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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An 'exceptional donut' from an exceptional donut maker.

eventspink 100x100By Staff

August 16th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Donut - exceptional sunshineThe Sunshine Doughnut Company has created a delicious, limited edition, doughnut to promote the upcoming Exhibition Opening for The Gender Conspiracy on September 6!

Drop by Sunshine and pick up the “Express Yourself” doughnut along with your free tickets to the Night of Cabaret! Shunshine will be featuring this tasty masterpiece until the end of August, with limited quantities daily!

Night of Cabaret

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 6 | 7 TO 10 PM | Art Gallery of Burlington

Join us for the epic opening of The Gender Conspiracy with a night of performances and storytelling. The stage lights up with drag, spoken-word, burlesque dancing, and music by Manghoe Lassi, Ryan Persadie, Johleen, Zain Bandali, and DJ Zehra.

Bring the kids!

Drag stars Fay Slift + Fluffy Soufflé lead a read-along for families focusing on books, songs and lots of laughs to show that Reading is FUN-damental! The duo support families with LGBTQI2S parent(s) and gender variant children, and read culturally diverse books, by providing a supportive and inclusive environment focused on fun! Everyone is welcome!

Tickets at:

 

 

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Eco-friendly trends: how to become more eco-friendly.

News 100 greenBy Clare Nash

August 15th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

In recent times, the use of the word “eco-friendly”, otherwise known as “nature-friendly”, has popularly increased on commercials, talk shows and product packaging. It is, however, important to get an insight into the word eco-friendly, hence, enabling us to implement the practices necessary for a healthy living for the planet and its inhabitants. According to dictionary.com, eco-friendly is defined as the means of having a beneficial effect on our environment or simply by not causing harm to the environment. This goes beyond just an idea but expands to the practices that impact how individuals, products, communities and businesses behave themselves.

How to become more eco-friendly
Being eco-friendly or nature-friendly is very crucial to preserve all our resources and to promote environmental sustainability. It is not only beneficial to the environment but also of great advantage to us. To become more eco-friendly, you need to identify first how your choices impact the environment. There are three steps to becoming eco-friendly which includes: learning how to consume things that cause little or no harm to the environment, striving to encourage people to produce a sustainable and eco-friendly environment, and discovering and lessening your carbon footprint on the environment.

The 3Rs of wastage hierarchy is one way of becoming eco-friendly, this means Reduce, Reuse and Recycle – reducing what is manufactured and produced, reusing items for other purposes instead of disposing of it, and recycling items like paper, aluminium cans to form new items to preserve our environmental resources. Additionally, saving water and electricity also makes us eco-friendly, and this can be done by turning off lights when not in use, proper insulation, fixing leakages, etc. Other ways include planting trees, driving less and walking more, using energy-efficient products, buying recycled products, etc.

bamboo clothing

Clothing is now being made from bamboo which is hypo-allergenic and UV resistant.

Eco-friendly trends
Most people now realize how being eco-friendly can greatly impact on our environment. In the fashion world, most brands are tending towards eco-friendly fashion wear, which helps to promote sustainability and ethical practices. Researchers and every citizen of Mother Earth are coming up with new ideas and eco trends to counter the problems and help to preserve our environment. In 2019, some eco-friendly trends have been geared towards environmental consciousness and sustenance. Most countries are putting an end to the use of plastic, and are producing alternative materials from waste as a result of the effect of dumping plastics in oceans.

turbines at Wolfe Island

Turbines at Wolfe Island near Kingston.

Furthermore, most Europe countries are going green with affordable alternatives and renewable energy options like solar or wind energy. Also, minimalism and anti-consumerism mindset are an eco-friendly trend. Most people are moving towards a simple environmental lifestyle like buying less, having a smaller home, and no waste mindset.

Additionally, electric and self-driving vehicles are economically friendly because they use less fuel and decrease overall pollution. Most hotels now incorporate eco-friendly trends due to the rise in demand for green lodging. This trend includes a reduction in energy, waste management, water consumption and conservation.

Benefits of being Eco-friendly

Every habitat on planet earth needs a clean environment to survive and live a healthy life. So, it is important that we keep our environment clean for healthy living. Eco-friendly products promote green living that helps to prevent air, noise and water pollution as well as conservation of energy. Eco-friendly won’t only benefit your environment; it also saves cost. For example, using products from recycled materials or reducing air travel and organising conference call meetings instead of physical meetings. Being eco-friendly and engaging in its practice needs to be considered as it is beneficial to the planet and its inhabitants.

 

 

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Retiring head of the Brant Museum takes a final big smoke

News 100 blueBy Staff

August 15th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Brant musem donour event - Barb smudging

Elder Garry Sault of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation shares a traditional smudging ceremony with Museums of Burlington Executive Director, Barb Teatero.

A traditional Smudging Ceremony, led by Elder Garry Sault of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation took place yesterday as three levels of government, project funders and donors were given a preview of the transformed Joseph Brant Museum.

The museum will officially open to the public on Sunday, September 15, with a community celebration from noon to 4 p.m. at 1240 North Shore Blvd. E.

The celebration will feature tours, interactive exhibits, activities and an official ribbon cutting with Burlington Mayor Meed Ward.

The public will get to see newly appointed Director Kimberly Anne Watson, who was named to the position effective September 9th

The Joseph Brant Museum, that sat by itself on the land that was granted to Joseph Brant for his service to the British who he served as a Captain, was a 1937 replica of the house Brant, Thayendanegea, built on a 1798 Crown land grant.

The addition to the museum has been built into the grassy area under the previous museum which adds more than 12,000 square feet of space to the museum.

The hope is that the expansion will make the Museum a cultural destination and a place to host national exhibitions and the collection of artifacts.

The first travelling exhibit has been announced – it is a display of classic pinball machines from a museum in Cleveland which gives a whole new meaning to a cultural destination.

The transformed museum has been expanded to provide barrier-free space, including an elevator to the second-floor roof garden and the Brant home that will serve as administrative space. The expansion includes more room for gallery displays, interactive programming, the storage of collections and community outreach.

• Total square footage of expanded site: 17,000 square feet

• The total project amount is approved at about $11 million, which includes a contingency fund and allows for cost increases due to a winter construction period. Funding includes:

$2.9 million from the City of Burlington
$4.5 million from the Government of Canada
$1.5 million from the Province of Ontario
$2.5 million from the Joseph Brant Museum Foundation

The museum has 25,000 artifacts and receives about 18,000 visitors a year.

gorget

The engraved gorget, the most impressive item in the museum collection.

Joseph Brant, Thayendanegea, lived from 1742 to 1807. In 1798, the Mohawk and British captain was granted 3,450 acres at the head-of-the-lake (Burlington Bay) by King George III, who gave Brant an engraved gorget, the most impressive item in the museum collection.

The Honourable Karina Gould, Minister of Democratic Institutions and MP for Burlington explains that: “Knowing our history helps us create a brighter future. I am proud to have been able to support the redevelopment of the Joseph Brant Museum which will provide Burlingtonians, and Canadians access to our community’s cultural heritage and improved access to our rich local history. I look forward to joining Burlingtonians to celebrate our culture at the Joseph Brant Museum for many years to come.”

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward said: “The Joseph Brant Museum transformation helps us to celebrate the important history of our First Nations’ people and culture, including Burlington founder Joseph Brant (Thayendanegea). I look forward to celebrating the opening of the museum with residents and visitors, and know they will enjoy it as our new major exhibition and heritage centre. It is a wonderful addition to Burlington’s vibrant waterfront.”

Meed Ward wasn’t always this positive about the decision to spend so much on the Museum – she was taken aback when she learned that the Brant home replica would be closed off to the public.

Brant museum -donour reception

Three levels of government, project funders and donors were given a preview of the transformed Joseph Brant Museum. Back row, L – R: Larry Waldron, Chair Joseph Brant Museum Board; Burlington MPP Jane McKenna; Museums of Burlington Executive Director, Barb Teatero; John Doyle, Chair of the Burlington Museums Foundation; The Honourable Karina Gould, MP for Burlington and Minister of Democratic Institutions; City of Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward. Front row: Elder Garry Sault of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation

 

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Nautique construction management plan got a pretty easy go of it at a community meeting.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

August 15th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

nautique-elevation-from-city-july-2016It was a surprisingly good crowd for a meeting that was about Construction Management for a building that is far from popular.

There were at least 75 city residents in the room along with perhaps ten from the ADI Development Group and three – maybe four from the city.

They were on hand to learn what the Construction Management program for the build of the 26 storey Nautique at the corner of Martha and Lakeshore Road was going to look like.

It wasn’t a pretty picture.

adi-nautique-detailed-sketchThe site is at a part of Lakeshore Road where the lanes narrow. Staging equipment and managing the trucks that will arrive almost by the hour is a herculean management task.

The public didn’t like much of what they heard but city transportation staff explained that they were up against a site that was always going to be difficult to work with.

The development had been approved via an appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) – the developer had first appealed the city’s failure to process the application within the required amount of time.

Lisa listening

Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns listening to a question

The meeting was hosted by the ward Councillor, Lisa Kearns who had planned on having the people who were going to do the construction and the city staff who were going to oversee the work speak to the issues.

Kearns had said earlier that she didn’t want the event to be a Q&A where the same questions were asked over and over.
Try as she might – Kearns got a full-fledged Q&A – there were not only a lot of questions – some answers – but some very good suggestions from the audience. She commented that it looked like they were about to “wander into the worst case scenario”. It wasn’t that bad.

Street access and parking, noise and dust control and – ‘will the ambulance be able to get to my door?’ were amongst the questions.
Kearns wanted to assure people that the ambulance would get there – Martha’s Landing, a retirement home is across the street from the development.

Greg Sage, chief of the Paramedic services was on hand to assure everyone that the ambulances would get through although he didn’t say that his people would be working with the traffic managers that ADI was going to have on site.

Albert Facenda

Albert Facenda listening intently

Josie Wagstaffe

Josie Wagstaffe submitting a comment.

Crosby talking to MMW

Lynn Crosby bending the Mayor’s ear.

Parking for the construction workers didn’t get resolved as nicely. The city recently opened 60 spaces in the addition to the parking lot behind Joe Dogs on Brant Street – ADI has arranged to rent 40 0f them. “We just got those parking spaces” was a comment from the audience.

It was suggested that the workers be given parking spots some distance away where they would not take parking away from people shopping in the downtown core and then use a shuttle bus to get the trades people to the site. An approach like this was used by the hospital when it was being built. The ADI people didn’t seem to be impressed by that idea.

Traffic flow – it is going to be miserable. There will be no left turn off Martha onto Lakeshore. Lakeshore will narrow a bit right in front of the site.
One of the pluses was the three flagmen that ADI will have on the site.
Staging of trucks delivering material to the site will be on OLD Lakeshore Road; the flagmen will get them off Old Lakeshore and onto Lakeshore.

Adi people at Nautique event

Some of the ADI Group staff were on hand to explain what they were doing.

Construction will take place from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm and on some occasions, especially when concrete is being poured they will work into the night – requiring special permission to do so.

Both the Councillor, the Mayor and the people from the transportation department said, on several occasions, that meetings to talk about construction management were something new for the city. ‘Never been done before’  said the Mayor and the Councillor.

Not true – when Monarch was building in the Headon Forest community they held meetings with the residents on a monthly basis.

Kearns did her best to convince the audience that she “was their champion” and that she ensured there were “course corrections” when they were needed.

She explained that she was at the table with the Transportation people pushing for the interests of the area residents. “You will know what is happening and I will be here to lead you through this.”

The audience was told that the construction was going to take 30 months and that the Bridgewater development was another year away from completion. The two site are a couple of football fields apart.

No one asked why the building was going to have seven storeys of underground parking rather than the six that has been approved. One has to feel sorry for anyone who has to wind up seven levels to get to the street. It is a very small site.

The meeting also learned that next week, in the same location – at the Art Gallery, the Carriage Gate people will be on hand to explain how they are going to manage the development of their site – opposite city hall – where demolition of the existing buildings is planned for some time in September.

ADI portion of the lot - hoarding

It is not a very big construction site.

Cranes on the Burlington skyline.

Adi - Saud and Tarif

The Adi brothers.

The issue on the problems that will crop up and how they will be managed will depend to a very large degree on how the ADI people respond and behave.  They are a tough crowd, they know what they want to do and they don’t let very much get in the way.

The buildings they put up are well designed – they have brought some very progressive looking buildings to the city and word is that the quality is there.

Hopefully the corporate attitude has been toned down.

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Very little development money dumped into ward 3 - some lackluster candidates who chose not to file financial returns.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

August 14th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Continuing with our series on the amount of money that was raised and spent during the October municipal election.

We covered ward 4 last time, today we take a closer look at ward 3 where Rory Nisan came out the winner against four other candidates.

John Taylor was the 25 year plus incumbent who chose to retire which opened up the field for anyone who thought they could win.

Candidates were given an amount they could spend; that amount was determined by the number of eligible voters in the ward.

In the data set out below the TCI is the total dollar amount brought in by each campaign. The TAE 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 3 spends

 

Gareth Williams

Gareth Williams

Lisa Cooper 2

Lisa Cooper, a third time out candidate, she wasn’t able to break through and win.

Rory Nisan

Rory Nisan took the seat and within a month there were concerns about how he was handling some issues and had to face an Election Compliance audit.

 

 

 

In the list of donours to each campaign funds that came from known developers are show in yellow.
The Nisan donours were:

Nisan source

The Williams donours were:

Williams source

Cooper self-financed her campaign, raised $168.00 and spent $3,419.86

Kinsey Schurm self financed his campaign and spent $2,910.55

Peter Rusin and Darcy Hutzel failed to file election campaign financial returns.

The issue in the ward today is the plans the Nelson Quarry announced to turn the quarry into a park once it is totally mined out.  The ward is a middle class/working class community that just wants to have the road plowed and the recreational services as up to date as in every other ward.

Ward 3 png

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ADI developments will be front and center at the AGB as they tell the public how they are going to construct a 26 storey building few people want.

eventsblue 100x100By Pepper Parr

August 14th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

There was nothing unusual about the meeting that was called for people to hear what the ADI Group wanted to say about their next step on the controversial development to be located on the south west corner of Martha and Lakeshore Road.

nautique-elevation-from-city-july-2016

The Nautique – the ADI Group flagship development.

Approval to build the 26 storey tower was given by the Ontario Municipal Board over the objections of the city. That approval was seen as the beginning of a process that has approved two other high rise towers and looks as if there could be as many as three others in the downtown core.

Eight months ago the ADI crew was drilling on the site to learn just where the water table was. Further down than many thought which has brought about a request for an additional level of underground parking.

One area resident told the Gazette that “It has come to our attention that ADI is requesting 7 levels of underground parking. The public was led to believe that it would be 6 levels. We questioned the wisdom of allowing 6 levels of underground parking so close to the Lake and now 7 levels are being asked for. It is difficult to believe that this will not cause any problems. The OMB appeal that the city lost, as far as I am aware did not grant 7 levels of underground parking so why is the city even considering this?

Adi on NAutique at AGB“We were also told that those living on Martha Street should drive along Pine Street and then access Lakeshore by using Pearl Street. This is a disaster waiting to happen. Presently it is often difficult to exit our condo garage with traffic coming along Pearl Street. The Pearl and Pine Retirement Residence often has large delivery trucks parked in front, or their 14 passenger van, as well as ambulances and medical transport vehicles. That area is used to pick up and drop off residents daily.

“ Pine Street and Pearl Street are very narrow with on street parking and “sharrows”. Perhaps this is not the route that should be suggested, or at the very least remove the on street parking which will cause owners of businesses in the” live and work units” to become angry, and rightly so.

Nautique public meeting

Many wondered why the announcement was a joint venture from the ward Councillor, the city and the developer. The public has not seen public announcements like this previously.

“It has been determined by staff that the “staging” cannot be on Martha Street, and this will happen on Lakeshore Road. Presently the eastbound lane on Lakeshore has been narrowed to accommodate the construction of The Bridgewater which is years behind in completion, now the westbound lane in the same area will be narrowed? Trucks waiting for fill will line up on Old Lakeshore Road, I have to question if the owners of the businesses on that street have been informed?

“Where will the construction workers park? In the public lots that are already filled to capacity? Perhaps ADI needs to contract space for their employees at the Burlington Centre with a shuttle to take them back and forth.”

Comments like that suggest that it is going to be a noisy meeting.

Then we learned that the meeting is scheduled from 6:30 to 7:30 pm at the Art Gallery. These meetings are usually scheduled for at least two hours. Why the short time frame?

The ward 2 Councillor seems to have gotten herself quite excited about the development. In her Construction is Happening announcement makes it sound like a major social event.

She is scheduled to appear on Cogeco TV’s news broadcast Tuesday evening.

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Voices from across the city needed to help refine the policies in Burlington's adopted Official Plan

News 100 blueBy Staff

August 13th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

They want your point of view and they are prepared to go to considerable lengths to hear what you have to say.

Earlier this year, Burlington City Council directed City staff to re-examine the downtown policies in Burlington’s adopted Official Plan, including the height and density of buildings. A vote to endorse any changes to the policies that will guide development in the downtown until 2031 will be made by City Council by March 2020.

Closer look graphic

Taking a closer look at the downtown: Voices from across the city needed to help refine the policies in Burlington’s adopted Official Plan that will guide development in the downtown

To include as many voices as possible in this important conversation about the future of the downtown, the City will host a series of public engagement opportunities designed to give the community the chance to provide meaningful input, both online and in person.

How to Participate
Residents and others interested in the re-examination of the downtown policies in the adopted Official Plan are encouraged to:

1. Visit www.getinvolvedburlington.ca to:
• Learn more about the re-examination of the downtown policies in the adopted Official Plan
• Read the engagement and communications plan supporting this project
• Sign up to receive project updates.

2. Lend Your Voice
To help identify what matters most about downtown Burlington, the City will host two Citizen Action Labs on Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019. At these in-person, public sessions, participants will work in small groups to discuss and identify what is most important to them about downtown Burlington. The feedback gathered 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 October for further review and input.

LAdy with post it -

Citizens taking part in a workshop that was looking for ways to better engage people.

Citizen Action Labs: Taking a Closer Look at the Downtown
Thursday, Aug. 22
1 to 3 p.m.
or
7 to 9 p.m.
Art Gallery of Burlington, 1333 Lakeshore Rd.

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

4. Drop by a pop-up event
Throughout the month of August, City staff will be visiting a variety of locations and events in the community to talk with residents and identify what is most important to them about downtown Burlington. A full list of locations and times will be available on www.getinvolvedburlington.ca

A copy of the engagement and communications plan that will be used to guide the community conversation about the re-examination of the downtown policies in the adopted Official Plan will be available to the public at www.getinvolvedburlington.ca.

Blair Smith talking to planner Heaher MacDonald

Chief Planner Heather MacDonald talking to citizens advocate Blair Smith at a developer presentation.

Heather MacDonald, Director and Chief Planner, Department of City Building emphasizes that:  “The City is committed to engaging people on issues that affect their lives and their city, and this commitment is reflected in publicly releasing the engagement and communication plan that will guide the conversation about the downtown policies in the adopted Official Plan.

“We know the planning structure is complex when it comes to long-term planning for the downtown. The engagement plan is designed to not only provide a roadmap of the engagement activities that will take place over the next few months but also highlight and clearly define which aspects of the downtown policies the City and public can influence, so that we can have productive dialogue and provide meaningful input about changes to the downtown policies.

“The downtown is the core of our city and we would really like to hear from as many different voices as possible, from right across the city, to help us identify what matters most about downtown Burlington.”

Quick Facts
• An Official Plan (OP) is a statutory document that describes the city’s long-term land use and infrastructure strategy, dealing with issues such as the form and location of new housing, industries, offices, shops and elements of complete communities like parks and open space.

In April 2018, City Council adopted a new Official Plan for Burlington.

• On Feb. 7, 2019, Burlington City Council voted to re-examine the policies in Burlington’s Official Plan, adopted in April 2018.

pink shirt in council

It is a council that certainly knows what a photo op is.

• On Monday, March 18, 2019, City staff and members of Burlington City Council discussed the scope of the work for further study at a Committee of the Whole workshop. Through the discussion, it was identified that while Council supports many of the policies in the adopted Official Plan, an area that requires targeted reconsideration is the Downtown Precinct Plan.

• On May 27, 2019 Council approved the work plan report and the terms of reference for the scoped re-examination of the adopted Official Plan.

• On June 11, 2019, A Committee of the Whole workshop was held to assist in the creation of a community engagement plan for the re-examination of the adopted Official Plan.

Links and Resources
Follow www.getinvolvedburlington.ca for updates and information about how to participate in the re-examination of the downtown policies in the adopted Official Plan

 

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The training pace has to be maintained. Marathons take persistence and carefully monitored plans.

sportsgold 100x100By Ashley Worobec

August 13th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

I had another great week of training this week, capped off by my weekend long run this morning.

Heart zone ratesIt was a drop-back week for me, meaning that the distance on my long run decreased slightly- this allows the body to recover a bit while still gaining fitness, and is a big component of proper training. Periodization of training helps to avoid injuries and helps to improve performance and fitness gains- in fact, your body repairs itself with rest and that is where improvement lies. Do the work, rest, repeat. That meant this weekend was a 16km long run, whereas next weekend I’ll jump up to 24km.

Dundurn stairs

Dundurn stairs (326 stairs)

The long run today incorporated 4 of the 5 sets of escarpment stairs in Hamilton; if your readers want a unique fitness challenge and have never tried the Hamilton stairs, they should definitely check out this local gem.

Ashley Worobec - hair flying H&S

It’s fun in the summer – wait until late October.

All year round, people flock to these stairs to perform their workouts- there are 5 sets along the escarpment, and today we did the Wentworth stairs (498 stairs), James Street stairs (227 stairs), Dundurn stairs (326 stairs), and Chedoke stairs (289 stairs). Altogether, that equals 1340 stairs, or 101 flights, mixed in amongst that 16km run!

Another thing that I wanted to mention was the importance of planning ahead. This week had a few wrenches thrown into my regular routine, but I made sure to schedule in my runs and my workouts like a non-negotiable appointment.

My family had a 2-day/1-night getaway early in the week, so I ran early in the morning before we left home instead of missing my run altogether. Additionally, our dog got sprayed by a skunk in our backyard late one evening, which could’ve easily derailed my run plans the next morning, as I had to help my husband and deal with the cleanup of that.

Distance Aug 12Time Aug 12But, the runs were in my calendar, and I’m nothing if not committed to my goals. I still ran, and then I dealt with the dog situation more fully when I got home! I’m proud of my consistency through the first part of this marathon training cycle, and my activity tracker tells me that I ran 186kms in the month of July, which was all 17 of my 17 scheduled runs. You’ll see as this training plan progresses, that that’s not always going to be the case- life happens, and sometimes circumstances can’t be worked around, but I’m proving to myself and hopefully to others, that big goals like this are attainable if you stick with it. Consistency, not perfection.

Mornings are getting darker for my 5:30am starts, but the sun is always up by the time I get home, and I’m still appreciative that I can head out the door in a pair of shorts and a tank top rather than the layers that winter running brings. I’m looking forward to Fall and challenging myself with some bigger distances.

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Did campaign contributions have any impact on the ward 4 election? Data tells the story.

background 100By Pepper Parr

August 13th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Gazette will be 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.

It 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.

We start with ward 4 where the political upset was stunning to many – particularly the incumbent who was not ready for the loss.

Each candidate was given an amount they could spend.

In the data set out below the TCI is the total dollar amount brought in by each campaign. The TAE 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 4 spends

Shawna listening to Dennison

Shawna Stolte had no political experience other than an immediately evident sense of decency.

Dennison announcing

Jack Dennison on the day he announced the sale of his sports operation. It was the beginning of the end of his role as a public personality. The election followed 31 months later.

In the list of donours to each campaign funds that came from known developers are show in yellow.

The Stolte spending came from:

Column head

Stolte source

The Dennison contributions came from:

Column headDennison source
Burlington-Ward-4-Profile

Ward 4 profile png

The ward 4 seat was taken by a newcomer because she was the only candidate running against a well entrenched incumbent.
Money does matter in elections – but it isn’t THE winning tool. The quality of the candidate comes first.

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You know what the issue is with this world. Everyone wants a magical solution to their problem, and everyone refuses to believe in magic.

News 100 redBy Staff

August 13th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

One of the beauties of an on line newspaper is the opportunity to look at the back and forth in communication between two people.

In what follows we give you a look at how David Barker’s electronic conversation with Burlington MPP Jane McKenna went.

Alice for BarkerBarker, a Lakeshore Road resident, takes issue with Jane McKenna’s position on affordable housing. She basically sticks as close as possible to the Ford government position- something Jane has always done. She knew the lines to the Tim Hudak position on significant issues better than Tim Hudak did when he was PC party leader.

Have a listen to how McKenna digs a hole and then looks for ways to dig down even deeper.

David Barker to Jane McKenna June 22nd, 2019
On Sat., Jun. 22, 2019, 11:25 a.m. Barker wrote:

Ms McKenna in your statement directed towards the We Love Burlington group, published in the Burlington Gazette, you state “Our estimates from the Ministry of the Attorney General show that over 100,000 housing units are caught up in legacy cases at the tribunal. That’s 100,000 desperately needed homes that can’t get built – or three years worth of construction in Ontario waiting for approval….” By making this statement, Ms McKenna, you imply that you would expect all 100,000 units that await review by LPAT would gain its approval.

Maybe you did not mean to imply that. But your statement reflects exactly the public’s perception of just what is wrong with LPAT (and before it OMB). The perception is that the unelected, unrepresentative body seems to invariably side with the developer’s position, completely ignoring the municipality’s official plan and the desires of the local residents.

Please can you provide any justification as to why the Province of Ontario should even have an unelected, unrepresentative body to pass judgement on how a municipality manages its development. As far as I am aware no other Canadian Province has such a body. I assume in those other Provinces the developer’s recourse is to a non-political court system. Should that not also be the recourse here in Ontario?

Surely if a municipality has an official plan that has been accepted and approved by its region (and by implication the Province) why should that municipality then be second guessed by an unelected, unrepresentative political body. If a developer’s proposal does not comply with the requirements of the municipality’s (Region/ Province approved) official plan, then surely the developer should not expect municipal plan approval until it does conform.

My understanding is the official plan in effect in Burlington dates back to 2008. That means the official plan has been in effect for ten years NOT twenty five years as you contend. That 2008 official plan, although soon to be superceded by an updated official plan, does in fact remain compliant with regional and Provincial requirements. As such it should be respected by all, including developers, the Province and LPAT.

Ms McKenna you are right to champion the need to increase the supply of affordable housing, both rental and owned. I believe you will find allies for that goal at the Region, at Burlington City Council and in the community. However, the high rise condo developments proposed for downtown Burlington do not in any meaningful way address affordable housing. The price point of the proposed condos are way outside the affordability of first time home buyers. Further the monthly rental cost of those units being bought by investors for the rental market is also likely to be well beyond the budgets of the twenty somethings who look for affordable rental accommodation. So for you, Ms McKenna, to in any way imply that the developers proposals for downtown Burlington high rises address affordable housing is completely disingenuous on your part.

Please, Ms McKenna would you temper your standing up and defending the bullying Ford government, of which you are a part, with more standing up and advocating for the desires and positions of your constituents who elected you to represent them. Those views are clearly and accurately expressed and advocated by the City of Burlington Council.

I dare you to publish on your website this opposing view to your statement. But I doubt you are either brave enough or confident enough to do that.

Barker to McKenna June 30th.
I’m looking forward to your response to my emailed message below.

McKenna to Barker August 7th.
Mr. Barker,
Every community in Ontario is unique. But no matter where you go, one thing is the same – people are looking for housing that meets their needs and their budget.

Here in Burlington, the cost of buying a home is becoming out of reach for many and affordable rentals are too hard to find. In addition, the high cost of housing is making it harder to attract investment and create jobs.

According to 2017 projections by Ontario’s Ministry of Finance, Halton Region will grow by 56.2 percent over the next 22 years – making Halton the fastest-growing area in the GTHA. That’s why we need to get the housing supply right – the right housing, in the right place, at the right time in the most efficient way.

Provincial growth plans have determined land use patterns for over a century. Regional and Municipal Official Plans align to provincial policy and are used in planning local communities.

Ontario is not the only province that handles appeals involving municipal planning decisions with a Tribunal. Like Ontario, Alberta is also home to some of the fastest growing cities in Canada; they also handle municipal planning with a tribunal.

The tribunal exists because people don’t always agree on how their communities should develop or change. Disputes often arise over land use planning issues, such as where industry is located, where roads and transit are built, protecting environmentally sensitive lands and managing overall development. When people are unable to resolve their differences on planning issues or have disputes with their municipal council, the LPAT provides a forum to resolve those disputes.

Recently, Halton Regional Council passed a motion calling on the government to eliminate the LPAT. Unfortunately, this is not an option as it would remove the ability for residents to appeal Council decisions outside the courts. Relying on our over-burdened court system would increase costs, delay decision making and hinder people’s ability to settle planning disputes.

Our government’s recent decision to appoint 11 new adjudicators to the LPAT will speed-up decision making to address the 2 to 3-year backlog of appeals.

As Burlington works to create a new Official Plan, our Mayor and Council continue to receive expert advice from local and provincial planning staff. That’s why I’m confident that by mid-2020, under a new Official Plan, the number of appeals will be reduced, with the LPAT playing an important role in ensuring critical checks and balances are in place.
Best regards,
Jane

Barker gets back to McKenna before the end of the day on August 7th.

Thank you for your email below. Its contents do raise further questions in my mind, which you might be able to answer or comment upon.
I totally agree with you that so much more needs to be done to provide the “affordable” housing that is needed for the less well off in our society. The main hurdle to achieving that goal is that it does not make commercial or economic sense for developers to create affordable housing when ROI is so much better with condos and single family homes. Ontario should look to other jurisdictions outside of Canada where local, regional and central governments provide the affordable housing stocks. It is nonsense and folly to believe the private sector will step up. Doug Ford, the Premier for the People” surely would want to champion a Housing for the People initiative funded through the three levels of government.

I would hazard a guess that of the 100,000 units you have cited as being held up at OMB/LPAT less than 5% would relate to applications for affordable housing developments. Perhaps you have a supportable number for this?
Those applications for multi unit developments in Burlington tied up at OMB/LPAT, I am confident are all for $500,000+ condos or similar price point developments. Not for affordable housing.

Tying the affordable housing issue to the purpose or need for an OMB/LPAT body is not appropriate or valid.

You say, once Burlington, or any other municipality, gets its OP compliant with Provincial requirements the number of instances of appeals being accepted for adjudication by LPAT will be substantially reduced. That being the case why could a dedicated Property Planning Court not be created to deal with the appeals.

Surely it is better to have an independent judiciary act as the arbiter rather than an unelected body of political or patronage appointees, who likely have no connection to the municipality. If a separate Property Planning Court is a no go, then why not have a requirement that the LPAT tribunal members must be resident in the municipality from which the matter emanates.

You cite cost as being an insurmountable hurdle that rules out the use of the courts as a viable place to settle disputes. The cost to appeal a municipality’s decision to LPAT likely puts an appeal out of the financial wherewithal of individual residents. Lawyers, planning consultants and other expert type witnesses are required, all costing a pretty penny. Developers have deep pockets. Individuals do not. A “small claims court” type model for a Property Planning focused court should be the way to go.

You have cited Alberta as another province with an LPAT type system. So perhaps you can elaborate as to how other provinces deal with planning disagreements. What happens in say BC, Quebec, Nova Scotia. Can Ontario not learn anything from those provinces?
You mention Halton recently passed a resolution calling for the end of LPAT. The regional and city council’s were more recently elected to office than were MPPs. Your words come across like those of an overly protective or controlling mother telling her child “no, don’t bother your pretty little head with that, Mommy knows what’s best”.

Might I suggest in the next month or so you host a constituency meeting on this subject so that you can hear directly from your constituents on this subject.
David Barker

Jane gets back to Barker on August 12th
Mr. Barker,
Thank you for your follow up email including your suggestions.
Best regards,
Jane

Barker gets back to Jane – he is like a dog with a bone and he isn’t letting go.

Jane:
You are most welcome.

Mad Hatter for BarkerWill you be offering your thoughts or comments as to those suggestions:-

* a “small claims” model type court for municipal property planning disputes be set up to replace LPAT.
* an LPAT tribunal be comprised only of citizens resident in the municipality from which the matter emanates.

* you hold a townhall meeting within the next couple of months to have an open discussion on this matter, which is of immensely high interest to your constituents.
* have the Province and municipalities come together to finance, construct, hold and manage a stock of affordable housing.

I look forward to hearing from you.
David Barker

Blair Smith, a citizen’s advocate adds his two cents:
If the Government really wanted to increase affordable housing then it would act as responsible governments do – as stewards of the public trust – and mandate that developers do much, much more to provide housing that applies. If you leave it to the private sector with incentive programs and self-regulating regimens then your last name may be Wynn. Government is intended to fill the gap where private sector and self-interest will not go. Not a difficult concept.

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