with numbers that they deem to be positive.

Related news story:

Councillor Sharman said the numbers were all wrong. He was right

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Leaf collection schedule changed - parts of the city will not get coverage.

News 100 greenBy Staff

November 19th, 2019



We are experiencing the effects of Climate Change.

The city announced earlier today that: “Due to the cold temperatures and the early snow fall, the loose-leaf collection schedule is changing.

• Leaf Collection Zone 2 will resume Wednesday, Nov. 20 to Nov. 29, if weather allows.

• Leaf Collection Zone 3 will run between Nov. 25 and Dec. 6, if weather allows.

• Leaf Collection in Zones 1 and 4 is cancelled. Residents are encouraged to mulch their leaves or bag them for Halton Region’s yard waste pick-up.

Loose leaf Nov 19-3

Loose leaves pick up for districts 1 and 4 are cancelled.

To ensure the safety of collection crews and avoid damaging equipment, please keep the loose-leaf piles free of debris and sticks. Leaves mixed with debris and waste will not be collected. Please help prevent flooding, by keeping catch basins and ditches clear of leaves.

To ensure a successful pick-up, residents can:

• Rake leaves to the edge of the curb or roadway in a loose pile
• Remove basketball nets, cars and other obstructions from the road during pick-up dates
• Clear leaves from sidewalks and walkways
• Avoid playing garbage bags, bins, Blue Boxes or Green Carts on top of loose-leaf piles
• Give crews distance to remove the leaves when driving

After the collection program is complete, any remaining leaves should be placed in yard-waste bags for curb side collection by Halton Region.

Mark Adam, Manager of Road Operations said that: “The early snowfall has covered many leaf piles and has interrupted our collection program. The cold temperatures limit the effectiveness of our leaf vacuum units and street sweepers as frozen piles of leaves cannot be swept up or vacuumed. Long-range forecasts show a short period of favourable weather in which crews will do their best to complete Zones 2 and 3.”

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Arrest Made After Theft Of Poppy Donation Boxes In Burlington

Crime 100By Staff

November 19th, 2019



The Halton Regional Police Service has made an arrest after three Royal Canadian Legion Poppy donation boxes were stolen from various locations in the City of Burlington.

poppy boxThe first incident occurred on Monday, November 11, 2019. The female accused attended a grocery store on New Street. During the moment of silence for Remembrance Day, the accused took a Royal Canadian Legion Poppy donation box and concealed it on her person. The accused then stood for the remainder of the moment of silence before leaving the store.

The second incident occurred on Tuesday, November 12, 2019, at a coffee shop on Brant Street in Burlington. While the accused was in the store she took another two Royal Canadian Legion Poppy donation boxes and concealed them on her person before leaving the store.

The accused was quickly identified by Halton Regional Police Service officers and was arrested on November 15, 2019.

Accused: is a 32 year old female who lives in Milton.
Charges: 3 counts of Theft Under $5000

The Gazette normally publishes the names of those accused – we have not done so in this  case.

The accused was later released from custody on a promise to appear.

That the police were able to identify the suspect so quickly suggests she was previously known to the police.

Burlington either has a small petty thief who exploits every opportunity to steal or we have a person who needs help. If it is the latter one would hope that the Legion might choose to be part of providing that help.

No one was born to be a thief.

Tips can be submitted 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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Council clears its agenda in an hour and a quarter: Mayor sets out what has to be done if you want to build in this city.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

November 19th, 2019



City Council meetings are sort of like a big rubber stamp. The details in Staff reports get discussed at length during the Standing Committee meetings which run rather long. Council meetings are usually under an hour and a half. Former Mayor Rick Goldring once got through one in just over twenty minutes.

One has to listen carefully and watch closely to pick up some of the detail that gets skipped over.

The Council meeting Monday reported that there were 24 hours of meetings between November 4th to the 12 during which there were 34recommendations put forward and 4 bylaws proposed.

City Council has to approve all that to make it the law of the land.

There were two items that we observed during the Standing Committee meetings that were going to get some attention at the Council meeting; those were the stiffing that Councillor Nisan got from the Transportation department over changes in the speed limits in Kilbride and the problem the Director of Transit had with data in a report that was being discussed.

Councillor Sharman had, as is his want, looked at the numbers carefully and came to the conclusion that there was something very wrong with them.

Sharman on transit

Ah – for the love of faulty data: Councillor Paul Sharman

As he put it at the Planning and Development meeting – they were just plain wrong. None of the other members of Council appeared to have the same grip that Sharman had on the numbers; the suspicion was that they either hadn’t fully read the report or failed to see the errors that Sharman identified.

After much discussion the Standing Committee decided to refer the report to City Council, which happened last night.

connor and Dennis 2

Direct of Transit Sue Connor giving a consultant a very hard look. She was not happy.

The problems appear to be more serious than originally realized. Council decided to refer the report back to the Standing Committee during its next round of meetings.

They basically punted the ball up the field where they would deal with it when they get to that point.

How are you liking the Burlington version of transparency so far?

Councillor Nisan said that he still didn’t have the speed limit changes he had promised his Kilbride constituents but he was still working at it. I think we were seeing an example the tail wagging the dog.

There is a process at city meetings whereby a Staff report can get approval if there aren’t any council members who want to say something. These are referred to as Consent items – they just get passed.

Among those that were consented to were: The report on Vision to Focus; the Active Aging Report and the Cootes Escarpment initiatives. Councillor Sharman had learned of an event that takes place in Detroit where more than 1,000 people show up for a community walk. |He was going to bring it up at the Council meeting and had run it by Parks and Recreation Staff who told Sharman that they didn’t need a Staff Direction – they would just do it.

Rory Nisan

Councillor Nisan still doesn’t have the speed limit changes he promised his Kilbride residents.

Now either Councillor Sharman has skills that Councillor Nisan doesn’t have or the Parks and Recreation department fully understand the relationship between Council and administration. Sharman has the community walk idea as a good to go; Nisan might have to stand on the road in Kilbride and wave a sign to slow down the speed of traffic.

Councillor Lisa Kearns chose to make some comments on the mammoth development that CORE Development Group want to build within the football – 27 storeys in a place where eight are possible as of right and up to 15 if there are benefits given to the city.

The Gazette has been advocating for some bold moves in that part of the city. We learned from Mayor Meed Ward that the acceptable benefit is for the developer to buy the land on the south side of Old Lakeshore, deed it to the city and they can have the additional seven floors.

Site south side Old Lakeshore

The Mayor seemed to be saying that all the Core Development Group had to do was buy the land inside the black box, deed it to the city, and they would be allowed to build 15 storeys instead of just the eight permitted. The developer has an application in for 27 storeys. Nothing can be built on the land, there are top of bank issues that would make any development not feasible.

That is the first time we have heard the Mayor be quite that specific. Something to think about.

Councillors Kearns reacted to a comment in the Gazette where we wondered why she had not moved the motion to receive and file the report on the development that was to have retirement apartment units in one tower of a two 11 storey tower development on New Street and nursing home care that would include what were referred to as “memory units” intended for people with dementia, in the other.

Lisa excited

Excited – this is as good as it gets.

Councillor Kearns told her colleagues that it is not her practice to “get too excited” in public nor does she “get upset” in public. She said that what Council was hearing was the extent of her public comment.

Meed ward election night 1

To the victor go the spoils.

Both Councillor Kearns and the Mayor commented positively on the development with the Mayor saying that “Burlington was open for business” and that Council wanted to “shape where it goes and the use it is put to.”

“Take note” she added: “Do it right and you get a thumbs up”.

Those comments will stick in the craw of the development community but it is what she said she would do when she ran for the Office of Mayor – and she is doing what she said she would do.

Related news stories:

Transit Director gets sloppy data – Sharman spots the errors

Nisan credibility takes a hit


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Festival of Trees returns to Performing Arts Centre.

eventsred 100x100By Staff

November 18th, 2019



The 3rd Annual Festival of Trees will be on display in the lobby and mezzanine of the Performing Arts Centre from November 20 – December 21, 2019.

Festival of treesThe pre-lit trees, donated by the Canadian Tire Burlington store, will be available to the public by auction. The proceeds go to Performing Arts Centre’s ‘Live & Local Artist Development Initiative’, which provides performance opportunities and support for Burlington-based artists.

Over 10,000 patrons are expected to visit the Centre during the Festival of Trees which will run from November 20th to December 21st from noon – 4pm, seven days a week.

Each tree is individually sponsored and decorated by a local business in Burlington. Patrons and visitors to BPAC will have the opportunity to take one of these trees home by silent auction.

“The Festival of Trees has quickly become a holiday tradition at BPAC, and a great opportunity to bring the joy of the season to our many visitors,” said Tammy Fox, Executive Director.

Festival trees - lobby

The look of the Family Lobby last year.

The silent auction will close with the lucky winners announced during The Andy Kim Christmas.

The full schedule of BPAC Events during the season is here:

Sponsor a Tree!
Promote your local business or organization to over 10,000 local visitors, while supporting BPAC, by sponsoring a tree!

The Sponsorship Commitment:

$250 Tree Sponsorship

Decorate your tree at BPAC on November 18th or 19th (9am – 7pm)

You provide the decorations and ‘gifts’ – have fun making your tree a spectacular and seasonal reflection of your business!

Your Sponsorship Benefits:
Promotional Signage in the BPAC Family Lobby beneath your tree for over 4 weeks, seen by over 10,000 visitors to BPAC!

Recognition in 14 ‘BPAC Presents’ house programs (8,000 programs!)

Recognition in all Festival of Trees advertising and promotions, include activation on BPAC’s social media channels!

Recognition on BPAC’s website, with a direct link to your website (22,000+ visitors per month)

Recognition in a promotional eblast – sent to 28,000+ patrons! (a $200 value)

2 complimentary tickets to The Andy Kim Christmas on Dec. 21st ($139 value)

Opportunity to draw and announce your tree winner’s name on Dec. 21st

All proceeds support The Burlington Performing Arts Centre’s ‘Live & Local Artist Development Initiative’, which provides performance opportunities and support for Burlington-based artists.

Related news stories:

Twenty five pre-lit trees auctioned in 2018

Festival of trees supports the arts


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What was once a SciFi idea has become a reality - drones being used to deliver goods.

News 100 redBy Staff

November 18th, 2019



This could have been a Burlington story but the local company that is national in scale have been scooped by a Milton operation.

The story is the use of drones to deliver goods – this gives Just in Time delivery  (JIT) a whole new dimension


How much can they carry; how far and hoe fast can they go – and what about the regulatory environment.

DSV Canada, the Global Transport and Logistics company, has just announced a new commercial agreement with Drone Delivery Canada (DDC) allowing them to deploy DDC’s drone delivery technology at their new 1.1 million square foot head office, logistics and warehouse facility in Derry Green Corporate Business Park.

The company, which has become a leader in delivering integrated and innovative supply chain solutions, has chosen Milton to launch this new commercial operation.

The initial operations will be deployed in early 2020, with the potential for expanding the initial drone routes to over 20 more by the end of the year.

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Mayor listens to a report that kept adding dollars to the budget she and her council were going to have to pass in a couple of months: she wanted staff to plan and act at the same time.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

November 18th, 2019



The 2018-2022 Vision to Focus Financial Plan is complex, expensive and a different approach for Burlington.

The meeting was to receive  the Financial Plan for the implementation of the strategic initiatives as defined in the 2018-2022 Burlington’s Plan: From Vision to Focus (V2F).

The portions of that vision that were to be tackled by council and Staff were:

Promoting Economic Growth
Focused Population Growth
Increased Transportation Flows and Connectivity
Healthy Lifestyles
Environmental and Energy Leadership
Good Governance
Community Building through Arts and Culture via Community Activities

On April 11, 2016 Council approved the city’s 2015-2040 Strategic Plan; transforming the Strategic plan into a central policy document and guiding the community’s key activities, investments and actions.  Realize that the city council we had in 2016 is not the city council we have today.  Nevertheless the Strategic Plan created then is still in place.

What city council has done is approve the creation of a Business Plan that has been named Vision to Focus (V2F) which sets out what Council and the Burlington Leadership team have identified as the key priorities for the balance of this term of office.  This document establishes the strategic actions and initiatives that will focus the city’s efforts over the next four years.

The V2F work plan intends to deliver on five focus areas, with a total of 75 initiatives which are aligned to the 25-year Strategic plan.
The five focus areas are as follows:

• Focus Area 1 – Increasing Economic Prosperity and Community Responsive Growth Management
• Focus Area 2 – Improving Integrated City Mobility
• Focus Area 3 – Supporting Sustainable Infrastructure and a Resilient Environment
• Focus Area 4 – Building more Citizen Engagement, Community Health and Culture
• Focus Area 5 – Delivering Customer Centric Services with a Focus on Efficiency and Technology Transformation

V2F timeline

It’s a solid plan – can the city deliver on council’s expectations? And do enough of the city Councillors fully understand what it is about? They are at phase two and have hit some speed bumps.

The trick is to ensure that the five focus areas and the initiatives within them are aligned with the budget – that translates into – are we sure the money to do all these things is going to be in the bank.

Phase 1 of the Financial Plan for the 2015-2040 Strategic Plan was approved in July 2016 and provided a long-term financial plan to build for the long-term implications that would be realized with a 25-year vision.

None of this is going to be cheap.

A Strategic Plan Reserve Fund was established to hold funds to administer and deliver the initiatives laid out in the plan. Any unspent dollars from the annual strategic plan base budget funding is allocated to the reserve fund.

Retained Savings: Minimum of $500,000 towards the Strategic Plan reserve fund provided the city’s retained savings is $1 million or greater.  Retained Savings is what most of us know as the surplus – money that was budgeted but not spent or revenue projections that turned out to be better than expected.

Base Budget Funding: The following is a list of annual base budget funding that will be used for strategic plan implementation;

Strategic plan implementation $150,000
Policy initiatives reserve fund for planning initiatives $100,000
Culture reserve fund for cultural initiatives $50,000
Community Investment reserve fund for community engagement and empowerment initiatives $80,000

That’s a cumulative total of $380,000 – before any goodies that might come from Burlington Hydro.  Policy is to allocate future special dividends received from Burlington Hydro towards the strategic plan

The following financial plan was approved by Council to meet the funding requirements at that time and plan for future requirements.

This is to cover “much of the core planning and policy work associated with achieving the implementation of the 25-year vision of the city’s Strategic plan. Also, there are certain distinct initiatives that begin to directly deliver some of the plan commitments. Incorporated within the Focus Areas are references to many other important documents, such as the

Official Plan,

Zoning By-Law Review,

Integrated Mobility Plan,

Transit Business Plan, and Mobility Hub Plans, to name a few.

These documents will represent a holistic approach to planning ahead and form the foundation for the future success of many of the initiatives laid out in the V2F work plan and the overall strategic plan.

V2F focus areas

Type is small – if you can read it – is this what you want your city to do for you?

All this planning got Mayor Meed Ward “fussed” as she put it.

The Urban Forestry Management Plan has her asking why trees could not be planted while the planning was being done. We know we are going to be planting trees – so let’s start doing just that, said the Mayor.

With the Staff report read into the record the meeting moved on to asking questions of Satff

Meed Ward H&S profile

The Mayor was not impressed – she describes council as nimble and agile and wants that reflected in the work that gets delivered to them.

Meed Ward had had enough.

She said that what we have here are plans to develop plans.

We will be spending a lot of money without seeing any change happen.

This council has shown itself to be very action oriented

Can we not reduce the time frame or the cost for all this – preferably both.

Can we not go outside and get some of the help we need?

Meed Ward said she understood that Planning and implementation are joined at the hip but we need to see changes on the ground.

So what can we do she asked.

City manager Tim Commisso responded saying he understood and that the report was a snapshot of where we are.

We are starting so that we have something to measure; we want to be able to nail down the numbers.  Meed Ward still wasn’t happy.

She said she wanted to see “expedited” and added that she gets a little jaded about plans and added to that that in her time on council she has seen four or five different master plans.

Trees are something we can measure while we plant.

We want to be a nimble, agile council; can we act and plan at the same time ?

City manager Commisso said “yes we can”.

That was the best the Mayor was going to get out of staff that evening.

The report was moved as received and filed.

But a message had been delivered.

Council was told that “Following the quick wins and initiatives that are transitioned to operations, 51 initiatives remain.

Of these, 19 initiatives are well defined, financial resources are clearly identified and the target for completion is within the four-year time-frame.

The other 32 initiatives are multi-faceted. Multi-faceted initiatives have a foundational and an implementation component. The foundational aspect of the initiatives represents comprehensive planning that needs to occur in order to lay the foundation for future work and decision making. This planning period will occur over a four-year time-frame (2019-2022) and the resulting documents will collectively assist in guiding the City through critical decision points on executing the completion of the initiatives. The implementation component will extend beyond the four-year time frame and the required costing and timing will become available once the planning work associated with it is complete.

The following plans/ reports (not a comprehensive list) are scheduled for completion and/or initiated within the next four years;
• Adopted Official Plan
• Audit and Accountability Report

• Mobility Hub Plans
• Transit Business Plan
• Integrated Mobility Plan
• Climate Change Action Plan
• Green Fleet Strategy
• Fire Master Plan

It was close to mind boggling.  The challenge is to determine if the Staff are available to do the work and if the funds are there to pay for the consulting that is going to be needed.

There will be more on this file in the months ahead.



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Keeping up with the seasons - some produce doesn't make it to the market table.

News 100 greenBy Staff

November 18th, 2019



There is something about the seasons.

Frozen apples - no barns

Apples left on a tree -look a little like Christmas decorations.

We know what they are but we aren’t always prepared for what they bring us.

Farmers are in the fields doing some scrambling to get crops in before they lose what was planted.

Some produce doesn’t get harvested.

This lone tree will hang on to its fruit until total frozen and the apples fall to the ground.

The dogs seem to like them.

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Buying a car; is Uber a better deal? Not if you do your homework.

News 100 redBy Claire Nash

November 17th, 2019



Getting around without a car is not everyone’s cup of tea. While public transport might be a viable way to get from place to place, many of us do not have the time – or patience – to use it. Which is why we still buy cars, despite there being more ways than ever to commute without owning one yourself.

Paid car buying

You should always go into the decision having considered all the facts.

However, buying a car is an activity fraught with potholes. There are so many ways you can get caught up paying off a car that wasn’t really what you needed in the first place. You should always go into the decision having considered all the facts.

Here are three important things to consider before buying a new car.

1. Do you need a bank loan?

Whether you are going to buy a first-hand or second-hand car, you could make use of a bank loan. This might be to your benefit even if you could technically buy it direct. Money in the bank now is possibly worth more than the extra you end up spending on payments in the long run. Make a checklist before applying for a car loan to come to a more informed decision. It’s great to not have to think about paying your car off, but what you do with the money in the bank can make a big difference to your financial status.

2. Do you need to drive?

Having your own car might seem cheaper than using Uber or Lyft on a day-to-day basis. But there is something else you need to take into account, which you should consider even if you already own a car. Time is money, and we spend a lot of time in transit. Think about how much one hour of your time is worth. With that in mind, how much money does your daily transit cost?

If you are not driving, you can make better use of your transit time. Unless you have issues with motion sickness, you can pull out your laptop and get work done. Alternatively, you can work on a passion project that you otherwise would never have time for. Is this time worth more than you’d be paying on a ride-sharing app?

With this approach, you can even consider buying a cheap car and hiring a driver part-time. Not everyone can afford this, even if they buy a used car, but those who can should consider it.

3. How much will maintenance cost?

A mistake many people make when buying a car is not taking maintenance costs into account. It’s not because we’re unaware of them, but because we put off thinking about them. However, maintenance massively impacts how much the car really costs. A cheap second-hand car could end up costing you more than a new car, because you have to constantly repair problems. And some imported new cars will cost you big in the long run because parts need to be brought in from elsewhere.

Maintenance costs are impossible to accurately calculate in advance, but try and get a general idea of the state the car is in and how much the parts cost. This can also help you come to a decision of whether it might not be cheaper to use Uber to get everywhere.

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Guy who Chases Painted Horses will be speaking at the AGB November 27th.

eventsorange 100x100By Staff

November 17th, 2019



This is one of those events that has three different organizations behind the wheel as it were.

The Library is sponsoring it – you will need your library card to register.

The Art Gallery is the venue for the event – they have the space.

And A Different Drummer is in there should you want to buy the book.

The event is an opportunity to hear an “ever-droll playwright, novelist, and social commentator discuss his life, career and the concerns at the heart of his artfully wry and poignant new work of fiction, Chasing Painted Horses.

Hayden Taylor

The star of this show is Drew Hayden Taylor who is “one of the dangerous writers who knows the potential of humour, and how far it can reach into a society, how deep it can cut, how quickly it can heal.”

He’s an award-winning playwright, novelist, journalist, scriptwriter and artistic director of Canada’s premier Native theatre company—and a very funny man. BPL is thrilled to welcome back Drew Hayden Taylor to share his latest novel, Chasing Painted Horses.

Admission is free–please register at this link or by contacting us at 905 639 0925 or

If you don’t have a library card give the Drummer a call – they can register you.  Seating is limited – there are a reported less than 30 left.


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Applications for support in setting up a neighbourhood ice rink close December 1st.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

November 15th, 2019



That young deer that got stranded on the not frozen enough pond at Royal Botanical Gardens tells us that we are close to being able to create neighbourhood ice rinks.

The City of Burlington is encouraging neighbours to come together to maintain outdoor community ice rinks at their local park this winter.

Applications for the Neighbourhood Rink program are available now at and are due by Dec. 1, 2019.

Outdoor skating rinks

There is something so very Canadian about being out on an ice rink set up by neighbours where everyone can take part. A lot nicer than any indoor rink.


Applicants can choose from nine City parks that have a dedicated water supply or another local park without a water supply. Groups looking to organize a neighbourhood rink will need a minimum of six people from their community to maintain the rink.

City staff will install rink boards and hoses in each requested park and provide a tarp (or voucher for a tarp) and a training manual with tips on ice maintenance. As the colder weather arrives, each neighbourhood group will flood the rinks to get them ready for a first skate and then maintain them throughout the winter.

Neighbourhood rinks are open to all community members to skate for free.

Chris Glenn

Chris Glenn, Director of Parks and Recreation

Chris Glenn, Director of Parks and Recreation lauds the program run by his department. He said: “A neighbourhood rink is a great way to get outside and play with your neighbours during the winter months. A key new feature we’ve included this year is a tarp. It sounds simple but we heard from many of last year’s groups saying a tarp will do wonders to keep the rink in better condition as we go through freeze-thaw cycles. Early forecasts are calling for a long, cold winter which hopefully means a long time for everyone to enjoy the great Canadian pastime of outdoor skating and playing outside.”

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Port Nelson United Church is Location for Gospel According to St. Nick that slips you into a Gospel Groove .

eventsred 100x100By Staff

November 16, 2019



The Gospel According to St. Nick wants to put you into the Gospel Groove with music from Burlington New Millennium Orchestra (BNMO).

Gospel Groove logoThe BNMO is comprised of highly respected musicians and talented soloists whose performances are comparable to the Canadian Opera Company, Metropolitan Opera and Boston Pops with inspiration from the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

Specializing in broad-based non-classical performances, BNMO is genre-crossing. Their repertoire features Pops, Broadway, Jazz, Rock, and World Music, and many of the scintillating arrangements are penned by Conductor and Artistic Director Charles Cozens.

Charles Cozens is the driving force of the BNMO. A highly acclaimed arranger, composer and orchestrator, Maestro Cozens is best known for compelling symphony shows, featuring his arrangements for full orchestra, performed by artists that include Sir Elton John, Randy Bachman, The Nylons, Mark Masri and more.


TC3’s proudest fact is that young people who stay with TC3 complete high school and an impressive 90% continue on to higher education.

The Toronto Children’s Concert Choir & Performing Arts Company (TC3) is part of the very full program. They are more more than a choir. Bringing together young people ages 7 to 18 from across the Greater Toronto area, TC3’s mission is to promote, develop and encourage youth through inspirational song, dance and Afro-Caribbean drumming. The focus is always on establishing excellence, holistic development and first-rate performance.

The premier program of The HopeWorks Connection TC3 has performed on television, at corporate events as well as at sold-out performances and on international tours. They have also released an award-winning album. However, TC3’s proudest fact is that young people who stay with TC3 complete high school and an impressive 90% continue on to higher education.

Among that talent that will be featured are:

Join the Burlington New Millennium Orchestra for Gospel Groove - The Gospel According to St. Nick with the Toronto Children's Concert Choir and featured singers Arlene Duncan and Gavin Hope at Port Nelson United Church, 7:00pm Saturday, December 7th, 2019.

Gavin Hope is a natural-born performer with a truly exceptional, emotional voice.

Gavin Hope is a natural-born performer with a truly exceptional, emotional voice whose diverse career includes song, stage, TV and film. This Juno-nominated solo recording artist has performed around the world sharing the stage with such greats as Aretha Franklin, Natalie Cole and James Brown.

His theatre highlights include lead roles in the original Canadian companies of RENT, The Lion King (Mirvish), The Tempest (CanStage) and As You Like It (CanStage). Gavin is also known for his work performing as a member of the Canadian a cappella vocal group The Nylons, with whom he has toured the world and recorded six studio albums (two of which were nominated for Juno Awards).


Alexandra Oliver is a Burlington-based poet, who will read a poem written specifically for this BNMO “Gospel Groove” event.

Arlene Duncan is a Canadian singer, songwriter and DORA award-winning actress who has worked extensively in theatre, television, radio and film, but is perhaps best known for her role as Fatima Dinssa on the hit CBC series “Little Mosque on the Prairie”. She was also recognized as Female Vocalist of the Year at the Canadian Black Music Awards and received an African Canadian Achievement Excellence in Arts award.

Duncan‘s theatre credits include the Dora Award-winning production of Ain‘t Misbehavin, and the Tony award-winning musical ―Caroline or Change. The multitalented Duncan has appeared in many commercials and sang jingles for McDonald‘s and Pepsi.


Arlene Duncan is a Canadian singer, songwriter and DORA award-winning actress.

Alexandra Oliver is a Burlington-based poet, who will read a poem she has written specifically for our BNMO “Gospel Groove” event.
Alexandra Oliver’s 2013 collection Meeting the Tormentors in Safeway was the recipient of the 2014 Pat Lowther Memorial Award, and her most recent collection, Let the Empire Down, was also shortlisted in 2017. Her libretto for From the Diaries of William Lyon Mackenzie King, conceived in conjunction with composer Scott Wilson, was performed by Continuum Music in Toronto in 2017.

Oliver is a past co-editor of Measure for Measure: An Anthology of Poetic Meters (2015) and the Toronto-based formalist journal The Rotary Dial. She is currently enrolled as a PhD student in the Department of English and Cultural Studies at McMaster University. Oliver’s most recent chapbook, On the Oven Sits a Maiden, is available through Frog Hollow Press.

It all comes together at 7:00 P.M., Saturday, December 7th, 2019
Port Nelson United Church, 3132 South Dr., Burlington, ON L7N 1H7
Tickets: $45 Adult | $25 Youth 18 and under incl. HST Tickets are only available through the BNMO website.

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