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.

<>: host[] 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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City gives former Deputy city manager a chance to put down roots somewhere else.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

September 24th, 2019



In a media release the city informed the public that: “

“With the change to an Executive Director structure, the City has 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.

“There is a group in Burlington that has spent a significant amount of time and quite a bit of their own money (more that $700) to learn just how Tanner got hired.

“She came to Burlington from Hamilton.

Ridge 3

James Ridge was dispatched in December.

MaryLou Tanner Cogeco 2018 direct

Mary Lou Tanner dispatched in September.

“There will be a hefty severance package involved. This one plus the one that was paid out to former city manager James Ridge will probably set a record for severance payments in Burlington.

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Marina association will run the marina; Friends of Freeman getting the money to re-locate a steam engine and the Mayor dumped all over the Post.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

September 24th, 2019



The city made it official – the LaSalle Park Marina Association will operate the marina but the city does expect them to change the name of the organization and get the word ‘community’ in there somewhere.

LaSalle Marina - baots lined up

Peace, tranquility and good governance have settled on the marina.

The next step is to put a business case together. There was some additional positive news – the wave break that is being installed looks as if it is going to come in at less than the $4 million and the city think the Marina association might be able to come up with a bit more than the $2.7 million in fees to the city.

It has taken years to get to this point – council is as pleased as punch with the way it worked out. Mayor Meed Ward said she was pleased to see nothing but smiling faces watching the proceedings in city council chamber.

The Friends of Freeman Station are going to get the $150,000 needed to relocate the steam engine and the two rail cars that are currently located at the St. Lawrence Parkway facility in Morrisburg, Ontario.

Freeman with stop and car in place

Steam engine plus tender and two rail cars could be set up at Freeman.

The city will actually own the rolling stock – the FoFS will get to do all the cleaning up and refurbishing of the equipment.

Hopefully the people giving the rail equipment away won’t have any problems with the city owning the asset.

It was a busy city council meeting with much more news to follow up on.

Meed Ward H&S

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

Council took a break and when they returned the Mayor dumped all over the Burlington Post over errors she said they made in a story about how the city wants to manage the pan handling situation at major intersections in the city.

“They got it wrong” said the Mayor, “completely wrong”

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Ribfest got robbed - cash was taken from their office on Lakeshore Road.

Crime 100By Staff

September 23rd, 2019



The Halton Regional Police Service is seeking the public’s assistance in identifying suspect(s) responsible for a break-in and theft of cash that was raised at Burlington’s Ribfest over the Labour Day weekend.

The length of the line-up told which ribs were most popular.

The ribbers didn’t suffer from the robbery -it was Rotary that took the full hit. someone who knew a lot about Rotary knew the cash was kept at the office at night.

During the overnight hours on September 1 to September 2, 2019, unknown suspect(s) forced entry to the office of the Rotary Club of Burlington Lakeshore, located at 1455 Lakeshore Road in Burlington.

A large sum of cash was taken. The stolen money was raised by Burlington’s Ribfest and was to be used by the Rotary Club of Burlington Lakeshore to support local community organizations and charities. Police are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying the person(s) responsible.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Halton Regional Police Service Burlington Criminal Investigations Bureau at 905 825 4747 ext. 2316.

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

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Nelson quarry will hold an Open house that will include a tour bus that will drive down into the pit.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

September 23rd, 2019



Nelson Aggregates announced today it will host an Open House at its Burlington quarry on Saturday, October 5, from 1pm to 4pm.

The Open House will feature bus tours of the quarry and interactive exhibits, including quarry machinery such as crushers, loaders, bulldozers and excavators. All are welcome, including children.

One of these was enough for the people in rural Burlington. Is a bylaw creating a Heritage Conservation District the best way to prevent any quarry application - or is there a larger objective being sought?

The Open House tour will cover the existing quarry operation.

“We welcome our neighbours to visit, as well as anyone interested in how we balance the industrial process of producing limestone with the sustainability needs of the environment in which we work,” said Nelson President, Quinn Moyer.

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

3 holdings

The long term plan is to complete mining in the current quarry – outlined in blue and at the same time begin mining in the south extension and ta a later date in the west extension.

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

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

Information on the expansion plans and park proposal will be available.

The Gazette will provide an update on the tour when details are available.

We have learned that the ward 3 city Councillor, Rory Nissan has yet to meet with the quarry operators but that there are plans to do so in the very near future

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Where art thou Elizabeth Jane Michael?

federal election 2019By Pepper Parr

September 23rd, 2019


Update:  We are advised that Jane Michael does have a campaign office on Brant Street.

Jane Michael

Elizabeth Jane Michael

Where is Elizabeth Jane Michael? When will the public get to see her and hear what she has to say?

Michael is the Conservative candidate for the riding of Burlington. Her nomination was a squeaker. It was sort of done in private.

Then there were the serious concerns over some of her business failures that she chose not to report to the team that was vetting her as a candidate. The failures weren’t the issue, it was the failure to be honest and report them to the people who were looking her over as a candidate.

Public office is just that – PUBLIC.

Elections are public. Burlington has a strong tradition of holding public debates. The Chamber of Commerce has sponsored these debates in the past, the Canadian Federation of University Woman has also sponsored debates.

This year Burlington Green is sponsoring an all candidate debate – but Ms Michael will not be on the stage.

ECoB is filming short presentations from each of the candidates and has invited every candidate to take part. Ms Michael has taken a pass on that as well.

The big question is – why does Ms Michael not want to be an active participant in the debates?
As yet there isn’t a campaign office for the Conservatives in Burlington. There is a Facebook page and we assume that at some point there will be some campaign literature.

Burlington has a strong Liberal candidate in Karina Gould; being a member of Cabinet won’t hurt her chances of being re-elected.

The New Democrats have a new face in Lenaee Dupuis, who is said to be very good at the door when she is talking to people. Gareth Williams, who was not able to take ward 3 in the last municipal election is the candidate for the Greens; he will certainly put up a strong fight and should the country decide that they no longer like what the look of Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his recent problems, may prove to be a strong choice.

Andrew Sheer doesn’t appear have the believability the public wants – but this election has only begun and one never knows what is going to come to the surface.

Burlingtonians would like to see the Conservative candidate come to the surface.

Related news stories:

Lost the nomination

What Patrick Brown had to say

Michael acclaimed as the federal Conservative candidate.


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Word from the Oakville North Burlington MPP on the Provincial Review raises hope in the mind of at least one resident.

News 100 blueBy Staff

September 23rd, 2019



A Gazette reader sent us a copy of a letter he got from the Oakville North Burlington MPP
Effie Triantafilopoulos that he thought would interest readers.

“I thought it might interest you that I received a reply from Effie. If the criteria being considered are actually as listed in Effie’s reply, Halton should be left alone. I live in hope.”

“Our government is committed to improving the way regional government works and is looking at ways to make better use of taxpayers’ dollars and make it easier for residents and businesses to access important municipal services. The review is considering whether changes are needed to ensure that regional governments are working efficiently and effectively so they can continue to provide the vital services that communities depend on.

Fenn and Seiling

Michael Fenn and Ron Seiling, the members of the Provincial Review panel put in place by Premier Ford are expected now to see their report, which is believed to be complete, made public in 2020

“Ontario’s system of regional government has been in place for almost 50 years. The review is examining Ontario’s eight regional municipalities (Halton, York, Durham, Waterloo, Niagara, Peel, Muskoka District, and Oxford County), the County of Simcoe, and their lower-tier municipalities. I believe it’s important to remember that these regions are very different and what is recommended for one region may be completely different from what is recommended for others.

“In consultation with municipalities and the public, the Special Advisors will work with the province to determine:

• If the way regions are governed is working for the people;
• How to make it easier for communities to access municipal services, such as public health, public transit, and building permits;
• How to deliver efficient and effective local services that respect taxpayers’ money;
• Ways to make municipalities open for business; and
• Opportunities to cut red tape and duplication and save costs.

Halton map cropped

The Region of Halton as it is today.

City of Halton map

Region of Halton, which some think might become the city of Halton and look something like this.

“I am grateful that you shared your views with me. Please do not hesitate to contact me again if I can be of assistance to you.”

Residents who live in the Burlington riding where Jane McKenna is the MPP wish they could get replies like this from their MPP.  Those who have actually received a reply complain that they are being misled or lectured.

We have a federal election to deal with before we hear anything from the Provincial Review Panel Premier Doug Ford put in place.

Most recent word is that there will be something made public early in the New Year.

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Burlington Foundation convinces 'Pinball' Clemons to speak at their 20th anniversary event when 17 companies will be celebrated for their community giving.

eventsblue 100x100By Pepper Parr

September 23rd, 2019



It is going to be a fun night for the sports crowd and the supporters of the Burlington Foundation.

The local news is that $60,000 in new grant gifts to local charities through the support of 17 businesses who are members of the Foundation’s Brilliant Business Circle will be announced

Pinball H&S

Michael “Pinball” Clemons grew into an amazing charismatic speaker who was generous with his time and his financial resources.

The buzz though will be the words that Michael “Pinball” Clemons will give on the subject of community giving.

It all takes place at the Burlington Golf and Country Club on Tuesday September 24th; 6:30 to 9:00 pm.

Clemons was born in Florida but came to play for the Argos in 1989, going on to enjoy a remarkable 12-year career in the CFL before going on to coach the team. Clemons is now the Argos’ vice chair.

He and his wife Diane recently became Canadian citizens.

Pinball with football

He knew what to do with the ball when you put it in his hands.

The Burlington Foundation is celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year; the evening is an important celebration of giving across our community, both through the collective giving of local businesses as well as through the amazing work of local charities.

It should be a night to remember.

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That scam that took half a million out of the city's coffers turned out to be a tad more than that - $503,000 to be exact.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

September 23rd, 2019



The city has been transparent about the more than half a million dollars that got sucked out of an account and sent along to someone it didn’t belong to.

They were a little short on the exact amount that was taken – it was $503,000 – does $3000 make a difference.

Mayor Meed Ward issued another edition of her Newsletter and explained in the following material that will be published in another news media later this week.

“In order to provide transparency and accountability to residents, I asked our staff to provide a public update at the Sept. 11 Audit committee on what we’ve learned and how we’re protecting ourselves. The public report is available online (

“We learned that a single transaction was made to a falsified bank account as a result of a complex phishing email to City staff requesting to change banking information for an established City vendor.

“Upon learning of the fraudulent payment, the City immediately contacted our financial institution and the Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS). A criminal investigation is underway, and as soon as we can share more about that, I will.

“The city also immediately started an internal investigation, which confirmed that our IT system was not compromised, no employees were involved in perpetrating the fraud, and no personal information was stolen or shared. Further, the city made immediate changes to our internal protocols to prevent this in future.

Meed Ward H&S

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward – would love to get that money back – chances are slim.

“I’m confident we know what happened and have made the necessary changes to protect the city. Our goal is to recover the funds and work with police to hold those who did this accountable, so they can’t target anyone else.

We know cyber fraud is a growing area of risk for municipalities, and there have been recent reports of other cities across the country falling victim to a similar scheme that ensnared Burlington. I will be raising this matter with my fellow mayors at the Large Urban Mayors Caucus of Ontario when we meet in November, so we can share our experiences and expertise to protect all our citizens.

“Cyber fraud is also a growing area of risk for organizations and individuals. One way you can protect yourself is to never share financial information online. If you get an email asking for password changes, seeking banking or other financial information, even from an agent you may do business with, call first. I also recommend visiting the HRPS website for some tips for fraud prevention and protection against cybercrime (”

The Gazette has been a consistent advocate for more in the way of public awareness. Some of our readers are getting tired of hearing us say: If in doubt don’t.

A number of years ago the Gazette collaborated with Crime Stoppers, the police and a number of the banks in putting the message directly into the hands of bank customers.

Royal V 5

Each bank that participated was given coupons with their corporate logo. More than 15,000 were distributed.

Bankers were explaining to us that they hear about the frauds after they have taken place – they were looking for a way to warn and advise their customers what to be on the watch for.

We devised a program that had coupons the banks handed out to their customers. Whenever a customer was getting cash from a teller one of the coupons was slipped into the bank notes.

The belief was that people tend not to take the time reading literature – but when they opened their wallets or purses they would come across the coupon and pay more attention.

Did it work? It certainly did. One major bank reported that they got a call from a client that prevented a significant scam from taking place.

An additional part of the program had the banks making a contribution to Crime Stoppers.

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Fire Prevention Week is more than a date on the calendar. It's an occasion to learn how to protect yourself and your family.

eventsblue 100x100By Staff

September 23rd, 2019



fire extinguisher

Do you have one? Do you know how to use it – and is it up to date?

Fire departments across the country do their best to get out the message – “don’t give fires a chance”.  Sure, it is part of their job but for every fire person the fear is that the fire they are racing towards may be the scene of a death from a fire that was an accident and should have never happened.

During Fire Prevention week there is an opportunity for adults to learn how to test and properly use the fire extinguisher they have in their homes – you do have one don’t you?

Disastrous fire do take place.  The house fire in Halifax that burned seven children to death has yet to be explained.  The father of the seven children is still in hospital in a coma and does not yet know that all his children are dead.  His wife visits daily.

Halifax house fire

Seven children were burned to death in this Halifax house fire.

The Burlington Fire Department is recognizing Fire Prevention Week from Oct. 6 to 12 with its annual fire station open house where residents can learn about key home hazards, how to prevent fires and how to safely escape from the house if they need to be a hero in their own home.

Fire Prevention Week is a province-wide initiative held each year in October. This year’s theme is “Not Every Hero Wears a Cape. Plan and Practise Your Escape!™”

Fire Station 1 Open House
Burlington’s Fire Station 1 Headquarters, 1255 Fairview St. will be hosting an open house on Sunday, Oct. 6 from 1 to 3 p.m. Burlington Fire Headquarters will be open for public tours and family-friendly fire safety activities, rain or shine.

Please bring non-perishable food items to the event in support of Burlington Food Banks.

Headquarters will feature special activities and live fire demonstrations. The demonstrations start at 2:30 p.m.

• Adult fire extinguisher training
• Truck tours
• Equipment displays
• Live fire demonstrations
• Kids’ fire hose spray
• Fire safety obstacle course
• Kids’ craft table
• Face painters
• Photo booth
• Station tours


The display of these massive pieces of equipment awes the kids – ensuring that they know the fundamentals of fire prevention can be taught to them when they are at a “touch a truck” event.

Fire Prevention Facts
Cooking is the leading cause of home fires in Burlington and in Ontario unattended cooking is the leading cause of many fire injuries and deaths. That’s why this year’s messages focus on how to stay safe in the kitchen.

• Never leave a pot unattended on the stove.
• Keep clutter away from elements and heating surfaces.
• Use a heat-resistant surface to cool down cookware.
• Keep young children and pets away from stove tops.
• If a pot catches fire, don’t take any risks. Never try to move a burning pot. Put a lid on it and turn off heat if it is safe to do so. Never throw water over it.
• Don’t tackle the fire yourself – Get out, stay out, call 911.

Lazenby David

Fire Chief Dave Lazenby

Burlington Fire Chief Dave Lazenby sets out his approach to running the fire department: “While the Burlington Fire Department family focuses on fire prevention all year long, we’re getting ready to kick off our annual Fire Prevention Week Open House to connect with residents.

“In a typical home fire, you may have as little as one to two minutes to escape safely from the time the smoke alarm sounds. Escape planning and practice can help you make the most of the time you have, giving everyone enough time to get out.

“We look forward to meeting with you to share information about fire safety, prevention and escape planning.”


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The agriculture sector has a lot going for it - creating more value added opportunities is the target.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

September 23rd, 2019



The Halton Agricultural Advisory Committee celebrated their 40th year of advising the Halton municipalities on the state of the farm business and showing the politicians where attention was needed.

They tied the 40th anniversary into a Farm Tour; an occasion when a bus travels around the Region visiting different farming and agricultural operations.

This year it was a visit to Notre Dame Catholic high school where there was a lecture on why Catholic schools were better schools. The real reason for the visit was to look at the agricultural robotic gizmo the students put together. It automatically plants the seeds, waters the plants and will pick the weeds as well.
Notre Dame garden

It is a prototype but it works. Can it be commercialized? That’s something the school would really like an opportunity to prove.

Horses at windows

The horses wanted to know who all these strange people were – taking pictures but not giving them any treats. The several barns on the property have a total of 240 stalls with more on the way; two exercise tracks and everything else a horse might need to rest and get back into shape. The vast majority of the horses are Standard Bred with many racing at the nearby Woodbine Mohawk Racetrack.

Next on the tour was a visit to the First Line Training Centre in Halton Hills where standard bred horses are trained and get sent to to nurse any injuries. The place has 240 stalls with more coming on line in a couple of months.

There are dozens of paddocks, an automatic walking ring and a pool where horses can be exercised without have to carry the weight of their bodies.

Horse swimming

The handlers put a rope around the horses tail to prevent it from going forward – the animal then treads water to exercise all four legs with out having to bear the weight of their bodies.

Horse entering pool

A horse being led into the pool for some exercise.

Standard Bred racing is a big business in rural Halton,  – the Woodbine Mohawk Racetrack is now operational year round.

The last stop of the way was at the Wheelbarrow Apple orchard where there are 10 acres of apple trees with at least two of the finest apple varieties grown in the province.

Apple Farm

Ten acres with more than a dozen apple varieties ready for the public to pick on a ‘pick your own’ farm.

Much more on this when we return with an in-depth look at farming in the Region.

Dinner was served at the Gambrel Barn in Country Heritage Park on Tremaine Rd. The meal gave the word “rubber chick dinners” a whole new meaning. The main meal and the Crème Brule dessert were something to write home about.

The downside was the handing out of service plaques: anyone still alive who served on a HAAC Board or committee got a certificate with their picture taken.

There was a solid speech from Senator Black on the work a Senate committee had done on the state of agriculture and where the growth opportunities are.

The Gazette will come back to just what agriculture means for Halton Region and where the opportunities for growth exist.

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Counterfeit Oxycodone Pills Containing Fentanyl Circulating in the Greater Toronto Area - that includes Burlington.

News 100 redBy Staff

September 21st, 2019



Can you tell the difference between these pills? Neither can we. One of these is oxycodone, and one is fentanyl, made to look like oxycodone.

HRPS Oxy photo

If you have to use the pills – at least know that you are using the right thing.

The Halton Regional Police Service and the Halton Region Health Department want to warn the community that counterfeit Oxycocet® (oxycodone) pills containing fentanyl are known to be circulating in the Greater Toronto Area. The pills closely resemble oxycodone pills. The presence of fentanyl in these counterfeit pills increases the risk of overdose among people using them. For context, fentanyl was present in 75 per cent of all opioid-related deaths in Halton Region in 2018.

If you use drugs, or have a friend or family member who uses drugs, these tips may help save a life in the event of an overdose:

Know the signs. An overdose is a medical emergency. Know the signs of an overdose and call 9-1-1 right away:

– difficulty walking, talking, or staying awake
– blue lips or nails
– very small pupils
– cold and clammy skin
– dizziness and confusion
– extreme drowsiness
– choking, gurgling or snoring sounds
– slow, weak or no breathing
– inability to wake up, even when shaken or shouted at

Don’t run. Call 9-1-1. Our frontline officers, and other first responders in Halton, carry naloxone and we want to assist. The Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act provides broad legal protections for anyone seeking emergency support during an overdose, including the person experiencing an overdose. This means citizens, including youth, will not be charged for offences such as simple possession for calling 9-1-1 in an emergency.

Carry naloxone, a drug that can temporarily reverse an opioid overdose. Naloxone is available free-of-charge in Halton at:

– Regional Health Clinics (in Acton, Burlington, Georgetown, Milton and Oakville) and Halton Region Needle Exchange Program (Exchange Works)

– Some local pharmacies. To find a pharmacy that distributes naloxone, visit the Ontario government’s Where to get a free naloxone kit web page.

Never use alone. Don’t use drugs alone, and don’t let those around you use alone either. If you overdose when you are alone, there will be no one there to help you. If you are using with someone else, don’t use at the same time.

Go slow. The quality of street drugs is unpredictable. Any drug can be cut with, or contaminated by, other agents or drugs (e.g. fentanyl), which in very small amounts can be harmful or fatal. Know your tolerance and always use a small amount of a drug

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Rivers on the Prime Minister: 'That’ll Teach Him for Browning Around'


Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

September 20th, 2019



After the release of an old photo showing our prime minister dressed up for an Arabian Nights gala at the high school where he taught classes back then, there is only one question on everyone’s mind. Who is the real Justin Trudeau? Is he, indeed, the son of our most celebrated PM, Pierre, or is Justin really Aladdin? Not to start any rumours, but how many of us really knew what went on during those days of Trudeau-mania?

If so why didn’t he use his magic carpet to fly off to chum with his daddy’s old buddy, the Aga Khan, instead of relying on Mr. Khan’s hospitality, and thereby ticking off the ethics commissioner? And when it came to governance, why didn’t he just use his magic lamp on Jodi and Jane – to wish them away instead of suffering through that messy Justice Committee hearing business?

Trudeay blackface

It did happen; he did apologize: now let’s see how he bears up during the rest of the campaign.

But seriously, in today’s world, it doesn’t matter why you do, or did what you did, it only matters that you did it. And historical mistakes are still mistakes. Political parties vet candidates for office; investigating what they had done in their past which might damage them and hurt their chances in the voters’ eyes.

Someone with a criminal record, for example, would likely be rejected by most parties, notwithstanding that they’ve already paid the price of their crime to society. Wearing blackface is not a criminal offence and it may not have been intended to mock or insult. But it is still considered incorrect, since its origins are based on racism.

At one time black performers were excluded from performing before non-black crowds. So white performers emulated them, quite often making them an object of ridicule for entertainment. It wasn’t the Ku Klux Klan and it may have been an America a generation or two ago, but the hurt still continues.

Political correctness is important in politics, almost regardless that the intention may not be to mock, hurt or offend. One needs to be sensitive to the feelings of others.

Mr. Trudeau as PM has been a strong advocate of human and civil rights. And that is perhaps why the revelations of these skeletons from his past, innocent as they may have seemed at the time, are still hurtful, indeed shocking to all of us. And it’s true that he set himself up for the repercussions of this latest outcry – the bigger you are the harder you fall.

Mr. Trudeau recently pulled a candidate’s nomination for comments he made which were considered anti-Semitic. He has attacked Mr. Scheer for his party’s links to apparent white supremacists. He has suggested he might intervene in the Quebec law which bans wearing cultural paraphernalia in the broader public service. And he has attacked Maxine Bernier for his position on immigration as racially motivated.

The revelations of at least three situations in his own distant past, where he wore dark makeup in performances, are shocking for a man with that kind of profile and record. He has fallen off his high horse, tumbled off the pedestal upon which he had lifted himself.

Trudeau -facing the music

Trudeau -facing the music

But he has apologized for his past actions and asked/begged, forgiveness from the Canadian people. He admits that what he did was racist, though he wasn’t aware of its significance when he did it. The media interviewed people on the street and the reaction was fairly muted. Twenty years is a long time ago after all, and who doesn’t have something in their closet that they’d rather not let out?

But Trudeau’s political opponents are making political hay – and that is all fair in the game we’re in, barely a month from the election. We have come to expect a lot of our prime ministers, not only how they run our government but also who they really are. Does the public really believe that their PM is a racist? After all, wasn’t it his father who gave us multiculturalism in the first place?


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:

Brown Face in Vancouver –   Origins of Blackface

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ECoB does it again - ensures that the public will get to hear what federal election candidates have to say.

federal election 2019By Pepper Parr

September 18th, 2019



ECoB is once again serving the people of Burlington with an innovative approach to keeping people informed on what the different federal election candidates have to say as they strive to get elected or re-elected.

ECoB debate at Baptist on New

ECoB filled church halls during the municipal election. This time they are going digital.

ECoB, the Engaged Citizens of Burlington who sponsored candidate debates in every ward of the city during the last municipal election. In a number of instances you couldn’t get a seat to hear the candidates,

This time ECoB is going to interview candidates and publish the interview on their Facebook page. They are working with the Gazette who will post the interviews which will allow viewers to watch them at their leisure.
More on this as details and specifics become available.

ECoB does report that the Liberal, NDP and Green Party candidates have agreed to take part. The interviews will take place early in October.

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