Telling the kids why you want to run a 38k marathon: and teaching some valuable lessons.

sportsgold 100x100By Ashley Worobec

September 17, 2019



How does a 40 year old medical professional explain to her two children that she going far away to run a marathon?

Ashlet Worobec tieing shoes

Lacing up while daughter Casey looks on. Casey is now close to completing a 5k run.

The 7 year old daughter, Casey and my 10 year old son Drew are old enough to start to understand all of the work that goes into a lofty goal like this. I have been running with them since they were babies and I would push them in our running stroller – back then, I would often load both kids into the double Chariot and off we would go for 5-10km.

As they got older, once in a while they would bike beside me, and now we’re at the point where they are starting to ask to come and run with me; I will sometimes finish my run, and then loop back home and pick them up and we’ll do a run around the block together.

We also regularly sign them up for local 1km kid’s races. With almost every event, there’s a kid’s race option, and they regularly do the Good Friday 1k “Bunny Hop” at Aldershot High School and the Moon in June kid’s race in downtown Burlington.

Santa Claus run

It’s a family affair.

They are getting to the age where a 5km race is within reach, so that’s what they’ll likely start doing quite soon. We almost always do Burlington’s Santa 5k in December, and have been since the kids were tiny. The picture of us a few years ago is a treasure; my daughter ran a lot of the 5km that year as a 3-year-old! I really believe that if kids see their parents being active, the likelihood of them being active too dramatically increases- the reality is, my kids just don’t know any different, we’ve always lived a really active lifestyle and my identity as a runner has always been a part of their lives.

Two other valuable lessons that my running taught me were:

1- qualifying for the New York marathon- I failed to meet the qualification standard twice, and finally reached it on my third try. The kids saw my tears and my disappointment after those two unsuccessful attempts, and they also saw my perseverance in trying yet again, and ultimately succeeding.

group sports

No word on whether or not the dog participates in the actual run.

2- They’ve learned about relying on others for support. My husband was away this weekend and I asked my father-in-law to come over and watch the kids on Sunday morning while I went for my group run. He was with them for more than 3 hours so that I could fit my training in; I truly appreciate his support, and I think it helps the kids to see the importance of family and friends, and the magnitude of what I’m trying to accomplish.

Training status graphs - data

The data from the device on her wrist is a critical guide during every run.

This weekend my training group did a 30km long run; I’ve only got 3 long runs left! I’ve got a 33km, 36km, and 38km to tackle before I start to taper and recover and prepare for the marathon!

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Schedule of fees and services for 2020 - bearable. A much needed fee for per-consultation meetings was long overdue - developers were getting a great deal - no fee at all.

News 100 redBy Staff

September 17th, 2019



For the most part there are no free lunches at city hall.

There is a fee attached to every service.

Each year the city reviews its schedule of fees and services; deletes some (rarely) and adds new fees when conditions change.

The list is long – we will not post what was agreed upon at Standing Committee because it might get revised when city council meets on the 23rd,.

The Gazette will publish the fee schedule once it has been approved by council on September 23rd.

The Standing Committee did hear a Staff recommendation to:

A proposed 2% indexation of Planning and Engineering fees taking effect January 1st, 2020 will offset the impact of inflation, while ensuring that the fee structure remains fair and reasonable to the development industry. Some exceptions of increased or new fees include:

Revision fee for a Zoning Certificate:
Change this fee to apply to 3rd and subsequent submissions, which better reflects the cost of staff resources to comprehensively re-review an application. The intention is to encourage applicants to conduct a fulsome review of the Zoning By- law prior to making a submission, thereby making submissions which require less revision.

Revision Fee for OPA:
Changing revision fees so that there is no longer a separate category for Major or Minor revisions. This brings the cost of revisions in line with Official Plan Applications, which no longer have Major or Minor application types.

Preconsultation Fee:
A complex Preconsultation Fee has been proposed for all Official Plan Amendments, Zoning By-law Amendments and Subdivisions. These applications currently have a preconsultation process with no associated fee. The new fee reflects the staff resources required to review the materials and provide comprehensive feedback.

Currently when preconsultation meetings do not result in a future development application, staff costs are not accounted for.

A Standard Preconsultation Fee has been proposed for all Site Plan, Variance (except for Sign Variance) and Consent Applications. There is currently a preconsultation process for Site Plan Applications and an informal service-counter preconsultation process for Variance and Consent Applications. The intention of adding a fee to this existing process is to add a formal process for Variance and Consent Applications, to account for staff time, and to provide greater quality control to applications that are received so that they are able to be processed with greater efficiency.

Both types of Preconsultation Fee (complex and standard) will be credited to a future application(s) within 1 year of a Preconsultation Meeting date, thereby rendering the fee cost neutral to formal applications. If an application is deemed to substantially deviate from the Preconsultation proposal a new Preconsultation fee, may be required, at the sole discretion of the Director of City Building. Additional Preconsultations beyond the first will not be credited to a future application.

Building Code Permits and Inspections
The Building Code Act (BCA), 1992 provides municipalities with the authority to collect fees to fully recover the cost of administration and enforcement of the BCA and the Ontario Building Code (OBC). Regulations made under the BCA/OBC outline the details of what can be included as part of the cost including direct and indirect costs, and provisions for a reserve fund. The basic principle for providing building permit and inspection services is: “Fees for Service”.

Rates and fees within the Section 6.11 of the City of Burlington Building Permit By- law 13-2018, are indexed to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) of Ontario as of December 31st and are adjusted annually on February 1st.

It is important to note that the exact amount of prescribed index is to be derived from official figures published by Statistics Canada, a common practice and an industry standard. While the exact CPI amount is not available at the time this report is written, staff will provide this information to Committee as soon as published by Statistics Canada, on or before the Council meeting scheduled for January 2020.

Routine Disclosure allows the public the right of access to information through an informal request rather than a formal request under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA). This process and related fees were implemented in January 2019. It is therefore proposed these fees remain unchanged and no increase is recommended at this time.

The short-term focus in Transit continues to be system stability and building a foundation for future service changes and growth. In 2019 council provided the following direction to Burlington Transit:

o Provide free transit for adults 65 years of age and older between 9 a.m. and 2:30
p.m. on weekdays starting in June 2019 as a pilot;

o Provide free monthly passes on PRESTO for Burlington residents who qualify for the Subsidized Passes for Low Income Transit (SPLIT) program;

o Burlington Transit will work with Halton Region on ways to improve the Subsidized Passes for Low Income Transit program;

o Burlington Transit will work with school boards to develop a fare strategy for students;

o Burlington Transit will create a working group comprising of one Member of Council, members of the public and Burlington Transit Staff.

Transit staff will be monitoring these changes and strategizing to ensure that they are reasonable and appropriate as well comparable to other municipalities. For the 2020 rates and fees Transit Services will remained unchanged with the exception of:

o Discontinuance of all 10 ticket purchases. (Child, Student, Adult and Senior) effective August 31, 2019

o A 2% increase to Charter Fares to reflect inflationary cost increases.

Traffic Operations existing fees are proposed to increase by 2% to reflect inflationary cost increases.

Parking rates remain unchanged for 2020, as rates remain competitive.

Roads and Structures – Design and Construction
Tender Fees have generally increased by 4.5% to remain competitive with neighbouring municipalities while covering costs. The permits and curb cuts have increased 5% to help offset the increase in staff time required to deliver this service. The amount of staff time has increased significantly over the years in following up with contractors to complete their work to City standards.

Roadway and Sidewalk Maintenance
Upon completion of a market scan, an increase of 20% in 2020 is proposed for the windrow program to align with industry standards.

With a focus on increasing participation and fostering a sense of belonging for all residents, rates and fees are determined by community needs, customer feedback, participation rates, and market trends. A market analysis is performed each year to determine Burlington’s competitive position while keeping rates affordable to maintain and encourage participation.

Recreation Service
There are a total of 258 rates for programs and memberships for Recreation Services.

Rate increases are as follows:
o 3% average increase for Adults 55+ drop in programs
o 1% average increase for Aquatics recreational programs
o 1% average increase for both indoor and outdoor pool rates
o 1% average increase for Recreation Skate and Shinny Hockey
o 2% average increase for Youth, Teen, Preschool programs
o 2% increase for Tyandaga memberships
o 2% average increase for Gym rentals
o 1% average increase for Room rentals (includes Auditorium, Bandshell & Meeting)
o 6% average increase for Marketing (includes Arena Board, Live & Play and Read-O-Graphs)

New Rates:
o Shinny 10 Pass
o Tournament Application

Discontinued Rates:
o School Break Programs – In a continued effort to streamline rates, this rate was identified as a duplicate and is now combined / connected with other school break program rates.
o Make Time To Play Gymnasium Bookings – This rate discontinued as it is now connected to the Last Minute rate.
o Non-Resident Administration Fee Seniors (Per Program or Membership) – As opposed to having 2 Non-Resident Fees (General Programs and Seniors Programs), the rate has now been combined and called Non-Resident Administration Fee

o User Group Program Insurance Admin Fee – This fee has been discontinued as there has been a change in the fee structure with our current insurance provider.

Youth, Teen and Preschool recreational program rates were restructured to align with business needs and allow for flexibility for the changing market.

Overall, rates were maintained or slightly increased with the average rate increase between 2% and 3% to ensure customer participation and satisfaction.

Organized Sport Service
There are a total of 71 rates for Sport indoor and outdoor space rentals. Rate increases are as follows:
o 1% average increase in arena ice rentals
o 2% average increase for arena floor and storage rentals
o 2% average increase for school board use of city facilities
o 4% average increase for school board
o 2% increase for school board gymnasiums
o 2% increase for artificial turf
o 2% increase for park rentals
o 2% increase for photography and weddings

New Rates:
o Commercial / Non-Resident Arena Ice Rental
o Commercial / Non-Resident Arena Floor Rental
o Tournament Application

Overall, rates were maintained or slightly increased with the average rate increase between 2% and 3% to ensure customer participation and satisfaction.

Parks and Open Space Maintenance
An increase of 2% in 2020 is proposed for the adopt-a-bed program due to increased material and labour costs.

Tree Management
An increase of 2% is proposed for 2020 to cover the cost of staff time to review and process each permit.A new fee for Private tree permits have been added to the service for 2020. The pilot private tree bylaw was initiated in March 2019 and will continue until March 2021.This applies to the Roseland Community only. This fee for 2020 has been set equal to that of a public tree permit to ensure consistency in the process.

For 2020, after conducting a market comparison, Cemetery Service lot fees have been increased by 5.0% to better align with industry and market rates. All other Cemetery Service fees have been increased by 2%. It should be noted that care and maintenance fees for marker installations are prescribed by the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services, therefore do not see annual increases.
Overall, these rate adjustments are reflective of increased operating costs for labor, materials and contracted services.

Environment and Energy
Fees for the Community Garden program remain unchanged for 2020.

Arts & Culture Service
There are a total of 49 rates for Music, Teen Tour Band Student Theater and Festivals & Events.Rate increases are as follows:
o 2% increase for Teen Tour Band fees
o 5% increase for Student Theatre shows
o 4% increase for General Theatre Camp
o 5% increase for Specialized Theatre Camp
o 50% increase for Festivals and Events commercial events for marketplace vendors, activity providers and food vendor
o 3% increase for portable stage rental
o 3% increase for Filming Per Day

o 10% increase for Filming Application Fee New Rates:
o Student Theatre Once Upon A Time
o Special Event Application Process

Discontinued Rates:
o Festivals & Events Tent Rentals
o Filming Not For Profit / Student Rate

Overall, rates were maintained or slightly increased with the average rate increase between 2% and 5% to ensure customer participation and satisfaction. The 50% increase for Festivals and Events entries is proposed to reflect market rates.

Fire Emergency Response and Prevention
The Burlington Fire Department conducted a review of other local fire departments rates and fees for revenue generation and cost recovery. All rates that are showing an increase are comparable with other local fire departments and adjusted to align costs to the service provided. Emergency response costs provided by the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) are current to the last rate provided by the MTO, this rate may change in-year based on updated information provided by the MTO. All full cost recovery line items will be billed back to individuals and companies based on the total costs incurred; this will include personnel, supplies, and retention of any third-party services. All fire department rates and fees are to promote fire safety behavior, mitigate costs incurred due to fire code non-compliance and for any services or activities provided outside the primary areas of responsibility and/or done by on behalf of any other municipality (Municipal Act, 2001).

Animal Control
The Animal Control By-law #60-2005 is being amended to reflect an increase in fees. These fees are being adjusted for inflationary increases to keep fees consistent with City administration and enforcement costs. Some fees have traditionally been adjusted annually for inflation while other fees have been more comprehensively reviewed as to costs and market rates for equivalent service(s). This increase ensures that the fee structure is fair and reasonable, while reflecting the amount of effort in processing applications.

A market analysis has shown that the charges for dog and cat adoption fees are below other municipalities. The proposed increase of 4% will make the City’s adoption fees comparable, while still remaining reasonable.

Surrender fees have been increased to better reflect the costs associated with taking in an animal. Most times the animal is in need of veterinary care and a result they spend additional time at the shelter before they are ready for adoption. The City’s surrender fees have been historically low and the increase in the surrender fees will help offset these costs.

Boarding costs for quarantined animals were also increased – shelter staff have risk for injury in dealing with quarantined animals and this should be reflected in the costs. These boarding costs are substantially lower that private sector boarding fees.

Municipal Law Enforcement and Licensing
The primary reason for inflationary increases is to keep fees consistent with City administration and enforcement costs. Some fees have traditionally been adjusted annually for inflation, other than when fees have been more comprehensively reviewed as to costs and market rates for equivalent service(s).

Fee increases vary by each service type and reflects up to a 2% increase in fees, with some fees being rounded off to the nearest whole dollar.

Corporate Legal
There are no rates or fees increases proposed for 2020 however, the charge for Drainage System Appurtenances Agreements is now specified under “All other Agreements”.

Enabling Services
Financial Management
Finance staff has reviewed fees to ensure that the City’s rates are reasonable, appropriate and comparable to other municipalities. As a result, the fees for Bid Request documents have been increased to a uniform $80 including HST for 2020 the same as tender documents for road construction.

Service Burlington
Clerks annually reviews fees across area municipalities to ensure fees are in line with other municipalities. As a result, there is a proposed rate increase of 2.0% across services. These fees are in line with area municipalities.

Geographic Information and Mapping
Where applicable, existing fees are proposed to increase by 2% to reflect inflation.

Sign Production Service
Increases of 2% are proposed for sign sales in 2020 due to increased material and labour costs.

Corporate fees reflect items charged across city services. Fees are centralized to ensure consistency in charging across the organization. There are no proposed fee increases to corporate fees for 2020.

The rationale for charging user fees is that those who clearly benefit from a service should be the ones to pay for it. User fees form one of the most significant portions of revenue earned by the City after property tax revenues. In order to mitigate property tax increases, the City of Burlington has been proactive in ensuring that the services provided by the City reflect a high level of cost recovery to the greatest extent possible while balancing affordability and providing access to services.

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CDH Executive Director retires without a send off - done at her request. Interesting.

News 100 redBy Staff

September 17th, 2019


In a media release from Community Development Halton we learn that:

Changes are happening at CDH! One of those changes will be new leadership as the Executive Director of over 20 years, Dr. Joey Edwardh will be retiring on October 9, 2019.

Shuffling the papers as she prepares to speak Community Development HAlton Executive Director Joey Edwardh delivers the message

Retiring Community Development Halton Executive Director Joey Edwardh.

Many people from the Halton community have been inquiring regarding a retirement celebration for Joey. At Joey’s request the Board of Directors and staff will NOT be hosting a retirement celebration in her honour. We respect her wishes and therefore ask the public to please send your best wishes to her directly at Community Development Halton. Joey will be in the office until Wednesday October 9, 2019.

On behalf of the Board of Directors, I extend the very best wishes and gratitude to Joey for her tenure at the helm of CDH. The Board of Directors is proud of the accomplishments and impact under her leadership and the positive contribution she has made to the Halton community. Much of the work has been recognized and has been adopted in communities across the province.

Both CDH and Joey will be making new strides into the future of 2020. On behalf of the CDH Board of Directors, I wish Joey every success as she embraces new challenges on her future journey.

Sincerely, Jan Mowbray-President.


There has to be more to this story. Full disclosure; the publisher of the Gazette is in a relationship with a member of the CDH Board.

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Tax policies and tax benefits are never easy to explain - and many never do understand; the 1.3 million millionaires understand.

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

September 17th, 2019



Conservative leader Andrew Scheer is promising to slash the lowest of our five income tax brackets from 15% to 13.75%. That would add an estimated $6 billion a year to the annual deficit when fully implemented. Though the change is only at the lowest step rate, it will benefit not just the lower-income class but all the higher-income folks as well, given the progressive nature of our tax system.

Scher - face in hands

Most people really didn’t know who Andrew Scheer is – in the next month they will get their chance to determine if he should be the next Prime Minister.

Mr. Scheer is essentially copying Mr. Trudeau, who cut taxes for the middle class, the second lowest step by 1.5% shortly after becoming PM. Those with lower-incomes spend virtually all of their money, and that new spending helped the country avoid the impending 2015 recession Mr. Harper’s Tories was facilitating with his austerity program.

Except that, unlike Scheer’s plan, Trudeau also raised the marginal tax rate on those earning over $200,000, to 33%, thereby attempting and almost succeeding to achieve revenue neutrality. One needs to ask why Mr. Scheer wouldn’t apply the same formula to his plan, add another step for those earning, say over a million big ones, hitting them with a marginal rate of 40 or even 50 percent – or whatever would allow his tax cut to become revenue neutral?

1.3 millioairesCanada had 1.3 million millionaires in 2018 and that’s expected to rise to nearly two million people by 2023. Instead, Scheer’s promised new tax cut is just paying taxpayers with their own money, leaving an annual $6 billion of debt as an unwelcome inheritance for their children.

And how wise is it to slash taxes when Canada’s economy is booming with record low unemployment and solid economic growth? Timing is important. There is a danger that new consumer spending might just overheat the economy, raising the risk of inflation and lead to higher interest rates. Is this really the most prudent fiscal policy for today’s economy or just another populist vote-getter?

Buck a dayAnd for those with the lowest incomes, it amounts to a little over a dollar a day by Mr. Scheer’s own calculations. If Scheer’s goal is to help lower-income Canadians, it would have been more effective to cut the regressive HST by one percentage point, or expand a program like national pharmacare which would reduce the burden of health-related costs for most ordinary Canadians.

dividual tax returnWhen Mr. Harper followed through on a campaign promise to reduce the goods and services tax rate from seven to five percent, the net effect was roughly the same $6 billion in lost revenue as Mr. Scheer’s income tax cutting proposal. But this was not only very popular, but also sound progressive social policy, as it left more loose change in the pockets of those who needed it most.

Scheer is determined to eliminate at least one sales tax, the carbon tax. Unfortunately that would hurt more than help lower-income Canadians, since the annual rebate exceeds what most Canadians pay in carbon taxes. Of course Scheer doesn’t ever mention the carbon rebate, which is nothing short of intellectual dishonesty – a lie by omission is still a lie.

And there is a certain irony in another dishonesty when he attacks Trudeau’s original income tax cuts, the ones he is only partially emulating. Specifically he is using figures from a flawed analysis by the partisan Fraser Institute to argue that middle-income earners are now paying $800 a year more.

public transit - Toronto

Liberals eliminated the transit credit.

In their analysis the Fraser institute netted out other changes to the tax system, such as the transit credit, which was eliminated by the Liberals, but completely ignored the Canada Child Benefit which was responsible for lifting almost 900,000 people out of poverty since 2015. Correcting that deficiency showed that there was now over $2000 more in people’s pockets – not bad for a ‘tax-and-spend Liberal’.

And Scheer is promising to bring back those Harper-era tax credits for using public transit – a 15 per cent credit on weekly and monthly transit passes. That would cost over $200 million a year according to the Parliamentary Budget Office. Analysis of this feature had concluded that this was a very costly measure with most of the benefits going to those who could best afford it anyway.

Still, for a government which has made climate action a priority, encouraging transit ridership, however that is accomplished, is a good idea. Kudos to Mr. Scheer for resurfacing this policy. Changing our behaviour and reliance on the automobile is a problem, not only for traffic congestion, but also related to climate change. And by the way, a tax credit to encourage public transit makes a perfect companion to a today’s electric vehicle rebates and the carbon tax.

It is a hard sell for an opposition party going up against a government that has managed the economy as well as the Trudeau government has over the last four years. So Scheer and the other parties are either going ballistic, like the Greens wanting to kill the TMX pipeline, or becoming desperate and committing to problematic policies, like Scheer’s income tax cuts.

Justin Trudeau - hands out no jacket

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – making it sound easy.

Many voters have been cultured to believe that the biggest job for any government is to wrestle the annual deficit down to zero. Mr. Trudeau had promised to eliminate it over the course of his first term. And Andrew Scheer had also promised to do so within his first two years. But now all bets are off and none of the major leaders are promising to eliminate the deficit over the next next four year electoral term. That is, unless Maxime Bernier is brought into the discussion from the far right-field of dreams.

And there are no alarm bells ringing, at least not like like the ones Ontario premier Ford rang when he ousted the provincial Liberals by exaggerating the size of the provincial deficit by a factor of two. In fact, the real numbers were relatively closer to former Wynne’s final accounts, and even the Auditor General apparently got it wrong. How does $15 billion really become only a little over seven billion dollars?

Today’s important economic health metric is the debt to GDP ratio. So long as it is declining, the economic levers are moving in the right direction. After all, we owe the vast majority of our public debt only to ourselves, and even the servicing costs just come back to us in interest payments, which are again taxed back to an extent. What is most important is how well we grow the economic pie so that we all get a larger share, are better off and minimize unemployment. Oh, and did I mention the environment and our climate?

The NDP, which promised in the last election that it would religiously balance its budgets, has now decided to be guided by the new metrics, as are the Liberals. And the Green Party is still talking about eventually eliminating the deficit but nobody has seriously talked about the debt since the Chretien and Martin governments were defeated back in 2006.

And of course the deficit can always be reduced or eliminated by increasing taxation, as the Greens or the NDP would do while making the rich pay their fair share, however one defines that. But not by cutting taxes for everyone, including the wealthiest Canadians as Mr. Sheers 1.25% income tax cut would end up doing.

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:

Scheer’s Tax Cut –    Middle Class Tax Cut –    Ontario Deficit –    Transit Tax Credit

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City goes into some kind of a 'feed everyone' mode on Saturday.

eventsred 100x100By Staff

September 16th, 2019



Everyone was going to get fed.

Seniors taking in the music

A pleasant way to spend the morning after a hearty breakfast – listening to music they enjoyed when they were younger.

Early on Saturday morning the seniors were given a free breakfast, an update on the plans for the fall and winter season and then an hour of entertainment that had people tapping their toes and drumming with their fingers.

Senior taps his fingers

Tapping his fingers to songs he probably danced to as a young man.

Staff dance at sesnior event

The music was enough to pull staff out of the kitchen to dance.

The music brought staff out of the kitchen to dance at the back of the hall.

It was a“hearty” breakfast “among friends” event – and everyone had a fine time.

Later in the day, the city set up tents and tables and waited for people to show up and take part in the Food for Feedback event.

Saturday evening the Burlington Caribbean Connection hosted a dinner and a dance and awarded a scholarship to an MM Robinson high school student.

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If you feed them - will they come? Some did.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

September 16th, 2019



It was a bold venture.

It was something different and based on what we saw it appeared to work.

The city is trying very hard to hear what residents think about what city hall is doing. The came up with an idea – why don’t we feed people and listen to what they have to say?

Food trucks

With a ticket in your hand you got to eat – but you had to talk first.

The called the event Food for Feedback – and added a small twist: you don’t get the food until the city has your thoughts.

Food ticket

The rules were simple enough – tell us what you think and we will feed you.

Take action siign

City hall is reaching out – asking – close to begging people to say what they think. People were so used to not being listened to that they stopped talking. This city council wants to change that and has directed staff to do things differently.

What they did was give each of the tables set out a small box of cards – about the size of a business card. Once you had your chit chat with the people at either the Integrated Mobility table or the Cycling table or the budget table they gave you a card that could be redeemed at one of the four food trucks that were lined up at the curb of Central Park beside the band shell.

There was a table with fire department people, a table for those who wanted to talk about Leash free areas in the city and a table for those interested in where cannabis retail operations were to be located.

Michelle Dwyer

Staff did all the heavy lifting.


Ward 4 residents George and Norah talking to ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns – and doing a little bit of business while they were downtown.

Tables were set out for some of the members of council – not all took part. The Mayor was expected to do a walk about.   There weren’t great “crowds” but there was a healthy turnout and some of the discussions at some of the tables was “animated”. It will be interesting to hear what staff report on the event.

Councillor tables

Tables were set out for three of the six council members.

The bureaucrats are trying everything they can think of to get people out and listen to what they have to say.

Burlington has some very significant decisions to make in the year ahead.

While city council is approaching their first anniversary – they have needed some time to get used to the idea of being public figures and begin to understand the complexities of municipal government.

Five of the seven members of council had never held public office. Some are doing very well; others may find that they were not cut out for the job they now have.

Moment she became Mayor

Marianne Meed Ward taking the Oath of Office.

Too early to be definitive. What is very evident is that there is a Mayor with an agenda and a mandate and she is going to do whatever it takes to deliver. She has taken an approach to leading that Burlington has not seen in more than 12 years; she is proactive and doesn’t have any problems stepping over jurisdictional lines.

Burlington crest - with city reference

City crest.

Nothing shy about this woman. Mayor Marianne Meed Ward has wanted to be mayor for more than a decade – her route to getting the Chain of Office placed around her neck never wavered. Now the people that elected her get to see just what a committed, driven, passionate politician can do.

There are two words on the city crest: Stand By. Mark them well.

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Burlington as you know it - could come to an end.

News 100 blueBy Staff

September 16th, 2019



The public is waiting for the report written by two former municipal players, one elected the other appointed.
Michael Fenn was once the City Manager for Burlington; he was asked by the Minister of Municipal Affairs to do a review of the Tier 1 governments – what we call Regional governments.

Fenn and Seiling

Michael Fenn and Ron Selig listening to delegations during the Provincial Review.

The Minister asked Ron Selig, a municipal politician to join Fenn and to report by the end of July.

That deadline came and went – it was put off until after the federal election and now we learn that it is going to come back to the table sometime in the New Year.

Governments always stage the release of unpalatable information at a time that meets their agenda.  Their favourite trick is to release bad news on a Friday afternoon of a long weekend.

One of the issues that came up during the Review process that Fenn and Selig carried out was the idea of merging Burlington, Oakville, Milton and Halton Hills into a top Tier government and calling it the City of Halton. It would take over everything the current Region of Halton does as well as merge what has been done at the municipal level and have it done by what would become a mega-municipality.

And that would be the end of local participation which has been a hall mark of citizen participation on Ontario.
Two groups, one in Burlington and one in Oakville responded to this – and became known as We Love Burlington and We Love Oakville – the Gazette refers to them as The Lovelies. They are asking people to SAY NO TO AMALGAMATION and let the government know that this just isn’t on.

While the Ford government at Queen’s Park has made some truly stupid initiatives they have learned when to back off.

They did so with the attempt Doug Ford made to appoint a family friend as the Commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police; they did so with the huge outcry from parents with autistic children, and then dumped a Minister of Education who was getting parents really riled up over classroom sizes.

So they aren’t deaf – just a little thick between the ears.

The Lovelies had this to say – well worth listening to…

We love logoWe Love Burlington and our friends at We Love Oakville both believe that the Doug Ford government is intending to merge our cities, along with Milton and Halton Hills, into a mega city of Halton.

Some municipalities in Ontario have called for a referendum by the citizens before any such moves are made. For a government which touts that it is “for the people” and is “listening”, this would seem to be the obvious and most democratic way forward. However, in 2000, the Mike Harris government passed Bill 62, the Direct Democracy through Municipal Referendums Act, which allows the Provincial Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing to prohibit a municipal referendum on a matter which he judges to be in the provincial interest, even if the matter would normally be deemed to be within municipal jurisdiction.

If we don’t speak up now, it will be too late! We have seen examples where the Doug Ford government has backtracked on planned legislation due to a large public outcry. And though it is shocking to most people, it is a fact that municipal governments, the ones that affect us all the most in our day-to-day lives, are essentially powered by the Province. We are often asked “can the Province do this? Do they have the power to take away our local municipal officials and our local voice?” Unfortunately, the answer is yes.

There is limited time left in which to ensure your voices are heard. Please send our letter, it is HERE, it only takes a moment. If you have already sent it, thank you, but please send the link to family members and friends and neighbours.

Merging our municipalities is a real threat and time is running out. Diluting the municipal powers but keeping the names intact has the same result as creating a megacity with one name. Don’t let either one happen!

We’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating. If it is true that bigger government is better government with greater span of control and improved efficiencies through broadened scope, then why are the majority of municipalities not part of the current review?

The review is looking at 82 municipalities but there are 361 municipalities where the review is not happening (including the town of Brockville, Minister of Municipal Affairs & Housing Steve Clark’s riding, and North Bay, former Finance Minister Vic Fedeli’s riding).

Is the motivation/animus for the review personal and political?


The Greenbelt that surrounds the GTA municipalities has been something developers have always wanted to have access to – governments have kept them out – this government appears to want to open the gates.

Is it driven by cities that border the greenbelt or are considered appealing for massive development? Bill 108 is known as the Developers’ Dream Bill for a reason. Merging cities and towns bordering on the greenbelt, with the resulting reduction of municipal government powers, would surely be another dream come true for the development industry at the expense of the citizens.

Help us spread the word – NO MEGACITY OF HALTON!

There is some excellent academic research that debunks the myth that larger governments save money. Richard Tindal in a well-received paper said: “Many of us in the academic world have debunked the myth about amalgamations saving money for decades. Andrew Sanction, Robert Bish, Harry Kitchen, Wendell Cox, and Michael Keating – among others – have all explained why amalgamations don’t save money.”

That paper can be found HERE.

Related news stories:

Provincial Review hearings take place at Regional office.

Municipal politicians get an update on the Provincial Review.


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Terry Fox Run had great participation and excellent donation levels: Next year will be the 40th anniversary.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

September 16th, 2019



Craig Gardner reports that despite iiffy weather the 39th Annual Terry Fox run brought out more participants this year than last and raised more in the way of funds for cancer research.

Craig Gardner Terry Fox

Craig Gardner delegating before city council – asked for a waiver of a municipal fee.

There were 1139 participants (944 last year). The donation total so far is $111,470 ($81,000 last year).

Fox monument with Brant Inn

A monument done in granite that marks the spot where Terry Fox was in 1980 when he made an historic run across most of Canada.

$111,470 is the second highest amount raised; in 2005, the 25 anniversary they raised just under $127k

Participant-wise the Run has had three years where the number was over 1200. Gardner reports that “this is our fourth best participation number and second best donation total.”

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Burlington Green staffing up - last minute notice of job opportunities.

News 100 redBy Staff

September 16th, 2019



Burlington Green is staffing up.

Burlington Green logo largeThey are looking for three new dynamic team members:

• Program Coordinator (x2)
• Development Manager

If you are passionate about creating a healthier environment and shaping a more sustainable future for the charity, you are invited to check out the rewarding employment opportunities. Don’t delay.

Applications close September 16th at 5pm.

They are cutting it close with that announcement.

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Regional Community Investment Fund applications due November 1st. Attend an information session.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

September 14th, 2019



The Regional government created a Community Investment Fund that supports a wide range of non-profit health and social service programs and initiatives that enhance the health, safety and well-being of Halton residents.

Approximately $1 million is available for new grants in 2020.

Halton Regional office aerial

Halton Region administrative offices.

Funding is provided in single and multi-year grants through two categories:

• Category One: one-year of funding up to $30,000 to non-profit, charitable or unincorporated community organizations for short-term, small capital and/or innovative projects.

• Category Two: up to three years of funding to charitable organizations for programs and initiatives.

Applications for HRCIF funding must focus on supporting vulnerable residents in our community. The HRCIF encourages organizations to submit proposals that demonstrate collaborative approaches to address community needs and is aligned with Halton’s overall approach to community safety and well-being planning.

The deadline to apply to both funding categories is November 1, 2019 at 2 p.m.

Community organizations interested in learning more about HRCIF and the application process can attend an information session on September 25 or October 1.

To register for these sessions and for HRCIF guidelines and application forms, visit the HRCIF webpage or call 311.

Web site for the Investment fund is HERE.

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Mayor wants the bureucrats to get it right: issues a report with staff directions to do something better with a new parking lot.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

September 14th, 2019



A well run municipality has a council that has its ear to the ground and hears what people are saying, what they want and why they want it.

A well run municipality has an administration that has its ear to the council chamber floor where they can hear what the will of council is and where council wants to go.

There are not a lot of municipalities that are that aware – Burlington certainly wasn’t when Capital Works was tearing down a small building on Caroline and John to create more parking space.

Months before any work was being done council was making it clear that they were more environmentally inclined than the 2014-18 council.

The current council had declared a Climate Emergency and they wanted something about what the environmental impact was for every decision they made.

Caroline and John 1

No trees, no shrubs, no sense of design on a street that leads into one of the nicest communities in the city.

At a Council meeting in July Councillor Shawna Stolte asked why the newly opened parking lot at Caroline and John didn’t have anything of note that was environmental.

No trees, no shrubs and not a square foot of permeable surface.

The lot was very small; it would have been a perfect site to do a little experimenting.

The opportunity got away on them.

However all was not lost.

EArlier this week, Council set out a number of Staff Directions:

Direct the Director of Transportation Services to review the newly built parking lot at the corner of John Street and Caroline Street with the goal of developing and implementing design changes providing more greenspace, trees, and a seating area.

Direct the Director of Transportation Services to review the safety of pedestrian movements at the intersection of Caroline Street and John Street.

Direct the Director of Transportation to review the practices of other municipalities on parking lot design, and report back to committee and council with draft green parking lot design guidelines.

Direct the Director of Transportation to consult the City of Toronto’s “Design Guidelines for Greening Surface Parking Lots” as a reference on future parking lot designs, rebuilds or resurfacing in Burlington until Burlington guidelines are approved by Council.

Caroline Toronto guidelines

Toronto has parking lot design guidelines that Council wants Burlington to keep in mind.

Other municipalities, notably Toronto, have developed green parking lot design practices to address environmental and urban design criteria that, among other things, “include strategies for reducing the urban heat island effect, improving pedestrian and cycling infrastructure, using energy efficient fixtures and recycled materials, managing storm water run-off on-site, and preserving and enhancing the urban forest.”

Typically, the emphasis in parking lot design is on accommodating vehicle movements, maximizing the number of parking spaces, and ensuring ease of maintenance and servicing. When functional requirements are the only objectives considered in parking lot design, the design outcome is generally undesirable, with poor quality landscaping, unattractive streetscapes and a lack of pedestrian safety, comfort and amenity.”

The new Caroline and John Street parking lot was designed and constructed with the goal of maximizing the number of parking spaces, resulting in little to no area for trees, green space or seating areas.

The hope is that by incorporating further design changes into part of the lot nearest to John Street and the intersection of Caroline/John, the city can enhance the area from an environmental and beautification perspective, adding trees, green space and perhaps a bench. Stolte wants to see the city develop its own green parking lot design standards which will be applied to future city owned parking facilities and where possible private parking lots as well.

Mapleview Mall parking - south west side

At some point this parking lot is going to have to have a permeable surface put in to replace the asphalt that create islands of heat.

The acres of parking space at the Mapleview and Burlington Centre locations are opportunities for significant changes.

When the early renderings for the Skyview Village Plaza were shown to the public there were dozens of trees. They disappeared in later renderings; the architect had it right the first time.

Proposed capital cost estimate of design changes to the existing parking lot is to be determined by staff with funding to be drawn from the downtown parking reserve fund that was originally used to construct the parking lot expansion.

The report came out of the Office of the Mayor and not from a city department. Hopefully the people on the Burlington Leadership Team and the Directors of the numerous departments will hear what is being said.

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City of Burlington Threatens Naturalized Gardens Part 2:

News 100 greenBy Doreen Nicoll

September 14th, 2019


Part 2 of a 2 part story.

I have been contacted by naturalized gardeners from Burlington and experts from across the province of Ontario regarding the disgraceful, anti-environmental behaviour of the City of Burlington and its by-law enforcement officers when it comes to naturalized front yards like Antheia’s and Paul Raun’s.

GARDEN Paul Raun

The garden was determined to be legal but the property owner took a day off work to be sure the bylaw people didn’t pull it all out of the ground.

monarch butterfly with milkweed

Author had to fight the bylaw officers and educate them on what the milkweed plant actually does for the environment.

Dave Bour, a member of Burlington Green, copied me on his letter to the Mayor and Councillors. Dave’s letter is indicative of many that I was copied on and is re-printed here:

“I have to say as a long-term resident of Burlington, I’m disappointed to read of the city’s approach to people trying to improve the environment by eliminating their grass and instead planting native plants drawing a collection of beneficial creatures including monarchs, various pollinators, birds and other small animals.

“I applaud those taking the initiative to create sustainable yards that don’t require a ton of chemicals nor water to survive, never mind eliminating the need for gas fuelled trimmers and mowers which are worse than most vehicles on the road.

“Collectively, as a city and individuals, it is time to walk the talk. Some people are going to be upset. The sooner we educate the population on the real impact of climate change, the better the chance we have of mitigating its impact.

“I realize it’s all vogue to make the declarations right now because a lot of cities are doing it but let’s, as a community, really do something about it. Let’s make us the number one place in Canada to live as MacLean’s declared us recently, not just for their ratings, but a truly environmental conscious place to live. We need to change our practices at our city parks regarding maintenance and plant choices, make personal decisions to live greener life styles, and challenge those who would complain of the natural preserves people are starting to grow.

“Let’s stop harassing those trying to do something positive. Every trend has to start somewhere.”

Author and naturalized garden expert, Lorraine Johnson, also contacted Mayor Meed Ward. Full disclosure, Johnson wrote an article in the 2019 winter edition of Ground Magazine about my fight to save the milkweed in my garden in July 2018.

Johnson actually met Mayor Meed Ward this past winter at the World Wildlife Fund/Carolinian Canada symposium on native plants and landscape restoration, at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. Johnson recalls the mayor spoke passionately about the importance of restoring landscapes and species.

Lorraine Johnson and Pam Ward's naturalized front garden

Lorraine Johnson’s garden

Johnson realizes, “A lot of people see naturalized gardens as landscapes that are neglected and ‘let go,’ and that neighbours are often concerned about a perceived impact on their own property values. I realize that the issues are complex and will require huge shifts in attitudes and practices.

“But we are at a crossroads, facing multiple environmental crises — climate change, loss of habitats and species– and what we need now more than ever are landscapes of biodiversity and resilience. Yet cities such as Burlington are using vague and contradictory bylaws to enforce dominant but outdated and environmentally harmful aesthetic standards.”

“In at least two Ontario court cases over naturalized gardens, the courts have affirmed gardeners’ constitutional right to naturalized gardens, subject only to safety and health considerations. Just because someone doesn’t like the ‘look’ of these landscapes is not a good enough–or even legal–reason for cities to mandate conformity to a standard that contributes to the environmental mess we’re in.”

Johnson has been involved in these issues for three decades and has been helping to draft policies related to natural gardens, including pollinator gardens, in Toronto. She very kindly offered in her letter to speak further with representatives from the City to, “. . . find a way to enact positive and enabling policies promoting naturalized gardens and to help educate the public about their crucial value and importance.”

Once you read the response issued by the Office of the Mayor, you’ll understand the bewilderment and frustration experienced by Bour, Johnson, myself and the many others who received the same emailed answer:

Meed Ward - tight head shot

Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

“Thank you for your email regarding naturalized lawns in the City. In order for the City to do our part in efforts to protect species and help our environment, the City made changes in 2018 to our Lot Maintenance By-Law to allow for naturalized lawns. Our Lot Maintenance By-Law can be found here.

The By-Law spells out the types of grass, weeds and plants that are permitted as per the Provinces Weed Control Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. W.5, as amended, on properties.

The By-Law defines a naturalized area as: ‘a yard or a portion of a yard containing vegetative growth that does not form part of a natural garden that has been deliberately implemented to produce ground cover, including one or more species of wildflowers, shrubs, perennials, grasses or combinations of them, whether native or non-native, consistent with a managed and natural landscape other than regularly mown grass.’ In addition, the By-Law requires that all property owners remove and destroy all noxious weeds from their property, including within naturalized areas, between May 1 and October 15 each calendar year.

There are numerous examples across the City of naturalized lawns where no enforcement action is taken due to the manner in which the lawns are carefully grown, maintained and cared for and where a buffer strip is maintained. The City’s By-Law defines a “buffer strip” as cutting all grass and ground cover within three (3) feet of any adjoining property line. Similar By-Laws exist across municipalities within Ontario.

The City receives hundreds of complaints every year regarding the issue of tall grass and weeds as well as naturalization of properties. All complaints are investigated and treated the same under the provisions of our Lot Maintenance By-Law which allows the naturalization of properties. We give all property owners the right to clear and maintain their property to the provisions set out in the Lot Maintenance By-Law.

Enforcement only takes place after all avenues are exhausted by our Municipal By-Law Officers with the property owner whose property has not been brought into compliance with our By-Law. When it comes to enforcing By-laws in the City of Burlington, City staff always try to work collaboratively with residents including educating them about our By-Law requirements.

We encourage residents to continue to do their part to help the climate anyway they can including growing and maintaining naturalized lawns that fall within our Lot Maintenance By-law.”

Bour and Johnson expressed disappointment that the response was woefully inadequate and failed to address their concerns. Johnson has not received a reply to her offer of help.

Vince Fitorio

Vince Fiorito, Founder of Friends of Sheldon Creek was named the Steward of Sheldon Creek by the Halton Conservation Authority.

Vince Fiorito, Founder of Friends of Sheldon Creek, was copied on the response from the Mayor’s Office and has since sent this reply to the Mayor and council:

Dear Mayor Marianne Meed Ward and city council

“I appreciate and share your concerns regarding the city of Burlington’s property standards.

“City policy in this area is dated, contributes to climate change, environmental toxification and the biodiversity crisis.

“My understanding is that Lorraine Johnson has offered to help the city of Burlington modernize city policies in this area.

“Ms. Johnson is a successful author and recognized subject matter expert in naturalized gardens with significant experience helping cities modernize their property standards bylaw. I strongly recommend you accept her generous offer to help modernize city policies in this area.

“I am also willing to help the city modernize its property standards bylaws and would consider it an honor to assist Ms. Johnson. I own many of her books, including one of her first, The Ontario Naturalized Gardener, which inspired me to cultivate endangered native species and host plants for endangered butterflies over 25 years ago.

“I also recommend this working group to modernize city property standards bylaw include a representative of the Burlington horticultural society, which is why I cc’d their general inquiry email account.

“I also recommend including city staff who enforce the property standards bylaw in the working group.

“I recommend setting a date before Earth Day, April 22, 2020, as deadline to pass a new modernized property standards bylaw, so that the mayor can make a timely announcement.

“A very talented wise person has made the city a very generous offer. I strongly recommend that you reply to her respectfully and in a way that unites everyone concerned about city property standards. We want the city of Burlington to be a leader in the effort to fight climate change, the biodiversity crisis and environmental toxification.”

It’s clear this issue of naturalized landscaping is far from being settled.

Doreen Nicol - Raise the HammerDoreen Nicoll is a Burlington resident who is, if anything, outspoken. She is a feminist, an environmentalist, a free lance writer, teacher and social activist and member of several community organizations working diligently to end poverty, hunger and gendered violence.


Related news stories:

Part 1 of a two part story.

Bylaw officers don’t understand or know very much about natural plants

Burlington bylaw staff don’t take action on a residence abandoned for close to two years.


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Rivers on the first federal election debate: the winner was the guy who wasn't in the room.

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

September 13th, 2019



It was an impressive demonstration of candidates expressing themselves in clear unequivocal terms on the broad range of issues before the public. At least one of the candidates was so eloquent, and spoke with such passion from the heart, it seemed as if it had been beautifully scripted in advance.

That was the debate for candidates wanting to become the next US Democratic president. The CTV/MacLeans Canadian leader’s debate, that same evening, was something else. The consensus of the pundits was that the winner was the only major leader who wasn’t there, Justin Trudeau. He was at an election campaign event in Edmonton, at a riding he is hoping to take away from the NDP incumbent.

Denaters Sept 13-19

Elizabeth May, Andrew Scheer and Jagmeet Singh debate the issues without Prime Minister Trudeau.

It might have been the antiseptic-white hospital setting or the way in which the studio lights con-tinuously featured in the images. And Paul Wells, who moderated, really should stick to his day job as a columnist for MacLeans. Ill at ease in that forum he fumbled with the questions and failed to control the debate as candidates drifted off topic and squabbled among themselves. Then there was the empty podium, which the organizers obviously thought cute, but just stood out like a sore thumb making their event look even more awkward.

The candidates, and Scheer in particular, used the venue to attack the absent PM. But if that was his objective it rang pretty hollow, as he himself came under criticism for falling back on discredited Harper era positions. Still, unsurprisingly all three leaders used the opportunity to gang up on Trudeau when the issue of SNC prosecution came up.

The Globe and Mail is at it again, reporting that former Attorney General, Jodi Wilson-Raybould, now running as an independent, had been interviewed again by the RCMP. Clearly Scheer, raising this matter, was hoping to make it Trudeau’s Hillary Clinton moment? An eleventh hour FBI investigation into Clinton’s personal email account cast sufficient doubt among Democratic voters that they allowed Trump to slip ahead and win the election.

Perhaps because expectations of his performance were low, Jagmeet Singh appeared to do reasonably well. His comments typically cited personal anecdotes of mothers with children in their arms or at their feet fretting over the high costs of prescriptions and the perils of climate change. Or he just fell into making broad generalities about policies, raising the question of his actual knowledge of those issues. But mostly he just resorted to the time-honoured and tiresome language of class struggles – the rich versus the poor.

Elizabeth May just failed to impress, especially as there is such expectation of her soaring to replace the NDP as Canada’s third party. She rode the middle ground in some cases, as for example in holding the line on expanding Canada’s universal health care system. And yet she went extreme in others, such as claiming she’d end the major B.C. LNG export project. She often seemed to be riding the fence between agreeing on many issues with both Scheer or Trudeau, perhaps hoping to draw votes from one and the other.

May kept referencing the danger of exceeding an increase of 1.5 C in global temperature, as if it were something Canada could do on its own. She also harped on about setting tougher targets as if that alone would achieve results.

An interesting exchange occurred when Andrew Scheer picked up on her promise to achieve zero carbon emissions for all households in Canada. Scheer has promised to restart the former Chretien home efficiency program that his party had cancelled shortly after gaining power back in 2006.

While Trudeau was somewhere else, it almost seemed that Scheer would have liked to join him. Ill at ease, he stood between the other two leaders like a block of wood, never breaking a smile. Speaking without passion and in generalities that rivaled the other two leaders, it was hard to imagine him as prime ministerial.

He boasted that he has the best climate action plan, but provided only aspirational detail as to how it would achieve that goal. Scheer’s climate plan has been panned by even the Globe and Mail and attacked by economists as leading to increased rather than reduced emissions. And his constant reference to expansion of resource industries, echoed back to Stephen Harper’s fixation on oil and gas exports and his disregard for the environment.

Though Scheer at one point had indicated he would not be eliminating the federal deficit, he has apparently had a change of heart as he is now promising to do so over an election cycle. Still his promises to balance the budget, cut taxes and continue health and other spending priorities sounds a lot like the impossible dream – the one Doug Ford had also promised in Ontario’s last election.

And Scheer has to be skating on thin ice, virtually accusing Trudeau of illegality in the SNC caper, when even the former attorney general said that was not the case. It is all too reminiscent of Mr. Ford accusing former premier Wynne of corruption. If Mr. Scheer really wanted to distance himself from the troubled Ontario premier he could start by changing the channel on that kind of language which smacks of desperation.

All things considered, this debate was a useful exercise in that it provided a venue for the opposition parties to expose their platforms and address what they would do differently were they to win the top honours. That would have been instructive for the viewers had there been more focus on platform detail. And it would have been useful to see exactly how the Greens and NDP differ as they struggle for 3rd place in Canadian politics.

Federal debate Sept 13 No Liberal

Jagmeet Singh, a,no show Liberal leader, Andrew Scheer and Elizabeth May.

The Liberals are now in power and despite any promises they make during the campaign will and should be running largely on their record. So Mr. Trudeau’s absence in this side-debate is less critical from that perspective. He will come before the public in the official election commission debate in early October, in addition to a special Quebec TV debate.

The Bloc Quebecois is a Quebec-only party, but Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party is national,
with candidates slated for all ridings in the country. Given that Mr. Trudeau had indicated well in advance that he would be a no-show, it is curious why Mr. Bernier wasn’t invited to fill the empty podium, or even why he wasn’t invited in the first place. It would have been instructive for prospective voters to see what Mr. Bernier, who came within a whisper of becoming Conservative leader would do were he to become PM.

Rivers hand to faceRay Rivers writes weekly on both federal and provincial politics, applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking.  Rivers was a candidate for provincial office in Burlington where he ran against Cam Jackson in 1995, the year Mike Harris and the Common Sense Revolution swept the province. He developed the current policy process for the Ontario Liberal Party.

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Public art for the proposed pavilion at City View Park.

artsblue 100x100By Staff

September 13th, 2019


Request for Expressions of Interest
For public art proposals at City View Park.
Deadline: Friday October 11, 2019
Budget: Budget: $120,000 CAD

The City of Burlington invites professional artists to submit Expressions of Interest to create an exterior public art installation for a new pavilion being constructed at City View Park (2500 Kerns Road, Burlington). This competition is open to all Canadian and International professional artists and/or artist-led teams.

City view park pavillion

Proposed pavilion got City View Park.

A professional artist is an individual who has specialized skills and/or training in his/her artistic discipline (not necessarily in academic institutions), has a history of public presentation and is critically recognized as an artist.

The artwork will be located in a large naturalized area in front of the pavilion. This area serves as an entrance point to the pavilion, linking together pathways from the (future) parking to the front entrance and a central roadway. This location will also allow for excellent views of the artwork from inside the pavilion’s main lobby as there are large glass walls looking out onto this area.

An artwork proposal is not requested at this time. This is a two-phase process: in Phase One, applicants will be reviewed on the basis of artistic merit of past work, professional qualifications and experience. In Phase Two, short-listed artists will be required to submit a preliminary artwork concept proposal that will be displayed for public comment and jury review. Artists selected for the short-list will be provided with a full Request for Proposals outlining detailed artwork specifications prior to developing their proposals. Short-listed artists will be paid an artist fee of $1500 to develop their proposals.

To learn more and apply visit:

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They need some help - have you got four hours to spare?

eventsblue 100x100By Staff

September 13th, 2019




Freeman station - old GTR picture

It cleaned up pretty good. The station was the start of trips to other places. And it was where you got off when you were coming home. Troops left for war from the station. They would march up Brant Street and onto the railway property. Keeping it and turning it into a small local museum has taken a lot of work with many obstacles to overcome. Now the station has to be prepared for the winter weather.

Freeman - tracks in place

They need some help.

They are a great bunch to work with and this will get you out of the house.

The Friends of Freeman Station note that it has been a great first summer season at Freeman. Now we need help tidying up, getting the Station ready for the winter. Hopefully you will be able to spare some time on one or more of the following days to help out.

Freeman station Sept 18-17

Evening settles on the station.

September 14,     Saturday 9am to Noon            Scrape & Paint Outside Trim
September 16,     Monday 9am to Noon           Winterizing the Station
September 18,     Wednesday 9am to Noon     Moving the compound
September 21,     Saturday 9am to Noon          Scrape & Paint Outside Trim
September 23,     Monday 9am to Noon          Winterizing the Station
September 25,     Wednesday 9am to Noon     Winterizing the Station
September 30,    Monday 9am to Noon           Winterizing the Station
October 2,           Wednesday 9am to Noon      Winterizing the Station

Just come on down to the Station in your working clothes and we will set you onto to the tasks required.

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Jim Young on alternatives to Local Planning Appeal Tribunal.

opinionred 100x100By Jim Young

September 12th, 2019



Burlington City Council wants to eliminate LPAT (Local Planning Appeals Tribunals), formerly the OMB (Ontario Municipal Board). This matters because in Ontario, appeals to the LPAT/OMB undermine the ability of municipalities to reconcile growth targets with resident wishes. Appeals also cost municipalities, the province and developers massive amounts of money every year in delays and legal costs.

First, some history of LPAT/OMB and “As of Right Zoning”, the concept that governs land use planning in most Canadian cities.

The OMB was created in 1906 as the Ontario Railway and Municipal Board to expropriate land for the expansion of Ontario’s rail network. Renamed the OMB in 1936, it was revised again in 2009/10 as part of Environment and Land Tribunals Ontario. Given its genesis in land expropriation, it is little surprise it was perceived as a developer friendly body where builders could have unfavourable municipal planning decisions overturned.

Formed in 2018 to redress perceived OMB bias, LPAT was, supposedly, a more resident friendly land use appeals body. However, with the same provincial adjudicators and planning act rules, there was nothing “local” in Local Planning Appeals Tribunals.

In 2019, with little case history or jurisprudence, LPAT was drastically revised under Ontario’s More Homes More Choice Act (Bill 108), reviving the old OMB disguised under the friendlier sounding LPAT name.

It is worth noting that no other province or territory in Canada has a similar body adjudicating municipal land use planning or developer/resident disputes. Land use planning in most Canadian and North American municipalities is regulated and operates under a planning concept known as: “As-Of-Right Zoning.”

Prior the introduction of zoning in the 1920s, land-use regulation was hit or miss, planning occurred on a case by case basis. Some areas had use, height and density limits, others didn’t. Rules differed from area to area with no cohesive plan clarifying what could or could not be built. Decisions were subject to suspicion of corruption and influence by developers. Residents never knew what might be built next door to them in the future.

To resolve these conflicts a new concept for regulating urban land use was developed: “As-of-Right Zoning”. Municipalities were delineated as zones, subject to appropriate use and density rules as laid out in a city’s official plan. If developers stayed inside the zoning rules within that plan, they could build without further regulatory interference “as-of-right”. This provided certainty about what could be built and where. Developers avoided delays, unforeseen bylaws or messy public hearings which all added to the cost of housing. For residents, it meant no surprise strip clubs or bingo parlours next door.

Meanwhile in Ontario, the ability to appeal municipal land use plans and win at LPAT/OMB tribunals meant the final say on planning and zoning amendments remained firmly with developers. It forced municipalities to return to ad-hoc, project by project land use planning with all the concurrent legal costs and the knock on effect on housing affordability. It is understandable that municipalities, who shoulder responsibility for land use planning and have a better finger on the community pulse, resent the intrusion of LPAT/OMB and would like it rescinded, especially given the greater powers granted in Bill 108.

Critics worry that in the absence of an LPAT/OMB appeals process, who will adjudicate what constitutes reasonable development as opposed to NIMBYism from local residents? Won’t rescinding LPAT/OMB leave all parties without a means of conflict resolution? I suggest not necessarily.

Burlington already has three citizen advisory committees providing advice on land use planning. The Committee of Adjustment; appointed by Council considers applications for minor bylaw variances, land divisions and small project planning permissions.

Burlington’s Urban Development Advisory, a group of local planning, architectural, engineering professionals, provides impartial guidance to city and developers’ planning staffs on contentious land use and zoning bylaw amendments. The Sustainable Development Advisory advises council and developers on the economic costs and benefits of sustainability in land use and building designs.

If the province is serious about reducing costs and, given Burlington’s commitment to reasonable growth and density, might we adjudicate land use planning conflicts via a combination of these existing committees?

If we increase developer and citizen participation on them we could create an effective and truly local planning reconciliation system to address the legitimate concerns of all parties.

Replacing LPAT in this manner would avoid duplication, eliminate delays (often years), reduce legal costs for developers, municipalities and the province while improving housing affordability and keeping taxes down. All worthwhile planning objectives.

Jim Young 2Jim Young is a frequent opinion writer for the Gazette. He has delivered some of the finest delegations to city council – seldom acted upon but important nevertheless for they are then on the record. Search the Gazette under Jim Young

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Foxcroft the subject of a TiCat video - Oskee Wee Wee

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

September 12th, 2019



They all love him – and with much reason.

Foxcroft chasing ball

Ron Foxcroft on his private basketball court.

Ron Foxcroft has done much for Burlington and Hamilton.

He was made a Member of the Order of Canada last week and everyone wants him to know that they are pleased as punch.

Foxcroft is wearing a smile a mile wide – and asking the Tiger Cats who put together the video below not to blow the Grey Cup game that should bring the cup to the city.

The video: Quite funny in places.

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Significant debate at city council this afternoon: discussing what they want to tell the Region about intensification.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

September 12th, 2019



This afternoon city council will be discussing and debating one of the biggest problems the city faces: Managing the growth.

In a story we published earlier in the month we wrote:

“Assume just two people to a dwelling (and that is quite an assumption) we are looking at between 29 and 42 thousand new dwellings.”

This was in reference to a study that was done in 2008 when the City undertook an Intensification Study to better understand the intensification opportunities in the City which could accommodate growth to 2031. It was recognized at that time that the City’s supply of Greenfield land was diminishing and a more comprehensive approach to planning for intensification was needed.

That study focused on key areas within the City’s urban area and included a site by site analysis to identify opportunities for infilling and redevelopment. This study, which laid out a general framework for longer term growth planning in the City, determined a reasonable estimate of residential units, people and jobs, which could be provided through intensification by 2031. The study also concluded that Burlington was expected to exceed the 40% intensification target in the Growth Plan that is applied Region wide.

City council on innauguration Dec 3rd - 2018

While taking the applause did the members of this newly elected city council have any idea how big a job they had ahead of them?

The study findings were used to inform the growth analysis work that was undertaken by Halton Region through their Sustainable Halton process, which resulted in population and employment growth forecasts to 2031 as well as intensification and density targets for the City and the other municipalities in the Region.

Downtown model

One of Burlington’s younger citizens uses a Lego model to explain to council just what the city will look like when the development being proposed are completed.

The city is now preparing their comments and input for the 2041 growth targets, That’s where that “looking at between 29 and 42 thousand new dwellings” comes from. That is a massive number that most people are not fully aware of – the Gazette wasn’t around in 2008 – we would have alerted you.

You can watch the live webcast this afternoon.

They will be talking about your future.

Related news story:

Just how much growth is Burlington going to have to absorb?

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Getting action from city hall sometimes requires some pushing.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

September 12th, 2019



This is how the rubber hits the road when a resident takes a complaint to the city administration and then the elected member of Council.

It is not a pretty picture – the only bright spot is the patience the resident has shown.

The issue is with the property known as 2013 Paisley, a small bungalow that is said to have been vacant for two years.

2013 Paisley Sept 2019

House is said to have been vacant for two years. Complaints made to bylaw department – no action so far.

Mark Passalent writes Grant Ziliotto, the city’s Manager of By-Law Enforcement, Licensing & Animal Services informing him that the September 9 notice was issued in response to his complaint. It is presently tucked on top of the mailbox, next to the notice from June that was issued after he filed the first complaint for this year.

Complaints were previously filed in 2018, and notices issued.

Passalent was complaining about the vermin that were infesting the property since 2018.  He asks:

“Please take the time to respond to the following questions and concerns. This property, its rats, rabbits, ragweed and goldenrod are directly behind and adjoining my yard.”

What does acting with the owner involve, and what is the status?
What is the time frame allowed for response in this instance?
Is the time period discretionary?
Does it decrease with each offence and each time the City has to act to maintain the property?
How long can we expect to wait for the property to be acted on once this period has expired?
Is there a City action plan for properties that are persistently derelict, or does the City only respond to complaints?
Shall I put a reminder in my calendar to file another complaint in 3 weeks?

Gary Parker whose home abuts the property asks: “ If in fact Grant is ‘actively working with the owner’ we have yet to see any positive result of that ‘action’. The staked black plastic barrier around the perimeter certainly hasn’t helped and in fact it’s contributed to the establishment of a more secure environment for the vermin that infest this property.

“I’ll be interested to see what kind of response you receive to this very clearly worded request. It would seem to any reasonable person that the situation at 2013 Paisley is extraordinary in that it has now been vacant for close to two years and its owner has basically thumbed his nose at all of us.”

He adds: “And just as a curiosity: why would they deliver a notice to an obviously vacant property – on multiple occasions? ( and then wait for a response?)”

Kearns at podium

Lisa Kearns – Councillor for ward 2

Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns who has been copied in on the correspondence responds to the concern about 2013 Paisley saying: “Appreciate your patience with my responding as I wanted to first connect with Grant Ziliotto who is aware of the situation and confirms that his team is actively working with the owner to address the concern. Grant indicates that as at most recently (Sept. 9/19), a notice was issued requiring the property be brought into compliance.

“In answer to your question about “Can you please explain to me what process and rights the City has in dealing with a residential property that remains vacant and derelict?”, once a complaint is received, an investigation follows, and if non-compliant, the owner is issued a notice requiring compliance within a certain time-frame. If the time-frame is not met, then the city will proceed with further enforcement. For more information, visit By-law Enforcement.  To her credit Kearns did get on top of the problem as soon as she learned about it.

A close reading of the bylaw will tell you that the city can take whatever action is necessary if the property owner does not comply.

They did that with a resident who didn’t cut down natural flora on her property – they entered the property and cut down the offending plants.

There is another angle the area residents might consider. Get in touch with the Regional Medical Officer of Health – Hamidah Meghani and tell her that you think there is a public health issue here. That will get some movement.

Provincial legislation requires her to react promptly when there are public health issues. Get pictures of those rats if you can.


Related news stories:

By law officers tear plants out of a residents garden.


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Public school board loves the idea of free transit on Burlington transit buses for their high school students.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

September 12th, 2019



When Mayor Marianne Meed Ward left a city Standing Committee earlier this week she had a nod from her colleagues to have the talk she wanted to have with the Halton District Board of Education about putting students on Burlington Transit buses with a pass that made the service free to use – 24/7

There are some 4500 students who live outside the area that would qualify them for passage on a yellow school bus. Meed Ward wants them on a Burlington transit bus using a student pass that would be free and usable 24/7.

She takes that view even further – she wants transit free for everyone – 24/7.

She goes much further – she thinks transit should be a regional issues and that it should also be free.

Her argument was compelling enough for the school board trustees to pass a resolution urging the trustees, when they are meeting as a Board to make it formal and pass a motion.

Meed Ward + scl bd chair

Halton District School Board chair Andréa Grebenc welcomes Mayor Marianne Meed Ward to the first committee meeting of the year.

The trustees were meeting as a Committee of the Whole where they cannot pass motions. They will meet on Wednesday of next week and in all likelihood pass a motion which will have the school board more on side for the free transit idea than the city. Burlington Councillors don’t meet as a Council until the 23rd when they will have the opportunity to “make it so” as they say on Star Trek.

Mead Ward, who was invited to speak to the trustees (that would have been brought about by Trustee Leah Reynolds asking that the Mayor be invited – the two go back some distance,)

The Mayor’s pitch was twofold: she believed that getting students on buses was an environmental and an economic plus for the city.

Meed Ward told the trustees that there were some 4500 students who lived outside the area that would provide them with school bus passage. As a result parents were driving the students creating traffic chaos at most of the high schools.

The Mayor’s pitch had another angle – giving students free passes was removing barriers now in place that kept students away from opportunities to get to part time jobs, take part in extracurricular events and use the bus to explore their city.

Meed Ward told of her grade 9 experience in Kingston when she got a pass that let her go wherever she wanted on a bus. “It was really empowering” she said. “I was my own person and could go wherever the bus would take me. It helped me grow as a young person to be responsible and to be inquisitive.” She added that the service in those days was 25 cents.

Sue Connor, Director of Transit for Burlington, attended with the Mayor. The Board of Education Superintendent Roxanna Negoi, responsible for transportation, was asked how much the Board spent on bus passes and said it was between $110,000 and $120,000.

Connor, never a slouch when it comes to numbers, opened her binder and said that the public school board spent $115,500 and the Catholic Board spent $10,500.

Mayor Meed Ward knew she was talking to people her understood her language when ward 5 school board trustee Amy Collar said “This has been a long time coming.”

Heather Gerrits - Milton trustee 2019

Milton trustee Heather Gerrits

The Board of Education is made up of representatives from the four municipalities in the Region. Donna Danielli, representing Milton, said there was a concern that some people would feel that their community doesn’t have free bus service – why should yours – and quickly added that the idea was an “incredible vision”. Heather Gerrits, also from Milton said she “loved the idea” and began talking about how she would advocate with both Milton Councillor Colin Best and Milton Mayor Gord Krantz to get Milton going on something similar.

Meed Ward said she would be happy to assist in bring the other municipalities around to the idea and would chat up the other Mayors at Regional Council meetings.

The school board trustees couldn’t do enough and the Director of Education Stuart Miller got onside by saying he would take direction from his board and believed he could have a report ready for early December that would set out what should be in the Memorandum of Understanding that would be put in place and what should be out.

Stuart Miller

Director of Education Stuart Miller.

He was thinking in terms of a high level report that would be ready for the lawyers by the end of the year.

Meed Ward said there “was no moss under our feet”. Amy Collard added “we don’t want this to sit idle”.

You could see where this was going. There is nothing a politician likes more than real forward momentum.

Now to get the public on side and to work out just where the money for those free passes is going to come from.

Sue Connor told the meeting that she has a bus that is about to be retired. She will have it done over with signage and make it an Orientation bus that will travel from school to school and be used for public education on how to use transit as well.

As the meeting was edging towards a close Meed Ward gave Connor that look that said: ‘We clinched this one’ – and indeed they had.

Someone in the room said: “Giddy Up”

Trustee Danielli added that when it come to a new idea “success begets envy”. The hope appeared to be that that envy would result in every municipality wanting free public transit.

Halton Hills unfortunately doesn’t have a transit service.

When Meed Ward moves to make transit a regional service – Halton Hills will be part of that package.

Burlington’s 2014-2018 city council could not get past their view that transit really wasn’t what people in the city wanted. They missed all the signs saying otherwise – or perhaps the signs of the times have changed.

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