Can the way we elect our Members of Parliament be improved?

federal election 2019By Staff

November 9th,  2019



During the past two week our political columnist Ray Rivers has written about the way we elect our federal politicians.

The current system is called First Past The Post (FPTP) It’s pretty simple, the political party that wins the most seats gets to form the government. If no one political party has 50% of the seats in the House of Commons they do get a chance to meet and see if they can create a majority with the support of a different political party.

You know when they don’t have the support from another political party when there is a confidence vote. These are votes that have to do with money bills – the budget being the biggest one.

When the government cannot get the confidence of the House – the government falls and under normal circumstances an election takes place.

The Governor General can ask another political party to see if they can form a government. In theory at least.

Dave Meslin, the author of Teardown: Rebuilding Democracy from the Ground Up believes that Canada has it all wrong – he believes there is a way to elect Members of Parliament that allows everyone to be fairly represented based on the number of seats won. He has put together an informative series of graphics.

Here’s how Canadians actually voted at the ballot box:

Raw_voteAnd here’s how that same chart looks, if we add all the registered voters who decided to NOT participate at all.

Non_VotersOne third of all registered voters decided not to vote. Canada’s ridiculous voting system gives us a lot of reasons to not participate:

Dozens of “safe seats” that never change.

Hundreds of candidates who “win” with less than 50% of the vote.

Endless chatter about “strategic voting” and “vote splitting”

Fake majority governments, that don’t actually represent a majority of voters.

Hostile and polarized election campaigns.

Larger parties getting more seats than they actually earned.

Smaller parties getting less seats than they actually earned.

Here are the seats “won” by each major party in Canada, on October 21:

Seats_WonIf you compare that to the ACTUAL vote we saw at the top of the page, you’ll notice a few major differences. First, the conservatives got more votes than the Liberals… but less seats.

That’s backwards.

Same goes for the Bloc Quebecois and the New Democratic Party.

The NDP got WAY more votes than the Bloc… but far less seats. Again, totally backwards.

And the Green Party, who earned almost as many votes as the Bloc, only won three seats – compared to the Bloc’s 32.

Lastly, the People’s Party didn’t win a single seat, despite having the support of hundreds of thousands of Canadians.

Proportionally, this is what Canada’s parliament should look like:

Seats_Earned proportionallyAs you can see, the Conservative party would have the most seats – since they got the most votes! Of course, that doesn’t mean that they would be able to form a government.

In Canada’s parliamentary system, a party needs to gain “confidence of the House”, meaning that they either need to win a majority of the seats or find another party to support them in the House of Commons.

With 116 seats, the Conservatives are nowhere close to a majority:

In fact, the Conservatives would have a very difficult time forming a government based on the proportional results of this election. Even if the Bloc Quebecois AND the People’s Party supported them… it still wouldn’t be enough:

The most likely scenario would be some form of coalition or agreement between the Liberal party, NDP and Greens:

lib_ndp_greenUnder a proportional system, we’d also see an end to the wild distortions that paint Canada as a divided country with blue provinces and red provinces. While the seat count delivered on October 21st suggested that all Albertans voted conservative, all PEI voters are Liberals and the NDP has zero support in Quebec – the actual vote results reflect the diversity of opinions held across the country, in every province:

What that means, in terms of seat count, is that some parties earn way more seats than they actually deserve, while First-Past-the-Post robs other parties of seats they should have won. Regionally, this is what creates the myth of single-party domination within a province:

Of course, all these numbers are based on the votes cast under our current system. If we had a modern voting system (like most Western democracies), everything would change – not just the math on election night. We’d have more parties. Candidates would campaign differently. We’d likely have different leaders. We’d all be able to vote with our heart. And we’d end up with stable coalition governments that actually represent what voters asked for.

Is that too much to ask for?

Rivers and Meslin appear to agree. But, when the province of Ontario thought about doing this they held a referendum and the public just didn’t buy into the idea.

When the Liberals won a majority of the seats in 2015, Justin Trudeau became Prime Minister. Part of his campaign was a promise to change the way Members of the House of Commons get elected. He created a Ministry of Democratic Institutions that was going to change the way citizens determined who would represent them.

The first Minister, Maryam Monsef wasn’t able to get the job done. The Prime Minister appointed  Burlington’s Karina Gould the Minister of Democratic Institutions. She claims to have done her best – saying that she could not get the needed agreement from the other political parties – the attempt to change the way we elect Members to the House of Commons was abandoned.

The mess that came out of the 2019 election created a lot of dissatisfaction and ended up with the government not having a single member from Alberta or Saskatchewan.

The Liberals will need the support of either the New Democrats or the BLOC to pass any bills. The BLOC could care less as to how the Liberals pass legislation – they have said they will support the Liberals as long as any legislation they put forward meets the interests and needs of Quebec.

The New Democrats have a much stronger social platform and will have a strong interest in the way Members are elected to the House.

Interesting days ahead.

The Meslin graphics are certainly instructive; worth paying attention to.


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Does the Mayor have a strategy for saving the 'football'; there is one.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

November 7th, 2019



Much of the public rationale for Marianne Meed Ward running in ward 2 in 2010 was that she would do everything possible to save the waterfront.

SaveOurWaterfront- Meed ward

Long time believers in saving the waterfront. Are there enough of them left to make a difference today?

An organization was created – SOW – Save our Waterfront that Meed Ward rode all the way to city hall.

She was relentless with her use of social media. There were two film clips of her walking backwards along the lakeshore talking into a camera explain what she was trying to do with the waterfront and why. It was classic grass roots politics.

There are hundreds of people who still have their $10 SOW membership cards in their pockets. The organization morphed into the Meed Ward election campaign team.

In 2006 Meed Ward had run against Rick Craven in ward 1; the result of that election were not pretty. The Ward family moved from the Tyendaga community into the city core; ward 2 was a much easier win.


Everything on the right hand side of what is Old LAkeshore Road has to be left the way it is – no development on that land. The Motel is now in the hands of the people who own the Waterfront Hotel, Emmas is on land owned by Mayrose Tyco. This is where Mayor Meed Ward is going to have to find the leverage she needs. Does she have an ace up her sleeve?

Marianne has made the waterfront her issue. She fought tooth and nail to save the waterfront land between Market and St. Paul Streets – to no avail. It was sold to a property owner who saw an opportunity to acquire lakefront property for a song. The full story behind how that came about is a little clearer now that Council got a chance to hear what leading real estate agent Michael O’Sullivan told the city when delegating on another matter.

She has watched the public presentations from the CORE people and Burlington Old Lakeshore Inc., part of the Carriage Gate interests. and realized she was up against some pretty big guns.

She should be able to hold her council with her on this fight, Bentevegna might be problematic. She is going to have to work very hard to ensure that the Planning department fully understands the “will of council.

SOW images for fottball

The four eight to 15 story structures is a lousy deal for everyone.

But more than that – she is going to have to come up with a strategy. At this point it looks as if she is going to hang her hat on the zoning of 8 storeys as of right with up to 15 storeys if the right benefits are made available to the community.

She is going to have to deal with the tight grip the Conservation authority has on what can and what cannot be done south of the Old Lakeshore Road.

Cons HAlton line

Conservation Halton has ruled that nothing can be built south of that dotted blue line. The buildings there now can stay, It is those buildings on the south side of Old LAkeshore that Meed Ward is going to have to find a way to leverage.

What we didn’t see or even get a hint of from Meed Ward was that big, bold audacious idea that former Toronto Mayor David Crombie once told the Waterfront Advisory Committee was needed to save that piece of land.

Marianne understands the theatrics of politics. She use social media well, the ‘moth to a flame” part of her makeup will not serve her well. But these are small matters.

There is an opportunity to do something magnificent with the “football”. It will take imagination and a willingness to go for that “Hail Mary” pass, but if she can get her hands on the ball she will have created a legend for herself that can propel her some distance in the world of politics.

The 22 story Bridgewater development was done on Mayor Walter Mulkewich’s watch. It was originally going to be a 30 storey structure and be known as a legacy building.

Meed Ward can move the needle on legacy – but only if she surrounds herself with people that are imaginative, innovative and politically connected.

Meed ward election night 1

Victory is sweet – living up to the promise is the hard part.

Settling for 15 storeys on that patch of land will be nothing to boast about.

There is time for a better brilliant idea to come forward – just not that much.

The Meed Ward position at this point is that there is policy in place that limits what can be done with the land. The developer’s consultant said these were guidelines with little in the way of force.

Meed Ward is going to have to galvanize the people in the Planning department to put the minds of some of the young and very bright people in the building to give the city their very best.

Meed Ward’s long term political career and the soul of the city that many people want depends on it.

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Development to be located in the 'football' got a rough ride - CORE consultants believe they have a strong case.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

November 7th, 2019



The developer got a rough ride. It wasn’t any better than the public reception they got when they first let Burlingtonians what they had in mind.

On Tuesday they were doing the mandatory Statutory presentation – a time when Planning department staff say relatively little other than the bare bones about the project.

The Core Development Group have yet to give the project they have planned for the “football”, that oblong piece of land bound by Lakeshore Road on the north side and Old Lakeshore Road on the south side, a name.

There is the Carriage Gate Development proposed for the eastern end of the “football” that didn’t pick up a lot of support when it took their idea to the public in a very poorly attended meeting. Less than 40 people in the room.

The tower

This is what the CORE development group is proposing; the heritage building will continue as a restaurant; traffic will flow on to Lakeshore Road the other side of this rendering.

Two people from Urban Design headed up the presenting – they were professional and polished and they gave it their best shot. It didn’t appear to be enough to move this council.

Lisa Kearns, the Councillor for Ward 2 made it very clear that she would not support the development.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward reminded the meeting that she was holding the football property to no more than eight storeys – and would go up to 15 if there were significant benefits for the public – which to her way of thinking was much more land for public use.

During the presentation the architect was brought up to explain what was sustainable about the site. He said the building would be heated and cooled geothermically – the equipment would be put in by a firm they owned.

The traffic expert came up to the podium to clarify just where the cars would get out of the 27 storey building that would have four floors of underground parking. Believe it or not they plan on having traffic in and out on Lakeshore Road. Keep in mind that the Nautique development will be on the other side of the road – almost directly across from the CORE development.

When asked what would the Chrysler Carriage House be used for the meeting was told it would be commercial and that they would probably use it as a restaurant location.

View from Pier

Someone has finally come up with a reason for building the Pier – it was that “iconic” location from which people could see the city skyline and point out all the tall buildings.

There is a word for that kind of traffic flow – wondering what the Transportation department will have to say when the project gets to them?

Bryan Nykoliation, who was introduced as the development owner (which he isn’t) was asked by the Mayor if he would withdraw the development until such time as the city has completed the study it intends to do once the review and refinement of the adopted but not yet approved Official Plan work is completed. Nykoliation said he would not do that.

The site

The western edge of the development lines up with Martha Street

Their design consultant said she believed the CORE group had a very strong argument justifying the location and the building her client wanted to build.

A large part of the presentation was on how the proposed development fit into that part of the Lakeshore community.  The design consultants used the existence of the under construction Bridgewater project and the approved ADI Nautique development as their view on what was to come and how their development fit into the bigger picture as they saw it.


The developer argued that they weren’t adding anything to the skyline that wasn’t already there.

Looking south from ADI site

The outline on the right is the ADI Nautique structure. Lakeshore Road is in the middle with Emma’s on the other side. The CORE development would block the view of Emmas.

They provided illustrations showing that there project wasn’t going to be any bigger than anyone else’s. They have illustrations of view from the Pier and an illustration that purported to show that the view from Martha street looking south to the lake left people with a clear view.  They didn’t include Emmas Back Porch in the illustration.

The event was one of the more boisterous Statutory meetings we have seen in some time.  The developers have been meeting with the Planning department people for some time; they left the impression that the planners are comfortable with the development.  Consultants get paid to do that.

Different view points

Views on what the development will look like from different locations.

Extending the waterfdront experience

The consultants took the position that there development was, to some degree, an extension of Spencer Smith Park There will be a wide public path at the edge of the lake behind the Bridgewater that leads up to Old Lakeshore Road. Making the case that it is an extension depends on what gets built on the western end of the “football”

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Planning and Development Service Counter will be Closed on the 11th

notices100x100By Staff

November 6th, 2019



The Planning and Development service counter located on the second floor in City Hall at 426 Brant St, will be closed on Monday, Nov. 11, re-opening on Tuesday, Nov. 12 at 8:30 a.m.

That is one way of slowing down the flow of development applications.


Planning and Development is just to the right.

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New Democrats argue that public pressure, and falling polls, have brought about changes in pending.

opinionviolet 100x100By Andrew Drummond

November 6th, 2019



Queens Park

Has the Ford government learned how to govern?

This past week, the Ontario government returned to the legislature after an extended five-month break. Upon their return, they prioritized Bill 124 that would cap yearly public wage increases to significantly below the rate of inflation (with exceptions for groups that typically support the Conservatives like Doctors and Police Officers). However, they also last week announced significant retreats to three previously announced policies. These retreats were unexpected, and well received, and it is worth digging into how impactful these retreats are and why the government did not maintain their initial policies. Then perhaps more importantly what this means for public action against future government policy.

In September, two senior members of the Ontario opposition shadow cabinet (Marit Stiles and Sandy Shaw) came to Burlington for a town hall on education issues. One of the things they said to the crowd in Burlington was that it was possible to fight the government on its changes. Marit offered the example of the Health and Phys-Ed curriculum as an example of where public pressure pushed the government into changing its mind about a policy supported by Conservative members. The government had made a big deal about holding back the curriculum introduced by the previous government, but after a year of protests essentially allowed that curriculum to move forward with only minor tweaks.

This week, one of their backtracks was on regional amalgamation. Last year, the Ford government made a number of aggressive unilateral overhauls to municipal governments. It cancelled the decisions of the Regions of Peel, York, Niagara, and Muskoka to have a Regional Chair position while infamously using legislation to change the ward boundaries in the City of Toronto in the middle of their municipal campaign. When in January Ford appointed an advisory committee on regional government many residents in Burlington and elsewhere were worried it would spark another round of unilateral changes, possibly including the amalgamation of Halton Region in some way.

We love Burlington Prov Review sign

Public pressure worked.

In response, residents across Ontario organized to oppose any forced amalgamation. In Burlington, the grassroots group “We Love Burlington – Stop Amalgamation” formed. Across Ontario similar groups formed that organized responses to the advisory committee and emailed their MPPs. In all over 8,500 submissions were received and the government announced this week that no amalgamations would be forced upon municipalities. The answer was that public pressure worked.

The second backtrack was regarding advertising for vaping products. Everyone in Ontario has seen the proliferation of vaping advertising in the past year. Last October, the Ford government passed Bill 36 which primarily dealt with regulations around cannabis products, but also included the enabling of vaping companies to actively promote their products in stores. It was a reversal of previous Liberal policy to ban such advertisements, and was criticized by many including the Canadian Cancer Society. It was a transparent capitulation to lobbying pressure with the government absurdly claiming that

“The government is focusing on protecting young people from the potential harms of e-cigarettes and secondhand vapour. Retailers can’t sell the products to minors and they can only be promoted if the promotion complies with federal law.”

In September, CBC ran a story that outlined a story that showed just how little the provincial government was acting to restrict teens’ access to vaping. Despite hundreds of reports to local health authorities, across Durham, Toronto, and Peel only 16 fines had been levied all year. Many stores that had public reputations for selling products directly to minors had never been targeted for enforcement. Local health, already struggling under cuts to their funding didn’t have the resources to apply enforcement. The result of all of this has been a 74% increase in teen vaping over the last 12 months. Nearly 15% of teens 15-19 regularly vape, which in Burlington means approximately 780 teens have likely been newly addicted to vaping since the government allowed the increased advertising.

Fortunately, the government has been able to see past its free market ideology and is starting to backtrack in order to protect teens from the dangers of vaping. The government announced this week that as of January 1, 2020 vaping products will only be legally advertised within establishments that restrict entrance to ages 19+.

The last government backtrack is actually not much of a backtrack at all.

Education Minister Lecce announced last week that government will only look to increase secondary school class sizes from 22 to 25 instead of the previously announced 28. This is a relatively transparent negotiating ploy for the government’s upcoming negotiations with both the elementary and secondary teacher federations. Unfortunately, for the government, few in the public accept that the 9% increase in class sizes is necessary and most are rightly concerned about the detrimental effect it will have on public education. Minister Lecce’s public comments that tax cuts can only be funded if education costs are cut did little to make anyone think that quality education was his top priority.

Making only half of their initially proposed cuts is not actually a solution. The beginning of the cuts came this year as secondary class sizes were raised from 22 to 22.5. This resulted in 124 teachers being cut from Halton region alone. The “walk back” from the government will result in “only” 600-700 more teachers being laid off over the next three years. While this is a backtrack from the over 1,000 that were going to be eliminated under the government’s initial plan, it will still have an incredibly damaging impact on school in our region.

But the point is that fighting the government has worked. Pressure on the education piece has made the government relent a little bit.

vaping female

Restrict teens’ access to vaping.

Pressure on teenage vaping has gotten the government to do a flip-flop on their initial proposal. Pressure from local activists has made the government completely abandon its efforts to amalgamate local municipalities. The government has changed its priorities since the first year of its mandate, mainly in reaction to the plummeting polls. They are now considering walking back many other parts of their initial agenda.

The responsibility we have as residents is to keep the pressure on so that as little as possible gets cut to fund further tax cuts.

Andrew Drummond is  Burlington resident who ran for the provincial seat in the last election. He works with a telecommunications firm in the private sector where hew applies his marketing skills.

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Beyond Boundaries: A Program that Helps and Supports Women who Start and Run Businesses.

News 100 blueBy Staff

November 6th,  2019



As part of their Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES), Haltech Regional Innovation Centre and the Halton Region Global Business Centre are pleased to introduce Beyond Boundaries, an accelerator program designed to unleash the power and potential of women entrepreneurs.

Created to combat the unique challenges faced by women who start and run businesses, the program will offer:

• Skills development in key areas such as financial acumen, technology expertise, sales enablement and scaling up;

• Exploration of new markets and global opportunities;

• Mentorship, advisory support and peer learning circles; and

• Targeted connections through networking events and strategic introductions.
The first cohort of the program will start in early 2020. Apply here.

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Rivers: There is a Better Way to get the Government we Deserve and Need.

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

November 6th, 2019


Part Two – It’s Not a Horse Race 

If not First-Past-the-Post (FPP) then what? Most parliamentary democracies around the world have evolved into some kind of proportional representation. We, in Canada, have not.

Harper 2015Proportional representation could be as simple as introducing a preferential or ranked ballot, as discussed last column. Also called a single transferable vote, it pretty much ensures that the political party elected as government had been supported by the majority of voters. In our last election the Conservatives had more popular support than the Liberals. But would they have gained more seats with a preferential ballot?

There are more complicated and sophisticated forms of proportional representation and a link below provides an extensive discussion of these. New Zealand and Germany are good case examples. New Zealand, a fellow Commonwealth nation, has pioneered so much regarding democratic governance including becoming the first democracy to enfranchise women voters.

New Zealanders came to their version of proportional representation, called MMP for multi member proportional, via a series of public referendums. The first one in 1992 indicated almost 80% of the people wanted to change away from FPP. The next year a majority of voters chose MMP over the outdated FPP and a few years later it was in place.

Just to be sure people were satisfied with the change they had made, a follow-up referendum in 2011 confirmed they were on the right track and they would stick with MMP. New Zealanders get two votes at election time – one for the local candidate and one for the party they support. The party then appoints its best candidates based on the proportion of the vote they obtained. Being a 50-50% MMP there are an equal number of MPs elected by riding and appointed by the parties.

Coalitions among parties is pretty much the order of the day, though there is always the possibility of majority governments as well. Cooperation rather than conflict, though, is much more the modus operandi. That doesn’t mean parliament moves at snail pace as compromise might imply, but there should be fewer dramatic swings in policy, as we see in our system. Policies such as the long gun registry, the Northern Gateway pipeline and the non-partisan Senate would have had more consensus before implementation and more consensus before major changes.

Pearson Lester

Lester B. Pearson was the 14th prime minister of Canada from 1963 to 1968, as the head of two back-to-back Liberal minority governments following elections in 1963 and 1965.

For those who believe that Canada’s experience with minority government and quasi-coalitions or even rarer rare full-coalitions has been productive, MMP is the answer you’ve been waiting for. These folk would argue that our best governments have been during periods of minority, and will point to Lester Pearson as a shining example.

So what would have happened had Canada had a system of MMP instead FPP in the last election?

It’s all hypothetical, particularly since strategic voting had played such a big role in determining the final results. But assuming that voters hypothetically chose their MPs in the same manner as they did their parties, the results might look something like what we see in the table below, despite rounding errors.

RIVERS PART 2 GRAPHIC(note: includes rounding errors and excludes independent)

In this hypothetical illustration based on the last election, the Liberals would still have earned the most seats though the Conservatives would have improved their position relative to them. The NDP would have moved from fourth to third place, better representing the percentage of the vote they got. And the Greens would have remained in last place though their strength in members would have increased to better represent their popular support.

The depiction above presumes the same number of electoral districts and that the House is expanded to accommodate a doubling of members (50% MMP). Note that while today the Liberals could govern with support from either of the NDP or BQ, under our hypothetical MMP they would need the BQ plus at least one of the other parties. The Conservatives, as before, would not be able to govern without the support of at least two of the third parties or with the support of the Liberals.

Jason Kenney arrives for a cabinet shuffle at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Wednesday, May 18, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Jason Kenney served in the Harper government – now he wants to form a government as Prime Minister.

Mr. Trudeau is challenged to make his new minority government work with a nation more divided than we have seen in decades. While it is easy to understand Quebecers voting for a party dedicated to their interests and with a charismatic leader, what happened in the west is concerning. The Liberal shut out was deliberate and orchestrated somewhat by the Alberta premier and his Saskatchewan cohort.

Jason Kenney’s goal was to defeat Justin Trudeau and he very nearly succeeded. It was a dangerous manoeuvre for a provincial premier which exceeded anything this country has ever seen, and even over the top given the performances of former Quebec separatist leaders like Lucien Bouchard, Rene Levesque or even Jacques Parizeau.

Though the newly formed Wexit political entity, seems like an adolescent bad joke today, one should not underestimate the ability of this movement to damage the apple cart we call confederation. We could call them Canada’s tea party with their “Make Alberta Great Again” blue hats and upturned Canadian flags, but nobody should dismiss them as just a fringe movement or childish pack of whackos.

transcan pipeline ready togo in

Would this be if it was an international border ?

Perhaps one day they’ll explain why it would be easier for a landlocked Alberta to build a pipeline across an international border than over a provincial boundary – and why with the highest provincial per capita incomes contributing to national equalization is so unfair. Still, without some kind of formal representation in Canada’s government, these separatist voices in the west will only become louder, angrier and nastier.

And that alone should give Mr. Trudeau cause to think about adopting some form of proportional government which would allow the Wexiters and the Greens, and even the Bloc, the scope to channel their energy in a productive way.

Part 1

Rivers hand to faceRay Rivers writes regularly on both federal and provincial politics, applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking.  Rivers was once a candidate for provincial office in Burlington.  He was the founder of the Burlington citizen committee on sustainability at a time when climate warming was a hotly debated subject.   Ray has a post graduate degree in economics that he earned at the University of Ottawa.  Tweet @rayzrivers

Background links:

What Canada Can Learn –    Proportional Representation –     German Political System

New Zealand System –     More NZ System –     WEXIT

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Parking at Centennial Pool and Ascension Elementary School Closed until the 8th.

notices100x100By Staff

November 6th, 2019



Giving backTo support the Gift of Giving Back Food Drive, the parking lot in front of Centennial Pool is unavailable for pool customers Tuesday, Nov. 5 through Thursday, Nov. 8, 2019.

During this time all vehicles must park in the north lot behind Centennial Pool. North parking lot is only accessible from the west parking lot entrance for Robert Bateman School and by driving around the back of the school.

The Ascension Elementary School parking lot is not available for parking during daytime hours.

Please plan accordingly to allow extra time for parking.

The Centennial Pool parking lot will reopen for the evening of Thursday, Nov. 8, 2019

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Frustrated and Disappointed: Scobie wonders if it is all going to get away on us.

opinionred 100x100By Gary Scobie

November 6th, 2019



Once more into the breach. While there have been some good measures this new Council has brought about in 2019, on the most important issue you face, I am feeling frustrated and disappointed.

CORE rendering

Keeping the historic Chrysler Carriage House and leveraging its heritage to get additional height for a development many think is taking place in the wrong part of town.

I am delegating in opposition to the 27 storey mixed use condo application for 2093 etc. Old Lakeshore Road, in the middle of the
“football” between Old Lakeshore Road and Lakeshore Road. I would suggest nothing higher than mid-rise at this location and the
same goes for the site being planned next door to the east at the corner of Old Lakeshore and Lakeshore Roads. We don’t need
skyscrapers in our faces as we enter the eastern gateway to the downtown.

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.

There was a time when a much larger bus terminal existed 25 yards to the left of this small terminal on John Street – it was where people met. Today this tiny structure has been defined as an Anchor Hub.

I am frustrated that the Interim Control Bylaw (ICB) has only four more months to run and Council still has not acted on its mandate from citizens to rid us of the Anchor Mobility Hub (AMH) and Major Transit Station Area (MTSA) designations downtown. Nor has it moved the Urban Growth Centre (UGC) to the Burlington GO Station. These requests have been there since ECoB formed.

The three un-designations would free you from having to scramble to please the Local Planning Area Tribunal (LPAT) with your refusals to bend to developer demands to build high, build dense and build expensive on small sites in our downtown.

I am disappointed that instead Council is having the Planning Department spend time and expertise teasing out designs for downtown precincts (excluding Old Lakeshore precinct I might add) to please no one except developers.

This department should be using its expertise to support you in un-designating the downtown as an over-intensification project and reclaiming your right as a Council to decide on the intensification of our downtown that was already clearly expressed in the current Official Plan (OP). I attended the final Downtown Development Lab on Saturday and the crowd was not enthusiastic about either concept and was wondering why we were doing this exercise.

I last came here in June of 2019 and advised that your first priority to stop the further proliferation of high rise buildings near our
lakeshore like this one and in our downtown like others was to get us out of the cross-hairs of the development industry by making moves that Oakville Council in its wisdom did well over ten years ago. Instead we are still seeing applications such as this one that run counter to our vision of our lakeshore re-development and give developers an easy ride at the LPAT to gain height without maximums on small sites that only add to existing congestion and ultimately result in a rebuild of our downtown in their image.

Yet we are spending time updating an Adopted OP so it might pass muster under the over-intensification mandates you continue to allow to stand. You ignore the fact that our small Bus Terminal never qualified as an Anchor Mobility Hub because it has neither rapid transit nor dedicated transit to the Burlington GO Station Gateway Mobility Hub. You appear to ignore the ability you have to revise the boundaries of the Urban Growth Centre to direct high intensification like this building being applied for to the GO Station Mobility Hubs instead of in the downtown. Meanwhile the clock continues to tick toward the end of the ICB in March 2020.

The canyon effect along Lakeshore Road predicted ten years ago by Save Our Waterfront is about to come to pass unless strong measures are taken by Council.


The canyon effect along Lakeshore Road predicted ten years ago by Save Our Waterfront is about to come to pass.

At one time, I think citizens believed that we had enough historic buildings in our downtown to forestall high rise developments everywhere. Alas, we have very few buildings designated as historic and protected. If one happens to be on a site of properties assembled by a developer, like this one with the Chrysler Carriage House, it is incorporated in a tiny corner of the new building as simply a cost of doing business and a token to those who care about history. Old buildings or interesting facades like Kelly’s Bakeshop are incorporated in the build to lower our unease that our downtown is being stolen from us, to make us feel more comfortable with the redo that is unfolding. I believe that most citizens realize that these small measures are little compensation for what is being lost in total – the vision that Council promotes of a continuing attractiveness, walk-ability and vitality of the small town feel of Burlington’s downtown.

Developers have been assembling properties for years in anticipation of the goldmine that awaited them in high rise luxury condos, with token retail and office space that is mostly unaffordable for the very people we want to stay in the downtown.

Developers want to demolish and build new. You only have to look out your window at City Hall to see the blank slate that was 421 Brant Street. That is the dream of every developer. No trees, no buildings left, just a vacant lot ready to dig down deep for dungeon parking and building footings, set to rise to new heights each time. Wind or shadow issues? We’ve got experts who will tell you all is fine. No trees that will ever live past seven years because the beds are too small and too shallow? You can plant another one in its place. It’s all going to be wonderful with well-off people moving downtown to support the businesses that might or might not be left. What’s not to like?

This type of viewpoint might work at a true mobility hub where you can actually build from scratch a complete community for rail commuters, but it just doesn’t cut it in a downtown that actually does have some buildings, both high and low, that will stay for a long time and need to be built around in a respectful manner.

Members of Council, expect to see the developer of this application at the LPAT soon. In the meantime, please get working with Metrolinx and the Province to at least give you and your citizens a chance at saving our downtown, not frozen in time, but with a reasonable intensification target of our own making.

ScobieGary Scobie is a Burlington resident who has in the past delegated to city council.  His research has informed public opinion.

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Nisan takes a credibility hit - might not be able to deliver on a promise.

News 100 redBy Staff

November 5th, 2019



Something went wrong somewhere and Ward 3 Councillor Rory Nisan finds himself in a bit of a bind.

Kilbride community centre

Traffic on the road near the school is just too fast for many Kilbride residents.

Rory Sept 2019

Councillor Rory Nisan – said he thought the speed reduction was a done deal.

People in the Kilbride community complained about speeding along the main road in the community. Many delegated at the time and the Councillor felt there was an understanding that the speed limit would be reduced.

The Councillor checked in with the Transportation department and was told that the speed limit would be reduced. Nisan passed the word around the community – he had delivered. The rural people remember things like this.

During the Planning and Development meeting Tuesday afternoon the Councillor learned that a 40 kmh limit would not be put in place because it wasn’t warranted.

You could almost hear Councillor Nisan gulp.

Director of Transportation Vito Tolone has advised Council that the department was trying to cut down on situations where a single area had a reduced speed limit. They wanted instead to impose speed limits on areas and a collection of roads.

Vito Tolone

Director of Transportation Vito Tolone said the speed reduction request didn’t meet the criteria.

Kilbride Road was not an area that they wanted to put 40 kmh limits on. There was apparently a report setting out why the department decided not to put the limit on that road.

Nisan said he wasn’t aware of any report and he certainly didn’t see anything.

Rory Nisan is going to have to find a way to convince the Director of Transportation to change his mind or corral enough council votes to Direct the department to put in a 40 kmh limit.

Let’s see what Nisan manages to achieve.

One of the things he might want to work on is polishing up the relationships with the various departments.

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Coles notes version of Monday's Committee of the Whole meeting

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

November 5th, 2019



Some thoughts and observations on the Committee of the Whole meeting that took place on Monday.

The number of city hall employees who quit increased by more than 80% during January to October 31st, 2019 when measured against the 2018 numbers for the same period.

Sharman at transit

Councillor Sharman explaining his Father.

Councillor Sharman told the world that his 98 year old father still drives a car, has a new girlfriend and is moving into a condo.

The difference in salary for people holding senior jobs who have decided to work somewhere else was reported to be as high as $15k to $20k

Retirements are up 67% over last year.

Council went into a closed session to discuss an Appendix to a report from Human Resources Director Laura Boyd who has told the city that there are some serious problems with the city’s pay rate.

Commisso stare

City manager Tim Commisso spoke about the The Evolution of the Customer Experience.

They also went into Closed Session to discuss The Evolution of the Customer Experience. The report came from the hands of the City Manager who delivered it to Council late in the evening.  That customer being you.

Mayor Meed Ward made it clear that she wanted to see more action and less waiting for reports from outside consultants.
Centurions are going to get a lot more attention in the months and years ahead. There are plans in the works to pay much more attention to those who have lived for 100 years. The city has literally dozens of them.

Lining up for a Brown Bag lunch - annual Seniors' Centre event held at Central Park this year. Last year the LaSalle Park event got rained out.

Lining up for a Brown Bag lunch – annual Seniors’ Centre event held at Central Park this year.

The Seniors’ Centre is said to be busting at the seams – but there are no plans to build another one elsewhere in the city. Councillor Stolte didn’t see it that way and let the meeting know that she thought it was time to look for a location north of the QEW.

Councillor Sharman let it be known that he thinks Freeman Station should be operated by the Museums group.

There is a longish list of projects the city has been asked to take on – but they aren’t funded. Shortfall is $720,000 in 2020 alone.

Meed Ward with chain Sept 23-19

Mayor wants the city to be “nimble, agile and to move quickly

Mayor Meed Ward told her colleagues that she is a little jaded on “plans”. She said she thinks she has seen four or five on transit alone.

She added that “we know we are going to plant thousands of trees – why do we need to wait until a plan is written?”

She wants city staff to be “nimble, agile and to move quickly”

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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Lawson Hunter underwhelmed with council's response to his delegation.

opiniongreen 100x100By Lawson Hunter

November 5th, 2019



The deafening silence that followed my delegation to Council of the Whole on Nov. 4th spoke volumes. I was there to urge Council to back up their claim of a ‘Climate Emergency’ as they pondered the Proposed 2020 Budget.

V2F coverThe agenda item, “2018-2022 Burlington’s Plan Vision to Focus Financial Plan” was no doubt expected to be ‘received and filed’. However, as this would be Council’s (and the public’s) first glance at the new Budget – I jumped right on it and registered to delegate. I don’t think anyone expected that to happen. After all, a fuller report goes to Council November 18 after three closed Council Workshops to discuss in detail what is being proposed. Staff would like all this Budget stuff wrapped up by year’s end. Note: the 2019 Budget wasn’t finalized until March 26th of this year.

I visited the City’s website to gather some background and see what had been proposed. I clicked on Budget 2020 and there revealed was my first dilemma – the budget listed was for 2019.

Nevertheless, I had the 2019-2028 Approved Capital Budget and the latest version of ‘Vision to Focus’ (V2F) the guiding document that grew out of Burlington’s 25-Year Strategic Plan. Ambitious goals but no Operational budget numbers.

After an admittedly lame attempt at humour, I painted a nightmare scenario where the City took no action to address Climate Change (I called it a Climate Crisis). I asked, “What would people think of Council’s inaction 20, 30, 40 years from now?”.

In the Staff Report it stated:
It is important to note the V2F work plan is not being implemented in a vacuum, but rather aligned with organizational objectives and work plans and being cascaded down and linked into service plans.

If this is true, how is it that Council is being asked to approve a Budget without a Mobility Hub Plan; an Integrated Mobility Plan; a Climate Action Plan; an Urban Forestry Management Plan; a Green Fleet Plan; not to mention an official Official Plan?

The budget process provides a venue in which decisions are made to ensure the appropriate balance between affordability, service levels and financial sustainability are maintained.

There’s no balance to be had. We must act on all fronts and start the process today. Enough with studies. There are plenty of examples as to what other cities are doing to fight climate change. In fact, I gave various Council members a list of 103 actionable items that others cities in Canada have already put in place. Grab those concepts with both hands and start putting them into this Budget, I pleaded.

On the day before my delegation I stumbled upon the Proposed Budget 2020, all 686 pages of it. (

Approve the 2020 Operating Budget including any budget amendments approved by the Committee of the Whole -Budget to be applied against the proposed net tax levy amount of $173,597,452;

Capital Budget for the City of Burlington, with a gross amount of $85,791,551

Property taxes represent 65.5% of income for the City. The rest of the $264.9 million the City expends come from various revenues sources (think recreation fees, fines & debentures). However, the Budget default is already set at a 4% increase. Why look for any extras?

One thing that popped out at me was:
Business cases to address climate change impacts of $921K result in an additional tax increase of 0.55%

So what are we saying here? If you want to do something about climate change it’s going to go over-budget?

Additional Items for consideration (not included in the proposed budget)
I think says a lot when you dangle nice concepts such as ‘Free transit for children under the age of 12”, and ‘Additional Forestry staff to implement a City-wide Tree By-law’ out on a limb, easy to chop off so you can say, “At least we kept the Budget increase at 4%”.

I also turned to the proposed Capital Budget to get a flavour of how the City viewed long-term actions. Even though it’s a bit of ‘apples to oranges’ the ‘Vision to Focus’ listed one of its 5 Focus Areas, “Supporting Sustainable Infrastructure and a Resilient Environment” the Budget lists many of the same items as “A Healthy and Greener City”. Say it quickly – it sounds very ‘environmental’. But including Cemeteries, Parks & Rec, and Organized Sport Support are a bit of a stretch for me.

When looking at the Capital Budget, I focused on things that could possibly relate to Climate Change: Tree Management – OK, Environment and Energy – yep, Storage Water Drainage – well, maybe. And where was Transit? That came under ‘A City that Moves’ along with Parking, Roads and Transportation.

So I tallied up the 324 Infrastructure spending items in the ‘Adopted Capital Budget 2019-2028’ and organized them as: Transportation, Roads, Bridges & Streetlights = 56.5% (of budget); Parks, Community Centres, Splashpads = 29%; Erosion, Culverts, Cycling & Trails = 10%; and finally, Transit = 4.5%.

I’ll leave it up to you what you consider Climate Change adaptation, and how much emphasis the City places on my motivating concern.

Flood presentation - Burlington creeks

Lawson Hunter wanted maps which he finds don’t exist. This is the best the Gazette has.

With a minute to spare, I concluded by noting some of the shoreline clean-ups that I, and many others have done. I mentioned the Repair Café (next one on Nov. 16), my weekly environmental podcast, and the fact that I took the bus to City Hall. I’ve asked the City for floodplain maps and ‘buried creek’ and culvert maps – apparently, they don’t exist! This was not to put myself on a pedestal but to merely observe that I, and others in Burlington, are doing their best to combat Climate Change, often without much in the way of thanks.

Now it was time for City Council to do their part come Budget 2020.

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TechPlace LaunchPad Company Receives 2019 Women Founders Fund Award

News 100 blueBy Staff

November 5th, 2019


TechPlace LaunchPad Company Kidictive was in Toronto recently for the 2019 Startup Canada Awards hosted at the MaRS Discovery District. During this award ceremony, Kidictive co-founders Michelle Gorman and Laura McLaughlin were one of five recipients of the Women Founders Fund.

The fund provides micro-grants to women-led companies in Canada to help them start and grow their businesses while accelerating gender parity.

Kidictive took occupancy in the LaunchPad program in August 2019 and are in early stages of the launch of their first product KIDICTED™, the app that helps kids put down their devices and get ‘addicted’ to the real world.


Left to right: Kidictive Co-founder and COO Laura McLaughlin; David Souaid, Chief Revenue Officer at OnDeck; Kidictive Co-founder and CEO Michelle Gorman.

“We were so humbled and inspired to receive this award in the company of so many exceptional Canadian Entrepreneurs and Supporters at the Startup Canada Awards,” said co-founder and CEO Michelle Gorman. “

As part of the TechPlace LaunchPad Program we have been able to accelerate our progress and strengthen our application for this grant. We truly appreciate the support from the Burlington Economic Development team.”

Co-founder and COO Laura McLaughlin echo’s this sentiment saying, “TechPlace has given us access to so many amazing resources to help advance our business.” She continued, “We are excited to use the proceeds from the grant to ensure KIDICTED™ is helping kids develop positive, self-directed behaviours around their engagement with devices.”

Since they moved in, Kidictive has been leveraging a number of TechPlace resources including Haltech’s programming and mentorship. “Kidictive’s growth in the LaunchPad program is already very apparent,” said Burlington Economic Development Acting Executive Director Anita Cassidy.

“Receiving this grant will help propel their growth further as they get closer to taking KIDICTED™ to market.”

Meed Ward - tight head shot

Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward.

Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward was thrilled to hear about the news, saying, “the Women Founders Fund is an incredible resource for female-led STEM businesses positioned for growth. Having one of only five national recipients being located in Burlington demonstrates our community’s value to young companies looking to scale, to getting gender parity in the workplace and promoting the business successes of women.

Although women in Canada now represent 47 percent of Canadian business owners and contribute $148 billion in economic activity, they continuously face barriers to accessing capital to start and scale their businesses. This gap is particularly evident when looking at women entrepreneurs in STEM fields.

Through the Women Founders Fund, Startup Canada and OnDeck Canada aim to alleviate some of the financial barriers women in the STEM industry face when starting and accessing opportunities for business and professional growth. The recipients are funded with grants of up to $5,000 to support business operations or business growth opportunities.

STEM – stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

About Startup Canada
Startup Canada promotes and supports the success and growth of Canada’s 3.5 million entrepreneurs, with a mandate to foster economic growth, competitiveness, and prosperity through entrepreneurship.

Since launching, Startup Canada’s programming has directly supported more than 200,000 entrepreneurs and 50 grassroots Startup Community organizations. Working with over 750 ecosystem partners, including accelerators, incubators, research parks, educational institutions, economic development agencies, associations, and government programs, Startup Canada serves entrepreneurs from all backgrounds, industries, and stages of development, with a network reflective of Canada’s diverse population. Learn more at

About Kidictive Inc
Kidictive Inc. was founded in September 2017 to help parents create a tech balanced life for their families. Kidictive Inc.’s first product KIDICTED™ launched earlier in the month on the Apple App Store.

KIDICTED™ helps kids put down their devices and get ‘addicted’ to the real world by inspiring them to PLAY, CREATE, IMAGINE, DISCOVER and CONNECT.

Kidictive Inc., a Tech Place LaunchPad client, is a member of the Haltech Regional Innovation Centre and are recent recipients of Ontario Creates and OCE SmartStart grants which have helped fund their concept development.

Anita Cassidy

Burlington Economic Development Corporation Interim Executive Director Anita Cassidy.

About TechPlace
TechPlace is a one-stop destination for new and growing technology companies. With the support of partners from across the public and private sectors, it is dedicated to connecting, developing, and advancing entrepreneurs at all stages. This means providing access to space, programming, mentorship, networking, and resources that are fundamental to growing a business in today’s technology-driven marketplace.

Led by Burlington Economic Development, TechPlace exists to help technology, talent and ideas come together under one roof to create and promote opportunities for economic growth.

About Burlington Economic Development
Burlington Economic Development has a mandate to enhance the growth prospects of existing companies and bring new high-value firms to the community. Burlington Economic Development ’s focus is on growing the economic base to sustain Burlington’s competitive and prosperous community. Burlington Economic Development is the first point of contact for companies looking to expand, start-up or locate in Burlington.

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Transit consultant puts Director of Transit in an awkward position - Councillor Sharman said his numbers didn't add up

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

November 5th, 2019



Burlington Transit has great cred.

Council members love the job that Director of Transit Sue Connor is doing.

The Mayor keeps urging Connor to do even more than she does – and there is nothing shy about the woman.

Bfast love the women.

Stolte + Connor +

Burlington Transit Director Sue Connor at a Bfast meeting.

She is the transit champion they have been waiting years to arrive.

Yesterday evening Sue and a consultant from Dillon were giving Council an overview of their five year business plan. They were expecting the city to approve it in principle so they could go away and begin the detail work that had yet to be done.

Monday evening was the day the transit balloon was burst.

Councillor Sharman had read the report carefully and he had major problems with some of the number.

Sharman on transit

Councillor Sharman didn’t like the math. “The numbers are all completely wrong.”

During committee meetings council members get to ask two questions and then have to wait until all the other members of Council had a chance to ask their questions. Paul Sharman went through three rounds of questions – and he was scathing.

There are he said “a number of things where the numbers don’t make sense”

“The numbers are all completely wrong.”

Table 5

Table 5

“Table 5 is completely wrong” – it didn’t get any better.

A number of other Councillors had concerns but none was as probing or direct as Sharman.

Reports to Committee usually get approved – not this one. Sharman would not move the report – he said he wanted it to be referred to Council.

connor and Dennis 2

Director Connor – does not appear to be very happy with her consultant.

Sue Connor was not happy with her consultant. During much of the discussion he was hovering over a device re-working his numbers.
The vote to refer the report to Council where new, hopefully supportable data will be put forward was not unanimous.

Councillors Nisan and Stolte were prepared to go with the report. Galbraith, Sharman, the Mayor Kearns and Bentivegna wanted it to be referred to council

Connors got many complimentary remarks about her work; Councillor Sharman said his comments were not personal – but the numbers didn’t add up and they were going to have to add up if the Business Plan was to be adopted.

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The Mayor has announced that she will be delivering a full report on her trip to Japan - it might be done as a slide show.

News 100 redBy Staff

November 4th, 2019



Sometime later in the month, we assume, the Mayor is going to give a full report on her trip to Japan. So far all the public has seen is what the Mayor put up on her web site – where you can influence outcomes for a Better Burlington.

The link to that collection of pictures is informative.

The reason for the trip was to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the twinning relationship Burlington has with Itabashi, a city that is a special ward located in Tokyo Metropolis

Here is what the Mayor adds on her web site

“After a full day of official meetings and ceremonies, some of the highlights from our first day in Itabashi included a visit to the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo (about a 20-minute car ride from Itabashi) and a meeting with JETRO — Japan’s External Trade Organization — to talk economic exchange.”

Not a word on what might have come out of those talks.

“We then toured Tokyo starting with a visit to the Sensoji Temple where you can read your fortune and incense is burned outside for people to wave good fortune. We next headed to Ueno urban park that features many stones and historic markers, a shrine, and a giant lake with massive water lilies.

“We also toured famous commercial streets in Tokyo, including the largest intersection in the world — Shibuya Crossing — where approximately 2,500 people cross at a time.”

MMW in costume - Japan

A cultural deep dive.

“To start off Day 2 of our official visit, we headed to Itabashi City Hall where our hosts literally rolled out the red carpet to welcome us.

“There is a subway stop right in City Hall — the rail lines are privately owned, earning revenue from development around stations.

“Itabashi City Hall was filled with displays commemorating the 30-year anniversary of our twinning relationship. There was even a paper “maple tree” where people could write messages to Burlington and our citizens. One million people are served at Itabashi City Hall each year and the city has a population of about 550,000 citizens.

“I was honoured to bring greetings from Burlington and on behalf of our Official Delegation that included Ward 3 Councillor Rory Nisan, who is Council’s representative on the Mundialization Committee (the committee that maintains our twin city relationships).

“Children at the on-site day care made us paper frogs. The frog is considered a Japanese lucky animal, seen as good fortune in things returning.

Meed Ward and Itabashi mayor

Mayor Meed Ward in the Itabashi Assembly Hall with Mayor Sakamoto.

“We also had a tour of the Assembly Hall where I had an opportunity to sit Mayor Sakamoto’s chair and the large elevated chair reserved for the Chairman, who presides over the meetings. There are 46 Assembly Members, seated by parties or affiliations, similar to a parliament.”

The Mayor brought back a box of cookies that were shaped in a crest – wasn’t clear just what the crest was – but they were shared with people taking part in the Committee of the Whole.

We learned as well that the Mayor brought back some sake and some sake glasses.

MMW on a lunch break

Mayor Meed Ward took every advantage to immerse herself into Japanese culture.

“We then had a spectacular traditional lunch of sushi, soup, rice and sweets, served in a traditional-style Bento Box. These lunch boxes were used by Samarais when they would visit the Sakura trees in the spring.

“After lunch, we toured City Hall and got a glimpse into the City’s disaster operations room. They have two high-altitude cameras in Itabashi that are used to detect fires or floods. They also have 7 rivers through the city with rain gauges. In one rainfall, more than 3 metres fell in 30 minutes.

“Itabashi aims to be very environmentally sustainable. The tiny tiles on a street they named “wine block” is made with recycled wine glass bottles. Silver seats for seniors and the disabled are also made with recycled wine bottle glass. Itabashi aims to be “green” with planted medians on their streets.”

“This was a day to learn about and immerse ourselves in Japanese culture.”



“This day was one to learn more of the history of Japan and visit sites of historical significance.

“Our first stop was a bullet train ride to Sendai (about a two-hour train ride from Itabashi) to visit the Yuriage Port Market Cooperative in nearby city Natori. The market there was hit by a devastating tsunami in 2011 that caused by an earthquake under the sea.

two ships ashore

The tsunami that struck the city of xx was devastating – close to the worst this world has experienced.

“It was the most powerful earthquake ever recorded in Japan, and the fourth most powerful earthquake in the world since modern record-keeping began in 1900. The earthquake triggered powerful tsunami waves that may have reached heights of up to 40.5 metres (133 foot) and that travelled, in the Sendai area, at 700 km/h for up to 10 km inland. Residents of Sendai had only eight to ten minutes warning, and more than 19,000 were killed, many at the evacuation sites — more than 100 of which were washed away.”

Of note – when that tsunami hit that city Burlington didn’t offer a dime in the way of financial support. Sendai was not the city we were twinned with however there is a citizen in Itabashi who send Burlington a reasonable sum of money every year. He is the gentlemen who sent us the cherry trees in Spencer Smith Park many years ago.

Today, we learned that during the trip Lisa Palermo, the Mundialization Committee clerk was searched at some point and got left on a train platform.

Palermo is a very effective, efficient member of city hall staff; no reason was given as to why she was searched or quite how she got left on a train station platform.  Her role appears to have been the person who set things up for the Burlington visitors. Her effective efficiency would have been put to good use.

This trip belongs in that “nice to have” category the mayor used effectively in her three Burlington election campaigns.

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Worobec finishes the race - just shy of the target she set for herself.

sportsgold 100x100By Pepper Parr

November 4th, 2019



The race was run.

It was a solid run – just shy of the target Ashley Worobec set out for herself when she left Burlington on Saturday to run in the New York City Marathon.

For the record.

For the record.

Ashley with name

Her name in there as one of the finishers in the 2019 race.

Ashley with bib number

The bib number – it will probably go up in the office along with the Pan Am Torch.

In a short message she said: I’m SUPER HAPPY with how it went today- my goal was 3:30 and I ended up at 3:32, but I gave it everything I had.

My hamstring seized up at Mile 24 so I lost about a minute there when I had to stop and massage it out- I literally couldn’t even bend my knee! Thankfully it loosened up and I was able to continue running.

I was crying tears of joy afterwards once I saw my husband and my friend Michaela.

crossing the finish line

Ashley Worobec approaching the finish line at the New York City Marathon.

Michaela and I stayed together until Mile 16 and then she pulled ahead and finished 5 minutes ahead of me.

That was our plan- we would stay together as long as possible, and when one of us (in this case, me!) could no longer hold the pace, the other one would go on ahead.

Back at the hotel and it’s time to eat and nap! What a great day!!!

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It wasn't a raid but the police did shut down the Monster Mansion on Lakeshore at Goodram when they were getting disturbing behaviour reports.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

November 4th, 2019



Change only happens instantly on television.

The people in the Goodram – Lakeshore Road community are putting up with noise that would drive anyone bonkers – this at 2 am.

They have been asking for help for more than 18 months.

Lakeshore mega 4319 A view

The Monster Mansion that is being rented out via Air BnB was finally shut down by police – albeit well after midnight..

The efforts of their member of Council and a reach out to the police to step in has shut down the Air BnB operation that was the cause of all the concern.

Ward 4 Shawna Stolte said she has been pushing hard for relief for the residents in the area in regard to the troublesome AirBnB.
Saturday night was another big party with the police intervening multiple times and shutting the place down by 2am.

Councillor Stolte explains that: “The immensely frustrating challenge is that we have no jurisdiction to shut them down or enforce ceasing to operate as an AirBnB as we have no bylaw that speaks to this yet.

One option may have been to try to enact an immediate ban on all Short Term Accommodations in Burlington in order to catch this one…but that would have unfairly impacted the 160 other AirBnB’s in the city who are abiding by the rules and offering a great service.

Licensing will take a bit of time, it is being implemented by the Planning Department, who are so “under water” with the dramatically shortened timelines due to Bill 108 as well as the Official Plan and the Interim Control ByLaw timelines. Councillor Stolte said she “could have demanded something sooner but I know we would have ended up with an incomplete, not well thought out licensing bylaw.

“The property in question never would be granted a license to operate as they are anyhow…this situation is a matter of them using the guise of AirBnB to skirt the zoning bylaw and rent out a residential property as a commercial event venue.

“The fastest way to shut down this property is to take the legal approach re: residential zoning infraction which is what has been happening these last 6-8 weeks. We are well into this process and should see an impact any day now.

Shawna quiet

Shawna Stolte: Rookie Councillor who took on a defeated a double decade incumbent is proving to be very effective.

The Gazette had asked why the MAT (Municipal Accommodation Tax), was being considered at this time; she explained that “this is a completely separate issue that coincidentally just happens to include Short Term Accommodations. It is being spearheaded by the City Managers Office, not the Planning Dept. “Believe me, if I thought for one second that the Planning Department was taking time to implement the MAT instead of dealing with the Licensing Bylaw, well let me leave it at that.” She added that “I am holding the Planning Department’s feet to the fire as much as I can without running the risk of damaging things for a department that is struggling with the workload.

“The ultimate result is to get this AirBnB shut down by whatever means possible. As of Friday the advertisement for the offending property is gone from the AirBnB website. I had had contact with the AirBnB company as had a number of residents. Now AirBnB has banned all “party houses” after the shooting last week at a “party house” in California.

The residents may now finally have some peace and quiet on their street. Give the Councillor a kudos on this one.

Related news story:

City Council vows to take action

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Leaf take up begins November 4th - check the map to learn when your street will get the treatment.

News 100 greenBy Staff

November 3rd, 2019



Tree - Thanksgiving

As the colours change they mark the days to the leaves falling – get ready to rake them up.

Getting close to that time of year when all those coloured leaves give it up and fall to the ground. They then have to be raked up and put in piles at the side of the road.

The loose-leaf collection program starts on Monday, November 4th. Residents are encouraged to check the leaf collection schedule and rake leaves to the curb or edge of pavement if there are no curbs, as close as possible to their pickup date.

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 placing garbage bags, bins, Blue Boxes or GreenCarts 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 curbside collection by Halton Region.

As a greener alternative, residents can mulch their leaves with their lawnmower to help feed the soil for the spring.

Mark Adam, Manager of Road Operations asks you to: “Please ensure your leaves are at the curb by the start of your zone collection date and ensure there is nothing but leaves in your piles. Sticks, garbage, toys, rocks and anything other than leaves will damage the equipment.”

2019 leaf collection

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Halton voter turnout in the federal election was higher than the average in the rest of Canada: Burlington had the highest turnout in the region.

federal election 2019By Staff

November 4th, 2019



The federal election is over and the country got the leadership it wanted.

What many didn’t realize until Elections Canada released more detail on that vote was that 70% of the people in Halton cast a ballot.

The Advance polls were much higher this election.

Flag at house of commonsBurlington – 12,989 advance ballots in 2015 – 20,143 advance ballots in 2019.

Oakville North Burlington 14,501 advance ballots in 2015 – 22,344 in 2019

Total advance ballots for Halton in 2015 was 52,088 – 77994 in 2019

The voter turn out for each municipality was better than the national average.

In Burlington 70,888 of the 99,972 registered voters cast a ballot – 70.91%

In Milton 59,005 of the 84,807 registered voters cast a ballot – 69.58%

In Oakville, 61,882 of the 90.144 registered voters cast a ballot – 68.65%

In Oakville North Burlington 68,452 of the 97,439 registers voters cast a ballot – 70.25%

Canada wide the numbers were 17,890,264 of the 27,126,166 registered voters cast a ballot – 65.95%

Now if we could only get that kind of a turn out for the municipal election we would have a very engaged communities who would hold those elected accountable which would result in better government.

Wouldn’t that be nice.

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Telephone Survey of 740 residents to start Monday.

News 100 blueBy Staff

November 1st, 2019



This time THEY are coming to YOU.

You are not going to have to spend time staring at the computer monitor thinking about your answer to a question that might not be that clear or make that much sense.

The 2019 Community Survey; that opportunity for you to add your wisdom to that of 750 people so that the city can confidently move forward with what it has decided to do.

Community durvey 2019

750 citizens will get the call. Stand By

The Survey is scheduled to begin Monday, November 4th to provide the City with information about the opinions of the public as it relates to services provided by the City.

There will be 750 telephone surveys completed; 125 households in each ward. A combination of land and cell phone numbers will be contacted by random selection. The caller ID for the survey will show the phone number: 1-866-415-0012 and “TSP”. The survey will take approximately 10 minutes to complete.

An online version of the survey will also be made available on Get Involved Burlington. This online survey gives residents whose telephone numbers were not chosen an opportunity to provide input.

The survey results will indicate how the community would like to receive information from the City, the methods of public involvement they prefer (and if they feel they are part of the decision-making process), value for taxes, identification of the most important issues in Burlington and questions about transit.

How survey results will be used
Information gathered in the survey will be used in updating City business plans, guide the development of communication initiatives, and public involvement programs on City issues and provide benchmarking and performance indicators. Council may also use the information to influence budget and spending decisions.

Kwab Ako-Adjei, Director of Corporate Communications & Government Relations wants people to know that: “This survey will provide Council and City staff with important community feedback to help shape the City’s services, communication initiatives and business plans.

Input from all wards will be included to ensure all corners of the city are heard. These survey results will help the City better understand resident opinions and needs to inform future City planning.”

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