Corn on the cob - a summer delight and an amazing plant.

background 100By Pepper Parr

August 22, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Corn cob on plateFor most of us – corn on the cob is something that is a summer-time favourite.

Boiled or roasted in tin foil, then slathered in butter with salt and pepper added – it just can’t get much better than that.

Sympathy for those whose dental apparatus limits what they can enjoy,

corn silkCorn is an amazing plant. Did you know that each strand of corn silk on a cob is connected to a single corn kernel.

As the cob grows on the stalk, the hanging strands collect pollen that falls from the tassel at the top.

 

The silk grabs the pollen and sends it down to its kernel, which is waiting to be fertilized.

Now that is both neat and an assurance that a force bigger than all of us has everything in hand.

corn eating

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Homicide investigation on No 2 side road; not a public safety matter.

Crime 100By Staff

August 21st, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Shortly after 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, August 21, 2019, the Halton Regional Police Service received a call from within a residence at 2244 No. 2 Side Road in Burlington regarding a shooting at that location.

Uniform, K9 and Tactical officers responded to the scene and one male party was quickly taken into custody.

A female was located at the residence with traumatic injuries and in spite of all efforts, was pronounced deceased.

No. 2 Side Road was subsequently closed to traffic and will remain closed between Guelph Line and Cedar Springs Road for several hours. We encourage local residents to continue to avoid the area.

There is no known, ongoing, related threat to public safety.

This incident is being investigated as a homicide. It is believed that the accused and the victim are known to each other.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call the Halton Regional Police Service Homicide Tip Line at 905-825-4776.

Tips can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers “See something? Hear something? Know something? Contact Crime Stoppers” at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or through the web at www.haltoncrimestoppers.ca.

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There is a better than even chance that the Ford government will strip citizens of effective political representation next year.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

August 21st, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

They gather every year for an annual conference – an event that lets the municipal sector talk to the provincial ministers about what’s coming down the pipe.

In Ontario the municipalities are creatures of the province; their names and their boundaries can be changed at the whim of the Premier.

The province has made it very clear that they want to reduce the $11 billion debt that the Liberals left when they were basically wiped out electorally by the Progressive Conservatives.

When that last happened we all thought Mike Harris was a disaster – now we get to see Doug Ford up close and in person and we learn what a disaster really is.

Steve Clark Minister of Muni affairs Ontario

Minister Clark.

Steve Clark, the Minister of Municipalities spoke at the AMO conference to talk about what he had in mind. He spoke the day after the Premier who made it clear that there were major cuts coming, what the province was going to pay for and what the municipalities were going to have to come up with.

It looked as if the Premier was going to find the money to pay down the provincial debt by forcing the municipalities to pick up more of the freight for the services they deliver.

Moody’s debt rating service said they thought the damage would amount to a $2 billion hit to the municipal sector.

Clark sugar coated everything his Ministry was going to do – it sounded like sunshine and lollipop pops or a verse from The Big Rock Candy Mountain.

It wasn’t until the very end of his speech that we got to see the sleeper – amalgamation is going to take place despite what Burlington’s MPP said.

Clark said: “At last year’s conference, I announced we would be reviewing the regional government system. It’s been in place for almost 50 years — and we wanted local input on how to improve governance, decision-making and service delivery.

Fenn Michael 2

Michael Fenn

“I’ve been unequivocal from day one and stated throughout the review — we have no preconceived outcomes” and added that “Ken Seiling and Michael Fenn are finalizing their recommendations — over 8,500 submissions and close to 100 in-person presentations were received — an overwhelming response — and I look forward to receiving their report.

“I’ll have more to say this fall. For now, I want to thank everyone who participated.”

Not so fast Minister.

Seiling-Ken-2-768x1006

Ken Seiling

When Seiling and Fenn were at Halton Region listening to delegations they mentioned that the event was their last stop and that they were ready to distill what they had heard into a report they would give the Minister by the end of July.

The concern for many at the Halton event was – would the report be made public. Seiling pointed out that they had been asked to do the work by the Minister and that the report would be given to the Minister – he would decide if and when it was to be made public.

There were delegations on how well the Region of Halton operated.  Ken Seilling challenged an Oakville delegation that suggested the financial impact was going to be severe if there was any kind of amalgamation in Halton.

At the end of July we heard that the report would not be released until after the federal election.

2018 Council

This Regional Council consists of ward representatives plus the Mayor from each municipality. Far too many people for Doug Ford’s liking.

Yesterday we learned that it will not be on the table until next year.

Most people believe the report has been completed; that the Minister has read it and decided what the government  will be doing.

It will have been discussed at Cabinet and there may well be bureaucrats creating new maps.

Halton map cropped

Will these municipalities get down graded to being a ward in a city?

Will Halton and it’s four municipalities be organized into something called the City of Halton? Far too early to know – what we do know is that Premier Ford is not shy when it comes to downsizing local government.

When he was in Oakville speaking to the Chambers of Commerce from the four municipalities, he was recognizing people in the audience. As he was reading out the names of those from Oakville he paused and said: “Boy, you’ve got a lot of people on that council.” The feeling that rippled across the Burlington Convention Centre was palpable.

Doug Ford thinks a Board of 7 to 9 people is what corporations need and he sees municipalities as corporate structures. Having people at the table who can effectively represent a community is not the role Ford sees for a politician.

His approach is to do it all himself. At that same event he read out his cell number and said ‘you can call me anytime’.

Doug Ford does not understand local politics, doesn’t respect the needs of communities at the grass roots level.

Expect the worst and hope that the very real representation problems in the Niagara Region get the attention they need and that Halton is left alone.

The Gazette got some comments from a former Ontario civil servant who served in several ministries who told us that he “would be very surprised if Clark has not been thoroughly briefed on what the report contains and its main recommendations. “

Our source added that he would “not be the least surprised if there was not some attempt to shape the main recommendations and right from the beginning of the process.

Steve Clark H&S

Minister of Municipalities Steve Clark: Already fully briefed?

“Ministers never “receive” anything that they’ve formally commissioned until they’re ready. They are briefed at regular intervals so that there are ‘no surprises and the final report is an anti-climax at best.

“Well in advance of the formal transmission of the Fenn/Seiling report a fulsome communications strategy will have been developed, ready for precise deployment like the Normandy invasion.”

That invasion of citizen rights looks as if it is going to take place sometime early in the New Year.

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.

Related new stories:

We Love Burlington delegates

Background on the Provincial Review of Regional governments

Edwardh describes Provincial Review as very limited

 

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Steward of Sheldon Creek supports social activist who told the story about by law abuses.

opiniongreen 100x100By Vince Fiorito

August 20th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

I agree with Doreen Nicol’s recent Burlington Gazette article.

City policy appears to harass people doing their part to fight climate change, the biodiversity crisis and environmental toxification problems.

Not only do Burlington’s current property standard by-laws appear to conflict with City Council’s recent climate change emergency declaration, they may also conflict with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as the Species At Risk Act.

Imagine if Canada’s Group of Seven artists were held to the same standards as Burlington’s property standard bylaw, and they could only paint landscapes that were dominated by neatly mowed lawns.

Grp 7 art

Landscape design, like painting, is an art form, which is protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

purple flower - skyscraper

World class examples of native species based landscape designs, that would violate Burlington’s current property standards by-laws.

Burlington’s by-laws and policies currently empower people who don’t understand or deny the existence of serious environmental problems. These people will pressure untrained city staff to mow what appears to them to be weedy unkempt looking lawns. Burlington residents shouldn’t have to fight with the city to be responsible stewards of the Earth. Some of them will inevitably take the city to court and seek damages and compensation.

butterfly on plant

Urban monarch butterfly

If city staff fail to recognize habitat for endangered species (Milkweed for Monarch Butterflies or New Jersey Tea for Mottled Duskywing Butterfly),then their actions could violate the Species At Risk Act and the city could risk fines up to $1,000,000

Also, modernizing and upgrading city property standards policies and by-laws, should include solutions to long term neglected environmental problems.

City policies and by-laws must encourage and assist property owners to clean up old dumpsites ASAP, like this one contaminated with old pesticide and petrochemical containers behind Creek Way in The Orchard.

garbage in creek

Located next to Sheldon Creek along the South Service Road, between Appleby and Burloak.

abandoned construction site

Current City property standards also ignore dangerous derelict buildings.

City property standards allow local businesses to dump industrial effluent into our watersheds with impunity. The above has been reported repeatedly to all levels of government, and is legal. Residents living down stream from environmental problems must have a right to know.

They should not have to use the Freedom of Information Act to access information that the city be collecting and sharing. Ignorance isn’t bliss for children playing or fishing downstream.

salmon 1 horizontal

Rainbow Trout caught 200M downstream from the Harvester storm sewer

salmon 2 vertical

Chinook Salmon aught in Sheldon Creek near New Street – about 1km downstream from Harvester sewer.

sewer pipe with grate

Harvester storm sewer

Burlington must modernize and upgrade city policies to solve climate change, the biodiversity crisis and environmental toxification problems.

The city must have policies to inform residents of reported problems that may affect them and pressures property owners to remediate serious environmental problem or face punitive measures.

Burlington must protect and create habitat for the Halton region’s 48 endangered species, manage the health and improve the vitality of the city’s ravines and wildlife corridor system, give Burlington residents a “Right to Know” about local environmental problems and make polluters pay to clean up their messes.

This issue is an opportunity for city council and Burlington residents to treat the climate change emergency as an emergency.

No one should have to fight with the city to prevent future generations from inheriting a resource depleted dying planet.

Vince FitorioVince Fiorito is a Burlington Resident and Founder of Friends of Sheldon Creek.  He has also been named the Steward of Sheldon Creek by Conservation Halton.

Related news stories.

Activist points to significant by law abuse issues.

Resident wins argument over milk wood in her garden.

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Using social media and online news police were able to return much of the stolen property.

Crime 100By Staff

August 20th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Halton Regional Police Service found that working with its media made it possible for residents to be reunited with their stolen property.

On August 16, 2019, a Hamilton resident learned about the recovery results that came out of the arrest the Regional police made on July 4th.

Stolen - currency collection

Much of a currency collection was recovered by police.

Investigators in Burlington – 3 District Criminal Investigations Bureau were contacted and later reunited the victim with over 95% of the recovered stolen property.

Investigators are currently liaising with Hamilton Police and further charges are pending.

The remaining property can be seen by clicking here:

Anyone who may have additional information concerning this investigation is asked to contact Detective Constable Jacques Brunelle of the 3 District Criminal Investigations Bureau at 905-825-4747 ext. 2334 or the 3 District Criminal Investigations Bureau general line 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 www.haltoncrimestoppers.ca.

In the original media release the Halton Regional Police Service advised the public that they had arrested a suspect attempting to gain entry into the Kings Carwash located at 1448 Grahams Lane in Burlington. At the time of the arrest a large quantity of jewelry believed to be stolen was recovered and remains unaccounted for.

Bradley MARK (37) of no fixed address was charged with

• Break and Enter with intent
• Possession of Break in instruments
• Possession of property obtained by Crime
• Fail to comply with probation order

He was held pending a bail hearing.

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Burlington MPP is said to have given up on Twitter

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

August 20th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Jane McKenna yuks it up with guests at the Joseph Brant hospital annual meeting. A few months earlier and she wasn't allowed to take part in a meeting with the Liberal Minister who was at the hospital to deliver a cheque.

Jane McKenna yuks it up with guests at the Joseph Brant hospital annual meeting. A few months earlier, before she was elected, she wasn’t allowed to take part in a meeting with the Liberal Minister who was at the hospital to deliver a cheque.

Twitter logoSeveral reports say that Burlington MPP Jane McKenna has forsaken Twitter.

Probably a smart move – it wasn’t working all that well for her anyway.

Question is – did she do it herself or was she told to stay quiet?

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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Premier looks to the municipal sector to get back all the money the Liberals spent when they created an $11 billion deficit.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

August 20th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

When the Premier tried to download the costs of a number of services onto the municipalities some time ago, there was an uproar – they had already set their budgets and their tax rates – wasn’t possible to change at that point.

The Ford government relented; everyone knew they would be introducing the plans again – and they did – yesterday at the AMO conference taking place in Ottawa.

Child-care and health-care advocates are slamming the provincial government’s plan to go ahead with some of its controversial municipal funding cuts next year.

Despite some extra time before funding is slashed, the news was not welcome.

The cuts are real and they create “uncertainty, stress for families and sort of chaos at the municipal level across the province as they try to scramble to figure out what’s happening.”

Ford at AMO Aug 2019

Premier Doug Ford addressing the municipal sector on Monday.

Ford said some of this year’s planned cuts — to public health, child care and land ambulance funding — will take effect Jan. 1.

“We recognize our government moved quickly when we came into office to address our inherited challenges. But we’ve listened to you.”

Moody’s, the bond rating service, said the cuts will blow $2-billion hole in municipal budgets which will raise the cost of borrowing. Halton Regional Carr might not be able to brag about having the great credit rating the Region has had for more than a decade.

Prior to the changes announced by the Ford government last spring, municipalities had varying public health cost-sharing arrangements with the province — with Ontario paying 100 per cent or 75 per cent in some cases.
The new plan will see all municipalities pay 30 per cent of public health care costs.

The chair of Toronto’s board of health, said “officials are trying to figure out what the full financial impact of the cuts will be — but he was adamant that the cuts would amount to tens of millions of dollars annually for the city.”

Halton Regional office aerial

Aerial view of the Regional offices located in Oakville.

Commissioners at the Region will be running their numbers when they get back to their offices – it is not going to be a pretty picture.

“As is too often the case with this provincial government, they make announcements first and provide details later.”

Starting on Jan. 1, municipalities will also have to pay 20 per cent of the cost of creating new child-care spaces, which the province previously fully funded.

Some cuts to funding for administrative child-care costs are being delayed until 2021 and others are being delayed to 2022.

Ford also said land ambulance funding will increase by four per cent.

The province is dealing with an $11 billion deficit, the highest sovereign debt of any government.

Just about all the Mayors “recognize and appreciate the challenges the government of Ontario faces in getting its deficit under control”. However, this must be done in a prudent, collaborative manner that does not impact the services that people rely on each and every day.”

A former city of Toronto Councillor said: “Make no mistake, these cuts will hurt people. They are short-sighted and they are wrong.”

Regional Chair and the CAO are going to have to confer with their commissioners to figure out how to deal with the funding cuts announced by the Ford government.

Gary Carr

Regional Chair Gary Carr

Jane MacCaskill Region

Regional CAO Jane MacCaskill

For weeks, the premier and his cabinet ministers had defended the cuts as necessary to tackle an urgent financial situation and said municipalities needed to do their part, as the recipients of a large share of provincial dollars. The government is trying to eliminate an $11.7 billion deficit.

AMO president Jamie McGarvey, who introduced Ford at the event Monday, said municipalities understand the province’s goals and urged the government to work with civic leaders.

“We cannot achieve these things with abrupt, unilateral changes and it will take more than simple belt tightening to make things better,” McGarvey said. “Working together, we can avoid unnecessary turmoil, and respect the essential front line-services that our governments deliver.”

The services that are going to be hit by funding cuts are for the most part delivered by the Regional government.

The tax rate that is set by a municipality includes taxes levied by the Region and the Boards of Education.

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What does it cost a candidate to get elected: for at least one it didn't cost him as much as a dime. One candidate put up $25,000 - and lost.

council 100x100By Pepper Parr

August 20th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

How much of their own money did 2018 election candidates put up?

Some surprises.

Candidate contributions C
Candidate contributions B
Candidate contributions A

Sharman

Paul Sharman taking part in a ward 5 election debate. Got a free ride financially.

Sharman contributed $0 to his own campaign! The $250 shown was the value of old election signs he used in his 2014 election campaign.

LANCASTER IN PINK FROM HER CAMPAIGN

Running in ward 6 where she held the seat in 2010 ans 2014 Lancaster chose not to spend any of her own money – and lost by 41 votes.

Lancaster also contributed $0 to her own campaign! The $180 shown was the value of old election signs she used in her 2014 election campaign.

Mike Wallace took the gamble of his life and put up $25,000 of his own money.

The following people reported 0 campaign donations:

Garry Milne, Andrew Jordan, Jason Boelhouwer, Gerard Shkuda and Michael Jones.

The following candidates failed to file election spending reports. They will not be permitted to run in the next municipal election. Walter Wiebe, Peter Rusin and Darcy Hutzel.

The data used was taken from the election finance returns filed by the candidates.  Any errors or commissions will be corrected.  Some of the forms were hand-written and very difficult to read.

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Marathon is much different for a 27-year-old versus a 39 year-old working mother of two!

sportsgreen 100x100By Ashley Worobec

August 20th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

I had a good week again this week, but mid-week I verged into over-training.

Stops on the map

Each of the 24 km Worobec ran when doing her marathon training.

I could feel that my legs were getting heavy, and I have been training for a solid two months now, so volume is something I need to be mindful of. The last marathon I ran was 12 years ago, and recovery is much different for a 27-year-old versus a 39 year-old working mother of two!

Wringing water

Worobec squeezing out the rain from her shirt after a run in a rain storm,

Although I’m following a training plan, I added in a couple of extra workouts this week (including a Crossfit competition last weekend) and that put me over the edge. My Garmin watch tracks all of my stats, and it gave me an “overtraining” alert on Thursday, so I listened to it and took a rest day and also added in some early bedtimes. I am feeling back to normal now, and I had a great 24km long run on Saturday morning.

I’ve included a picture of the aftermath (me squeezing out the rain from my shirt), as about 20 of our 24km were run in those torrential downpours on Saturday morning; I could not have been more soaked if I’d jumped into a swimming pool!

H&S tired look

A tired marathoner.

My sunrise runs continue to be the best way for me to fit all of my training into my schedule. I’m usually back home before my children are even awake, so it really doesn’t affect family life much at all. I meet my training group at 5:30am on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, and most Sundays at 7:00am, and I fit in the rest of my training on my own when I can.

Last week, we got an email from the New York marathon to choose our transportation to the start line, so things are starting to line up for all of the logistics of the race. I will be catching a bus from midtown Manhattan that will take me to Staten Island for the start line, and my husband will meet me at the finish line in Central Park. Excitement is building!

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An astonishing record of public service.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

August 19th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

A picture is said to be worth 1,000 words – How about $84,000?

Gift of Giving Back 2019

Food and funds – The Gift of Giving Back is both a lesson in civility and an opportunity to help others for Burlington students.

That’s the amount raised by the Gift of Giving Back, a program that has been part of Burlington since 2005 and is now the largest such program in the country.

The total along with the presentation cheque and the obligatory photo op was sent out by the Mayor today.

Kudos to the people that make the program work.

Gift giving back by year

An astonishing record of community service on the part of the young athletes who do all the grunt work.

Originally launched by the Burlington Eagles, the campaign has grown to include more than 85 male and female youth hockey teams from: The Burlington Girls Hockey Club (Barracudas), Burlington Eagles, as well as the Burlington Gymnastics Club.

Teams will be out in neighbourhoods across Burlington in the fall dropping off their iconic blue bags. If you receive one, please give generously as the food goes right to people in our community in need. Athletes are also tagging at various grocery store locations and can be identified with the Gift of Giving Back signs.

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Not only is municipal amalgamation on the table - The Lovelies believe it was never off and that mapping is being done as we speak.

News 100 blueBy Staff

August 19th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Those good folks at “We Love Burlington” believe, as do many municipal leaders and other community groups, that amalgamation is not only “on the table”, but likely was never off it.

We love logoPerhaps the strategy of throwing so many pieces of legislation out at once is meant to make it impossible to keep up with all of them, and impossible to study each one carefully. This seems to be the theme of the provincial government to date.

31 days

They really took a piece of Legislation from the Order Paper to the pen of the Lieutenant Governor in 31 days.

There was Bill 5, which carried the amendments to the Municipal Act, the Municipal Elections Act and the City of Toronto Act (an omnibus bill) which allowed Premier Ford to reduce the size of Toronto Council in the midst of the 2018 Municipal election. We have written extensively (as have many others) about the disastrous “Developers’ Dream Bill”, Bill 108, which went from First Reading to Royal Assent in only 31 days, and as one municipal leader recently aptly put it to us “the outrages with the Bill are so numerous, you get numb.”

These are illustrative of the unilateral power over municipal structures and governance that the province can and is wielding. They are also examples of what the province can easily do to effect regional restructuring.

On August 8th, Premier Ford was in Fonthill and at an impromptu press conference, stated that amalgamation is going ahead in Ontario. The following was taken from a QP Briefing article that was published in the Toronto Star later that day: “A freewheeling Premier Doug Ford gave a clear indication that some Ontario municipalities can expect amalgamation in the near future. The premier decried the number of politicians in the Niagara Region as he spontaneously chose to field questions from reporters at an announcement in Fonthill.

Ford in Pelham - bubbles

On this occasion the Premier was helping a child blow bubbles – most of the time many think he is just blowing smoke.

When asked by a local reporter about the potential amalgamation that could affect the Niagara region and many other Ontario municipalities, Ford led off by saying it’s under review by Municipal Affairs Minister Steve Clark, but then outlined what outcome makes sense to him. “Minister Clark is going to be rolling that out over the next little while,” But then Ford said that he would prefer fewer politicians, based on what he’s heard from residents. “Go door-knocking in the area. It’s almost comical. You’ve got 136 politicians for 400,000 people. Something’s wrong,” said the premier.

The premier argued it’s a matter of saving money. “That’s just wasting taxpayers’ money. But I have all the confidence in the world in Minister Clark to straighten out any of those issues, and make sure we respect the taxpayers and run a leaner, more efficient government,” he said. He added that residents have told him they don’t like the number of politicians they have. “I’ve heard it from them — they aren’t too happy about that.”

Interesting as well was the comment made by the Premier when he addressed the Halton Chambers of Commerce at a Burlington event.

As he was reading out the names of the municipal Councillors in the room he paused as he was going through the list of those from Oakville and said: “Gee you got a lot of council members in Oakville.”

There was a palpable shudder that went through the room.

Study after study, including the 2015 Fraser Report that studied Ontario amalgamations (https://www.fraserinstitute.org/research/municipal-amalgamation-ontario) say that in fact, prior Ontario amalgamations resulted in “significant increases in property taxes, remuneration and long-term debt.” We attach, for those who may not have seen it before, the text of our delegation to the regional reviewers in May, which outlines our concerns more specifically. The continued downloading onto municipalities does not serve the citizenry; there is only one taxpayer.

This week the core of basically every municipality in the province is in Ottawa at the AMO conference. We are aware of one Halton municipal Councillor who is “taking the Missus” with him – there is a man who knows how to have a good time.

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs announced that the Minister will be addressing the AMO crowd; Councillors will be listening with baited breath.

We love B Prov Rev

The Lovelies: Debra Rouse, Lynn Crosby, Blair Smith and Josie Wagstaffe after a visit to Queen’s Park

The Lovelies (a colloquial description for the We Love Burlington band of advocates) believe that “the threat of amalgamation is very real and that new mapping of the 82 municipalities is already being carried out. We believe that there will either be amalgamation of our four Halton municipalities (Burlington, Oakville, Milton, Halton Hills) into the City of Halton, with likely only six councillors and a mayor for a population of 600,000 people (the same ratio of councillors to citizens that the City of Toronto now has, and which aligns with Premier Ford’s recent comments that in the corporate world, an ideal size of a board of directors is 7 to 9) or that the provincial government will maintain the local identities, but take away much of the local authority. This in effect would have much the same result as full amalgamation.”

Steve Clark Minister of Muni affairs Ontario

Steve Clark: Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

It will be interesting to hear what the Minister has to say on Wednesday and whether or not his views align with the report due from the Provincial Review panel that listened to all the municipalities and have a report that was to be released in July.

The release date was moved back until after the federal election in October.

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Seaman who was made a Knight of the Legion of Honour by the President of France died recently.

News 100 blackBy Pepper Parr

August 19th, 2019

Burlington, ON

 

There are some people who do not hold public office, were not the subject of significant media coverage – they just lived their lives and when their time came, they died.

Immediate family and the circle of close friends grieve the loss and time moves on.

On July 31st Burlington resident and D-Day veteran William B. McConnell died.

McConnell was not a native of Burlington – he discovered Burlington and chose to live here while on a vacation. He was single all his life.

Battle-map-D-day-1024x621

HMS Ramillies was part of the naval support on DDay. She was tasked with taking out German guns at Benneville shown on the far right. They needed just 80 minutes to destroy most of the German guns

On D Day McConnell was aboard HMS Ramillies, a WWI relic of a battleship that was deemed fit for service. The battleship’s assignment was to train its 16 inch guns on a German battery with six 6” guns at Beneville, France, to the east end of Sword Beach. The Ramillies took out four of those gun batteries in 80 minutes.

McConnell was what you would call an electrician these days – in his time, electronics were pretty rudimentary.
It was during this battle that Bill had to go aloft to the Aloft Director to repair some electrical equipment. The Aloft Director is the station high up on the ship that was used for observation.

The Allied landings on the Beaches of Normandy France were ferocious battles; thousands of men were lost. It was, however, the battle that turned the tide and the beginning of the Liberation of France.

While the guns were blazing three torpedoes sped past the battleship – two on one side, one on the other.

Battleships were huge and carried four 16 inch guns that sometimes were fired so often that the paint burned off the barrels. We rattle off that phrase “16 inch guns” quickly when we are talking about a big bullet that measures a foot and a half wide. The roar of the shell coming out of a barrel, four of them at the same time, pushes that battle ship sideways.

During the bombardment there was a problem with electrical fittings in the Aloft Directory of the ship.

This was an observation level high up in the rigging with access possible only by climbing up a rope ladder.

It was while he was climbing from level to level that the 16 inch guns roared – instantly deafening McConnell. Bill was not able to put his hands over his ears because, as he put it, “you can’t cover both ears, hold the ladder and your tool kit at the same time”. The deafness was complete in on ear and seriously in the other.

Bill joined the navy at the age of 11. He was at the Royal Hospital School, which was part of the British Navy at the time. It was basically a boarding school where the students wore uniforms. Bill’s father was a Gunnery Chief Petty Officer and was at sea most of the time.

When it was clear there was going to be a war in 1938, Bill found himself doing paperwork related to reserve naval types being called up. It was a situation where 15 year old boys were doing the paper work that brought men, some 60 years of age, back into the service.

It wasn’t long after that Bill was being trained as an Electrical Artificer and soon he was off to sea

After the D Day landings, and McConnell recovered as much as he was going to be able to, Bill stayed in the Navy and left in 1953 after fifteen years of service.

As a civilian his skills were quickly put to use as he worked for the next sixteen years in the development, installation and acceptance testing of guns and missile controls.

While on a vacation to Canada he found a job working on the “Sea Sparrow” missile control systems for the Canadian DDH280 destroyers.  Burlington became his home.

medal_of_honor-400x618

Legion d’Honneur awarded by the President of the Republic of France to William (Bill) Basil McConnell.

In 2016, on the 70th Anniversary of the war ending, the French government decided to make anyone who was involved in the landings a member of the Legion d’Honneur – the Legion of Honour.

The ceremony took place aboard the retired Tribal Class destroyer HMCS Haida, tied up in Hamilton at HMCS Star.

During the ceremony Colonel Vandomm read a document that said: “By order of the President of the Republic of France, you have been awarded the rank of Knight of the French National Order of the Legion of Honour.

McConnell + Vandomm

Retired Chief Petty Officer William (Bill) Basil McConnell being congratulated by Colonel Roger Vandomm during the awarding of the French Legion of Honour medal.

Chief Petty Officer William Basil McConnell being awarded the French Legion of Honour by Colonel Roger Vandomm. The smile of appreciation on the Colonel’s face told the story.

“This distinction, the highest national order of France, illustrates the profound gratitude France would like to express to you in recognition of your personal involvement of the liberation of our country during World War II.”

The Mayor of Burlington released a statement when her office was made aware of Bill’s passing. He deserved more mention than a formal statement. Rest in Peace Bill.

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Police have set up a viewing site for those who had property stolen prior to July 4th.

Crime 100By Staff

August 19th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

On July 4th 2019, the Halton Regional Police Service arrested a suspect early in July who was attempting to gain entry into the Kings Carwash located at 1448 Grahams Lane in the City of Burlington.

At the time of the arrest a large quantity of jewelry believed to be stolen was recovered and remains unaccounted for.

Arrested:
Bradley MARK (37) of no fixed address

Charges:
• Break and Enter with intent
• Possession of Break in instruments
• Possession of property obtained by Crime
• Fail to comply with probation order

The accused was held pending a bail hearing.

Stolen items watch

Classic watch – very valuable.

If you are a victim of a residential break in on or prior to July 4th 2019, please click the below link and review the photos on our Flickr account. If you are the rightful owner and can identify any of the property please contact us.

Link to property photos: https://bit.ly/2YyLSEf

Anyone who may have additional information concerning this investigation is asked to contact Detective Constable Jacques Brunelle of the 3 District Criminal Investigations Bureau at 905-825-4747 ext. 2334 or the 3 District Criminal Investigations Bureau general line at 905-825-4747 ext. 2316.

Stolen items Consol cigs

A collectable – how many people recognize the brand?

Tips can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers “See Something? Hear Something? Know Something? Contact Crime Stoppers” at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), or through the web at www.haltoncrimestoppers.ca.

People charged with a criminal offence are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

 

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Condo sale price gains lower than residential - but nothing shabby about the numbers.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

August 16th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

condo units for sale

Condos are seen as in a sellers market.

The Rocca Sisters, in the report on the sales of condominiums in the Burlington market say that sale prices in July were down 4.5%, price per square foot was down 0.2%, and sales were up 35% as compared to July 2018.

Year to date, at the end of July, average sale prices were up 2.6%, sales were up 16.5% and price per square foot was up 8% as compared to the same period in 2018. Condos are selling for, on average, 98.54% of the asking price so far in 2019. Inventory levels are down considerably from last year, by over 40%. There is no doubt that the condo market in Burlington is a seller’s market.

If these conditions continue we should see a fairly significant increase in values over the coming months.

Rocca condo numbers July 2019

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It wasn't money that won the ward 1 seat - Galbraith just got more votes without spending all that much money.

council 100x100By Pepper Parr

August 16th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Gazette has been doing a series of articles on the amount of money that was raised and spent during the October municipal election.

We are going to do this on a ward by ward basis and at the same time provide some demographic data on the makeup of the ward. Reports have been done on wards 3 and 4.

The demographic data will give readers a drilled down look at the community they live in and how their member of Council got elected and who paid for that election.

Ward 1 is being done in two parts; the well-financed campaigns and candidates that got decent vote counts and those who were running for reasons known only to themselves.

Each candidate was given an amount they could spend; that number came for the Clerk’s office who used Statistics Canada numbers.

In the data set out below the TCI (Total Campaign Income) is the total dollar amount brought in by each campaign. The TAE (Total Applicable Expenditures) is the TCI minus any applicable expenses. It is the total applicable expenditures or the total expenditures that apply to the Total Spending Limit and must be less that the Total Spending Limit. We then took the TAE and calculated it as a % of the TSL (also called “The General Spending Limit). So if someone had a TAE of $7 and the TSL/GSL was $10, then they spent 70% of the allowable campaign limit.

Total expenditure headings

Ward 1 spends part 1

Judy Worsley

Judy Worsley

Galbraith slight smile

Kelven Galbraith

Side view - mid rise

Marty Staz

Campaign donations.  The numbers in yellow are donations that came from people believed to be developers.

Judy Worsley campaign donations:

Worsley source

Kelven Galbraith campaign donations:

Galbraith source

Marty Staz campaign donations:

Staz source

Arlene Iantomassi campaign donations

Iamtomasi source

Did funds from developers make a difference?  It wouldn’t appear so.

At look at the demographic make up of the ward.

Ward 1

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Rocca sisters release their July real estate numbers and their take on where the market went and why.market

News 100 yellowBy Staff

August 16th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Home For Sale Real Estate Sign and Beautiful New House.

The Rocca Sisters report that July proved to be a very strong month for real estate sales in Burlington. Sales were up 19% and sale prices were up 4.4% as compared to July 2018. During the month of July, properties sold for 98.25% of the asking price and in 30 days, on average.

Year to date, Burlington performed pretty much the way we predicted with sale prices up approximately 2.6% and sales up 5.3%.

Inventory levels were down significantly, to a 6 year low with the exception of 2016 (when we saw inventory levels down by 50% in most of our trading areas). With under 2 months of inventory available at the end of July, Burlington feels very much like a seller’s market.

Rocca numbers

July real estate sales were great if you were a seller – tough on some of the buyers.

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The fraud artists are going after the municipal sector - Saskatoon got taken for a full million.

News 100 redBy Staff

August 16th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It’s old news to Burlington – we got hit for just half a million. The City of Saskatoon says it has lost $1 million in an online scam.

An avid Gazette reader brought this one to our attention

City hall sign

Internet scam artists have figured out that there is all kinds of money at city hall and there are people who will give it to you.

Saskatoon City manager Jeff Jorgenson says a fraudster electronically impersonated the chief financial officer of a construction company that has a contract with the city.

He says the culprit asked to have a payment sent to a new bank account and the city complied.

It has hired experts to try to recover the money.

Burlington might want to get the name of that expert.

Saskatoon is reviewing its financial controls to make sure it is secure from future attacks.

“The fraudsters are becoming more and more sophisticated, and our controls and systems have to become more and more sophisticated as well.”

Saskatoon’s Mayor decided to go public with the fraud to be up front with taxpayers and warn others so it doesn’t happen to them.

Two years ago, MacEwan University in Edmonton reported that it had been defrauded of $11.8 million when three staff members were fooled into changing the electronic banking information of a construction company.

Having loosey goosey security procedures in place didn’t keep us off the Macleans magazine Best Place to Live list.

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Weather warning - Record inflows from Lake Erie

News 100 greenBy Staff

August 16th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Flood watchRecord inflows from Lake Erie are expected to continue which impacts water levels in Lake Ontario.

Add significant rainfall to that and local flood warnings become very real. It will be a decade more before the damage done by the August 2014 flood has left our psyches.

The latest information provided by the International Lake Ontario – St. Lawrence River Board (ILOSLRB) indicates that Lake Ontario reached a mean daily water level of 75.57 m on August 13th, declining by approximately 1cm per day during the preceding week. The latest water level is 35 cm below this year’s peak level (recorded on June 15th) and remains 64 cm above average but is now 6 cm below the record level for this time of year set in 1947.

New street creek rushing

Burlington knows what a flash flood look like and the damage they can do. With Climate Change a part of our lives weather warnings need to get tighter attention.

Record high outflows (equivalent to the peak releases during June to August of 2017, but having now surpassed the interval of those outflows in 2017) continue to be released to lower the lake level and provide some relief to shoreline stakeholders, while also considering the effects of higher flows on interests in the St. Lawrence River.

Lake Ontario levels are expected to continue to slowly decline in the coming days, with the forecasted drier conditions combined with the continuation of record-high outflows. Notwithstanding, water levels will remain elevated for the next several weeks and into the late summer months as record inflows from Lake Erie are expected to continue.

All shoreline areas should be considered dangerous during this time. Localized flooding combined with the potential for waves to overtop breakwalls and other shoreline structures continue to make these locations extremely dangerous. Conservation Halton is asking all residents to exercise caution around Lake Ontario shoreline areas and to alert children in your care of these imminent dangers.

This Flood Watch – Lake Ontario Shoreline message will remain in effect until August 22nd. Conservation Halton will continue to monitor Lake Ontario wind conditions and lake levels closely and will either terminate this message or issue further updates as necessary.

Additional information is available online through the ILOSLRB website and on Facebook:
Current Conditions: https://ijc.org/en/loslrb/watershed/current-conditions
Forecasts: https://ijc.org/en/loslrb/watershed/forecasts

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City is pushing hard to get people to think about what they want their city to look like - speak now rather than complain in a couple of years.

News 100 redBy Staff

August 16th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

City hall is reminding people that there are public engagement opportunities now underway to help shape the adopted Official Plan policies that will guide development in the downtown core.

They want to know what matters most to you about downtown Burlington.

Their hope is that they (the planners) can work to gather public feedback about the downtown policies in Burlington’s adopted Official Plan. The process begins with a series of pop-up events. Additional public engagement opportunities to share ideas that will help refine and improve the downtown policies include two Citizen Action Labs taking place on Thursday, Aug. 22 and an online survey available at www.getinvolvedburlington.ca

All four buildings are within a five minute walk of each other.  These are basically done deals with others in the planning stage.  If this is what you want – say so – If this isn’t what you want speak up.

nautique-elevation-from-city-july-2016

The Nautique – shovels will be in the ground within months and take close to three years to complete.

421 Brant

Due to go up across the street from city hall.

Brant looking north - Kellys

Approved for 17 floors – developer wants 26 – has appealed. To go up opposite city hall as well.

Details

Completion has stalled – they need another year to complete the job.

Pop up Events
City staff will be visiting a variety of locations and events throughout the community to talk with residents and identify what is most important to them about downtown Burlington.  They really want to hear what the average person thinks.  During the October municipal election people complained that city hall wasn’t listening.  They are listening now.  Let them hear what you have to say.

Pop-up Dates and Locations

Friday, Aug. 16 Burlington Farmer’s Market, 777 Guelph Line 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Saturday, Aug. 17 Spencer Smith Park (playground), 1400 Lakeshore Rd.

Tansley Woods Library, 1996 Itabashi Way
11 a.m. to 1 p.m. & 2 to 4 p.m.

Sunday, Aug. 18 Burlington Performing Arts Centre, 440 Locust St.

As they get a little older - they are ready for bigger challenges. This group works there way through a children's obstacle course.

Children’s Festival will be taking place on the weekend – planners will be out in force asking for your opinion.

Children’s Festival, Spencer Smith Park, 1400 Lakeshore Rd

Central Park (bandshell), 2299 New St.
11 a.m. to 12 p.m. & 7 to 7:30 p.m.

Monday, Aug. 19 Alton Library at Haber Community Centre, 3040 Tim Dobbie Dr.
5:30 to 7 p.m.

Tuesday, Aug. 20 Appleby Arena, 1201 Appleby Line

Brant Hills Library, 2255 Brant St.
12:30 to 2 p.m. & 6 to 8 p.m.

Wednesday, Aug. 21
Brant Hills Library, 2255 Brant St. 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Saturday, Aug. 24 Burlington Farmer’s Market, 777 Guelph Line

Aldershot Farmer’s Market, 484 Plains Rd. E. 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Citizen Action Labs – Taking a Closer Look at the Downtown
At these public meetings, participants will work in small groups to discuss and identify what is most important to them about downtown Burlington.

Thursday, Aug. 22
1 to 3 p.m. or  7 to 9 p.m.
Art Gallery of Burlington, 1333 Lakeshore Rd.

Online Survey
An online survey will be available until Aug. 30 at www.getinvolvedburlington.ca to share input about what matters most about downtown Burlington.

Feedback gathered from all the public engagement activities will be used to inform the creation of two concepts of what the downtown could look like in the future. These concepts will be shared with the public in the fall for review and further input.

Visit www.GetInvolvedBurlington.ca to learn more about the re-examination of the downtown policies in the adopted Official Plan and upcoming engagement opportunities.

ECOB logoNot everyone sees the process city hall is using to gather feedback as the best there is. ECoB Engaged Citizens of Burlington, the group that organized the public debates in every ward that was to a considerable degree responsible for the changes at city council have written the planners with their concerns.

1. The Feedback summary of comment and advice received during the pre-engagement process includes a broadly fair summary of comments provided by ECoB during our meeting with the planning department.

2. Our impression in meeting with the Planning Department staff was of a good faith intention to carry out a better engagement process during the Official Plan Review than has been made in the past. ECoB welcomes the growing recognition of effective and genuine engagement in city decision-making processes. ECoB welcomes the opportunity to take part.

3. ‘Doing engagement right’ is a difficult, time-consuming and potentially costly process. It is important to recognize at the outset that the extremely restricted timescales will of necessity create an imperfect engagement process. While the OP Review provides an opportunity for limited additional input from residents over what was received in the initial ‘Grow Bold’ process, it will still be far short of what we would consider the ideal engagement process for a new Official Plan. We believe it is better to recognize these shortcomings now than to argue that a comprehensive engagement process can be carried out in the time available. This observation may be valuable in future engagement initiatives and the ongoing review of advisory committees and engagement in general.

4. The feedback received has been made anonymous in the summary sent to us. We believe it would in fact be advantageous to know which comments came from which groups and individuals. Purely as an example, one can guess that the stipulation that the Engagement Charter be referenced frequently came from the ChAT team. Likewise, there was contrasting advice on ‘pop-up’ engagement processes. Knowing who gave this advice might clarify why there is a discrepancy in opinion. The source of advice is highly relevant in assessing the value of feedback received, and for those attempting to understand how the engagement plan was formed. We believe there is no reason why the names and affiliations of all people consulted could not be included, in the interests of openness and transparency.

5. The pre-engagement process primarily involved receiving advice from advisory committees of various sorts. Only two organizations (ECoB and the Hamilton-Halton Home Builders Assoc.) are fully independent of City Hall. It would further clarify to know who, if any individuals were consulted and to ascertain their independence. ECoB’s position is that the current make-up and selection processes for advisory committees is in urgent need for reform, as recommended by the Shape Burlington Report in 2010, but not implemented. Ironically, most advisory committees, including ChAT, do not regularly interact with the public. There is a perception of a lack of transparency in the selection of citizen volunteers and the operations of the ChAT group. With the greatest of respect for the volunteers on the committees, some of whom are also ECoB members, these longstanding procedural problems weaken the validity of advice received.

6. Having consulted with our members and executive over the last week, there is certainly still concern among our membership that the engagement process will remain too superficial. As we stated during our meeting, we strongly encourage the planning department to ‘be bold’ with the engagement that it conducts to go beyond conventional methods. This should include acknowledgement of and clearly stated attempts to reach:

◦ People from all age groups. Meetings with school-age children a year or so from adulthood are easy and quick to arrange through civics classes and may provide a different but important perspective. The same goes for seniors groups (albeit seniors are traditionally well represented in ‘volunteered feedback’), but also commuters and young families. ‘Pop- up’ events may be most valuable if held, for instance, at ice-rinks or venues where young families take children to participate in sport, as well as malls and supermarkets.

◦ People of different ethnicities. Reaching out to local religious and cultural organizations can be an easy way to ensure people of different ethnic and cultural backgrounds are included.

◦ People of different income groups. Again, religious organizations and local and regional non-profits can advise on the many events and gatherings organized for people on low incomes.

Unless attempts to meet and address these groups are explicitly mentioned in the engagement plan, they are highly likely to be overlooked.

7. We mentioned during our meeting, but it is not included in the summary, the possibility of using local organizations to help with engagement. This would need to be done in a way such that the volunteer groups could not influence the information collected. Such groups could assist with delivery and collection of questionnaires, or explaining the engagement process to people who would traditionally not participate.

8. We did not mention at our meeting but would like to add the suggestion of an important education component to assist residents with learning about the planning process. A fear of a lack of knowledge is a major barrier to people participating in engagement activities. Such a program was provided for new councillors in 2018 – it could be adapted for the public. While the most frequently engaged residents become aware of the complexity of the issues at hand, other residents are naturally less well-informed. This can lead to unrealistic impressions of what is feasible in the provincial and regional planning context and to repetitive and time consuming covering of the same ground. This is where a prominent educational component, presented as separate educational meetings, plus a website and/or documentation, would be of value to both planning staffs and citizens.

9. Re: “Trade-offs and options – Avoid oversimplifying discussion to height alone”
By contrast lack of background information or education must not invalidate resident opinions. This phrase copied above embodies some of the problems that frequently arise when institutions undertake engagement. It is imperative that when questions are asked of residents, they are not asked in ways that lead to institutionally-desired responses. An example of such a ‘trade-off’ question is: “Would you be willing to accept additional height in return for a medical facility included in a development”. Height is a huge issue for many residents, and that opinion has to be recognised and acknowledged alongside all others, regardless of how problematic it is marry that desire with the current provincial planning context.

“Maintaining low-rise to mid-rise character”, or “lower heights in downtown”, are perfectly valid desires for a residents to have, and residents should neither be patronized to by an inference that they “don’t understand”, nor should their opinions be hidden by using engagement processes which lead to minimizing widely held opinions.

In summary – it is the purpose of engagement to find out what residents and other ‘stakeholders’ want, and then to see how the OP Review can best satisfy those desires within the context of the in force provincial and regional planning frameworks. It is not the job of engagement to shape opinion in ways which may appear more convenient.

10. Some of the most ‘scientifically’ valid and innovative methods of engagement available are being ruled out by time and budget. While time is certainly an issue, we would urge the City to consider an increased budget if it allows engagement at a scale, and of a validity, that has not been achieved before. The key objective must be to reach a representative sample of the vast majority of residents who, for entirely valid reasons, do not take participate in conventional engagement opportunities. We feel dollars spent at this stage will save expenses and points of conflict at a later date if an OP is put together that residents can broadly support.

Conclusion
The summary of pre-engagement gives a reasonable reflection of the advice we provided at our meeting with the Planning Department, and we have noted some items which we think could have been included. We do have concerns that some of the same processes which failed citizens in previous OP engagement efforts are likely to be repeated. Nevertheless, we believe the Planning Department is moving in a better direction with regard to engagement. Cognizant of the shortcomings of previous engagement exercises, we would like to see additional weight given to engagement methods by which “the city goes out to residents ”and not “residents coming to the city” thereby reaching out in as representative a manner as a manner as possible to the entire population.

While the timelines are extremely short, we still believe the City should set ambitious engagement objectives. If doing so demands additional budget, we believe the City Manager and Council should make the funds available urgently to ‘do engagement right’.

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What a bummer! Dofasco Waterjet Plaza at Spencer Smith Park Closed.

notices100x100By Staff

August 16th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Kids in splash padDue to an unexpected mechanical failure at the Dofasco Waterjet Plaza at Spencer Smith Park, the spray pad will be closed until further notice.

Staff are working to identify and repair the issue but the repair is expected to take several days and will not be available for the Children’s Festival this weekend.

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