Are we ready for 2019?

News 100 yellowBy Staff

January 1st, 2019


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.


Return to the Front page

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

News 100 redBy Rob Narejko

December 31st, 2018



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 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!

Return to the Front page

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

News 100 blueBy Staff

December 31st, 2018


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

Return to the Front page

President Trump doesn't beleive the climate change arguments; Premier Ford doesn't buy into the need for a carbon tax; Canadian Minister of the Environment says changes are being made while the United Nations tells us we have 11 years left to get it right.

News 100 greenBy Staff

December 30th, 2018



In a media release from Queen’s Park the Ministry of the |Environment said: “Ontario’s Government for the People is gaining support across Canada in its fight against the federal government’s unconstitutional carbon tax. In addition to the Province of Saskatchewan, the Province of New Brunswick has now also joined Ontario’s challenge to the federal government’s Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, which is an unconstitutional, disguised tax.

“The federal carbon tax will eliminate jobs and make life more difficult for families, seniors and everyone who works hard to get ahead in Ontario and across our country,” said Premier Doug Ford. “We are on the front lines of this fight because the costs for people and communities are simply unacceptable, whether in Ontario, in Saskatchewan, in New Brunswick or everywhere people are bracing for this new tax.”

Ford and Mulroney

Ontario now has a government that doesn’t see environmental issues the way the federal government does.

“Canadians across the country are calling on the federal government to eliminate the unconstitutional carbon tax and let the provinces decide how best to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

“Ontario has already intervened in the reference case Saskatchewan has launched to its Court of Appeal.
“We are thankful for the support of Premier Ford and Premier Higgs, and the people of Ontario and New Brunswick, for intervening in our case against this unconstitutional and harmful federally imposed carbon tax,” said Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe. “Premier Ford and Minister Mulroney have shown great leadership in introducing a constitutional challenge against this job killing carbon tax, and Saskatchewan is proud to stand with the people of Ontario in this fight. The federal government should respect the court process by delaying the imposition of this harmful and job-killing tax until the courts have rendered a final decision.”

New Brunswick has intervened in the reference case in Saskatchewan as well and has now joined Ontario’s challenge.

“The Province of New Brunswick is on track to meet and exceed carbon emission reduction targets by 2030. We believe the federal government’s carbon tax unfairly targets our business and is too heavy a financial burden for ordinary New Brunswickers and Canadians alike,” said New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs. “That is why we have made good on our promise to join Saskatchewan and Ontario in court to fight a federally imposed carbon tax.”

“While our plan sets out a clear path as to how Ontario will achieve our share of the Paris targets, the federal government demonstrated yesterday that they do not.


There is a fundamental difference between what the province of Ontario wants to do on managing the amount of carbon in the environment and what the federal government wants to see done.

“Ontario is doing its share to address climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions; our families, workers and businesses have already made significant sacrifices to get here, and there is no justification to punish them further with a carbon tax,” said Rod Phillips, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. “With our environment plan, Ontario will continue to protect the environment while respecting taxpayers.”

The federal Minister of the Environment took a different tack saying: “Today demonstrates that multi-lateralism works to tackle a clear global problem—climate change. Three years ago almost to the day, some 200 countries came together to land an ambitious Paris Agreement. Over the last few weeks, the world gathered once again in Katowice, Poland, for the 24th Conference of the Parties (COP24) where our team worked hard throughout the negotiations to find common ground between developed and developing countries.

“I am pleased countries around the world came together to agree to rules for transparently reporting how all countries are fulfilling their commitments to reduce emissions and tackle climate change. To increase our ambition for climate action, we need clear and transparent rules.

“Canada also played a leading role in laying the groundwork for a global carbon market, to help mobilize the billions of dollars of investments needed to tackle climate change. We were pleased with the outcome although more work remains over the next year to finalize the guidelines for international trading. Recognizing the global momentum on pricing pollution, Canada took part in the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition, encouraging all countries around the world to use the most cost-effective tool to reduce emissions.

McKenna Poland

Catherine McKenna, lower left, at the UN Conference on Climate Change in Poland

“At COP24, Canada and the United Kingdom celebrated the first anniversary of the Powering Past Coal Alliance—founded by both countries—which now has 80 members including Israel, Scotland, Senegal, Melbourne and Sydney, and ScottishPower. We also pledged $275 million to the World Bank to help more countries around the world power past coal and move toward clean and renewable energy. We know that to achieve the Paris Agreement targets, every country needs to phase out coal and ensure a Just Transition for workers and communities. People must be at the centre of climate policies.

“Canada helped advance the work of the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform, with Indigenous representatives from Canada and around the world. To further this work, we will be supporting an Indigenous representative in the UN Climate Change secretariat.

“By bringing together not only governments, but also stakeholders, organizations, businesses, Indigenous partners, and civil society, COP24 demonstrated the world’s shared commitment to fight climate change. As we move toward a more sustainable economy in our common fight against climate change, we can ensure good jobs and healthy, resilient communities for our people.”

Climate change demonstrations

We will need more than demonstrations to bring about the changes in behavior that are needed.

Prior to the opening of the COP24 conference the United Nations issued one of the starkest warnings yet of the catastrophic threat posed by climate change, nations gathered in Poland on Sunday to chart a way for mankind to avert runaway global warming.

The COP24 climate summit comes at a crucial juncture in the battle to rein in the effects of our heating planet.

The smaller, poorer nations that will bare the devastating brunt of climate change are pushing for richer states to make good on the promises they made in the 2015 Paris agreement.

Three years ago countries committed to limit global temperature rises to well below two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), and to the safer cap of 1.5C if at all possible.

1.5 to 2c

Getting from 1.5 to 2 degrees centigrade

But with only a single degree Celsius of warming so far, the world has already seen a crescendo of deadly wildfires, heatwaves and hurricanes made more destructive by rising seas.

UN General Assembly president Maria Espinosa told AFP that mankind was “in danger of disappearing” if climate change was allowed to progress at its current rate.

“We need to act urgently, and with audacity. Be ambitious, but also responsible for the future generations,” she added.

In a rare intervention, presidents of previous UN climate summits issued a joint statement as the talks got under way, calling on states to take “decisive action… to tackle these urgent threats”.

“The impacts of climate change are increasingly hard to ignore,” said the statement, a copy of which was obtained by AFP. “We require deep transformations of our economies and societies.”

At the COP24 climate talks, nations must agree to a rule book palatable to all 183 states who have ratified the Paris deal.

The road to a final rule book is far from smooth: the dust is still settling from US President Donald Trump’s decision to ditch the Paris accord.

G20 leaders on Saturday wrapped up their summit by declaring the Paris Agreement “irreversible”.

But it said the United States “reiterates its decision to withdraw” from the landmark accord.

The UN negotiations got off to a chaotic start in the Polish mining city of Katowice Sunday, with the opening session delayed nearly three hours by a series of last-ditch submissions.

A string of major climate reports have cast doubt over the entire process, suggesting the Paris goals fall well short of what is needed.

Data doesn’t lie

Just last week, the UN’s environment programme said the voluntary national contributions agreed in Paris would have to triple if the world was to cap global warming below 2C.

For 1.5C, they must increase fivefold.

While the data are clear, a global political consensus over how to tackle climate change remains elusive.

“Katowice may show us if there will be any domino effect” following the US withdrawal, said Laurence Tubiana, CEO of the European Climate Foundation and a main architect of the Paris deal.

Brazil’s strongman president-elect Jair Bolsonaro, for one, has promised to follow the American lead during his campaign.

Many countries are already dealing with the droughts, higher seas and catastrophic storms climate change is exacerbating.

“A failure to act now risks pushing us beyond a point of no return with catastrophic consequences for life as we know it,” said Amjad Abdulla, chief negotiator for the Alliance of Small Island States, of the UN talks.

A key issue up for debate is how the fight against climate change is funded, with developed and developing nations still world’s apart in their demands.

no time to waste -belgium-climate-demonstration

The world has to get this right in the next decade.

Poorer nations argue that rich countries, which are responsible for the vast majority of historic carbon emissions, must help others to fund climate action.

“Developed nations led by the US will want to ignore their historic responsibilities and will say the world has changed,” said Meena Ramam, from the Third World Network advocacy group.  “The question really is: how do you ensure that ambitious actions are done in an equitable way?”

If the world doesn’t get this right in the next decade – future generations are going to have to live in a world regularly racked by weather the likes of which we are only beginning to see.

Return to the Front page

Changes made to eight transit lines - take place effective January 6th

News 100 yellowBy Staff

December 29th, 2018



Thank you to our Burlington Transit customers who contacted us with questions about route and schedule changes that were made in September and November this year.

As a result of feedback from customers, Burlington Transit has introduce 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.

Part of 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


Return to the Front page

Interim city manager will know where the bodies are buried as he renews relationships with staff members who have come on board since left the city in 2008

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

December 29th, 2018



A follow up on Tim Commisso, the Interim City Manager who will show up for work on January 7th.

Tim Commisso 3 stern

Tim Commisso will start the task of running the city and getting up to speed on what each department is doing. Budget and readying things for the new approach to the Official plan that is now back in Burlington. Getting things moving on the Mobility hub issues and helping council work out the kinds on the downtown mobility hub.

In checking around on who knows what about the man a number of people had comments; they all asked that we not give their names. “I didn’t like him when he was here last time and I don’t expect to like him all that much when he arrives in January – but I will have to work with him.” was one comment from someone who has been around city hall for some time.

Another senior municipal type told the Gazette that the decision made by Mayor Meed Ward to put an experienced city manager in place who was not on staff, was good,  he added that he had heard the appointment could run for as long as nine months – and pointed out that is one quarter of the mandate. “Probably too long.”

He added that “there are between 10 and 12 city manager jobs open in the province. Hamilton is looking for a new administrative chief. Burlington wants to get their requirement out there as soon as they can.

Sailor over Pier 2018

Tim Commisso was in on the early thinking and planning for the Pier. He wasn’t around when the troubles took place.

Commisso was also part of the Burlington staff team that was in on the decision to build a pier at the foot of Brant Street.  The first version of the Pier – the one that got torn apart when the city found that there were major problems with the steel that was being used, didn’t happen when Commisso was on the city payroll.

“This council deserves credit” one source said “for bringing in an experienced manager and giving themselves the time they need to get it right when they hire the next full time city manager.”

Commisso began his municipal career in Thunder Bay in the 1980s; it was his home town.

He came to Burlington in 1988 and held a number of senior positions including manager of budgets, deputy treasurer and director of parks and recreation. He had lead responsibility for a number of major projects including the waterfront renewal as well as downtown revitalization strategies and corporate strategic plans.

He returned to Thunder Bay in 2008.

Thunder Bay has been in the news recently when the province disbanded the Police Services Board after two reports were released stating that the racism towards the Indigenous community was unacceptable and new people had to be put in place to bring about change.

Tim Commisso 2 smile

Tim Commisso will have to give moral at city hall a major boost and then get on with the business of keeping things on track while council goes looking for a new city manager.

Commisso was a Senior Advisor at MNP, a national accounting, tax and consulting firm before he re-joined the city for a second time.

MNP, LLP acquired Wade Group, a local accounting firm in 2013.

The MNP offices in Burlington were closed for the day and we were not able to learn if they have done any work for the city.

The Wade Group Professional Services, a Burlington-based accounting and consulting firm, merged with MNP LLP, one of Canada’s largest national accounting and business consulting firms, effective September 1, 2013.

Related news story:

Wade group acquired by national account firm.


Return to the Front page

Jane McKenna gets attention she may not have wanted in major media.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

December 29th, 2018



Burlington’s MP, Jane McKenna, managed to get her name in the Globe and Mail on Friday. It was not a flattering mention.

The Globe was doing a piece on some of the messy nominations made for the provincial election last June.


Jane McKenna.

There were concerns within Burlington that the McKenna nomination didn’t smell all that well but it was accepted by the provincial Tories and we thought that was the end of it all.

The Globe piece was taking a closer look at a number of other nominations with the headline: Questionable campaign tactics under Brown haunt Ford’s PC government. Reference was made to ridings in Richmond Hill, Newmarket, Ottawa, Hamilton and Burlington. The one in Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas is currently under police investigation.

Snover Dhillon with Ford

Doug Ford with Snover Dhillon on the right.  Ford was not Premier at the time

The news story focused on Patrick Brown’s friend Snover Dhillon who was managing election campaigns for a number of people. Dhillion is a person with a colourful past that includes at least two criminal convictions.

The article includes mention of the questions surrounding Jane McKenna’s nomination. McKenna, is closely connected to Patrick Brown from working on his leadership campaign. Her getting the nod for the nomination was undoubtedly a ‘thank you’ for that loyalty.


McKenna at a fund raising event.

As the first PC candidate to lose the Burlington seat in 71 years, few friends in the PC caucus and even fewer friends in the Burlington PC riding association where she is described as an “embarrassment” by more than one PC member, many were doubtful she would get the nomination for the June 2018 election.

McKenna contributed $5000 directly to Patrick Brown’s leadership campaign, significantly more than she has ever contributed to her own campaigns or riding association, according to Elections Ontario.

Ultimately the PCs under Brown decided not to investigate the allegations in Hamilton and Ottawa because they feared it would mean they’d then have to investigate Burlington and two other ridings. There was, according to the party lawyer, “no inherent difference between what was alleged in Hamilton and Ottawa, and what was alleged in Burlington and the other ridings.”

Mike Richmond, PC Party lawyer said at the time: “‘Also, there will be calls to redo Burlington and Richmond Hill and Newmarket. “If there was evidence of fraud at Hamilton and Ottawa, then why would we insist there couldn’t possibly have been any at those other meetings?'” – “The head of the riding association in Burlington had alleged that the meeting was “tainted” by numerous breaches of party rules, including allowing people who were not on the membership list to vote without proper identification.”, which is exactly what was alleged in Hamilton and Ottawa West-Nepean.

Ms. McKenna did not respond to e-mails from The Globe. She previously said Mr. Dhillon did not work on her nomination campaign.”

When Patrick Brown was ousted as PC Party leader Vic Fedeli was brought in as interim leader. He cancelled the nomination in Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas but decided not to do anything which risked drawing attention to Burlington.


Jane Michael, a former Chair of the Catholic school board lost the 2014 provincial Tory nomination to Jane McKenna. She was nominated as the Tory candidate in the next federal election. That nomination wasn’t squeaky clean either.

Jane Michael, the current candidate for the federal seat in Burlington, will run against Karina Gould, was expected to make more of a fuss over the McKenna nomination. A local political observer thought it was “reasonably ask whether Jane Michael would have made more of a fuss if it weren’t for the fact she wanted to pursue the federal nomination, and it’s only the fact the defeated candidate decided to let it go, unlike in Hamilton, that means there wasn’t a bigger controversy in Burlington.”

McKenna’s clout in Burlington became evident when former Mayor Rick Goldring brought in the McKenna campaign manager to take over from Dave Vandenberg. Goldring is said to have realized sometime in July that he was in trouble; the McKenna campaign manager was running the Goldring from that point on.

“It was the new campaign manager who, apparently who was behind ideas like the Waterdown annexation, which fits in with the expectation by PC party insiders that amalgamation is high on premier’s agenda.”

The Gazette sources have asked not to be identified. This is in reality a small town that knows how to hold a grudge.


Past news stories on the McKenna nomination:

McKenna gets the nod as Burlington candidate – wins by 41 votes

A closer look at that McKenna nomination


Return to the Front page

Speak wisely, act wisely and that wisdom will trickle down to the people you are there to serve.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

December 28th, 2018



Stu Parr, who is not a relative nor a friend – we’ve never met; made a very cogent point in a comment he posted on the Gazette.

He was responding to another reader over the direction he thought the current municipal council might take and said:

“However, if they do see the “light of day” it will probably be a Facebook posting followed by several twitter and Instagram feeds.

“Governance by social media seems to be the rule of the day. One often wonders the depth of what lies beneath.”

Parr is a little too close to the truth for comfort. The photo op is being replaced by heavy use of social media.

Twitter logoOur hope here at the Gazette is that we will get more than a picture, more than 140, or 280 Twitter characters if they went for the upgrade.

We would like to see comments with some depth and ideas that were part of the promise when the city all but cleaned out the 2014-2018 city council.

The voter turnout was disappointing, the mandate this council has is not as deep as it could have been. Did people not care? Did they not know what the issues were ?

Given the scope of what the issues were that turnout should have been in excess of 55% – something Burlington has never done in the past.

facebook-logoPhoto ops, Facebook mentions, tweets and Instagram’s are not going to educate people. There is a guy to the south of us who uses tweets like oxygen to keep himself alive – and look where that has gotten them.

The previous city council felt that if the kept making puff-ball statements (remember when we were the best mid-sized city in the country) over time they would be seen as true – until the facts – or a ballot box told them otherwise.

Speak wisely, act wisely and that wisdom will trickle down to the people you are there to serve.

Return to the Front page

Some Big names performed at the Central arena that turned 50 this year.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

December 28th, 2018



Central Arena is now 50 years old.

The milestone was marked by a Tim Horton’s Free Holiday Skate , speeches, the sharing of a cake and getting your picture taken on a Zamboni.

Gordon Lightfoot

Gordon Lightfoot gave the first concert performed at the Central arena.

The first official concert at Central Arena had Gordon Lightfoot; the last large concert performed was the Ramones in the 80’s

• Finland, Russia, Czech Republic and Sweden minor leagues teams played at the Golden Horseshoe and Friendship Games at Central Arena

• Original staff consisted of five full-time Operations staff. Wages were approximately $1.75 per hour

• Part time wages were $2 per hour in 1972

Whipper Billy_Watson

Wrestler Whipper Billy Watson; in his day one of the greats!

• Wrestlers Whipper Billy Watson, Dewey Robertson, the Love Brothers and Haystack Calhoun performed at Central Arena

• Famous figure skaters who performed at Central Arena include Don Jackson, Shae-Lynn Bourne and Victor Kraatz, Isabelle Brasseur and Lloyd Eisler, Brian Orser, Barbara Underhill and Paul Martini, Gary Beacom, Toller Cranston, Marie-France Dubreiul and Patrice Lauzon


Wayne Gretzky, packed Central Arena in 1970 – something he did throughout his career,

• The most spectators in attendance at Central Arena was in 1970. It was standing room only for 2300 spectators who came to watch nine-year-old Wayne Gretzky, playing for Brantford, in the Golden Horseshoe Hockey Tournament.

• It was not uncommon for the hockey teams to skate around the rink to clear up the fog, before starting their game. Today, there are large dehumidification units and better insulation in our arenas to minimize fog and condensation.

The question that popped into our minds was: Why did the city stop putting on concerts at the arena?

Return to the Front page

Rivers; his 19 predictions for 2019 - personally he plans to hibernate.

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

December 27, 2018



There is no reason to be generally optimistic about the prospects for the upcoming year. Near the end of its business cycle, all major economies will face recession and rising unemployment. However the EU will avoid the worst of the global recession as it invests heavily in its armaments industries and builds up its armed forces. But the UK will be plunged into a major economic decline.

The drums of war will echo around the world as the global order further deteriorates and Russia and China flex their muscles while America continues to turn inward, rejecting its former role as peace maker and global leader on the environment, humanity and human rights issues. The world’s carbon footprint will continue to expand as will the evidence of its related effects and consequences.

Drums of war

The planet proclaimed a new world order once the old Soviet Union collapsed at the end of the 1980’s and for a split second in the entire history of humanity there seemed to be a chance of long lasting peace. Even those in the lowest economic and social status saw some glimmer of hope that things might get better.

That brief moment is over as nationalism and militarism have come to the fore and now are on the rise. Humans are never satisfied when they should be – Russian and Chinese economic booms have led to their determination to get even larger in size, restrict even more the freedom for their people and pick on those around them least able to defend themselves.

I have no crystal ball but given the overall scenario above these are my predictions:

1. Donald Trump will resign the US presidency in return for immunity from prosecution for all federal offence’s committed by him and his family. His wall on Mexico’s border will not be completed. He will declare personal bankruptcy (again) but he will be welcomed as a hero in Moscow. He will move to Moscow to avoid criminal prosecution by New York state authorities and while there will start work on Moscow’s Trump Tower. He will also open another McDonald’s franchise there while housed at Putin’s expense in a condominium next door to exiled former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych.

2. If the courts reject the Canadian federal government’s authority to impose a carbon tax selectively on those provinces which won’t, the federal government will almost immediately announce a new even more aggressive universal national revenue-neutral carbon tax. Rebate cheques will be issued to all Canadians prior to the upcoming federal election. Opposition Conservatives will call this a vote-buying tactic and Quebec will threaten to leave confederation.

transcan pipeline ready togo in

The pipe line we own – may not get completed in2019

3. British  Columbia will lose its court reference over jurisdiction regarding the Trans Mountain pipeline. Consultations will have satisfactorily concluded with the objecting indigenous tribes over the pipeline’s construction allowing shovels in the ground in advance of Alberta’s provincial election. Regardless, Jason Kenny will win the Alberta election and axe the Alberta carbon tax.

4. China will release the Canadians it is holding hostage but only after the courts have rejected extradition of the Huawei executive being held in Canada, freeing her to return to China. Canada will issue a travel advisory for China and will impose selected tariffs on Chinese electronics, including a ban on Huawei. Sanctions will also be applied on all Chinese economic activities including investment by that country in Canada.

5. Ontario’s Premier Ford will eliminate Ontario’s two-tier government, amalgamating regional municipalities into new single tier cities and further reducing the number of locally elected politicians. Ford will also privatize the LCBO and end the requirement and funding for the beer stores to recycle beer and alcohol containers – leaving that task to residents through their municipal blue box programs. Ontario will see a first planned development into what had been Ontario’s Greenbelt.

6. There will be intense forest fire activity around the world including Russia, China and North America. Ontario’s woodlands will be especially hard hit. Rain events and hurricanes and other weather disturbances will continue their destructive trend with increased hurricane activity in tropical zones. The US will be hit a number of times once again.

7. Global agriculture will decline even as the world’s population maintains its upward trend. Brazil will move to further clear its tropical forests to accommodate more housing, industries and agriculture. Canada’s prairie provinces will record lower than average harvests of cereal grains. Grain and other agricultural commodities will become relatively more valuable.

Coal fired in Texas - 2020

Coal fired power plant in Texas -due to close in 2020

8. The International Panel on Climate Change will make even more dire predictions. Regardless Brazil, Russia and Australia will join the USA in withdrawing from the Paris agreement. China and India will assume leadership roles in combatting global warming, promising to ban all new coal fired power plants and to phase our existing ones.

9. Russian and Ukrainian military will face off and Ukraine will regain more of its Russian occupied territory in the east of the country, including possibly the city of Donetsk. Ukraine’s general election will be placed on hold for one year as martial law is reintroduced. Crimea will remain under Russia control but the bridge link to Crimea will be badly damaged and virtually destroyed, halting all traffic. The US and EU will talk about imposing more sanctions on Russia.

10. Britain will end up with a no-deal divorce from the EU. The Tories will win another election as the troubled Labour Party and it’s leader are rejected. The UK will seek to join the TPP as its unemployment rate doubles. Northern Ireland will hold a snap referendum on joining the southern part of the island. Scotland will plan for a second independence referendum.

Nato11. The remaining EU states will strengthen their union, with a commitment for a tough immigration policy and secure borders, universal adoption of the Euro, and a common monetary and fiscal policy. They will move forward with the amalgamation of military forces into a pan-European military, driven in part by Russian aggression and the loss of US interest in NATO. Hungary, Poland and Austria will get in line with the rest of the EU.

12. Turkey will invade and occupy most of the Syrian territory now controlled by the Kurdish people. Israel will assist Kurdish fighters, which will bring it into more conflict with Turkey. Nevertheless the Kurdish population will be decimated by the Turkish armed forces.

13. Russian anti-aircraft missiles will shoot down Israeli war planes over Syria putting the two nations into a near state of war. Israel will undertake a major invasion beyond the Golan Heights occupying more Syrian territory and will conduct a scorched earth campaign against Hezbollah in Lebanon even though that conflict will end in a stalemate.

14. Oil prices will rebound amid global conflicts and the renewed sanctions on Iran by the US. Saudi Arabia will continue its aggression in Yemen and Canada will halt export licenses for light armoured vehicles without actually cancelling the iron-clad contract previously signed by the Harper government.

15. North Korea and America will start to threaten one another again as Mike Pence takes over the presidency and US-China relations further sour. The US will start to withdraw it troops from South Korea as relations between the US and South Korea deteriorate. Japan, in response to the US withdrawal will significantly expand its military forces and amend its constitution to that effect. It will possibly withdraw from the nuclear proliferation treaty and start to develop it’s own nuclear weapons, joining Brazil, Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Ukraine in also considering the pursuit of the nuclear option.

16. The global economy will slow down as we pass the turning point in our international business cycle with the US heading for another major recession amid stock markets crashing. The US budgetary deficit will be of particular concern to investors as inflation, thanks to US trade policies, rises to levels unseen since the early nineties. Canada’s growth rate will fall by half and the deficit will once again become a major campaign issue for the opposition parties in advance of the October national vote,

GM site - Oshawa

Hope for the GM site in Oshawa?

17. The federal government, and possibly Bombardier and Magna will come together to jointly buy the GM facility in Oshawa and start producing electric vehicles (EVs) initially for the Canadian market. GM will announce plans to build a new EV facility in Quebec, moving most of its operations out of Ontario, given the provincial government’s cancellation of EV incentives. The federal government will announce plans to drop the HST on EVs, working with provinces to also reduce their sales taxes on EVs as well. Ontario will reject the federal proposal and maintain its PST at existing levels, though it may offer to invest in the former GM plant.

18. There will be a surprising surge in support for the newly formed People’s Party and its leader, Maxime Bernier, among more libertarian conservatives. Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives will move further to the right, including a call to reopen the abortion issue in Canada thus offending many Conservative supporters. Thanks to the split among the right-minded voters Canadians will re-elect Justin Trudeau in the October federal election. Support for the NDP will decline to its lowest in over a generation and the party will call for a leadership review.

Rivers hand to face

After writing dour predictions for 2019 Ray Rivers will hibernate and wish you all A Happy New Year – Bonne année

19. The Burlington Gazette will triple its current readership and expand into the Oakville, Halton Hills and Milton communities, becoming the popular voice of Halton. I will continue to contribute so that readers may engage in this vital component of our democracy – debate.

I just hope that 2020 will be better. Personally I plan to hibernate for most of 2019, only coming out to write this column, vote and grab a glass of single malt. I suggest you do the same.

Return to the Front page

Ron Foxcroft made a Member of the Order of Canada.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

December 27th, 2018



Ron Foxcroft was made a Member of the Order of Canada today. The investiture ceremony will take place in Ottawa sometime in the spring or early summer. Foxcroft hopes it will be when the Tiger Cats play in Ottawa.

In language that is understood in Hamilton, he is now a made man.

Foxcroft and the Queen

Ron Foxcroft explaining what his whistle could do for the problem the Queen was having with a flock of Canada Geese.

To the rest of us he is one of those people who will wear the pin that identifies him as a Member of the Order in the lapel of his jacket.

Foxcroft, who was the Honorary Colonel of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and was presented to the  Queen in June of 2016.

Foxcroft Buckingham palace gardens

The Queen’s garden at Buckingham Palace.

At that time he had a Foxcroft 40 whistler in his pocket and got to explain how it worked when the Queen opened the drapes in the drawing room the event was taking place in and complained to the Colonel that there were Canada Geese fowling her garden.

Foxcroft tried to convince her that the whistle, which he happened to have in his pocket, would do the trick.

Foxcroft chasing ball

Foxcroft chases a basket ball in the mini court he had in his office.

Ceremonies, where prominent people are presented to the Queen, are usually pretty dry, staid events. That isn’t the way things work when Ron Foxcroft is in the room.

Being made a Member of the Order of Canada is certainly something to whistle about.

What are the chances of Foxcroft slipping a gold plated whistle into the hands of Governor General Julie Payette during the investiture?

Ron Foxcroft, lives in Burlington and has his offices in Hamilton.

Return to the Front page

The vision Meed Ward had in January of this year. Is this the Burlington we will see going forward?

background 100By Pepper Parr

December 26th, 2018


This is a story the Gazette published almost a year ago. It was about a series of motions (8 in total) that then ward 2 city Councillor Marianne Meed Ward brought to a Standing Committee of Council.

Marianne Meed Ward announced earlier this month that she will be bringing a series of motions to modify the proposed new Official Plan policies to avoid over- intensification and ensure balanced growth in keeping with our strategic plan and requirements under provincial and regional policies.

The detail and Meed Ward’s rationalization are set out below along with maps that visualize the changes she thinks should be made.

Given that Meed Ward is now the Mayor, it is instructive to take a look at what she advocated for last January, it will tell us a lo about what she will want to do as Mayor leading a Council that, for the most part is aligned with her thinking.

Motion: 1
Defer approval of Official Plan till after the 2018 Municipal Election

• Major changes are coming to the city through proposed intensification in the mobility hubs at the 3 Burlington GO stations, and the downtown.

• When the Official Plan review began in December 2011, changes to the downtown were out of the scope. The mobility hubs were not included in the scope.

• In October 2016, the city shifted from an update to a rewrite of the plan. The first draft was released in April 2017. Downtown and mobility hubs policies were not included.

• Proposed changes were first released in September for the downtown, and in November for the GO stations. Area specific plans are still to come.

Official-Plan-Binder_Image There is considerable community opposition to some of the proposed changes, particularly in the downtown.

• We need time to get this right and give the community more voice, by testing the proposed plan democratically via the 2018 election.

• There is no need or requirement from the province to rush.

• Council continues to retain full decision-making control over applications that may come in prior to approval of the Official Plan. Rules around appeals to the new Local Planning Appeal Tribunal restrict what can be appealed and give more weight to local decisions, further strengthening council’s decision-making authority.

Meed Ward is absolutely right – what’s the rush? Where is the time for the public to absorb the huge amount of information? And were changes of this magnitude part of the mandate this council was given in 2014?

What citizens began to realize was that they had a city council that was determined to push through a new Official Plan over significant protest.  That decision cost three of them their jobs.

Strategic Plans in Burlington were traditionally four year, single term of council documents. The 2014-2018 council went for a longer term, driven to a considerable degree by the wishes of the then city manager and KPMG, the consultants, who were delighted to find themselves given a much more robust. assignment. The four year plan got an upgrade to a 25 year plan then based is administration changed the time line to a 20 year Strategic Plan and has based much of what it now wants to do on that plan. Future councils are not obligated to accept a Strategic Plan created by a previous government.

Motion: 2
Direct staff to discuss with the Region and province the possibility of removing the mobility hub classification for the downtown, and shifting the Urban Growth Centre to the Burlington GO station.

• The Urban Growth Centre and Mobility Hub designations have put pressure on the downtown for over intensification. Meed Ward points to the ADI development at Martha & Lakeshore, that was unanimously rejected by council and staff. ADI appealed the council decision to the OMB; a decision is expected soon

• The city has input on the location of Urban Growth Centres (UGC) and Mobility Hubs, and recently added more Mobility Hubs on its own without direction from the province (Aldershot and Appleby). “Ergo” said Meed Ward, ” we can work with the region and province to request a shift in the UGC to the existing designated mobility hub at the Burlington GO station. Urban Growth Centre boundaries recently changed – and can be changed again.”

• The city is positioned to meet city-wide growth targets set by the province for 2031 within the next five years: the population target is 185,000; 2016 census shows the city at 183,000, with 1,000 units under construction at the Burlington GO station alone.

• Downtown will continue to absorb its share of city growth under current Official Plan permissions, and will surpass a target density of 200 people or jobs within 5 to 8 years.

Downtown development sites App A

Current development activity in the Downtown core.


• There is significant development interest in the downtown, with at least 23 areas under construction, approved (whether built or not), under appeal, at pre-consultation , or subject to known land assembly.

• The downtown can meet the intent of provincial policy and the strategic plan without the pressure to over-intensify that comes with UGC and Mobility Hub designations.

Meed Ward has spoken with The Director of Planning Services/ Chief Planning Official at Halton Region who is open to this conversation, without precluding any outcome. The Region will be reviewing its own Official Plan in 2019.

Motion 3: Staff Direction
Direct staff to work with the Region of Halton to review the Downtown Urban Growth Centre boundaries, and consider restoring original boundaries with the exception of Spencer Smith Park.

Downtown development sites App A
Land use as the city planning department has presented it in their Mobility Hub reports.

Motion 3 app b +
Growth Centre boundaries as put forward by the Planning Department.

motion 3 app b
Changes Ward 2 Councillor Meed Ward will be bringing to council on January 23rd by way of motions.

• Parts of stable neighbourhoods and a community park have been added to the Urban Growth Centre, while the intent of the boundaries is to protect and exclude stable neighbourhoods.

• Areas of high density including mid-rises and high rises have been eliminated , while the intent of the boundary was to accommodate higher density built forms.

Meed Ward said she has spoken with the Director of Planning Services/ Chief Planning Official at Halton Region who is supportive of the proposed boundary changes. The Region will be reviewing its own Official Plan in 2019.

Areas to Eliminate:

• Ontario North/East of the hydro corridor
• West side of Locust and parcel fronting Hurd
• West side of Martha to James, including Lion’s Club Park

Areas to Add back:
• Ghent West to Hager
• Lakeshore South of Torrance
• South East parcels of James/Martha

Motion 4:
4a Retain the current height restriction of 4 storeys (with permission to go to 8 storeys with community benefits) for the Downtown Core Precinct. Proposed height in the new Official Plan is 17 storeys as of right.

4b Include a range of heights in the precinct, to help secure community benefits during redevelopment.

4c Include policies to allow additional density in developments that preserve heritage buildings, as a factor of square footage preserved.

Motion 4 app c
Historic property locations are shown on this map in light purple.

Motion 4 app d
Arrows point to where Meed Ward thinks changes should be made.

The downtown can meet growth targets under existing planning permissions. Refer to the intensification analysis completed by staff for the 421 Brant/James proposal, and earlier for the ADI proposal at Martha/Lakeshore. There is no policy need under provincial legislation or the city’s strategic plan to over intensify to accommodate growth.

St lukes emerals precinct 2

Residences in the St. Luke’s Precinct.


The majority of residents are not supportive of this height in this precinct. Residents are supportive of a range of new developments up to a mid-rise character as reflected in the existing plan (4-8 storeys).

St lukes emerald precinct 1

Residences in the Emerald Precinct.


Approving an up zone to 17 storeys as of right does not provide opportunity to negotiate community benefits, for example heritage preservation, affordable and family housing, additional green space setbacks and street-scaping, parking and other matters. That can be achieved in part by including a range of heights in the plan, which the existing policy framework has. That can also be achieved by writing into the precinct policies extra density in respect of the square footage of the historic buildings preserved.

There is precedent: the existing OP for the Old Lakeshore Road area includes density increases for heritage protection during redevelopment; add similar policies to the downtown core precinct.

Up zoning to 17 storeys would compromise the historic character of parts of the precinct, create a potential forest of high rises every 25 metres in this area should land owners take advantage of the new heights by application, in accordance with the Tall Building Guidelines, and make it more difficult to preserve historic (but not designated) buildings in the downtown, as the air rights of these existing 2-3 storey buildings would be more valuable than retaining the building.

There are 93 properties in the downtown mobility hub study area of heritage significance (on the municipal register or designated).

• Of these 26 are designated

• 5 adjacent to mobility hub, 1 of these designated

Motion 5:
Height restriction of 3 storeys along Brant Street with permission to go to 11 storeys along John Street frontage, only with the provision of community benefits.

Existing permissions are 4 storeys along Brant, up to 8 with provision of community benefits. The proposed is 3-11, which is roughly the same; this motion seeks additional of language that allows securing community benefits to get to the full 11 storeys.

motion 6
6a. Add the north west corner of Burlington Avenue and Lakeshore Road to the special planning area to match the north east corner.

6b. Reduce height to 3 storeys.

Current proposal in the Official Plan is 6 storeys, on the east side only.

motion 6
Councillor Meed Ward sees Burlington Street as the entrance to the St. Luke’s Precinct and believes that the two corners at Lakeshore Road should be the same height.

Burlington Avenue and Lakeshore is a gateway to the stable neighbourhood of St. Luke’s. This corner has existing townhouses and single family homes that contain multiple units. Both sides of the street should be treated the same; the proposed 3 storeys reflects existing built form and is compatible with the balance of the street in the St. Luke’s Precinct. Higher height/density will put pressure on development creep up the street into the neighbourhood.

Motion 7:
Reduce the cannery district at the north east corner of Lakeshore Road and Brant Street to 15 storeys.


Reflects existing heights in the area.

Motion 8: Upper Brant Precinct:
8a. Remove East side of Brant from Blairholm to Prospect 8b.

motion 8

The arrows indicate where Councillor Meed Ward would like to see changes made in the current version of the Official Plan.

The arrows indicate where Councillor Meed Ward would like to see changes made in the current version of the Official Plan.

Remove West side of Brant from Blairholm to Olga

Existing heights are 4-6 storeys; that is an appropriate transition in these two areas which back onto stable neighbourhoods.

The eight motions were a bold, typical Meed Ward approach to change.  As a Councillor she put forward far more motions that any other Councillor, she always asked far more questions than any other member of Council.  These eight motions represented her vision for the downtown core.

With the Chain of office around her neck and the first of several expected staff changes completed the city might be on the cusp of a form of moderate, reasonable growth that maintains the tone of the city.

Return to the Front page

For unto us ...

Christmas starBy Pepper Parr

December 25th, 2018



The shopping is done. The family is gathered to celebrate and enjoy the company of each other.

The Book of Isiah has a line that sets out the day for the Christian community.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

We sometimes lose sight of what the Season is about. Did parents watching the floats pass by use the opportunity to spread the message?

Return to the Front page

Twas the night before ...

News 100 redBy Staff

December 25th, 2017



Night before Christmas There is a Christmas story and there is a Christmas story.

Both are beautiful. One shaped the world we live in today. The other tickles the imaginations and dreams of little girls and boys who trust totally what they are told by their parents.

Today, the children will be up early wanting to get to the Christmas tree and open the gifts. Police officers will be driving to some homes and delivering gifts to households that do not enjoy the benefits of a rich economy.

Count your blessings.

And enjoy the delight, joy and surprise in the eyes and smiles of those who just know that Santa visited their house.

Try too – to remind them what Christmas is really about.

Return to the Front page

Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns sets the pace for the rest of the Council members.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

December 23rd, 2018



She is off to an exceptionally good start.

Lisa Kearns was the first out of the gate with a Newsletter to her constituents. She opened it with a reminder to her constituents as to just why she was a city Councillor by setting out the oath she took on December 3rd, 2018.Kearns newsletter logo

I will truly, faithfully and impartially exercise this office to the best of my knowledge and ability.

I have not received and will not receive any payment or reward, or promise thereof, for the exercise of this office in a biased, corrupt or in any other improper manner.

I will disclose any pecuniary interest, direct or indirect, in accordance with the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act.

She held a meeting for her constituents before the middle of the month at the Art Gallery.
Under the heading: NEED TO KNOW Kearns sets out her approach to the possible sale of cannabis in retail locations.

“At its meeting on December 17, 2018, City Council deferred the decision to opt in or out of recreational cannabis stores in Burlington until the January 14, 2019 Committee of the Whole meeting.

Kearns Dewc meeting

She doesn’t turn the microphone over to anyone but she answers every question and doesn’t sting on the details.

“This deferral will:

• Provide Council with time to understand new regulations announced by the Province of Ontario on Dec. 13, 2018, allowing a total of 25 business licenses across Ontario for cannabis retail stores on April 1, 2019. More information is expected to be released in the new year, and

• Allow more time for additional public input on this issue. Please share your thoughts with me directly or take the online survey about cannabis retail stores in Burlington.

“You are welcome to attend and speak to Council at the January 14, 2019, Committee of the Whole meeting.  Note that registration to delegate is required.

“My vote will be based on:
• Results of the survey
• Summary of the Mayor’s Town Hall
• Communications to Councillors
• Public engagement from Election campaign
• Role of the Municipality – Commenting agency.

Her comment on cannabis
The provincial government has given municipalities in Ontario a one-time offer to opt out of having cannabis stores in their communities. The deadline to make this decision is Jan. 22, 2019.

• As long as we have controls around where (distanced from schools, parks and recreation centres) and how (business licensing) cannabis is distributed.

• As long as there’s an equitable share of the excise tax revenue.

• Municipalities in other provinces are seeking 40 per cent of the tax revenue, up to 50 per cent once negotiated provincial revenue targets are hit.

• I support exploring an opportunity to reduce the reliance on municipal revenue through development fees and open a new stream of revenue through tax revenue generated by retail cannabis.

• The provincial government has pledged $40 million in transitional funds to address regulation, enforcement and education. This is in response to the Cannabis Act passed November 2017 and expected private retail model for cannabis that would launch in municipalities by April 1, 2019.

Provincial law will prohibit recreational cannabis use in any public place, workplaces and motorized vehicles.

Can’t ask for much more than that.

There are a number of developments scheduled for the ward. We didn’t hear Kearns say that any of the developments she mentioned were a mistake. Nor did she get overly enthusiastic about any of them.
She gave the small audience her take and listened to what people had to say.

New Street at Guelph Line - condo for health

Two towers: 350 units in total.

New Street west of Guelph Line: :

• Building 1 (west) 223 units are planned as seniors retirement of various care levels: independent, assisted, care-taker. This includes 32 units (studio) dedicated for Memory Care living space (Alzheimer’s/Dementia Care units)

• Building 2 (east) 139 units are planned as residential condo. There was clear interest from the younger crowd for availability in this development. The unit mix consists of 97 one-bedroom units and 42 two-bedroom units.

Status: Under technical review (FYI). Statutory Meeting scheduled for January 15, 2019 at the Planning & Development Committee at City Hall.
She announced that she was going to create a ‘lobbyist” register for her office and hoped that it is something the other Councillors, and the Mayor, would emulate. She wants people to know who came knocking on her door.

Leblovic at Kearns Dec 2-18 meet

Nick Leblovic, former chair of a Waterfront Advisory Committee that bumped into a Sunset Clause, will want to be an active participant in the new Committee.

Kearns will sit on the Waterfront Advisory Committee when it is set up. She thought she would serve as the Chair, that would be unusual. The Terms of reference for that Advisory committee have yet to be set out.

That is a task the Clerk’s office will do – watch for some significant changes coming from the public on this one.

There are a number of politically active people who think the Advisory Committees are a sham and want to see significant changes made in what they are expected to do and what they will have in the way of resources.

Lisa Kearns is setting the pace. It will be a while before we see what the other Council members do in the way of relating to the people that put them in office.

We will take a look at this at the end of January.

Return to the Front page

Local resident to be made a Member of the Order of Canada

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

December 22nd, 2018



ORDER_OF_CANADAThis is both a Burlington and a Hamilton story.

A Membership in the Order of Canada is going to arrive locally.

Not allowed to say anything official – the news is embargoed until the 27th.

Richly deserved.

The Gazette will report in detail on the 27th.

Return to the Front page

Glen Eden to open on Saturday: snow making machines have been working around the clock.

News 100 blueBy Staff

December 22, 2018



Hard to believe but Conservation Halton announced that Glen Eden will open Saturday, weather permitting at 8:30 am.

The Ridge Chair, Updraft Chair, Caterpillar Carpet and Little Dipper Carpet will be running, which should service ten runs, including some terrain park features.

Glen Eden hills

Some of the Glen Eden runs

For a limited time, Glen Eden will also be offering a promotional lift ticket price of $30 to reflect the limited terrain. Once the remainder of the lifts and runs are open, lift tickets will return to regular rates. It is anticipated that this could happen as early as Boxing Day.

Also, as a gift to pass holders, Glen Eden will be accepting all passes on December 22, 23 and 24! Glen Eden will be closed on December 25 for Christmas and then open on Boxing Day, at which point regular pass access will apply.

“Our snowmaking team has been working around the clock to get the hill ready,” said Gene Matthews, Director, Parks and Recreation. “We are excited to start the 2018/19 season and we look forward to seeing visitors on the hills learning to ski or snowboard, out enjoying some runs with family and friends or throwing it down in the terrain park.”

The terrain park is where a lot of the action happens at Glen Eden. During peak season, Nighthawk and Falcon have upwards of 40 of the most progressive features. The terrain park is the perfect place to push your limits, improve your skills and keep things fun. There’s no better place to hang out after school or work and you won’t find a community like Glen Eden at any other hill. It’s the most fun you can have on 240 vertical feet.

GlenEden from top of hill

View from the to at Glen Eden

Glen Eden is also a great place to get your start and prepare for even bigger adventures with lesson programs for all ages and skill levels—whether you have a little one starting out on skis or a big kid ready to hit the terrain park. There are two Christmas Camps during the holidays. Camp 1 starts on December 27 and Camp 2 starts January 2, 2019. Group lesson programs start on Boxing Day. There are also private and semi-private options available. For more information, please visit the Glen Eden website at or call Visitor Services at 905-878-5011, ext. 1221.

New Year’s Eve Ski and Dine – December 31
Come celebrate the new year with Glen Eden! The New Year’s Eve Ski & Dine package includes one lift ticket and dinner. Guests can pick up their lift ticket at the Visitor Centre any time during open hours to enjoy a full day of skiing and snowboarding. Dinner, featuring lasagna (vegetarian option available) with salad, dessert and soft drinks, will be served in the West Lodge at 6 pm. There will also be a roaring fireplace and s’mores kits provided after dinner. Please note that Glen Eden will close at the regular time. This is a family event intended for an early New Year’s celebration. Reservations for this event are required by December 28, 2018.


Learning how to use a snowboard.

Discover Skiing and Snowboarding
Discover Skiing and Snowboarding is a beginner lesson program that starts this weekend. During the season, Discover is offered on weekends, holidays, and March Break from 9 am to 4 pm and 6 pm to 9 pm on non-holiday weeknights. The snow pros at Glen Eden will help you learn the basics of equipment, stopping and turning to get you should be ready for the big hills. Discover is available on a first-come, first-serve basis unless you are booking a large group. For groups of 20 or more people, please call 905-878-5011, ext. 1278, at least one week in advance.

Glen Eden is operated by Conservation Halton, and is located on Kelso Road, near Tremaine Road and Highway 401; a 20 minute drive from Mississauga, Burlington and Hamilton. Glen Eden is open seven days a week, from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., except for December 25, when it will be closed for Christmas. For more information, please visit the Glen Eden website at

Return to the Front page

Rivers on Patrick Brown Part Two - He said, She said

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

December 22, 2018



“Sexual misconduct is an umbrella term for any misconduct of a sexual nature that is of lesser offence than felony sexual assault (such as rape and molestation)…” (Wikipedia)

The allegations against Patrick Brown by two women, who remain anonymous, do not involve criminal charges. Though one of the women, who had worked in his federal constituency office, is calling her ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ encounter a sexual assault, He apparently tried to kiss her.

Patrick Brown Looking sideways

A younger but still very wary young Patrick Brown.

Brown’s accusers are claiming ‘sexual misconduct’, a non-legal construct, but the core essence of the #MeToo movement. The purpose is to bring some measure of accountability for the untold sexually motivated actions not covered by criminal law. These accusations have cost Patrick Brown his job as Ontario PC leader and with that most likely the premiership of the province.

In response Brown has levied a multi-million dollar defamation suit against the CTV news network responsible for the investigation and for breaking the story of the allegations against him. Rumours that Brown had apologized to and paid-off one of the accusers in the past may have prompted this investigation, but Brown denies that he paid anyone off. So we’ll have to see what the trial brings.

As for the other accuser she claimed she was still in high school at the time of the alleged incident and that Brown and a mutual friend picked her up at a bar and drove her back to Brown’s house. When the datelines didn’t match up with Brown’s timelines she changed them, which also made her a year older and of legal drinking age.

She also got the identity of the friend wrong. But the gist of the allegation is that Brown offered her a tour of the house and when they got to the bedroom he allegedly asked her to perform oral sex. She consented briefly before deciding that the act didn’t suit her taste.

Brown, in his book, has suggested that there was a conspiracy against him which led to these women coming forward. He flew up the pole the theory that Kathleen Wynne and her Liberals had a motive to try to do him in. Indeed his poll numbers were stellar, he’d built up an impressive war chest and membership list, and had won the last several provincial by-elections.

Brown PG-cover-1-227x300

Cover of the election campaign magazine that set out Brown’s platform. It was the kind of thing even Liberals would like.

Brown had come off a very successful policy conference with a platform that would appeal even to Liberals who’d grown tired of their own leader. Taking him out mere months before the June election would have thrown the Tories into confusion, one might think, giving his main opponent a badly needed edge.

But while Wynne may have had the motive, did she or her party have the wherewith-all? If, as many conservatives hold, that the CBC is slightly to the left of centre, CTV (Conservative TV) is clearly to the right. It is questionable that Wynne would have had much influence with that network. And to suggest she had done this covertly when she had trouble cobbling together an effective election campaign is a major stretch.

Brown also mused that it might be the Russians. Russia is getting blamed for a lot these days and for good reason. There is concern that Russia is planning to intercede in Canada’s federal elections next year, though it’s questionable who they might want to help. But if so why not practice on Canada’s largest province by taking out the premier-in-waiting. And they are effective – they did give us Donald Trump.

There is so much intrigue I can hardly wait for the movie… and the trial. Of course it could also have been his own party that turned on him, the many disaffected traditional PCs. Perhaps they were trying to send their leader a message about the Liberal sex education curriculum he’d endorsed.

Brown hounded out of Queen's Park

Patrick Brown being hounded out of the provincial legislature by media after his press conference announcing hes resigning as leader of the Progressive Conservative party.

Brown has demanded that the accusers report their complaints to the police if they are sincere. But Brown studied law and he knows that ‘put up or shut up’ no longer works in the era of #MeToo. These are not criminal offences or he might be fighting for his dignity from the big house.

Those female accusers might have been paid to voice these accusations. Or they might just be scorned women who want to get back at that SOB who tried, or didn’t try, to get into their pants. Or they might just be ordinary people who cared enough about the future to try to prevent the man they believe is synonymous with sexual misconduct from becoming premier of this province.

Takedown coverAnd the beauty of #MeToo is that it empowers us to accuse without having to fully account, to prove our allegations or even identify ourselves. These accusers may be right that Mr. Brown is unfit to govern the highest office in the province because of what they consider his proclivity for sexual misconduct. But what if they are wrong? Where is Patrick Brown’s MeToo moment.

To be continued…..

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



Background links:

#MeToo –      More #MeToo –      Sexual Misconduct

CTV –      Doubts about Accusations –     Sexual Allegations

Return to the Front page

City services holiday schedule: transit, courts, parks and recreation.

News 100 redBy Staff

December 21st, 2018



A number of City of Burlington administrative services will be closed for the holidays on Monday, December  24, 2018, reopening Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019.

Activities and customer service hours at city pools, arenas and community centres vary over the holidays. Please visit for a complete listing of program times and for hours at customer service locations.

City council photo Xmas

Burlington Transit and Handi-Van
The Downtown Transit Terminal is open Dec. 24, 27 to 31. It will be closed December 25 and 26, 2018, as well as Jan. 1, 2019. Handi-Van live phone booking is available December 24, 27 and 28.

The Downtown Terminal and Handi-Van live phone booking will be closed December. 25 and 26, 2018 and Jan. 1, 2019.

Handi-Van booking online is always available at

For holiday and real-time schedule information, visit

Date Transit service schedule/hours
December 24 Weekday schedule ending at approximately 8 p.m.
December 25 Holiday schedule
December 26 Saturday schedule
December 27 to 30 Regular schedules
December 31 Weekday schedule with the last Route 50, 51 and 52 buses leaving the Burlington GO station at 12:55 a.m.

January 1 Transit Holiday schedule
The Burlington Transit administration offices will be closed on December 24, 2018 and will reopen on Jan. 2, 2019. Call 905-639-0550 or visit for more information.

Animal Shelter and Control
The Animal Shelter will be closed from December  24 to 26 and 30, 2018 and Jan. 1, 2019. On December 31, the shelter will be open from 8:30 a.m. until 2 p.m.

For more information or to report an animal control-related emergency, call 905-335-3030 or visit

Roads, Parks and Forestry
The administrative office will be closed on Monday, December 24, 2018, reopening on Wednesday, January 2, 2019. Only small removal of snow? and urgent services will be provided.

Halton Court Services
Provincial Offences Courts in Milton and Burlington will be closed from December 24 to27, 2018 and January 1, 2019.

PLEASE NOTE: The Milton POA Court will close on Thursday, January 17 and the Burlington POA Court will close on Thursday, January 31 to move to the new Halton POA Courthouse opening on Tuesday, February 5, 2019.

Free parking is available in the downtown core in municipal lots, on-street and the parking garage during the month of December and on Jan. 1, 2019. There is a maximum of three hours for on-street parking spaces.

NOTE: The Waterfront parking lots (east and west) do not provide free parking during December or on statutory holidays.

Do you have family and friends visiting for the holidays? A reminder that there is no parking on city streets overnight between 1 and 6 a.m. Exemptions to allow overnight parking on city streets may be obtained by calling 905-335-7844 or visiting

Return to the Front page

Real Estate firm collects 27,797 pairs of socks for the homeless.

News 100 redBy Staff

December 21st, 2018




What would a pile with 27, 797 pairs of socks look like?

Leslie Bullock reports that “thanks to the 800 associates and ReMax Real Estate staff members, across 16 offices, a record setting 27,797 pairs of socks were packed into seven trucks and delivered to the Good Shepherd yesterday to be delivered to the homeless across Ontario.

Bullock adds that over 20% of medical problems experienced by homeless people are related to foot care. Since walking is the primary form of transportation for the homeless, clean socks help promote good foot care and enable them to better access food, shelter, medical and housing services.

Return to the Front page