Federal election debate to take place at the Nuvo Network Thursday evening.

federal election 2019By Staff

October 1st, 2019



BurlingtonGreen is sponsoring what is probably going to be the best debate between the federal election candidates that citizens of Burlington will get to hear is to take place on Thursday at the Nuvo Network.

They expect a large crowd based on the registration thus far. The event will go like this.


A rendering of what the Nuvo Network will look like when the refurbishing of what was once the television studio that broadcast the 100 Huntley Street evangelical programs from is completed.

• 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm: Doors open and opportunity for the public to submit questions. There will be an opportunity for interviews with the candidates during this time, in addition to photography.

• 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm: Moderated Debate. The emcee/ moderator of the debate is BurlingtonGreen’s Executive Director, Amy Schnurr. The debate will take place in Founders Hall, thus we respectfully ask that you wrap up conversations and take your seat among the audience in a timely fashion, no later than 6:55 pm.

The debate will commence at 7:00 pm sharp and finish at 9:00. The format will consist of a series of pre-determined questions asked by Amy, our partner and a youth representative, in addition to questions that will be provided from the audience and vetted.

There will be no open microphone.

• 9:00 pm – 10:00 pm: Reception to meet the candidates.

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Can the development proposals planned for the 'football' be stopped?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

September 30th, 2019



In from the east

The view of the as yet unnamed tower as you drive into Burlington from the east.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward left the meeting before it ended. A presentation was being made by Old Lakeshore Burlington Inc. who were explaining what their development proposal idea was for the property at the east end of where Old Lakeshore Road and Lakeshore Road was going to look like; she had heard all she needed.

A part of the city that she used as the rallying cry for her election to city council in 2010 was about to be turned into something similar to what Toronto did to the land south of the Gardner Expressway and Lake Ontario. It was not what she had in mind for her city.

SOW images for fottball

This was the limit Marianne Meed Ward was calling for in the 2010 election.

The provincial government approach to development changed when Doug Ford came into office, the massive change in what LPAT (Local Planning Authority Tribunal) was going to do for the municipal sector wasn’t helping.

Was there a way out of or around what was heading our way?

There might be.

At this risk of using a phrase that didn’t actually resonate in Burlington – it is time to be bold. Let’s try – “Daring to be a Daniel” instead.

There is in the municipal world a number of tools that can be put to very good use – but it does require some creativity.

Russian nesting dolls

A doll within a doll – a planning tool within a planning tool.

I spoke to a number of people about what the city is up against and got some solid feedback. One resident, long in the tooth and the holder of much wisdom and experience in matters related to planning, suggested the approach the city could take is a little like those Russian nesting dolls.

All these planning and land management tools can be made to fit into each.  It takes very tight strategic thinking and you’re going to need a lot of that high priced legal talent to make it all happen – but they experts we spoke to told us it could perhaps be done.

Is it worth the risk to take a shot at it?

Site overview - aerial

The developer sees the 26 storey tower as the eastern gateway to the city – it’s impressive. Is it the best thing for the city?

There is currently an Interim Control Bylaw in place for the Urban Growth Centre. It has about eight months left in the first year it is going to be in place. The city could extend that bylaw for a second year.

The Chief Planner Heather MacDonald has a team of consultants working with her on what the city might do in terms of the kinds of development that will be permissible.

What is permitted

The A and B properties are in what is called the “football”

The “football” is within that Urban Growth boundary – so nothing is going very far until that interim bylaw is lifted.

What I learned in my talks with a number of people is this:

The review of the adopted – but not yet passed by city council Official Plan, could designate certain lands as having a special interest for the city in terms of the long range development.

They could put what is known as an H designation – a HOLD on what gets done with a piece of property.

With that hold in place the city has time to re-think where it wants to go.

Burlington has had relatively large community protest groups in the past. The Save our Waterfront group had more than 1000 members - did it achieve anything other than getting its founder elected to city hall? Here one of the masters of public involvement, former Toronto Mayor David Crombie talks with current SOW presisdent.

Former Toronto Mayor David Crombie talking to Mike xxx, who at the time was President of the Save our Waterfront group that had 1000 members,

With that time available Burlington can then form a group that studies the potential for the “football”; former Mayor David Crombie suggested to the Waterfront Advisory Committee that was in place at the time that they do just that. He added that putting a couple of “oddballs” on such a committee is always a good idea.

I learned that there is also a Community Improvement section in the Municipal Act – it is sometimes referred to as a Community Development Plan.

That part of the Act could be used to put together a plan that had wide wide stakeholder involvement.  These plans, I was told, give a municipality a tremendous amount of power and scope – they are in effect putting the needs and interests of the citizens first.

Right now the Planning department is dealing with a development application, which they have to accept and issue a report on.  They don’t have anything to compare it to – something that might be better for the city.

If the buy in from the public was high enough the city could move to expropriate all the land within the “football” and float a bond to pay for it.

If the Mayor wanted to get really creative she could look for a way to create a bond that the average citizen could units of.

Meed ward looking askance

Does the Mayor think there is a way out of what the developers have told us they want to do with the football? Will the Mayor manage to toss it back to them and expropriate the land.

Meed Ward is staring at a couple of developments that will put 26 storey condominiums on land she believes should not be any higher than 12 storeys.

LPAT will not let that happen – the developers know they will win at that level.

There just might be a way to do something truly stunning for the city.


All of this was close to given away to the owners of properties that abutted the waterfront.

That terrible loss the city suffered when lake front land between Market and St. Paul was sold for a pittance can’t be reversed – but amends could be made for that loss.

Emma’s Back Porch and the Water Street Cookery could be part of something truly unique.

All it takes is takes innovation, creativity and courage.

We are far from experts in this field. But we do believe that citizens will stand up for themselves when the leadership they want leads.

The 2006, 2010 and the 2014 city council’s didn’t lead.  Mayor Meed Ward has made it clear things will be done differently – how much differently.

Let’s see where the Gazette’s active comment people have to say.

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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City council opts for free transit for high school students; top bus driver in the city and the Mayor and going to steer this one.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

September 30th, 2019



It was the Mayor’s initiative from the get go.

She is going to ride this one and reap the benefits.

Meed Ward was a big fan of getting people out of their cars and on public transit.

She was behind the free ride for seniors that is now in pilot and reported to be doing very well.

She next moved onto getting high school students on to public transit.

Her goal is to have anyone who has somewhere to go to do so by just hoping on the bus – free for everyone, eventually.

Meed Ward took it one step further – she thinks transit should be a Regional government issue so that there is easy travel to Oakville, Milton and even Halton Hills where there is currently no public transit.

Transit-report-card- 2018

Public perception was very poor in 2018


It improved in 2019.

One of the new buses added o the Burlington Transit fleet. There were busses that had more than 15 years on their tires - those old ones certainly rattled down Guelph Line when I was on one of them.

Then it becomes totally free?

The instruction that came out of the city council meeting last week were crystal:

Direct the Mayor and Director of Transit to develop a draft report including a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) regarding free transit for Burlington students, outlining the program, costs, revenue impacts, eligibility, and commitments in more detail, in partnership with Halton Region and the four school boards that serve Halton students: Halton District School Board, Halton Catholic District School Board, and the two French school boards, Conseil scolaire Viamonde and Conseil scolaire catholique MonAvenir, and report back to council for a decision.

Mayor Meed Ward is going to be at the table where this happens – bet on it.

This initiative is going to be led by Burlington Transit with the different Boards of Education picking up the tab – they can certainly expect to pay more than they are paying now.

The Halton District School Board fell in love with the idea and had their motion passed before the city had their’s cast in stone.

HDSB Director of Education Stuart Miller when asked how this was going to work out said:

“It’s a little complicated.

“We do need the Catholic Board to agree and the transportation consortium as well. That hasn’t been done yet, but I suspect it is just the timing and it will as soon as the Boards can all meet.

“As for the work, most of it will be done by the City of Burlington with us helping to educate our students. The budgetary component will also be largely Burlington. We will continue to contribute the amount we have been providing, but this is pretty straight forward.”

Let us hope so.

Director of Transit Sue Connors, who did some exceptionally good work with the Brampton Transit system when she ran that operation, can be expected to do the same thing here. She is looking forward to being the first city in the province that has electric buses.

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High school students do very well in mathematics and literacy tests; exceed the provincial average..

News 100 blueBy Staff

September 30th, 2019



We reported earlier today on how well the grade 3 and grade 6 students did on their testing. Earlier in the month the Ontario Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) released results showing Halton District School Board (HDSB) students continue to perform above the province in Grade 9 Academic and Applied Mathematics, and on the Grade 10 Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT).

These results are based on assessments completed in the 2018-2019 school year and show that HDSB students are well above the provincial standard (Level 3 & 4, or a B grade or above) in Grade 9 Math and on the OSSLT.

For Grade 9 Math, there are separate assessments for students in the academic and applied courses. The Grade 9 Academic Math assessment results remained consistent with the previous year with 91% of students performing at the provincial standard. In the HDSB, there were a total of 3,698 students enrolled in the Academic Math course in the 2018-2019 school year.

For the 619 students in Grade 9 Applied Math in the 2018-2019 school year, results increased to 55% from 54% in the previous year. This is 11 percentage points above the provincial average of 44%.

grade 9 results

HDSB is proud of its “Applied Strategy” along with efforts to ensure that applied classrooms are engaging, active, relevant, and challenging places to learn through experiential opportunities. Professional learning opportunities were offered each semester for all teachers of Applied level courses. Additional sessions for Math occurred with a specific emphasis on the strengths and needs of students with learning disabilities in Mathematics. Schools applied best practices and proven strategies for teaching Mathematics. This focus on closing the gap in achievement, engagement and well-being for students in Applied courses resulted in a higher proportion of students in Applied level Math meeting the provincial standard for a third year in a row.

“We are pleased to see progress in our EQAO Math scores for the 2018-2019 school year, and are especially encouraged to see a percentage point increase in Grade 9 Applied Math,” says David Boag, Associate Director for the Halton District School Board. “We will continue to ensure math and literacy remain core areas of interest and focus as we continue to support all of our students.”

grade 10

The Grade 10 Literacy Test (OSSLT) results for the 2018-2019 school year were also released recently. The successful completion of the OSSLT is a requirement for graduation. The HDSB’s success rate for students writing the test for the first time increased by one percentage point from last year to 86%. The overall results for the OSSLT demonstrate that students in the Halton District School Board continue to have strong literacy skills.

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Some of the grade 3 and 6 marks are ahead of the provincial average but down slightly from the previous year.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

October 1st, 2019



The concern about student performances, the worry about disruption in the number of students in a classroom are what we hear about in the news.

There is some positive news: student grades are very good – higher in the Halton District School Board (HDSB) than the provincial average.

HDSB continues to perform above provincial average in Grade 3/Grade 6 Reading, Writing and Math on EQAO assessments.

Results released today from Education Quality and Accountability Office; results for students in Grade 6 Writing increased by one percentage point.

Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) show Halton District School Board (HDSB) Grade 3 and 6 students continue to perform above the provincial average based on assessments completed in the 2018-2019 school year. These results show that HDSB students are well above the provincial standard (Level 3 & 4, or a B grade or above) in Grade 3 and Grade 6 Reading and Writing.

grade 3 - 6In Grade 3 assessments, the HDSB outperforms the province by seven to nine percentage points. In Grade 6 assessments, the HDSB exceeds the provincial average by six to eight percentage points with 87% and 88% of Grade 6 students meeting the provincial standard on Reading and Writing, respectively.

In primary classrooms, HDSB staff continue to focus on sustaining effective Comprehensive Literacy Programs which include assessment for learning, differentiated and guided instruction and methods of monitoring student achievement. The Board continues to apply the Levelled Literacy Intervention Program to support students.

EQAO results are used to support continued student improvement at the school, system and provincial level. Results provide insight on how students are doing compared to the rest of the province. The Board uses this data at the school and board level, along with a variety of other student assessment data, to focus efforts toward continuously improving student achievement.

While students in the HDSB continue to perform well above the provincial average, the Board recognizes the need to make improvements in Mathematics. In 2017, the Board implemented the Mathematics Improvement Plan, which is in line with the Ministry’s Focus on Fundamentals in Mathematics Strategy. This work includes a focus on mathematics leadership, professional learning to support teachers in mathematics instruction and assessment, and investment in high quality resources and training for these resources in every school.

David Boag

David Boag, Associate Director for the Halton District School Board.

The HDSB Math Plan was launched three years ago and includes extensive support for student and staff learning, and involves developing learner profiles, using effective instructional and assessment strategies and resources to support Math learning.

“We are very proud of the HDSB’s EQAO results as the Board continues to exceed the provincial average on all assessments,” says David Boag, Associate Director for the Halton District School Board. “This success is attributed to the hard work and dedication of our staff, families and most importantly, our students.”

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Senior's Day on Tuesday - several free drop-in programs

News 100 yellowBy Staff

September 30th, 2019



October 1st is National Seniors’ Day and the city is going to celebrate with several free drop-in programs.

The objective is to honour and encourage older adults to connect and play which is important for a healthy, active life.

On this day, City of Burlington Adults 55+ Aquatics and Skating drop-in programs are free for participants aged 55 years and older.

Tyandaga golf course aerial

Golf goody: two adults aged 55 years and older can play for the price of one between 10 a.m. and noon.

At Tyandaga Golf Course, two adults aged 55 years and older can play for the price of one between 10 a.m. and noon.

Community partners will be at various facilities with information on services and fun activities.

Older adults are encouraged to visit any of the locations listed below to meet community partners and be entered for the chance to win one of two Burlington Seniors’ memberships and one of two Parks and Recreation $25 gift cards.

There is nothing fancy about the place. It's simple, serves the purpose with a bus stop almost outside the door and plenty of parking. And the kitchen will rustle you up a sandwich if you're hungry. The Seniors like it the way it is.

There is nothing fancy about the place. It’s simple, serves the purpose with a bus stop almost outside the door and plenty of parking. And the kitchen will rustle you up a sandwich if you’re hungry. The Seniors like it the way it is.

Participating Locations:
• Aldershot Pool
• Tyandaga Golf Course
• Burlington Seniors’ Centre
• Tansley Woods Community Centre

To view a complete listing of drop-in programs CLICK here.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward tells us that “The older adult population of Burlington is vibrant and engaged, and a vital part of our communities. I encourage all adults aged 55 and older to take advantage of the free drop-in programs or to stop by the Burlington Seniors’ Centre to see our community partners, socialize and enjoy the day.”

Mandy Newnham, Supervisor of Recreation wants these senior’s “to come out to the variety of registered and drop-in recreational programs for Adults 55+ across the city to keep active and play every day.”
Ensuring Burlington is an age-friendly city is a commitment Burlington City Council made in the City’s 25-year Strategic Plan. Under the ‘A City that Grows’ direction, the City committed to developing an age-friendly strategy that supports aging in place. Ensuring sufficient Adults 55+ space for recreation and social activities is provided throughout the city is part of the plan.

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Council members take a tour of the IKEA operation. Sharman takes a pass.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

September 28th, 2019



They were just serving on behalf of the public they serve and doing a tour of the IKEA .  Looks like a happy enough occasion.

Council at IKEA

All they needed was the City Clerk and this could have been a meeting of city council. Councillor Sharman did not attend.

What would call for a tour of IKEA  that involved every member of council- except a Councillor who has been known to skip events?   Something new from IKEA?

Their plans for a re-locate a number of years ago to a site on the North Service Road didn’t work out – there were concerns from Conservation Halton related to just how close Tuck Creek was to the eastern edge of the property.

Maybe this was just an occasion for a big photo op.


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City locks doors to washrooms in the Beachway on a sunny Saturday afternoon - why?

News 100 redBy Staff

September 28th,2019


The city has responded to this article.  See below.

There are washrooms on the north side of the Snack Shack that remain open throughout the year.

Readers are writing in advising us that the toilets on the Beachway are locked.

“Weather of 25 degrees Celsius and the doors are locked. I saw a dump, I thought maybe we had bears in Burlington.”

Another reader wrote that “toilets at the beach are locked, there are people defecating in the bushes.”

Beachway washrooms

Washrooms in the Beachway. Locked on a warm fall weekend: why? Not much in the way of bushes for people to drop their shorts in.

It was a wonderful sunny day – a great time to get out and enjoy the weather.

Most people know there are some washroom facilities in the Beachway – why in weather like this would they be locked?

The washrooms are a bit of an embarrassment as they are – they are due for a major upgrade.

Does the city follow a rule that once we are into fall weather the washrooms are automatically locked – or maybe someone didn’t show up to unlock them.

Poor policy, lousy public service.

Come Monday we will ask Parks and Recreation and see what they have to say.

The city responds: The washrooms at Beachway Park were open on the weekend. The change rooms are now locked for the season and this may have caused the confusion. The change rooms are located in a separate building on the south side of the Snack Shack also have washroom facilities. The doors for the change rooms were locked while the adjacent washrooms remain open until the water is turned off for the season.


There are washrooms on the north side of the Snack Shack that remain open throughout the year.

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Police Seeking the Public's Assistance - Stabbing Incident in Burlington

Crime 100By Staff

September 28th,  2019



Night spots get very dangerous when people feel they can carry a knife and then stab someone when there is an altercation.

The stabbing took place almost a month ago at a local club.

The Halton Regional Police Service is seeking the public’s assistance in identifying the suspect responsible for a stabbing that took place at the ‘Island Nightclub’ in Burlington.

On August 31, 2019 a male suspect got into a physical altercation with another male outside of the night club. During the fight, the suspect stabbed the victim with an unknown object causing a puncture wound to the victim’s shoulder. The suspect then fled the area on foot.

The victim was treated and released from hospital.

Police are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying the suspect responsible for the stabbing incident.

Stab Suspect 2Stab Suspect1Suspect is described as a male, black, with a slim build, short dreadlock style hair and unshaven. He was wearing a dark shirt and dark pants. The suspect appeared to be approximately 21 years of age and wore a black satchel slung off of his shoulder.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Jared McLeod at the 3 District Criminal Investigations Bureau at 905 825 4747 ext. 2385.

Tips can also 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 www.haltoncrimestoppers.ca.

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Stunning design for the Lakeshore Road - but no one at the public meeting liked the height.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

September 27th, 2019



The Mayor stood at the back of the room, glumly listening to a development presentation that, if ever built, would crush the agenda she has had in place from the day she first began to be politically active in ward 2 where she became the Council member, served two terms and went on to get elected as Mayor.

Design principles

Design concept principles.

The development is in a prime location – at the visual entrance to the city as one drives in from the east.

The shape of the property gave the developer the opportunity to do something stunning and Nick Carnacelli didn’t disappoint.

In from the east

Looking at the development as you drive into Burlington from the east.

The design is stunning, it sets a new benchmark for excellence in outside appearance and will certainly draw the clientele that can afford what it is going to cost.

The only problem was – no one liked the height – they wanted something lower.

Time may prove that lower buildings will become possible in Burlington but the evidence at this point is that height is a given – the issue will be where that height gets situated.

The city had more than a decade to make it clear that it had different ideas for what it referred to as “the football” because of its shape – enclosed by Lakeshore Road and Old Lakeshore Road and limited to some degree by the set back and top of bank requirements along the lake which is yards away from this development and the one proposed next to it.

From Lakeshore and Martha

Looking west along Lakeshore Road, Martha’s Landing is on the left.

The meeting began with Andreas Houlios, a city planner setting out what the zoning was and what the Official Plan that is in place permits. Burlington has an Official Plan that was put in place in 2008.

A new plan was passed by city council in 2017 but not approved by the Region.

The 2018 election brought in a new council that took what they called an “approved” Official Plan and began the process of revising it. The city is waiting for that revision to be made public as soon as it is complete. But right now, today – the Official Plan as it will apply to this development reads like this:

Official Plan designation:
• Downtown Mixed Use Centre
• Old Lakeshore Rd Mixed Use Precinct (Area B – East Sector)

Site Specific Official Plan Policy:
• Building heights up to 10 storeys and 31.5 metres
• Taller building heights up to 12 storeys and 37 metres permitted subject to certain requirements
Subject Site
What is permittedWhat is permitted on this site?
Current Zoning:
• DL-A (Downtown Old Lakeshore Road)
• Permits a variety of retail and service commercial uses, office, hospitality, entertainment and recreation uses, as well as apartment buildings and retirement homes.
• Maximum height of 10 storeys -12 under certain situations.
• The Provincial Planning Act allows applications to be submitted at any time by landowners to change the Official Plan designation and/or zoning on a property.
• The City is required to process these applications following a set of Provincial rules and regulations and with consideration being given to existing Provincial and Regional policy.
• City planners obtain technical advice and public input before making a recommendation to Council.
• If Council does not make a decision on an application within the legislated timeframe, the applicant may be appeal the applications to the LPAT, if desired.

And that is what the developer has done. They are asking for a change to the Official Plan and changes to the zoning on the site.

The property happens to be within the boundaries of an Interim Control Bylaw (ICBL) that is currently in place for one year – that year has about eight months left.

Site overview - aerial

The development will dominate the entrance to the city.

The Planning department will receive the application but will not begin a Staff Report until the ICBL is lifted.

With that background in place the audience of about 40 people got to hear what NAME had to say about the merits of the development. He did not get a round of applause and he was interrupted a number of times.

Mark Bales, a vice president with the developer Old Lakeshore Burlington Inc., stood a few times to elaborate on a point and to answer questions from a less than friendly audience. Mr. Bales at one point chose to hold his open hand up facing Councillor Lisa Kearns in an effort to stop her from speaking – an atrocious bit of behavior that we have seen before.

Nick Carnecelli, standing at the back of the room signaled to Bales to tone it down.

The audience the developer was dealing with did not want what was being proposed – they wanted the 12 storeys the Official Plan permits.

There were some ideas put out on how traffic might be managed and the wish for a more “village like” setting. Nothing the developer was going to do anything with.

It is now a waiting game until the ICBL is lifted.

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Road Closure: King Road, between Plains Road East and North Service Road - Sept. 30 - Oct. 4, 2019

notices100x100By Staff

September 27th, 2019



Beginning Monday, September 30th, a section of King Road will be closed between Plains Road East and North Service Road to allow for underground utility connection work. The closure will be in place until Friday, October 4th, 2019.


King Road before the grade separation went in.

Local and emergency vehicle access will be maintained up to the closure points throughout the duration of the project. A detour for through traffic will be in place via Plains Road, Waterdown Road, North Service Road.

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Mayor adds staff member with a degree in criminology to her team.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

September 26, 2019



The Mayor’s office now has a full compliment. Her new Executive Administrator and Constituent Liaison started 0fficially on September 23rd which means Georgie Gartside can hopefully return to working as the Administrative Assistant with ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte.

The newbie to the Mayor’s office is Darian Mills who brings a highly-relevant background as an assistant for the Member of Parliament for Brantford Brant.


Darian Mills – Executive Administrator and Constituent Liaison

The Mayor points to Darian’s “unique combination of government experience, customer-service skills, administrative excellence and positive energy.

“She has an Honours degree in Criminology and a passion for politics, and all things dogs-related. Darian is focused on serving the people of Burlington and helping me, as your Mayor, realize our collective vision for our City.

The Mayor thanks Georgie Gartside, “who was my assistant when I was a Councillor, for stepping in during this transition period and helping the Mayor’s Office run smoothly for the past few months.

It was a busy summer and a busy start to the fall in the Office of the Mayor, and Georgie’s skills and experience were appreciated more than I (and the rest of my team) can possibly say.”

The Mayor also thanked Councillor Shawna Stolte and the entire team of councillors’ assistants for being so flexible and collaborative, pulling together to cover the workload while we searched for this new team member.

The Mayor also set out the procedures for communicating with her office. For an efficient response continue to email mayor@burlington.ca.

The Mayor’s Office Team:

Victoria Al Samadi, Mayor’s Chief of Staff; Victoria.Alsamadi@burlington.ca; 905-335-7600, ext. 7703 (contact for policy and strategy);

Darian Mills, Executive Administrator and Constituent Liaison; Darian.Mills@burlington.ca; 905-335-7607 (for general enquiries);

John Bkila, Media and Digital Communications Specialist; John.Bkila@burlington.ca; 905-335-7600, ext. 7478 (for media inquiries).

The online process for all inquiries related to the Mayor’s Office with regards to event invitations, requesting a proclamation, congratulatory letter or certificate, a flag-raising, or a meeting have been streamlined.

For events, proclamations, letters/certificates or flag-raising requests, please head to https://webforms.burlington.ca/Mayors-Office/Invite-the-Mayor.

For requesting a meeting with the mayor, please visit https://webforms.burlington.ca/Mayors-Office/Request-a-Meeting-with-The-Mayor.

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Transit route 4 detour begins September 30th.

notices100x100By Staff

September 26th, 2019

Burlington, on


Burlington Transits route 4 has a detour, between Dynes Rd. and Cumberland Ave.
starting September 30th through to October 5th due to construction in the area.

The following stops not be serviced.

• #148 – Prospect St. at Dynes Rd.
• #159 – Cumberland Ave. at Woodward Ave.
• #160 – 3232 Prospect Ave.
• #164 – Cumberland Ave. at Northgate Dr.
• #168 and #174 – 3270 Prospect St

Route 4 will travel along Dynes Rd. and Woodward Ave.

Route 4 map

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Does the public have any idea what is being proposed for the south east core and is city council just going to let it happen?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

September 26th, 2019



There is a meeting taking place this evening at the Central Arena, on Drury Lane road, across the street from the YMCA.

Lakeshore Inc

The public will get a look at what the developer wants to do with the southern end of the “football” the land between Lakeshore Road and Old Lakeshore Road.

It is a pre-consultation meeting, a non-statutory meeting to obtain community input on all of these elements prior to the submission of an application. Planning staff will be in attendance to provide information on the development application review process and next steps. The owner and consultant team representatives will also be in attendance to listen and collect ideas and input from the community.

Old Lakeshore Burlington Inc. is the owner of lands located at 2107-2119 Old Lakeshore Road. The City’s current policies provide for the potential development of a tall building of up to 12 storeys on these lands. The owner is currently considering the redevelopment of the lands with a mixed-use tall building of up to 26 storeys.

This is the way development takes place in Burlington.


The properties the CORE development group want to put 26 storeys on.

A number of months ago there was another such pre-consultation public meeting. This one was at the Art Gallery. It went through the same process; there weren’t a lot of people in that room with much in the way of appetite for the development. The developer in that case was the CORE group.

When the Gazette asked for a copy of the presentation made by the developer – they promised to send it along the next day, we are still waiting for that one.

model 3 d 0f the site

A 3D model of what the south eastern core of the city would look like if the CORE development on the table is approved and built. Another developer wants to build a high rise at the eastern end of the Lakeshore and Old Lakeshore intersection.

Both developments, the CORE development and the Old Lakeshore Burlington development, are in the same part of town – what is sometimes referred to as the “football” – referring to the shape of the property that exists between Old Lakeshore Road and Lakeshore Road.

If there was ever an occasion for Mayor Goldring to seek the opinions of others on the Beachway PArk - now is the time to do it and on Wednesday he will have an opportunity to listen to one of the best minds there is on waterfront development. Former Toronto Mayor met with MAyor Gildring at a Waterfronty Advisory meeting a number of years ago. Time for another chat.

Former Mayor Rick Goldring sits beside former Toronto Mayor David Crombie to listen to members of the Waterfront Advisory Committee.

A number of years ago, when there was a Waterfront Advisory Committee chaired then by Nick Leblovic they invited former Toronto Mayor David Crombie to talk to them about how development can be managed so that the wishes and the will of the public are at least heard. Crombie at the time said: You need to put together a committee and ensure that you have a couple of oddballs at the table – they are the people that pop out the interesting ideas.

Then Mayor Goldring sat in on that meeting; nothing ever came of the idea. Sometime later the Waterfront Advisory was put to rest.

Any development ideas were going to come from the development community. And that is what we are looking at today.

The very significant sized developments that abut each other on what is now the most valuable developed land near the lake, across from Emma’s Back Porch and a football field length away from the Bridgewater development which appears stalled.

There is no public protesting; there is no group formed to suggest that this is not the way this part of the city should be developed.

Other than saying the city doesn’t want this type of growth in this part of the city Mayor Meed Ward hasn’t said very much.


All the land within the red outline was public. The city went along with the sale of the pieces in the middle that abutted houses – they kept the piece of land at each end and turned them into Windows on the Lake. A Crown Jewel had been sold.

Burlington lost the opportunity to keep a large part of the waterfront in public hands when it went along with the sale of that land between Market and St. Paul.

Meed Ward, as a Councillor fought a valiant battle to maintain ownership of that property – despite her efforts then, Crown Jewels were sold for a pittance and the province got most of the money.
George Santayana, a noted philosopher, essayist, poet, and novelist who once appeared on the cover of Time magazine wrote that: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

It is going to take a lot more than people who attend the meeting this evening saying this is not what the city wants – it is going to take real leadership – not from just the Mayor but from every member of council.

Full council

This is the crowd that is going to have to step up, get creative, be bold and find a better way to develop the land in the “football”.

Time for the newbies to step up to the plate – let’s see what you are made of.

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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Rivers on tilting at windmills

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

September 26th, 2019


“But if you can look past the anecdotal evidence — a hard feat for everyone, no doubt — you’ll find an economy performing pretty well. And in a world full of turmoil and trouble, pretty well is pretty good.” (Peter Armstrong, Senior Business Reporter CBC)

The folks that gave us Doug Ford are at it again. Like the fabled Don Quixote thrusting his lance at imaginary enemies, we hear the NDP and Conservatives complaining about the lack of economic progress over the last four years.

The facts are:

1. Gross disposable personal income in Canada reached an all time high this year;
2. Inflation is almost negligible mainly hovering at less than 2%;
3. Unemployment is at a four decade low;
4. The median after-tax income for 2017, $59,800, was the highest in Canadian history;
5. The number of millionaires continues to grow; and
6. Almost 900,000 Canadians were lifted beyond the poverty line between 2015 and 2017, the greatest ever reduction of poverty in the country’s history.

This last statistic is most noteworthy as the Liberal government exceeded its own goal of reducing poverty by 20% by 2020. This reduced the percentage of people living below the poverty line to less than 10% for the first time in our country’s history. 52,000 single seniors were brought out of poverty.

This was a remarkable feat given that the economy had been teetering on recession when Trudeau took over as P.M. Increasing the progressiveness of our income tax system and choosing to invest in both structural and social programs has paid off. Canada’s economy, despite some trade challenges, such as US steel and aluminum tariffs, uncertainty over a new NAFTA, the continued depression of oil prices, and China’s banning meat and soybean imports, has continued to propel forward.

Trudeau 2015

The public loved the name, they loved the image and he campaigned very well. The question now is: did he deliver on the promise and what are the options for voters.

Much of this growth was accomplished only because our government borrowed money to finance its programs rather than levy new taxes or do nothing at all. Canada’s deficits have become the tools which allowed us to achieve our economic progress. But, of course, Mr. Trudeau’s 2015 election promise of eliminating the deficit by this year is unrealized- lost in the inevitable trade off.

And yet despite large deficits, not only has the economy progressed but the economic significance of the deficits has diminished. Canada’s total debt as a percentage of its gross domestic product has been declining. And that, for anyone who understands debt financing in business, is the most important metric. Our economic growth more than pays for the debt financing.

Mulcair and Harper

The country had tired of Harper and didn’t believe that Mulcair could run, never mind form a government.

It was an unusual campaign promise last election. Contrasted with the NDP and Tory promises of balanced budgets, Mr.Trudeau argued that, given this period of low interest rates, now was the time to invest in Canada’s economy and enhancing its structural and social infrastructure – building for the future while money is still cheap.

And clearly it worked, propelling the country which had been teetering on recession during the last Harper year, to a pathway of solid growth and prosperity. In the end this has been a truly enviable record of economic achievement. Also, since most of the money borrowed is from Canadians, we are reasonably insulated from the vagaries of international currency manipulation.

But despite the best political wisdom, a restored and booming economy won’t ensure a government’s re-election. Otherwise how does one explain what happened in Ontario in 2018?

The opposition PCs made the election about hydro rates and the deficit, detracting from the province’s economic recovery and virtual boom.

Don Quiote

Don Quixote thrusting his lance at imaginary enemies.

Mr. Ford inflated his estimated deficit numbers to scare the public into thinking the bailiff was at the door. It is the same bogey man Mr. Scheer is using in the federal election, although like Mr. Ford, he has no intention of deficit elimination. And as for hydro rates – it’s just another broken promise.

But just like Cervantes’ anti-hero these hapless politicians are also tilting at windmills – pointing at problems which don’t really exist.

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:

Don Quixote –    Millionaires –    Lowest Poverty Rate

Social Development –     Cost of Living –     Disposable Income

Labour Productivity

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Reflections on the new organizational chart at city hall.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

September 26th, 2019



A number of weeks ago the Gazette had an email conversation with city manager Tim Commisso who wrote about some of the changes that would be taking place at city hall.

He mentioned at the time that he had 17 direct reports and that he wanted to reduce those considerably so that he could concentrate on the development of a strategy that would fill the direction he was given by council back in February.

Yesterday Commisso put his plan on the table during a closed session of council. The new organizational structure was adopted by Council during the closed session – the public got word of it when they put out a media release. We have absolutely no idea what council thought of the plan – did they ask for changes? Was there a vigorous debate?

The plan looks to be solid. The Gazette learned from a former senior staff member that it was a “plan that should work”.

Laura Boyd

Director of Human Resources Laura Boyd

We asked Commisso if the Burlington Leadership Team would continue to operate; recall the Director of Human Resources Laura Boyd wrote in her exceptionally revealing report to council back in July said:

“When the results were further analyzed, it became apparent that communication within the organization diminishes between hierarchical levels.

“Specifically, between the Burlington Leadership Team and the Supervisors/Manager level and then between the Supervisors/Managers level and their direct reports.”

Commisso told us that the “city’s internal leadership/strategic management structure will still encompass: Exec Directors, Directors (Department Heads) and City Mgr. BLT will meet weekly and provide strategic management oversight on day to day City service delivery, review of upcoming Council reports, implementation of Council V2F work plan and other corporate projects. BLT also deals with city policies and procedures, budget development, ongoing council/ staff relations.

He added that “The Strategy and Risk Team (SRT) will meet biweekly and will focus at a more detailed level on corporate strategy execution and related risk mitigation and also reporting on same to Council on a regular basis. SRT is a new leadership team comprised of Exec Directors and City Mgr. SRT will also focus on corporate wide business processes such as customer service, health and safety.

Commisso said “This approach is a best practice for municipal and public sector governance” and added that “We will need to align the new structure with Council’s standing committees and are working on a report to Council on that for Oct.

Org chart 2019The Gazette wondered aloud during a telephone conversation earlier today if this organizational change was not a consolidation of power in the city manager’s office. Commisso doesn’t see it that way. He did reduce the number of direct reports from 17 to 12 and admits that even twelve is a little on the high side.

One of the problems Commisso has is the quality of his bench strength – there are a number of senior people not exactly pulling their weight – at the same time there are a significant number of young people who have done well but find it difficult to see Burlington as a place where they can grow meaningful careers – there have been four city managers in a six year period.

You build a team by ensuring that management stability is in place and that it is going to be there for some time and that there will be opportunities for professional growth.

Getting the new organization in place has been a huge task for Tim Commisso; he loved doing the work – says he loves the city.  He’s not a talkative man – without ever having had an opportunity to sit opposite the man it’s difficult to get the measure of him.

Our conversation with him on Wednesday was short – he was swamped.

We wanted to ask: Is this just round one of the blood letting at the staff level.  It would have been inappropriate of him to respond but the question remains.  Many of the keen observers of city hall matter don’t feel the job has been completed.

Strategy is just one part of what Commisso believes has to be put in place.  The other is a change in the culture – that one is going to take years – it will have to start soon for staff to buy into it and then years to make changes and make them stick.

Can MacDonald and Magi instill a different more meaningful sense of confidence in staff?  Does Human Resources have a handle on just what the problems are and perhaps some solutions as to how to give the place a shot of something?

The Gazette recalls a citizen who once worked at city hall in a very senior job where he was right in the thick of it all.  He gave some thought to running for office – actually came close to deciding he would and then decided that it was “too toxic” (his words) and left the public office job to others.

While Commisso can perhaps pull rabbits out of hats (that is not a skill set he lays any claim to) he has to cope with a city council that does not yet have a full year under its belt.

Meed Ward with chain Sept 23-19

Mayor Meed Ward fully understands the power she has when she wears the Chain of Office. Can her colleagues restrain her? They have done just that a few times.

He has to deal with a Mayor who has an agenda and she is certainly pushing that agenda.  If he doesn’t have a real concern over how reserve accounts are handled – then he should have.  He needs to find a way to counsel the Mayor and educate the newer council members on why we have reserves and the way they should be handled.  All five of the newbies have turned to the city manager for advice and direction – when their job is to hold the man they are turning to accountable.

Commisso didn’t think that was a problem.  The governance people we spoke to told us that it was a serious problem and that Commisso was walking on this ice.

The mention that Burlington is one of the best places to work just isn’t true. The chaos is disturbing.

With Heather MacDonald and Allan Magi serving now as the management level directly beneath the city manager there is a line of authority and direction that has been missing for some time.

Blair Smith talking to planner Heaher MacDonald

Heather MacDonald, now one of the two leaders working with the city manager to make it all come together in conversation with a citizen at a public meeting.

It is going to take a bit of time for the two to get the hang of the job.  MacDonald came to Burlington a relatively short time ago to serve as the Planning Director and now finds herself as responsible for the effective administration of a much bigger plate. She was doing just fine with the Planning problems; the Interim Control Bylaw was hers to oversee as well as the re-writing of the Approved Official Plan.

Behind all that there is the pile of development applications that are going to flood the city when the Interim Bylaw gets lifted. There is a lot of work on that table.

Two new positions have been created:
Customer Experience Manager-Business Development
Executive Director of Strategy, Risk and Accountability

They will both be posted on the city’s web site and be open to outsiders.

Commisso alone

City manager Tom Commisso is often the only senior administrative person at council meetings. He says what he has to say in relatively few words.

Commisso believes they are both critical – it will be interesting to see the job description when it is posted. The use of the word ‘accountability’ raised an eyebrow- just what does the city mean when they say ‘accountability’.

This is something we will return to once we see the job posting.

Related news stories:

Director of Human Resources lays it all out on the table.

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Local newspaper gets attention it didn't want; parent company sends out a survey asking people where they get their news.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

September 25th, 2019



Well, local newspapers are making the news.

An avid Gazette reader popped us a note about a survey she was sent by the Toronto Star asking about how and where she got her local news.

The Burlington Post is owned by MetroMedia a subsidiary of the Toronto Star.

The Post got its name in the paper earlier in the week when the Mayor hammered them for getting a story totally wrong. The reporter who wrote the piece was sitting in council chambers at the time. Ouch!

Here is what the survey looked like.

star survey

The reader who sent the survey to us had this to say about the Post: Unfortunately the Burlington Post no longer has any purpose other than holding advertising flyers. Long ago they abandoned any sort of credible reporting and won’t ever say anything remotely controversial, seem to be a place for our elected officials to get free advertising, and they don’t allow or print contrary opinions, or even anything newsworthy. When they covered the 2018 municipal election debate and failed to mention that our current mayor at the time was roundly booed by the audience, we knew they were not a credible news source. I’m glad we have the Burlington Gazette online.

The Post at one time was published three times a week- then cut back to twice a week and now it is on the streets just once a week.  When it was published twice a week the price was $1. When the dropped to twice a week – the price went up to $2.

Everyone has their favourite newspaper. The Globe and Mail plus the Sunday New York Times work for me.

Cities the size of Burlington rely on local newspapers to tell the local story. The Gazette has been doing this for nine years – and despite a myriad of legal problems with the city we expect to be here for some time to come.

We don’t always get it right and we have been brought before the association we belong to and told to do a better job. The results of those decisions are public.

The saving grace was that the Mayor didn’t whack us in public.

There was a point where former Mayor Rick Goldring thought we were the best thing since sliced bread and had nice things to say about us. Check the video.

Foot 4

Those are porcupine quills in his snout – wasn’t a happy puppy for the day.

There was a time when there was a full sized broadsheet newspaper in Burlington.  It was folded and made part of the Spectator.

One of my bigger jobs is to think in terms of monetizing the paper and then looking for people who can do some of the day to day work.

I’d like to spend more time at home taking care of the lady in my life and trying to teach the dog to keep away from the porcupines. He’s cute but not very bright – this is the second time he got his snout full of porcupine quills.

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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If you want to engage in public dialogue have the courage of your convictions.

federal election 2019By Pepper Parr

September 25, 2019



Here is where I wonder what some people think they are doing.

We get literally hundreds of comments each day. More than a third are just plain foul, filled with nasty comments about other people. We don’t publish these – straight to trash.

About one quarter are good and of that half are superb. I am proud to publish those comments. On occasion we take a well written, soundly argued point of view and turn it into an opinion piece.

There is another bunch that come in. The name of the sender doesn’t match what we have in our data base so we send out a test email to see if the address is valid. All too often the email is illegitimate and we get a message like this.

<mariememe1965@gmail.com>: host gmail-smtp-in.l.google.com[] said:
The email account that you tried to reach does not exist. Please
try 550-5.1.1 double-checking the recipient’s email address for typos or
550-5.1.1 unnecessary spaces.

Our testing the email address was because we saw something suspicious in this one that said the following:

I’ve met her and I liked her! I felt a genuine concern and nothing scripted. Hoping that this paper writes articles on ALL candidates – fairly.

The comment was related to the article we wrote about Conservative candidate Elizabeth Jane Michael in which we reported on her deciding not to take part in the planned election debates.

We will write fairly about a candidate – we would like to speak to them.

Stunts like this hurt a candidate – it is clear that someone wrote a comment that was designed to leave the impression that the candidate was worth voting for – but they weren’t prepared to say who they were.

You can’t do that – at least not in this newspaper.


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Another mention of the need to be ever vigilant to what you get in your email.

Crime 100By Staff

September 25th, 2019



If you rely on email – getting a message like this causes a small panic: until you read the message carefully and note where it came from.

web mail

An email response to this email would have been the beginning of a stream of trouble.

Someone wants to tap into who we are and what we do at a serious digital level.

This one will go to our email service provider – they have been warning us about this recently.

Using the internet is like driving a car – you have to keep your eye on the road and pay attention to what is going on around you.

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Major changes made to the city's top level management structure.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

September 24th, 2019



Burlington City Council approved a new organizational design which will position the City to meet its strategic goals over the balance of this term of Council and beyond.

Commisso stare

City manager Tim Commisso.

Since beginning his appointment as City Manager in July 2019, Tim Commisso, along with Human Resources Director Laura Boyd, have been meeting with staff to get their input into the organization redesign recommended to Council.

This new organizational design, which is effective on September 24, puts more emphasis on strategic management, risk assessment and public accountability; while also positioning us well to attract and retain employees in a growing and competitive marketplace.

The new structure will also enhance and highlight the City’s attention to City-wide customer service and public engagement through business process improvements, corporate-wide training and ongoing transformations such as digital service delivery.

Meed Ward hands out frnt city hall

This shift has got the Mayor’s finger prints all over it. There were people that she wanted to see moved out of city hall – mission accomplished.

Further, these changes better enable staff to implement City Council’s four-year work plan entitled “Vision to Focus.” An update on Council’s work plan will be shared in the near future.
Highlights of the organizational design changes include:

The new organizational design has been approved by Council within the current staff complement, no additional staff positions were added.

Overall, we are moving forward with an organizational structure led by Executive Directors which will be responsible for providing ongoing leadership and strategic management to the following:

“Service Groups” comprised of the City’s community focused operational departments.

The two “Service Groups,”
Environment, Infrastructure & Community Services
Community Planning, Regulation & Mobility,
also align more closely with the focus areas in Council’s 4-year Work Plan.

“Corporate Strategic Support” functions including Finance, Legal, Human Resources and Information Technology

City Manager Office realigned functions focusing on the corporate priorities of strategy, risk, City-wide customer service and public engagement; this realignment also responds to a Council direction given to the City Manager in February 2019 to review and realign the functions of the City Manager’s Office.

Allan Magi has been appointed Executive Director of Environment, Infrastructure & Community Services. The Roads, Parks & Forestry, Recreation Services, Fire and Capital Works departments will now report to Allan.

Heather_MacDonald COB plannerHeather MacDonald has been appointed Executive Director of Community Planning, Regulation & Mobility with the Transportation Services, Transit, Community Planning and Building departments now reporting to Heather.

A new position of Customer Experience Manager-Business Development has been created in the City Manager’s Office and will play a key role in the implementation of the Mayor’s Red Tape Red Carpet recommendations including working directly with BEDC to provide enhanced support to businesses looking to grow and bring new jobs to Burlington.

A new position of Executive Director of Strategy, Risk and Accountability has been created in the City Manager’s Office and will lead the strategic planning/management, business performance and enterprise risk functions for the organization and ensure the implementation of the many initiatives and actions included in Council’s 4-Year Work Plan.

Org chart 2019

City of Burlington organizational chart. Will it work – does the bench strength needed exist?

The lead of the Customer Experience Manager-Business Development unit was not named nor was the Executive Director of Strategy, Risk and Accountability

With the change to an Executive Director structure, the City has also transitioned away from the Deputy City Manager model; as a result of the redesign, Mary Lou Tanner is no longer with the City. The City of Burlington thanks Mary Lou for her leadership and service to Burlington and wishes her all the best in the future.

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