3,306 traffic charges and warnings related to all forms of driving offences were laid during the holiday weekend. Up 23% over previous year.

News 100 blueBy Staff

May 28th, 2019



Another report card – we didn’t do all that well in the 2019 Canada Road Safety Week Enforcement initiative. Infractions were xx% higher than in the previous year.

During the week of May 14 -20, the Halton Regional Police Service conducted heightened traffic enforcement on area roadways. Officers focused on what has become known as the ‘Big 3’ road safety issues:

Cell phone while driving

call 9-1-1 for an immediate police response when you see this kind of behavior. Don’t call while YOU are driving.

aggressive driving,
distracted driving
and impaired operation – by alcohol and/or drug.

During Canada Road Safety Week CRSW, which included the Victoria Day Long Weekend, Halton Regional Police Service officers laid a total of 3,306 non-criminal charges and warnings related to all forms of driving offences.

Charges included:

1. Speeding, Careless Driving and Stunt Driving (1,599 charges);

2. Sign and traffic light-related offences (473 charges);

3. Documentary infractions-licencing and insurance (456 charges); and

4. Cell phone- electronic devices (129 charges).

The total number of charges laid represents a 23 per cent increase over the number of charges laid during the 2018 CRSW campaign.

Halton officers also intercepted and criminally charged 13 impaired drivers during the campaign for excess blood alcohol, commonly referred to as ‘80mgs or over’. An additional 8 drivers were suspended following roadside breath alcohol testing for registering ‘warn range’ breath alcohol readings.

The Regional Police Service is “grateful” for the vast majority of citizens and area motorists who remain committed to road safety across the region.

If you observe a vehicle being operated in a manner which places you or anyone else in danger, please call 9-1-1 for an immediate police response.

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Mayor more than happy to share our best practices with the Province.

News 100 redBy Staff

May 28th, 2019



The following Statement was issued by the Mayor of Burlington.

Today I am pleased to acknowledge the Provincial government’s announcement that they will be cancelling the recently announced retroactive in-year cuts to municipalities and maintaining the pre-budget funding levels for public health, child care and ground ambulance.

Ontario’s big-city mayors met in Guelph on Friday (May 24) at a meeting of LUMCO (Large Urban Mayors Caucus of Ontario) along with Mayor John Tory of Toronto, to discuss a joint strategy to respond to the previously announced Provincial budget cuts and downloading on municipalities, after our budgets had already been passed. We were grateful to have the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, The Honourable Steve Clark, also join us for part of that meeting.

He heard our concerns and took our unanimously passed joint statement back to the Premier. The key messages from the mayors meeting as LUMCO were:

• We want to be at the table with the Province to work together to address their fiscal challenges in ways that minimize impacts on our residents.

• If the Province does not change course, or even delay implementation until 2020 so that we can adjust for our next budget cycle, municipalities will be forced to consider tax increases, service cuts, or raiding reserves.

Mayor Meed Ward and Premier - Dec 2018

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward with Premier Doug Ford.

On behalf of the City of Burlington, I commend Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Minister Steve Clark for listening to the concerns raised by mayors on behalf of our residents across the province.

The cuts, as originally announced, were poised to hurt local communities and put cities’ finances at risk. They were also made without prior consultation with municipal leaders, leaving no time to plan for what was coming and leaving a collaboration gap between our two levels of government. Today’s news shows what can be accomplished when different levels of government listen to one another and work together.

But we are not out of the woods yet.

The delay in these cuts is helpful, but some of these cuts continue to be inappropriate to download to the municipal tax base. The Province cannot balance its own books on the backs of municipal property taxes, especially when they will negatively impact front-line services. Municipalities only receive 9 cents on every tax dollar collected by our governments. We will only make substantial fiscal progress by ensuring savings are found by the levels of government that spend the most (federal and provincial). We encourage the Province to look at their own administrative efficiencies rather than cutting front line services delivered at the municipal level.

On a related note, the Province has asked municipalities to help find additional savings and efficiencies, recently announcing an “Audit and Accountability Fund” to support line-by-line third-party reviews of their operations.

Meed ward looking askance

Mayor Meed Ward advises that “we are not out of the woods yet”.

My fellow LUMCO Mayors and I are fully supportive of balancing our budgets, reviewing all expenditures to look for efficiencies, and supporting the Province in reducing their deficit and debt.

The City of Burlington completed a line-by-line review as part of our 2019 budget process, as we do every year. Unlike the federal and provincial governments, municipalities cannot run a deficit. We must not only balance our books annually, but also share them transparently with our constituents.

As a result of our line-by-line review, our approved 2019 budget saw an initial reduction of $1.15M, with City Council trimming an additional $1.6M while still investing in our infrastructure, local transit, tree planting and community services. The end result was our ability to pass the lowest tax increase at the city level in eight years. We would be more than happy to share our best practices with the Province.

Even with all these savings already found, we are always willing to have an independent review of our books to verify what we already know.

More detail on our commitment to finding efficiencies and managing our budget effectively can be found on my blog at mariannemeedward.ca/finding-municipal-budget-efficiencies.

While we welcome today’s announcement, changes in other pieces of legislation will negatively affect our ability to be financially sustainable and provide for community services. Bill 108 includes proposed changes that would hurt cities’ ability to provide parkland, community facilities and adequate public engagement to inform the planning of our neighborhoods. Changes to Development Charges, paid by developers to offset the cost of growth, could put parkland and community centres in jeopardy. The changes will mean either a reduction in community services or an increase in property tax to cover the shortfall. These changes do nothing to reduce provincial costs but do increase the costs to municipalities at a time we are all trying to find efficiencies.

Additionally, a return to the old OMB (Ontario Municipal Board) rules for planning appeals means that planning matters will once again be taken out of the hands of local municipal councils. There is no evidence to support that these changes would actually increase the supply of affordable housing.

Furthermore, reverting to the old rules will add costs and time to planning approvals and require municipalities to spend more in legal fees defending our planning decisions. Again, these changes do nothing to reduce provincial costs but do increase the costs to municipalities at a time we are all trying to find efficiencies.


Mayor offers to share Burlington budget practices with the province.

We are heartened by the willingness of the Province to listen to municipalities and reverse course, and we look forward to additional conversations on the outstanding matters that have yet to be addressed by today’s announcement that create costs without benefits to municipalities and our residents.

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The Red Carpet: What was both surprising and disturbing was that the people making some of these comments were the very people hired to run the city.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

May 27th, 2019



Receiving line tight crop

Marianne Meed Ward at the State of the City address to the Chamber of Commerce.

One of the promises Mayor Marianne Meed Ward made to the Chamber of Commerce when she delivered her State of the City address to them was to improve the way business was done in the city.

She created a Red Carpet Red Tape initiative that was going out into the commercial sector to ask questions and to listen. She brought Kelvin Galbraith, the Councillor with the best small business experience in as her co-chair and they have been listening.

For reasons known only to the Mayor the listening sessions have been closed to media – all we have to work with are the statements she releases. There is a lot of information in them.

The first session took place at the Waterfront Hotel where issues that were to become a theme as the Red Carpet Red Tape (RCRT) wagon rolled along.

Parking, getting paperwork and approvals through city hall and finding talent that could be employed and able to find affordable accommodation were mentioned at every session.

We have lifted portions of the reports the Mayor released and put them within quotation marks.

Small business types wanted “Access to qualified young labour. Factors that play a significant role in that challenge are a) the high price of living in Burlington and b) the difficulty in commuting here by anything other than a personal automobile, which many don’t have.

“Trying to recruit skilled employees from surrounding trade schools/colleges/universities is difficult when they find out how expensive starter townhomes or condos are here. With the often bus-train-bus experience most would have to partake in should they decide to commute from a neighboring community with potentially more affordable real estate options, the length of time of the commute becomes too prohibitive. Bottom line: more needs to be done to allow young people to live and/or work here, whether it’s through more affordable housing options or better/faster transit options.

Home church for Wendy HAger is Glad Tidings on Guelph Line.

Is an $800 Engineering report necessary for signageÉ

“Red Tape. Many examples were given of challenges before a business could open, and the labyrinth of approvals and expenses that came along the way. Reference was made to needing engineering approvals on storefront signage (a reasonable request to ensure they’re safe and won’t fall on anyone) but there was a lack of understanding of whether the $800 engineering fee was reasonable, or whether more could be done to educate new business owners about alternative options that may be more affordable. Other examples were given about starting down one path of approval, only to be told later in the process that additional items were needed and additional expenses would have to be incurred that they had not budgeted for.

“Answers given by City Staff were referenced as sometimes being inconsistent with one another, leading to confusion. Overall, many spoke about a lack of support through the process. Those who had been around for 20+ years made reference to having strong and experienced mentors and using their own hard work and ability to pull in experts to advise them on things from accounting to networking and beyond.

The downtown merchants have used special shopping bag promotions in the past. Last summer we all got to see BDBA General Manager Brian Dean in shorts that must have been on sale somewhere.

BDBA General Manager Brian Dean working a crown during a downtown festive event,.

“Some attendees had no idea if they belonged to their local BIA (or whether they even could), and most did not know about support that could be provided to them through partner organizations like the BEDC. Many wished they could give advice to new businesses setting up shop and better inform them of whether the location they are choosing is appropriate for their business model to help them avoid failure, and whether landlords and real estate agents can better help facilitate that evaluation for likelier long-term success.

“Bottom line:” posited the Mayor, “Can a smarter welcome package be created for those exploring starting a new small business in Burlington – one that outlines all the steps needed before opening, the demographics of different neighborhoods, and clearly directs people to the other resources available to help them get there? Can our staff be well-trained to provide a supportive and welcoming “red carpet” experience when new businesses reach out to start the process?

Babes at parking meters

Parking meters are a challenge at several levels.

“Parking. While this is more of an issue for small business owners south of the QEW, such as in Aldershot or Downtown Burlington, it is a known challenge and source of frustration. When discussing Free Parking in December…business owners referenced abuse by people who already have parking passes elsewhere like their condos (but find street parking more convenient), and those who are employees of local businesses and drive to work that month since they can now get free parking. Neither option helps paying customers find additional spots.

It was generally felt that there were too many confusing rules around parking in general (paid during the day but not after 6, but free in December, but still no parking anywhere for longer than 3 hours although there are some lots with exceptions to that, etc…). Bottom line: we need to think about the initiatives we are implementing around parking and whether they are supporting the goal they were intended to support.

The large manufacturers had their own issues.

The Permit process – flaws and delays
Dealing with the MTO – lack of accountability to timelines, unwilling to conduct site visits
City is too slow to react
City staff have a lack of knowledge behind the scenes/of private sector and are unresponsive
Staff are inconsistent in their application of policy
Fees are inconsistent
Turnover of City staff
Sense of confrontation with City staff – rational conversation is difficult
Lack of common sense and practicality in processes
Commercial/employment zoning needs
Regional transit connectivity and transportation/traffic overall
Lack of land availability / larger space for manufacturing
Sign bylaws are too restrictive
Access to high tech talent / post-secondary / new fields & areas of study
Site visits are needed to understand practical issues
Tough finding the right department at the City
Incremental feedback on multiple submissions
Need clear timelines / business timelines
Ineffective communications
Lack of incentives if not manufacturing
Skilled and non-skilled labour/talent

There were issues that were positive; The Mayor referred to them as “issues that were already working from their point of view.


Recent immigrant, on the left, receiving a certificate after completing a course at The Centre.

New council = progressive thinking
The Red Tape Red Carpet Task Force – appreciate the City is listening and willing to change
BEDC support, networking events and TechPlace
Employee retention and recruitment
Recent immigrants in the area provide a great talent pool
Success in exporting / export funding was helpful (got cut thought)
Location: close to highways, the border, and Go train
Innovation through partnerships
Growth of manufacturing locally
Rotational Engineer program uses fresh grads to fill roles
Product development support funding (SRED, IRAP)
Access to a huge market next door (Toronto)
Engineering staff at the City of Burlington are constant, fair, good to deal with, consistent

The Mayor added that the “wealth of knowledge and experience in the room put forward the following ideas about what can change and improve:

Work hard to create a customer service culture at City Hall. Start at the top and trickle down. Help everyone feel good at the end of the day for what they did and how they did it.

Change how work is assigned: Rather than having work assigned to whoever is next available, have the same person allocated to all permits for the same building so that the familiarity is there to increase speed and customer service rather than have so many different people involved each time and forcing them to start at square one and get up to speed.

Advocate and influence with other government and regulatory agencies.

Site plan vs. survey education – field trips and training

Include copyright protection (not here now)

Ombudsman backed by Council

Better performance management of City staff with KPIs attached / measurements

Consider CRM/Software solutions for better digitization/automation of processes as well as tracking

Electronic file transfers of documents submitted

Status on reports on file in less than 3-4 weeks / Customer Status reports conducted by Staff

Lunch & Learns for Developers

Exception approvals at the counter

Staff to ask the question: how can we make this work?

New City staff should have to have spent time in the industry first (externally)

Mobility hubs

Much of the longer term development will be located at the mobility hubs.

Leverage development around Go stations

List of issues that are black/white – clear & automatic (ex: building code)

Personalization of website – “what are you here for today”

Self-serve options

Overall management / admin/ project management for applications

Business concierge support

More mixed-use service available without getting in car

Better marketing and promotion of Burlington to businesses

Need tax credit advocacy with Minister of Finance

Review incentive programs to be more accessible

Incentives to hire new grads

Several of the courses given at the NAME are fully booked months in advance - the students usually know where they are going to be working before they graduate.

Several of the courses given at The Centre are fully booked months in advance – the students usually know where they are going to be working before they graduate.

Need a tech school in Halton (post-secondary)

Ontario apprenticeship: training and tax credit (needs new process released)

Increase limits on “Now Hiring” portable signs

More affordable housing (for employees)

Foreign worker depository

All day Go train (24 hours)

Transparency on timelines / status updates

Be willing to refund processing fees if deadlines aren’t met by City

“Overall”, said the Mayor, “the session on Monday provided a forum for this group of leaders to directly communicate with myself, other City leaders, and each other, helping ensure our businesses feel heard, valued and supported as critical parts of Burlington’s economic health and well-being.

Next up on the focus group list was a session with City staff and partnership organizations:

Mayor Meed Ward explained “the room was asked to identify the most common issues they hear from business owners and there was a lot of commonality: zoning, permits, signs and approvals were all identified as taking too long, requiring too many stakeholders’ involvement, and being challenging to navigate (especially for first-timers).

“Everyone agreed that working towards more of a “One-Stop Shop” would provide a better customer service experience and staffing that shop with subject matter experts who can guide people through the process, set realistic expectations, and provide all the information up front would be ideal. Having people to triage applications so they require fewer revisions would also be helpful in reducing timelines and workload on both sides of the table.

“The room noted that more could be done to get information online and searchable, letting business owners self-serve and self-educate when possible, and do things after hours when appropriate. Marketing, education, and information sharing was a common theme, whether through campaigns to educate prospective business owners on avoiding common pitfalls in the application process, or having monthly open-house sessions where business owners can meet with experts like those in the focus group room to get free advice to help them along the way.

“Looking at technology systems and platforms that enable barcoding/tracking of applications would improve speed and accountability in everyone’s view, and exploring ones that dovetail with those of partner organizations would be helpful as well.”

What was both surprising and disturbing was that the people making these comments were the very people hired to run the city. The Mayor reported that the attendees at this one included the following (the Gazette has added some comment on several):

“Ron Steiginga (by the way a very smart guy who has served the city well) “25+ years in real estate management with the City of Burlington has let him get to know most of the developers and builders in town, build relationships, and stay aware of what is available for sale. He is involved with fees (such as park dedication fees), and the purchase of parks, fire hall sites – sees his role as keeping stakeholders aware and informed of those issues and availabilities.”

“Rosalind Minaji has been in planning and development for 30 years, and a big part of her role is to help walk people through the application process, as well as ensure the city has sufficient and identified employment areas, as well as affordable housing.

Director of Finance Joan Ford does a great job of providing the data ad her department does a good job of collecting the taxes as well. It's the spending side that is causing the long term financial stress. Ms Ford doesn't do the spending.

Director of Finance Joan Ford does a great job of providing the data ad her department does a good job of collecting the taxes as well. It’s the spending side that is causing the long term financial stress. Ms Ford doesn’t do the spending.

“Joan Ford (who runs the best department in the city) has been in finance for 30 years and sees her role as ensuring fees and taxes for business owners are collected in a fair and equitable way, and being transparent to businesses on these items.

“Mary Lou Tanner has been with the City for three years and in her Deputy City Manager role for 18 months. She sees her role as creating a culture of customer service for business owners who come to the City with questions and looking for guidance with what can often feel like an overwhelming or complicated journey. She wants to ensure people feel welcome, get the answers they need, and help make processes easier and better understood.” Tanner created the Grow Bold initiative that Mayor Meed Ward had council scrap once she took office.

“Sue Connor is two years into her role, with 30 years overall in the transit industry. She knows she needs to help move employees around so that businesses have access to the people they need to make their business run.” Connor brings an incredible reputation to the task of creating a transit service that people will use – all she needs is the support of council and the funds to make it happen. If she manages to do for Burlington what she did for Brampton we will be a much different city.

“From the BEDC, Anita Cassidy’s focus is in helping create a competitive advantage here in Burlington so that businesses want to locate here, helping them find talent or space, as well as advocating for what businesses need with partner organizations like the MTO or the Region. Cassidy is waiting to be moved from acting to full bore Executive Director.

John Davidson has been at Halton Region for 13 years and mentioned the Small Business Centre that is run out of there as a good resource for business owners starting out. He sees his role as ensuring businesses don’t get stalled in their approvals/permits journey and working behind the scenes with partners like the City of Burlington and others to remove obstacles.

“Tim Commisso, in the industry for 35 years now, sees one of his priorities as helping implement more of a 1:1 personal touch for smaller businesses who don’t necessarily have the experts and resources of larger firms and developers to help navigate the system. He also expressed interest in seeking out technology that makes the process easier and more trackable, and ensuring city staff have the skills and customer service attitude to make these experiences better for businesses.” Commisso knows the Burlington file – he served as part of senior management before he was appointed city manager for Thunder Bay. He is keeping the city manager seat warm until council makes a permanent appointment – expected sometime in July.

“Brian Dean has been at the Burlington Downtown Business Association for 18 years now and sees his role as retaining and attracting businesses to this area of our City. He works to help acclimatize new businesses, give them market data to help with their business planning, and keep them engaged with their community.” Dean must have been stunned when he heard that some business people had not heard of his BIA.

Hoey retirement“Keith Hoey, outgoing President of the Burlington Chamber of Commerce (15 years now), focuses on: a) connecting people through networking and events; b) educating businesses on things like managing their books or understanding government decisions that will impact them; c) advocating with all levels of government on behalf of business owners; and d) providing discounts and savings to help businesses save money.” A Prince who has earned retirement and will be missed – those shoes are going to be hard to fill.

Magi McKeowen Lancaster look at day's poster work

Allan Magi, on the left, brings a capacity to listen and a collaborative manner to the work he does for the city.

“Allan Magi, 27 years into his tenure, oversees the building of parks, roads, and other infrastructure that needs to be in place to support the businesses in our city. He helps oversee development charges, and advocates with partner agencies to streamline and find common ground to help move things along.

Nick Anastasopoulos has been with the City for 3 years, and 20+ years in the industry. He sees his role as helping get businesses “in the ground” and up and running. He looks for efficiencies and overlap to help streamline processes, and is focused on finding ways to connect partner agencies to work faster together for businesses.

Gerry Smallegange at Hydro gets involved with new businesses and expansions as many businesses have unique or additional hydro needs when they relocate/start up here in Burlington. He sees his role as finding ways to partner with businesses before they sign leases or purchase property to advise them on what is possible and consider meetings or site visits to better equip businesses with the information they need before they sign on the dotted line, so they can avoid zoning or other problems down the road.

“Kelvin Galbraith is new to his role as Councillor but has been a small business owner for 21 years in Aldershot, and is a member of the Aldershot BIA. He sees his role as similar to the Mayor’s: see the issues and help solve the problems.

Blair Smith talking to planner Heaher MacDonald

Heather MacDonald, Director of Planning has the most difficult job – a department that has been flooded with work during a time when both the regulatory and political environment were difficult (impossible?) to cope with.

“Heather MacDonald is newer to the City of Burlington in her role, but has many years of experience including years at Metrolinx, the City of Brampton and the City of Mississauga. She and her team (including Rosalind and Nick) are tasked with ensuring we have buildings and businesses that are safe and of high quality, and helping people through the development process. She wants to impact the level of education and communication outward to business owners to avoid people feeling surprised down the line and ensure they have the right information – and all of it – as early in the process as possible.”

It is difficult to read the narrative on those who took part in the meeting with the complaints that were heard from the commercial sector. There is a disconnect in there somewhere.

When Meed Ward announced the RCRT initiative she said: “My goal is to find a way to help our city grow in the right way and in the right places, and to partner with my colleagues at City Hall, with residents, and with our development community to make that happen.”

The Mayor then met with the developers, using the Tech Place facility as the venue. She was probably not surprised at what she heard:

Vision lack of

Is there a vision? Is it in the minds of city council or in the approach staff take to problem solving.? Or does the public have a vision no one else shares?

The Permit process – flaws and delays
Ability to attain SPAs in a reasonable time
Dealing with the MTO – lack of accountability to timelines, lots of delays
Delays with Halton Conservation
Conflict between the different levels of government
Business mindset is lacking
Lack of accountability with the City
Too many agencies involved
Staff act like they’re afraid of losing their jobs
No incentives to reduce operational friction
Inconsistent bylaw/zoning interpretation/zoning uncertainty
Lack of vision
Lack of control over other agencies / influence
Affordability of projects becoming unrealistic: land, construction, time all push up costs
No “leader” to manage applications
Lack of KPIs for city staff (perceived or otherwise)

Prov policy documents

Provincial policies trump everything – and they keep being changed making it difficult to do long term planning.

Provincial policies are shifting / rethinking
Lack of staff knowledge in understanding market forces
Lack of respect for landowner rights
Too in the weeds – focus on important issues
Lack of common sense being applied
Opinions can depend on mood of person who is assessing the application
Building envelopes
No severance / Niagara Escarpment Commission
Environmentals on particular corridors
All the time delays cost money
Political agendas – development applications treated politically instead of on their own merit
Time associated with the severance process (took 2 years)
Zoning inflexibility (ex: Seniors Long Term Care facility)
Timing associated with obtaining a zoning verification letter – used to be 10 days now over 5 weeks
City staff raising issues that do not apply to the application in question
Limited incentives available for developers to build sustainably, and integrate sustainable design features
Public transparency re: cost recovery/recovery funding
Compare to Brampton, where 100 units got approval in less than a year – fast process, open to discussions, and Mayor/Council wanted things to happen
Perception that plants and animals have more rights than people
Hard to get calls returned from City Hall (all departments)
Outdated city standards (ex: Parks)
Lack of downtown parking for offices, bars, restaurants and retail
Transit dead spots

After listening to the complaints and concerns the Mayor did a smooth political pivot and said: “While it took a few minutes to switch gears and focus on the positives, there are certainly reasons everyone in the room is still doing business in Burlington and we wanted to ensure we clearly understood what those are and then she listed them:

Urban design guidelines - block by block

Developers want clear instructions – and will do everything they can to find a way to make those directions work to their benefit; which is exactly what we do with our tax returns.

BEDC as a facilitator, expeditor and supporter
Great fast-track process for building permits
Experienced city staff are good to deal with
Online process that shows if a building permit is closed
Mayor seems very on board
Facilitation at this event was great – Interim City Manager was great facilitator at the table
Professional people to deal with
Sustainable design guidelines
Ability to start work early to help shorten delivery sometimes
Burlington building process is good
Councillor was helpful overriding bad staff decisions
Building department closing out an old permit +
We win most if not all appeals to OMB/LPAT
Development application website is good
Community safety – businesses with shifts / evening hours are less worried for their staff getting to/from work
Burlington’s culture, family-orientedness & energy draws people here to live and work
Access to talent, amenities and housing (high tech talent is easier than other segments though because of housing costs).

Developers do business in Burlington because it is a great market – they can build almost anything and sell it. They have chosen to focus on the high end of the market and for the most part are doing very well.

The Mayor took what she could from the meeting and closed by saying: “We finished the day by leveraging the knowledge and experience in the room to come up with solutions, ideas and changes that the City can spearhead to make things better:

service customer

The key word is service – does city hall know how to deliver it? Will the new city manager make that a key deliverable ?

Priv - public sectors

Private sector experience makes for better public sector employees.

Support a culture of service and efficiency by ensuring staff have clear KPIs and they are part of their performance reviews
Incentives for hitting KPIs and going above and beyond
Business/file liaison to track, communicate, and shepherd a file to completion in a reasonable time
Leadership needs to stand behind file planner
Encourage staff to learn more as things change to drive subject matter expertise (regulations, etc.)
Leverage better technology to streamline and automate / CRM system / Self-Serve
Customer service training / commitment to customer service
Hire more people if short-staffing is impacting speed of turnaround
Cut the timelines to match the Municipal Act
Apply a stronger sustainability lens and offer incentives
Allow multiple levels of approval to run concurrently
Seniors housing/land zoning strategy
Business advisory board
BEDC needs more influence
More advocacy/upward pressures necessary to other levels of government
Stand firm on the position of what is good for Burlington – don’t sit on hands with other agencies
Be collaborative vs combative
Site visits at properties to understand context and better apply common sense
Create more “fast track” and “premium” services – willing to pay for speed
Do more to educate the public about the benefits of growth to help those inherently resistant to change to see the positives
Make it a priority or essential that new hires in these departments have spent at least some time in the private sector on the other side of the table to provide better perspective and understanding
Next round of comments shouldn’t go back to bottom of the pile
Be ok with weighting the value of certain projects in their worth to the community (jobs for example) and be willing to prioritize those in terms of speed and attention – not every project is equal
Apply Artificial Intelligence / automated processes to remove personal opinion from the process
Shorten time frames for turnarounds of minor revisions
Fees should be payable on approval not all up front (or reimbursed when deadlines are missed)
Empower staff with more decision-making power to apply common sense
Remove height restrictions
Educate the public on good planning practices
Be more consistent – don’t change policies when Councillors change
Leverage tech being used in other municipalities (ex: Mississauga)
Focus group with staff: what are THEIR challenges to moving quickly & how can we help
Provide more info on the steps that happen in the process & why it takes so long. What is happening each day over the course of all those months (and sometimes years)?
Quick morning meeting/daily scrum (15 min) each day by team leaders to set goals with staff: what will you get off your desk today and move forward? Then hold people accountable and recognize good performance. Ask the question “What will it take to get this approved today?”

More of a culture of recognition for making things happen. Celebrate those staff.

Interesting that the city spends something in the order of $7 million a year on cultural matters: Performing Arts Centre, Art Gallery and the Museum but there wasn’t a mention of how big a driver this sector is to a local economy.

The Red Carpet is a brave initiative – one hopes that even a small percentage of what got put on the table will actually get done.  Let us leave it at that.

Related article:

Public service is noble work

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Burlington Robbery: Jewel heist outside a residence

Crime 100By Staff

May 25th, 2019



Halton Regional Police are investigating a robbery in Burlington where two victims were robbed of jewellery outside their residence on Augustus Dr. in Burlington.

HRPS crestAround 11:00am Saturday morning, four males pulled up to the residence in a stolen vehicle where three got out and pepper sprayed the victims. They then stole a bag of jewellery from the vehicle occupied by the victims. The suspects fled the scene and dumped their stolen vehicle a short distance away. They were last seen fleeing the area in a small red vehicle.

A short time later there was a driving complaint on Hwy 403 where a small red vehicle with a very large rear spoiler was seen travelling at a high rate of speed. This vehicle was last seen N/B from Hwy 403 on Waterdown Rd. It has not been confirmed that this is the suspect vehicle from the robbery.

The suspects are all described as males, wearing dark clothing with their faces covered.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact the Halton Regional Police at 905-825-4747 ext. 2305. 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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Public service is noble work. People might scoff at the use of that word. If a person doesn’t see the job as a noble calling – they are perhaps not in the right industry.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

May 27th, 2019



There has been a lot of material published in the Gazette on the Red Carpet Red Tape initiative that Mayor Marianne Meed Ward brought to city hall.

The Small Business Sector, the Large Manufacturers, the Developer and Real Estate and the Rural Sector all had strong points to make and serious concerns that they wanted addressed.

In the midst of all this is a full time staff that comes to work each day

Moral at city hall cannot be very high. Staff have seen four city managers in a six year period and are now directed by an interim who had some prior experience with city hall; the planning department has seen huge changes, engineering had to deal with The Pier fiasco.

City hall - older pic

Is it the building or the people who work in it that are the problem? Something isn’t right.

Roy Male, a former Executive Director of Human Resources was an active advocate of the municipal sector as a great place to work.

But there are not that many people who will rave about the service they get from city hall. Some of the decisions are just plain stupid.

The Gazette has worked with people in a number of departments and we can say that there are some very good people toiling away on behalf of the public. We have watched a number of those people grow in their jobs, become more skilled and more mature. There are some who are not going to make the grade and there are some who found the environment was just not for them and moved on.

We talked recently to a staffer who moved from a department in city hall to a city service that had operations elsewhere.  He was a happier man and loving the job he was doing.

We talked to one planner who moved into the private sector after saying “the Mayor threw me under the bus”.

Municipalities are where we live, the quality of day to day life is determined to a large degree by the people who work for the city.

We need to be proud of them and they need to give us reason to be proud.

These are good jobs, with good pay scales and great benefits. People who work for a municipality are in place to serve the public. These are not just ordinary jobs – public service is noble work. People might scoff at the use of that word. If a person doesn’t see the job as a noble calling – they are perhaps not in the right industry.

One resident with a high profile and some valuable city hall experience gave serious thought to running for Mayor and decided the place was just too toxic and not likely to change.

Jeff Fielding did his best while he was city manager to create a different ethic and attitude.  When he got an opportunity to work for the city of Calgary which has a great civic administration and one of the best mayors in the country he couldn’t pack fast enough.  He loved the city, returns frequently to play golf with friends – he just might decide to retire in Burlington.

The most recent full time city manager once wrote staff a memo saying that he “had their backs” referring to comments made by the public during the October election.  The role of a city manager is to ensure that the people working under his direction are always accountable to the public.

The objective is to get to the point where a city hall staff member asks: What can I do for you today?

Salt with Pepper is the musings, reflections and opinions of the publisher of the Burlington Gazette.

Related article:

What has been learned so far from the Red Carpet initiative?

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eventspink 100x100By Staff

May 27th, 2019



If there are yoga exercises being done on Sundays then summer weather must be here.

Yoga in civic sqThey were done in Civic Square in the past –they have moved to a location outside the Performing Arts Centre – 440 Locust Street

Kicks-off June 2nd!

Runs every Sunday | 10am – 11am

Fit in the Core is back again for the summer beginning June 2nd! Join us for free fitness featuring a different class & instructor every Sunday outside the Burlington Performing Arts Centre. All you need to bring is a mat & water bottle.

This event will be canceled in the event of rain. Please stay tuned to social media @DTBurlingtonOn (Twitter, Facebook & Instagram) for cancellation announcements in addition to our webpage.

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Just four sports fields closed.

sportsgold 100x100By Staff

May 24th, 2019



The condition of the sports fields is looking a little better.

Baseball glove and ballThe amount of rain the City has had over the past few weeks, (there was a point where more than ten sports fields were closed) the following Grass Multi-use Fields and Ball Diamonds remain closed today:

• Maple Park F1
• Orchard Community Park F1
• Pearson High School West Soccer Field
• Tom Thompson Diamond

All other fields are open.

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Red Carpet Task Force named - given homework and a lot of concerns about changes needed at city hall

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

May 24th, 2019



With the closed meetings with the special interests groups completed, Mayor Marianne Meed Ward moves to the next step in her Red Carpet Red Tape initiative that she announced when she spoke to the Chamber of Commerce in January on her State of the City address.


Mayor Marianne Meed Ward and her Red Carpet co-chair, Councillor Kelvin Galbraith

The Mayor and her co-chair, Councillor Kelvin Galbraith have chosen the people they want to work with as the wade through the xx of comments about the trials and troubles of working with city hall. There were some positive comments.

The following individuals make up the Task Force:

Candace Herod, currently Information Technology Business Manager for Craig Careers and former President of Cogent Technology for 17 years. Candace also spent time working for the City of Hamilton as Project Manager for Housing.

Shann McGrail

Shann McGrail,

Shann McGrail, currently Executive Director at Haltech Regional Innovation Centre. Shann previously spent 12 years at Microsoft Canada and has since held positions focused on developing talent and driving innovation and change in the technology industry.

Don Baxter, a local expert and consultant on economic development and planning projects. Don’s focus has been on developing corporations and projects that act as a bridge between the public and private sectors. Don was previously President & CEO of Mohawk College Enterprise Corporation and past Executive Director of the Burlington Economic Development Corporation (BEDC).

Vince Molinaro

Vince Molinaro

Vince Molinaro, President of Molinaro Group, one of Burlington’s longstanding residential and commercial real estate development groups for over 50 years. Vince helps ensure the development voice is at the table as we know many of our obstacles to business growth impact and affect this group.

Maria Thornton, a local small business owner who brings the small business owner perspective to the table along with experience and expertise as a Controller, CPA and CGA. Maria’s philanthropic leadership involves being former chair of Halton Food for Thought and she is now contributing her time and skills to the Gift of Giving Back.

Jamie Tellier works for the City of Burlington as Manager of Urban Design in the Department of City Building. His tenure here at the City along with his ability to ideate in innovative ways make him a great addition to this team.

Anita Cassidy

Anita Cassidy, Acting Executive Director, Burlington Economic Development Corporation,

Anita Cassidy, Acting Executive Director, Burlington Economic Development Corporation, has been part of this journey from the start and brings a wealth of first-hand knowledge of the challenges of our local business owners to the table.
These were good choices. Having one of the better staff members from city hall on the Task Force and a responsible developer at the table will help. The addition of people with deep municipal experience will also help.

The group was presented with a summary of the feedback provided by the hundreds of business owners who attended the town hall, focus groups and 1-on-1 sessions or provided feedback via email if they were unable to attend.

Key themes were highlighted that had surfaced repeatedly, and anecdotal evidence was discussed around specific examples of challenges, obstacles, and red tape that has made it difficult for existing businesses to thrive, or new businesses to locate here in Burlington.
The Task Force identified the low-hanging fruit that could be:

A. Acted upon or influenced by the City of Burlington
B. Effected in a realistic and timely manner (ideally within my first term as Mayor)
C. Have a worthwhile and lasting impact on a meaningful number of businesses

The Task Force discussed possible solutions that were brought up at past sessions. They looked at the issues and the actions that would best solve them.

The Task Force was given the following homework:

Continue to review the list we discussed.
Think on it.
Reflect on feasibility, impact, and timing.
Expand on it.
Modify it.
Add things.
Remove things.
Do some research.
Talk to others.
Get more insights and information.

The Task Force will reconvene in two weeks to finalize the list of recommendations that we want to bring before Burlington City Council for consideration.

Shape Burlington logoWill whatever report gets put before council share the fate that the Shape Burlington Report got? For the sake of the city – we hope not.

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Candidate who lost his bid to sit in the provincial Legislature wants to lead the Liberal Party.

News 100 redBy Staff

May 24th, 2019



Tedjo talking

Alvin Tedjo

Alvin Tedjo, the Liberal candidate in the provincial election for the Oakville North Burlington seat has announced that he will be running for the leadership of the Ontario Liberal party.

That organization is starting its re-build after the disastrous loss in the June election.

As the only non-former-government candidate in the race, Alvin will bring a fresh voice to the leadership contest. He’s also submitted a constitutional amendment ahead of the OLP AGM. Alvin will be discussing his vision for the party and how that relates to a vision for Ontario at the event on Sunday.


Related news story:

Tedjo wins nomination for Oakville Burlington North seat.

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Strong public response helps police locate and arrest robbery suspect - additional charges laid.

Crime 100By Staff

May 23rd, 2019



The Halton Regional Police Service have identified, arrested and charged a male from Burlington in connection with an armed robbery that occurred on May 16, 2019.

Robbery Suspect gasstation WalkersDuring the investigation it was determined that the same suspect had also committed offences at a local restaurant and motel.
Michael Jess (46) of Burlington has been charged with the following offences:

-Robbery with a Weapon
-Mischief Under $5000
-Fraudulently Obtain Food
-Fail to Comply Undertaking (2 Counts)

Jess was held for a bail hearing on May 21, 2019 and was remanded into custody.

The police had very good responses from many members of the public who assisted in this investigation.

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

Related news story:

Gas station robbery.



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Rivers on computer-based doctor-patient interface - he likes it.

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

May 23, 2019



Seven in ten Canadians say they’d rather speak to their doctor over the internet than have to truck on down to one of those disease-laden offices where one spends more time in the waiting room than with your doctor. Health monitoring technology, most of which is delivered in a laboratory or specialty clinic (ultrasound, X-ray, MRI, etc.), has virtually obviated the need for the traditional annual physical examination.

This doesn’t mean one shouldn’t ever have, and see, a family doctor. But should we stop progress? There was a time when we only read the news in a newspaper. Today anyone reading my column has transitioned to reading on-line. So why can’t we also make the transition from the physical doctor’s visit to a more virtual reality?

Not to diminish the value of front line medicine, but increasingly the family GP has become a gate keeper and medical tour guide. Once a potential health issue has been identified the patient is typically off to a specialist.

So the Canadian Medical Association (CMA), the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (Royal College) and the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) are launching a task force to examine virtual care technology and how it can improve access and quality of care for patients from coast-to-coast-to-coast.

Virtual demo

Demonstration of a computer-based doctor-patient interface.

Hamilton’s own Dr Richard Tytus, a CMA board member, Past President of Hamilton Academy of Medicine and resident physician at Steel City Medical clinic is leading a virtual care project using a computer-based doctor-patient interface. With the assistance of local health support staff, Dr. Tytus conducts limited medical exams for his patients, then diagnoses and prescribes on-line as needed.

Dr. Tytus has largely been focusing on those with mobility challenges, for example patients in nursing homes who can’t easily make the journey to his office. And while he has been successful working with that sub-group of the public, he also sees the potential to generalize this approach for a broader cliental including those with mental health issues, where accessibility and the benefits of immediate attention may be even more valuable.

Still, CMA president Dr. Gigi Osler says one big hold up is the matter of privacy. On-line data is thought to be less secure than files in a doctor’s office or the (hopefully) more protected E-health patient files . It’s one of the reasons your doc may not allow you to schedule an appointment directly over the internet. Dr. Tytus gets around the privacy issue in using his Skype-like appointments by obtaining permissions from the patient at the outset.

Another big hold up is government support. Governments may not simply be convinced of the cost/benefits of Telehealth yet. Ontario has actually slashed e-health spending in its latest budget. And besides the province still has its own, so-called Telehealth phone-in line, which generally defaults to directing you to your local emergency ward, because liability prevents real diagnosis.

Health care is primarily a provincial responsibility operating within the Canada Health Act. But, most provinces don’t even fund real telemedicine, so entrepreneurial medical practitioners and companies like the Maple group, are starting to fill the gap, offering private services.

Even after a century and a half of living together Canada’s provinces still dwell in silos of parochialism, limiting our progress as a nation vis-a-vis the rest of the world. And health care is no exception. One of the promises of Telehealth is the ability to bring the best health care professionals to your screen no matter where you live. But that would mean tearing down artificial provincial barriers.

A medical licence, for example, in one province does not transfer to another. Each province and territory has its own regulatory college and its own set of standards to license its doctors. And yet 9 out of 10 physicians support either a national licensing regime or universal recognition of provincial/territorial license.

It is expected that the joint medical task force will conclude to call on governments to implement a real Telehealth strategy with inter-provincial portability at the heart of any subsequently hatched program. Clearly Telehealth has a future beyond Dr. Tytus’ experiments among senior citizens in Hamilton. The challenge for governments, as always, is to work together to make it happen.

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


Background links:

The Annual Exam

Virtual Care

Ontario Telehealth

Telehealth Task Force

Canada Falling Behind

CMA Sees Hope

Maple Telehealth

Ontario Cuts E-health

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What do you think about the elevators at the Burlington GO station? Metrolinx wants to know

News 100 blueBy Staff

May 22nd, 2019



James Smith just might have come up with a way to use the technologically "swift but financially expensive Presto Card to much wider use.

James Smith just might have come up with a way to use the technologically “swift but financially expensive Presto Card to much wider use.

GO Transit wants to hear from you about using elevators at the Burlington GO station. Complete the survey and be entered in a draw for one of three $50 PRESTO cards.

The survey is online (In French at MetrolinxRecherche.com/c/r/BurlingtonFrench) or by calling 416-869-3200.

Go Transit wants to know more about what people feel they need to get up and down those stairs. The survey results will help GO Transit support passengers who use elevators to access GO services.

Burlington Transit is working with Metrolinx on the survey.

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Halton District School Board take six gold medals at Skills Ontario competition

News 100 redBy Staff

May 23rd, 2019



Seventy Halton District School Board elementary and secondary students participated in the 30th annual Skills Ontario Competition on May 6-8, 2019 in Toronto; a total of six Gold medals earned.

The annual three-day competition is the largest skilled trade and technology competition in Canada with more than 2,400 students participating. A broad range of skills and careers are represented across the manufacturing, transportation, construction, service and technology sectors.

Students representing the HDSB at Skills Ontario first participated in the 30th annual Halton Skills Competition on April 2, 2019 competing with approximately 1,000 elementary and secondary students in Halton. From the HDSB, 40 secondary students advanced to Skills Ontario.

Gold medal finalists (Secondary):
• Landscape Design – Nashwa Bilal, Grade 12 student at Craig Kielburger Secondary School
• Website Development – Mark Hutchison, Grade 12 student at Acton District High School
• Baking – Emma Kilgannon, Grade 11 student at Craig Kielburger Secondary School

Silver medal finalists (Secondary):
• Robotics and Control Systems – Noah Tomkins and Ella Walsh, Grade 12 students at Burlington Central High School
• Computer Aided Manufacturing – Michael Wong, Grade 10 student at Garth Webb Secondary School

Bronze medal finalist (Secondary):
• Electrical Installations – Callum Cornell, Grade 12 student at M.M. Robinson High School

Gold medalists in select contests are eligible to represent Ontario at the Skills Canada National Competition on May 28-29, 2019 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Emma Kilgannon and Mark Hutchison will advance to Skills Canada next week.

Of the elementary teams to advance to Skills Ontario, four out of eight teams placed in the Top 3 in their competition and seven out of eight teams placed in the Top 10 in their competition.

Gold medal finalists (Elementary):
• Technology – Ryan Irvani, Adam Qureshi, Alexis Tervit, and Daniel Zusman, Grade 5-6 students at Oodenawi Public School
• Lego Robotics – Venya Balaji, Manasva Katyal, Arnav Narang, and Meilin Song, Grade 8 students at West Oak Public School
• Video Production – Sam Onay and Bernard Ying, Grade 8 students at E.J. James Public School

Junior VexIQ - Bronze (from L to R) Sarim Khan, Maxwell Zanerips, Aliza Ahmad, Pranav MarthiBronze medal finalist (Elementary):
• VEX IQ Crossover – Aliza Ahmad, Sarim Khan, Pranav Marthi, and Maxwell Zanerips, Grade 6 students at Oodenawi Public School

Top 10 finalists (Elementary):
• Lego Robotics – Silver Creek Public School finished in 5th place (out of 16 teams)
• Green Energy – W.H. Morden Public School finished in 6th place (out of 22 teams)
• VEX IQ Crossover – McKenzie-Smith Bennett Public School finished in 7th place (out of 15 teams)


Gold in Baking - Emma Kilgannon Grade 11 CKSS

Gold Website Development - Mark Hutchison ActonDHS

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Flood Watch notice issued by Conservation Authority - Lake Ontario levels to be high for the next couple of weeks.

Newsflash 100By Staff

May 22nd, 2019



The following weather watch fron Conservation Halton has been issued to Shoreline Municipalities/Region, Emergency Services and School Boards at 12:05 pm.,

Flood watch graphic

The Conservation Authority does not issue this level of warning very often

The latest information provided by the International Lake Ontario – St. Lawrence River Board (ILOSLRB) indicates that Lake Ontario levels will continue to rise over the next several weeks due to record high inflows from Lake Erie combined with reduced outflows from Lake Ontario which are required to limit downstream flooding within the lower St. Lawrence River.

The latest daily mean water level of 75.80 m (IGLD 1985 Datum) is approximately 75 cm above the historical average for this time of year but remains slightly below the highest levels observed in 2017. The latest Lake Ontario water level forecast suggests that there is a 50% chance that the current level could rise an additional 10 cm over the coming week and potentially reach or exceed peak levels recorded in 2017.

Levels are already at critical values in some areas, and there is also the potential for a greater rise depending on additional rainfall amounts.

Longer-term, Lake Ontario water levels are expected to peak and begin to decline within the next few weeks but will remain very high into the summer months.

Storm waves Flemming #4

Structure in the background is the Joseph Brant Hospital that was under construction at the time.

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

This Flood Watch – Lake Ontario Shoreline message will remain in effect until June 5th. Conservation Halton will continue to monitor Lake Ontario wind conditions and lake levels closely and will either terminate this message or issue further updates as necessary.

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Many sports fields are still very soggy - not open for use.

sportsgold 100x100By Staff

May 22, 2019



Due to the amount of rain the City has had over the past few weeks, the following Grass Multi-use Fields and Ball Diamonds remain closed today:

• Berton Park F1
• Berwick Green Park D1
• Brada Woods Park D1
• Brant Hills Park D3, F1, F2, F3
• Clarksdale Park D1
• Frontenac Park F1
• General Brock Park D1
• Ireland Park F3, F4
• Kerns Park D1, D2
• Kilbride Park D1, D3, F1
• Landsdown Park D1, F1
• Leighland Park D1, D2
• Lowville Park D1
• Maple Park F1
• Millcroft Park D3
• Newport Park F1
• Orchard Community Park F1
• Palmer Park F1
• Pearson High School Fields
• Sheldon Park D1, F1
• Sherwood Forest Park D1
• Skyway Park D2
• Tom Thompson Diamond
• Wellington Park F2

All other fields are open.

Not much left to use is there?


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Robbery suspect holds up two women on two occasions brandishing a switch blade knife.

Crime 100By Staff

May 22, 2019



The get-away used by a robbery suspect was a BMX style bike.

BMX type bike

Police describe the bike used by a robbery suspect was a BMX style.

The robberies took place in the New Street Appleby Line area on May 19th and 20th at approximately 10:00 pm

The two occurrences are believed to be related. In both occurrences, the suspect approached female victims while he was riding a BMX-style bike and demanded their money and belongings. The suspect produced a switchblade-style knife during each of the incidents. The suspect is described as:

Male, white, 20-30 years old with blonde/red hair and facial hair. Approximately 160-200 lbs, wearing a black baseball hat, black hooded sweatshirt and dark coloured pants/jeans.

Anyone who may have any additional information pertaining to this investigation, including home or dash-cam video footage of any potential suspect is asked to contact D/Cst. Jacqueline Ross at 905-825-4747 Ext: 2329.
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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Flight Over our Beautiful City just one of the items being auctioned off at St. Christopher's Open Doors on Friday.

eventsred 100x100By Staff

May 21, 2019



Takes place on Friday – one of the most interesting fund raisers you are likely to come across in this community.

Open Doors, taking place at St. Christopher’s Church on Guelph Line has an entertainment line up, a silent auction that includes sightseeing flight over our beautiful city, a northern getaway at a beautiful lakefront cottage or a B&B experience in wine country. You will be amazed by the choices of items on which to bid and the generosity of the donations made by our local businesses.

opendoorsbackgroundOpen Doors is a group of 15 community based programs at St. Christopher’s Church that support our neighbours with Community Food, Families and Parenting, and Community Resources. As a community hub we schedule our programs so that you can access many resources in the same visit.

The Open Doors is one of the ways St.Christopher’s supports these efforts. The evening, May 24th 7:30 to 10 pm is a fun-filled evening of entertainment, delicious food and drink, and a lively silent and live auction. Auction items will include beautiful garden art doors painted by students from the Halton District School Board, an antique wheelbarrow filled with your favourite wines.

They’d love to see you at the Open Doors Gala on May 24, 2019. To purchase tickets please follow this link:

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Hamilton Children’s Choir joins Port Nelson choir for Spring Concert.

eventsblue 100x100By Staff

May 20, 2019



The choir of Port Nelson United Church presents its annual spring concert on Sunday, May 26 at 7:30 p.m.

The concert, entitled Celebrate!, features performances by the Choir of Port Nelson United Church under the direction of Stillman Matheson.

The special musical guests for the evening are the members of the Hamilton Children’s Choir, with artistic director Zimfira Poloz. Accompanists are Brent Fifield and Laura Pin, with trumpeter Nora Nolan.

Choir of Port Nelson United Church

Choir of Port Nelson United Church

“The choir of Port Nelson United Church will be presenting a varied program that will appeal to all lovers of choral music,” said Matheson, director of music at Port Nelson. “The Hamilton Children’s Choir will deliver a memorable performance, as they always do.”

Among the featured works on the program from the Port Nelson choir are Benjamin Britten’s “Jubilate Deo”, three pieces by Toronto composer Eleanor Daley, and Randall Thompson’s “Choose Something Like a Star”. The choir will also perform Mark Sirett’s “O God, Whose First Creative Word” which was commissioned by the Port Nelson choir to commemorate the completion of the Rekindle Project.

Ilumini, the senior choir with Hamilton Children’s Choir, will perform a variety of repertoire spanning many languages, cultures and eras, including Malaysian folk song “Wau Bulan”, arranged by Malaysian-Canadian Tracy Wong, a world premiere by Canadian Steven Webb, “Li Ngu Weko”, and a crowd-pleasing piece in the Mexican huapango style by Stephen Hatfield, “Las Amarillas.”

“Our Ilumini singers have been busy preparing a programme full of surprises for our guest appearance with Port Nelson United Church,” said Poloz. “We are thrilled to share some of our favourite pieces from Europe, the Americas, and Asia, including the premiere of a piece we will bring to Hong Kong on tour this July. We hope that our music makes you breathe deeply, sigh with wonder, and delight in the beauty of young singers sharing their full hearts and voices.”

Port Nelson United Church

Port Nelson United Church

This year’s spring concert honours the memory of Rev. Donald Gillies, a long-time minister with the United Church of Canada who was a member of the Port Nelson congregation in his retirement. Gillies was a talented organist and a proud supporter of the Hamilton Children’s Choir, and his family is generously sponsoring the concert.

“He was a much-loved member of our congregation, and we wanted to honour his life and contributions through music,” said Matheson.

The evening is also a celebration of renewal, as this year, Port Nelson marked the official opening of its newly renovated and accessible sanctuary and community space.

Admission is by a free will offering. All proceeds benefit the ministry of music at Port Nelson United Church.

Port Nelson United Church is located at 3132 South Dr. in Burlington in the heart of the Roseland community.

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John Taylor tells Special Advisors that the growth planned for Halton isn't sustainable.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

May 18th, 2019


mmw watching Taylor

Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward tweets a picture she had taken of John Taylor while he was delegating at the Provincial Review meeting held on Friday.


It wasn’t sustainable and John Taylor wanted the Special Advisors to the Minister of Municipalities and Housing, who were touring the nine Regions that were part of a Provincial Review, to know that his 21 years of experience as a Regional Councillor had led him to the conclusion that in order to meet the 2041 target the Region had been given for population growth there would have to be a 3.25% compound increase in growth to get from the current 550,000 population to the 2041 target of 1million the province was imposing on the Region.

Taylor said it just wasn’t going to be possible to build that kind of infrastructure in 22 years.

The cost to the Region’s taxpayers to develop the infrastructure is not something the property tax base can keep up with.

Taylor didn’t limit his comments to the size of the infrastructure challenge. He pointed out that the Greater Golden Horseshoe is a “province within a province” and that transportation had to be looked at from that perspective.

He told the Special Advisors that transit should be made a Regional responsibility until there was an Authority in place to oversee transit from a Greater Golden horseshoe perspective.


John Taylor in conversation with Halton Region CAO Jane MacCaskill.

John Taylor may no longer be an elected official – he retired from the political scene and did not run in the 2018 municipal election.

Taylor added one comment that should have out a shivers through the few Burlingtonians who were in the room. “The constraints we are under” said Taylor “might mean resorting to greenfield growth”.

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Weather is shutting down parts of several parks - LaSalle and Paletta impacted

News 100 greenBy Staff

May 17th, 2019



If this keeps up the only place you will be able to go to is a bus shelter.

Weather - LaSalle Park Marina

LaSalle Park Marina

The city has closed sections of trail at Paletta Park and LaSalle Park will be closed for an extended period as a result of the wet weather southern Ontario has been receiving this spring.

With Lake Ontario water levels expected to rise over the next few days, one of the two public floating docks at LaSalle Marina will also be closed. One floating dock will remain open to the public this weekend.

Between April 1 and May 13, 226 mm of rain has fallen in Burlington. The average monthly rainfall for April and May combined is 150.3 mm.
Paletta Park

• Sections of trail at the south end of the park, near Lake Ontario, leading to the woodlot are closed due to erosion along the watercourse and at the waterfront.
LaSalle Park

Weather - Trail West trail

Stone Dust Trail, west of the Burlington Sailing and Boating Club

• A section of Stone Dust Trail, west of the Burlington Sailing and Boating Club is closed due to flooding.

• One of the two public floating docks at LaSalle Marina is closed due to flooding.

One floating dock will remain open to the public this weekend.

Murray Cameron, Manager of Park Operations explains: “Even though there is some sun in the forecast this weekend, the water level of Lake Ontario is anticipated to rise further. City staff will continue to monitor the closures daily along the waterfront to ensure trails are safe to access.”

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