Appleby Ice Centre - Rink 4 closed for repairs; December 22 to January 5th.

News 100 redBy Staff

December 22nd, 2018


Apleby free skate

The Appleby Free Skate is sponsored by Tim Hortons.


Appleby Ice Centre – Rink 4 is shut down for emergency repairs and is expected to re-open in early January.

The Tim Hortons Free Holiday Skate on December 22 and January 5th, have been moved to Mainway Ice Centre

Rink 1. The free skate times have been slightly modified to 7:30 – 8:30 p.m., 8:30 – 9:30 p.m. and 9:30 – 10:30 p.m.

Three of the four rinks at Appleby Ice Centre are fully operational.

Other program changes during the shutdown include:

• Dec. 21: Skate 19+, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. moved to Appleby Ice Centre, Rink 3

• Dec. 27: Skate 19+ has been moved to Mainway Ice Centre – Rink 2 from noon to 1 p.m.

• Dec. 29: Public Skate is cancelled. Participants are encouraged to attend the Tim Hortons Free Holiday Skate at Mainway Ice Centre between 1 and 4 p.m. or Central Arena between 5 to 8 p.m.

• Dec. 29: Skate 19+, 8:30 to 10 p.m. moved to Appleby Ice Centre Rink 2

• Jan. 2: Skate Ability has been moved to Rink 1 at Appleby Ice Centre.

Programs and renters have been notified and moved to other rinks within Appleby Ice Centre or arenas within the city.

Appleby Ice Centre

The Appleby Ice Centre is one of seven rinks in the city that has recreational skating time.

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Tim Commisso, former Burlington General Manager, brought back to serve as interim General Manager for six months

News 100 yellowBy Staff

December 21, 2018



A refreshing change.

Tim Commisso 3 stern

The tough look of a bean counter? Tom Commisso to serve as interim city manager for up to six months.

Burlington’s city council has announced that Tim Commisso will be the Interim City Manager, effective Jan. 7, 2019. Tim is currently a Senior Advisor at MNP, a national accounting, tax and consulting firm.

Tim has extensive knowledge and experience in municipal government, strategy development, organizational effectiveness and performance, economic development, and change management. Tim holds a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) designation and obtained his Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Wilfrid Laurier University.

Tim will be a familiar name and face to many at Burlington City Hall.

Tim Commisso 2 smile

Tim Commisso – he knows how to smile.

Tim worked for the City of Burlington for 20 years holding various senior leadership roles including General Manager positions in Community Services and Development and Infrastructure, Director of Parks and Recreation and Deputy City Treasurer.

During his time in Burlington, Tim was at the forefront of community development and engagement. Tim was responsible for major community projects with resident involvement such as the Downtown Waterfront project, the Appleby Ice Centre and Paletta Park and Mansion. Tim was also the project lead on the Financial Management System Implementation and the facilitation of the Strategic Plan.

Tim Commisso

Tim Commisso – will have a lot of questions for several of the departments.

Having worked in the public sector, Tim also brings many years of knowledge and experience in intergovernmental affairs. Tim’s most recent municipal experience was serving as the City Manager in Thunder Bay for seven years from 2008 to 2015.

Tim is expected to serve in an interim capacity for a six-month period. The search for a permanent City Manager will begin in the new year.

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New city council will need to ground itself and understand the mistakes that were made in the past in order to ensure they don't get repeated.

News 100 redBy Staff

December 18th, 2018



There is a lot of celebrating and congratulating of the new city council sworn in on December 3rd taking place.
City hall has announced that a new edition of City Talk, the magazine that is basically a public relations piece with a lot of feel good news that has never included a critical comment – it is there to tell you how lucky you are to have these people running your city.

City Talk mock up Dec 2018

In your mailbox – just before Christmas.

In the words of the Kwab Ako-Adjei, Senior Manager of Government Relations and Strategic Communications, “The new issue of City Talk provides an important overview of the elected officials that will be the governing body for the City of Burlington over the next four years. If you live or work in Burlington and have a question or concern about something going on in the city, your representative of City Council is a valuable resource. The seven members of City Council are responsible for ensuring the thoughts of residents in their wards and across Burlington are voiced at City Council.”

Shape Burlington logoEarlier this month the Gazette asked all members of council, except the Mayor, if they had read the Shape Burlington report that was published in 2011.

That document, written by the late John Boich and former Mayor Walter Mulkewich, was the first report in some time that was very critical of the way city hall was engaging with the tax payers. Senior staff at city hall were less than happy with the document and wanted sections of it re-written.
It was a seminal document, one that pointed to systemic problems at city hall. It was unanimously adopted by that city council and then forgotten.

It wasn’t until 2017 when ECoB – Engaged Citizens of Burlington – was created that a closer look began to be taken at what city hall was doing or rather was not doing. A state of deafness existed at city council (not all of them) and in the Planning department.

It was the ECoB all candidate meetings in every word and an all candidates meeting, plus a TV Ontario debate between the Mayoralty candidates that brought the depth of the problem to the surface.
Every member of the old council that was running for office, save one, lost their city council seat. Two saw the writing on the wall and retired.

These newbies had a huge task ahead of them – and collectively they had little in the way of experience but they were keen, wide eyed and bushy tailed.

ECoB debate at Baptist on New

When you pack a room like this – you know that people want information.

They were elected by a city that wanted change and they personally wanted change.

The Gazette asked each of the new members of council if they had read the Shape Burlington report. The results of that question were disappointing.

Just one responded and she had not read the report but had asked for a copy and had plans to read it.

There is a maxim out there that says we are doomed to repeat our past mistakes if we do not know our history. A reading of the report would inform these five people how long the problems they are there to fix have been in place.

Not a good sign.

What we are getting is that limp statement city hall puts on most of the documents that are sent out:

Burlington is one of Canada’s best and most livable cities, a place where people, nature and business thrive.

Revising that statement to read “Burlington could be one of Canada’s …” would be closer to the truth.

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The Rocca Sisters advise that Burlington is currently a housing 'sellers market'

News 100 redBy Staff

December 18th, 2018



With inventory levels at a five year low for this time of year (with the exception of 2016 when inventory levels were low because properties were selling within days of being listed), Burlington prices, as would be expected, increased by over 7% as compared to November 2017.

Sales were down over 11% and days on market were up from 34 in 2017 to 45 in 2018.

House for sale sign

Burlington described as a sellers market for home owners.

The median days on market is a more useful statistic in this type of market which was at 27 for the month of November.

This corresponds better with the conditions and suggests that well-priced properties in desirable areas are selling quickly, efficiently and for about 7% more than they did last year. With just over 2 months worth of inventory on the market at the end of November, Burlington is firmly in the Sellers Market territory.

The data that supports all this is set out below.

Rocca Nov 2018 sales data

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Boards of education across the province learn of funding cuts after 4:30 pm on a Friday afternoon.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

December 18th, 2018



A Friday afternoon, days before schools close down the Christmas holiday, isn’t the time that senior people at the Halton District School Board have to expect to scramble and pow wow with the senior financial officer asking just what the document from the Ministry of Education means to how they are going to deal with a notice from the province that was skimpy on details.

The provincial government pulled a sneaky one – sending out a notice to school boards across the province advising them that significant cuts were coming last thing on a Friday.

Stuart Miller

Halton District School Board Director of Education Stuart Miller.

“We got the notice at 4:48 pm Friday afternoon” said Halton District School Board (HDSB) Director of Education Stewart Miller. “Based on what we know, it doesn’t amount to much at this point” it looks like we are not going to be able to continue with the Re-integration program we had that brought students who had not earned a high school diploma back into a classroom because they were missing a credit or two.

“We were given funds to hire people to find the students and work with those kids to get them back into a classroom where they could earn the last couple of credits and be given their diplomas.

Miller said the HDSB was able to find 71 students and get them back into schools and earn their diplomas.
School boards across the province don’t know much about just what is going to be done.

Going forward Miller thinks “We think we are going to have to deal with budget cuts in the 1 to 4% range.

The Ontario Public School Board Association issued a statement saying they “believed a strong and equitable education funding is critical to supporting all students.

“We recognize the government’s commitment to finding efficiencies across all sectors, including education, and although anticipated, the decrease, or in some cases the elimination of program funding is disappointing. These various programs had a positive impact for students in our system, and school boards are currently reviewing the local impact of this announcement. We continue to strongly advocate for stable public education funding that supports continuous achievement and well-being for all students.”

Miller pointed to changes the provincial Ministry of Education wants in the teaching of mathematics. HDSB has a Renew Math Program that the province doesn’t appear to want to fund any longer.

The Minister of Education, along with several other Cabinet ministers, have said they want to ‘eliminate waste’ without providing any evidence.

School boards across the province have small, at times inefficient but very effective programs that produce results with measurable impact.

Getting 71 young people back into a classroom so they can complete their high school educations is life changing. Can that kind of work be done efficiently? The results are the metric you want to measure with.

Tough times ahead for education, health and the way we take care of seniors.

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BOWSER babes cough up big bundle of cash for the Food Bank.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

December 18th, 2018



The BOWSER Babes at Burlington Old Timers Hockey Club contribute to the Food Bank every year using the proceeds from their Christmas Dance. The cash was turned over in November – $4500. Went to the Food Bank.

On November 24th the BOHC hosted a Christmas Dance at the Burlington Royal Canadian Legion in support of the Burlington Food Bank.

On hand were some of the best dancers in the league and their wives! The fabulous live band for the night was the Stone Monkeys, featuring Shantelle Pfau on vocals, and as a Special Guest Singer/Performer, Cassidy Cummings, an aspiring Burlington youth and recent graduate of Mohawk’s Music programme.

BOHC-Christmas-Dance 2018

Shown here is Wendall Ahearn (President, BOHC), the BOWSER Babes (Barb Charon, ??, ??, ??, Michele Wood), Robin Bailey (Burlington Food Bank), and Colin Ashdown with Angelo Sottana (event organizers).

Through player donations, prize table raffle tickets and a Christmas Home Baked goods table the league was able to raise $4,500 for the Burlington Food Bank to help them with their ongoing contribution to our community!

Burlington Food Bank
The Food Bank is committed to ensure that no one in Burlington struggles with hunger. They provide food to those in need. If you or someone you know is hungry and in need of help, call them at 905-637-2273.

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Rivers on The China Caper: the extradition request sounds like a political move rather than a technical legal matter.

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

December 18th, 2018



It is a bit of a mess.

Does anyone think Donald Trump had deliberately engineered this incident to get at both China and Canada? Is this part of his America First vision, to reduce America’s trade with its two largest partners? Or has he done us a big favour with this wake-up call?

I’m not a lawyer but it’s my understanding that terms of our extradition arrangement with the US requires some kind of common rules/laws between the nations. In this case Huawei executive Ms. Meng is charged with violating US sanctions on Iran now that the US has pulled out of the Obama-negotiated Iran nuclear agreement.


Those smiles didn’t last very long. This is what a trade war looks like. Donald Trump with Chinese leader -xi-jinping shaking hands.

But Canada supports the deal and doesn’t observe those specific sanctions. So I’d bet a dollar that the judge hearing this case will rule in favour of Ms. Meng.

Furthermore, since this is supposed to be a matter of law, the recent intervention, by Trump tweet, about the relevance of this case to US-China trade negotiations has jeopardized the US position and its legal case. The Donald has made his demand for extradition sound like a political move rather than a technical legal matter. So let me double up on that bet.

And the judge presiding over this case might want to note how few US prosecutions for even more severe corporate crimes stateside land American executives in the big house. In most cases the corporation gets fined and the CEO goes off to break the law another day.

If I’m right we might expect Ms. Meng to be on the next flight to Beijing – if only the Chinese government had kept their cool. But something about this being a matter only for the courts fell on deaf ears in that virtual dictatorship where everything is political. Their plan was to play a little tit-for-tat, detaining a couple of Canadian nationals in an attempt to strong arm the Canadian government into releasing Ms. Meng without a trial. So now were she to be released it will appear to all the world that Canada caved in to Chinese blackmail.

This is the last thing that Mr. Trudeau needs right now as he is preparing his campaign for re-election next fall. He is already facing legal challenges from four provinces and the opposition leader on the federal carbon tax. Albertan political leaders and journalists are giving him grief over the stoppage of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and threatening a movement for Alberta’s separatism, as idiotic as that sounds. The NAFTA 2, aka USMCA, is still awaiting confirmation in both Canada and the USA and Trumps tariffs on steel and aluminum are still in place.


The body language tells it all. Ms Meng, the Chief Financial Officer of a very powerful Chinese telecommunication giant being directed by a security officer who is paid to watch her every move while she is out on bail awaiting an extradition hearing.

With Canada seriously in the running for a UN Security Council seat this time, Mr. Trudeau is under enormous pressure to demonstrate strength to resolve this situation. And there are a number of tools available to the federal government should this matter not be resolved appropriately. Whether Ms. Meng is extradited or not Canada should demand that the hostages being held in China are released and an apology for their detention is provided. Further, the return of more normal relations should include a commitment to refrain from future hostage taking by authorities there.

Unless that happens:

1. Canada could require Chinese tourists to meet the compulsory visa requirements China requires of us;

2. We might want to review our immigration policies regarding China; and

3. Since Canada exports only between a third and a quarter of what it imports from China we could restrict imports through higher tariffs. Applying import tariffs in line with those of the US would send a strong message of our displeasure. It would also possibly sooth over any American complaints over our handling of this problematic extradition process.

It is a rare moment when Donald Trump deserves being paraphrased, but his comments on trade – that the US should not continue to have a massive and on-going trade deficit with China – is food for thought. The sheer volume of imports of low value Asian made junk that fills the shelves at Walmart, Canadian Tire and the Dollar Stores here poses an environmental as well an economic problem for this country.

China generates almost a third of global greenhouse gas emissions, more that twenty times what Canada generates and almost double the US levels. And our consumption of all those imported goods paints us as an enabler despite our efforts to be seen as one of the good guys.

China human rightsBesides Canada’s biggest free trader, Mr. Trudeau, spent valuable political capital a little while ago trying to cement a formal (free) trading arrangement with that giant Asian economy. But Canada was rebuffed because of demands concerning human rights issues, the same kind of demands we also took to the table in the CETA (Europe), Trans Pacific and USMCA negotiations. China is clear that it has no intention of altering its human rights policies.

Finally, China has been manipulating its currency for decades, undervaluing it so its products would be more price competitive on global markets. Now that the Mr. Trump has diminished the value of the World Trade Organization it’s pretty much a bun fight out there. Which means any Chinese complaints over new trade barriers will be as meaningless as complaints about it’s currency manipulation have been.

Of course there would be impacts to the Canadian economy from imposing new tariffs. Exporters of raw materials and consumers of cheap Chinese goods will likely be affected in their pocket books. But in the end that may be a small price to pay to maintain our sovereignty and our dignity.

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:

China Snatches –     Huawei –     US Support

US Extradition –     Canada in the Middle –     China and Climate Change

China Free Trade Agreement –     Global Emissions

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We are bereft of good solid political leadership.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

December 17th, 2018



For those who follow things political the game the province played last Friday will be familiar.

When it is bad news – governments wait until late on Friday and issue a media release.

The only thing missing from this sleazy act on the part of the Ford government was they didn’t wait for a long weekend. The classic hide the bad news play is issuing a press release on the Friday of a long weekend.
There is a lack of moral honesty with this government.

Doug Ford finger pointing

Doug Ford: Do you have the feeling he is about to sell you a used car?

The release of legislation that would permit development in parts of the Green Belt; the announcement of a close family friend who is patently not qualified for the job, as the next Commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police and then learning that someone changed the qualifications and experience to apply for the job were changed..

The Premier wants to choose just who will be part of his personal security detail – and then asking that a modified van be purchased and outfitted for the Premier who is not exactly a small man – he does have a certain girth to him – hide the cost in one of the Provincial Police Budgets..

It is beginning to look so underhanded. There are some local convenience stores where we had to tell our children to count the change they are given when they make a purchase.

This province once had leaders that were nationally recognized statesman.

John Robarts - one of the best Premiers the province ever had: knew how to balance a budget.

John Robarts – one of the best Premiers the province ever had. He was not just a politician but a statesman as well.

Bill Davis had problems learning how to balance a budget; never really did learn.

Bill Davis provided solid reliable government. Hard to recall any scandal on his watch.

Think John Robarts, Bill Davis and George Drew. These were honourable men who led the province so well that we prospered.

Doug Ford seems to be channeling Michael Hepburn; yes he was a Liberal. No one political party owns the right to mislead the public – they are all complicit.

We deserve better. However we have only ourselves to blame.

Kathleen Wynne deserved to lose. She had lost the respect and confidence of the electors. The Liberals should have looked for a new leader 18 months before the election and revamped their platform. They were spending money like drunken sailors.

The province wasn’t ready for another New Democratic government and the public just didn’t have a strong enough belief that Andrea Horwath could form a government and lead the province.

We are bereft of good solid political leadership.

Vic clapping in Ford face

Is the Premier being well served by the Cabinet he has chosen? Minister of Finance Vic F xxx

Doug Ford had the opportunity to grow away from a troubled, suspect youth; he appears to be letting the worst of those personality traits rule his thinking.

We are all going to pay a high price for the decisions we made last June. We all thought this kind of thing was happening just south of us. It’s happening here.

Public pressure did force the Premier to delay the swearing in of a new Police Commissioner – the Ford government does have the capacity to react.

The public just has to keep the pressure up – heck we might even manage to make a good Premier out of the man.

Pepper - Gazette shirt - no smileSalt 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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Did the Mayor impress upon the Premier that he was to leave the Escarpment just as it is?

News 100 redBy Staff

December 16th, 2018



The Premier came to town last week – to celebrate the renovation – rebuild of the Joseph Brant Hospital and get his picture in the local paper and the TV news.

Mayor Meed Ward and Premier - Dec 2018

Was the Mayor laughing with him ? Meed Ward meets the Premier at a hospital event,

The Gazette did ask Mayor Meed Ward if she would be showing the Premier the view of the Escarpment from one of the north side rooms in the new Michael Lee Chin wing of the hospital.

We didn’t get a response.

The city is more than just the Escarpment to the north and the lake to the south. It is the people in between that determine who we really are. And it takes more than a magazine saying we are the #2 city in the country doesn't make it so.

The Mayor and the people of Burlington want the province to leave the Escarpment as it is. Did the Mayor take advantage of the opportunity to button hole the Premier at an event at the hospital last week and make sure he understood what we wanted?

Our hope was that she would share the view with the Premier and then politely tell him that both she and the people of Burlington wanted to Premier to keep his mitts of that land and that we are happy with just the way it is – no development north of the Hwy 407 – Dundas Road border.

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A renowned editor comments on how on-line publishing is impacting the way news is delivered and how readers get to shape the content.

background 100By Pepper Parr

December 16th, 2018



Simon Houpt, a Globe and Mail columnist, interviewed Alan Rusbridger, former editor of the Guardian, a British newspaper that has a very strong on-line presence. Their reporting on news world wide is superb; their coverage of the American President is frequently better than the major American dailies – including the New York Times.

The Gazette is certainly not in the same league as the Guardian but we do aspire to, on a local level, do what they do internationally.

Edward Snowden, WikiLeaks, the News of the World phone hacking scandal: Readers around the world know these as some of the greatest hits published by the Guardian during Alan Rusbridger’s 20 years as editor. But he also oversaw – in the teeth of calamitous economic disruption and hundreds of millions of pounds in losses – the paper’s galloping expansion into a news operation serving millions of readers around the globe. He was in Toronto recently for a discussion sponsored by the Canadian Journalism Foundation, reflecting on his career and his new book Breaking News: The Remaking of Journalism and Why It Matters Now.

What follows is a Q&A the Globe and Mail published over the weekend. It is worth a read to understand where journalism is.

Simon Houpt 1

Simon Houpt

Simon Houpt (SH) You stepped down in 2015. How does it feel to no longer be in the thick of things?

Alan Rusbridger (AR) It took about 18 months for the adrenalin in the system [to subside]. It’s only when you stop that you realize, it’s not normal to have a knot in the stomach, waking up at 3 in the morning, thinking, “Did I get that fact right, did I double-check that?” That business of getting out of bed every morning and working till midnight, and feeling responsible for stuff we publish around the globe, around the clock – I’m quite relieved not to be doing that. Fun though it was at the time. Twenty years is a long time.

SH Before we proceed any further, I should ask: The Guardian, of course, remains free for online readers. Do you think we should charge for this article?

Bridger 3

Alan Rusbridger

AR Well, I don’t feel it’s for me to lecture anybody else on their business model. If the only way of making stuff pay is to hide it behind a paywall, then you have to do it. But there are downsides to that: You get a highly informed elite who are able to pay for news, and you are taking yourself off the playing field where, to a degree never before in history, information is circulating. I should preface all of this by saying we’re five minutes into a gigantic revolution and almost everything we say today will look silly in 10 years’ time.

SH Your position seems to be that we should think of journalism in the same way as many European countries – and Canada, too – regard the arts, such as TV, film and music. These activities are often subsidized because there’s an understanding that the market can’t pay the full costs, yet they’re part of the lifeblood of a culture, something that a nation needs for self-determination.

AR Yes. I completely believe that. My worry is that the classical link between journalism’s ability to make people well-informed and how that created a better society – because well-informed citizens vote for better people – is fading quite quickly. So there’s an awful lot of education and rebuilding to do to get people to realize that we can do that. The good news is, I think people are waking up to that. The bad news is, there’s such terrible levels of trust in journalists and most journalists don’t seem very interested in that.

SH You believe there’s an arrogance there.

AR Almost worse than that. “We’re journalists. Nobody loves us, we don’t care.”

SH One of your prescriptions is what you call “open journalism,” in which a community helps shape reporting through intense feedback. Given some of the developments we’ve seen over the past few years – including the growth of bad actors spreading misinformation and capitalizing on naive openness – do you believe you were too utopian in your embrace of openness?

AR I think it’s too early to say that that is a utopian dream. I know journalists generally don’t agree with this, but I think the experiments I see, in which journalists ask those willing to talk to them, can produce much better journalism.

SH That can require bravery and humility, to really open up the reporting process and acknowledge that we journalists may not know as much as we should. How much of a challenge is that cultural shift?

AR It’s a huge shift. But journalists got Brexit wrong, they got Trump wrong, they got the last [British] general election wrong – they’re sort of blundering around in a world that they can’t really understand at the moment.

SH At the same time, the economic model is collapsing. Here in Canada, the federal government just proposed a series of funding initiatives, including one to provide tax credits to organizations whose eligibility – and this was especially concerning for some critics – would be determined by an industry panel. If you had, say, $100-million a year, how would you determine the recipients?

AR I think the way I would do it is to go out [and ask], What is it that people feel they need to know about their community? Do we want somebody covering courts? Do we want somebody covering police? Do we want somebody scrutinizing planning and education? Do we want somebody sitting in council chambers?

SH Do you believe people know what they want? Clickbait might suggest otherwise.

AR Yeah, they do. It may be that it rarely occurs to anybody to ask them. Maybe there’s an enterprising court reporting service that would have 10 reporters in city courts, and you could price that, and then we could say to them: “But you have to make all that reporting available for The Globe and Mail.”

Simon Houpt 2

Simon Houpt

SH You write ambivalently about the BBC: both as a “lighthouse,” as a public good, but also resentfully because of its size. How do you feel it should be regarded?

AR Overwhelmingly, treasured. When I look at America, I would shudder at the thought of Fox News coming in and replacing the BBC, which is I’m sure what the Murdoch company would like.

SH Are you concerned about the BBC’s economic effect on the industry landscape?

AR There’s no meaningful public broadcasting in America, but their media are in just as much trouble. So it’s a terribly easy argument to say, they’re spoiling our business. I think the business problem is bigger than the BBC or bigger than Facebook or bigger than Google. But I do think you need to watch them. I mean, the BBC at one point was sort of moving into glossy magazine publication. So I think it’s right to jump on them if they’re exceeding their brief.

SH Some publishers in Canada attack CBC for being on the internet.

AR Yeah. I don’t agree with that.

SH You began at the Guardian in 1979 and have had a front-row seat to extraordinary change. What do you think is more of a threat: the disruption to the industry’s economic models or the increasing tribalism of our culture?

Bridger 2

Alan Rusbridger

AR I think it’s all of a piece, really. There’s a terrible flight from complexity. So we all want simple messages, we worked out that fear sells, emotion works. A little bit of that is fine. But if that becomes the sort of operating system of your news organization, then you will create politicians who do that. If you’re rewarding them and their kind of politics, [that leads to] the kind of populist leaders that we’ve got now.

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Another significant drug seizure; early survey results suggest citizens want cannabis retail locations in the city.

Crime 100By Staff

December 14th, 2018



At a community meeting last night Councillor Lisa Kearns told the audience that 82% of the people who attended a meeting that took place earlier in the week on the sale of cannabis in retail locations were in favour of stores opening in Burlington.

That is probably bad news for the drug dealers.

More bad news as the result of a drug investigation that ended with two arrests; Search Warrants were executed at a Burlington Residence

On December 12th 2018, members of the 3 District Street Crime Unit concluded a drug investigation that resulted in the arrest of two people and the execution of a Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) search warrant at a residence on Lynington Court in Burlington.

As a result of this investigation, police seized the following (See attached photo):

• 27 grams of methamphetamine
• $3275.00 cash
• 2 flick knives
• Airsoft pistol
• 4 cellular phones
• 2 digital sales
• Drug packaging

Estimated street value of seized drugs: $ 2,700.00

Drug bust


The following persons have been arrested and charged:

Chad Christopher STEVENSON (25 years) of Burlington (Held for bail)

• Trafficking a controlled substance (Methamphetamine)
• Possession for the purpose of trafficking (Methamphetamine)
• Possession of a prohibited weapon
• Possession of a weapon contrary to prohibition order
• Fail to comply with probation (two counts)

Jessica PINN (28 years) of Burlington (Released on a Promise to Appear in Milton Court on January 11th 2019)

• Trafficking a controlled substance (Methamphetamine)
• Possession for the purpose of trafficking (Methamphetamine)
• Possession of a prohibited weapon

Investigators remind the public to utilize Crime Stoppers to report any illegal drug, gun or gang activity at 1-800-222-TIPS(8477), through the web at or by texting “Tip201” with your message to 274637(crimes) “See something, Hear something, Say something”.

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Halton Police Responding to Email Bomb Threats Across Halton Region

News 100 redBy Staff

December 14th, 2018



The Halton Regional Police Service continues to respond to several email bomb threats which have been sent to a number of recipients in Halton Region today. These bomb threats are similar to those experienced in neighbouring jurisdictions and across North America throughout the day.

bitcoin - bombThe unfounded email threats have demanded a bitcoin payment.

If you have received such a threat, we are asking that you do not respond to the bitcoin demand. Instead, please report the threat to the Halton Regional Police Service by calling our non-emergency number at 905-878-5511.

Anyone with information that would assist in the investigation of these threats is asked to contact 905-878-5511.

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Halton finds a partner for the new broadband communications network: Peel Region will join.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

December 13th, 2018



A number of months ago the Halton Regional Police made the decision to invest in an advanced broadband communications network. It was not a cheap decision and the Region went in alone on the investment hoping at the time that other members of the public safety cohort would come aboard.

Yesterday the Peel Regional Police decided to join Halton Regional Police Service Public Safety Broadband Network

In support of ongoing innovative efforts to enhance both officer and public safety across the Regions of Halton and Peel, Peel Regional Police is joining the Halton Regional Police Service’s Public Safety Broadband Network. Halton and Peel Regions are home to some of the fastest growing communities in Canada. This growth demands an investment in new reliable data infrastructure to enhance emergency response. This is crucial in the minutes and seconds that help save lives during emergencies.

HRPS Motorola system

Deputy Chief Nishan Duraiappah, and IT Manager Bill Payne viewing an officer’s mobile workstation.

“Growing Canada’s first public safety wireless communications network, a network for first responders only, will benefit Canadians for generations to come. We are thrilled to have Peel Regional Police sign on to the Halton Public Safety Broadband Network core.

“With the advent of newly mandated Next-Gen 911 services in Canada, data is becoming more important than ever in 911 emergency response. Halton’s new Public Safety Broadband Network helps emergency services teams to more efficiently and effectively respond to crisis situations with access to key data in order to cut minutes and seconds off response times, which directly translates to more saved lives.

“Expanding this network through collaboration with neighbouring agencies across Ontario is about doing the right thing for public safety — providing stable, critical infrastructure not only in times of crisis but for day-to-day use,” said Deputy Chief Nishan Duraiappah. “We are proud to join forces with Peel Regional Police and Motorola Solutions in taking the initial critical steps to making the Ontario PSBN a reality. We invite all interested agencies and municipalities to join the conversation.”

The Peel Regional Police said they are ” proud to collaborate with our counterparts in Halton Region. This initiative will allow us to build the infrastructure to better enable us to meet the growing demand for seamless emergency response,” said Peel Regional Police Deputy Chief David Jarvis. “Cutting edge broadband data applications along with our reliable Public Safety Broadband Network will truly revolutionize the way we collaborate during public safety incidents resulting in safer outcomes for all.”

“The Halton Regional Police Service and Peel Regional Police Services are committed to using advanced technologies to enhance community well-being,” said George Krausz, Motorola Solutions Canada president. “By joining Halton’s dedicated public safety LTE network, Peel Regional Police will have uninterrupted access to mission-critical data applications including GPS, maps, pictures, videos and real-time analytics to help keep residents and visitors safe.”

Just what is a Public Safety Broadband Network?

It is a dedicated, secure, high-speed wireless data communications network for emergency responders and public safety personnel to communicate with each other during both emergency situations and day-to-day operations.

How is the Ontario approach to a Public Safety Broadband Network a leap forward in terms of community safety?
For years, first responders have used voice (radio) to transmit messages to police officers and other public safety partners including neighboring police agencies to coordinate assistance to the public. Officers currently relay data through commercial networks which are designed for public use. The Ontario approach to a Public Safety Broadband Network will guarantee resilient and secure access on these networks during crises or day-to-day operations.

“We know from experience that during critical incidents, “time is of the essence”. Seamless, secure and reliable communications can have a direct impact on community safety by helping shave minutes and seconds off of emergency response times. Mission-critical voice communications must be supplemented with the ability to seamlessly and securely share data vital for heightened situational awareness, preserving the radio system for crucial voice communications.

“The state-of-the-art Halton Public Safety Broadband Network core provides a platform across which voice, data and information can be efficiently and seamlessly accessed and shared by Police, Fire and Paramedic Services during all stages of any major event, in any geographic location across Ontario. It will be used by first responders to quickly access data on their computers or mobile devices such as dispatch information, records information, GPS data, maps, photos, videos and real-time analytics for day-to-day operations and during emergencies.

Ultimately, this Ontario-based Public Safety Broadband Network model will provide first responders with the appropriate resources, interoperability, robust and reliable capacity, and with the ability to dynamically scale to changes in any critical situation.

Technical Background

Motorola has been providing communications solutions to police forces throughout North America for decades. The service includes two-way radios, broadband technology, video surveillance and analytics solutions, services and software to keep them connected, from extreme to everyday moments.

Broadband - Peel and Halton

Shown left to right: Halton Regional Police Service Deputy Chief Roger Wilkie, Peel Regional Police Deputy Chief David Jarvis, Halton Regional Police Service Deputy Chief Nishan Duraiappah with some of the equipment that will be used by public safety people.

Related news story:

Halton commits to broadband – hoping others will join to manage the cost.

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Upcoming Changes to Criminal Code of Canada on Impaired Driving Offences - tougher rules - about time.

News 100 redBy Staff

December 12th, 2018



Earlier this year, the Government of Canada introduced Bill C-46, the most comprehensive reform to the Criminal Code transportation regime in more than 40 years. The new law is a modern, simplified, and more coherent system of reforms to better deter and detect drug and alcohol-impaired driving.

HRPS crestThe elements of Bill C-46 related to drug-impaired driving came into force on June 21, 2018. The legislation authorizes police to use additional tools, such as roadside oral fluid drug screeners, enacts new driving offences of being over a prohibited blood drug concentration, and allows for blood samples to be collected without first requiring a driver to undergo a drug recognition evaluation.

The part of the legislation related to alcohol-impaired driving will come into force on December 18, 2018.

These amendments include, but are not limited to, the introduction of mandatory alcohol screening and the introduction of some new and higher mandatory minimum fines and some higher maximum penalties for impaired driving.

Mandatory Alcohol Screening

There have been many questions regarding mandatory alcohol screening. Currently, police officers must have reasonable suspicion that a driver has alcohol in their body before conducting a roadside test. As of December 18, 2018, police officers with an Approved Screening Device (ASD) on hand can require any lawfully-stopped driver to provide a breath sample, even without reasonable suspicion that the driver has alcohol in their body. This would be completed after the person has been lawfully stopped pursuant to authority (common law or provincial Highway Traffic Act).

police trafficHeader

The rules on driving impaired are about to change – tougher as well.

Research suggests that up to 50 per cent of drivers with a blood alcohol concentration above the legal limit are not detected at roadside check stops. Mandatory alcohol screening provides a mechanism for better detection of those who choose to drink and get behind the wheel of a vehicle.

Note: A driver who refuses to provide a sample would be subject to a criminal offence (and a mandatory minimum $2,000 fine).

Penalties for Impaired Driving as of December 18, 2018

The proposed legislation would enact some new and higher mandatory minimum fines, and some higher maximum penalties.

Impaired penalties - policeRefer to the attached chart for a summary of the new penalties (source).

Shared Responsibility:  Impaired driving is the leading criminal cause of death and injury in Canada.

Community safety is a shared responsibility, and we encourage residents and visitors to continue to work with us to reduce impaired driving. Impaired driving is considered a crime in progress. If you witness suspected impaired driving, please call 9-1-1 to report it.

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Resident maintains the outgoing city Council and National Homes have in effect conspired to subvert the planning approval process for the 2100 Brant development.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

December 12th, 2018



With an awkward quickie Special Meeting of Council where the city manager was dispatched and a Labour Agreement approved behind them, the new city council got down to the business of the city when the Standing Committee – Committee of the Whole (COW) met for the first time.

The meeting started with determining who was going to head up which committee and who the vice chairs were going to be. This is a sort of “pin the tail on the donkey” game for adults. One council member nominates another and the nominee graciously accepts.

Theoretically, a rogue Councillor could nominate themselves and begin the process of taking over the committee structure but that wasn’t going to happen with this Council.

Lisa Kearns was made Chair of the Committee of the Whole Workshops and the Committee of the Whole Budget.

Big job for a newbie and she handled it quite well first time around. There was one precious line when Kearns turned to Lisa Palermo, the Committee Clerk who was guiding Kearns through the process and asked: “Do I stop talking now?”

Landscape master plan

The number of units, 233, in the site gives a whole new meaning to intensification.

It was a mild agenda for the most part – until they got to the National Homes development for 2100 Brant.
Ed Door gave a delegation that set out the long disappointing process the Havendale community went through to get the development reduced from a 233 town homes to something in the 150 homes range. The best the developer was able to do was reduce the number of units to 212 town homes which Door pointed out would have a six foot deep backyard, not enough space for Councillor Sharman to stretch out in.

This development landed on the desks of the Planning department at an awkward time.

The then Director of Planning, Mary Lou Tanner had been promoted to Deputy City Manager and an interim Director, Bill Janssen, was brought in from Hamilton to provide some leadership.

Heather_MacDonald COB planner

Heather MacDonald, Burlington Director of Planning

A new Director of Planning was hired.  Heather MacDonald had to be brought up to speed. Meanwhile the 180 days the city planners had to come forward with a staff recommendation were melting away.

During this time period, National Homes, according to the time line Door read out, did everything they could to delay and obfuscate the normal procedures.

Then – the 180 day time frame the Planners had to give city council a report was up and National Homes filed an appeal to the Land Appeal Planning Tribunal, the organization that took over form the Ontario Municipal Board.

The standard procedure is for the LAPT to hold a Pre-conference hearing.  They scheduled one for December 18th.   Lawyers for National Homes sent the people involved a letter saying they wanted the Pre-hearing meeting to be turned into a settlement meeting to accept the changes that apparently were agreed upon with the planning department.

Doors delegation is a litany of disgraceful manipulations of the development application process in which he maintained the city was complicit.

Ed Doors explained that “The Havendale Advisory Committee was initially established by the former Councillor for Ward 1 (Rick Craven) in response to concerns expressed by residents regarding the application for development of the property at 2100 Brant Street by National Homes.

Aerial of the site

The site that is to be developed.

“The first official meeting of the group in September 2017 was chaired by the ward Councillor and included over 20 residents; a week later, the second meeting included representatives from National Homes and the City of Burlington Planning Department.

“It became apparent at the meeting,  that the residents’ overarching concerns, including non- compliance with the Provincial Policy Statement, the Burlington Official Plan and existing zoning standards, were not on the table for discussion, and the focus was to be only on specific details of the application.

“We were repeatedly assured by the former Ward 1 Councillor over the next several months that there was plenty of time for further discussion, and that the 180-day deadline would not be an issue.

“The City organized a Public Open House for October 12, 2017 to discuss the development proposal. Our Committee circulated 500 flyers in the local community, in both Wards 1 and 3. The meeting was packed; residents were upset.

“The Havendale Committee developed an Initial Position Paper that was presented to the City on October 27, 2017. In our letter of transmittal, we stated:

“The Havendale Advisory Committee… recognizes the critical responsibility and privilege of representing the concerns of the area residents, which includes residents of both Ward 1 and Ward 3. Our initial response to the National Homes Proposal includes research, analysis, and recommendations, and has been approached through significant consultation and discussion.

“In this Initial Position Paper, the Advisory Committee has prepared an outline of what might constitute an Alternative Proposal, to draw attention to the enormous opportunity for innovation on one of the last available tracts of vacant land in Burlington. Full consideration should be given to the incorporation of green building and sustainable community innovations that would further the goals of the Burlington community as a truly livable city of the future.

National Homes image

The blue area denotes the Havendale community with 236 homes. The orange area is the proposed National Homes development where 233 homes would be built.

“We suggest that both the site and the size of the land in question challenges all involved to seek a solution through a spirit of collaboration. We are committed to a dialogue that will lead to a solution that meets Burlington’s housing needs and creates a unique and sustainable community.”

“We received no official response to this submission.

“On January 26, 2018 members of our Committee met with the former Ward 1 Councillor and the new Planner on File to review the key issues and concerns raised in the Position Paper, and to discuss our concern about the possibility of the 180-day deadline not being met. Both Councillor Craven and Lola Emberson assured us that this would not lead to an appeal by National Homes.

“Around the same time, our Committee commissioned a brief video about the Tyandaga neighbourhood and the impact of the proposed development on the community for future use at the Statutory Public Meeting. The video was funded through member donations.

“Members of our Committee met over the next several months with other Council members and the Mayor, with National Homes, with the initial and the subsequent Planners on file, and with other advocacy groups in the community, including the Age- Friendly Housing Association.

“Immediately prior to the Statutory Public Meeting, National Homes filed an appeal with LPAT because of the non-decision by Council within 180 days.

“When the Statutory Public Meeting was finally held on April 3, 2018 at the Committee of the Whole, our Committee members delegated effectively, and in fact were complimented by Council members for the quality of our input. At this meeting, our Committee tabled a proposal to establish a Task Force consisting of National Homes, City Planning, and a few residents to review the National Homes proposal and work towards a compromise that would satisfy all parties. All parties responded affirmatively to this suggestion.

Park distances

In the initial proposal there were no provisions for a park. National Homes revised the proposal and added a park less than an acre in size.

“Committee members lobbied over the next two months for the establishment of this Task Force, however it failed to materialize, due to lack of support from the former Ward 1 Councillor, the Planning Department, and National Homes.

“Our Committee was asked by the former Councillor to attend a meeting with National Homes and the Planning Department on May 29th, 2018 for a presentation on adjustments that were being proposed by National Homes. We were asked for feedback on these modifications within 2-3 weeks.

“We began our discussions and review as documents were being provided to us, and as we were drafting our response, we were notified by the City on June 25, 2018 that National Homes had in fact made a Re- submission with Updated Planning Justification on June 19, 2018.

“On June 28, 2018, we sent a letter to all Council, the City Manager, Deputy City Manager, Director of City Building, and the Planner on File, expressing our concerns with the process and the lack of meaningful consultation. No official response.

“An Open House was organized by the City on July 17, 2018, to give National Homes the opportunity to present their revised proposal to the community. Our Committee was given 10 days after the Open House to submit a written response to the City. We prepared a detailed Addendum to our Initial Position Paper, and submitted it to the City by the deadline.

“There has been no acknowledgement of, or response to, this submission, despite the inclusion of detailed questions requiring response by the City.

“In the Open House Notice, the City clearly set up the expectation for the process moving forward saying:

“No decisions about this proposal have been made yet. We are asking for your feedback on the revision before we make a recommendation to the Planning and Development Committee of Council to either approve or refuse the application.”

“Former Councillor Craven stated in his July 2018 Ward 1 newsletter: “The proposal is still subject to a review by City staff and a recommendation expected in the early fall.”

“In turning down our Committee’s request to make a brief delegation to the Committee of the Whole meeting on September 10, 2018, the Committee Clerk stated: “The confidential report on today’s Committee of the Whole agenda is to provide committee members with an update on National Homes appeal to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) regarding 2100 Brant Street.

“The subject of the report deals with the legal matter and not with the development itself. Therefore, no delegates are permitted to speak because the report is subject to solicitor/client privilege. … When the development matter comes back to committee that would be the time for residents to delegate.

“No report on comments from the public or the technical comments from the various departments and agencies was made available. No recommendation report was created for public comment, no comments on the re-submission from the public were posted, and this re-submission by National Homes never made it to a Planning and Development Committee meeting, during which delegations could have been heard.

“In fact, the entire participation and consultation process has been curtailed for our Committee.

“As you know, the former Council made last-minute decisions in camera, and in favour of the development application. National Homes has requested that the LPAT Pre-Hearing Conference scheduled for December 18, 2018 be converted to a Settlement Hearing.

“This raises serious concerns for us.

“It is the position of the Havendale Advisory Committee that by rushing to agree to a confidential settlement prior to the swearing-in of the newly elected Council, the outgoing Burlington Council and National Homes have in effect conspired to subvert the planning approval process, and exclude consideration of the legitimate concerns of residents and of the newly elected representatives.

National homes - packed

Steve Armstrong giving a detailed analysis of the development from a citizen’s perspective.

“Our Committee believes that it would be appropriate for any Reports or briefings with respect to this settlement that were made to the outgoing Council by, or on behalf of, the Planning Department immediately be made publicly available in order allow proper and transparent consideration of all the facts.

“Proceeding with the settlement at this stage would set a precedent in Burlington. It would send a signal that contentious development applications need not be dealt with through the proper planning process in a municipality. Rather, if the municipality simply ensures that a decision on the application is not made within 180 days, the planning decision can be left to LPAT.

“We are of the opinion that the settlement outlined by National Homes legal counsel is not compliant with Burlington’s Official Plan, Burlington’s zoning regulations, nor the Provincial Policy Statement, and as such should not be endorsed by this Council.

“While we do not believe the current settlement is appropriate, we do believe that a negotiated settlement that addresses the concerns of all parties, including the public, is achievable. We would like to be part of that process.”

There is a lot or murkiness here. Council has been in a number of Closed Meetings with the City Solicitor. The public knows next to nothing about what this “deal” was with National Homes.

The Gazette has learned that Mayor Meed Ward met with member of the Havendale community last week and did some idea sharing.

When the Standing Committee meeting went into Closed Session on Monday to discuss the 2100 Brant development – all the Planners were asked to leave the room.

What many people cannot understand is: How did a situation like this come about?

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Library announces new hours of operation starting in 2019.

News 100 blueBy Staff

December 29th, 2018



Starting on Monday, January 7, 2019, Burlington residents will have library hours that fit their life.

Responding to community input during the Library’s 2016-2020 planning cycle, Burlington Public Library Board put better library open hours as a top priority.

Library book shelves“During our conversations, we heard how much everyone loves their library but would like different hours,” says Brian Kenny, Chair, Burlington Public Library Board. “So, we made a commitment to find out what hours our customers want and make it happen.”

Earlier in 2018, library staff reviewed customer use patterns and borrowing trends, and examined the library service hours of neighbouring and comparable libraries and cities. The community was consulted by way of a public survey that resulted in input from 2,661 Burlington residents about their preferred library hours of operation.

Kenny notes that residents clearly want more locations to be open Sundays and evenings.  “We are so pleased to be able to start off the new year with library service hours that reflect our community’s preferences,” says Kenny. “And it’s a gratifying legacy of our volunteer Board as we wrap up our four-year term representing the voice of local citizens.”

NEW 2019 open hours (excluding holiday closures)
January 7 to July 6 & September 2 to December 31

Library hours a

Library hours b* July 7 to September 1: All branches are CLOSED Sundays.

Lita LBarrie-CEO

Lita Barrie, Chief Executive Officer, Burlington Public Library

Lita Barrie,  Chief Executive Officer, Burlington Public Library, said she is absolutely “thrilled to offer library service hours that better fit the lives of our community members so that the library is open when they need us the most. Of course, we are always open 24/7 for access to our digital collections and resources at”

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What kind of a city manager does Burlington need now?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

December 12th, 2018



The chatter amongst those who are worth a second look by Burlington’s city council as they search for a new city manager is revealing.

Several, who would not agree to talk if we named them, wonder if the civic administration can be revived. Total bedlam was the word one possible candidate who assured his colleagues that he would not be applying.

Ridge and Chris Murray - city managers

James Ridge with former Hamilton city manager Chris Murray. Both men moved on; one of his own accord, the other was asked to leave.

Both Hamilton and Burlington are looking for new city managers. Few, if any, possible candidates will apply for both.

What does Burlington need and does what the city needs exist was the question we put to the seven people we talked to.

It doesn’t need someone who has an agenda and knows exactly what the city needs said one.

It does need someone who has already made their mark as a city manager and is ready to take on a task that requires s basically a complete re-build.

Ideally you want someone who can spot talent within the organization and grow it said another who added that it has to be “Someone who can listen and then nurture the talent or know where to look for the talent that will be needed to replace some of the key people that need to move on.”

The answer a candidate should be able to give to the question: What do you want to achieve while you are with us is: Find my replacement.

Holding hands

These seven people will decide who the next city manager should be. If they get it right a lot of the current city hall screw ups can be brought to an end.

Burlington has a new council and they are going to need help in refining the political aspirations each of them brought to the public office they now hold.

They need administrative leadership that can begin the healing of the wounds mid-level staff are working through. Parts of the organization is almost like a zoo totally out of control.

A command and control style will not work.

The new city manager has to have the confidence of the elected members – and if that confidence doesn’t exist – they should walk.

There are some organizational changes that should at least be considered. Move the Economic Development Corporation into the Planning department. Economic development is currently in the hands of a group of Hamilton lawyers.

Strategic Plan Workbook

Traditionally Strategic Plans have been for a period of four years.


The Strategic Plan grew to a 25 year plan. There wasn’t much in the way of a vigorous public debate on whether or not this was a good idea.

Does the Strategic Plan that was foisted on the city by the consulting firm the city hired and the aspirations former city manager James Ridge had still make sense?  Traditionally a Strategic Plan is the agenda for a specific council and were four year documents.  Ridge grew that four years to 25 and then attached the Grow Bold concept to it.

Does this council now send the document to the recycle file ?  This council is going to be far too busy to get wrapped up in the long process of re-writing a Strategic Plan.  There are much bigger fish to fry.

The new city manager should have more than just some depth of understanding of how Queen’s Park works – he (or she) needs to be able to counsel and advise the Mayor on how to get the province to work for the city and not be at the mercy of a Premier that tends to act abruptly and really doesn’t know what a conflict of interest is and where he can legitimately exert his authority. The man just cannot be trusted.

Pandoras box

Opening a Pandora’s Box is a process that generates many complicated problems as the result of unwise interference in something.

These are perilous times for the municipal world. It is clear to many who watch the sector that there is going to be more in the way of consolidation. Former Mayor Rick Goldring certainly opened a Pandora ’s Box when he suggested Burlington should annex parts of Waterdown.

In one of his statements former city manager James Ridge spoke of Burlington’s “enviable” reputation as a great city. One can only gulp when reading that statement and looking at the serious problems surrounding the 2100 Brant development that is fraught with serious issues that smack of a total disregard for the public engagement process.

The Mayor has yet to say who will serve as the interim city manager. One would have thought that the Deputy City Manager would almost automatically assume that role. Any suggestions as to why that hasn’t happened?

Mayor Meed Ward was wise to ask her council to think about they think the city should be looking for and what they, individually, want to see put in place to carry out the mandate they have.

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

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Performing Arts Centre gives themselves a good mark on the report card they issued.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

December 12th, 2018



We spent millions building the Performing Arts Centre. It came in “on time” and “on budget”.

Official ground breaking took place in March of 2009; The Burlington Performing Arts Centre opened its doors in the autumn of 2011.

It has been through a number of Executive Directors and gets about three quarters of a million in funding from the city.  That works out to a subsidy of about $6.80 for each of the 110,000 us attended an event at The Centre.  Nothing wrong with that number.

The Centre has done some research and report that 110,000+ people visited The Burlington Performing Arts Centre over the past year.

The organization is looking at how they impact the arts community in Burlington.

BPAC Community Impact Postcard pg-1

The Performing Arts report card – they wrote it themselves.

Here is what they report:
BPAC’s VISION: to take a leadership role in community cultural development
BPAC offered 5 free cultural sensitivity training workshops to members of the community at large, on topics ranging from Indigenous Relations to Muslim Heritage and Black History. 61 free educational and performing arts workshops were offered to local citizens and youth. 28 educational performances were presented to a total of 13,360 local students and teachers. BPAC becomes the first performing arts centre in Canada to designate a Legacy Space, in our ongoing commitment to Truth & Reconciliation.

BPAC’s MISSION: to be Burlington’s social and cultural ‘hub’
14 free performances were presented to the community. 178 citizens volunteered their time at BPAC. BPAC’s first-ever Cultural Diversity Festival results in a 2018 Culture Days award for ‘Best Hub’.

BPAC reveal - Ladies with program

The Centre has a strong core group that lines up for ticket purchases when a new season is announced.

BPAC’s GOAL: to nurture and support local cultural partners
57 local artists and arts organizations were presented by BPAC in our curated programming offerings, and $27,275 in performance fees were paid to these artists and organizations. BPAC donated almost $50K in rental space and technical services to 22 local artists and community organizations. 142 complimentary tickets, with a combined value of $6,182 were donated to local community organizations to further their own fundraising efforts. BPAC’s first annual Festival of Trees raised over $3K, which was used to support three presentations by local artists and arts organizations.

From an economic impact perspective, we know that The Burlington Performing Arts Centre contributes to the economic vitality of Downtown Burlington and the City. 75% of BPAC patrons spent money supporting local restaurants in combination with a visit to BPAC, and an average of $2.1 million in the Burlington community before or after a performance.

Calculating the spin off benefits, people having dinner before an event or dropping into a local spot for a drink after the play is far from a science; the numbers seem to get a little fatter each time they are handed out.  However, there is no denying that there is a significant spin off.

The problem area, and it is being worked on, is getting the smaller theatre groups in the city to use the space.  Those smaller groups find they cannot afford the rental fee structure the Centre has which is the result of high Centre overhead.

There is always going to be a place for the church basement groups and those small but dedicated drama groups that create a place for local talent to perform and grow.

BPAC reveal - Ilene chair with patron

Ilene Elkaim, on the right, talking to a patron during the announcement of a new season.

There are some concerns over the governance model that is being used.  There is a need for some fresh blood; currently the Chairmanship of the Board, which is an arms length corporation that runs the program out of a building the city owns, gets passed back and forth between the Chair and the Vice Chair – not healthy.

The Gazette is aware of people who are eminently qualified to serve on the board who were not taken up,

Tammy Fox hands-out-768x578

Performing Arts Centre Executive Director, Tammy Fox

The current Executive Director, Tammy Fox is working diligently to include the Sound of Music Festival in more of what takes place at The Centre.  The SoM will eventually submit to the charms of the Executive Director who has experience on both sides of the entertainment business.  She ran an arts agency that booked well known groups into various venues across the country and has run venues – she understands the issues that each side has.

Related news story:

Tammy Fox – Executive Director at the Performing Arts Centre.



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The Political Takedown of Patrick Brown - Part One

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

December 11th, 2018



It’s not a Shakespearean plot. Though old William would have found it worthy. The story of an ambitious young man climbing up the political ladder to the top of his organization, only to be stabbed in the back by his compatriots. Oh wait a minute, that sounds familiar!

Takedown cover

Patrick Brown was not going to slink away – he wrote a book about what happened – and then went off to get elected as Mayor of Brampton.

Patrick Brown paid a heavy price for advancing his political philosophy with the Ontario PCs, while those about him were into the darker side of social and environmental politics. He labels himself a progressive or red Tory. His heroes and mentors are Bill Davis, Jean Charest and Brian Mulroney, probably in that order. He had been born into a political family and politics was his life’s aspiration.

He seized the opportunity to get elected into Stephen Harper’s first minority government but was uncomfortable voting the party line on issues like opposing same-sex marriage and reopening the abortion debate, though he did anyway. But his reticence was obviously noticed and so he never made it to the front line of the Harper team, but was relegated to the back benches.

I know this because it is in his book titled ‘Takedown’. Tired of taking abuse from his own party which was moving even further to the right, Brown sought the leadership of the Ontario PCs.

Christine Elliot was the heir apparent, the favourite establishment candidate. But even after the three other establishment candidates had dropped out, she couldn’t muster enough voting members to defeat Brown’s well organized campaign.

Brown with members of Asian community

Brown included the south east Asian community in a way they had not been included in the past by the provincial Tories. It paid off for him

As an MP Brown had used his position to cultivate friendships with the Tamil, Indian, and Muslim ethnic communities. His reward was their support when he ran for leader of the provincial party, and afterwards when, as leader, he grew the provincial party’s membership from 10,000 to well over 100,000. As leader Brown also eliminated the party’s seven million dollar debt and stashed another four million aside for the 2018 election war chest.

But it was inevitable. He was the newbie with no history or buddies in the provincial party and he had stolen the leadership from the chosen one. And what may have seemed like a gentle breeze of resistance from the party stalwarts on his way up the pecking order would eventually turn into a powerful headwind pushing him rapidly back down.

He really should have read Julius Caesar. What probably sealed his fate was the party’s policy conference where all of Brown’s platform ideas got molded into his People’s Guarantee. It was a very comprehensive platform and he earned the wrath of the religious right by confirming that the sex-ed program brought in by the Liberals would stay in place.

Brown cultivates the LGBT community

Brown cultivates the LGBT community

Then he added insult to injury by promising to replace the provincial cap and trade program with a revenue neutral carbon tax which would be used to finance income tax cuts. That this also met the criteria for Mr.Trudeau’s mandated carbon pricing infuriated the party elders who also like to keep at least one eye on federal politics.

By early January this year it was becoming apparent that the Wynne Liberals were heading for a major defeat and that a PC majority was almost a given. That would mean that this red Tory, Brown, would be in power for at least the next four years and possibly eight. And since Brown had consented to continue much of Kathleen Wynne’s Liberal program there had be consternation among the old guard about where this grand old party was heading.

Except for his promises of ending the Green Energy Act and making tax cuts Brown might have been just another Liberal dressed in blue clothing. This was not the path that conservative oriented parties everywhere were going. So a revolt was no doubt in the works. And it had to happen before he ran and won the upcoming provincial election in June of this year. We’ll discuss how it all seemed to go wrong for Brown in the next part of this series.

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


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Premier in Burlington on Tuesday to celebrate the renewal of the hospital - hopefully soomeone will give him a clear view of the Escarpment and tell him to keep his hands off that land.

News 100 redBy Staff

December 11th, 2018



Premier Doug Ford met with a number of municipal Mayors on Monday. Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward was not one of them.

Ford will be in Burlington on Tuesday to “celebrate the refurbishment of the Joseph Brant Hospital. It’s a photo op.

Halton escarpment - long view up slope

Legislation tabled before the provincial government slipped away for the holidays threatens this Escarpment farm land.

No word yet if Mayor Meed Ward is going to be able to get to the event. If she does – expect her to button hole the Premier and take him to one of the rooms with a north side view and point to the Escarpment and then tell him to leave it alone.

The Premier is pounding away at better jobs and improving the infrastructure and coming up with affordable housing – all buzz words that appeal to his political base.

The fear is that the provincial government will want to ease up the rules on what can be built in the Green Belt – which is our back yard.

There has been more than one clear sign that this is a direction this Premier wants to go in.

Ford with municipal Mayor and staff

Premier Doug Ford with his Minister of Municipal Affairs, Steve Clark to his right talking to an unidentified municipal Mayor.

The Premier had a collection of Mayors trot into Toronto and meet with him for a one on one conversation which Ford said was to “discuss their shared priorities, such as improving transportation infrastructure, increasing the supply of housing to bring down costs and making sure that municipalities are open for business.

“Ontario has some fantastic mayors, and we have some great working relationships. Today, we strengthened those relationships,” said Ford. “We’re going to work together to get things done. We’re going to build transit and infrastructure. We’re going to make sure everyone can afford a place to call home. And we’re going to show the world that Ontario is open for business.”

In a series of meetings throughout the day, Premier Ford met with Guelph Mayor Cam Guthrie; Kawartha Lakes Mayor Andy Letham; London Mayor Ed Holder; Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie; Oro-Medonte Mayor Harry Hughes; Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson; and Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens.

“When it comes to Ontarians’ day-to-day lives, municipalities make the most direct impact,” said Ford. “Today, I had some great conversations with Ontario mayors about how to tackle the issues that people face every day. We’re committed to working for the people and respecting the taxpayer.”


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