The cure for staff insubordination is a big broom in strong hands.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

February 6th, 2019



It may not be case of insubordination but it was a classic case of mis-understanding who calls the shots and how staff should be responding to members of council.

Tuesday evening Mayor Meed Ward asked for some critical information on when a time frame on a development will be reached.

Amica development rendering

Mayor was told to google if she wanted to know when the time line for making a decision on this development would be reached.

The North Shore Road proposed Amica development had just gone through a lengthy Statutory meeting and there was concern that the city would once again fail to get reports from staff in time to ensure that a decision could be made in time.

The Mayor asked planner Lisa Stern when the 210 allows would have been reached. Google it was the response.
The Gazette reporter wasn’t in the room – so can’t say if there was an audible gasp. We did get a response from a reader who commented: “it shows a total lack of respect for the Mayor. I certainly hope someone will speak to her about it.

Stern is due to take some maternity leave. “I have to wonder” said the Gazette reader, “ when she will go on maternity leave – my question is who will take over this file and will it affect the deadline in June for the North Shore Proposed Development?

Burlington’s Planning Department has a history of failing to get a response to a development proposal completed in time which has the developer making an appeal to the Local Planning Act Tribunal for a decision.

Mayor Meed Ward wasn’t going to let that type of thing happen again. She wanted the time line date included in every report that comes to council. Meed Ward wasn’t certain just how that date was determined. Was Sunday counted?

To ask for the information and be told by a staff planner, a junior one at that, to google for the information is insubordination and reflective of the attitude the department has taken when dealing with this new Council.

broomIs there cause for dismissal here? Will the Planning Director have words for the planner? Will there be the much needed cultural re-direction from within the department or will someone with a big broom start doing some sweeping.

The Interim City Manager might begin using that hard glare he is very capable of directing at those he is unhappy with.

Tomorrow would be soon enough for that to begin happening.

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Mayor gets a motion approved - Grow Bold is to be ditched - Planners experience some indigestion with that direction.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

February 6, 2019



In a report to a Council Standing Committee Tuesday evening the Mayor said that “Burlington residents have consistently raised concerns about over-intensification and development in our City. During the 2018 election, they made their voices heard and clearly indicated the need to review the scale and intensity of planned development.”

Tim - Tanner Finance

The Grow Bold, Grow Smart, Grow Beautiful tag line that then Planning Director Mary Lou Tanner (centre in this picture) has now been dumped. Interim city Manager Tim Commisso, on the left has the unenviable task of unwinding that branding. Will he be making staff changes as well?

That was the rationalization she used to bring forward a motion to re-examine the policies of the existing Official Plan that was adopted, though not officially approved, in April of 2018, and review matters of height and density.

The approved but not adopted Official Plan was sent to the Region who sent it back to the city noting that there were “identified areas of non-conformity”. City council, and the Planning department needed more in the way of clarity from the Region.

Staff from the Planning department, the legal department along with the interim city manager and the Mayor met at length with the Regional planners – Burlington does not yet appear to have the clarification they are seeking.

MMW arms out - thank you

She did win and she is going to do it her way.

The Mayor did say that “Once the region identified areas of non- conformity, that stopped the clock on approving the new Official Plan and opened the plan up for any other matters of discussion. This allows our council the time to define what areas we want to study, undertake that work, consult with the community, and send back a comprehensive plan. We expect that plan to truly reflect the needs, best interests and vision of the community and its elected council.”

Mayor Meed Ward presented a motion that she said would “provide absolute clarity to staff and to the community that the City of Burlington staff are not to use the adopted 2018 plan in evaluating current/new development applications. Multiple analyses by staff in assessing development applications, downtown in particular, have made it clear we do not need to over intensify in order to meet our obligations under the Places To Grow legislation.

Grow bold - front door

Will the Grow Bold “branding” be removed from the office door by the end of the week? The Mayor just might take it upon herself to do that ask by herself.

Meed Ward once again put out the word that the city “will immediately discontinue use of the “Grow Bold” term and related branding to ensure we are absolutely clear on our direction.”

The motion brought forward by the Mayor read:

1. Direct the Director of City Building to immediately commence a process to re-examine the policies of the Official Plan adopted April 26, 2018 in their entirety related to matters of height and intensity and conformity with provincial density targets.

2. Direct the Director of City Building to send a letter in respect of the Official Plan adopted by Council on April 26, 2018, to the Region of Halton acknowledging receipt of the
Region’s Notice of Statement of Opinion of Non-Conformity with the Regional Official Plan dated December 4, 2018 and requesting sufficient time to address the conformity issues identified.

3. Direct the Director of City Building that until such time as the modifications that result from the work being undertaken in (1) and (2) above are brought forward and adopted by Council and sent to the Region for approval, that the adopted OP policies not be given weight in evaluating development applications that may be processed in the interim period.

4. Direct the Director of City Building to report back to the Planning and Development Committee meeting in March to provide a progress update on the Official Plan work plan with key milestone dates, public engagement plan, budget and resource requirements.

5. Direct the City Manager to discontinue the use of the “Grow Bold” brand.

In presenting the Motion Meed Ward said she wanted a unanimous vote – she did get unanimity but not without some arm wrestling from Councillor Sharman.

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Rivers: Coming your way - The Nasty Political Ads Season

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

February 6th, 2019



“The most divisive and negative and nasty political campaign in Canada’s history”

That was Justin Trudeau’s prediction for the upcoming federal election as he addressed a Liberal fundraiser last October. And he only had to wait a couple of months to see his prophesy come true.

About a week ago federal Conservative leader Andrew Scheer posted an ad on his Facebook and Twitter accounts which can only be compared to the one PM, Kim Campbell, released on national TV during the 1993 federal election.


Politicians do what they think they have to do to either win public office or retain the office they hold. Kim Campbell didn’t hold the office of Prime Minister for very long.

Campbell’s ad asserted that Chretien would be an embarrassing PM for Canada because he had a facial birth deformity compromising how he appeared and spoke. Campbell, to her credit, apologized and cancelled the ad the following day.

She claimed she hadn’t actually seen the ad, having trusted her campaign team to save her harmless. That was a huge mis-judgement on her part and it helped cost her the election. In fact she presided over the biggest election loss in the history of the Progressive Conservative party – going down to two seats. But that didn’t stop the Tories from using nasty ads in their election campaigns.

Mr. Harper was a little subtler when he went after Liberal leader Stephane Dion, who suffered from what appeared to be panic attacks that spoiled his messaging in either official language. Harper’s ad focused on images of a man struggling for words and thereby depicting the otherwise polished and professional Dion as an inexperienced bumbler. And in this case it worked.

It should be no surprise then that Harper’s protege would follow his lead. But unlike Campbell who pleaded ignorance, Scheer’s hands are all over the recent attack ad. After all who but Scheer had posted them directly onto his personal social media pages.


Politicians can sometimes be just a little too cute. Andrew Scheer at his cutest?

Mimicking the popular Historica Canada produced ‘Heritage Minutes’ which appear regularly on CBC, his ad focused on Trudeau’s occasional stutter or shortness of breath. Whatever the cause, this is something we had all witnessed during the three leaders’ debates in the last federal election. Stutter or not, the voters who gave him a majority government would have to say Mr. Trudeau won those debates.

So what does it say about Scheer, the wannabe PM, that he doesn’t get it? It’s supposed to be about what you say and not how you say it. Canadian voters respect fair play. By all means attack Mr. Trudeau for what he stands for and what he has done, but don’t just expect voters to flock to you because you denigrate your opponent for a physical imperfection, or whatever a stutter is.

Historica ad

The Conservative Party created this attack ad parody of a popular TV segment called Heritage Minutes. Historica Canada requested it be deleted, and it subsequently was.

And talk about slow learning. After the non-partisan Historica Canada complained vigorously about this cheap stunt compromising their own integrity, Sheer took down the ad. Then he posted it almost immediately, minus any direct reference to the Heritage Minutes.

Then Scheer removed it again, finally concluding that it was inappropriate. Had the intent of this little caper been to showcase the competence of the new Tory leader, all it demonstrated was nastiness, poor judgement and indecisiveness.

Historica Canada is still waiting for a simple apology. And so is the Prime Minster as are the rest of us Canadians.

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:

Heritage Minutes –    Chretien Ad –     Dion Ad

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Family Day - the 18th - Include the Trumpeter Swans at LaSalle Park.

eventsgreen 100x100By Staff

February 6th, 2019



They are the largest swans in the world, native only to North America and they have made an amazing comeback from the brink of extinction. On Family Day, Monday, February 18th, come to LaSalle Park, in Burlington, to meet the Trumpeter Swans and hear their amazing story of conservation success.

Trumpeter swan - Family DayThe event will be held between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. when members of the Trumpeter Swan Restoration Group and the Trumpeter Swan Coalition will be on hand to introduce you to these magnificent birds that have fought their way back from extinction with the help of a group of dedicated volunteers. Hear the Trumpeter Swans’ amazing stories and learn more about them from the team of women who band and tag the birds.

The event will be held along the shoreline of Lasalle Park, 831 Lasalle Park Road. Booths will be set up near the boat launch. Banders and taggers will be working in the beach area. LaSalle Park is the largest over-wintering site for Trumpeter Swans in Ontario. Between 125 to 200 Trumpeters gather near the harbour from December to March.

The event is free. All ages welcome. Dogs make the Trumpeters nervous so please leave your pets at home.

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Black history a big part of Burlington's Heritage month.

News 100 redBy Staff

February 5th, 2019



February is Heritage Month in Burlington.


Empire Loyalist Union cemetery in Aldershot. The Ghent’s were a significant family when Burlington was known as Wellington Square.

The City of Burlington’s Heritage Committee has been busy planning another exciting Heritage Month, Topics and events will include Black history, First Nations, Freeman Station, Burlington architecture, movies, panel discussions, stories and more. The full calendar listing is at and

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward said: “Great cities aren’t made overnight. Our connections to the underground railroad, First Nations, the industrial revolution and, of course, our contributions to the great wars are well documented. Thanks to the efforts of the Burlington Heritage Month Committee and Heritage Burlington, they are also becoming well-told.”

Howard Bohan, Chair, Heritage Burlington had this to say:

“We are proud to offer such interesting and diverse historical and educational opportunities. Special thanks to the Burlington Heritage Month Committee and to Martha Hemphill of the United Empire Loyalists Association for her leadership.”

Black History Month is bringing the African and Caribbean immigrant experience to this city.

Ancilla Ho Young

Ancilla Ho Young takes part in an unveiling of noted Black citizens. She is with Mayor Meed Ward and an unidentified person.

Burlington Caribbean Connection, in partnership with the City of Burlington, Halton Regional Police Service, both Halton school boards and the Halton Multicultural Council, is staging its third annual Black History Month Celebrations with two events in February.

The play Once On This Island, is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. (doors open at 6 p.m.) at Nelson High School.

Once On This Island is a Caribbean version of Hans Christian Anderson’s tale of the Little Mermaid. It’s described as a colourful musical tale of love, loss and redemption performed by a group of Caribbean peasants as they wait out a violent storm.

The story tells of a young peasant girl who leaves her village in search of her love. It is the peasants’ version of what became of her, filtered through faith and imagination, music, drama, love and race.

Admission to the event is free but a donation box will be available to help fund events for next year. If you would like to attend but did not receive an invitation, call 905-332-9098 to reserve a seat, or send an e-mail to:

The Halton District School Board celebrates Black History Month as a tremendous opportunity for our students to learn more about, and for our schools to highlight, the very significant contributions Black Canadians have made to the very fabric of Canada,” says Stuart Miller, Director of Education for the Halton District School Board.

Viola ten dollar bill

The $10 bill was released by the Mint to celebrate the contribution Viola Desmond made to progress for Black people in the Maritimes. The Halton District School Board named a school after the woman

“In addition to the teaching that takes place all year, the month of February provides students even greater exposure and deeper learning into the many achievements of African Canadians. As a Board, we are so proud to have two of our elementary schools named after individuals who courageously stood up for civil rights in Canada (Viola Desmond PS) and bravely brought freedom to thousands of people escaping slavery through the Underground Railroad (James W. Hill PS).”

Some of the events taking place at Halton schools to celebrate Black History Month include:

• Robert Bateman HS (Burlington): Dwayne Morgan, a spoken word artist and motivational speaker, will visit the school on Feb. 21. He will conduct a Black History Jeopardy workshop where students can answer a series of Black History questions.

• Anne J. MacArthur PS (Milton): Students and staff will be led through a lively assembly on Feb. 5 by the organization Stay Driven, in which students and staff will learn about Black Canadian history.

• James W. Hill PS (Oakville): On Feb. 6, Inspiration Republic will host three performances at the school featuring the life stories of historical African Canadians: James W. Hill, Viola Desmond, Mary Ann Shadd, and Elijah McCoy.

• Ethel Gardiner PS (Halton Hills): On Feb. 7, Babarinde Williams will lead Grade 3-8 students and staff through a presentation about Black Canadian heroes. Kindergarten to Grade 2 students will participate in a drumming workshop, led by Williams.

Celebrating Black History Month aligns with the Equity and Well-being goals contained in the Halton District School Board’s Multi-Year Plan. The goal is to ensure every student learns in a respectful culture of high expectations that values diversity, and that students will see themselves reflected in their learning.

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Hydro report kept in the dark; did all the Council members actually read the document ?

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

February 5th, 2019



The City’s 10-year Capital Financing Strategy is heavily dependent on both annual dividends and interest on the note receivable from Burlington Hydro – but the financial statements weren’t given even a wink at the Standing Committee Monday night. The report will get looked at again at a city council meeting on February 25, 2019.

Last night the best council could do was Receive and file finance department report F-04-19 regarding the 2019 Business Plan for Burlington Hydro.

Burlington Hydro is owned by the city – 100% of it.

Burlington Hydro Inc (BHI) and Burlington Electricity Services Inc (BESI) are affiliate companies both of which are 100% owned by Burlington Hydro Electric Inc (BHEI). BHEI is 100% owned by the Corporation of the City of Burlington.

BHI is a regulated company, regulated by the Ontario Energy Board (OEB). It is a local distribution company (LDC) with a mandate to deliver electricity within the municipal boundaries of the City of Burlington. BHI applies for and receives approval from the regulator to charge for its services.

BESI is a non-regulated company and engages is those aspects of BHEI’s business which are not regulated. Under contract from BESI, BHI provides water/waste water billing services for the Region of Halton.

The core strategic objectives for 2019 are:

• Optimize revenue – guiding current and capital maintenance expenditures and preparing BHI for the next rate application.

• Survey and Consult Employees – regarding job engagement and develop actions to improve employee satisfaction and productivity.

• Refine and develop education tools for customers – to help with customer and staff education on prevailing issues and differentiate between issues BHI can and cannot control.

• Institute a culture of continuous improvement – identify areas where effectiveness of the organization can be improved.

• Pursue opportunities to grow revenues – through non-regulated activities

• Halton first preference – although none are currently underway this would be key to any merger discussions

There is a lot of corporate happy talk in those strategic objectives.

The strategic principles that support the objectives are:

• Does not impact negatively on the projected dividends to the City.

• Add value for the City, either through increased ownership in the short term or increased dividends in the longer term.
• Positions the utility strategically for the future.

• Retains control. Any transaction must allow the City to retain full control of the ownership of the utility.

In a report that sets out an overview of the 10-year business plan for the next ten fiscal years will xxxfive fiscal years during which time frame GET THE NUMBERS IN HERE one would have liked to know that a) all the council members have actually read the report and b) that they have something inteligent to say.

Forecasted net income for the next ten years is presented as follows:

Net income

Forecasted net income for the hydro operation.

The 2018 update presents a positive variance of $114k from budget of earnings before tax of $4.482M with the update showing $4.596M

Factors affecting the 2018 forecast are as follows:

• Distribution revenue is forecast to drop below budget by ($206k). This is primarily attributable to energy conservation programs which have been mandated over 14 years. The programs decrease the needs of the larger commercial/industrial customer base.

• Other revenue is forecast to exceed budget by $869k. Two sources of revenue were unbudgeted but are included in the update. These are $185k of revenue for Milton Hydro Control Room Services and $926k in CDM (conservation demand management) bonus’ for achieving target. An offset to these increases was the OEB mandated winter moratorium on collection fees.

• Operating expenses are forecast to be over budget by ($764k). Among the significant factors are:

• Control Room and overtime costs were adversely impacted ($270k) due to weather events that caused power outages.

• Overtime hours were needed for the implementation of the Milton Control Room services contracted. These costs are one-time in nature.

• The Distribution/Lines Department also incurred additional costs in labour and materials to restore power from the weather events. ($176k)

Paletta bldg on fire

The fire at the Paletta site left Burlington Hydro stuck with an unpaid electricity bill.

• Billing and Collecting will exceed budget by ($265k). A fire and resulting receivership of a commercial customer resulted in a ($248k) write off in 2018. Legal remedies are being pursued to recover the funds. The fire was the blaze that took place at the Paletta Tender Foods operation.

The 2019 budget shows a reduction in net income over the 2018 update. The most significant area contributing to this reduction is in miscellaneous revenues.

The 2018 update includes $926k of CDM mid-term bonus which was not included in the budget. Also, there is a reduction of ($350k) due to the OEB proposal to eliminate the utilities charges for collection notices. The last two years saw a moratorium on winter disconnects and collection charges.

The results achieved by BHI are of importance to the shareholder as the dividends flowing to the shareholder from BHEI are composed of earnings from BHI and BESI.

In keeping with BHI’s Asset Management strategy the capital budget and forecast identifies projects that are part of its sustaining capital budget as well as ensuring that Burlington has an adequate supply of electricity.

These include:

• Customer demand projects including connecting new customers, building new subdivisions and relocating system plant for roadway construction work.

• Renewal which focuses on replacement of assets that have reached end of useful life. New assets require less maintenance, deliver better reliability and reduce safety risks to the public.

• Security which could include adding switching devices or creating a backup feeder supply to reduce the risk to typical restoration times.

• Reliability which supports maintenance of or improvement to the Service Quality indices measured and submitted to the OEB each year.

• Substations which are invested in to improve or maintain reliability to large numbers of customers and to maintain security and safety at the substation sites.

The renewal or retirement of Burlington Hydro’s 4.16 kV substations is part of the annual review undertaken as part of the Asset Management strategy.

• Customer Connections and metering include meter installations, meter upgrades and the capital components of wholesale and retail meter verification activities.

There are also special projects which are outside the sustaining capital program. These are:

• Capacity improvements for new customer connections and increased demand of existing customers.

• Developer Buybacks which involves BHI purchasing new subdivision assets as they are put in place by developers.

• Regulatory Requirements which are system capital investments driven by regulatory requirements. These directions may come from the OEB, IESO, the Ministry of Energy or the Ministry of the Environment.

Forecasted capital expenditures from the Business Plan are presented in the following chart:

Capital expenditures
BHI Forecasted Capital Expenditures (2019-2028)

The 2019 capital budget has been developed using data from the asset management plan. The focus on maintaining the distribution system remains.

Some significant capital projects for the 2019 capital program are:
• Tremaine TS – $2.5 million
• Pole Replacements – $200k
• Underground primary projects – Burlington Hydro confers with the various Municipal authorities and local developers in planning the capital budget based on upcoming Municipal and Developer driven projects involving hydro relocations and infrastructure upgrades. The following has been identified for 2019:

-$900k to service the downtown core underground development.

Construction cost will be partially funded through capital contributions from developers of $500k.

Burlington GO south side

The electrification of the GO service will have a significant impact on the hydro operation.

• As part of the Metrolinx Corridor Electrification project, Burlington Hydro is required to bury all of its existing overhead crossings. The $5.1 million construction costs will be partially funded through a $5 million capital contribution from Metrolinx. BHI will be responsible for the balance which is the replacement of additional underground ductwork. There are other significant capital projects related to the Corridor Electrification such as construction of new overhead termination poles and temporary pole line relocation to facilitate construction of a new railway underpass at Burloak Drive. The capital costs for the additional work will be covered by Metrolinx.
Other projects in the budget are as a result of BHI’s annual electrical distribution system inspection.


Retained earningsDrop in retained earnings graphic
(i) Retained Earnings
BHI continues to forecast retained earnings growth that represents value of increased ownership in a larger company. The following chart illustrates retained earnings growth forecast in the first five years of the 2019 business plan:

Projected Retained Earnings

(ii) Long Term Debt
Funding has been in place with Infrastructure Ontario since 2010 for financing the Smart Meter program. This loan has a 15-year amortization period at a fixed rate of 4.51%. A second loan that assisted with financing the Hydro One Transformer Station capital contributions has a 25-year amortization period at a fixed rate of 4.02%.

The 2017 Budget included a new term loan of $7M with a 15-year amortization to provide a matching of long-term funds against BHI capital expenditures. The first draw down of the loan was December 15, 2018. Rate was to be set at draw down. The current fixed rate is expected to be 3.62%. Since the 2013 loan, the company has used working capital to finance capital expenditures. The additional long-term debt will ensure that both existing working capital and short-term operating credit is sufficient to cover working capital needs in 2019.

The forecast also includes the costs of maintaining a $10m operating line of credit for working capital needs and an $18M letter of credit facility to cover prudential requirements related to the monthly power bill with the IESO. The operating line includes an option to increase the amount to $25m.


BESI is the sister company to the distribution company BHI. Unlike BHI, which is closely regulated by the OEB, BESI operates as an unregulated business. Its divisions include:

Streetlights – In July 2017 BESI was successful in signing the Street light contract with the City of Burlington. The contract involves the supply and installation of LED Luminaries to replace existing high-pressure sodium street lights. The 2018 update includes revenues and costs for Phase 3 and 4 as well as additional revenues from miscellaneous maintenance work assigned by the City. As the project was expected to be complete by the end of 2018, only minimal profits have been incorporated in the 2019 plan.

The Downtown Business Association used to support this effort financially - they had to cut back - Burlington Hydro took up the slack. So what is is that BDBA does for their members?

Operating costs and depreciation of $80,000 for these lights in Spencer Smith Park: that’s a pretty penny – is their value for money in this ?

Festival of Lights Division – This division contains the annual costs of operating the Festival of Lights net of any sponsor donations. 2019 forecasts donations of $21k against operating costs/depreciation of $80k.

Region Billing Division – provides water billing services for the Region of Halton. The contract was renewed in June 2018 for a five-year period with renewal options. The contract is expected to contribute a net margin of $784k in 2019.

Solar Array Division – Its revenues are derived from a solar array which was connected in 2012 to the City’s Fire hall 8. General maintenance of the array is the division’s operating costs.

Vehicle Charging Station Division – The uptake for new EV charging stations has not materialized as had been budgeted. Operating costs are being incurred for marketing and promotion. The budget for 2019 includes 10 residential units, 25 Multi-unit residential units and 10 commercial chargers. A net loss of ($7k) is forecast.

Hydro Cogen Hydro Sept 29-15

The co-generation operation heats and cools some of the hydro operation offices.

Other operating divisions of BESI include the Co-Generation Division which holds the Mobile Turbine Co-Generator located at the Brant Street Office. This was initially set up as a Community Energy Plan demonstration project.

Hydro operations centre

The Hydro operations Centre – they also manage the Milton system.

The Control Room Division provides control room monitoring for Milton Hydro. The Suite Metering Division includes user fees generated from 85 gas and water suite meters acquired from Oakville Hydro in late 2018.

Overall net income after tax is forecast to have a positive variance of $40k. This is primarily the result of the street light lamp retrofit project.

Net income for 2019 is budgeted at $507k, a decline of ($66k) from the 2018 update which is primarily due to the completion of the retrofit project.

Annual dividends paid to the shareholder are composed of dividends from BHI operations, BHI working capital and BESI net income. The dividends forecast are consistent with those in the 2018 budget and 10-year forecast.

Dividend flow

The total dividends to be received by BHEI for the years 2021-2028 are $50k/year higher than the dividend being passed onto the City. The additional dividend is being retained by BHEI to provide working capital to cover administrative costs.

Dividends received from BHEI contribute to the City’s capital plan, in particular, for legacy projects such as the Burlington Performing Arts Centre.

Regulatory/Political Risk

Hydro mess with Ford at podium

Premier Doug Ford used what he called the hydro mess to get himself elected – then lost an opportunity for Hydro One to acquire a major hydro operation in the western United States. One never knows what the Premier will do next.

As a regulated business, BHI is subject to the direction of Government legislated boards and committees. With the change in provincial government in the 2018 election, changing energy policy introduces risk and uncertainty into the electricity industry. Initiatives, most recently the Ontario Fair Hydro Plan and the cancellation of the Cap and Trade program, can be introduced unpredictably and simultaneously put pressure on BHI’s resources and create pricing change for BHI’s customers. This in turn introduces shareholder risk due to the reliance the City has on dividends from the utility.

Cost of Service Review

The OEB has established a five-year cycle in which the local distribution companies must undergo a full “cost of service” review. BHI filed a cost of service application in 2014. As a result of the cost of service review, the City was impacted by having the interest rate on the promissory note dropped from 5.87% to 4.88%. The original interest rate on the note was 7.25%. City staff have taken a conservative approach in the cash flow forecast for the capital program. The next cost of service review is expected to occur for 2020 rates. The 2019 business plan forecasts the interest rate on the note to decline in 2021 from 4.88% to 4.16%.

The following outlines actual cash flow received by the City from BHEI:

Cash flow to the city


It is through BESI, the unregulated company, that the shareholder has opportunities for strategic initiatives. BESI has set out as part of its overall business strategy to pursue in-scope services and new business ventures. Services that might be pursued would be intended to minimize risk to the taxpayers while representing an opportunity to establish and/or enhance existing common or shared services.

Working strategically with Hydro management presents the City with an opportunity to find creative solutions that will ensure fiscal sustainability.

BESI has engaged in the sale of water and gas metering for a condo in Burlington. This could include thermal metering in the future. This can be used as the model to expand a full package of metering services to existing and future condo developments. It represents an exciting opportunity to expand and sustain a new business stream for the company.

Infrastructure Ontario Loan
The Infrastructure Ontario Loans require that the City sign a subordination agreement which subordinates the City’s position as a debt holder. The agreement also includes certain covenants and restrictions that could affect the City’s ability as shareholder to sell or otherwise dispose of the asset. However, the City has executed such agreements in the past as the risk is considered relatively low.

Financial Matters:
The dividend forecast to the City remains consistent with that of the 2018 budget and forecast.

The Hydro reserve fund, which receives funds from Hydro as dividends from BHEI and interest on the promissory note from BHI, is integral to the city’s capital program. It provides and on-going allocation of $2.1 million annually to the capital budget for infrastructure renewal and allows for the issuance of Special Circumstances debit (SCD).

Sims Square

Hydro money was used to pay for the purchases of the Sims Square building – which meant the city wasn’t going to be building a new city hall for at least a decade.

In recent years it has also been used to fund major unplanned capital initiatives in the city such as the purchase of Sims Square and the storm water flood mitigation projects. The Hydro reserve fund also provides $350,000 annually to the operating budget.

BHEI has identified areas in the City’s 25-year strategic plan where it has a role to play in aiding the City to realize the strategic vision. These are:

• Energy-efficient buildings and other onsite sustainable features are the norm, thereby improving Burlington’s environmental footprint. Existing buildings are being renovated to improve efficiency.

• Create employment lands vision to unite the community, developers and industry

• 15,000 new knowledge-based jobs by 2025 Environmental Leadership

• The city’s operations are net carbon neutral.

• The city achieves its major goals outlined in the Community Energy Plan

• Better environmental outcomes to improve quality of life, economic competitiveness and foster civic pride.

Some observations:
Hydro is critical to the economic health of the city.

Hydro is basically a closed operation; its meetings are not open to the public and the public relations people are pretty tight lipped unless they are patting themselves on the back for something they did with your money.

Hydro service throughout North America are undergoing a process of consolidation. A hydro operation north of Burlington is working through a process of considering various consolidation possibilities; they reached out to Burlington Hydro asking if they would be interested in participating in those conversations. The Gazette was told that Burlington didn’t even respond to the request.

The cost of cleaning up this kind of storm damage is more than the municipal tax base can bear. Municipalities look to province and federal government for financial support.

Miller Road during the 2013 ice storm. The hydro team delivered superb service during a tough period of time.

The change in the size of the hydro operations is underway – Burlington Hydro seems to want to take a pass – should they do that – it is Burlington that will get passed.

On the upside – those who experienced that ice storm in 2013 – few will forget the incredible job that hydro did to get service back up and running in pretty short order.

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Higher water levels and the flow rate in the 13 creeks that run through the city; Not a place for children.

News 100 greenBy Staff

February 5th, 2019



That rain will flow into creeks in the northern part of the city and works its way towards Lake Ontario – raising the water levels and the flow rate in the 13 creeks that run through the city.

Not a place for children.

Watershed conditions

Caution – and keep the kids away from creek edges.

Conservation Halton advises that areas of the watershed are forecast to receive up to 5 mm of precipitation. Air temperatures are expected to remain above freezing overnight and into early Tuesday. An additional weather system is forecast to bring further precipitation on Wednesday and Thursday of this week including freezing rain, ice pellets and snow.

Forecasted precipitation in addition to melting snow has resulted in increased water levels and flows within our rivers and streams which will continue over the next several days. The combination of slippery and unstable banks, unsafe ice and cold water temperature will create hazardous conditions close to any river, stream or other water bodies. In addition, ice breakup may result in blockages at bridges and culverts producing localized flooding concerns in low lying areas.

Water levels in watershed creeks will rise significantly during the weekend. Caution around the edges of creeks - especially with children.

Water levels in watershed creeks will rise significantly during the next few says.  Caution around the edges of creeks – especially with children.

Widespread flooding is not anticipated, however fast flowing water and flooding of low lying areas and natural floodplains may be expected.

Conservation Halton is asking all residents and children to stay off ice covered bodies of water and keep a safe distance from all watercourses and structures such as bridges, culverts and dams. Elevated water levels, fast flowing water, and slippery conditions along stream banks continue to make these locations extremely dangerous. Please alert children in your care of these imminent dangers.

Conservation Halton will continue to monitor stream and weather conditions and will issue an update to this Watershed Condition Statement –Water Safety message as conditions warrant.

This Watershed Condition Statement will be in effect through Friday February 8, 2018.

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Trumpeter swans get attention during a council meeting to hear public concerns about the budgets.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

February 5th, 2019



It was a short meeting.  Scheduled as an occasion to take a deeper look at the budgets being developed for the 2019 tax year – there was just the one delegation – that from,James Sisson, a retired city hall employee who finally got to make a delegation directly to city council. As a city employee he didn’t make delegations.

Steve on budget

James Sisson

His concern was to urge Council not to pass a tax increase of more than 5% – Mayor Meed Ward told Sessions that the Finance department has put forward a budget with a 3.99% increase and that she was looking for a way to get that number down to 2.99%

Liz Benniean Trumpeters

Liz Benneian, spokesperson for the Trumpeter Swan coalition.

The meeting heard a delegation from Liz Benneian, spokesperson for the Trumpeter Swan coalition. She gave a brief review of the history of the swans and why they are here in Burlington. Benneian told council that there are about 1000 trumpeter swans and that they have been in Canada for the past 35 years. There was a time when the birds were basically extinct – a citizen retrieved some eggs and had them hatched – the beginning of the flock in Burlington. More on that when we can get a copy of the delegation – it’s quite a story.


City Council heard a detailed delegation on the Trumpeter Swans that hang out at LaSalle Park.

The delegation was significantly different than past delegations when a former council member would hammer delegations over the damage the swans did to LaSalle Park. It was a different story last night – even Councillor Sharman had kind words for the delegation.

Council meetings frequently place what are called “consent: items on the agenda; these are items that are passed without comment but can be pulled from the consent list and debated should a council member want to do so.

The Burlington Hydro financial statements were approved on consent. They will go to Council later in the month. Burlington Hydro is owned by the city – it produces a very healthy dividend each year and has a reserve fund that has been reported to be at $48 million.

More than $4 million was drawn from that reserve fund to pay for the improvements to the LaSalle Park Marina.

The Gazette will take a closer look at the financial report.

It was a quiet, short meeting – with one little gem of information. When Liz Benneian told council that there was a plaque elsewhere in the province celebrating the Trumpeter Swan that was the core of the flock in Burlington the Mayor asked why there wasn’t a plaque in Burlington. Benneian explained that the swan had been killed at Lake Simcoe. “We will have to fix that”, said the Mayor.

Trumpeter swans x3

Trumpeter swans – large flock call LaSalle Park home.

Expect to see an event at LaSalle Park where the Mayor will unveil a plaque celebrating “pig pen”; a Trumpeter Swan who apparently recognized and responded to his name when it was called out.

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Feilders offers a different and very detailed perspective on the pilot tree bylaw that is to go into effect in Roseland

opiniongreen 100x100By Jim Feilders

February 4th, 2019



During a presentation at the Burlington Seniors Centre by Burlington Urban Forestry staff and Ward 4 Councilor Stolte said she would like to complete the pilot faster than the two year period.

The Urban Forestry manager indicated many benefits including what Toronto has recognized – shading. Changes since 2013 when Council did not support a private tree bylaw – the ice storm, flood, wind storm and Emerald Ash Borer resulted in Council changing their minds. Roseland was chosen for a number of reasons and data will be gathered for analysis.

A proposed Private Tree Bylaw Pilot was approved at the Committee of the Whole March 19, 2018.  The proposed pilot will be a two-year project for the Roseland Area, starting March 2019, and finishing March 2021.

Roseland tree boundaries 2019

The Roseland area is bordered by Guelph Line to the west, New Street to the north, Roseland Creek to the east, and Lake Ontario to the south.

This exciting initiative is based on a recommendation from the city’s Urban Forest Management Plan that was developed in 2010.

This program will aid in preserving valuable urban forest assets in an effort to maintain and grow a healthy and vibrant community resource into the future.

The bylaw will allow for some flexibility for private property owners, yet includes restrictions based on preserving heritage and “significant” trees. Replacement plantings are important for ongoing sustainability of Burlington’s Urban Forest, and are proposed for trees greater than 30cm (1 foot) diameter at breast height (dbh).

The 30 cm exemption was based on a survey of other municipalities and felt it was a moderate approach.
Boundary trees are also addressed.

Exemptions will be allowed for specific instances including emergency work; trees posing high risk as deemed by a Certified Arborist; ash tree removals, or removals allowed under the Planning Act.

At the end of the two-year pilot period, a review of the Bylaw will be undertaken, with a report to Council, including the feasibility of further rollout city-wide, and resource implications. The bylaw will be enforced by The Manager of Urban Forestry and any designate, who will have the authority to:

• Issue Tree Permits

• Issue work orders directing as to how authorized work is to be conducted. The authority to issue work orders shall also include the authority to order a stoppage of work

Burlington’s Strategic Plan identifies expansion of the urban forest to be a key action item in our strategic direction of a Healthy and Greener city.

The bylaw requires applicants to submit an application to the Manager of Urban Forestry or their designate with the following information:

• A Tree Protection Plan acceptable to the Manager of Urban Forestry or designate, identifying the trees to be injured or destroyed, and including size, species, condition and location; the trees to be kept; and measures to be taken for the preservation of remaining trees on the site

• The permit fee

• A proposed for tree replacement planting plan

• Confirmation that tree protection fencing around city trees is done so in accordance with the city’s Standard Specification for Tree Protection and Preservation (SS-12A)

• A schedule of proposed site inspections to be completed by the project arborist

• Project scope including but not limited to an explanation of proposed demolition (if applicable), construction, equipment used, timing, detailed explanations of any applicable work within tree preservation zones

• Boundary trees located within three metres on both sides of a mutual lot line require a letter of agreement signed by the adjacent neighbor(s); or documentation from the Project Arborist that the proposed work will not negatively impact the tree in question

• Any additional relevant information
Applications and all necessary paperwork can be submitted to Roads, Parks and Forestry at 3330 Harvester Rd. Burlington, Ontario or by email at

1. Applications will be reviewed by Forestry staff and the applicant will be notified of any missing items. Forestry staff will respond to the applicant within five business days.

2. If the application is complete, a site meeting will be scheduled to discuss acceptance or denial of application, further modifications needed, and subsequent securities and/or compensation costs to be incurred by the applicant.

3. Upon approval of the application, the applicant is required to provide payment to the City of Burlington for the required security and compensation amount per the bylaw and indicated in the approved arborist report and preservation plan.

4. A Tree Permit will be provided to the applicant which must be displayed on the property in view from the road.

$100 per tree to be removed or injured up to a maximum of $500.

There is no cost for ash tree removal; however, replacement trees are still required.

When a tree permit has been granted, all owners are required to replace trees that are proposed to be removed, or pay cash-in-lieu of replacement of $700 per replacement tree:

Diameter Class (Removed Tree) No. of Replacement Trees Required

Diameter chart

The manager said the real results of such a bylaw are the withdrawal of applications. People rethink the removal of trees.

This could skew the statistics to be analyzed as there will be fewer trees removed and less statistically significant data)

Q1. How was replacement size determined?
Ans. Picked the middle of the road from other municipalities as a good starting point.
Q2. Why no fir trees protected?
Ans. Not a Carolinian tree so no need to protect.
Q3. How soon will City respond?
Ans. Within 5 days initially.
Q4. Kudos for bylaw. What is age of 30 cm tree?
Ans About 30 to 50 years
Q5. Could we go lower like Oakville?
Ans Yes they have 15 cm
Q6. Where is money to take care of City trees?
Ans Using a 7 year rotation throughout the city so every area gets pruning once every 7 years. Now that risk assessment is done should be able to do better.
Q7. Very costly to haul excavated basement fill off site in order to protect trees. Can’t protect all trees as some are in the way of a house. Can trees in building envelope be removed?
Ans Can remove trees in the way but have to apply. Provincial policy trumps municipal. Province says housing has preference.
Q8. Why is there no tree canopy target?
Ans We don’t know how many trees we have. UFMP needs an update to see what have been lost since 2010. Some municipalities have lofty goals that they might not meet.
Q9. We had 17% canopy in 2010 and has been decreasing since. Conservation Halton gives us a failing grade and Environment Canada says 30 to 50%. We are not progressive enough. What is replacement plan?
Ans For each tree of 30 to 50 cm diameter have to plant 2 at 5 cm for $1400. (Editor’s note – the Site plan Application Guidelines, Section 9 for development applications require equivalent caliper replacement. For a 30 cm tree this would require 6 trees at 5 cm, not 2 trees).
Identified vacant tree sites in Roseland have been identified for new plantings.
Q10. Need help from residents in Roseland. History is that we asked for what we thought the current council would accept but need a better city wide bylaw. Lost 80 city trees recently and over 100 other trees. Canopy is not looking good. In the Character Study, trees were identified as the most important aspect of Roseland. The new OP mentions importance of character throughout. We need a proper renewal plan.
Q11. We have only 12 years to counteract climate change and we must save every mature tree. The new Council is progressive while the Province is regressive. Trees help flood prevention and carbon sequestering. We need to move faster and ask for 1 year to go for a city wide private tree bylaw. We can’t take the soft sell approach any longer. We should take a stand and chose a 35% tree canopy target. Burlington has lagged behind others. There are programs available to help with costs. We have to ramp this up.
Ans Echo that and every tree matters.
Q12. Can we have an interim review?
Ans We are following Council direction but may be able to have a one year review
Shawna – We need to convince council, not staff. 3 councillors want a smaller tree diameter limit for north Burlington as most trees are smaller than that.
Urban Forestry manager – contacting businesses involved about awareness so they are not caught unaware.
Q13. Need incentives to plant new trees.
Ans Looking at other aspects as well as preserving mature trees.
Q14. Heard of new developments planting trees on private front yards instead of city land then cutting them down. Allowed in Burlington?
Ans No. Above Dundas, trees are going on city property.
Q15. Staff should let consultants, architects and planners know about the bylaw a soon as possible.
Q16. Committee of Adjustment is not considering tree policies that exist now.

My own take on this:
Any tree can be destroyed provided it is either exempt, compensated by cash in lieu or agreed by neighbour. This bylaw will not prevent the loss of mature trees occurring at present.

The replacement option is not based on equivalent caliper diameter as is required in the Site Plan Application Guidelines for development applications. A 30 cm diameter tree would have to be replaced by six 5 cm diameter trees, not two. A 50 cm diameter tree would have to be replaced by ten 5 cm diameter trees, not three.

Trees on private property removed for personal improvements (pools, decks, additions) and infill development do not represent a large number of trees. Over the next ten years this will account for about 14% of all removals in urban Burlington. The real problem is sick and dying trees.

tree count

The evaluation criteria for the analysis was not given. The report from staff stated there would not be sufficient data to draw meaningful conclusions and no other municipality has proven the effectiveness of a tree bylaw.

“ It does not recommend a pilot project, primarily because of the difficulty of assessing the effectiveness of a pilot project, but does set out the key parameters of a pilot project should Council wish to undertake a two year pilot.‘

“While some municipalities have private tree bylaws, they are generally municipality-wide. Staff have found little evidence that private tree bylaws have been subject to rigorous assessment of their effectiveness, and in many cases the stated goals of municipal private tree bylaws are more subjective and philosophical than objective and measurable. There is a general belief that the municipality has an obligation to put processes in place to regulate the removal of private trees by putting in place a process that ensures the owners seriously consider the decision to remove a tree, educates the owners, and ensures the replacement of private trees that are removed.

“While these may be very legitimate goals, there is little evidence found that shows that these bylaws ultimately have had a measurable impact on the quantity or quality of the urban forest, or are more effective than other strategies to retain and enhance the urban forest.”

“Therefore, it is estimated that approximately 1.7 million trees exist within the city’s urban area. Other than this estimate, we have no baseline by which to measure, track or evaluate the success of a private tree bylaw pilot project on the tree canopy. It is also suggested that the scale of the tree canopy alone may not be the best by which to measure urban tree forests. Other cities include such measures as diversity of species, physical access to nature, habitat provision, tree health and characteristics of the trees (size).

Tree stumps Guelph Line

It was private property – not in Roseland.

Evaluating the effectiveness of a pilot project would be further complicated by the time-limited nature of the pilot in a relatively small area of the city. In short, the city would have little or no baseline on which to measure change, and enforcement of the bylaw would be either voluntary, or by complaint. The city does not have the resources to actively police tree removal in Roseland. In the case of a time-limited trial, people could either remove trees in advance of the pilot starting, or wait it out. In summary, it is not clear that there would be any viable means to measure the effectiveness of a private tree bylaw trial project.

Sample size would also be an evaluation challenge. Staff estimate that in a two-year trial period in Roseland there may be 40-50 permits granted, although given the city’s lack of experience in the area, this is at best a rough projection. If the estimate is accurate however, it would be very challenging to extrapolate the impact of the pilot from such a small sample size on the overall urban forest of 1.7 million trees.

Moreover, except for the existence of some degree of community support, there is no other reason to undertake a pilot in Roseland, rather than other parts of the city that also have mature private property trees.

Further community consultation undertaken in Roseland since the staff direction to consider a pilot, shows that the community is highly polarized on the issue. People are either passionately in favour of a bylaw, or strongly opposed on the basis of private property rights. Few, if any people, were indifferent.

Tree stumps Guelph south of woodward east side

Scenes like this all over the city.

Value to Community
Even if it can be determined that a private tree bylaw is bringing value to the urban forest, it is possible that the same resources committed to education and/or actively expanding the forest on city property, might have a greater impact on protecting and enhancing the urban forest as a whole. Again, given the lack of research on the effectiveness of private tree bylaws, there is little way to assess this.”

The Urban Forestry Manager stated the best result of a bylaw is that potential applications are withdrawn or not submitted in the first place which indirectly results in preservation of mature trees. Thus the conclusion of the analysis will most likely be that not enough trees were destroyed to devote staff resources to implement the bylaw and that private citizens were unduly charged money for a problem that did not exist.


The solution to the size of the tree canopy problem is planting more and more trees.

The best solution appears to be planting new trees. The proposed bylaw is deficient in this regard. The conventional approach used by others is equivalent caliper diameter although some cites use a metric related to canopy size by a certain time frame. Using two or three small replacement trees for those removed that are not exempt will provide very few new ones.

Of the 14% or so of trees being cut down that fall under the bylaw, about 31% are 30 cm diameter or under (exempt), 37% are between 30 and 50 cm and 32% over 50 cm in the areas south of the QEW.

This means that 2 tree replacements would occur for 37% and three replacements for 32%. Continuing with the math shows 2 trees for .14 x .37 = 5% and 3 trees for .14 x .32 = 4.5%. So, the new replacements would be 10% and 13.5%, respectively for the two tree diameter groups or 23.5% in total. In other words, for every 100 trees cut down, 24 would be planted.

This will not increase the urban tree canopy. The bylaw should use a smaller diameter exclusion and equivalent diameter replacement. 86% of trees are over 15 cm with an average diameter of 57 cm. This would mean 11 replacement trees for each one removed. The math then becomes .14 x .86 x 11 = 132%. Now we’re getting somewhere. More new trees than those destroyed. But this will not grow the urban canopy by much. We need twice as many trees than currently exist. We probably have about 1.5 million trees now and will need 3 million to get to a 30% urban canopy.

In addition, the City could offer free trees to homeowners.
If every household in urban Burlington planted a tree it would be about 75,000 trees and put a dent in the 111,000 to come down over the next 10 years.

The pilot bylaw will not reduce the number of healthy mature trees being destroyed and will not provide enough replacement trees to offset those being destroyed.

This is what most people in Burlington want; a gorgeous urban tree canopy that shades our streets, improves property values and gets some of the pollutants out of the air. But at the same time people want to be able to cut down a tree on their propeerty if they don't like them. We can't have it both ways - can we?

This is what most people in Burlington want; a gorgeous urban tree canopy that shades our streets, improves property values and gets some of the pollutants out of the air. But at the same time people want to be able to cut down a tree on their propeerty if they don’t like them. We can’t have it both ways – can we?

Trees Pine street

It was a beautiful tree, magnificent, resplendent – but it was cut down allow for the construction of a retirement home.

The analysis in two years will conclude there is no justification for a private tree bylaw city wide.

Council needs to revise the pilot program immediately.

Jim Feilders has been a strong environmental advoate for decades and thinks the city has got the pilot private tree wrong,

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Wine and cheese and the lyrics of Cole Porter will warm a heart on Valentines Day

eventspink 100x100By Staff

February 4th, 2019



You can buy chocolates.

You can give her flowers – you’ve certainly done that before – but there is an opportunity to do something really different.

Take her to an event where you will hear Cole Porter lyrics and enjoy some original music being delivered by the Burlington Civic Chorale.  She can of course take you.


Civic chorale

DELIGHTFUL, DE-LOVELY, DE-VALENTINE’S CABARET – to be done by the Burlington Civic Chorale.

Cole Porter’s witty lyrics and sophisticated tunes take centre stage at the Singers Valentine’s Cabaret Saturday, February 16, 7:30 pm, at St. Christopher’s Anglican Church, 662 Guelph Line, in Burlington.

Wine and cheese, affordable silent auction items, and memorable desserts all add to the Valentine’s afterglow.

Tickets are $25 at the door, or in advance by calling 905-577-2425.

Contact: Janet Gadeski, Public Relations Manager, 905-632-2085; 289-230-4713;

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The use of the Walmart brand doesn't mean this is a legitimate offer.

Identity theft - many facesBy Staff

February 4th, 2019


If it sounds too good to be true – it is usually not all that good.

One of the latest identity theft scams uses the Walmart brand to catch your attention.

Walmart offer

If this one pops up on your screen – take a pass.

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Uncensored humour: Comedy Festival at several venue the week of February 24th to 27th.the 2019

eventsblue 100x100By Staff

February 4th, 2019



If there is a notice that the material is not censored and is intended for a mature audience- and they’ve been offering it for the last four years – it might be something you want to give some thought to.

For the Fifth year in a row the BURLINGTON COMEDY FESTIVAL will take place from February 24th – February 27th.

Several venues for the event; Pepperwoods, Art Gallery of Burlington and Emma’s Back Porch and The Water Street Cooker.

Comedy Bugle Boy

“Skinny German Juggle Boy”

The four-day event kicks off on Sunday February 24, 2019 with a Family Variety Show at the Art Gallery of Burlington. The variety show features international acts from Hilbilly “Skinny German Juggle Boy” to Ireland’s Jack Wise and the American comedic contortionist and daredevil Alakazam.

Tickets are $12.50 (or Family Pack of four: $40.00), doors open at 1:30 p.m. and the all-ages show begins at 2:00 p.m.

The Festival features over twelve comedians and variety acts performing five shows at two amazing venues tailor made for live stand-up: The Art Gallery of Burlington (AGB) and the iconic Water Street Cooker (2084 Old Lakeshore Road)

This year’s events are in partnership with The Gift of Giving Back, Canada’s largest community food drive which helps a dozen agencies serve their needy clients across the GTA. Donations of non-perishable goods and cash will be accepted at all shows.

Derek Seguin

Derek Seguin, a CBC Just for Laughs regular.

Derek Seguin, a CBC Just for Laughs regular.

Evening performances begin on Monday February 25 at both The Water Street Cooker and AGB with an 8:00 show time at both venues. Headliners include Montreal-based Derek Seguin a Just for Laughs alumnus and Mark Forward, a series regular on Crave TV’s Letterkenny. The following evening our headliners switch venues with all tickets valued at $29.00.

Burlington Comedy Festival ends with a bang on Wednesday February 27th as we feature the “Best of the Fest” (tickets are $59.00) at the Art Gallery of Burlington, 8 p.m. start time. The seven comic line-up features gust host Gemini Award-winning actor/comedian Shaun Majumder and host of the hit show The Debaters on CBC Radio One –Steve Patterson.

Patrons are also encouraged to enjoy dinner and a show through a special deal at two of Downtown’s best eateries!

Comedy Festval 2019

Comedy Festival 2019 – February 24th to the 27th – multiple venues

The best deals in town are the VIP Food & Funny Deals at Emma’s Back Porch and Pepperwood Bistro. They include admission to the reserved seating area and a $25 voucher for dinner at the participating restaurant. This package is $49.00 ($69.00 for the “Best of the Fest”).
Tickets are now on sale for the 4th Annual Burlington Comedy Festival, presented by the Burlington Downtown Business Association. The Festival is in partnership with the Kitchener-Waterloo Comedy Festival and Port Credit Comedy Festival.

You can buy tickets in person in January at Emma’s Back Porch and Pepperwood Bistro.

Please note that the material is not censored and intended for a mature audience. Seating is general admission, no recordings are permitted.

For a full list of complete acts and to buy tickets online please log onto

Brian Dean 2 long

Downtown Business Association Executive Director Brian Dean has worked hard with the hospitality community to make this event the success it has become. The Gazette has been assured that Brian will not be on stage – ever.

Brian Dean, Executive Director, Burlington Downtown Business Association said: “After five years we are more convinced than ever that there is a strong appetite for professional comedy in Burlington. The Festival helps us to showcase our thriving small business community by bringing crowds to the downtown core for laughs and great hospitality.

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Mayor speaks for her council on the issue of desperately poor homeless people begging on the streets of the city.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

February 1st, 20129



The Gazette published a short piece on the problems homeless people in Burlington have coping with the bitterly cold weather.

We asked each member of Council and the Mayor for their thoughts on what could be done to help these people.

The Mayor and her team “consulted and, in addition to her own thoughts, many Councillors were also eager to jump in and speak about the ways our community comes together to support homeless individuals” said the Chief of Communications & Strategic Advisor.

She sent us the following:

“As you know, Burlington is part of Halton Region, which has several resources and processes for supporting the homeless during extreme cold weather and all year long.

“As you referenced in your earlier article, Halton Region funds the Salvation Army’s Lighthouse Shelter in Oakville. Outreach staff provide counselling and connect individuals in the shelter to community resources that can help them regain stable and affordable housing.

“Single individuals with no children can dial 311 and be connected with staff who will assess their situation and help them find the best available temporary option which may include staying at the Lighthouse Emergency Shelter, with family, friends or other options. Even though the shelter is not in Burlington, staff there can work with individuals to try and arrange transportation assistance to the shelter itself. In a cold alert, additional beds are made available at the Lighthouse to ensure those most at-risk are provided an emergency option.

Fire damage to the top floor of the Riviera Motel was extensive and arson was thought to perhaps be the cause of the blaze to the abandoned motel. No report yet from the Office of the Fire Marshall.

The Riviera Motel was once rented by the Region as a stop gap location for people who needed housing. It was torn down to make way for the Bridgewater condo and a Marriott Hotel.

“Families with children are immediately triaged into 1 of 8 emergency apartments located throughout the Region. Hotels are used as surge capacity, including in the City of Burlington.

“The Region is aware of individuals from time to time who do not wish to access emergency shelter services, and seeks to provide them with local supports around mental health outreach, housing related case management services, as well as emergency food. Any community group concerned about a particular individual in their community is encouraged to call the Region to access supports and services.

“Halton region also works with police and the COAST (Crisis Outreach and Support Team) to reach out to people who may be on the streets and get them help. In speaking today with Alex Sarchuk, Commissioner of Social and Community Services for Halton, we confirmed that when the Halton Regional Police see homeless individuals they refer them to the Region as well as the Canadian Mental Health Association who provide rapid response teams who work to respond quickly to instances of elevated risk. Through the Halton Housing First program, we also have the ability to provide permanent housing with wrap-around support services for high needs homeless individuals and families – these are located throughout Halton Region, including in the City of Burlington.


Seen as a front line responder the Salvation Army doesn’t have any space for the homeless in Burlington.

“We further want to mention the many other valuable service groups in our City that help the homeless with providing needed food and warm clothing. They are spread out through the city and include the Burlington Food Bank, Compassion Society, Goodwill, Salvation Army, Food for Life, and Halton Women’s Place.

“Resources are available so that there is no reason for anyone to spend a night on Burlington’s streets. The City of Burlington staff and leadership are always open to feedback from the community and continued evaluation of the programs that exist along with their use and effectiveness.

More information can be found on the website:

We had hoped we would get some individual comment from the members – what we got was a group think out of the Mayor’s office.  We wonder what Shawna Stolte of ward 4 would have to say and measure that against what ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman would add to our understanding of these people.

Marianne Meed Ward was just a citizen when this picture was taken - now she is on the other side of the podium, sitting as a Council member. Should make for greay political theatre when the Medicca One zoning matter comes before committee.

Marianne Meed Ward was just a citizen when this picture was taken – now she is on the other side of the podium, sitting as the Mayor.

The Gazette has watched Marianne Meed Ward grow from a consistent and persistent city hall delegation into a candidate for office in a ward she could win in. In her first Burlington election she ran in ward 1 against Rick Craven – something he never forgave her for and got creamed.

Several days after her first win as the Councillor for Ward 2 she got a call from a resident complaining that there was a bag of garbage being blown down the street. Meed Ward did something that few politicians wouldn’t even think of doing. She got into the family van and picked up the garbage herself.

Her first few months in office were difficult – for city hall staff. Meed Ward blew through her postage budget in short order and ran out of money used to pay for the coffee and donuts she provided at her community meetings.

At one of those meetings, which were more like homework classes for the residents who just loved the time and attention they were getting, Meed Ward blurted out “I just love this job” –and indeed she did.

One would hope that in her own way Meed Ward will make phone calls asking around about how many people the police had to help out. Burlington can be surprisingly negligent when it comes to understanding and doing something about the really really poor people.

Marilyn Ansley got back to us after we published the first article saying she too was in touch with the Region – the most she was able to get was ‘they should call 311’.

Related news story:

No begging on the streets of Burlington.


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Performing Arts doubles the funds raised with their Festival of Trees - money to be used to make Community Theatre available to local artists.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

February 1st, 2019



Other than the credit card balances we would rather not look at and the toys those cards bought that have already been abandoned by the children – there isn’t much more to remember about the festive season.

The Festival of Trees put on by the Performing Arts Centre to raise funds for the use of the Community Theatre by different arts group was a bright spot that will be appreciated throughout the year.

More than double the funds raised last year were brought in this year – they actually sold out the draw tickets they had.

Tree festival - Haley Verral's

Hayley Verral, a budding Burlington singer and song writer who has done Nashville looks good beside the tree she sponsored with her Mother.

Described as a massive success, the event brought 8000 visitors between Nov. 22 and Dec 20, and $7,305 for our Community Studio Theatre initiative, which provides grants to local artists and arts organizations to offset the cost of renting the Community Studio Theatre.

Funds raised are transferred to the Arts & Culture Organization of Burlington (ACCOB), who administer and adjudicate the funding applications.

The concept of the Festival of Trees was brought to BPAC by Executive Director Tammy Fox in 2017, after she had been part of launching a similar event over 20 years ago at Port Hope’s Capitol Theatre, which continues to be an annual community event to this day.

“The staff and the sponsors all contribute a great deal to ensure that the Festival of Trees happens each year,” says Fox, “but increasing access to the Studio Theatre for our local artists is definitely a priority, and the rewards of this community-building event are well worth the effort.”

Trees TiVesto tree

Ti Vesto Boutique want you to know how they feel about their tree.

BPAC partnered with Canadian Tire- Burlington Stores to present this now annual festival. Canadian Tire generously donated 25 pre-lit artificial Christmas Trees that were all sponsored and decorated by local businesses. The 2018 tree sponsors were: 27th Orchard Scout Troup, A Different Drummer Books, BLR Chartered Professional Accountants, Bodhi Bar, Burlington Beach Rentals, Burlington Network Group, Century 21 Dreams Inc. Brokerage, Conservation Halton, Cori Arthurs Floral Design, Harmony Fine Jewellers, Hayley Verral Music & Leah Verrall Artist, Holland Park Garden Gallery, Joelle’s & Jeff’s Guyshop, Long & McQuade Musical Instruments- Burlington, Mirella’s Ladies Boutique, MollyCake, Mrs. B’s Gifthouse, Museums of Burlington, NUVO Network, S. Taylor Jewellery Appraisal & Consultation, Son of a Peach Pizzeria & The Sunshine Doughnut Co., Sound of Music Festival, Springridge Farm, Ti Vesto Boutique, and Tourism Burlington/Taste of Burlington.

During the Festival BPAC presented a number of free lobby activities for the community which featured The Enchorus Children’s Choir, The Myriad Ensemble, an ornament craft-making activity, and two visits from Santa!

BPAC also hosted a Food Drive for Food 4 Kids Halton during our Festival of Trees and F4KH was amazed with the support from our community, having to make multiple trips to collect all the donations. We were thrilled by the generosity of our community and happy to help both artists and kids in need during the holiday season.

Trees Carl Dixon - 2018-BPAC-

Carl Dixon provided a wonderful picture of what the Performing Arts Centre looks like when it is all dressed up. Even a full moon.

Anyone interested in applying for the Community Studio Theatre Initiative funding should visit The deadline for this year’s funding is March 1st, 2019.

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Prime Minister fills a high school gymnasium - forgets to mention the recently nominated Liberal candidate.

News 100 redBy Staff

February 1st, 2019



Our correspondent in Milton advises us that It was a full house for Prime Minister Trudeau when he visited the Craig Kielburger Secondary School in Milton.  1300 tickets were let out and every one snatched up. Pam Damoff and John Oliver were the ostensible hosts; this was an event run out of the Prime Minister’s Office to do everything possible to pull the Milton riding back into the Liberal fold.

Lisa Raitt - blonde

Milton MP – Lisa Raitt

Lisa Raitt, Deputy Leader of the Opposition is doing a fine job of keeping the government on their toes – the Liberals would love to take this seat and nominated a high profile athlete to give Raitt a run for her money. It will be a race to watch.

The packed audience was a Trudeau Town Hall – he handles this type of thing very well. And he just loves the “selfies” that get taken.

The first question came from a young person who expressed concern about the Huawei situation. Trudeau told the crowd that Canada is standing up for the rule of law; that we will not interfere in the judiciary process, despite political pressures by China.

Trudeau 3 sitting

This is what the Prime Minister does well -he takes questions head on – doesn’t fluff them off and does take much guff either. He faced a packed high school gymnasium in Milton earlier this week Photo by Stacey Newman.

Questions were raised about the environment and climate change; the future of energy in Canada; plastic pollutants in our oceans. To that last Trudeau told us that 90% of the plastic in oceans comes from 10 rivers around the world – none in Canada – but he did acknowledge that not enough was being done in Canada, that we have to do a lot better, that young people have a role to play, that they were a large part in getting the recycling movement underway – kids pressuring their parents.

To answer a question about Canada’s vision for energy, Trudeau spoke to our need to move away from fossil fuels; focus on renewables, and putting in place a carbon tax that will give money to families while encouraging big polluters to reduce their emissions.

Trudeau 2 finger out

Justin Trudeau – exceptionally well informed, talks directly and forcefully. Crowds love him for the most part. Photo by Stacey Newman

Another question from a student was quite interesting: how much funding went to space exploration vs education, especially math and the sciences? The prime minister said space exploration was more than about all that (pointing to the skies), that there were so many potentials for us here on earth. By choosing to invest in space, we created the robotic Canadarm. Investing in the technology that made that robotic arm, understanding the algorithms that perform calculations, data processing, holds so many potentials for us here on earth -robotics are used in manufacturing, in surgical procedures, as examples.

Trudeau - Adam works the roomAdam van Koeverdon was in attendance and worked the room – Milton is a want to win riding for the Liberals – it was odd that the Prime Minister didn’t make any mention of the candidate – the October election is already underway and they want the Milton seat.  A portion of the Milton constituency includes some of the northern part of the city of Burlington.

Trudeau addressed questions from the audience for an hour and a half, our correspondent reports that he was “fairly well-received by the crowd”.

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Mushroom farm convicted and fined $90,000 for failing to protect workers

News 100 redBy Staff

February 1st, 2019



A Halton Regional mushroom farm was convicted for the second time under the Occupational Health and Safety Act .


Mushroom production.

Monaghan Mushrooms Ltd., a mushroom farming facility at 7345 Guelph Line, Campbellville, Ontario was fined $90,000 by Justice of the Peace Paul Macphail in Burlington court.

The court also imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.

This is the second time the company has been convicted under section 25(2)(h) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act .

• On April 29, 2017 a worker was seriously injured when a small mobile pallet truck collided with a reversing forklift in an indoor hallway at the workplace. Both vehicles were operated by Monaghan employees.

• The pallet truck was being operated by one worker (worker 1) and the forklift was being operated by another worker (worker 2).

• Worker 1 was driving the pallet truck down a long hallway to drop a last skid of mushrooms in the facility’s pack house; worker 2’s forklift was transporting mushroom trays down the hallway to a tray de-stacker.

• A third worker driving a forklift pulled into the tray de-stacker to pick up a load of trays. Worker 1 stopped the pallet truck in the hallway to wait for that task to be completed, as did worker 2 with the forklift.

• The third worker reversed out of the de-stacker and drove away. Worker 2 then drove the forklift forward and turned into the de-stacker to drop the load.

• At this point worker 1 was standing at the controls of the pallet truck.
• Worker 2 backed up the forklift and reversed, intending to drive to pick up another load. The back-up beeper and lights were activated while the forklift was backing up, but the worker did not look in the direction being driven.

• At the same time, worker 1 started driving forward to drop off the last load. The two vehicles collided.

• The forklift struck Worker 1; the worker was sprung from the pallet truck and fell to the ground.

• It was later found that Monaghan had not developed or implemented any policies, procedures or training about which vehicles had the right of way. The Ministry of Labour’s investigation found that the three workers had differing beliefs about which vehicle had right of way.

• The mobile equipment involved in the accident was determined to be in good working condition.

• The company had a prior record in relation to a fatality at the workplace. On December 20, 2011, a worker employed by a subcontractor was struck and killed by a front-end loader operating in reverse. Monaghan pleaded guilty and was convicted on April 8, 2014 of failing to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker, contrary to section 25(2)(h) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act; at that time the company was fined $140,000.

The Campbellville, Ontario facility is the largest mushroom farm in Canada and the largest farm in the Monaghan Group; with production capacity of 650,000 lbs of mushrooms per week.  Monaghan exports $10,500,000(CDN) worth of mushrooms from Canada to the United States each year, predominately to California, Michigan and Washington State.

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Musem announces more of the program offering planned for the Brant Museum which is due to re-open this summer.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

January 31st, 2019



The Joseph Brant Museum will re-open this summer.

One of the three permanent galleries will feature an interactive, hands-on space designed for future engineers, mathematicians & scientists!

Museum STEAM zone

The words say it all

It will be called the STEAM Zone, which appears to be picking up on the new program being offered by the Halton District School Board that starts an iSTEM program at Aldershot High School next September.

The school board people weren’t at all sure that the public would go for the program – the first registration – information night the high school was packed.

It would appear that both the Museum and the school board are onto something.

Retainong wall for the wester side of the expanded museum

Western retaining wall in place – museum addition scheduled to open in the summer.


Architect rendering of what the renewed museum will look like.

Construction at the Museum appears to be on time and hopefully on budget.  They are going to need more in the way of staff for the program offerings – nothing much in the current 2019 budget review that is being considered by Council

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No room for the homeless in this city; begging isn't permitted either.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

February 1st, 2019



Marilyn Ansley gave money to a homeless person earlier this week; he was soliciting at Fairview and Brant St.  She said: “We must recognize and provide support to the many homeless people in our affluent city.”


No room in this city for the homeless.

People are not permitted to beg on the streets of Burlington – and begging is what it is – let’s not do the Burlington polite thing and call it soliciting. Prostitutes solicit.

I asked him where he would be tonight in extremely cold weather. He said Burlington has nothing and all shelters in Hamilton are full.

I believe there is only one in the Halton Region called The Lighthouse in Oakville, run by the Salvation Army in Oakville. I am awaiting responses from Inside Halton and Salvation Army Burlington.

We must be able to help the homeless in Burlington with temporary shelter, food and resources.

Burlington has all kinds of places it can house people when it is bitterly cold – the view amongst far too many is that if we begin to house them they will return. And taking care of poor people is a Regional responsibility.

There isn’t a reason in the world why the Salvation Army couldn’t open up space now and then drive around and help those on the street find a place to keep warm.

Pop a note to your ward Councillor and let them know how you really feel. We will send the first one for you and see what we get back.

Kelvin Galbraith Ward 1

Lisa Kearns Ward 2

Rory Nisan Ward 3

Shawna Stolte Ward 4

Paul Sharman Ward 5

Angelo Bentivegna Ward 6

Mayor Meed Ward.

Holding hands

Let’s see if this council will put their hands together for those who are outside in the bitter cold without a warm place to sleep.

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Bus route changes on Ontario Street - due to apartment construction.

News 100 redBy Staff

January 31st, 2019



The construction of the second tower on Brock Street is going to mean a detour for Burlington Transit route 300 from Feb. 4, 2019 to June 2019

Brock 2 - in context

The second Molinaro tower (shown in white) in the area fits in well and adds to the need for accommodation.

The detour is on Ontario St. between Maple Ave. and Nelson Ave.  Construction will begin on the second Molinaro tower in the area.  The site is minutes away from Spencer Smith Park.

Detour Dates: February 4, 2019 to June 2019

Route: 3
Proceed to stops:
• On Maple Ave.
• Ontario St. east of Nelson Ave.

Stops not in Service:
• 765 – Ontario St. at Maple Ave.
• 766 – Ontario St. at Brock Ave.
• 775 – Ontario St. at Nelson Ave.

Bus rote - Ontario st detour

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Developer wanting to build a 29 storey Tower on Lakeshore Road gets a Rough Ride at Public Meeting

opinionred 100x100By Jim Young

January 31st, 2019



On Tuesday night  last week, I attended the Public Information Session for the Carriage Gate Development at 2069-2079 Lakeshore Rd. and 383-385 Pearl St.

Pearl and Lakeshore

Proposed 29 storey development will be kitty corner to the 22 storey Bridgewater development now under construction.

The proposed building is at Pearl and Lakeshore sharing the block with the ADI 26 storey building that was imposed on the city by the old OMB. Carriage Gate are seeking amendments to the Official Plan and zoning bylaws to allow 29 storeys in an area zoned for 4 (8 with permissions) It will have 280 residential units and 675 square metres of commercial space.

It will only have 280 parking spaces for residents and 11 visitor/retail parking spaces. Existing zoning requires 500. Setbacks are reduced from 2 meters to zero.

The developer suggested that the 26 storey building approved next door and others on Brant St. serve as a precedent. It was pointed out from the floor that the 26 storeys was imposed by the OMB and never actually approved.

It was obvious from the presentation, and introduction by City planning Staff, that the Official Plan rejected by the region and under review by city council, is still being referred to by both the developer and city planning staff.


The Nautique, in the same block as the proposed Carriage Gate development has the approvals it needs. Testing to determine where the water table is being done – five levels of parking are proposed.

Citizens voiced concerns about the traffic this development will bring, particularly during rush hours, the lack of parking provided for owners and retail customers and the need to back trucks up to the service entrance on Pearl Street. Assurances that lakeshore would not be narrowed during construction were not forthcoming. Many of the city planning and developers comments were met with laughter or anger.


Described as a “legacy” development when it was proposed back in 1985 – the Bridgewater will become the best hotel the city has – until the Waterfront Hotel gets redeveloped.

Asked if they really think about the impact on people or how disrespectful of citizens and council their proposal to build a 29-storey building in a 4 storey zone is, the developer’s representatives declined to reply. This brought derisive applause from those present. When one attendee asked for a show of hands from the audience there was not one hand raised in favour.

After the meeting I got an email from another concerned citizen. He fears that the height precedent was already established by the OMB decision on the adjacent ADI development no matter which OP is used. He wondered if the bedroom sizes, parking space allocation and minimum tall building footprint sizes would meet approval standards in Toronto or even Hong Kong. He was only half joking. He voiced concern about the huge gulf in understanding of what the process is and how best the public can present counter proposals.

That’s where the public expect their mayor and councilors to step up. People have a hard time understanding why city planners work hand in hand with developers to implement an amendment for 29 storeys that is so far higher than the Official Plan “In force and effect” which allows only 4, and why they still consider a plan reviled by citizens, rejected by the region and under review by council for significant changes.

Members of the public fear that city planners are being strung along; debating an amendment that should be rejected out of hand, eating up city planning time and expense while running out the clock on the 210 days the city has to respond to developers. When that time runs out the developers simply appeal to LPAT leaving the city in a position they cannot defend and looking foolish when the LPAT rules in the developers favour.

Kearns Dewc meeting

Councilor Kearns seemed skeptical, but reserved comment until she has time to consider the whole proposal. The Councilor has known about the proposal for more than a month.

Mayor Meed Ward, Ward Councilor Kearns, Councilors Nisan and Bentivegna attended the meeting. Councilor Kearns seemed skeptical, but reserved comment until she has time to consider the whole proposal, Mayor Meed Ward advised the audience, the developers and, indirectly, city planners; that a motion is coming to direct planning staff to only consider the “in effect” official plan and not the regionally rejected one.

Following similar outrage at the Public Meeting on the Proposed Development at 1157-1171 North Shore Blvd and a Councillors Workshop on The Planning Process, I reached out to Councillor Galbraith, Deputy City Manager Mary Lou Tanner and Planning Director Heather MacDonald to ask that a similar workshop on the process be held for interested citizens to help avoid this conflict. I received positive responses from Councilor Galbraith and Ms. Tanner. I am still waiting for Ms. MacDonald. Must I wait 210 days then appeal to LPAT?

Jim Young is an Aldershot resident who delegates frequently at city hall.  He is a member of a city Advisory Committee.

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