Mayor makes it very clear what her views are on downtown development 'four to eight storey's is what THE Official Plan calls for.

News 100 blueBy Staff

January 30th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It wasn’t just the concern over height and density that had some people upset with the way things were going in the city – it was the way the last city council pushed and pushed to “approve” an Official Plan that many just did not like.

Lisa delegation

Lisa Kearns delegating against the Official Plan that the 2014-18 city council insisted on approving. She went on to become the council member for ward 2.

Despite more than 30 delegations, some that were the best this city has heard given to a city council, the Official Plan was passed and sent to the Region as an approved document.

To the surprise of many – the Plan came back from the Region with concerns over four parts – none of which were all that critical – but that was more than enough for Mayor Meed Ward to take the position that with the “approved” Official Plan now in the hands of the city she could do more than just fix up the four deficiencies.

During her State of the City address on Monday Meed Ward put out those words – ‘four to eight storeys is more than enough for the downtown core’, that had the development community in a lather.

In a statement issued today the Mayor said: “… 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, especially in the new Official Plan.

Meed Ward as a delegation

Marianne Meed Ward got her start as a municipal level politician appearing as a delegation at city hall- she knows what that game is all about.

“As a result, I am bringing forward a motion to re-examine the policies of the Official Plan that was adopted, though not officially approved, in April of 2018, and review matters of height and density. Halton Region has also recently identified areas of non-conformity, so this motion seeks to gain the time to address those issues.

“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 new City 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 it’s elected Council.

Pearl and Lakeshore

The development proposed for the corner or Pine and Lakeshore Road is reported to have gotten quite a roasting at a public presentation.

“The motion will also 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 and the existing Official Plan is still in full legal force and effect. 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 Province’s Places To Grow legislation.

“Further, we will immediately discontinue use of the “Grow Bold” term and related branding to ensure we are absolutely clear on our direction.

“A timeline will be discussed at the next committee meeting.”

City staff in the Planning department have been told to stop talking about the “approved” plan – it has no status.

Times are indeed a changing.

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Meed Ward's first State of the City Address - all 6,703 words.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

January 30th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Burlington Gazette has published the State of the City Address verbatim for the past nine years.
The full address given by Mayor Marianne Meed Ward is set out below.

8:00 am, Wednesday January 30th, 2019
Burlington Convention Centre

John Goodwin, Chair of the Board of the Burlington Chamber of Commerce, welcomed a sell-out crowd of 500 attendees, thanked notable guests including two local MPPs and the Mayor of Oakville, thanked sponsors, and introduced Antoine Shiu from Cogeco to introduce Mayor Meed Ward.

Antoine Shiu then spoke, referencing the Mayor’s experience and service as a civic leader, her passion for listening to constituents, and keeping the people of Burlington informed about what’s going on at City Hall. “I’d like to invite our mayor up to the stage to tell you more about city council’s vision for our city and the plans they have for making it all happen.”

Mayor’s Remarks:

Well good morning everybody, how is everyone this morning? I think introductions are a little like cooking. You know the saying that it always tastes better when somebody else cooks for you, and I love to cook but even I feel that way sometimes. Introductions are always better when someone else gives it to you so thank you so much, I appreciate that, they always sound better that way.

I really do want to thank all of you for being here and making this a sell-out event. This is absolutely incredible, and it really shows how interested you are – not just in me – but in our city and what happens to it and in ensuring a good future for our city. So I want to take a moment to just thank all of you for braving the weather – we’re Canadians though right – and coming out and spending about 3 hours with me while I give…no just kidding…about a half hour I think is what they gave me which is a true gift for me, I get five minutes at council, so I’m going to take advantage of every minute.

I do feel very lucky to be standing here before you as your Mayor. I pinch myself every morning when I wake up that it’s really true. And I know it’s true because of the butterflies in my stomach. So let’s carry on.

It is truly an honour to be here, and it’s one I take very seriously, but it’s also one that puts a smile on my face every morning, so thank you for that privilege.

I do want to acknowledge a few people here today, and you heard some of the sponsors, so I won’t go through them again, but I do want to thank all of the sponsors for making today happen. We couldn’t do it without you. I’d especially like to thank the Chamber for hosting, and also for what you do in the community all the rest of the year to promote business and retain business and make sure there’s a networking opportunity for all of us here. Thank you to Keith our retiring head of the Chamber, you leave very big shoes, and I think if we’ve learned anything it’s that your diet of only meat has gotten you a long way. And a special thanks to John Goodwin as well for MC’ing and for everything that you’ve done over the year during your tenure.

I also want to do a special thanks to Bell because of today being Let’s Talk. It’s so important for us to continue the conversation around mental health. Every single one of us knows somebody who has been affected by mental health issues, whether that’s a family member, a friend, a spouse, an employee, it’s so important for us to make it safe for us to talk about those challenges just as we would talk about our physical health. So make sure you tweet and do the hashtag, there is money that’s being raised, and this is not just an Ontario or a Canadian movement now, this is a global movement, and they’re targeting to raise $100M for mental health so I think that deserves a round of applause too.

I will be introducing my council colleagues shortly, but I have something special in mind for them (they know what it is). And it’s great to see the other elected officials here. Thank you for spending some time, I know how busy you are as well.

I want to thank our city manager (interim city manager) Tim Commisso, who is here. Thank you for being here. We have a lot of city staff joining us today and I do want to thank each and every one of you for being here. There are 1580 city staff in the City of Burlington and we know on council, and I certainly know, I couldn’t serve the community without the help of front line city staff, so I do want to thank all of you for what you do every day, and also for being here and taking an interest.

We have a number of agencies, boards, committees that are represented here today. I want to thank you for all of the great work that you do in our community. Again, we couldn’t do what we do in Burlington and serve our people without your help.

I also want to thank our media sponsor, in the back, thank you for broadcasting this to the folks who couldn’t join us today. This will also be on Facebook Live, right now, so folks can join in. we will have that posted online for anyone who couldn’t come this morning, and my remarks will be on my website later today as well. So just make sure you get my good side.

Finally I want to thank my husband, Pete Ward, who is here, and I won’t point him out ‘cause he likes it better that way, but I am so grateful for his support. We celebrated 25 years of marriage the day after the election, so I told folks… I spent over a quarter of my life with this wonderful man, and three children a daughter who’s 20 and boy and girl twins who are 18. I wouldn’t be standing on this stage without his support. He believed in me before I believed in myself, and that’s special. So thank you.

And finally, I want to thank the people and the business in Burlington that make our city great. The strongest part of our city is you, all of the people here, all of the people out there, that live here, that work here, that invest in our community to make it the wonderful place that it is, so thank you so much for everything you do, all year, and for many years.

So, I have three things that I’d like to share with you today. I do want to take some time to introduce you to our new council. I want to talk about the priorities; the things that we heard during the election from our citizens, and I want to talk about the vision that we have as a council and that I have as your Mayor, for the next four years but to set the future for Burlington in a way that reflects the citizen vision for our community.

I also want to share a few things about what we’ve accomplished so far. We’ve been on the job…I think about two months. We’ve done a lot, already, so we’ll talk about some of those things.

And as I talk, you’re going to hear about 3 broad themes:

Partnerships, change and openness.

So, let’s get started.

First, I want to talk about partnerships, and this will be not only a theme of my remarks today but a theme of my term for the next four years. Essentially it means that none of us does anything alone. Whenever we achieve great things it’s because we have partnerships with people coming alongside us working together for the same good. You know you’ve probably heard the saying that it takes a village to raise a child. I’d like to adapt that a little bit to our city and say that it takes a village to build a great community. Every voice matters.

I want to start by introducing you to the other folks around the table in council who will help me, and help us, achieve our vision for the future, and that’s your council colleagues. So as I call their names I’m just going to ask them to stand, and stay standing, until everyone is recognized…and I think everyone is here today.

So, in Ward 1 we have our newly elected councillor Kelvin Galbraith
In Ward 2, our newly elected councillor Lisa Kearns
In Ward 3, our newly elected councillor Rory Nisan
In Ward 4, newly elected councillor Shawna Stolte
In Ward 5, our veteran returning councillor Paul Sharman, now serving his third consecutive term
In Ward 6, our newly elected councillor Angelo Bentivegna

This is your new team.

I want to say a couple of words about our council, because this is one of the most diverse councils the city has ever had. First of all we have the most women on council the city has ever seen. 3 of us. 3 out of 7. And the first female mayor in 40 years. That’s a whole generation. And I mention that because recently I was at a high school – I do a lot of speaking at public schools and high schools – and a young woman came up to me after I spoke and she said “I’m going to be the next Prime Minister” and I said “Yes you are, yes you are, dream big!” and the importance – it’s so important for people to see themselves reflected in their decision makers and that’s what that does for those young men and women when they see a diverse council that looks like them.

And our council is starting to look like and reflect the people in our community. So just a little ‘fun facts’ about our council, and maybe after if you have some time to network you can try to figure out which one is which when I tell you some of these things.

• The average age has gone down by about 15 years; I used to be the youngest on council but there are now 4 younger than me
• We have two folks who are grandparents, we have two with high school or university aged children, we have two with kids in public school, including one with a brand-new baby, and one young’un who is still living the fine life with his girlfriend and no kids! I’ll let you figure out who that is too.
• We have three who are immigrants to this country, who were born outside of Canada.

That’s diversity. And you want to see not only diversity in our opinions reflected in council but you want to see diversity reflected in council itself. And I think we’ve done that. We’ll you’ve done that, in the last election you asked for change, you got it. So thank you.

Before I go any further, I do want to let them talk to you a little bit about their priorities for the next four years because we do this as a team and as a partnership. And there’s a little fun in there for your too so…roll the video.

VIDEO PLAYS.

Aren’t they awesome!? That’s the first time I’ve seen this actually. We had a great time, my staff and I, and the staff at the City, putting that together and we had just as much fun I think coming up with those last questions and I can assure you, we’re not drinking Kopi coffee this morning, so you don’t have to worry about that. But I would like to point out that on your table is a brochure that has all the contact information of every member of council and a little bit of bio about them, so I would encourage everybody to take one home…we want you to stay in touch…and as you can see we’re a fun group. We have a lot of fun while we are also doing the very important work of looking after the city on your behalf.

So let’s talk about our priorities for the next four years, and what we’ve done together already.

And a great sense of humour, which as you can imagine is pretty helpful to have when you’re doing

And the first theme that I want to talk about is change. On October 22nd, you, the people of Burlington, voted for change. 5 brand new council members, a new mayor, and one returning. You wanted to see, and you want to see, your vision for our city reflected in the decisions that we make on your behalf.

So what does that look like?

I’d like to talk about our top priorities, and the great thing is that if you look at the platform of all of brochures of the folks that did get elected, and I have, it’s very similar. There’s a lot of alignment. So that is great, it allows us to hit the ground running.

Previous council had adopted a 25-year strategic plan, we know that we need a 4-year action plan to start taking steps in that direction. So, right away, as soon as we were elected, this group got together in December, with our staff, and started talking about ‘what’s our work plan for the next four years’? They’re very keen, by the way, this group. They don’t waste any time.

So we hope to have something to show you in March about what our action items for the next four years are going to be to start moving in the direction of our vision for the city.

I want to talk about some highlights, of those things.

The first thing we’re going to do, is we’re going to change the conversation that we have around growth and development and intensification in the city. We are going to talk about and ensure that we have reasonable growth, not overdevelopment.

Overdevelopment strains our limited infrastructure, and ultimately causes taxes to go up, because growth doesn’t pay for itself. It pays for about 80% of all the costs related to a growing population, whether that’s residential growth or employment growth.

And I don’t know if folks have been paying attention to some of the budget discussions of other communities, but Milton, our fastest growing city in Halton, the fastest growing for a time in our country, their first budget proposal this year came out at a 9% increase. That’s what growth does, if you don’t control it and pace it well.

Growth in the wrong place and the wrong amount causes congestion and leads to new costs for unplanned infrastructure, and this isn’t good for residents or businesses.

In many respects, the election was a referendum on development, making sure we have the right amount of development in the right place. Our community members resoundingly said the new Grow Bold plan did not reflect your vision for the community downtown and elsewhere.

And I can tell you, we are listening.

So, here’s what’s happened so far:

First, the day after we were all sworn in, Halton Region, which is the approving authority for our Official Plan, pushed pause on their approval because they found some areas that needed to be changed, including employment land conversions, uses permitted within agricultural areas, Natural Heritage Systems, and transportation matters. But the effect of Halton Region pushing pause is that it allows our council to make any additional changes that we wish to make, and it pushes pause on this plan indefinitely.

Now we’re not going to take an indefinite amount of time to review the plan.

We are already moving forward.

Next week I’m presenting a motion to our planning and development committee related to the Official Plan, and it does a couple of things, in light of what we heard from the community.

First, we’re going to review height and density in the new plan, and we will be making changes there that will reflect what we heard from the community and during the election. It directs our staff not use the new unapproved Grow Bold plan in assessing new development. That’s important, because our current Official Plan is the only one that is in legal force and effect. We need to be using that plan to assess new development. And the existing plan was updated in 2008, and it includes all of our growth population forecasts that have been assigned to us by the province. So we’re in good shape. We’re up to date, and we can move forward with the right amount of growth in the right place. So…getting the right development in the right place is a priority.

Second, we know we need to know deal with traffic and transportation and congestion. I was recently in Toronto in a room of 16 mayors from the GTHA, Greater Toronto Hamilton Area. John Tory called us together to talk about what we can do on those areas of shared concern that don’t have municipal boundaries. Transit doesn’t stop at municipal borders; you don’t stop at municipal borders. So we need to work together on that.

Affordable housing as well as climate change.

So what are we doing so far on transportation and transit.

Our staff are already looking at a pilot for synchronized traffic lights and I’m not going to tell you what road yet – we’re still working out the bugs – but I think you’re going to know which road as soon as that is up and running and we’ll have this conversation again. Suffice it to say, it is a busy corridor. So that’s good news.

Transit. We have heard from the community, the importance of transit. Not only for our employees and our business corridors, but also for our residential community. So in this budget, coming up, we have three new buses and six new drivers to expand our service, and we also have another driver and handivan proposed for those that need accessible transit.

This is going to allow us to look at increased frequency and different routes that get people where they need to go in a timely manner.

We also need to have a discussion about how we serve our low rider areas. In the past, and some of you who are frequent transit riders will know, we have a few meandering routes that go through neighborhoods. We get complaints from folks about those, the riders that are on those routes don’t get where they need to go quickly, and sometimes at certain times of the day, buses are less than full. So, we need to still provide service in those low rider areas, and I’m happy to say that our transit director is very keen to look at different alternatives – there’s a whole range of different things we could be doing, from Dial-A-Ride, working with local cab companies – a lot of other municipalities are already moving into that territory. In fact, we used to have a Dial-A-Ride service in Burlington so sometimes what’s old is new again.

We also need to look at the regional level of government on shared transit services or at least shared lines. There is no reason why somebody who’s taking a handivan from Burlington to Oakville Trafalgar hospital should have to transfer their handivan and wait between those transfers. You don’t stop at the borders, and our transit and transportation systems can’t stop at the borders either.

So addressing transit and transportation is a priority for this council.

Next priority, and this is again our change theme, but its dealing with the biggest change facing us right now: climate change and unpredictable and severe weather.

Flooding is the biggest risk to municipalities from an insurance standpoint, and from a human safety standpoint so we need to change our conversation about trees and greenspace and water and creeks. They are critical green infrastructure and we have to treat them that way.

Our tree canopy, right now, is about 17%, and its sliding backwards. That’s due to disease, and development, and to aging trees. A healthy tree canopy is roughly 40-50% coverage. But we know we’re not going to get there in the next 4 years. This is why having a 24-year vision, but action items that you deliver on in the next 4 years, is so important.

So last night there was a meeting to talk to folks about the new Roseland Tree Bylaw, and that bylaw will be launching March 1st, in Roseland, but we really need to roll that out across the city. We need to focus on how we not only add to our tree canopy, but one of the best ways to increase your tree canopy is to protect the trees that are already here.

And so the bylaw will help us keep track of what’s being removed, to avoid removal on private property, and to replant where approval is necessary.

But we need to do more than use the rule of law. We also need to provide incentives for people to plant trees. And that’s where our partners are extremely important. So we have already in the city worked with Burlington Hydro, with Enbridge Gas, who are here with us this morning, with BurlingtonGreen and other associations to plant trees. Conservation Halton is another organization that we need to partner with. All of us working together – it will require that consolidated effort to build our tree canopy from where it is now to where it needs to be for a healthy city.

We also have, tomorrow night, Gil Penalosa of 8-80 cities to talk to us about urban parks. And if you know Gil Penalosa you know that his philosophy is that if you create a city where people from 8 years old to 80 years old can thrive, then you’ve built a good city. And that’s our goal too.

So adding to our tree canopy and protecting from flood risk and do more to invest in and add to our urban park structure.

Hand in hand with protecting our urban greenspace, is protecting our rural greenspace.

More than half of Burlington’s land mass is rural agricultural

We are unique in Halton for that.

We need these areas for farming. We have a thriving agricultural economy and the potential to grow that in our community. And our farmers give us the food that we can eat on a day like today. There are businesses that we need to protect. And we know that we need to be constantly vigilant to protect against incursions and the desire to develop in those lands. We’ve seen that very recently with this provincial government where during the election there was a commitment made or a pledge made to open the greenbelt and backed off. Then recently in Bill 66, that would have allowed municipalities to pass what was called “Open For Business” bylaws to build into the greenbelt for employment land and they recently backed off of that. You helped do that. But it just shows us, twice in the last couple of months, our greenbelt has been potentially under threat. And so this council has taken a very strong position. Two nights ago at council, unanimous approval for a motion I brought forward to put our line in the sand between the urban and the rural boundary and say this council is committed in perpetuity to protecting our greenbelt from any development, protecting our clean water, protecting our waterfront and our creeks and I want to thank them for doing that and for showing that leadership and being vigilant to protect not only our urban greenspace but our rural greenspace. So thank you.

I will say, we are open for business and we don’t need to sacrifice our greenbelt to be open for business. We don’t need to sacrifice the health of our community to be open for business.

And we do need to do right by all our businesses here in Burlington. We need to focus on business retention and business attraction and a key priority for this council will be business attraction and retention. We have two business people sitting on our council who I turn to for advice on these matters.

So let’s talk about ‘open for business’ – the theme of openness and partnerships.

What has our council recently done? Well we took the very difficult step – but the right one, in my view – of allowing cannabis retail stores in Burlington. That’s a business. There are about 10-15 employees that will be employed at every one of those stores. And it was a tough one. There are different views in the community, maybe, I’m sure in this room, but this council decided to say that we will open our doors to legal businesses in this country to allow them to operate. And that helps to eliminate the black market for that product.

And we have an incredible opportunity to be open for all our businesses. We have over 500 acres of vacant employment land in Burlington that is ready for you. Ready for business investment. And most of it is along the highway corridor, so well-positioned to transportation. But that also poses a challenge, because we need the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario approvals for a lot of that land, and those approvals are often slow in coming. It used to take weeks to get responses back from the MTO; now it takes months. It also takes a long time to get responses back from the Ministry of the Environment. In once case, in a development in my ward on the Brownfield site, where we want to see revitalization, we want to see remediation, they were slowed down almost two years on their project. So I can tell you that as the government goes looking for efficiencies as part of the regional review, which is always a good thing to do, I will be bringing a message forward to them that we’re willing to work with them, but we also need the province to work with us. We need them to speed up their approval process and we need them to be efficient too.

Next week will be meeting with Ken Seiling and Michael Fenn, some of you may know both of those names, they were here in Burlington for a time, so I’m very happy to see them – very well-respected folks. And that’s the message I’ll be telling them. I’ll be saying to them, when it comes to us wanting to be open for business, wanting to be efficient and effective in our government, we’re doing fine. Don’t fix what’s not broken. And approach us with a handshake not a hatchet. We don’t want arbitrary cuts that don’t need to happen. In fact Burlington council is the most efficient council anywhere in the GTA. We are a 7-member council for 184,000 people. That is the smallest council of any municipality of our size, and it’s the smallest across the board in the GTA.

That means a lot of work for these folks. One of the first jobs as mayor was to assign council members to standing committees, boards and associations. 63 assignments for the 7 of us. So they do great work. We’re very efficient. But we do need help from other levels of government to speed up business.

Businesses are expected to operate at the speed of a Tweet. That’s the world that we live in. And I know that feels to have to be that quick or to be expected to be that quick because sometimes folks expect our elected officials to have to do our business as the speed of tweet. And although we have a leader to the south who thinks they can run a whole country by Twitter, that’s not how it works.

We need to be agile, but we also need to take the time to get it right.

We need to do what we can in Burlington to fast-track business approvals and permits, and to make sure we’re not only open for business and helping the folks that are here to expand, but attracting new businesses.

And to that end, I’m thrilled to announce today, the creation of the Mayor’s State of the City Red Tape Red Carpet Task Force. And the goal of the task force is to bring businesses together to talk about what’s working, what’s not working, where do you need our help, so that we can eliminate the obstacles to doing business. That’s the red tape part.

But we also need to roll out the red carpet and make sure we are actively seeking businesses to locate here in Burlington. And we have competition from everyone in this GTA corridor, and if we don’t get out in front and start attracting businesses, they will go to some other community. So I’m very pleased to announce that Kelvin Galbraith, our Ward 1 counsellor who you met earlier, has agreed to be my co-chair on this committee. I’m so grateful for his support. He’s a businessman in Aldershot, runs the Fitness Firm, and has sat on the Aldershot BIA as chair for many years, so brings that perspective and we’ve already been discussing some of the challenges that he’s heard from the business community and ways that we can speed up that process. So in coming weeks, we will be announcing a broad public engagement process, but we’ll also be selecting folks for a stakeholder group to give us advice.

This is about a very focused task. We want to bring people together, and by the summer, have this group give council, and the province where appropriate, advice on what we can do better. So if any of you are interested in being a part of that please get in touch. You’ve got my business card on your table please take it, you’ve got Kelvin’s contact information as well.

So I need your help. I need your help to make sure that we’re open for business and make sure that we’re attracting the businesses that we want to be locating here.

A couple of final thoughts on some of the priorities we heard from you during the election.

I want to talk t you about community, and our community centres. One of the things that we heard throughout the campaign is that because we’re a growing population, we have our community centres in many cases bursting at the seams, particularly our senior centres. We have a lot of growing seniors. And we need new facilities. We know that sports fields are at a premium for our young families. We know that we need programming for young folks for the teenage years, and we need to look at how we make sure that young people feel welcome here in Burlington as well.

So one of the opportunities coming up that may be available to us and I know there are some school board members here so thank you for joining us, there are 2 high schools that are slated to close. One has already closed, and one will close in 2020. This is an opportunity should the school board decide that is no longer needed for their purposes, for us as a city to acquire that and make that community-focused space. So that is something that I am committed to and I know council will be very interested to have those discussions.

I want to talk to you about respect. Respect on council, respect for our residents and our businesses, respect for our staff. Working in partnership and collaboration with civility. Embracing and supporting different viewpoints. We have tough challenges ahead and there are different perspectives in this community, in this room, probably even at my table. And we need to welcome and respect the broadest array of voices and make sure that everyone feels that their viewpoint is welcome, and that we will hear it, and that we will use that diverse opinion to make the best decisions that we can for this community.

I would say that is already on display by this council. And a classic example was our vote on cannabis. That was a 5-2 vote. And that was a difficult discussion, because there are varying views on that issue in this community. And I want to say that though I was glad that the vote went the way that it did, I was just as welcoming of the 2 members of council who did not vote to have cannabis retail stores because they reflected a view that is present in our community on that issue. And you need to see your views reflected in all of the votes that this council makes. And I can tell you after that vote there was no acrimony, there was no “get with the program”, I think I gave a couple of folks a hug after and said, “well done”. You represented your conscience and your views, and your residents’, and we got through a tough vote. I think that’s what you will see more of for the next four years.

Finally I want to talk about partnerships with other levels of government and with other mayors. I spoke about going to Toronto to talk with John Tory and the other mayors of the GTHA and in 2 weeks I’ll be meeting with the Large Urban Mayors Caucus (a name that we really need to change) to talk about shared issues of concern, and issues that cross our borders and boundaries.

The bottom line for you is that I will continue to be a strong voice representing the city at every single table. At the federal table, and we have an election coming up, we will be doing some advocacy as part of that, at the provincial table, at the municipal table, with my colleagues at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, and our federal counterpart, the Federation of Municipalities of Canada.

None of us do this alone. And none of us have all the great ideas right in our community. We need to listen and hear from each other and I’m committed to doing that.

And we now have as of a couple of days ago, at council, we approved to make government relations a focus of our committee meetings going forward so that we can have an eye on what’s coming down the pipe from the federal and provincial level, and I can tell you every morning I wake up and wonder what football I’m going to have to catch today. We want to be ready. We want to be ready to position Burlington’s voice and Burlington’s needs at all of those tables. So this council made the decision to make that a focus of our discussions, so we will do that.

And finally I want to talk about being good stewards of your money. Three times in the last 8 years tax increases in Burlington have been over 4%. And one of the commitments that I made during the election is to get that down. We are currently heading into budget talks so please express your views, we have an online budget tool, we have a number of community meetings coming up. We want to hear from you about your priorities and where you think the opportunities are to make changes.

At the federal level when there’s a budget, the minister goes out and buys a new pair of shoes. And I’m always up for shoe shopping, but I decided to go a different way. You may have noticed I have a new hairdo today. A little shorter than it was. So I’ll leave you to read anything into that you like about the budget.

The current tax increase right now is pegged at 3.99% if we make no changes. I have made a commitment to do what I can to find enough savings, about $1.6M to get that under 3%. I’ve started those conversations with our staff, our boards and our agencies, and we can do it. And we will do it.

We also need to make it easier for our front-line staff to tell me and to tell council where they think the opportunities are for efficiencies and savings. You know your area best, and we want to hear from you.

In closing, we have a great team of people on city council. We have a great team of people in city hall who are willing to work with you. We have great employers in our community and community partners. And we need all of us working together to deliver on the priorities that we have come together to say we want to do as a community.

We do have important work ahead of us. And it won’t be easy. And I’ll tell you it won’t be fast. One of the things that people asked me the very first time I was elected in 2010 was what was the most surprising thing about being an elected official and you have to remember I come from journalism, where I was in newspapers so I would write my column one night, it was in the paper the next day, and the day after it was in recycling. It was very fast. Government doesn’t move that fast. That was frustrating. And sometimes there’s good reasons for that. Sometimes we have to take the time to get it right. And sometimes we also have to move quickly. And so balancing those two competing things is something we will continue to look at as a council.

And I’m so grateful to have all of you here today, and to have you in our community living or working here, or some of you doing both. And committing to making our city the best that it can be.

The road is not always going to be easy. But it will be worth it.

And I just want to leave you with a quote that has meant a lot to me that I came across in the last term of council, and had it made up as a poster and it hangs in my office. Many of you know I’m a dual citizen, I was born in the US, but I also was raised here in Ontario, so I consider myself culturally a Canadian. This quote I’ve looked to many times when the going got rough. When people were ready to criticize rather than help. So, I leave this with you because whatever you are doing in our community you will know the sting of criticism and you will know how much better it is when folks work with you to make it better. So I’m just going to read it for you. This was written about a hundred years ago and in very masculine language back then so I’ve tried to modify that to make it gender neutral. So here we go:

It is not the critic who counts; Not the person who points out how the strong one stumbles,
Or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the person who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood;
Who strives valiantly; Who errs, Who comes short again and again,
Because there is no effort without error and shortcoming;
But who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions;
Who spends themselves in a worthy cause; Who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement,
And who at the worst, if they fail, at least fail while daring greatly, so that their place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

I will leave you with this video of what we hope to achieve in four years, on your behalf. Thank you so much for your attention and your time this morning.

VIDEO PLAYS
___

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Mayor Meed Ward creates a Red Tape/Red Carpet Task Force and sets out her five priorities at Chamber meeting

News 100 blueBy Staff

January 30th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

She has hit the ground running.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward announced plans to launch and lead a Red Tape Red Carpet task force at this morning’s State of the City address at the Burlington Convention Centre and had a media release out before people got back to their desks.

Younger set meeting

The Chamber of Commerce meeting was more than event to hear what the Mayor had to say; there was business to be done.

In front of a sell-out crowd, (not quite – there were three empty seats at my table – maybe that’s because I was sitting at it?) the Mayor spoke about her plan to help eliminate the red tape and bureaucratic delays that Burlington businesses have faced in their pursuit of growth throughout the city.

The Task Force will begin with a broad meeting that is open to the public to raise specific issues and concerns on topics ranging from permits, approvals, and other obstacles. A smaller task force of stakeholders will then be identified to come up with actionable recommendations that will be brought to council and shared with the Province by summer.

Dates and details will be announced shortly, and the Mayor suggested that anyone interested in participating at the task force level can reach out to her via email at mayor@burlington.ca.

Co-chairing the task force with Mayor Meed Ward will be Kelvin Galbraith, Ward 1 Councillor.

Mayor Meed Ward said: “I’ve heard your concerns and I’m taking them seriously. As mayor, I consider it my job to make it easy to do business in Burlington, and to be the chief advocate of attracting new business and expanding current businesses throughout our city. To help create a place where people can live, work, and thrive.

What better timing to look at ways to improve our processes and drive efficiency than while a regional review is already underway by the Province. I’m delighted to have Kelvin Galbraith as my co-chair, with his wealth of experience as both a business owner and as chair of the Aldershot Village BIA.”

Galbraith slight smile

Kelvin Galbraith has gone from being a small business owner to a city councilor and an expert on how to reduce red tape

Councillor Galbraith sees the “task force is a great step towards addressing the obstacles business owners see when they look to expand or start a new business here in Burlington. We have the space, infrastructure, and talented work force to support them, we just need to fast-track the approvals and processes that limit and frustrate them. I know from first-hand experience that we can identify the low-hanging fruit and come up with some actionable solutions that will make a real difference. We want to let business owners know that Burlington is open for business!”

The State of the City address also touched on Mayor Meed Ward’s plans for the coming term and introduced the team of councillors she’ll be working with to make it all happen. Issues ranging from over-development and the Official Plan review, to traffic and transit, protecting greenspace, and restoring civility and respect at City Hall were just some of the priorities she covered in her speech.

Her top five priorities for the 2019-2023 term as she laid them out are:

Reasonable Growth, Not Overdevelopment

Reasonable growth, not overdevelopment by amending the downtown plan to limit more highrises; end overdevelopment across Burlington by sticking to zoning.

Get Traffic Moving, While Keeping it Safe

Better traffic flow and transit through improved traffic synchronization & intersections, transit routes, free seniors fares, and no road lane elimination.

Reduce Flood Risk, Enhance Greenspace

We must be prepared for flooding by dealing with root causes; not just effects by ending overdevelopment, keeping water at source with greenspace, and green infrastructure.

Hair shor budget trim

Meed Ward said she trimmed her hair style to indicate that she was prepared to trim the budget as well.

Reduce Tax Increases, Keep to Your Priorities

Reduce tax increases by cutting unnecessary administration; improving business attraction; investing in snowclearing, bylaw enforcement, road repair, family and seniors’ amenities.

Rebuild Trust, Create an Open Government

Rebuild trust between city hall and the public by including residents in shaping decisions, not just reacting to them; restoring civility on council and toward residents.

 

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Milton court judge decides no public purpose would be served if she sent Shaun Pennell to jail - grants an Absolute Discharge.

Crime 100By Pepper Parr

January 30th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ONTARIO

 

Court rooms are both majestic and painful places to be.

The majesty of the law – where all are equal and justice is dispensed is critical to the society we live in.

We trust the government to appoint men and women as Judges who will determine what happens to a person when they break a law.

The hard cases are heard in criminal courts where a person can be put in a prison for the rest of their lives for breaking the law.

Pennell in handcuffs

Shaun Pennell being led away by police officer at the scene of the tragic mistake

Yesterday forenoon Shaun Pennell stood before Justice Lesley Baldwin, a female Judge who has been part of the criminal bar for decades and pled guilty to two criminal code offences.

The first part of the hour and a half hearing was to arraign Shaun Pennell on the offences: Criminal negligence and Failing to provide the necessities of life for a person under the age of 15,

Shaun stood and in a quiet voice said guilty.

Assistant Crown Prosecutor Nick Chiera set out the facts that had been agreed upon with defence counsel.

On May 23rd, 2018 Shaun and his wife Jennifer (Jenn) put their son into the van they owned. It was not clear to anyone just who strapped the boy, Wyatt, then 3 years old, into the car seat that had him facing forward right behind his Father who was going to drive the boy to a daycare and then drive on to his office.

police looking into van

Police officer looking into the van at the scene of the crime.

In the facts read into the Court record prosecutor Chiera said that Shaun forgot to take the boy to the daycare and instead drove directly to his office, parked the vehicle and went into the office building where he worked leaving the boy in the car.

The boy had been given his iPad to play with and a set of headphones by his parents before the van left the house.

Shaun Pennell

Shaun Pennell standing between the van in which his son died and the ambulance that took the body away.

Jenn arrived at the office, both worked for the same organization, at around noon with lunch for Shaun. No mention was made of where Wyatt was – Jenn believed he was at the daycare.

When she tried to dial into the day care’s monitoring service later in the day she could not get access – she called the daycare and was told Wyatt was not there.

When the parent realized that the boy was still in the van panic set in and the couple raced to the Ford Escort van and found the child still in the car seat. They called 911.

van with car seat

The van and the car seat in which Wyatt Pennell died of hypothermia.

The ambulance arrived in minutes; – they were unable to revive the boy. He had been in the van from about 10 am to about 4:30 pm, without having any food or water on a day when the temperature was in the 26 degree range.

The Court was not given much in the way of details as to who first realized that the boy was still in the van. Police reported that they were called to the site of the tragedy at around 4:30 pm. There appeared to be a difference in the time line the Court was given and the time line in news reports on when the police arrived. Any differences were not material.

An autopsy determined the three-year-old died of hypothermia.

Pennell was charged with failing to provide the necessities of life and negligence causing death

Assistant Crown Attorney Nick Chiera explained that his role was to set out an agreed upon statement of facts and to help the Court determine what a sentence should consist of

Brian Greenspan

Celebrated defence lawyer Brian Greenspan

Defence lawyer Brian Greenspan explained to the court that Shaun Pennell was a good man who made a tragic mistake; one that he will carry with him for the rest of his life.

Greenspan, one of the most celebrated criminal lawyers in the country, offered the court evidence he felt the Judge could use in determining an appropriate sentence. He pointed to research on forgotten baby syndrome

Justice Lesley Baldwin said that in sentencing there were two main issues: deterrence and denunciation.

The Judge said that there was little doubt that Shaun Pennell would repeat the crime. In the matter of denunciation she said that society would not be served were she to send him to jail and leave him with a criminal record.

Defence lawyer Greenspan asked the court to give his client a conditional discharge sentence of about six months’ probation and require that Pennell continue with his therapy.

Pennell, clad in a grey suit, wept throughout the proceedings and when asked if he wished to address the court during the sentencing said that he did not wish to speak.

Jennifer spoke with the Crown prosecutor on a number of occasions during the proceedings. She sat directly behind Nick Chiera while her husband sat well to her left closer to the lawyer representing him.

There were a few family members in the Court room but for the most part Shaun was by himself, supported by his wife and his legal team – alone with his thoughts and the grief he will carry with him for the rest of his life.

The couple have a two year old daughter.

Justice Lesley Baldwin, said: “It is difficult to contemplate something more devastating than losing one’s child. It is even more so when you are the cause of that loss,” she said and added that “Mr. Pennell did not mean to cause his son any harm. Quite to the contrary, he loved his son. He grieves for him along with everyone else who also cared for Wyatt. That’s what makes this a difficult case.”

Assistant prosecutor Chiera said children are vulnerable members of society saying those charged with their care must be vigilant.

He called for a suspended sentence and probation for Pennell.

Defense Attorney Brian Greenspan said Pennell’s actions have already devastated him.

In a statement to the court, Jennifer said Shaun cried constantly for months following Wyatt’s death.

She also said he lost weight and experiences sleep issues with frequent flashbacks.

“Shaun struggles to get through a day.” He continues to go to work haunted.  “He struggles to make it through a day knowing what he has done. He knows why our son is no longer here and it is torture,” said Jennifer.

Jennifer told the Court that her husband “is a loving father who made a terrible mistake and that has forever changed us.”

Greenspan said no good would be served for Pennell to leave the court with a criminal record and called for him to be discharged. He also argued that if probation was imposed it should be no longer than six months.

Justice Lesley Baldwin said this was one of the saddest cases she had dealt with and decided to grant Shaun Pennell an Absolute Discharge.

She saw “no reason for Mr. Pennell to leave this building with a criminal record given these tragic circumstances.”  She also found that probation was not warranted.

Shaun Pennell left the Court room a broken man who will need years to recover from a tragic mistake. He is undergoing personal counselling and working with his wife to maintain the relationship that has experienced a strain that cannot even be imagined.  Judge Baldwin urged Jennifer to try counselling.

Shaun and his wife did not sand beside each other; they did not hold hands.

What the two of them have is a community that is there to support him as Shaun works to handle the grief that is upon him every day.

What the public has now is a legal precedent that will no doubt be used in a future case of this nature.

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Can the Mayor convince her colleagues to whittle that Staff 3.99% budget increase down to 2.99%?

News 100 blueBy Staff

January 29th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

We now know what the Mayor would like to see in the way of a Budget increase for the city residents.

Staff have put forward a budget that would see an increase of 3.99% over what they were taxed last year.

Mayor Meed Ward thinks that can be chiselled down to 2.99%
The City is inviting residents to share their feedback about the spending priorities in the proposed 2019 city budget at two town hall events in February.

Goldring and Carr Cogeco Cable

Mayor Goldring did a Town Hall call in on the budget from the Council Chamber – response was dismal.

Telephone Town Hall
On Thursday, Feb. 7 at 7:30 to 8:30 p.m., Mayor Marianne Meed Ward will host a live, call-in telephone town hall where residents can listen in and ask questions about the proposed 2019 budget priorities.

Burlington residential phone numbers will be randomly selected to be part of the telephone town hall. Residents who would like to be added to the telephone call list can email getinvolved@burlington.ca by February 5th.

Budget public meeting - empty hall

A Public meeting to review the tax rate was held at Central Arena on Drury Lane. It snowed – the hall was empty but the area next door was packed.

Anyone who does not receive a telephone invitation can call 1-800-837-8058 at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 7 to join the town hall.
Town Hall – Central Arena
On Monday, Feb. 11 at 2 to 3:30 p.m., Mayor Marianne Meed Ward will host an in-person town hall in the auditorium at Central Arena, located at 519 Drury Ln.  Senior city staff will be at both town hall sessions to help answer questions.

Burlingtonians have opinions - the city manager wants to hear what you think - become part of his Insight panel.

Burlingtonians will show up for public meetings and share their views. The location and the way the event is organized is critical. And letting the citizen make changes would help as well.

Delegate
Members of the public can also register to speak to Burlington City Council as a delegation at one of the following Committee of the Whole meetings. Both meetings take place at City Hall in Council Chambers, located at 426 Brant St. on the second floor:

Feb. 4, 2019 at 6:30 p.m. Meeting of Committee of the Whole:
Delegations from the public on capital and operating budgets
Feb. 7, 2019 at 9:30 a.m. Meeting of Committee of the Whole:
Delegations from the public on capital and operating budgets

Mayor Meed Ward

Marianne Meed |Ward standing before the public moments before she was sworn in.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward reminds people that “Public engagement is one of the most important things when it comes to city matters, particularly budget. With engagement, residents can not only see exactly where their tax dollars are going, but also understand how they and Burlington will benefit. It also gives us, their elected representatives, a chance to hear their thoughts and ideas on what’s been proposed for the 2019 budget. Whether you want to attend in person or call-in to listen, I would encourage members of the community to ask questions and join the conversation.”

It is what she ran her election on – will people show up?

Quick Facts
• The City of Burlington provides 38 services to its residents.
• maintaining existing service delivery levels
• planning for infrastructure renewal
• enhancements to transit service.
• The proposed operating budget results in a 3.99% increase to the city’s portion of the tax bill, including:
• 1.97% to maintain services
• 1.25% for infrastructure renewal
• 0.77% for service enhancements.

Councillor Rick Craven, centre, with a copy of the 2013 budget on a memory stick. Craven did a superb job of chairing the budget committee last year. He will have no argument with candidate Henshell over the need for additional shopping facilities in Aldershot - getting themt there has been the challenge.

IN 2013 members of Council were given a copy of the budget on a memory stick that they could manipulate – there was still a significant tax increase.

• Burlington’s Open Budget tool provides users with 2019 budget information broken down into easy-to-understand graphs and charts. Explore the tool at Burlington.ca/budget.

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City announces appointments to Boards and Committees.

News 100 redBy Staff

January 29th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The city has a number of Boards and Advisory Committees that it appoints citizen representatives to for terms of, on average, two years.

Council last night approved the following people to the following Boards or Committees:

Approve the following citizen for appointment to the Board of Directors for the Burlington Downtown Business Association for a term to expire at December 31, 2021:
• Elliot Vine

Approve the following citizens for appointment to the Board of Directors for the Burlington Public Library for a term to expire at December 31, 2021:
• Catharine Benzie
• Jennifer Tarnawski
• Lindsay Zalot
• Bianca Tse
• Brian Kenny
• Nawaz Noormohamed
• Janet Gadeski (alternate)
• Andrew Mowat (alternate)
• Jason Mahayathu (alternate)

Approve the following citizens for appointment to the Board of Directors for Conservation Halton for a term to expire at December 31, 2021:
• Gerry Smallegange
• Jim Sweetlove

Citizen Committee Appointments:

Approve the following citizens for appointment to the Committee of Adjustment, the Property Standards Committee and the Committee of Revision for a term to coincide with the Council term. Members will hold office until their successors are appointed:
• John Calvert
• Rose Hercia
• Nicholas Leblovic
• Alexandra Rawlings
• James Riddell
Virginia Tinti
• John Vice
• Melissa Dalrymple (alternate)
• Louis Spittal (alternate)

Approve the following citizens for appointment to the Heritage Burlington Advisory Committee for a term to expire at December 31, 2021:
Don Thorpe

David Barker
• Deborah Begonia
• Diane Miller
• Heather Stevens

Approve the following citizens for appointment to the Burlington Accessibility Advisory Committee for a term to expire at December 31, 2021:
Doug Benton
• Brenda Agnew
• Cindy Bond
• Lindsey Provost
• Morgan Callaway
• Cheryl Delugt (alternate)

Approve the following citizens for appointment to the Sustainable Development Advisory Committee for a term to expire at December 31, 2021:
David Rokosh
• Mitchell French
• Peter Cookson
• Michelina Longo
• Katie Rauscher
Chris Maynard
• Dave Bourns (alternate)
• Sarah Burjaw (alternate)
• Jacob Westerhof (alternate)

Approve the following citizens for appointment to the Burlington Inclusivity Advisory Committee for a term to expire at December 31, 2021:
Jenna Bye
• Heba Lamloum
• Mumba Litana
• Carrie Overholt

Approve the following citizens for appointment to the Burlington Mundialization Committee for a term to expire at December 31, 2021:
Mary Beth Curtin
• Judith Genis
• Brianna Jennings
• Chuck Morris
• Christa Papavasiliou
• Michael Pavan
• Shadi Salehian
Sabrina Yott
• Ryan Martin (alternate)

Approve the following citizens for appointment to the Burlington Seniors’ Advisory Committee for a term to expire at December 31, 2021:

April Begg Goodis
• Alexandra Edwards
• Wendy Moraghan
• Carol Scalon
• Jim Young
• Dave Beck (alternate)

Approve the following citizens for appointment to the Burlington Agricultural and Rural Affairs Advisory Committee for a term to expire at December 31, 2021
James Fisher
• Vanessa Warren
• Glen Portch
• Maura Romanelli
• John Timmis
• Norm Richardson
• Nancy Douglas
• Dave Stanyar (alternate)
Sarah Pralet (alternate)

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City council skips through a short meeting - all the votes were 7-0

News 100 blueBy Staff

January 29th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

We are seeing a lot of those 7- 0 votes at city council these days.
Both Council and the Mayor are settling into a space that has little in the sense of design to it. It is hard to tell who the Mayor is when watching a web cast.

Mayor - official

Hard to miss the Mayor when she wears her chain of office – except for when she is in city council chamber.

There are three people at the head of the Council Chamber; the City Clerk, a Clerk’s assistant and the Mayor who is usually identified as the person wearing the Chain of Office.

The seat the Mayor sits in isn’t elevated and you can’t actually see the Chain of Office Meed Ward is wearing.

The desks members of council sit as look as if they could be moved easily. Not much in terms of design to the space. It does look like it was designed by a civil servant.

Burlington flag from Lt Gov office

The city crest could add some colour to an otherwise bland space – Council Chamber

The city crest tells something about the history of the city – it could be placed on the wall that has the city logo on it. One could probably place a winning bet that the Historical Society didn’t have a word of input on the design. It was done on the cheap and it shows.

Hopefully the wimpy look isn’t a reflection of the members of council.

Both the Mayor and the members of council are getting up to speed on the procedures that are part of municipal government. There are members of this council who have not done their homework – they fumble with the documents in front of them.

Surprisingly, the Mayor doesn’t have the grip one would have expected on procedure. There were too many nervous laughs, occasions when the Clerk had to offer direction. Meed Ward has probably delegated more than anyone else in the city and has been a member of Council for eight years; this stuff should be second nature to her – she’s not there yet.

Tim Commisso Jan 28

Interim city manager Tim Commisso appeared to be the only city official at the meeting other than people from the Clerk’s Office.

There was one interesting bit of news that came out of the meeting. Interim city manager Tim Commisso has been asked to keep a closer eye on what the different levels of government are doing for the municipal sector.

The concern was with what the province is going to ask the city to do; suspicions as to what the Premier will try to do with rural lands is still ripe.

Figuring all this out is to be the subject of another Council Workshop.

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Shawn Pennell granted Absolute Discharge in Superior Court for Failing to provide the necessities of life to his 3 year old son.

Crime 100By Staff

January 29th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Justice Sullivan this morning granted Shaun Pennell an Absolute Discharge for the criminal offence he had been charged with and to which he pled guilty; namely Failing to provide the necessities of life to a person under the age of 15.

Pennell had also been charged with Criminal Negligence; that charge was dropped.

Pennell will not have a criminal record as a result of the Absolute Discharge..

Full details on the way the Crown prosecutor handled the case and how defence lawyer Brian Greenspan handled the defence and the comments Justice Sullivan made during her sentencing will follow.

Pennell in handcuffs

Shaun Pennell being escorted by police at the scene of the death of his son.

Pennell’s son Wyatt was left in a car unattended on a hot day for a significant period of time on May 23rd, 2018. When police were able to get into the car, the boy, three and a half at the time was unresponsive.

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A year to 'rekindle': Port Nelson United Church cuts the ribbon.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

January 28th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Years of planning and hard work came to fruition at Port Nelson United Church, as the congregation and community came together to mark the official opening of their new addition and renovated space on Sunday, January 27th.

Port Nelson outside

A year of hard work – a new look with better space: Port Nelson United Church

Three million dollars produced a bright, modern, efficient and accessible space for church activities, special ceremonies and community events.

“Today, we unveil our rekindled space and celebrate the hours of hard work and dedication that helped build it,” said Rev. Michael Brooks, minister of Port Nelson United Church. “This is a landmark day in the history of our church and it will help us serve the congregation and the community better for years to come.”

The celebrations mark more than a year of construction, as well as years of preparation and fundraising under the banner of the Rekindle Project for the church located in the heart of the Roseland community in Burlington.

Port Nelson ribbon cut

The occasion drew not only the ward Councillor but the Mayor as well.

“Port Nelson United Church is the spiritual home of many of our Burlington residents and a place where families and friends can come together to share in their faith and beliefs as a community,” said Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward. “It is a privilege to be a part of the official opening of Port Nelson’s new rekindled space and I’m excited to see the larger gathering spaces, new accessible library and energy-efficient rooms that will surely be enjoyed by the congregation.”

Port Nelson meet room

Bright open spaces – the spiritual home for many Roseland residents

Some of the highlights of the renovated space are a new fellowship hall and foyer, which offer a combined space of close to 5,000 sq. ft.; a fully-accessible building with accessible washrooms and elevator; a state-of-the-art professional-grade kitchen; new furniture, paint and windows, and efficient heating and cooling systems.

The team behind the Rekindle Project says this special day is a testament to the people of Port Nelson United Church and the community, who contributed to the successful fundraising campaign and made this extensive renovation possible.

The church will soon be accepting bookings for community rentals and special events.

Port Nelson United Church is located at 3132 South Dr. in Burlington. For more information, contact the office at 905-637-5631 or www.portnelsonunitedchurch.com.

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Council looking at a light agenda this evening - then settles down to do some heavy lifting on the 2019 budget later in the week.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

January 28th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

City Council meets this evening to put the official stamp to issues that were discussed at the Standing committee level earlier in the month.

We will learn who Council wants to see appointed to the numerous Advisory Committees the city has in place. There were a number of people who thought the way Advisory Councils were formed, staffed and funded needed a full re-appraisal – won’t happen this year; perhaps next.

There is a new committee that is taking a look at the way the city is going to structure the matter of Development Charges – that is the sum of money developers pay – up front- for the cost of building new or adding to existing infrastructure. A major major concern to the development community.

Meed Ward winsome

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

Sharman 2

Councillor Paul Sharman

Mayor Meed Ward and Councillor Sharman will head up the Development Charges Consultation Committee.

Later in the week they move into some heavy duty budget discussions and begin to suss out what the final tax rate is going to be.

Burlington has borne the brunt of close to consistent 4% increases for the past eight years – numbers like that are neither economically or politically sustainable – where the cuts are going to take place is an unknown at this point.

This council did ask the Finance department to tell them what would have to go if there were a 2%, 3 % and a 3.25% tax increase. There is a link to the answer staff gave at the bottom of this article.

The Finance people set out a number of scenarios but none of them made mention of significant cuts in the staff compliment.
In 2017 the city spent $106,729,690 on Human Resources

In 2018 the budget for Human Resources was $115,341,659 and the actual $112,655,298

The budget for 2019 is pegged at $120,828,358 – that is an increase of $14 million over a two year period which looks a little steep.

During one of the recent Council Workshops Angelo Bentivegna, Ward 6 City and Regional Councillor coined a phrase that we can expect to hear frequently. He wants council to come up with ways to re-think, re-tool, and re-invent how we do business.

The Gazette tried to get Bentivegna to expand on this line of thinking – the Council member suddenly went mute. We are going to have to listen closely to what the Council member has to say in public if we are to get the full measure of the man.

It is fairly clear that this council wants to pass a budget that results in a lower tax rate. The problem is that other than the Mayor and Paul Sharman, Councillor for Ward 5, none has any experience with a municipal budget.

Kearns

Councillor Lisa Kearns

Chair of the Budget Committee, ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns is doing fine so far keeping things on track and moving the agenda forward. If she stays on her current trajectory she will turn out to be a very efficient and knowledgeable budget chair. There is just a lot to learn and her background with things municipal is thin.

When Councillor Sharman was first elected in 2010 he took to financial matters like a bull in a china shop – while he didn’t make any friends he did push his colleagues to produce a 0% increase that year.

Will he do something similar this year? Don’t bet on it.

Sharman will be supportive but don’t expect him to lead – that doesn’t fit in with his longer term objective. Recall that when Sharman first filed nomination papers with the City Clerk in 2010 it was for the Office of Mayor. He withdrew those papers when Rick Goldring filed papers for that job and came back with nominations forms for the ward 5 seat that Goldring was about to vacate.

Rick Goldring once said that Paul Sharman was one of the best strategic thinkers he had ever met. Don’t expect Sharman to put that reference on his Linked in page but keep it in mind as we watch how this new council evolves.

Related news stories:

Budget – the big picture.

Where can council cut spending?  Here, here and here.

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Mayor Meed Ward to address the business elite on Wednesday - the message may be very different this time.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

January 28th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

On Wednesday morning the city’s business elite will gather at the Convention Centre on Burloak and listen to Mayor Meed Ward give her take on where the city is and, hopefully, a fuller picture on where she intends to take us.

In the past, Mayors have written and polished a speech that is delivered as a written document.

Mayor - official

Mayor Meed Ward

Meed Ward’s office advised us earlier today that Her Worship will be speaking extemporaneously; winging it to some degree.

In the less than two months Meed Ward has served as Mayor she shown the city a level of decisiveness the city has not seen from city hall in well over a decade.

Far too early to tell if what she wants to do is what is best for the city. Her decision to ditch the Grow Bold tag line the Planning department had attached to their growth aspirations was seen by many as a welcome decision.

Ridge 3

Former city manager James Ridge; used the exit door for the last time.

The decision to part ways with the former City Manager and take up to six months to find the kind of city manager the Mayor and her council think the city needs was also welcomed by those people who delegated at length for a change in the way the city was handling development applications.

Bob Dylan had it right when he sang:

Come gather ’round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you
Is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’.

Let’s see if the people in the Convention Centre tap their toes to that tune – and let’s see if the business elite give the new Mayor a standing ovation when she has finished speaking.

Salt with Pepper are the thoughts, opinions and reflections of the Gazette publisher.

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Crime: Additional Charges Laid Against Personal Support Worker

Crime 100By Staff

January 26th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

One of two Personal Support Workers arrested in October 2018 for fraud related offences against an elderly person now faces additional charges after two additional victims came forward.

These newly reported incidents occurred between June 2018 and July 2018.

It is alleged the accused used one victim’s credit card for four purchases and had stolen items from their residence.

The second victim had cash and a ring stolen from their residence while the accused was employed there.

Sarah Taylor Mackenzie (26 yrs) of Burlington was arrested and held for bail charged with the following additional offences:

• Fraud Under $5000
• Theft Under $5000 (two counts)
• Unauthorized use of credit card data.

Prevention Tip: Halton Residents who have Personal Support Workers into their homes should be aware of their Personal Support Worker’s identity, and have a detailed schedule from the agency providing care and, all valuables and financial items should be properly secured.

Halton Police contact: Detective Constable Derek Gray of the Burlington Criminal Investigations Bureau – Seniors Liaison Team at 905-825-4747 ext. 2344.

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

Previous news story.

Persons charged are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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Do working seniors continue to work in the same occupation after retirement? CDH publishes a focus paper

News 100 redBy Staff

January 26th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Community Development Halton, an community agency funded in part by the Hamilton Halton United Way and the Region of Halton regularly delivers a series of research papers on issues that matter to the health and social welfare of the Region.

Community lens banner

The most recent paper focuses on the number and proportion of working seniors.

This sector of the working population continues to increase. Over one in five (22%) seniors in Halton worked at some point during 2015 compared to about 16% ten years ago (2005). The number of working seniors grew from 9,000 to 16,700, a 86% increase. Working seniors between 65 and 74 years old increased by 91%.

Do working seniors continue to work in the same occupation after retirement? Is there any difference between senior men and senior women? What are the most common occupations for working senior men and women?

Community lens male labour

For working senior men, the most popular occupation is sales and service (e.g. insurance, real estates and financial sales, retail salesperson and cleaners). About one in five (20.5%) seniors aged 65 to 74 and almost one in four (24.4%) seniors aged 75 and over are in that occupation. This occupation only accounts for 15% of older men working between 55 and 64 years of age.

Management is the most common occupation for men aged 55 to 64 years and is also a popular occupation for seniors aged 65+ (e.g. senior managers in various industries). About 17% of working senior men (65-74 years) work in trades, transport and equipment operator occupations. Many work as motor vehicle and transit drivers (e.g. taxi, limousine, bus drivers, and transport truck drivers).

For working senior women, the most popular occupation is business, finance and administration (e.g. general office workers, administrative officers, office administrative assistants – general, legal and medical). About 33% of working senior women aged 65 to 74 and 37% aged 75 and over are in that occupation. This is also the most common occupation for women between 55 and 64 years old.

Community lens Female labour

Sales and service is the next popular occupation (e.g. retail salesperson and insurance, real estates and financial sales). Almost one in three (30.4%) working senior women aged 75 and over work in this occupation.

Over one in ten working senior women are employed in education, law and social, community and government services. Many work as secondary and elementary school teachers and educational counsellors, home care providers and elementary and secondary school teacher assistants.

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Arrest Made After Investigation Into Investment Fraud

Crime 100By Staff

January 26th, 2019

BURLINGTON,ON

 

HRPS crestThe Halton Regional Police Service has charged a Burlington man following an investigation into alleged fraud offences.

On January 24, 2019, members of the Halton Regional Police Service Regional Fraud Unit concluded a lengthy investigation into an alleged investment fraud. The victims reported to police that they were presented an investment opportunity with promises of large financial returns in a short period of time.

The victims received little or no returns at all and the matter was reported to the police. As a result of an investigation, Matthew Paul GOULEOS (40) of Burlington was charged with two counts of Fraud Over $5000.

Police believe there may be further victims of this fraud and encourage any additional victims or witnesses who have had financial dealings with GOULEOS to contact Detective Constable Kevin Harvey of the Regional Fraud Unit at (905) 465-8744.

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

Persons charged are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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Wanted person arrested and charged with 21 criminal code offences.

Crime 100By Staff

January 25th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It took a bit but the Halton Regional Police did get their man – he is being held on 21 criminal code offences.

HRPS crestOn Thursday January 24, 2019, officers with the Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) 3 District Criminal Investigations Bureau and Street Crime Unit located and safely arrested Michael Bretton (34) of Burlington.

Bretton was wanted by the HRPS for 21 criminal charges. The offences took place over a two week period throughout the region.

Charges include possession of stolen property (including two cars), possession of illicit narcotics and fraudulent use of a credit card. Bretton is also wanted by multiple other jurisdictions on outstanding arrest warrants.

Bretton has a history of evading police and his safe arrest was the result of a coordinated effort with Hamilton Police.

Bretton was held for a bail hearing and will appear in Milton Provincial Court on Friday January 25, 2019.

Pending Charges:
• Fail to Comply with Probation Order (8 counts)
• Possession of Property Obtained by Crime (3 counts)
• Theft Under $5000
• Operation While Prohibited (2 counts)
• Driving While Under Suspension (2 counts)
• Fail to Comply with Recognizance
• Assault with Intent to Resist Arrest
• Possession Schedule 1 – Crystal Meth
• Possession Schedule 1 – Cocaine
• Fraudulent Use of Credit Card

The police remind the public that persons charged with an offence are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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

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Chop chop - Mayor gives Grow Bold the old heave ho!

News 100 yellowStatement by Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

January 25th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Well that didn’t take long.

Tom Muir made some scathing comments about a development meeting that took place earlier in the month.

That was followed by an opinion piece by three Aldershot residents who asked the city to clarify just what the city was using in the way of an Official Plan.

Mayor Meed Ward issued a statement this morning making it very clear what she had in mind.  The Grow Bold tag line the Planning department had fallen in love with was out – and council will be looking at the “approved” Official Plan that the Regional government returned as deficient.

Here is what Her Worship had to say:

MMW arms out - thank you

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward moments after being sworn in.

“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, especially in the new Official Plan.

“As a result, I am bringing forward a motion to re-examine the policies of the Official Plan that was adopted, though not officially approved, in April of 2018, and review matters of height and density.

“Halton Region has also recently identified areas of non-conformity, so this motion seeks to gain the time to address those issues.

“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 new city 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.

“The motion will also 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 and that the existing Official Plan is still in full legal force and effect. Multiple analyses by staff in assessing development applications, downtown in particular, have made it clear we do not need to overintensify in order to meet our obligations under the Places To Grow legislation.

Grow bold - front door“Further, we will immediately discontinue use of the “Grow Bold” term and related branding to ensure we
are absolutely clear on our direction.

“A timeline will be discussed at the next committee meeting.”

What we are seeing is a Mayor with her hands firmly hold the tiller on the ship of state.

The then Director of Planning for the city, Mary Lou Tanner, told city council that after polling people in the city they had decided to go with the tag line: Grow Bold, Grow Smart, Grow Beautiful. The words got placed on the door to the space on Locust Street that was rented for the Planning staff to work out of.

With the tag line gone – are the people that created it far behind?

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An appeal by three Ward 1 concerned citizens: Burlington Needs Clarity on Planning Applications.

opinionred 100x100By Jim Young, Greg Woodruff and Tom Muir.

January 25th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Gazette readers will be aware that Burlington’s New Official Plan (New OP) was rejected by Halton Region as non-conforming in four specific areas.

Quote: “The new Official Plan was adopted by City Council on April 26, 2018, and was sent to the Region of Halton on May 11, 2018 for approval…….. The Region ………… is legislatively required to ensure that Burlington’s Official Plan conforms with the Regional Official Plan …. On December 4, 2018, the Region issued a statement of opinion that the new Official Plan does not conform to the Regional Official Plan in regard to the following:”

1. Proposed employment conversions and permitted uses within the employment areas and lands.
2. Identification of and permitted uses in agricultural lands.
3. Identification of and permitted uses with the Natural Heritage System;
4. Transportation matters including road classifications.

The New OP was also overwhelmingly rejected by voters in October’s municipal election in an almost wholesale change in the city’s seven person council, most of whom ran on promises to revise that New OP upon its return from the region.

We are three concerned Ward 1 citizens who believe council needs to act to clarify the status of the New OP and the supremacy of the Existing Official Plan (Existing OP).

The Region’s rejection of the New OP renders it null and void and, under the Planning Act, leaves the Existing OP “in Force and Effect” at present. Yet recent applications by developers for zoning or bylaw amendments to the City’s Official Plan appear to be receiving consideration under some kind of blending of both plans. This lack of clarity works very much in the developers favour.

Developers are submitting applications which, while paying lip service to the Existing OP to keep them compliant, incorporate features of the New OP in an attempt to cash in on its more liberal permitted heights.

Amica development rendering

Amica development proposed for North Shore Blvd across the Road from the OPP Station.

There are many such applications in the works but one good example of this practice is the Proposed Development at 1157-1171 North Shore Bvd.

The developer wants 17 stories (62.5) metres in an area where the Existing OP designates 11 Storey (Max 22 metres). Regardless of the merits or otherwise of the development, the process by which it is being pursued by both developer and city staff is not only inappropriate, it is contrary to all the reasons citizens elected a new city council and creates very dangerous precedents no matter what revision of the OP eventually reaches the books.

At the mandatory public meeting held jointly by the developer and city planners on January 9th, these deviations from the Existing OP; the misapplication of the New OP and many other issues were raised by citizens.

Our concerns about the legitimacy of the process were completely ignored by city planning staff whose duty, we believe should be to defend the wishes of Citizens, City Council and Halton Region, all of whom have rejected the New OP and pending a rewrite of that plan following its overwhelming rejection by voters in the October election.

It appears that city planners have taken one of two possible positions:

1. Pending approval of the New OP, any applications received are subject to the existing in force and in effect Official Plan; however, consideration is being given to the Council adopted New Official Plan.

2. When challenged on the propriety of that position City Staff seem to fall back on the technicality that the New OP is the “last position taken by Council on April 26, 2018” so is deemed by them to have weight in consideration of amendment applications.

We believe staff are adopting these positions contrary to the Municipal Planning Act and the wishes of City Council. We dispute both of these positions as erroneous. You cannot have two plans in play at the same time.

The New OP is, to all intents and purposes, null and void.

If that needs to be clarified to city staff, then we urgently request that council convene to provide direction to staff, as is their prerogative, to the effect that: “The Old Official Plan remains in force and in effect as mandated by The Planning Act, and is therefore the only pertinent consideration for amendment applications until such times as A Revised Official Plan is drawn up, adopted by city council and approved by regional council.”

Jim Young

Jim Young

Greg Woodruff

Greg Woodruff

Muir with pen in hand

Tom Muir

Related news story:

The event that brought resulted in three residents appealing to city council for clarification.

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How many Official Plans do we have? Two - but only one of them is legitimate. Confused? You are not alone.

News 100 blueBy Staff

January 25th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Official-Plan-Binder_ImageThe Official Plan, the document that sets out what can be built where, was an election issue in October.

The city currently has two Official Plans: one that is in force and what has to be complied with. The other is a Plan that was approved by city council during its dying days but has yet to be approved by the Region.

Many didn’t think the 2014 -2018 city council had the right to “approve” the Official Plan that they sent along to the Region where the Plan has to be approved and sent back to Burlington where it can be voted on by council and become the law of the land.

Recently the Region returned the “approved” Official Plan and pointed out four deficiencies.

Amica development rendering

It is a very big development – which Official Plan will it be developed under?

Earlier this month there was a presentation being made by a developer for a large long term care home they wanted to build on North Shore Blvd.

A number of people who attended that meeting were very confused and upset with the way staff from the Planning department were explaining which Official Plan was being applied.

Tom Muir, an Aldershot resident wrote extensively on that meeting saying:

Muir glancing

Tom Muir

I attended this meeting that was joined by at least 80 people and I came away disturbed and concerned by what I saw and heard coming from the planning staff in attendance, the developer’s planning consultant and the residents.

The first thing that was apparent is that there was not a happy and supportive face in the room. The initial questions asked by the audience reflected the general unrest among the attendees concerning the confusing and contradictory statements from staff and the developer consultant about what the Official Plan being brought to bear on this application actually was about.

That is, why did the applicant ask for such significant increases in the existing OP and zoning allowances, and why did they appear to have such confidence in the approval of their application?

It soon became apparent that there were actually two OPs being brought into play here by all the planners present. One was the existing OP that is in force and effect. However, with equal but apparent favored mention, was the previous Council adopted OP that was brought forward as a “Council approved”. I repeat, the word “adopted”, which is the proper word in the context of city Council, was not used, in favor of “approved” which is the Region responsibility. The status of this OP as refused and non-compliant was not mentioned.

It was further noted by staff that this OP was being used for information, guidance and direction for the City planning. It was apparent that this confusing contradiction with two OPs in play was disturbing the attendees (and me) and was a key issue arising.

It was not until I asked a question about this that the OP referred to repeatedly as “approved” had been, in truth, refused by the Region as non-compliant with the Regional Official Plan, and at present is on hold and has no status or legal standing. I repeat, this fact was never revealed to the meeting attendees until my question pointed it out.

Instead, to my dismay waiting for the truth to emerge, this refused and non-compliant OP was actually referred to as “Council approved”, several times in repeated references to it.

In the ensuing exchanges on this point that you can’t have two OPs at the same time, it was apparent to me that Planning is playing a game. All three planners in attendance played the same words and danced around what was going to be done about that.

It was actually stated by staff that the OMB has ruled that the existing OP did not meet the requirements of the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) and provincial growth plans, but there was no evidence to support this to show how the maximum medium density and heights (11 storeys was mentioned) permitted under the existing OP were not sufficient.

Staff further danced around the truth by making somewhat light that the non-compliance of the adopted OP was “limited” in some abstract way, so it still had some standing and is okay to have regard for – which is not true. It was stated that City and Region are talking about certain isolated issues of non-compliance, and will get rolling again, but it was never admitted that this OP has no standing because it has been refused as non-compliant based on key things that affect the overall OP.

Muir with pen in hand

Tom Muir, one of a group of people in Aldershot who keep well informed on what comes out of the Planning department.

My recurrent take on this is the staff cannot let the refused OP go to pasture for second public thoughts. I can see that right from the pre-application consultation and discussion stage of the planning process, it seems that all the planners are pushing the basis and ideas from the non-compliant OP for extra height and density and other things .I think that staff do not to give up the power they have to make decisions based on their mostly subjective opinions about what various policies mean in their denotations. Subjectivity cannot be analysed, so it cannot be shown to be objective.

They all want to speak from this OP platform for more height, density and lower facilitating standards to enable the large builds. And they try to generally discredit the existing OP to try and get around it. This has been going on for years and continues in every new application in the pipeline. This is largely why we have such an almost complete loss of control of development downtown and elsewhere.

The Planning staff are the ones who recommended to Council that this OP be adopted, even with major missing parts, including Transportation and Mobility Hubs. And these parts are among the things that the Region refused the OP as non-compliant – transportation named, but Mobility Hubs involve employment lands and that is another key issue in the non-compliance opinion. Again, these two pieces are still missing and this OP is not legal, but staff march on using it, non-compliance or not.

The truth is that if it has been refused by the Region as non-compliant it is dead for all practical purposes, and cannot in good professional planning practice be used as a basis for decisions. Only much later in the meeting, near the end, did staff clumsily mumble that the refused OP is out of the picture somehow, on hold or whatever words pertain, and so we have to enforce the existing OP and bylaws on height and density and so on.

Importantly, staff actually stated that they needed new directions from Council to change the direction of planning in the city, and of the adopted but not compliant OP. It is obvious that the staff are asking for this change to be made explicit from someone in charge, and ultimately from Council.

In planning talk, the Planning Act requires that an application must be processed under the OP that is force and effect. The adopted OP has no status and should not be used as the basis for supporting any new application, not even with the mention of non-compliance with the ROP. The new OP has not been approved at the Region. We must stop this type of action by staff.

In the view of many, including all the Mayoral candidates, the last election campaign and outcome was supposed to be a wake-up call to the Planning department about the development that was being promoted and done in Burlington. Tongue in cheek, it may be that since most of the city planning staff don’t live in Burlington they didn’t hear the clarion call. That said, someone in charge needs to drive that point home with some new marching orders to Planning. This kind of action by staff must be stopped.

Heather MacDonald, Director of Planning for Burlington responded to Muir with:

This is in response to your email dated Friday, January 11th.

Heather_MacDonald COB planner

Heather MacDonald, Director of Planning for Burlington

 It is recognized that public engagement early on in and throughout the processing of development applications is important and of great value. Neighbourhood meetings held at an early stage provide for information sharing and identification of issues and concerns to be addressed by the development approval process.

At the neighbourhood meeting on January 9th, staff answered questions regarding the status of the new Official Plan. The following confirms the information that was provided to clarify where things are at with the new Official Plan.

The new Official Plan was adopted by City Council on April 26, 2018, and was sent to the Region of Halton on May 11, 2018 for approval. The Region is designated as the authority to make a decision on the Official Plan and is legislatively required to ensure that Burlington’s Official Plan conforms with the Regional Official Plan.

Specific timelines are established by the Planning Act for the Region to make its decision. City staff has been working closely with the Region. To allow more time for the process, on December 4, 2018, the Region issued a statement of opinion that the new Official Plan does not conform to the Regional Official Plan in regard to the following:

– proposed employment conversions and permitted uses within the employment areas and lands;

– identification of and permitted uses in agricultural lands;

– identification of and permitted uses with the Natural Heritage System;

– transportation matters including road classifications.

In accordance with the Planning Act, this notification allows for a pause in the Region’s approval process. The Official Plan is still with the Region for approval; however, the decision on approval is paused to allow more time to resolve nonconformity matters. City staff is continuing to work with Regional staff to come to resolution on these matters.

The pause also provides the opportunity for the City to request the Region to consider modifications to the Official Plan currently before them. Any Council approved modifications sent to the Region would also be considered with respect to conformity with the Regional Official Plan.

Until the Region approves the new Official Plan, any applications received or in process are subject to the existing in force and in effect Official Plan; however, consideration is given to the Council adopted new Official Plan.

Greg Woodruff, another Aldershot resident and a candidate for Mayor in the October election added that:

I think the widening gulf in impression is being created by the terms of the “public input” process are not apparent to those participating. People think they are giving input into the decision and direction of the city. However staff are in reality implementing over arching plans proposed by Provincial entities. The merits of these plans not withstanding; when the desires of these faceless plans come into conflict with the desires of local residents – how is this to be resolved?

Woodruff

Greg Woodruff on a TVO Mayoralty debate

Right now it’s “resolved” by a poor planner from the planners office hauled up in front of a crowed room of hundreds of pissed off people trying to explaining elements of an incredibly sophisticated and complicated planning system. No one can possibly explain the complexity of this process to people in a meeting like this and every one is going away angry.

Most people believe that city employees represent them in a conflict with the Province, not that they implement Provincial policy onto residents. As I put it the “public consultation process” from the staff perspective seems like we get to decide the shade of brown the walls get to be, but not how high or where they should go.

My suggestion going forward would be to open these meetings with what types of resident input the staff considers valid for consideration, and what types of input conflict with an overarching plan plan and are not considered input on the table. If you opened these meetings with, “The staff feel that a high-rise building is in fact what the Provincial Planning Statement imagines at this location and the staff roll is to bring that into realty. Legislation prevents staff from really considering anything else – if you don’t like it talk to x. Where x is an elected leader that could change this direction.” Then at least the public could lobby in an effective direction – as is they keep lobbying Burlington staff for a direction I think the staff themselves feel is “off the table”.

Enter all this business on the “official plan”. I don’t feel staff are “considering the new Official plan.” They are acting like it’s a done deal. Certainly they are not restraining heights as if the old official plan is the basis of anything. It’s all being considered as if some almost identical version of the “New Official Plan” is the reality.

So the question would be what direction do the staff require to consider current development applications primarily through the working of the current OP? I think the general sense is that compliance with the old OP is appropriate until the new council and Halton gets a crack at the changes they want. Other wise staff working with the New OP are encouraging development that may heavily conflict with a new version, something not good for developers, staff or the public.

Lisa Kearns, Councillor for Ward 2 did her best to clarify things saying:
All,

Yes, we are in a complex position.

Kearns direct smile

Ward 2 City Councillor Lisa Kearns.

Here’s what I can offer:
-I have invited Curt Benson to my Ward 2 Updates, scheduling conflict for the next one on January 24. I will open an invitation to him as well for the neighbourhood meeting relating to the application upcoming at Pearl/Lakeshore. (Curt Benson, MCIP RPP Director, Planning Services and Chief Planning Official, Halton Region).

-I continue to be at every planning application neighbourhood meeting, statutory meeting, etc. with the purpose of ensuring a sense of the community input in relation to development applications. I further encourage feedback in the form most preferable to residents, all is weighted.

-I have directed the interim City Manager to work with Council and Staff to prepare a press release/education campaign on the status of the Official Plan*. This is a direction I brought forward following the 1157-1171 North Shore neighbourhood meeting. At this meeting I observed the used of multiple versions of “Official Plan” and the personal/professional interpretations that projected onto the audience due to the individual experiences through this planning process. I impressed a sense of urgency given the ensuing interpretations that result from the absence of this clarity.

I acknowledge there is so much more to this conversation, and I am grateful for an engaged community. Please know that I continue to work hard on your behalf and am very much aware of the opportunities for improvement.

Interim City Manager Tim Commisso closed out the online conversation saying:

“Thanks Councillor Kearns. No question that addressing issues surrounding the OP is at the forefront of building trust and confidence in the City related to protecting the public interest.

Definitely a priority for myself and we are working hard on your direction and other related actions.”

Those who follow this stuff can arrive at their own conclusions as to just what is taking place.

 

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Trevor Copp doesn’t just do Marceau – he has extended the art of mime.

artsorange 100x100By Pepper Parr

January 25th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The works of that famous mime artist Marcel Marceau are lost to most of us.

Copp as Marceau

Trevor Copp as Marcel Marceau

Trevor Copp is developing his skills and does an incredible Marceau performance. Copp doesn’t just do Marceau – he has extended the art of mime.

Marcel Marceau was a French actor and mime artist most famous for his stage persona as “Bip the Clown”. He referred to mime as the “art of silence”, and he performed professionally worldwide for over 60 years. He died in 2007.

Copp has picked up the art form and will be doing a performance on February 1st and 2nd at the

LIVELab ofMcMaster University; February 1 and 2 @ 7:30pm

Tix $15/$10 students. CLICK HERE for tix.

Directions/Parking Details – CLICK HERE

Copp has done this show before more than 8,000 people in the last year; audiences keep asking for more.

Reviews for TBT’s Mime Theatre

“A master of contemporary theatre….there is a sensitivity to the performance, an indefinable sense of risk taking that signals the true artist”
– Gary Smith, The Hamilton Spectator

“…inspirational cross-training for the soul… there is a deep seated need for this kind of physical art that people don’t even realize they have anymore. In the age of Netflix and downloads, return to the campfires of our primitive ancestors and feel how theatre first stirred our souls. And as a bonus, feel the incomparable magic of the man in the box bit done by someone who studied at the Marcel Marceau School in Paris and clearly knows what he’s doing.”
– Diane Lachapelle, Apt. 613 Blog

“He moves with beautiful fluency…simply too creative for words. Highly skilled….a fresh fusion between acting and modern dance”
View magazine

Searching for Marceau is the story of a budding young artist trying to make sense of his two fathers: the real one raising him and the far away Marcel Marceau. The imaginary and the real battle in this theatre/mime piece that reinvents Marcel Marceau’s Mime tradition for the 21st Century.

Some examples of a Copp performance – short clips

Movement study: a bird flapping wings.

The old standard. I still get more requests for this than anything.

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School Board sponsoring conference on Autism Spectrum Disorder

News 100 redBy Staff

January 25th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Halton District School Board is hosting a two-day conference this spring where professionals, parents/guardians and community will learn about an educational approach for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

The conference, called The SCERTS Model: A Comprehensive Educational Approach for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Related Developmental Disabilities, will be held Wednesday, April 17 and Thursday, April 18, 2019 at the Burlington Convention Centre (1120 Burloak Drive, Burlington).

SCERTS large - autism

The conference features guest speaker Dr. Barry Prizant who is recognized as one of the leading scholars in autism spectrum disorders and communication disabilities. He has more than 40 years experience as a researcher and international consultant for individuals with autism and related disabilities. He is a certified Speech-Language Pathologist, an Adjunct Professor at Brown University and director of a private practice.

Formerly, Prizant was a Professor of Communication Disorders at Emerson College and Associate Professor of Psychiatry in the Brown University Medical School.

Mark Zonneveld, Superintendent of Education for the Halton District School Board is the lead on this project. The outcome for him is to “help our school and parent communities better understand Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and how we can effectively assist youth at school and at home.”

This presentation will provide an introduction to the SCERTS Model (Social Communication, Emotional Regulation and Transactional Support). The Model is a comprehensive evidence-based framework for prioritizing goals and implementing practices that focus on the core challenges in ASD: Social Communication, Emotional Regulation, and providing Transactional Support for children with ASD, and related social-communicative disabilities.

The SCERTS Model is a flexible and individualized approach that includes focusing on learning functional skills in everyday activities and is based on the unique learning style of persons with ASD.

In this workshop, assessment and intervention issues will be addressed for children with a wide range of developmental abilities and ages, including preverbal and verbal individuals, from preschool through elementary, middle, high school ages and adult services. Particular emphasis will be given to the core challenges faced by students with ASD and related abilities by emphasizing the interface between social, emotional and communication issues from a clinical and educational perspective.

The SCERTS Model has been implemented in more than a dozen countries in programs ranging from Early Intervention, school-age services and adult services.

Cost

Early Bird Registration (Received before Feb 15, 2019)
$395.00 (Includes Lunch)

Regular Registration (Received after Feb 15, 2019)
$425.00 (Includes Lunch)

For more information about the SCERTS conference and/or to register, click here.

 

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