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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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Incomplete rules and regulations that are a part of Bill 108 look like a disaster in the making.

News 100 blackBy Staff

August 13th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Our friends across the Bay in Hamilton have published a newsletter that has to be shared.

Citizens at City Hall (CATCH) comment on Bill 108 and the degree to which it is going to gut the way planners within municipalities have to deal with development applications.

CATCH said:

Additional though still incomplete information has come from the province about massive changes being made to rules on planning, community benefit agreements, parkland funding and development charges. Described as “welfare for developers”, the More Homes, More Choice Act appears to mean more subsidies from property taxpayers and an abandonment of the claim that growth pays for itself.

Aerial view - skyway bridge

The good citizens of Hamilton have looked at Bill 108 -and they don’t like what they see. The view will be the same from this side of the Bay.

The stated objective of the legislation is to lower housing costs. It eliminates growth fees for services such as libraries, recreational facilities, parkland development and social housing. These make up about a quarter of the development charges currently collected in Hamilton from developers to offset some of the costs of new growth.

Some of these revenue losses could be recovered with modified Community Benefits Charges that are included in the legislation. These replace existing “section 37” collections whereby cities bargain with developers who want to exceed approved building sizes and densities and in return obtain various community benefits.

But the modified community benefits charge will be capped by the province at a rate that has still not been released so there is no certainty that the financial result will be equivalent to that obtained by the existing two growth funding mechanisms. And if a city utilizes this community benefits charge it will be forced to abandon collection of parkland dedication fees – a long-standing method of ensuring sufficient land for parks.

Currently the parkland dedication fee – which has been in effect since the early 1970s – requires developers to provide land or monies based on the number of new residents in the growth area. Now it will be set irrespective of how dense the development.

Toronto staff have calculated that for one new apartment tower the new rules will mean an 80 percent drop in parkland paid by the developer. In another situation, the park area falls from nearly four square metres per resident down to half a square metre.

Central Park - play area

Developers will finance the same amount of parkland for a 48-storey building as for a four-storey one.

This flies in the face of both provincial and local commitments to encourage higher densities, especially along major transit lines like the LRT. Instead the municipality will be penalized for more concentrated residential development and the developers will finance the same amount of parkland for a 48-storey building as for a four-storey one.

Other changes in the legislation drastically shorten the time allocated to cities to respond to development proposals. For example, the timelines for an official plan amendment drop from 210 days to 120. Local planners contend these make proper review and public consultation virtually impossible and will mean many more appeals to the provincial planning tribunal.

All of these changes are likely to leave existing taxpayers shouldering more of the costs of growth. As Hamilton’s chief planner Steve Robichaud warned in June: “There’s a big shift in terms of who pays for growth and how that balances and they’ve taken the costs off the developer and they’re shifting some of those costs onto the municipality.”

While the new rules are purported to lower housing costs, they don’t include any way to ensure this. “It is unlikely that they will positively impact housing affordability,” argue Toronto planners, “as Bill 108 does not provide for any mechanisms to ensure that reduced development costs are passed through to future home buyers and renters.”

Bill 108

The developers may have been given even more than the keys to the city.

The Ford government rushed through the legislation without details between May 1 and June 6, leaving municipalities scrambling to even provide comments on changes that could not be properly evaluated. Now Queen’s Park has extended the confusion with incomplete draft regulations and schedules.

“The province has not posted an actual draft regulation, but rather has posted a notice of intent to issue a regulation”, notes Hamilton staff.

“The regulations … have been provided in general terms and the full impact of the proposal is not capable of being fully understood and assessed without the official language that will appear as written in the regulation.”

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What does one do with a City Clerk who treats a totally unacceptable breach of the election rules as a learning experience?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

August 12th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

Earlier today the Gazette published an article on some problems that were brought to the public’s attention by Blair Smith and Lynn Crosby.

The problems they discovered after an exhaustive analysis of the data that was submitted to the City Clerk by each candidate brought some very disturbing matters to the surface.

Small administrative errors and typos happen. But when significant amounts of data just don’t appear a full public understanding of who contributed what to whom is no longer possible.

What makes the democratic system we have the success it is – is that we all abide by the laws in place and everything is transparent.

If the numbers aren’t available transparency isn’t possible. And once those who set out to game the system become aware that they can hide where their campaign election money came from, just imagine what can happen.

In a series that will follow in the Gazette in the weeks ahead we list who got what from whom and do our best to identify known developer interests.

Does receiving campaign funds from a developer mean that a candidate has compromised themselves – no but – know that developers are in business and they use their money to enhance their business interests.

Brant looking north - Kellys

Two of the four buildings are done deals – two are working their way through the approval process. Did election campaign funding make them possible?

high profile 421

Done deal

nautique-elevation-from-city-july-2016

Done deal

Pearl and Lakeshore

Looking for approval.

The public depends upon the bureaucracy to protect their interests, to ensure that the data they get has been fully reviewed and meets the criteria.

How Mike Wallace got away with filing a return that did not have critical dates in his report is not just an oversight. It is sloppy administration done by people who don’t understand or appreciate that accuracy is important.

Are the results of the election in question? No.

The vote count was pretty decisive. The Office of Mayor was not won by money – it was won by a person who heard and responded to the cries of the people who pay attention to civic matters.

The disappointment is that less than 40% of the people who had the right to vote actually cast a ballot.

Mayor Meed Ward was not as unequivocal as she could have been on this matter; she has certainly had her issues with the way this Clerk has handled a number of matters in the past.

The comments made by the Clerk that this was a learning experience cannot be accepted. The position of Clerk in municipalities is significant; for example a bylaw is not in force until both the Mayor and the Clerk sign the document.

Smith and Crosby argue that the Clerk’s behaviour is “a completely unacceptable contravention of information practice and protocol, particularly for one entrusted with maintaining the integrity of the official record.”

It is up to Tim Commisso, City manager to decide what to do next, if anything. What he decides to do will say a lot about the kind of City Manager he is going to be.

There was a situation a number of years ago when the then Director of Planning, Bruce Krushelnicki, sitting at the Council table, advised council that a very senior member of his staff would no longer be in the employment of the city. He walked the individual back to his office; that was the last we saw of him.

Strong managers take strong action when it is necessary, providing they have just reasons for doing so.

Related news story:

Clerk revises public record – considered a no no.

 

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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It was close to a perfect weekend - with two wonderful events - both free.

eventspink 100x100By Pepper Parr

August 12th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

How did the weekend go?

It was a honey of a weekend – the weather worked and there were two events that were great – tough if you missed them.

Neither would have cost you a dime.

purchase

Business was brisk and the choices were varied. Well curated.

BurlMADE 1

Stephanie Finn

On Saturday Stephanie Finn held her summer Burlington Made Pop UP event in the Village Square. The 35+ participants had a very healthy crowd hovering over the tables that were spread through the Village.

It was a curated event which meant that Finn interviewed every one of the participants. “I ended up turning away 80% of those that applied to take part” she said.

There is one more Summer Pop Up and a number of other events on schedule for the rest of the year.

Sunday, the second day of the Performing Arts Centre Jazz on the Patio program. Steven Taetz sang along with his quintet – you had to be there to appreciate it.

Kudos to Performing Arts for holding the event and a Tip of the Top Hat to the Downtown Business Association for sponsoring.

One bothersome item. There were far too many chairs that were not occupied. People were saving chairs for others who didn’t arrive or didn’t want to share their table. That left people standing who could have been seated.

The ushers could have taken people to those tables.

And – some umbrellas to shade listeners from the blazing sun.

The music however made it all worthwhile.

Listen to Steve – he performed this piece Sunday afternoon.

 

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Clerk’s Office apparently revised election spending record without due notice or notation; a 'shocking, lack of oversight'.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

August 12th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Elections are the way the public gets to choose who will lead them – who will make the critical decisions; who will determine the tax rate.

Money plays a large part in how those men and women get elected.
In the October municipal election a lot of money was raised, from a surprisingly low number of people.

Who they were and who they donated to is of public interest.

Provincial legislation requires the City Clerk to not only administer the election but also to sign the documents that declare who the winner is and receive reports on who spent what.

When that data became available two Burlington residents who concern themselves with civic affairs began to pour over the campaign contribution reports that were filed with the Clerk and the document the Clerk provided to city council.

Election 2018That is when the two, Blair Smith and Lynn Crosby begin to find that some of the numbers just didn’t add up. Donations they knew for a fact were given were not recorded and there were numerous and quite obvious errors.

When questioned by the Gazette, they explained;

“We have been looking very carefully at the financial statements of all candidates for council for the Burlington 2018 election. One of the things we noticed was that the audit committee received a report from the Clerk on June 4, with an Appendix of all contributions over $100 for all candidates.

We immediately saw that this list seemed much too small and could see that there was a lot missing. We then went through all the candidate financial statements posted on the City website, created our own list and then compared the two. They were not a close match. We know that errors do occur and that our analysis is only as accurate as our source data, in this case the candidates’ audited financial statements.”

The two put together a letter to the City Manager, the Mayor, Council and the Clerk setting out their concerns.

In their July 30th email they said:

“Under the Municipal Elections Act, the duties and responsibilities of the Clerk are summarized as:
(a) preparing for the election;

(b) preparing for and conducting a recount in the election;

(c) maintaining peace and order in connection with the election; and

(d) in a regular election, preparing and submitting the report described in subsection 12.1 (2). 1996,

c. 32, Sched., s. 11 (2); 2009, c. 33, Sched. 21, s. 8 (7).

We believe that the Clerk is the critical steward of the most fundamental of our democratic processes, the election of our municipal representatives, and that such responsibilities should be discharged with care, diligence, lack of bias and a regard for maintaining an accurate public record.
As such, we were surprised by the 2018 Municipal Election report listing Campaign Contributions that was submitted by the Clerk to the Compliance Audit Committee on June 4, 2019. A quick review of the document posted on the City website revealed that there were numerous omissions and inaccuracies.

In fact, the record is both incomplete and misleading. We are unaware of any competing or undisclosed policy that informed the structure of the record as presented and would appreciate learning if such is the case. Otherwise, we note the following that we consider to be serious flaws in the record, requiring explanation and correction.

1. The total amount of contributions on the Clerk’s Report adds up to $313,588.52. On page 11, there is a line that simply says “Supplementary List”, $3,950. Adding that undocumented amount in, the total would be $317,538.52. In our review of all candidates’ financial statements, our total is $550,134. (Note our total includes a few donations that were returned, which may not be required to be included).

2. The entire list of Mayor Meed Ward’s contributions is missing.

3. Several of Ward 2 councillor candidate Roland Tanner’s contributions are missing. (Maria Adcock, $1200; Karina Gould, $200; Robert Loney, $250; Ed McMahon, $200; Jack O’Brien, $500).

4. One of Ward 2 councillor candidate Kimberly Calderbank’s contributions is missing (Mark McCrory, $400), as is one of Ward 3 candidate Gareth Williams (Collin Gibbons, $200).

5. Both of Ward 6 councillor candidate Xin-Yi Zhang’s contributions are missing as are the lone contributions of Ken White, Tayler Morin and Greg Woodruff.

6. None of the mayoral or councillor candidates’ own or spousal contributions are included.

7. Several first names are missing, even though they appear on the relevant candidate Forms.

8. Some names are transposed and therefore do not appear correctly and wouldn’t be easily found. For example, the second name should read Abdelaziz Guergachi, not the reverse. In that same entry there is another random name there also, Leila Tijini. Why?

9. In some cases there appear to be double entries which are there in error because they only appear once on all candidate forms, or cases where entries appear three times when they should appear twice. (E,g., Lynn and Chris Anstead, $200; Doug Brown, $200; Nick and Diane Leblovic, $250; Edda Manley, $300; David and Linda McKay, $200; John and Bonnie Purkis, $300; Mary Woodward $1,000; Stephen Woodward, $1,000).

10. Some names are spelled incorrectly, though we note Rick Goldring’s list of names and amounts is in some cases practically illegible.

11. Entry for Schuler should say “Michael” as first name and the amount shows $700. $200 was returned so this should say $500.

12. Looking at the candidate forms, there are errors that we would have thought should have been flagged by the Clerk to be corrected. Perhaps this is not the Clerk’s purview and it is instead up to citizens to look at the documents and raise these things instead. If so, that seems like a flawed system. In any event, such things include: no dates of contributions received are listed (as required) on any of Mike Wallace’s contributions; post office boxes being listed as addresses where Full Addresses are required; the very illegible form submitted by Rick Goldring as noted above.

We believe that these errors are serious enough that the record, as presented, does not provide an accurate and true picture of the 2018 Campaign financials. As such the public record, in this instance at least, is too flawed to remain uncorrected. We would request that either you provide an explanation of why the statements presented to the Compliance Audit Committee are accurate, addressing the deficiencies noted above, or correct the record and resubmit noting publicly the reason for the resubmission.”

Crosby and Smith got a response from the City Manager, Tim Commisso, almost immediately. He referred the matter to the City Clerk. The Mayor also provided a quick response supporting the need for an investigation and correction if required. The City Clerk, Angela Morgan, replied to Smith and Crosby on July 31st indicating that their concerns would be reviewed. Then, on August 6th, she made a more fulsome reply:

City Clerk Angela Morgan fails to ensure media alerted to Special Council meeting. Her communications people dropped the ball as well.

City Clerk Angela Morgan going over the results of the 2010 election.

“Lynn and Blair, thank you for your e-mail and detailed review of the candidate financial document attached to the Clerks report that was considered by the Election Compliance Audit committee on June 4. The Municipal Elections Act requires the Clerk to prepare a report for the election compliance audit committee, this report is limited to reporting on contributors who contributed more that $1200 to any one candidate or more than $5000 to all of the candidates for Council.

“To prepare the report, I reviewed all of the candidates financials individually and highlighted those that had over-contributed, this information was included in individual reports to the committee which were included on the agenda for the June 4th meeting (which can be found at) https://calendar.burlington.ca/Event/Index/aaba4276-79ae-4619-9ffb-aa5c00bd7ec1.

“Following that review, staff combined the lists into one large list to present to the Committee as information. This was done through copy and paste from the candidates lists and therefore, any spelling of names is identical to the spelling on the candidates paperwork. In reviewing the attached listing, I did note that the list of contributors to Mayor Meed Ward’s campaign was not included in the final list although it was reviewed by myself in preparing the report on over contributions noted above. In addition, contributors are listed multiple times on the list because they contributed to more than one campaign, so they are listed each time they were found to have contributed (i.e. if they contributed to 4 campaigns, they would be listed 4 times), in some instances, it is the same contribution amount. The list does not include the amount that an individual candidate or their spouse contributed to their own campaign as this is outside the scope of my review.

“We have reposted an amended list to reflect the contributions that were missed from the original posting. This did not affect the overall conclusion in my report which indicated that 2 contributors, contributed more than $5000.

“This review is a new provision in the Municipal Elections Act and as a result, this is first time this list was prepared. We are learning from this election and will be making some improvements in 2022 to ensure the report and its attachments are completed in a more user friendly manner. Thank you again for your comments.”

Smith and Crosby were not satisfied with the response they were given and responded to the Clerk on August 7th:

“Thank you for your response yesterday to our email of Tuesday, July 30th. It helps to explain some of the anomalies that we noted in the material presented to the Compliance Audit Committee on June 4th but, unfortunately, not all. It also raises a rather serious new issue.

angela-morgan

Angela Morgan, City Clerk 2018

We understand the duties of Clerk, as specified under the Municipal Elections Act, are only to produce a report of contributors who were in violation – and there were only two (2) by your reckoning. It is somewhat confusing then that the Appendix to the report presented to the Compliance Audit Committee was so extensive going to 11 pages and including contributors who were completely ‘out of scope’. If the intent was to provide a complete and comprehensive picture of all contributions made during the campaign, the numerous errors and omissions that we noted undermined that purpose. The list has now been changed consistent with some of the corrections and additions that we suggested were needed. However, it is still inaccurate. For example, the following errors, omissions and oversights still remain:

• though Mayor Meed Ward’s entries are now included, there are still about five missing, and some of the dollar amounts are incorrect

• there are still a few names transposed (these names are not transposed on the candidate forms)

• there are still 8 instances of missing first names, all of which do appear on the candidate forms

• the entries we noted that were missing from Kimberly Calderbank’s and Gareth William’s forms are still missing

• we understand some people donated multiple times and their names should appear more than once; however, there are eight entrees that seem to be doubled in error

• though the missing Roland Tanner entries have now been added, Karina Gould was incorrectly listed as Maria Gould and Robert Loney’s surname is misspelled

• there are several names misspelled and contrary to your explanation, they are not misspelled on the candidate forms (again with the caveat that Rick Goldring’s form is almost illegible); we are referring to names from other candidate forms

Wallace Form 1 sample

Sample of the form required to be completed.

• how can one be certain the Mike Wallace contributions were donated in the proper time frame (May 1 – December 31) when he did not include any dates as required? Is this not a rather serious contravention?

The corrected list is now available on the City website – https://calendar.burlington.ca/Event/Index/aaba4276-79ae-4619-9ffb-aa5c00bd7ec1

Wallace no date data

The form the Wallace auditors submitted: There are no dates shown.

However, it is included as a part of the original agenda package of the June 4th meeting of the Compliance Audit Committee. As such, it gives the impression that it is the list originally presented and approved by that committee. It is not. So, the public record has been altered with no indication that such is the case and that the report that was actually approved by the Compliance Audit Committee is not the report that is presented on the City Website.

We believe that this is tantamount to altering the public record after the fact and is a serious contravention of appropriate information protocols. We believe that the amended report should be resubmitted for approval. Indeed, one should never be able to unilaterally change the public record.

There should always be some form of independent approval and notification process. What was the approval and notification process involved here and was Council aware? Additionally, there must be some indication that this is not the original report approved by the Committee and the reasons for the re submission and re posting. If you recall, we had requested that the report be resubmitted with the reason for the re submission clearly stated. Such has not occurred and this is unsatisfactory.

You say “This review is a new provision in the Municipal Elections Act and as a result, this is first time this list was prepared. We are learning from this election and will be making some improvements in 2022 to ensure the report and its attachments are completed in a more user friendly manner.”

Smith and Crosby

Lynn Crosby and Blair Smith, both Burlington residents with a passion for open and transparent civic government. Crosby was trained as a para-legal; Smith served as an Assistant Deputy Minister wit the Ontario government.,

Our request had nothing to do with “user-friendliness” and everything to do with accuracy and data integrity. Both were lacking. We remain concerned with the apparent absence of due diligence and appropriate oversight. It is also, perhaps, a happy coincidence that your report of donation violations was accurate despite the absence of the Mayor’s donors; in part a function of the fact that Mayor Meed Ward, unlike the other candidates, would not accept donations from individuals associated with the development industry. Regardless, the original errors of accuracy and oversight now pale in comparison with the apparent ability of the Clerk’s Office to alter the public record without notice or notation.

We would appreciate an adjustment to the public record clearly stating that the list, as published on the City website as part of the agenda package, is a corrected one, not the original version. Attached for comparison are the original and amended versions of the list.
… Lynn Crosby and Blair Smith”

As of the time of publication, we are advised that there has been no response from the City Clerk. However, the Mayor responded with clear direction, indicating that she recognized the need to maintain the integrity of the public record, that the existing record should be annotated to note that is has been amended, that all amendments should be appropriately marked and that any further corrections needed to the record should be so noted.

For Crosby and Smith the fundamental issues remain. They explained;

“We are concerned with the competence and integrity of the Clerk’s Office. People will probably think that we are “stirring the pot” or nit-picking but, perhaps, they don’t truly understand the role of the Municipal Clerk and its importance. Arguably, the Clerk is the most important link between the provincial bureaucracy and that of the city or town. Not the most important official or the most influential bureaucrat but the most essential and integral connection between the two levels of governance.

“Amongst many other roles, the Clerk is the official records-keeper of the municipality with a duty under the Municipal Act “to record, without note or comment, all resolutions, decisions and other proceedings of the council”. So, errors in this duty are serious and have impact. The appendix that was originally submitted as part of the agenda package for the Compliance Audit Committee on June 4th was seriously flawed. The number and nature of the errors was shocking, as was the obvious lack of oversight.

“The fact that the appendix was not a statutory “requirement” does not mitigate the issue. More serious, however, is the fact that the Clerk’s Office has now apparently revised the public record without due notice or notation. Quite simply, this is a completely unacceptable contravention of information practice and protocol, particularly for one entrusted with maintaining the integrity of the official record. The public record must always be historically and contemporaneously accurate. It reflects the information material that elected officials used at the time to make decisions affecting all citizens and interested parties. How else can those officials be held accountable? If allowed to present an amended record as if original then the Clerk’s Office has been permitted to ‘change history’ and give a different picture of the decision-making process than actually occurred.

“If this is acceptable information policy and practice within the City of Burlington, then it needs to be changed immediately. And perhaps we need to look at what else is accepted practice that contravenes the tenets of open, transparent and accountable government.”

OPINION: Salt with Pepper

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Rural Burlington community shows up in droves - they didn't leave with much in the way of answers to their questions.

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

August 9th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It took a while for the crowd to show up – but when they did they filled the room at the Conservation Authority offices to hear what ward 3 Councillor Rory Nisan had to say about the plans that were made public earlier in the week to turn the quarry on the Second Side Road into a public park.

It was a Standing room only event with Nisan standing before the crowd answering questions as best he could.

He was joined by Burlington Planning Director Heather MacDonald who explained the rules that were in place and what had to be done by whom and when.

MacDonald explained that at this point there was no application for anything from the Quarry. There was a letter about which she said nothing.

Heather_MacDonald COB planner

Heather MacDonald – Director of Planning

MacDonald set out the protocol:

There is a pre-consultation meeting with the applicant. They set out in broad terms what they want to do and what they will be applying for.

The Planners tell them what they have to produce in the way of reports – there are a number of reports that have to be submitted by the applicant.

When all the reports are in and accepted the applicant is required to hold a public meeting which will, MacDonald assured the audience, will be heavily promoted. The city mails out the notices.

It is only after that public meeting has taken place that the city will actually begin processing the application.

Just what it is that Nelson Quarry wants to do is not exactly clear – they have published information on a web site that has been put up.

The link to that web site is: https://www.mtnemoquarrypark.com/

Beach 1

An architectural rendering of what the mined out quarry could look like when it is mined out and flooded – a lake in a park setting.

The content of the web site can be changed at any moment. At best it is an indicator.

Councillor Nisan was at first a little conflicted with what he could say and couldn’t say. He chose to fall back on one of his election campaign promises – to protect the Escarpment.

He took the position that he wanted to hear what the people in the room had to say.

Rory Aug 8 meet

Ward 3 Councillor Rory Nisan was at the meeting he called to listen to his constituents.

“I want to hear from you guys. This is about you guys”

One women said “We know this is coming – what can we do to prepare?.

There was no advice from the Councillor.

The best advise the crowd was given came from Roger Goulet who was one of the leading voices of the PERL – Protecting Escarpment and Rural Lands.

Do your homework, said Goulet. Read all the reports that are submitted; question everything – go deeper and deeper into the details.

Asked if he had talked to the MPP – Nisan said “not yet” He did tell the audience that “you are going to need to be out there advocating”.

Nor had Nisan talked to or met with anyone from the Quarry even though they are reported to have reached out to the Councillor.

Nisan told the audience that he “could not tell them what his position was” that he needed more time to get all the facts.

There was never any sense that the Council member was going to be part of the team that would lead the battle; but he was going to protect the Escarpment.

More than a dozen people spoke of the damage done to their homes from the blasting done in the quarry. Windows crack, wells get put out of alignment, and dishes rattle in cupboards.

The constant heavy truck traffic with drivers that are much more aggressive was making things worse.

Golf course entrance

Burlington Springs Golf Course – has it been sold?

There were conflicting views on whether or not the golf course had actually been sold to Nelson Quarry. One speaker said the owner is my neighbour and he said he had sold it – others had different stories.

Several said representatives from the quarry were going door to door, in some cases asking for water and earth samples which a real estate agent in the room said they did not have to give – “Just tell them to get off your property. That agent added that the announcement of a quarry expansion would lower the value of properties.

There was a lot of information being bandied about – much of which couldn’t be validated.

What was clear was that the residents didn’t have the leadership they needed and it didn’t look as if much in the way of leadership was going to come from the council member.

Harmer - Mother

Isabelle Harmer on the left.

Several of those who fought long and hard to win at the Joint Application Review Tribunal in 2012 were in the room. Isabelle Harmer spoke on several occasions urging people to get out organize. Harmer will be as supportive as she can.

No one wanted to talk about the park that was being proposed. The concern was with the damage that would be done if an expansion of the quarry were to take place.

At some point the quarry will be mined out and the water will rise. Most of the people in the room last night seemed quite content to let that happen.

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Update on the abduction yesterday - it was a 'snatch and grab' and the man snatched doesn't want to talk.

Crime 100By Staff

August 9th, 2019

BURLINGTON.

 

The Halton Regional Police would like to thank the public for their assistance following an abduction in Burlington on August 8, 2019. As a result of several tips the Regional Police are able to say that the previously unidentified male who was assaulted and appeared to have been abducted has been located and is in good health. He sustained minor injuries during this altercation that did not require medical attention.

He has declined to assist police and wishes to remain anonymous.

Investigators have located the black Honda Civic believed to be involved. The vehicle has been seized in order that a forensic examination can be completed.

Police are continuing the investigation. This was a targeted incident and police are confident there is no related ongoing risk to public safety. Anyone with information or video is asked to contact Detective Jared McLeod at 905-825-4747, ext. 2385.

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

Previous news story.

Police investigating abduction attempt.

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Nelson Quarry engages sophisticatred teams of lobbyists - the community has yet to react to what any aggregate expansion will do to them.

background graphic greenBy Pepper Parr

August 9th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

werv

The top block in orange is the current quarry – the smaller orange block is where they want to expand. In 2014 their application was denied. Nelson has come back with a different approach.

The good people of North Burlington, those from ward 3 in particular, met last night at the Conservation Halton offices to hear what their ward Councillor, Rory Nisan, could tell them about the plans Nelson Quarry has for the quarry that is close to mined out.

In a separate new story, the Gazette reports on what took place at a meeting that was basically Standing Room only event

While the Nelson Quarry people have yet to make an application – and thus there isn’t much the city can react to – the company has been active. They have a web site in place with a lot of pretty drawings and a considerable amount of detail on what they plan to do.

They have engaged two lobbying firms that are amongst the best in the business, to help in creating the story they want to be in the public’s mind as this project works its way forward.

Project Advocacy Inc. is Canada’s only public affairs firm that specializes in supporting project developers facing community opposition and government challenges.

Here is what they do: They take an innovative approach based on citizen advocacy.

“We use grassroots strategies combined with government and stakeholder relations to earn and maintain the social licence required for a project’s success. “

“We help developers find, organize and give voice to otherwise silent supporters of your project in host communities.

“Our sophisticated campaign strategies help identify local citizens supportive of your proposal and help organize them into an effective political force. They sign petitions. They show up at public hearings, and they act as local advocates for your project.

“This approach, paired with government and stakeholder relations, has proven key to getting large developments approved in Canada’s increasingly challenging licensing and regulatory environment.

“Whether it is an energy and infrastructure project, a mine, or a commercial real estate proposal, Project Advocacy Inc. will build an effective advocacy program that will counter NIMBY opposition and drive support for your project among local citizens, elected leaders, government officials and the media.”

Project Advocacy had their man in the room last night.

Motivated and sophisticated best describes the Project Advocacy group. They are supported by colleagues who are just as good at a slightly different level. Barry Campbell, founder of Campbell Strategies sets out the role that lobbyists play.

Pay attention to what this man has to say – he is very good at what he does. He was once elected to Parliament and has practiced law with two of the major firms on Bay Street.

Barry Campbell

Barry Campbell, founder of Campbell Strategies

“At Campbell Strategies, we have two types of clients”, explains Campbell: “those who have issues they need resolved. And, those who have opportunities they need realized. Despite this difference, there remains a constant between them. The need for wise counsel from people who understand their unique situations. Completely.

“As a bonus, our clients find themselves working with a team of government relations and communications professionals who are not only highly experienced, but without the hyperbole and self-importance that – in our industry – so often comes with it.

“We’re connected, of course. But it’s deeper than that.

“We treat our network of government, media, and regulatory leaders as relationships, not just connections. Our reputation is based on the right ask, at the right time, of the right people, with the right message.

“You’ll get no bullshit from us, and we’ll deliver none to our network
Campbell explains: “Lobbying at its best is vital to the flow of information and ideas. It bridges a significant gap between the public sector and the private sector and can lead to more informed public policy decisions and better corporate decision making.

“Lobbying is often attacked by the left as a way for powerful voices to “have their way with government”. Lately, the attack is coming from the right where libertarian voices have suggested that if government would only get out of the way (read deregulate everything), companies wouldn’t need to lobby anyone for favours. Both attacks are predictable and wrongheaded.

“There are many examples where information provided to officials seeking to regulate this or that has resulted in more effective regulation. Without lobbying, officials and elected officials would only know what they knew when they got to the office and I would suggest that is very often not enough of a baseline for serious decisions. That’s why officials consult and take meetings.

“When I was an MP, some wondered why I would ever meet with lobbyists. The answer was self-evident. If I never met anyone, I wouldn’t know anything other than what I already knew, which often wasn’t enough to help me understand complex issues. The strict lobby registration rules in Canada which require registration of most interactions with important public officials and provide a public record of same, are a pretty good check on what some worry about. The strict constraints and low permitted financial contribution rules are another check on the influence many worry about.

“And lobbying can be a public good or accomplish much public good.

Tandia

Tandia, an area credit union can now offer service that are basically the same as a bank. They lobbied to get the changes.

“Lobbying can result in better and appropriately targeted tax or regulatory policy that achieves important public policy goals while removing the risk of collateral damage. A public policy goal to eliminate a practice believed to be adversely impacting consumers, such as pay day lending, might initially paint too broad a brush ensnare legitimate players who want to play by a coherent set of rules that don’t blow up their business model. Lobbying by credit unions resulted in changes to the Bank Act so that credit unions could expand nationally and provide more competition at the retail level. Lobbying by financial institutions and emerging ‘fintechs’ will shape a better financial services sector offering the choice that consumers want.

“As officials think about public policy and ready recommendations to “take to the Minister”, they are informed by the consultations with and entreaties by corporate and other stakeholders. That is a good thing.

“I have been a “lobbyist” for two decades and have never had a meeting with a Minister where he or she made a decision, then and there, to do something just because I asked. And I would never have that meeting (and it usually isn’t even ever required) without working first with the relevant departmental officials to do the tough slogging respectful of the job officials have to do to provide their bosses with the best and most informed advice.

“I know, and the best lobbyists know, that effective lobbying isn’t about setting up a meeting with someone important. That the easy part. Effective lobbying requires the right ask, at the right time to the right audience. It is research based and considers how the ask can dovetail with the government’s priorities by solving a problem or making my client’s problem a problem government comes to understand they need to solve because by doing so they will accomplish a goal they have.

“The problem can’t ever be putting relevant and contextual information in front of officials and decision makers. What they do with that information is their responsibility. To constrain the flow of information, between the public sector and the private sector and to close the door on that vital exchange will isolate public policy decision makers and inevitably lead to poorer decisions.”

Beach 1

Nelson has released drawings of what they maintain the quarry could look like if turned into a park.

This is what the people of North Burlington are up against. These are smart people who have been engaged by clients with a problem. Nelson Quarry needs the aggregate – it is there right underneath the surface and they believe they can convince the public that giving them access to that aggregate in exchange for parkland will work.

During the Thursday evening meeting there were a number of people who stood to speak – were they speaking for themselves or representing the interests of the lobbyist?

The first attempt by Nelson Quarry to get access to more aggregate failed. It started in 2004 and ended with a decision in 2012 that denied their application.

PEARL, a community organization formed to fight the application has basically disbanded. They fought the good fight and won. They are tired, they raised and spent a lot of money. The City of Burlington spent more than $2 million in legal fees.

But in the end the public will prevailed.

It will be a tougher fight this time around.

Background links:

Nelson quarry opens the park project web site.

The PERL web site

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Police Seeking Information Related to Apparent Abduction in Burlington

Crime 100By Staff

August 9th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Halton Regional Police Service is seeking the public’s assistance following an assault and apparent abduction that took place in the area of the Queensway Drive and Cleta Street (near Guelph Line and Highway 403) in the City of Burlington this afternoon.

On Thursday, August 8, 2019 between 1:45 – 1:50 PM, an unidentified male was walking on the south side of Queensway Drive near Cleta Street when two vehicles (a silver Dodge Caravan, and an older model 2-door black Honda Civic) pulled up and stopped.

HRPS crestOne suspect exited the passenger side of the Dodge Caravan and both the driver and passenger exited the Honda and chased an unidentified male onto a residential property on Cleta Drive.

The unidentified male appeared to be assaulted by the three suspects before being put into the van. Evidence suggests that the unidentified male was taken from the area against his will in the silver Dodge Caravan. The silver Dodge Caravan, with the unidentified male inside, was last seen southbound on Cleta Drive towards Glenwood School Drive.

Suspect #1 (Driver of the Silver Dodge Caravan):
No description available, as driver did not exit vehicle

Suspect #2 (Passenger of Silver Dodge Caravan):
Male, white, slim build, no shirt, camo shorts

Suspect #3 (Driver of Black Honda Civic):
Male, white, tan baseball cap, black pants with white stripes down leg, white shoes, white t-shirt

Suspect #4 (Passenger of Black Honda Civic):
Male, white, black track pants, black hoodie with hood up, white high top shoes

Unidentified Male:
Male, white, appears to be in his 30s, dark coloured shorts, black and green t-shirt

At this time, the whereabouts and condition of the male and the four suspects are not known. The Halton Regional Police Service is concerned for the safety and well-being of the unidentified male and would like to speak to anyone, including that male, who can provide information about this incident. If you have information, security camera footage, home surveillance footage, or dash cam video from that area during the timeframe of this interaction, we encourage you to please contact the on-duty Staff Sergeant in Burlington at the earliest opportunity.

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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Health Department confirms rabies in two bats found in Burlington and Oakville

News 100 redBy Staff

August 9th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

On August 7, 2019, the Halton Region Health Department confirmed that a bat found in the area of Upper Middle Road and Cavendish Drive in Burlington and a bat found in the area of Lakeshore Road and Bronte Road in Oakville have tested positive for rabies.

Bat rabid

Rabid bats found in Burlington and Oakville

These are the first two confirmed cases of rabies in Halton this year. Residents who may have had physical contact with a bat are advised to contact the Health Department by calling 311.

“The Health Department is reminding residents to avoid all contact with bats and other wild animals,” said Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Halton Region Medical Officer of Health. “Anyone who comes in physical contact with a bat or other wild animal should see a physician immediately and contact the Health Department.”

Rabies is a viral disease that causes severe damage to the brain and spinal cord, and if untreated before symptoms appear, can lead to death. The virus is spread through the saliva of an infected animal, usually entering through a bite or scratch. Rabies illness in humans can be prevented after exposure to rabies by the use of rabies vaccine, which is extremely effective, but only if it is administered before symptoms occur.

It is not always possible to identify if a bat has rabies, however rabid bats may move slowly, lose the ability to fly, remain active during daylight hours or be unresponsive to loud noises.

Bat rabid flying

They are frightening – but they fly at night for the most part.

There are a number of things you can do to protect your family and pets:

• Seek medical attention immediately if you come in contact with a raccoon, skunk, bat or other potentially rabid animal.
• Report all animal bites or scratches to the Halton Region Health Department.
• Warn your children to stay away from any wild, stray or aggressive animals.
• Do not feed or keep wild animals as pets.
• Do not touch dead or sick animals.
• Make sure your pet’s rabies vaccinations are up to date.
• Keep your pet on a leash when off your property.
• Have your pet seen by a veterinarian if it has come in contact with a raccoon or other wild animal.

For more information on rabies, visit halton.ca or contact the Halton Region Health Department by calling 311.

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Burlington is # 1 again in a popularity ranking - Maclean's loves us.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

August 8th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Is this another Money magazine type list where cities are ranked under a number of categories as the best of something?

When Burlington was named the Best mid-sized city in the Country city hall and the economic development people went bananas and told anyone who had ears how great we were.

The Money magazine ranking went to Oakville and Burlington dropped that claim to fame. It will be interesting to see how the city takes to this latest ranking.

Macleans cover dataMaclean’s Magazine has ranked Burlington as the Number One for Best Community in Canada 2019

Grabbing the number one spot in the Top 25, Burlington receives high scores for its excellent quality of life, prosperous economy and envious location. Burlington is not only the best community, but was also ranked as the Best Place to Raise a Family by Maclean’s.

Macleans data

Drilling down into the details.

“Those of us who live in Burlington have always known our city is the best in Canada, the best in the world” said Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward. “Our ‘secret sauce’ is a unique blend of community assets, natural environment, and great citizens. We have outstanding community centres, rinks, pools, museums, parks and festivals; we’re book-ended by natural environment, from our downtown waterfront park and sand beach to the Niagara Escarpment World Biosphere Reserve, and by great people who look out for each other and give back to our community.” The Mayor continued “Burlington has it all: big city assets, the Greenbelt on our doorstep, and small-town friendliness.

”It’s why my husband and I chose to move here in 2000 and raise our three kids here. Our Council will continue to work with our community to make sure Burlington stays the great place it is to live, work, play, grow up, raise a family, and retire.”

Macleans ranking

Top 14 – and where the strength are.

Burlington Economic Development Corporation (BEDC) celebrates this news. Burlington is home to several global top employers including, Boehringer Ingelheim, Cogeco Connexion and EcoSynthetix. “Burlington is home to a number of high growth companies that know our fantastic quality of life attracts the best talent. Receiving this acknowledgement clearly emphasizes the incredible work-life balance in Burlington” said BEDC Acting Executive Director, Anita Cassidy. “Our location makes us an ideal location for companies to attract and retain the high-quality talent they need to grow their business.”

Burlington ranks just above Grimsby at number two and Ottawa at number three, with the methodology comparing 415 communities in Canada by a number of factors including, wealth and economy, commute, crime, amenities and culture. The City of Burlington is proud to be recognized by Maclean’s as the number one best community in Canada. This achievement comes weeks after BEDC receives national recognition for their Foreign Direct Investment Strategy by American Cities of the Future and further solidifies Burlington as a destination of choice for both talent and business.

Residents of the city elected a new council to stop the gutting of the quiet, residential-friendly downtown where just about everything walkable is being replaced by condominiums that exceed 20 stories.

Adi on NAutique at AGBThe ward 2 Councillor announced a public meeting where details on a structure that will see shovels in the ground will be released. Many saw that development as the beginning of the end of the pleasant downtown they know.

The announcement that appears to have come from both the city and the developer with the ward Councillor serving as the Master of Ceremonies sound like a celebration.

The Mayor likes the Maclean’s ranking – the developers will milk it for all it is worth.

Whistle graveyardIs this the tipping point for Burlington – where frothy rankings replace solid policy with teeth that can bite?  Is there still an opportunity to save enough of what Burlington has been while 20+ floor buildings rise out of the ground?

All the details you are ever going to want on this latest municipal ranking.

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Police given new tools to aid in finding people who go missing.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

August 8th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

There is a fine Detective Constable in the Halton Regional Police Service who will have become aware of new tools that are now available to police forces in the province.

They allow the police toget more information quickly sothat every effort can be made to find the person who has wandered away from home.

Each day that Detective Constable Joe Barr drives to or from work he is reminded of the case of Helen Robertson who went missing July 5th, 2016.

She was never found. There were bits and pieces of evidence but nothing that gave police the information they needed to successfully find Helen and return her home.

With more than 240,000 Ontario seniors estimated to be living with some form of dementia today, being able to locate seniors in the first 24 hours after they go missing is crucial to saving lives.

Ontario is putting the safety of seniors first by providing police officers with more tools they need to respond quickly and effectively to missing persons investigations.

“Every minute counts when a senior goes missing to help keep them safe. This is another example of how our government is putting seniors and their families first by providing essential front-line services new tools to help find our missing loved ones faster,” said Raymond Cho, Minister for Seniors and Accessibility. “We are protecting what matters most to help seniors live independently in their communities, while also helping to ensure they are safe.”

The Missing Persons Act, proclaimed by the government on July 1, 2019, provides police with three additional tools to use when there is no evidence a crime has been committed. These tools will allow police to:

• Obtain copies of records that may assist in a search;
• Obtain a search warrant to enter a premise to locate a missing person; and
• Make an urgent demand for certain records without a court order.

The Act also includes guidelines on what information police may disclose about a missing person before and after they have been located.
Previously, when a person went missing without evidence of criminal activity, police were limited in the ways they could investigate. With this legislation, police can now respond to missing persons investigations quicker, while balancing concerns for an individual’s privacy.
“Police and family members tell us that the first hours after someone goes missing are the most critical,” said Sylvia Jones, Solicitor General. “That’s why we’re providing our frontline heroes with more tools to quickly find our loved ones.”

Fifty per cent of those who go missing for 24 hours or more risk serious injury or even death.
Sixty per cent of people living with dementia will go missing at some point, often without warning.
There is no requirement to wait 24 hours to report someone missing in Ontario.
Nearly 7,500 people were reported missing in Ontario in 2018.

Most of the media in the western GTA are quick to publish and broadcast information on a missing person. Most of the time they are found before the end of the day or the day after.

Some are never found – and we mourn, terrified that something like this could happen to our loved ones.

Joseph Barr, the Detective that handled the Helen Robertson case knows that he will wonder for the rest of his career what happened and what was that missing piece of information he didn’t have.

Lifesaver - wrist band

Emits a signal every second 24/7

Since the disappearance of Helen Robertson the Regional Police came up with a service that, if used properly, can be critical in finding someone missing.  Project Life Saver was taken to the Regional Police by a parent who has an autistic child.  That service is now available to parents in Halton Region.  Details in the story linked below.

Related news stories:

Helen Robertson reported missing.

Wallet belonging to missing woman found – nothing else.

Project Life Saver.

 

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Residential Surveillance Footage Helps Police Arrest Six Suspects

Crime 100By Pepper Parr

August 8th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The best tool any police service has is vigilant residents.

This was the case when a resident let police know they had captured a license plate on their video. With that information the police were able to investigate and arrest six suspects for a series of break and enters that occurred at homes in Oakville and Burlington.

HRPS crestBeginning in July 2019, the HRPS identified an increase in daytime residential break and enters and investigators began compiling evidence in an effort to identify the persons responsible. A Burlington resident assisted police by providing a licence plate which was captured on their home surveillance system. This information helped to identify six suspects.

In most instances, the suspects would knock at the front door of targeted residences to determine whether or not anyone was home. Should there be no answer at the door, suspects attended the rear of the home and gained entry by smashing patio doors. The suspects quickly ransacked the residences and fled in awaiting vehicles.

The entries occurred in the areas of Upper Middle Road and Eighth Line in Oakville, in addition to the area of Guelph Line and South Drive in Burlington.

On August 2, 2019, the HRPS initiated surveillance on the group of suspects who were staying at an Airbnb residence in Mississauga. Officers stopped the suspects and placed them under arrest. A search of the vehicles resulted in the recovery of approximately $250,000 in stolen property.

CHARGED:

1) TAN, Chan (29) of Montreal
• Possession of Property Obtained by Crime
2) BRITO ROSALES, Kenny (30) of Montreal
• Possession of Property Obtained by Crime
3) MEJIA GARCIA, Denis Rufino (28) of Montreal
• Possession of Property Obtained by Crime
• Break and Enter (3 counts)
4) BARQUERO MORALES, Alex Narcesso (27) of Montreal
• Possession of Property Obtained by Crime
• Break and Enter (3 counts)
5) HORTA ZAMORA, Luis Felipe (29) of Montreal
• Possession of Property Obtained by Crime
• Break and Enter (3 counts)
• Breach of Recognizance
6) MEJIA OLMOS, Carlos Mauricio (32) of Montreal
• Possession of Property Obtained by Crime
• Break and Enter (3 counts)

All six accused were held for bail.

This group is believed to have conducted similar entries in other jurisdictions across the GTA. The Halton Regional Police Service is now liaising with policing partners in efforts to determine what other crimes this group may have committed.

Investigators will be proactively contacting victims in an effort to return recovered property to rightful owners. Any persons who have had a reported break and enter between July 1, 2019, and August 2, 2019, are encouraged to contact police and make arrangements for recovery.

Victims looking to recover lost property and anyone with information regarding these occurrences is asked to contact Detective Constable John McMullan of the 2 District Criminal Investigation Bureau at 905-825-4747, ext. 2217.

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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Rivers: Gets a taste of what the federal election in October might be like - grants and photo ops.

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

August 8th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 OPINION

 This is an election year and politicians show up at every chance they get.

CCIW 3 ALL THREE

From the left: Oakville North Burlington MP, Pam Damoff, Burlington MP Karina Gould who is also the Minister of Democratic Institutions and Minister of the Environment Catherine McKenna, They were at the Canada Centre for Inland Waters – there is a freighter sailing past them in the background.

So Liberal MP’s from Burlington, Oakville and Hamilton East-Stoney Creek were along for the ride when Canada’s Environment Minister Catherine McKenna did a presser at the Canada Centre for Inland Waters (CCIW). It was Karina Gould’s home turf so she moderated.

And fiscal conservatives might have been relieved that it was only a little over a million dollars being awarded for essentially low-level environmental clean up projects stretching over the next three years. It’s chump change, though the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, which had scored two projects under the federal Great Lakes protection initiative, was out in force to thank the minister for her/our largesse.

CCIW 4 Minister

Catherine McKenna – Minister of the Environment.

The announcement took place upon the broken pavement out the back of CCIW, which houses the world renowned National Water Research Institute (NWRI). I had spent a lot of time working in that building and it seemed little has changed over the two decades since I’d left. It was great to see so many of my former colleagues still slaving over a hot test tube.

One of the primary purposes of NWRI at its inception back in the ‘70s was to rid the Great Lakes of those nasty algal blooms which choke all the life out of the waters. And there had been progress, and for a while it looked like we had won that battle. But climate change has opened up a whole new challenge. Rain storms bringing nutrient-rich soil from well-fertilized farms and sloppy urban development have combined with warmer water to facilitate renewed algal growth.

Seriously, a million dollars is a pretty modest amount of money, given the three billion dollars the federal and other governments are giving the fossil fuel industry to continue generating greenhouse gas emissions.  But every action helps and these projects, restoring habitat and cleaning up the shoreline certainly will help.

And, of course, the feds have more arrows in their quiver. So Minister McKenna wasted no time chastising the Conservative provincial premiers who are wasting tax payer money on court challenges over the carbon tax.

But as I said it was a pre-campaign election event.

Rivers hand to faceRay Rivers writes regularly on both federal and provincial politics, applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking.  Rivers was once a candidate for provincial office in Burlington.  He was the founder of the Burlington citizen committee on sustainability at a time when climate warming was a hotly debated subject.   Ray has a post graduate degree in economics that he earned at the University of Ottawa.  Tweet @rayzrivers

Background links:

Canada Centre for Inland Waters

 

 

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Burlington Transit moving to a grid network that will improve service.

News 100 blueBy Staff

August 7th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

On Sept. 1, 2019, Burlington Transit will make significant changes to the transit system, including the introduction of new routes, schedules and frequencies.

As the city’s population grows over the next 20 years, these changes will help Burlington move toward a transit system that operates on a grid network, with bus service along the city’s most-travelled roads in an east-west and north-south direction. Establishing a grid network will create a transit network with more frequent and better-connected service to help meet the mobility needs of the community.

As a result of the input received from transit users during a series of open house events in April this year several revisions were made to the draft routes and schedules, including:

• Extending the Route 4 bus further into Aldershot
• The addition of weekend service to the 407 carpool parking lot on Routes 2 and 3
• Introduction of improved service and more buses on holidays

In addition to moving towards a grid network, the Sept. 1, 2019 changes will also:

• Move bus service to the south side of the Burlington GO Station – Buses will operate along, and enter the GO Station, from Fairview Street
• Reduce route duplication – Remove routes that cover the same road segments as other routes and routes that operate in only one direction
• Improve frequency of routes – Increase frequency on routes that travel along major roads.

Current routes April 2019

Proposed routes Sept 2019

 

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Using a health angle to steal your identity.

Crime 100By Pepper Parr

August 6th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Not sure if this should be a crime story or a health story.  It was a crime story for me – Identity theft.

My friend James Burchill is quick to tell anyone who will listen that if you produce the right email you will get the attention you were looking for.

He just might be right – we got the following earlier today and needed to share it right away.

HIV reportIt is clearly a scam – how can you tell? Well, you should know where you’ve been and what you’ve been doing – but that aside – check the address the email came from.

HIV ADDRESS

That ain’t Health Canada.

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The transformed Brant Museum will be open to the public September 15th - free admission from noon to 4:00 pm

News 100 redBy Staff

August 6th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

brant-museum-rendering

The rendering – the real thing will be opened to the public on September 15th.

The re-opening of the Joseph Brant Museum will take place with a community celebration and free admission on September 15, 12 noon to 4 pm.

Joseph Brant Museum is Burlington’s community museum. With the replica of the original homestead of Joseph Brant ‘Thayendanegea’ (1742-1807), serving as a beacon, the transformed facility features three galleries, space for travelling exhibitions and a dedicated programming area for school groups and education programs. The Museum presents Burlington’s history as well as providing interactive experiences for visitors of all ages.

The Museum has been made possible due to many like-minded partners and donors who have contributed to the project. Funds raised to date include $2.5 million from the Joseph Brant Museum Foundation, $2.9 million from the City of Burlington and $6 million from provincial and federal government sources.

For over 30 years, the need to improve the museum facilities has been a well-documented priority. Designed by Chamberlain Architectural Services Limited, the ‘new’ Joseph Brant Museum will open to the public beginning Sunday, September 15.

There are three permanent galleries that explore Burlington’s rich history and heritage. The Burlington Gallery showcases the City’s first citizen, Joseph Brant, Thayendanegea and the growth of a village to a thriving city through immigration, shipping and industrial development.

Brant Inn aerial

Aerial of the Brant Inn.

The Costume Gallery contextualizes social history during the ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s, focusing on the famous Brant Inn and the Big Band Era. Often described as putting Burlington “on the map”, the Brant Inn featured many legendary entertainers such as Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman and Ella Fitzgerald. The Discovery Gallery is a hands-on, interactive space constructed for our future engineers, mathematicians and scientists, designed for the young and young at heart.

“We are immensely grateful to our federal, provincial and city partners, as well as many private and corporate donors, staff, board members and volunteers who have worked tirelessly to see this project through to completion,” says Director of Museums of Burlington, Barbara Teatero. “The facility opening is the culmination of a multi-year, visionary process for everyone involved. We’re beyond excited to reveal this unique, distinctive space and the foundational exhibitions to the public and visitors to Burlington.”

Pinball - Cleveland

Will Museum patrons have to put coins in the pin ball machines?

Museum Larry Waldron

Larry Waldron, Chair of the Burlington Museums Board,

Joseph Brant Museum’s inaugural travelling exhibit will be on display from October 6, 2019 to January 12, 2020. Offering widespread appeal, visitors can look forward to “Part of the Machine: Rock and Pinball”, from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. This playable, interactive exhibit will feature rock-themed, pinball machines combined with historic merchandise and artifacts to explore the portrayal of artists and bands.

In the words of Larry Waldron, Chair of the Burlington Museums Board, “The new Joseph Brant Museum, gateway to Burlington’s waterfront and downtown has been thoughtfully transformed over the last three years and is now ready to welcome visitors, inspire connections and share its originality and potential.”

Museum _Joseph_Brant_architects_drawing

This is an architect’s rendering – it will be wonderful if this is the way the museum looks like at night.

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