Are residents seeing a change in the way city staff are relating to residents? Some think so.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

January 7th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Change in an organization isn’t always immediately evident. The Gazette is getting feedback from its readers on the changes people, who in the past have been very critical of the way they get treated at city hall, are now telling us that Staff are reaching out to them.

“I don’t seem to have to chase people to get information” said one resident. Another mentioned that she was approached by staff in the Clerks office and asked to take part in a committee. “I didn’t know the staffer but she seemed to know who I was” said the resident.

Word is that a committee is being formed to look at the appointments made to the various advisory committees and how they should operate.

Councillor TAylor works at listening to home owners who don't like the city's historical recognition policies.

Former city Councillor John Taylor works at listening to home owners who don’t like the city’s historical recognition policies.

There are a number of people who don’t have much time for the Advisory committee process used in Burlington.

“They tend to be controlled by the council member who sits in on the meeting and serves as liaison to council” was the way one resident described them.

When Gazette staff used to sit in on the meetings it was evident to us that the member of Council had far more influence than the citizen members.

There are those in Burlington who would like to see city staff less involved in the selection of people who serve on committees.

What we appear to be seeing at city hall is a small, subtle change. One needs to do everything possible to encourage that direction they appear to be going in.

Jim YoungJim Young has been very vocal about what he calls a “useless” approach to the creation of Advisory committees and how they get put to work. He has some pretty unflattering experiences with the way the Seniors Advisory committee that he sat on was close to man-handled by Councillors Craven and Sharman.

Craven has moved into the retirement phase of his municipal council career – Sharman is still there but, from what we can see so far – his is a much muted voice.

Leopards apparently can change their spots.

Progress? One can only hope.

Salt with Pepper reflects the opinions, observations and musings of the publisher of the Gazette, an on-line newspaper that is in its 8th year of as a news source in Burlington and is a member of the National Newsmedia Council.

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Facebook patents - part 2. Facebook isn't quite the company many think it is - they know more about you than you really want them to know.

background 100By Staff

January 7th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

Part two Facebook patents

Facebook is everywhere – even though the enthusiasm for the service is waning in some sectors.

Hugely popular it is now getting a much closer look due to the impact Facebook is believed to have had on the US 2016 Presidential election ans the decision in the United Kingdom to leave the European Union.

The depth of the data Facebook has collected and their ability and willingness to package that data to meet the needs of corporate and political interests is now so rampant that Congress is considering some form of regulation on how Facebook collects data, often without the permission of the Facebook user.

Facebook recently applied for a number of patents.  We described four in part 1 of this two part series.  Here are three other patent applications

Listening to your environment
listening graphic

This patent application explores using your phone microphone to identify the television shows you watched and whether ads were muted.

It also proposes using the electrical interference pattern created by your television power cable to guess which show is playing.

It wants to correlate media consumption data with user profiles.  U.S. PATENT APPLICATION NO. 14/985,089

Tracking your routine
tracking routine

Another patent application discusses tracking your weekly routine and sending notifications to other users of deviations from the routine. In addition, it describes using your phone’s location in the middle of the night to establish where you live.

The focus would appear to be on routine deviation notification and inferring your habits based on the data they collect.

Think about that for a moment – is this what you want social media doing with the data you let them collect?  U.S. PATENT APPLICATION NO. 15/203,063
Inferring your habits
infering

This patent proposes correlating the location of your phone to locations of your friends’ phones to deduce whom you socialize with most often.

It also proposes monitoring when your phone is stationary to track how many hours you sleep.  The objective would appear to be to gather statistics for continuous location tracking. U.S. PATENT NO. 9,369,983

In some cases, companies file patents defensively, to beat their rivals to a new technology, even if they have no intention of using it.

While that could be the case for some of Facebook’s patents, many of them imagine new ways to collect, analyze and use personal information and package it for advertisers — a process that is essential to the company’s business model.

In the first quarter of 2018, almost 99 percent of Facebook’s revenue came from advertising.

As long as Facebook keeps collecting personal information, we should be wary that it could be used for purposes more insidious than targeted advertising, including swaying elections or manipulating users’ emotions, said Jennifer King, the director of consumer privacy at the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School. “There could be real consequences,” she said.

Other technology companies have filed unsettling patent applications, too. They include Amazon’s wristbands for tracking warehouse employees and the Google teddy bear equipped with a camera and a microphone.

But with more than two billion monthly active users, most of whom share their thoughts and feelings on the platform, Facebook is amassing our personal details on an unprecedented scale. That isn’t likely to change, said Siva Vaidhyanathan, a professor of media studies at the University of Virginia. “I’ve seen no indication that Facebook has changed its commitment to watch everything we do, record everything we do and exploit everything we do,” he said.

There are people who no longer use Facebook as a platform.  The Gazette posts every story it publishes to its own Facebook page.  The comments that appear on the Facebook page have nowhere near the clarity and depth that those made by involved readers in the Gazette comments section.

A significant number of people follow the Gazette via Facebook

Each story the Gazette publishes is also sent out as a tweet.

Part 1 of this two part series.

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Why Aren’t We More Like Norway

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

January 7th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Last year almost 40% of all cars registered in Norway were all-electric (EV). There are now 100,000 EVs in that tiny country of just over 5 million people. By contrast Ontario’s much more modest goal of 5% of its fleet being EV by 2020 is looking more like a pipe dream than ever.

cars being charged

Will Ontario make the move from gas stations to electric charging stations.

Norway makes EVs tax free, it has an extensive network of free charging stations and there are other incentives, such as preferred parking. To fund those amenities Norway, the third largest global oil exporter, has the highest carbon tax in the world.

Norway implemented the world’s first carbon tax in 1991. Now its main climate change policy, carbon pricing is used to incentivize EV’s and zero emission space heating as well as invest in new GHG emissions technologies. Norway’s goal is to become completely net carbon free by 2050.

There was a promising report out of British Columbia about somebody building a zero emission house, though it only went viral because journalists were amused by its eco-efficient electronic smart cat door which cost an extra $2000. Clearly carbon free is still considered a peculiarity in this country. Though the federal government is developing net zero emission housing plans presumably intended for life in provincial building codes.

Burlington GHG emmissions - sourceQuebec rated an A grade, placing seventh among a number of jurisdictions, on an international report card on GHG emissions, the only Canadian province to do so. In fact the province outranked Norway, which suffered from its extensive oil and gas industry emissions. Still both have fossil free electricity and a carbon pricing system to encourage GHG-free heating and fuel.

Alberta and Saskatchewan scored “D–” grades by contrast, owning the highest per capita GHG emissions. And those provinces helped bump up Canada’s per capita GHG emissions, putting us in a virtual tie with the U.S. and Australia for the worst.

The Ford administration likes to take credit for previous Liberal policies which reduced GHG emissions by 22% from 2005 levels, yet has shown no interest in continuing the progress which got us here. Those emission reductions were facilitated by the Green Energy Act.

Today only 3% of the province’s fossil fuel emissions come from electricity generation. But the Green Energy Act is history now, as is the Cap and Trade carbon pricing program which promised even greater emission reductions. Gone too are the electric vehicle, insulation, energy efficient window and efficient heating incentive programs.

In their place the Minister of the Environment has introduced a $400 million slush fund for the biggest industries to dip into as they experiment with ways of further reducing their emissions. It’s not a bad idea. But it’ll never amount to more than an iota of emissions reductions.

Though industry makes up about 30% of provincial GHG emissions its status as a big polluter has declined by 28% since 1990. And well over half of those emissions are from Ontario’s oil and gas production sector. Which gets us back to transportation, which is the fastest growing sector of greenhouse gas emissions in Ontario. And following closely is the building sector, with space heating responsible for much of that.

mulroney_carbon_tax

Ontario Attorney General Carolyn Mulroney, will lead the provincial case against the federal carbon tax program.

All this begs the question of why the Ford government has put all of its eggs, into the one sector of the Ontario economy which is arguably already doing a good job of reducing its emissions. And why would it just ignore the sectors which are growing at a problematic rate. Are they incompetent, stupid or just don’t care?

Alternatives exist. Already electrically powered farm tractors are on the horizon and there is even an Ontario made EV pick up truck. But new technology needs a push for adoption, be it financial incentives to encourage consumer uptake and/or disincentives to discourage using fossil fuels.

Doug-Ford environment

Premier Doug Ford may have found himself unable to see the forest for the trees.

Mr. Ford’s revisionist approach, reaching out for ‘Happy Days’ will only ensure a reversal of the progress made over the last decade and a half. Clearly he and his ministers need to e-write their climate change plan to make it more like those of Norway and Quebec – or at least the one which existed before last June’s election.

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

Background links:

Electric Tractor –     More Tractors –     EV Truck

Emissions Report Card –   Norway –    More Norway

Cat Door –    Net Zero Housing

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If you thought Facebook already knows to much about you - get ready for a bit of a shock. They want even more.

background 100By Staff

January 6th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

If you thought that your personal life was private – let us dissuade you of that fairy tale.  Have a look at some of the patents Facebook has applied for in the recent past.  The data we use comes from the New York Times.

One of the ways that the public can get some sense as to the direction a company might be going in terms of new product development is to keep an eye on the patents they apply for.

A patent sets out an idea for a product a company wants to produce and protects their idea from use by anyone else. In the past year Facebook executives have had to appear before Congressional committees in the United States and Parliamentary committees in the United Kingdom and asked to explain why they have made private information available to corporations who then mined that data and attempt to sway opinions.

There is a lot of evidence to suggest that the 2016 American presidential election and the decision made in the United Kingdom to leave the European Union was swayed by computer applications and “false” news stories on Facebook.

Many expect both Facebook and Google to come under some form of regulation that limits the information they collect and what they can do with information they do collect. Few people have any idea just how much information they have on us.

In a two part series the Gazette will be publishing a brief description of each patent and outlining what the impact of that patent might be.

Facebook has filed thousands of patent applications since it went public in 2012. One of them describes using forward-facing cameras to analyze your expressions and detect whether you’re bored or surprised by what you see on your feed.

Another contemplates using your phone’s microphone to determine which TV show you’re watching. Others imagine systems to guess whether you’re getting married soon, predict your socioeconomic status and track how much you’re sleeping.

facebook-logoA review of hundreds of Facebook’s patent applications reveals that the company has considered tracking almost every aspect of its users’ lives: where you are, who you spend time with, whether you’re in a romantic relationship, which brands and politicians you’re talking about. The company has even attempted to patent a method for predicting when your friends will die.

Mark-Zuckerberg-sam-feature-1523477562

Mark-Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, appears before Congress – says he wasn’t aware of how much data they were making available to private corporations.

Facebook has said repeatedly that its patent applications should not be taken as indications of future product plans. “Most of the technology outlined in these patents has not been included in any of our products, and never will be,” Allen Lo, a Facebook vice president and deputy general counsel, and the company’s head of intellectual property, said in an email.

Taken together, Facebook’s patents show a commitment to collecting personal information, despite widespread public criticism of the company’s privacy policies and a promise from its chief executive to “do better.”

“A patent portfolio is a map of how a company thinks about where its technology is going,” said Jason M. Schultz, a law professor at New York University.

Reading your relationships
Relationships graphic

One patent application discusses predicting whether you’re in a romantic relationship using information such as how many times you visit another user’s page, the number of people in your profile picture and the percentage of your friends of a different gender. The application would infer relationship statuses of users of a social networking system

If you are into this kind of stuff you can look at the complete patent application on the US government patent site.  This one is U.S. PATENT APPLICATION NO. 14/295,543

Classifying your personality
classifying personalittyThis one proposes using your posts and messages to infer personality traits. It describes judging your degree of extroversion, openness or emotional stability, then using those characteristics to select which news stories or ads to display.  It is U.S. PATENT NO. 9,740,752 and intended to determine user personality characteristics from social networking system communications and characteristics.

Predicting your future

predicting

This patent application describes using your posts and messages, in addition to your credit card transactions and location, to predict when a major life event, such as a birth, death or graduation, is likely to occur.  They appear to want to predict life changes of members of a social networking system.  U.S. PATENT APPLICATION NO. 12/839,350

Identifying your camera

camera

This patent considers analyzing pictures to create a unique camera “signature” using faulty pixels or lens scratches. That signature could be used to figure out that you know someone who uploads pictures taken on your device, even if you weren’t previously connected.

Or it might be used to guess the “affinity” between you and a friend based on how frequently you use the same camera. Patent US 20120072493A1 and U.S. PATENT NO. 8,472,662

Part two of this series will be published tomorrow.

 

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Walk Off the Earth will hold a commemorative event on January 13th to celebrate the life of Mike 'The Beard' Taylor

Newsflash 100By Staff

January 5th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Details are skimpy – just the date known at this point.

Walk Off the Earth will be holding a commemorative event on January 13th –location has yet to be announced, to celebrate the life and accomplishment of Mike “The Beard” Taylor who dies suddenly in December.

Walk off the earth concert

 

 

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Those highway signs are a cash cow - 'Government for the people' want you to know they have given small business a break.

News 100 redBy Staff

January 5th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It is a phrase we are going to have to get used to: Ontario’s Government for the People – the new Conservative government plasters it on everything they release.

TODS collective

The major brands spend a small fortune to get there message out there.

One of the more recent things they have done for “the people” is make life more affordable by bringing relief to Ontario’s tourism operators who rely on the province’s Tourism-Oriented Directional Signing Program (TODS) to generate a positive economic impact in their local communities.

“In April 2018, the previous government signed a contract with Canadian TODS Limited towards the end of their administration. The people of Ontario have expressed their concerns about this contract, and the significant fee increases being placed on small business owners across the province.

“Ontario’s Government for the People is listening to the province’s small business owners and tourism operators. We have worked with Canadian TODS Limited – the third party responsible for the delivery and maintenance of the TODS program – to freeze all price increases for 2019.

“Our Government for the People has heard clearly from tourism operators across the province about their concerns regarding the fee increases associated with the TODS program. The previous government deliberately froze prices for 10 years, ignoring the cost of inflation, and completely failed to communicate with TODS customers,” said Michael Tibollo, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. “We are taking real action to ensure businesses and customers have time to adjust to the increased prices, and we look forward to continuing to work with Canadian TODS Limited over the coming year to look for ways we can help mitigate this price increase.”

The TODS program is designed to provide motorists with signage on provincial highways to direct visitors to tourist attractions, operations and services.

“Our Government for the People was elected on June 7 with a clear mandate to respect the taxpayers of this province and to restore trust and accountability in the province’s finances,” said Jeff Yurek, Minister of Transportation. “We heard loud and clear from small business owners across Ontario, and have fixed a problem that the previous government created. Today we’re providing relief to small business owners, as we do our part in promoting and strengthening tourism in Ontario.”

The prices paid for those directional signs is steep:

TODS specific

The rates for the small operators seem to be reasonable.

$4,800 / Freeway Urban Major Mainline & Ramp
$4,800 / Freeway Rural Major Mainline & Ramp
$1,200 + production fees / Freeway Area Profile
$600 + production fees / King’s Highway Area Profile
$1,500 / Freeway Urban Regular Mainline & Ramp
$750 / Freeway Rural Regular Mainline & Ramp
$600 / King’s Highway Major
$400 / King’s Highway Regular
$360 / High Speed Trailblazer
$120 / Low Speed Trailblazer
$120 / Urban Trailblazer
$90 / Tourist Route

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Police looking for Lions Club parking lot car fire witnesses

Crime 100By Staff

January 5th, 2019

Burlington, ON

 

The Halton Regional Police are investigating a car fire that occurred in the Lions Club Parking lot located at 491 Pearl Street, Burlington.

On Thursday January 3rd 2019 at 5:13PM, the Halton Regional Police Service was dispatched to 491 Pearl Street in the City of Burlington for a report of a vehicle on fire at the Lions Club parking lot. After the fire was extinguished, Police investigation determined the vehicle was stolen.

Police are now seeking any witnesses who may have been in the area at the time and who have not already spoken with police, to contact the Burlington Criminal Investigations Bureau at 905-825-4747 extension 2316.

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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Controversial development project gets mixed views from the public.

News 100 redBy Staff

January 5th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The National Homes proposed development on Brant street just south of Havendale has been contentious since the day it got to the city Planning department.

It was probably the worst managed planning file in 2018.

Landscape master plan

The developer wanted 236 units – they scaled it back to 212. The residents think 150 units would be more appropriate.

At one point it looked as if the development was going to get approved without a staff report and without much in the way of public input.

The biggest thing the public had going for them was the exceptionally good delegation made by the people in the Havendale community and some exceptional analysis by Steve Armstrong.

The legal talent hired by National Homes found a way to skate around the rules and confuse, obfuscate and basically jerk everyone around until a critical time frame was met.

The Planning department has to give a developer a response within 180 days of a complete development application being submitted.

Ed Doer, a member of the group of residents who delegated on the issue verbally set out the gruesome details that backed up the written delegation.

When that 180 day period ended the developer filed an appeal to what is known as the LPAT – Local Planning Act Tribunal. Due to the transition taking place from OMB – Ontario Municipal Board – hearings and LPAT hearings the appeal was to be heard under the OMB rules. Confusing? – agreed and that confusion was worked to the developers benefit.

To add to the mess was the fact that the outgoing council voted to approve the development even though five of the seven members of council knew they were not going to be serving on the new 2018-2022 council.

Some felt the old council had no right to vote on the matter – others thought they were required to vote on it.

An LPAT hearing had been scheduled for December 17th, it was originally a Pre-hearing Conference (PHC). The National Homes legal counsel asked that it be heard as a Settlement Conference – they felt they had a deal in place.

The city’s legal department kept taking council into closed session (in-camera) to explain why this development was fraught with legal issues that they didn’t want to talk about publicly.

The Gazette learned that the city’s legal department thought they could see another Walmart like case coming their way. That case is reported to have cost the city fifty big one ($500,000).

The LPAT hearing took place and the hearing officer decided that it would be a PHC and adjourned everything to a date in early April.

Mayor Meed Ward made a comment on Facebook that brought out some very mixed responses.

Here is what the “public” had to say:

Being sworn in

Mayor Meed Ward

The Mayor:
Withdrawing the settlement allows the current council, the community and the developer to continue to work on this project to get a better development. Settlement should never have been voted on by previous council, post election when 5 of 7 councillors were known not to be returning.

Public responses:

Rita Giammattolo Hardy Awesome work by our new Council . . . . thank you all for listening to the residents. 🙏🙏🙏

Andrew Alexander
I don’t know why people are against this? Looks like a great new development on vacant land. It also adds affordable houses to people wanting to move into Burlington. The plan looked great.

Lisa Cooper I am not totally for this project, but to say the previous council should not have voted on it is presumptuous. As far as I can tell they were still a paid council to do their job no matter how many seats were going to change on council.

Sean Kenney Sad day for fair process in Burlington. The council of the day had the right to make decision to settle and they did so. Hopefully when LPAT awards costs to the developer the new Council will be transparent and let us know what the costs are.

In the world of politics you can please some of the people some of the time – you can never please all the people all the time.

This dog and pony show is far from over.

Park distances

The original application didn’t include any park space – that was revised and a small park was included.

The question one might ask is: why is the Mayor taking to social media as frequently as she does?
Because it works.

It is beginning to look like government by photo op, Facebook comment and tweets. Major issues should be given the background and detail they need and deserve.

We are watching just how much damage can be done when social media is the platform used to debate and discuss important issues.

Related new story:

The Ed Doer delegation

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Police Attempting to Locate Driver Involved in Motor Vehicle Collision - This male has been located safely.

News 100 blueBy Staff

January 4th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Halton Regional Police Service is asking for the public’s assistance in trying to locate a male who was involved in a motor vehicle collision. Police were called on Friday January 4, 2019 at 4:10am to investigate a single motor vehicle collision that occurred in the area of Twiss Road and Reid Sideroad in the town of Milton.

Police have been unable to locate the driver who is believed to be Kurtis-Ray WEYER, 23 years of age of Hannon, Ontario. Police have received information that has created concern for his safety.

Kurtis-Ray Weyer

Kurtis-Ray WEYER,

He is a white male, 5’10” tall and has a chinstrap beard with short brown hair at the sides and longer hair on top. Please see photo attached. He is believed to be wearing a blue shirt with white circles on it, red running shoes and possibly a blue work jacket with reflective stripes.

If anyone has information about Kurtis-Ray Weyer or his whereabouts, please contact the Halton Regional Police Service at 905-825-4747 ext. 2405 or your local police service.

Tips can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers “See Something? Hear Something?

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BURLINGTON COMEDY FESTIVAL will take place from February 24th – February 27th; several venues.

eventsblue 100x100By Staff

January 4th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

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

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

Comedy Bugle Boy

“Skinny German Juggle Boy”

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

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

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

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

Derek Seguin

Derek Seguin, a CBC Just for Laughs regular.

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

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

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

The best deals in town are the VIP Food & Funny Deals at Emma’s Back Porch and Pepperwood Bistro. They include admission to the reserved seating area and a $25 voucher for dinner at the participating restaurant. This package is $49.00 ($69.00 for the “Best of the Fest”).
Comedy Festval 2019Tickets are now on sale for the 4th Annual Burlington Comedy Festival, presented by the Burlington Downtown Business Association. The Festival is in partnership with the Kitchener-Waterloo Comedy Festival and Port Credit Comedy Festival.

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

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

For a full list of complete acts and to buy tickets online please log onto www.burlingtoncomedy.com

Brian Dean 2 longBrian Dean, Executive Director, Burlington Downtown Business Association said:  “After five years we are more convinced than ever that there is a strong appetite for professional comedy in Burlington. The Festival helps us to showcase our thriving small business community by bringing crowds to the downtown core for laughs and great hospitality.

 

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Headstones to be a feature in the June 8th Sound of Music Kick Off June 8th.

News 100 redBy Staff

January 4th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Sound of Music Festival has announced another band that will be part of their 40th anniversary Kick off that will take place June 8th.

HEADSTONES will be joining +LIVE+ and BUSH as part of this year’s June 8th kick-off line-up.

HeadstonesIn a media release the Festival staff commented: “When we look back on all of our kick-off concerts, one of the most iconic performances came from Headstones! Hugh Dillon in the crowd, the energy they brought, ranks as one of the best performances the festival has ever seen. To celebrate our 5th kick-off and 40th anniversary, we can’t wait for Headstones to blow the roof off the place!!”, says the programming team.

Executive Director, Myles D. Rusak added to the hype: “You asked for it and we listened! We’re so excited to welcome back by popular demand, Headstones! The energy these guys bring to the lineup is just the icing on an already nicely frosted cake! Our 40th is shaping up to be a year to remember so grab your tickets and join us for a celebration that we’ll be talking about for the next 40 years!”,

The one day kick-off concert takes place five days before we open the doors to Canada’s Largest Free Music Festival (June 13-16, 2019). Past artists have included Weezer, The Offspring, The Cult, Sublime with Rome, Simple Plan, All-American Rejects, Our Lady Peace, and dozens more.

Tickets are on SALE NOW. Grab your tickets before they sell out! Prices will go up.
• ADULT $75
• YOUTH $25
• VIP $110
• FrontRow $110

The Festival is currently recruiting volunteers. Visit soundofmusic.ca/volunteers if you are interested in applying.

The SoM will not be the same with the unexpected passing of Walk off the Earth band member Mike Taylor:

mike-taylor-walk-off-the-earthMayor Marianne Meed Ward issued a statement on behalf of city council on the sudden death of Mike, saying
“We are all deeply saddened to hear of the sudden death of Mike Taylor. Our city joins together in mourning this tragic loss, and sending condolences to Mike’s family, band mates, friends and fans at home and around the world.”

Flags at Burlington City Hall were lowered to half mast in Mike’s honour.

Mike and his family made their home in downtown Burlington. “You have left us with a rich musical legacy. Thank you Mike for your contribution to music here and around the world. We will truly miss you.” added the Mayor.

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Downtown merchants recognized for their festive season window displays.

News 100 blueBy Staff

January 4th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

They have been doing it for a number of years and on a few occasions there have been some stunning window displays to add to the mood, tone and feel of the downtown streets during the festive season.

This year – there were a couple of clunkers – what were they thinking?

No need to call them out – fortunately for the judges, as esteemed as they were, their names were not published.

The Burlington Downtown Business Association announced the 2018 winning displays:

Candles for the stroll

The Candle Light Stroll gave people an opportunity to see many of the different window displays.

 

Best Window/Exterior (professional): Joelle’s
Honourable Mention: Scrivener’s Men’s Apparel

Best Window/Exterior (non-professional): Lola’s Choco Bar and Sweet House
Honourable Mention: Wendel Clark’s Classic Grill & Bar

Best Interior Design: Pearl & Pine Retirement
Honourable Mention: Stoner & Company, Family Law Associates

Best Restaurant/Eatery: Water Street Cooker
Honourable Mention: La Creme de la Creme Creamery Inc

Best Interior/Window Display (service provider): La Viva Hair Studio
Honourable Mention: Dollface Beauty Bar

Burlington Hydro Conservation Award: The Burlington Charcoal Pit
Honourable Mentions: Dollface Beauty Bar & Centro

BEST OVERALL: Centro Garden.  Centro seldom fails to outdo itself.

 

christmas-window-display-winners

The winners and the Honourable mentions.

The response to the opportunity to decorate the store fronts along Brant and John street and some of the adjacent streets has been a bit sporadic. Some of the commercial establishments, especially those in hospitality have been really limp – a string of lights was it at some locations. Not all of them but enough to make the lack of participation evident.

With well decorated store fronts and innovative, creative ideas people want to get out on the streets – and if they are on the streets they can walk in.

Let’s see what they can do in 2020.

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New Year levees seem to have come back into favour. Gould holding hers on the 6th; McKenna chose the 12th.

background 100By Pepper Parr

January 4th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Levees were once a large part of the way the social side of Ontario worked.

The Lt Governor held a New Year’s Day Levee at Queen’s Park every year; it was a command performance for anyone that mattered.

They were not partisan events – politicians of almost every political stripe were welcome. In the 40’s, 50’s and 50’s the Communist Party members weren’t exactly welcome but other than that – it was the community getting together at its very best.

Levee Gould welcoming a new Canadian

Karina Gould at one of her New Year’s Day Levees, congratulating a couple who recently became Canadian citizens

Burlington MP Karina Gould teamed up with then Burlington MPP Eleanor McMahon to hold a Levee at the Art Gallery. At the time the then Mayor didn’t take part in the event.

The military types showed up in their blue blazers with medals on their chests.

Some of the Guilds that work out of the Art Gallery were in the room doing their hooking or their carving.

The event reminded us of a note we got several months ago from a Terry Wilson who used to deliver the Spectator on Delaware Street.

Wilson was commenting on the way Delaware Street gets closed down on Halloween saying:

“I collected many Halloween treats up and down this street, 60 years ago. My paper route ran all the way from the Lakeshore to New Street. 35 Cents a week as I remember for the Spec delivered to your door. I had about 40 customers who would all pay me in coins.

“One day, while collecting from Mrs. Jupp, at 391, my weighed down pants fell down! She giggled, and got me some binder twine to use as a belt, so I could continue on my way.

“Burlington was such a wonderful town then, you knew mostly every one, if not by name, by seeing them about town. It was another time.

It certainly was.

Municipalities across the province held a levee and any community that had an Armoury was certain to have a well-attended event where the toasts were frequent.

The idea of a New Year’s Day Levee fell out of favour.

McKenna at her AGM

Jane McKenna, Burlington MPP

This year Karina Gould is holding her Levee on January 6th at the Art Gallery between 1 and 4 pm  – she isn’t being joined by our MPP, Jane McKenna, which is unfortunate.

McKenna is holding her own Levee on January 12th at her Constituency office on Brock Street. Takes place from 1-4 pm on the Saturday.

We asked Mayor Meed Ward if she had any plans for a Levee and she said she wasn’t able to get that on to her schedule this year but expected to do something in 2020.  She did add that Burlington has  held an annual New Years event at Tansley Woods for a number of years.

Levee crowd 2018

The more recent levees have been packed events – and the speeches, with an exception or two, were fun and mercifully short.

Burlington happens to be a city where every political leadership level, except for the Region, is led by a woman.

There was an opportunity for the three woman to join forces and put on a single event that would have all the political stripes in the one room to share, celebrate and toast what has been achieved in the past and what can be done in the future.

Perhaps 2020 will see a different form of cooperation between the political leadership.  Something to look forward to – let’s not miss another opportunity to show who we really are

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Angela Coughlan Pool will be closed from March 18, 2019 to the spring of 2020 for renovations and upgrades.

sportsgold 100x100By Staff

January 4th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

People used to say “there must be something wrong with the water” but in Burlington we seem to say “what’s with the swimming pools in Burlington?” They are either closed for repairs or they are being rebuilt.

This time it is the Angela Coughlan Pool next the MM Robinson high school that is closing for renovations; a Public Information Session planned

Angela Coughlan Pool will be closed from March 18, 2019 to the spring of 2020 for renovations. Some pool programs and staffing have been shifted to other locations to help accommodate participation levels across the city.

A public information session is planned for January 16 at Angela Coughlan Pool from 7-9 p.m. Staff and architects will be available to discuss plans and gather feedback.

The renovation project will provide important and necessary repairs and upgrades to the facility. The result will be a more efficient, up-to-date and modern pool facility and will include the following:

• Partial pool deck replacement around the lap pool
• Retiling of the lap-pool deck
• Lap pool tank repairs
• Replace HVAC and upgrade dehumidification system
• New LED lighting
• Plumbing improvements
• Change room renovation

Change Room Renovation

Coughlan pool upgrade 2

Architectural rendering of planned upgrades to Angela Coughlan pool.

The City of Burlington is working towards providing equal rights, respect and dignity through access and privacy. The new inclusive change space will provide fully private change and/or shower areas for all, removing the need to have designated “Men’s” or “Women’s” changerooms, including:

• Fully private change and shower areas with seating and hooks for hanging personal items

• Common areas open to everyone where clothing is mandatory

The inclusive change space is designed to allow for clear sight-lines down all the isles from the pool deck as well as from the community centre hallway for maximum safety.

The result will do away with the open changeroom concept. All changing will happen in private stalls. All common areas are clothing-mandatory.

Previously, Angela Coughlan had nine private change stalls split between both the Men’s and Women’s changerooms. There will now be 31 private change rooms.

Coughlan pool upgrades 1

Architectural rendering of planned changes to Angela Coughlan pool, Private change rooms.

Private change areas
The 31 private change areas will include:

• 24 private change areas
• Five private change areas with showers
• Two accessible change stalls with roll in private showers and adult change tables
• Four private washrooms with sinks

Common areas
The common areas will include shared amenities such as:

• Lockers
• Rinse stations
• Sinks and counter space
• Mirrors
• Wall-mounted hair-dryers and bathing-suit spinners

Other municipalities and jurisdictions who have done similar renovations include the Calgary YMCA, Sudbury Valley area, University of Guelph and Saskatchewan schools.

 

He is no longer "acting"; it's now the real deal as Chris Glenn gets appointed the Director of Parks and Recreation for the city.

Chris Glenn, Director of Parks and Recreation for the city.

Chris Glenn, Director of Parks and Recreation, describes the new change-room concept as “exciting” – wouldn’t go quite that far. He adds that:  “We are fortunate that our pool facilities already have a family/universal changeroom concept where everyone is welcome to use for their own personal comfort. The proposed inclusive change space for Angela Coughlan Pool builds on this concept, allowing everyone to have comfort and privacy while changing. We want to remove any barriers to participation and know that personal comfort is very important to many. This is a new and exciting concept to Burlington that just makes good sense.”

Coughlan H&S

Angela Denise Coughlan

Angela Denise Coughlan, (October 4, 1952 – June 14, 2009) was a Canadian competition swimmer. At the peak of her competitive swimming career from 1968 to 1971, she was the best Canadian female freestyle specialist, going undefeated in freestyle events at Canadian meets during that time, as well as breaking a world record and 13 Canadian records.

As a member of the Canadian national swim team, she anchored the 4×100-metre freestyle and 4×100-metre medley relay teams, and earned both individual and team relay medals at the 1967 Pan American Games, the 1968 Olympics, the 1970 Commonwealth Games and the 1971 Pan American Games.

Named Canadian Female Athlete of the Year in 1970, she retired from competitive swimming in 1972 at the age of 19. Part of her post-competitive career was spent as a swim coach and mentor to younger swimmers.

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Muir on how city council voted on the 2100 Brant development that is now at an OMB hearing.

News 100 redBy  Pepper Parr

January 3rd, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The vote on what city council wanted to do with the situation they were faced with at the 2100 Brant property might provide some insight as to how this new council is perhaps likely to break out on the various decisions they have to make.

The vote was on how to respond to a confidential report from the city solicitor on legal issues that had cropped up.

Muir making a point

Aldershot resident and frequent council critic Tom Muir.

Tom Muir, an Aldershot resident who follows development applications closely, especially if they are in his community, wanted to fully understand why Councillors Sharman, Galbraith and Bentivegna voted the way they did.

Councillors Sharman, Galbraith and Bentivegna  voted to allow the settlement that was apparently in place to be the subject of the LPAT (Local Planning Appeal Tribunal) meeting.

The hearing is being heard by the LPAT but under previous Ontario Municipal Board rules because the developer filed their appeal before the LPAT rules became effective.  The appeal was asking that the OMB approve the development because the city had not approved the development within the 180 day time frame.

Aerial-of-2100 brant site

The development is to take place on one of the few pieces of develop-able land left in the city. The proposal for 233 homes was reduced to 212 – residents want to see it cut back to something in the order of 150.

Muir wanted to know more about why they voted the way they did and found that neither Galbraith or Bentivegna would say very much of what was said at an in-camera session where confidentiality prevails.

Angelo blue sports shirt

Angelo Bentivegna, Councillor for Ward 6

Sharman 2

Paul Sharman, Councillor ward 5.

Galbraith slight smile

Kelvin Galbraith, Councillor for ward 1

What Muir found odd was that Councillors Stolte, Nisan and Kearns, plus the Mayor heard the same confidential information and they were able to vote for what the city solicitor was advising.

It would appear that the two groups interpreted the confidential information the city solicitor had given them in the closed sessions differently – resulting in one of those 4-3 votes that have plagued past councils.

While no one was prepared to or able to say very much about what took place in that in-camera meeting it was learned that the financial drubbing the city took on the legal issues that cropped up when the Walmart location was opened on Fairview a number of years ago was a large part of the fear factor that  the city solicitor brought to the table.

What is equally disturbing is that the 2100 Brant development was so badly handled by the Planning department and no one has been held accountable.

Ed Dorr, a Havendale resident, speaking for the community immediately to the north of the 2100 Brant development, laid out a sorry sad tale of the various steps that the development went through – the end result being no Staff report on the development but an agreement to change an LPAT meeting from a Pre- Hearing Conference event to a Settlement agreement event.

No one has said publicly just what the legal issue is.

Muir wants to know more and he wants to know why.  Putting it colloquially, Muir wants to know which donkey we pin this tail (perhaps we should say tale) on.

Why the secrecy? What were they told? Who told them? None of this bodes well as we move ahead.

No transparency. No accountability. More secrecy?

Not a particularly sterling example of how this council is going to handle the more stickier problems.

Are we looking at a consistent 4-3 vote split with Sharman, Galbraith and Bentivegna on one side and the Mayor with Nisan, Stolte and Kearns on the other?

Related news story.

The Ed Dorr delegation

 

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Strategic Plan is to get a revision, probably not until late this year.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

January 3rd, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Under the previous city manager city council got talked into making the Strategic Plan a 25 year document instead of the traditional four year time frame. KPMG had been brought in as consultants to work with city council. Somewhere along the way what started out as a four year Plan got an upgrade to 25 years.

Strategic Plan Workbook

Originally a four year plan …

There was nothing we can find on record that approved the upgrade from four years to 25 – the fee for the longer term would certainly have been steeper and KPMG would have expected to be attached to the Strategic Plan for the duration.

That’s all part of the James Ridge legacy to Burlington. Council now has to decide what they want to do with this 25 year document.

The decision has been to;

Direct the Deputy City Manager to report back to the Feb. 14, 2018 Committee of the Whole – Workshop meeting on the creation of a 4 year work plan based on this council’s priorities, with consideration of the existing 25 year Strategic Plan.

IN FAVOUR: (5) Mayor Meed Ward, Councillor Kearns, Councillor Stolte, Councillor Sharman, and Councillor Bentivegna

OPPOSED: (2) Councillor Galbraith, and Councillor Nisan.

strat-plan-logo-25-years

… the Strategic Plan got upgraded to a 25 year plan.

Any revision of the Strategic Plan will not be a priority for this council but it is something that should be watched. The Strategy sets out what the city wants to do and it does look as if the Ridge contribution will be considered but not much more than that.

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The possability of a terrible development on Brant at Havendale has been averted; the settlement the developer thought they had was taken off the table.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

January 2, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

That Local Planning Act Tribunal meeting on the National Homes development at 2100 Brant looks like it might turn into an expensive mess.

A resident who attended the most recent meeting found it “ Very interesting adding that the City will be sued for costs for wanting to change the appeal from a settlement agreement back to a Pre-hearing Conference (PHC).

The lawyer for the developer said that Council has the right to make this decision, but there are consequences when things like this happen at the last minute, especially since the previous council had signed off on this.

Landscape master plan

The original proposal did not include any park space.

People who asked for “Party Status” were told they need to be incorporated in order to get party status.

Parties are National Homes lawyer Ira Kagan – the City, and Havendale Group with John Calvert named as Party for now.

Participants are Tom Muir and Jim Young.

John Calvert, a retired municipal planner mentioned the next day that the National Homes lawyer Kagan called him and said he wanted to get together. I gather there is back channel talk of a new submission.

The new Pre-hearing date is Wednesday, April 3, 2019, at 10:00 am Room 247 at City Hall.

It is a Conference to deal with a draft procedural order and list of issues put forward by the Parties.
The important point that came out of the meeting is that what was scheduled as a Pre-hearing event remained as a Pre-hearing.

There was an attempt on the part of National Homes, the developer, to have the meeting made one at which a Settlement would be agreed upon.

Residents in the area – 2100 Brant – just south of Havendale, howled arguing that there was no Staff report nor was there any meaningful resident input.

Aerial of the site

The proposed 233 unit development got reduced to 212 homes would create huge traffic problems with just two exits to Brant; left hand turns to go north would be very difficult.

Ed Door, the citizen who delegated on behalf of the community set out in considerable detail how badly the development application was managed. A link to that sad story is set out below.

Some heads in the Planning department should roll for this one.

On the several occasions this matter got discussed at council the meeting moved into a closed session because there were legal issues – which never got explained.

The good news is that the development is on hold until the LPAT hearing takes place in April.

The National Homes lawyer is also handling the appeal for 484-490 Plains Rd., development for which the PHC was held the day after 2100 Brant development. That case is scheduled to have another PHC, held via telephone conference call on May 3, 2019 at 9:00 am. Purpose is to discuss procedural order and issues.

Related new story:

Ed Door delegates on one of the saddest developments taken to the Planning department where it was horribly mis-managed.

 

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Are we ready for 2019?

News 100 yellowBy Staff

January 1st, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

2019 New Yr graphic

What kind of a year is it going to be?

A number of resident offered their thoughts for the year – perhaps they were wishes.

Don Baxter, who at one point was the Economic Development Officer for Burlington offered two suggestions.  He is a little shy when it comes to cameras – thus no photo.

My two suggestions are simple; and if they get these two right, then all else eventually falls in place.

First, you cannot have functioning democracy if you do not have freedom of the press. So many great articles have recently been written about freedom of the press because of the brutal slaying of Jamal Ahmad Khashoggi.  Anything I could say would pale in comparison. How does Burlington expect to be a responsive if people are not provided with different perspectives? Sure, Pepper, you sometimes get things wrong; but now, the City Hall version of the truth is a mollycoddled newsletter.

This is what people want in Burlington. Most of these trees are on city property. Should there be a bylaw to protect trees like this on public property?

This is what people want in Burlington. Most of these trees are on city property. Should there be a bylaw to protect trees like this on public property?

Second, All I really want for Christmas is a coherent tree policy that is actually implemented in 2019; in other words, stops dithering and just do it. For 5 years we have been pushing this rock up a hill? Why?

When working with the Excellence in Manufacturing Consortium, for example, members freely and efficiently steal policies from one another to get the job done – they do not try to break new ground every time, only when it is competitively necessary. So, steal a needed policy, make sure all departments understand Council’s intent, and then, work together as a team.

Implementation of a tree policy would start with a review and increased understanding of the official plan tree policies, and then, implementation of a coherent tree policy involving many department including planning, building, tree, legal, budget, finance, and  hydro folks working with the Mayor and CAO to regulate tree-cutting and tree-planting on both public and private lands – finding reasons to save trees, not cut them down. This dynamic (read – not silo) will eventually build  the corporate culture, and staff will begin to feel good because they are doing good things.

After each municipal election, it is like the start of Maple Leaf hockey season – they have great players, and you have a faint hope the team will make the play-offs; but then, the team never really gels. The job for our new Mayor,  and CAO (once she is hired), is to be responsible for a corporate culture aimed at getting things done.  There is a saying, “culture eats strategy for breakfast”, everyday. The last Council and senior staff put a lot of effort and research into a 25 year strategic plan that resulted in “dynamic inaction”.

Not original – but just do it!

Foxcroft tight face

Ron Foxcroft

Ron Foxcroft, who was made a Member of the Order of Canada in December took a serious note as well:

On a serious note

The Provincial government must tackle a growing and serious problem that is over the highway gridlock in and out of Burlington to and from the GTA

It is effecting commerce, trade and everyday enjoyment of lives. Burlington people who do not work in Burlington are worn out spending 3 plus hours a day in traffic

Kudos to all political parties over the past 30 years for their strategic planning to enhance public transit

Not everybody can reach their home or employment by public transit so solving over the highway gridlock must commence in 2019

IGNORE is NOT A SOLUTION. Enough talk. Let’s have an action plan as our Provincial and City resolution for 2019. Smart people live in Burlington. Let smart people be smart, and work on this problem with government. Let’s establish a sense of urgency.

In an ideal world it would be nice to live and work in Burlington. That is a dream for many but not realistic.

Burlington is a good City. Let’s make it great and solve over the highway gridlock in and out of our City.

Tanner standing

Roland Tanner

Roland Tanner, a candidate for the ward 2 city council seat painted a bigger picture saying:

The biggest stories in 2019 are likely to come from the province, not Burlington City Hall.

There are rumours of amalgamation being on the premier’s agenda, and we must hope that the fatal damage this would do to the PC’s electoral position in Burlington will keep it off the table here. The premier may have a strong electoral mandate, but he should remember that nobody voted for a reduction in local democracy on June 6th.

The first full budget of the new government will also have enormous implications for what was intended to be Phase 2 development at Jo Brant, Burlington Transit and our local schools.

At City Hall I hope 2019 will see the new council be courageous in it’s approach to change. I’d like to see Councillors going back to the 2010 Shape Burlington Report and adopting overlooked recommendations, but also taking the opportunity to go beyond that document.

If Council wants to establish Burlington as a City that listens, it should embark on a complete overhaul of citizen advisory committees and make them the primary tools for citizen engagement. The committees should have an independent appointments process, they should be properly funded, given a remit to reach out and engage the public and measure public opinion, and their recommendations should be accorded a level of respect equal to staff recommendations.

It would then be the job of Councillors to vote for solutions which combine staff expertise, strategic planning, and public preferences. Building rigorous citizen engagement into City Hall processes would prevent any future Council from simply choosing to ignore the voice of residents.

The Gazette is now wide open to whatever you have in the way of ideas and predictions for what is going to be a tumultuous year.  Hang on!

And Happy New Year.

There will be major changes for the Gazette and nice changes for the publisher.

 

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The resident, the black Honda and the Regional Police budget.

News 100 redBy Rob Narejko

December 31st, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The temperature was minus 2, crisp, not cold. The sun was shining brightly in a clear blue sky. I decided to walk 1km to the local gym’ an enjoyable way to start my day. It would keep me off the detested treadmill. I slung my gym bag over my shoulder and started my walk.

As I headed east on Millcroft Park Drive, I started to cross Country Club Drive at 8:18 AM. There were no cars at the four way stop, but a black SUV was approaching the intersection, heading west on Millcroft Park Drive.

The SUV stopped at the intersection as I was two  or three  steps across Country Club. The SUV turned south on Country Club, heading right towards me.

frosted car window

Failing to clean the snow or frost from the window is a Highway Traffic Offense.

I looked towards the driver, but couldn’t see who was driving, or even if there was anyone in the vehicle, driver or passenger. The inside of the vehicle was totally dark. Not only were the windows blacked out, they were frosted over. The side windows were 100% covered in frost. Only the bottom one-quarter, maybe one-third, if I’m being generous, of the front window was clear of frost. The clear section was most likely from the car heater. The driver hadn’t bothered to scrape the frost from any of his or her windows!

I literally had to spin out of the way of the vehicle, like a bullfighter avoiding the horns of the bull. In this case, a 4,220 pound Honda Pilot SUV black bull with license plate starting with CCCW. I didn’t note the 3 numbers of the plate.

Honda Pilot SUV

A 4000 pound lethal weapon.

I was upset, to say the least, yelling at the driver to watch where they were driving while I angrily waved my arms. The SUV went slowly down the road. I thought the driver would stop and apologize for almost hitting me, but he just kept rolling away. I’m sure the driver was totally unaware that I was even in the intersection. If I couldn’t see the driver, could the driver see me?

Being severely annoyed, I called Halton Regional Police Services (HRPS) and relayed my experience to the operator. She told me I could go online to report the incident.

When I told the person I only had the first 4 characters of the license plate, she said the Police could do nothing. I needed to have the entire license plate in order to send an officer by to speak with the driver. In my state of anxiety, I was only able to capture a portion of the vital information. In other words, the HRPS was  telling me complete information is required for the police to act. No effort is to be expanded by the police to track down what many would consider to be assault with a lethal 4,000 pound weapon.

That was a major disappointment. I wanted someone to speak to this driver. If I had not reacted quickly, I could have been injured or worse. Millcroft is a neighbourhood of people of all ages. Moms with strollers, young school age kids, and also a lot of older people walk the neighbourhood. Not all are attuned to their environment, or have the mental or physical ability to react quickly to a car being driven at them. Who would think, on a clear, bright, sunny morning, that a vehicle would be driven at a person crossing the road with the right of way. It definitely felt like an assault.

Narejko Rob-with-bikesAfter my workout, I walked home, able to enjoy the sun and relative warmth without incident, thankfully. But as I was walking, I kept thinking about all the items in the prior paragraph. And I was asking myself questions about the HRPS.

I know they are well funded. With a 3.5% increase over 2018, the 2019 HRPS budget will be $155.4 million.

HRPS crest

The police services budget has exceeded inflation for most of the past decade.

A quick scan of the budget shows heavy investment in information and communications technologies. Some of the items are:
● Upgrade/replace front-line technology tools
● Research/implement efficient digital storage
● Deploy a separate LTE wireless network for first responders ($1.2M)
● Network Server replacements ($153k)
● Technology replacements ($362k, including $150k for a call manager upgrade for the 911 call centre)
● the acquisition/construction of a new tactical response vehicle ($450k)

Two mobile commands

TRV are also known as Mobile Command vehicles.

I don’t know exactly what a tactical response vehicle (TRV) is, but it’s not an inexpensive item. I am sure we, the citizens who pay the taxes that pay for the TRV, are getting good value from the HRPS for our $450k.

I also know the HRPS has Automated License Plate Readers (ALPRs), high speed computer controlled camera systems that capture all license plates that come into view. They capture the location, date and time of the vehicle as it passes the camera. All the data, including photos of the vehicle, it’s driver and passengers, are uploaded to a central server. This information, over time, can paint a picture of where you drive, where you go to church, where you shop, who your doctor is and many more facets of your life. The system captures the data, regardless of whether you are a law abiding citizen or a . If your car has a license plate, and all cars have license plates, you and your activities can and are stored in the database.

Halton taxpayers are a generous group and there is no lack of funding for police services in Halton. HRPS has increased its budget every year for the past 6 years, and probably longer. 2019 – 3.5% / 2018 – 3.5% / 2017 – 3.7% / 2016 – 1.9% / 2015 – couldn’t find / 2014 – 3.6%). In 2016, HRPS was budgeted $139.7M. From 2016 to 2019, that is an increase of $15.7M in 4 years. Or an increase of greater than 11% in 4 years. No shortage of funding.

Maybe, however, there could be an allocation somewhere in that $155.4M budget for something that would be a great enhancement to the services that the HRPS offers. Maybe HRPS could find it in their budget to pay for software that would more directly help the citizens by making their everyday interactions with HRPS more satisfactory. A TRV may be used on occasion, but I am sure there are many more scenarios, similar to mine, occurring everyday, that could be addressed to make the roads safer.

That information alone would narrow down the search area to a homeowner in Millcroft. Having an IT background, the ability to do a search on a partial set of information sounds extremely simple, almost painfully simple. The data already resides in the MTO (Ministry of Transportation) database. I know the police access the MTO data. Sounds straightforward, but there must be complexities that go beyond my understanding.

ALPR

ALPR is a very efficient data collection service.

The ALPR technology, on the other hand, is quite sophisticated. But it must be easier than having the ability to do a partial search on a license plate, with 4 of the seven characters, the make, model and colour of the vehicle as well as the general vicinity of where the vehicle’s owner lives.

Let’s assume you have access to the data. The vehicle has a built-in GPS. The driver (most certainly) has a smart-phone, also equipped with a GPS. Pull the information from both devices and you have the location, date and time of the driver and vehicle being at that intersection.

I get this information from my own phone. Google knows where I have been. How long it took me to get from start to destination. How long I spent at the gym. Where I stopped and for how long. Easily accessible information.

You may say this is a waste of time and a waste of limited resources. No one was hurt. Move on. I agree, to a point.

If people are allowed to get away with sloppy driving habits, they will eventually take more risks and not improve their behaviour. Sloppy driving habits could lead to life altering consequences for a future victim, the perpetrator and their respective families. I can’t imagine the pain of knowing that a person would have the ability to walk, run, bike or otherwise enjoy a life of full mobility, if only I had taken two minutes from my day to scrape the ice from my windows.

If you drive your vehicle without the ability to see down the road, this isn’t an accident. This is willful neglect.

To the driver of the black Honda Pilot, license CCCW who lives east of Country Club Drive in Millcroft, I’m keeping my eyes open for you and so should everyone else.

And clear your windshield!

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Transit service makes changes to eight routes effective January 6th.

News 100 blueBy Staff

December 31st, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

As a result of customer feedback Burlington Transit has introduced improvements to Routes 1, 2, 5, 11, 21, 81, 87 and 101 on January  6, 2019.

One of the new buses added o the Burlington Transit fleet. There were busses that had more than 15 years on their tires - those old ones certainly rattled down Guelph Line when I was on one of them.

One of the new buses added to the Burlington Transit fleet.

Route Changes:
• Route 1 – Schedule adjustments to improve transit rider connections to other Burlington Transit routes

• Route 2 – Schedule adjustments to better service Brant St.

• Route 5 – Buses for Route 5 will wait at the Downtown Terminal to improve transit rider connections to other Burlington Transit routes

• Route 11 – Route 11 will add one morning trip leaving the GO 407 Carpool Lot, add one evening trip departing Appleby GO, and adjust one afternoon trip to improve transit rider connections at GO stations

• Route 21 – Late-night schedule leaves Appleby GO station on the hour to improve connections at the Burlington GO station

• Route 81 – Route 81 will add another morning trip leaving Burlington GO at 5:24 a.m.

• Route 87 – Schedule adjustments to improve connections with Route 1

• Route 101 – Early morning schedule adjustments for better connections with Route 21 and 81

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