James Ridge no longer the city manager.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

December 5th, 2018



A media release from city hall announced that effective December 4th James Ridge is no longer the City Manager for the City of Burlington.

Recruitment for a new City Manager will proceed in the New Year. In the interim, an Acting City Manager will be named by Council.


James Ridge - looking right

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Now Meed Ward has a target on her back. Really?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

December 4th, 2018



A reader wrote:

Okay, here we go.

Now Meed Ward has a target on her back.

She didn’t give the elected Councillors a chance to speak?

My guess is that they begged her for more time so that they hone their skills as speakers.

But hey- that wouldn’t give newspapers a chance to shoot down a really wonderful new mayor who should be lauded for her intelligence, empathy and generosity of spirit.

How about giving her a break!!

Mayor Meed Ward does not want any breaks.  She would be offended if you offered her any.

I didn’t hear the Justice who swore them in suggest we give them a break. I heard just the opposite. Justice Quinn said to the audience and to the new council.  These people are going to hold you account.   He didn’t say ‘Hold them accountable but give them a couple of weeks to get the feel of the job.’

In a couple of week this council will be going through the budget – and if I heard the Mayor correctly she wants to keep the tax increase well below the 4% we have seen for the past seven years.

These people have known from the get go that they have a big job in front of them. They all worked hard to get elected – they wanted the job.

No breaks. Burlington citizens did that in 2014 and look at what that council did for you?

What this writer has forgotten is that a democracy has the elected and the electors – and both have to do their work if a democracy is going to work.

The 2010 Council learned they could get away with a lot and several of them trampled all over delegators.

Your job dear reader is to hold their feet to the flames. No breaks.

Imagine if you did give them a break? That would perhaps encourage some of them to ask for “a little more time” and before you know it they are getting away with it.

You throw them in the deep end – they will learn to swim very quickly.

Council without mayor

Council members getting ready to read their Declarations of Office. The Gazette didn’t hear them asking for a break.

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City has to decide by January 17th if cannabis retail stores are to be permitted in Burlington.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

December 4th, 2018



City hall is asking residents to share their thoughts about whether bricks and mortar stores selling cannabis should be allowed to operate in the city.

Cannabis Yes or No graphicThe 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.

A number of municipalities have already said they will not permit these retail locations in their communities: Richmond Hill and Markham are examples.

To help gather the community’s input, a town hall, hosted by Mayor Marianne Meed Ward will take place on Wednesday, Dec. 12 at Burlington Performing Arts Centre from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

The city has also launched an online survey at www.getinvolvedburlington.ca, open to Burlington residents until Thursday, December 13.

CLICK on  to register and take the survey about cannabis retail stores in Burlington.

Being sworn in

Mayor Meed Ward said during an exclusive interview with the Gazette that she was taken by surprise by some of the views she heard about cannabis retail outlets.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward: “I support opting in to stores to give residents access to this product, eliminate the black market, and receive some government funding to assist with enforcement. However, there are many factors to consider before making any decision and I recognize there are a variety of views in the community. We want you to bring your questions, concerns, and opinions on this issue for an informative, interactive discussion.”

There are several new council members who have said they do not think the city should permit retail locations.  Ward 4 Council member Shawna Stolte has said she does not approve but added that she wanted to hear what others had to say.

Mary Lou Tanner, Deputy City Manager said Burlington City Council will consider a report on December 17, and vote on whether to opt in or opt out of hosting retail cannabis stores in Burlington. Ahead of that decision, the city wants to hear what residents have to say about locating cannabis retail stores in our city. We want to provide Council with as much information as possible in making their decision.”

Quick Facts
• On Oct. 17, 2018, recreational cannabis was legalized by the federal government of Canada.
• Currently, in Ontario, the only place to legally purchase cannabis is online from the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS).
• By April 2019, it is anticipated that brick and mortar, privately-operated retail cannabis stores will be operational across the province.
• Under the provincial regulations that guide the startup of private cannabis stores, retail locations can:
• be open between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m.
• be located at least 150 metres away from schools
• operate in any commercial or retail areas in the city with no maximum on the number of stores permitted within a municipality.
• Municipalities that opt in to allow retail stores will not have the option to opt out later and will receive funding to assist with the legalization of cannabis.
• Municipalities that choose to not allow retails stores may opt in later but will not be eligible for funding.

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Mayor Meed Ward referred to her predecessors as guides that will light her path.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

December 4th, 2018



How do elections get won?

One vote at a time and the only things that matters is that the votes actually get cast.

How you get re-elected is by telling the public what you are going to do and then doing it.

During the Inauguration of Marianne Meed Ward and the 2018 – 2022 city council the Mayor explained how the election worked for her. She spoke of the Collins family and how a Mother and two children went to the polling station.

The daughter, Summer, asked her Mother: “Can we vote for the girl?”

The Mother replied: “We vote for people with the best ideas.”

The son, Kennedy added that we elect those who “don’t kick people.”

Munron Mary

Former Mayor – Mayor Lawson; a model for Meed Ward.

Meed Ward spoke of the contribution former Mayor Mary Munro made to the evolution of her thinking and the role the late John Boich played in her first election in 2010.

John Boich 1933-2011

John Boich 1933-2011

The was some revisionist history being spouted but to the victor go the spoils.

Burlington got to hear what their new Mayor had in mind. She didn’t mince her words.

She spoke of part of her childhood when her father was a Forest Park Ranger and the friends she had then were black bears and grizzlies who Meed Ward said probably helped her for her role as a politician.

Meed Ward used Winston Churchill, Teddy Roosevelt and the Wright brothers as bearings she would use for the way she reads her compass. She told a close to rapt audience that it is not the critics who count or those who point out the stumbles of others; the credit belongs to the ones in the arena.

“Failure” said Meed Ward “is part of doing great things”.

She referred to a man named Samuel Pierpont Langley, the man who spent years building heavier than air aircraft models and gliders and proved that aircraft needed thrust to overcome drag from forward speed.
Langley attempted to make a working piloted heavier-than-air aircraft. His models flew, but his two attempts at piloted flight were not successful.

His first success came on May 6, 1896 when an unpiloted model weighing 25 pounds made two flights of 2,300 feet and 3,300 feet after a catapult launch from a boat.

All this was done before petrol was available.

Langley did much of the necessary early work that recorded many failures along with small success. It was these successes that made it possible for the Wright Brothers to get a plane aloft in 1902.

Meed Ward’s message was that you just never give up.  Expect her to live up to that message.

MMW with mic

The microphone didn’t get shared.

Five of the seven Councillors elected have no experience in public office.  They have no experience talking to the citizens at large either – and they didn’t get a chance to say two words other than when they read their Declarations of Office during the inauguration ceremony.

In introducing the new city council Meed Ward did say what she expected of them.  Her comments weren’t exactly mandate letters.

They are admittedly new but they did deserve a chance to say a few words.

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Mayor Marianne Meed Ward: 'leaders do not need to come up with all the great ideas, leaders need to create the environment that lets great ideas come from the community'.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

December 4th, 2018



There was never any doubt as to who was in charge.

There was never any doubt as to what she was going to do

And there was never any doubt as to how the audience felt about the direction Marianne Meed Ward, Mayor was taking. The applause was close to rapturous. There were at least five, heck make that six standing ovations. This was her night.

Moment she became Mayor

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward and Justice Barry Quinn.

The moment Justice of the Peace Barry Quinn, a former municipal Councillor himself, slipped the Chain of Office around the neck of the stunning red dress Meed Ward wore she was in the driver’s seat.

Meed Ward gave a hint as to just how well she was going to be able to deliver on her election promises when she told the audience that she would have some good news for them “tomorrow”. Expect some word on the “approved” Official Plan being in the mail from the Region and on its way back to city hall.

There was entertainment for the audience; Hayley Verral sang O’Canada, the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry performed, Dan Murray, a Burlington poet read and Dania Thurman sang to close out the evening after which everyone congregated in the family room to munch on cup Kelly’s cupcakes and cheese trays from a local provider.

City council on innauguration Dec 3rd - 2018

The 2018 – 2022 Burlington city council.

The Mayor set out how she was going to run the city when she laid out four themes that she said would define her term of office.

1: Residents first
2: Burlington is everyone’s city
3: Protecting the city
4: Honour the trust and the commitment to serve.

For the most part the Mayor spoke extemporaneously. Marianne did not needs notes or a script, this was an evening she has spent the last ten years preparing for.

Citizens being citizens 2

Citizens being citizens after the Inauguration and the Inaugural address.

Her theme, that respecting the residents was first and foremost, was supported with a commitment to “serve you” by providing more parks and delivering budgets that are not in the 4% annual tax increase range. “We need to do better than that” she said.

“This council is dedicated to your vision, we need to repair the trust” and added that leaders do not need to come up with all the great ideas, leaders need to create the environment that lets great ideas come from the community”.

Statements like that brought people to their feet.

Staff, said the Mayor implement the decisions council makes.

Point number 2. Burlington is an inclusive city. She wants to “fix transit “The meat behind her 3rd point, protecting the city was this: “We will not take on over-development”. The applause was instant. The Mayor added that she was pushing the reset button on the downtown plan.

NGTA No-highway-here1-285x300Point # 3: Meed Ward wants to flood proof the city and protect the green space. She committed to fighting any effort to opening up the green space north of the Hwy 407 – Dundas demarcation line. The same comment was made about any effort to re-open the debate over an NGTA road cutting through Kilbride and Lowville.
Meed Ward gave Mary Munro, a former one term Mayor, a strong nod when she said “Mary committed to saving

Lakeshore Road and not going along with cutting down any trees to widen that road.

Meed Ward was not as successful in her efforts to save prime waterfront land from sliding into private hands.

Throughout her address she was firm in her resolve. “We heard you” said Meed Ward “and we are listening”.

“Stand firm and never back down” she added.

Statements like that make it clear that Meed Ward is firm in her commitment to lead a city council that will be significantly different than the one that was in place from 2010 to 2018.

In expanding on her 4th point Meed Ward told the audience that many felt the province holds all the cards. “Not true” she said and added that “we are going to choose our destiny.

The audience heard a slightly combative Mayor stake out her territory when she said to the audience, quoting Winston Churchill, that you “go from failure to failure without giving up” adding that she lost two elections before she went on to win three.

Wearing chain of office

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward wearing the Chain of Office for the first time.

Before turning the inauguration into a meeting of City Council Meed Ward said “the cause is nothing less than our city. We need you to now go out there and do some good.”

Did Burlington get a look Monday evening at a woman who just might turn out to be a great Mayor? This country hasn’t had all that many great Mayors. Toronto did have David Crombie serve that city as Mayor; Crombie has a soft spot for Burlington and there is certainly a meeting of minds between Meed Ward and Crombie on how the city should protect its waterfront.

Those two should have lunch sometime. Crombie was a strong proponent of a Waterfront Trail – something Meed Ward has some ideas about as well.

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The old order changes ....

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

December 3rd, 2018



The old order changeth.

This evening a new city council will be sworn in: five of the seven member council will not be returning – two retired and three were defeated.

Burlington City Council Group

Just two left standing

We can’t find anyone who remembers seeing anything like this in Burlington’s history.

The Mayor was defeated, replaced by ward 2 city Councillor Marianne Meed Ward.

Councillors Dennison and Lancaster were also defeated.

Councillors Craven and Taylor retired.

Two issues dominated the election: the approving of an Official Plan that did not have wide public support and the demand for a change in the way city council engaged the public – failed to effectively respect people who delegated at city council is a better way to put it – and the lack of acceptable public engagement.

The distance between council and staff and the public made itself painfully evident in the remarks made at the final meeting of the current city council when Deputy city manager Mary Lou Tanner commented on the outgoing council and its working relationship with Staff.

City Manager James Ridge was absent.

Tanner spoke of the excellent, professional way that Staff and Council were able to work together. Saying a strong positive relationship existed doesn’t mean it did.

Plains Road; an old suburban highway transitions into a vibrant urban main street.

Plains Road; an old suburban highway transitions into a vibrant urban main street.

The contribution made by Councillors Craven and Taylor deserve comment: Plains Road is a different place today than it was when Rick Craven was first elected. And the developments taking place in the community are an improvement over what was in place when he got there.

Craven didn’t have the best of relationships with sectors of his ward; the Beachway people wish he had never been elected. A number of people don’t think he understood the mix that was needed along Plans Road.
He could never come to terms with Marianne Meed Ward who ran against him in ward 1 – he prevailed and Meed Ward moved into ward 2.

There is the suggestion that Rick Craven just could not live with the idea that he would have to work with Meed Ward on her terms. Some have suggested that is a large part of why he chose not to run for another term. Had he run he would have taken more than 50% of the votes.

The piece that he wrote and made public about Meed Ward was regrettable.

Councillor Craven may have felt his McMAster jacket would ward off some negative comment. Don't think it did - every member of Council had their ears bent by the 125 people who showed up at the Mainway Arena SAturday afternoon.

Councillor Craven may have felt his McMaster jacket would ward off some negative comment.

There will be more tall buildings but nothing any higher than the Drewlo Development that lost its building permit for a period of time when the played fast and loose with the development that had been approved.
Developers found they could work with Rick Craven. Did he compromise himself in doing so. One would be very hard pressed to point to anything that was just plain wrong in the ward.

Craven was tireless in his efforts to make sure that Aldershot was not forgotten. He has superb relationships with Staff.

He was the best chair of a Standing Committee this city has seen in some time. Yes, he was abrupt even dismissive at times but he kept the agenda going.

Publicly there was nothing touchy feely about Tick Craven. All business.

Privately he could be a funny.

More candidate than Craven could manage? Sandra Pupatello on a trip through town looking for local support for her Liberal leadership bid. Craven was prepared to let the party romance him.

More candidate than Craven could manage? Sandra Pupatello on a trip through town looking for local support for her Liberal leadership bid. Craven was prepared to let the party romance him.

He once told this reporter as we sat outside the Council Chamber at Conservation Halton that he had thought about running for Mayor.

He took a serious look at running for the provincial seat as a Liberal. Sandra Pupatello was a little too much for his taste.

Craven was usually able to take the long view and see the bigger picture – where he fell short was in explaining that bigger picture to people.

Craven is now, officially, a senior citizen. He isn’t going to sit at home and read old city council agendas. He will be a valued observer and hopefully he will tune in with comments from time to time.

There has been word that he will join one of the development organizations in the province.


Taylor was always a careful listener

John Taylor, the Dean of City Council, found that the job was getting harder and harder to do. Keeping up was proving difficult and he had the strength to realize that it was time to move on. For John Taylor the moving on is not going to be as smooth.

He will miss the people at city hall; his job as a Councillor was his life.

He was one of the true liberal voices on council and always went more than the last mile to solve a problem for a constituent.

He was probably working the telephones in the forenoon while his assistant packed up his papers for him.

Taylor wants to stay involved, has his eye on a specific appointment that he will get.

Waterfront hotel Taylor

If the public was in the room – so was John Taylor – listening carefully.

He has a huge store of knowledge, he was there when the big decisions were made.

He could be cranky at times but for the most part he was genial, available and he cared.

He worked for the rural people in the North West side of the city. The provincial plans for a highway that would run through Kilbride and Lowville was not going to happen while John was the ward 3 council member.

He was the rural voice on council. His constituents loved him; community meetings in his ward were more like family get togethers.

The three members of council that were defeated at the ballot box had failed to connect with the public. Rick Goldring just didn’t hear what the vocal groups had to say. He will never be forgiven for selling that part of the waterfront between Market and St. Paul Street.

Dennison - second house

The house on the right was built when Jack Dennison to an appeal to a Committee of Adjustment decision to the Ontario Municipal Board and won.

Blair Lancaster should perhaps not have run; health issues were making it difficult for her to do the job.

Jack Dennison was able to stay in office because the number of voters on the ballot allowed him to split the vote. This time there was just the one candidate running against him and she did very well.

The house that Dennison built on the severed piece of the Lakeshore Road is up for sale; the house next door with the historical designation has been rented.

In his closing remarks Dennison said: “See you around”. Wonder where he will live?

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City clarifies policy on equipment used in exercise classes - some seniors claim that isn't what they are hearing.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

December 3rd, 2018



Last week the Gazette published a story about changes some seniors called us about with the exercise classes at the Senior’s Centre. There is a link to the news story at the bottom of the page.

The city sent the Gazette a response – statement this morning setting out their position. That response – statement is set out below:

Rob Axiak

Rob Axiak, Manager of Recreation Services.

“My name is Rob Axiak and I am the Manager of Recreation Services for the City. I would first like to apologize for any misinformation that may be out there that has resulted in this article and subsequent commentary. We are looking to send out more accurate information regarding personal equipment for fitness classes over the next two weeks.

Prior to information going, please rest assure that equipment will always be provided by the city for our fitness programs. It was never our intention to remove equipment and to force individuals to bring their own. Some who currently participate had expressed an interest in bringing their own equipment to programs for a variety of personal reasons. We fully support this and encourage anyone who would prefer to bring their own equipment to please feel welcome in doing so.

For those who prefer to have the convenience of using city issued equipment readily available onsite, well that is perfectly acceptable too!

Our goal is to remove any barriers to participation and provide individuals with options based on your own personal preference. Hope that clarifies and thank you for your ongoing interest and participation!”

A source the Gazette takes as reliable, who has asked not to be identified, said when she read the news story she went to the Customer Service desk at the Seniors’ Centre and asked what the policy was and was told that “this is what is going to happen”.

Our source asked the customer service to confirm that information with staff in the offices behind the Customer Service counter. “It took a while but the Customer service person did return and said the policy will be going into effect in the Spring and that people will have to bring their own equipment.”

Axiak appears to be saying that people participating in the exercise classes can bring their own equipment if they wish and that equipment will still be available at no cost to those people taking classes.

Our source said “this is how the Parks and Recreation people operate. Rather than make a clear statement that they publish, they float a trial balloon and wait to see what there is in the way of reaction. If there is no negative feedback it becomes policy.

“Staff don’t take responsibility for the mistakes they make.”

The city has either shifted their position or people taking the exercises did not fully understand the city’s position. Classes were informed by people delivering the exercise classes. Those people are not full time city employees involved in setting policy – they are contract people delivering a service.

Link to the original news story:

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Snowfighters are in place - just waiting for the snow to arrive.

News 100 redBy Staff

December 3rd, 2018



City Hall says the Snow fighters are ready and they have provided an app that will let you see which roads are plowed. Make a note of it.

The ‘What’s Been Plowed’ link on the website to see which streets have been plowed when it snows. The city also has a video to inform residents about the snow clearing services they can expect during wintery weather conditions. ‘What’s Been Plowed’ and the video are available at burlington.ca/snow.

What residents can do.

The Mrs. get to put her vehicle in the garage.

The Mrs. got to put her vehicle in the garage.

During the winter season, the City of Burlington maintains 1,900 lane kilometres of roads and 850 kilometres of sidewalks. Residents can help with the removal of snow from streets and sidewalks by following road safety and parking rules:

• Do not park vehicles on the street during or after a snowfall. Also, please do not leave vehicles over the sidewalk while in your driveway as this can prevent the sidewalk plow from completing its work.

• Take it slow when driving in winter conditions. Give yourself more time to travel. Avoid tailgating and pass other vehicles with caution.

• Do not shovel, plow or blow snow from residential or commercial properties onto the road. This poses a hazard to motorists and is prohibited by the Ontario Highway Traffic Act and city bylaw.

• Snow plows need room to clear the ice and snow. Please stay back 70 feet as sand and salt may be dropping from the trucks. This also gives you room to stop safely.

• Give snow plows plenty of space at intersections. The snow plow may need two or more lanes to turn or to get through the intersection. If a snow plow is waiting to turn left at an intersection, do not pull up and stop underneath or in front of the wing plow (the plow attached to the right side of the truck). Your vehicle could be struck by the plow when the truck pulls forward.

Plow - salter

Your tax dollars at work. Don’t get too close to the truck.


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

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

December 2nd, 2018



The Declaration of Office is always signed by elected members of a city council when they begin their term.
It’s an important document and means a lot to those who sign them.

The document comes from Section 232 of the Municipal Act, 2001.

It is part of the process – but it will carry more weight, more importance Monday evening when a Superior Court Judge puts the document in front of the members of Council who are being sworn in.

I do solemnly promise and declare that:

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

2. 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.

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

4. I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second (or the reigning sovereign for the time being).

And I make this solemn promise and declaration conscientiously believing it to be true and
knowing that it is of the same force and effect as if made under oath.

There is a lot resting on these seven people. The Mayor Elect and ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman have been down this path before, for the other five: Kelvin Galbraith, Lisa Kearns Rory Nisan Shawna Stolte and Angelo Bentivegna, it is a job that is bigger than anything they have done so far in their lives.

The council was elected to bring about changes in the way the city grows; where it grows and how some controls can be put on that growth so that Burlington doesn’t lose the character that brought people to the city and is xx by those who speak of their love for the place.

The Mayor Elect has made it clear that she wants to see a kinder, more collaborative city council where the respect between the members is radically different than it was for the last eight years.

She is also adamant that city council will treat citizens with more respect and that they listen to delegations and ensure that delegations know they were heard.

That is the significance of the document that the seven members of city council will sign Monday event.

Keep that in mind and hold their feet to the flames ensuring that they do the job you elected them to do.



Former two term Councillor Marianne Meed Ward becomes the Mayor for the 2018-2020 term of office.


Kelvin G

Councilor for Ward 1 – replaces Rick Craven who retired.


Lisa K

Lisa Kearns replaces Meed Ward who becomes Mayor


Rory N

Rory Nisan replaces John Taylor who retired.


Shawna S

Shawna Stolte defeated Councillor Jack Dennison for the ward 4 seat.



Paul Sharman was re-elected in ward 5 for a third term


Angelo B

Councillor for ward 6 – Tony Bentivegna- who knew? He defeated Councillor Lancaster for the council seat.





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Candlelight Stroll through downtown Burlington kicks off thee festive season.

News 100 redBy Staff

December 1st, 2018



It’s a weather dependent event.

When it rains – even a light drizzle the crowds are smaller.

When it snows the mood in Civic Square is different.

When the weather is what we got Friday evening the annual Candlelight Stroll is a total delight.

Burger line up

The line up for the free burgers ran along Brant street up to the Cenotaph.

The lineup for the free burgers stretch from outside the door to city hall around to the Cenotaph further up Brant Street.

This year we had two Mayors on the podium – Mayor Goldring doing his last formal act as the outgoing Mayor and Marianne Meed Ward, Mayor Elect, talking to the audience that packed the Civic Square with the confidence and energy that got her to where she is today.

Strollers with children were all over the place while the older kids were scooting about with small fixtures that glowed in the dark attached to their coats.

Brian Dean, Executive Director of the Burlington Downtown Business Association, organizer of the event, was buzzing about checking in with people grateful that the weather worked.

Candles for the stroll

Candles to light the way and add a sense of occasion to the evening.

Candles were available to the Strollers to light the way and add a sense of occasion to the evening.

The Stroll had six stations along a route that started at city hall, along James Street, a place that in five years will have two 24 storey towers on either side of the James Brant intersection- continues to Elizabeth for a stop at Village Square where Victorian Carollers performed – then on to the Pearl and Pine Retirement Home where the Poacher Ukulele Band performed then down to Lakeshore Coffee House where the Glad Tidings Kids Choir perfumed.

Town crier

Town Crier Dave Vollick poses for pictures.

Then across Brant street to the entrance to the Park – in five years will we see a new Waterfront Hotel soaring 30 storeys in to the sky and shuffled to the eat allowing for a wider open space to the park?. Hot Maple Taffy and Carols by the St. John Elementary Catholic School.

The Stroll ended at the Gazebo where the Burlington Concert band performed and people munched on popcorn provided by Cogeco.

An evening that was enjoyed by the hundreds that took part.

People also got a chance to have their picture taken with the city’s Town crier.

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Lights of the season glow in Spencer Smith Park - make sure the kids get to see this.

News 100 redBy Staff

December 1st, 2018



It’s an annual thing.

Naval monument

Drummer beside the Naval monument

Better than looking in the window at Eaton’s – they don’t have that anymore do they?

Spencer Smith Park has something in the order of 50- maybe sixty different holiday season designs done in colourful lights.

Looking at the park with all those light and watching a young person – say four or five years of age give that Wow! look that only a child can give.

The event is sponsored by Burlington Hydro; the work is done by a crew of volunteers with lots of input from Hydro staff.

There is no formal throwing of a light switch. One day they are just on. Early evening is the nicest time to see them. As dusk moves in the lights contrast with the sky that darkens.

Guarding the pier SSP Xmas lights 2018

Sea horses guarding walkway to the Pier

What you also get to see are the hundreds of geese walking around in the dark rummaging for food.

It is a pure delight to see how that park gets transformed; something every child in the city should have a chance to see.

There are now a handful of coffee shops that are serving hot chocolate – nice way to end an evening before the kids get taken home and tucked into bed.

Soldiers along lakeshore

Grenadiers guarding Spencer Smith Park

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Male was sexually assaulted at the Burlington Centre

Crime 100By Staff

November 30th, 2018



On Monday November 5th 2018 the Child Abuse and Sexual Assault Unit (CASA) commenced an investigation after a 13 year old male disclosed that he was sexually assaulted while using the washroom at The Bay in the Burlington Mall – 777 Guelph Line. (The Mall has officially been renamed the Burlington Centre.)

On November 4th sometime between 3:00pm and 5:00pm, while in the washroom, the victim advised that he was approached by a white male, 30-40 years of age, with spiked blonde hair with a goatee. The male was wearing jeans, and a blue and white T-shirt with running shoes. At this time the victim was sexually assaulted.

Police would like to remind the public to be vigilant with their safety and report any suspicious incidents to police immediately.

Police are asking anyone with information regarding this or similar incidents to contact the Child Abuse and Sexual Assault Unit – Detective Sergeant Chris Newcombe at 905-465-8965 or Detective Constable Mark Werner at 905-465-8747.

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

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The development application process is grinding down the staff in the planning department

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

November 30th, 2018



The paper work involved in a major development application is extensive. The volume has become more than the city’s Planning Department can reasonably handle.

Add to the volume the fact that there are a reported 30 applications in the pipe line and toy end up with a situation where the developer file an appeal to the Land Planning Administrative Tribunal for not responding in the allotted 120 days.  Some situations allow a 180 day timeline.

The public then howls claiming that the Planning department is inefficient.

Burlington’s Planning department is in one of those no one wins situations.

The paperwork for the National Homes development at 2100 Brant consisted of:

Supporting Documents

Application Form and Covering Letter (PDF)
Site Plan (PDF)
Draft Plan of Subdivision Application (PDF)
Environmental Site Screening Questionaire (PDF)
Enviromental Impact Study (PDF)
Functional Servicing Report and Storm Water Management Report (PDF)
Geotechnical Report (PDF)
Geotechnical Report – Slope Stability (PDF)
Grading Plan (PDF)
Height Survey – Adjacent Building Height Survey (PDF)
Letter of Reliance – Halton Region (PDF)
Noise Study (PDF)
Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (PDF)
Phase II Environmental Site Assessment (PDF)
Planning Justification Report (PDF)
Plan of Survey (PDF)
Planning Justification Report (PDF)
Preliminary Landscape Plan (PDF)
Sanitary Servicing and Drainage Plan (PDF)
Shadow Impacy Analysis (PDF)
Shadow Study (PDF)
Stage 1-2 Archaelogy Letter of Registration (PDF)
Storm Servicing and Drainage Plan (PDF)
Transportation Study (PDF)
Tree Inventory and Preservation Plan – East (PDF)
Tree Inventory and Preservation Plan – West (PDF)
Urban Design Brief (PDF)
Watermain Hydraulic Analysis (PDF)
Watermain Plan (PDF)

Unit layout

A development with this degree of complexity requires time and resources from different levels to prepare a staff report – all within several months. Planning department has not met the target on a number of occasions.

Various levels of expertise are required to understand and assess the contents of the document.  They also have to get sent to other departments for their input.

On smaller developments the paperwork can be manageable – but when there are more than two dozen applications the staff in the Planning department get swamped.  There are 26 planners on staff with one department asking for an additional planner to help lighten the load.

It is never as simple as it appears on the surface.


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Region holds an emergency preparedness exercise: no public involvement.

News 100 redBy Staff

November 30th, 2018



How do you prepare for a local disaster?

Just the way relay race runners do – you practice and figure out where the glitches could take place and you fix them

The Region of Halton has been doing practice runs on how they will handle an emergency in different parts of the Region. The most recent practice was the Region and the Town of Halton Hills partnering with first responders and community organizations to stage an emergency exercise. The scenario featured a fictional severe wind event that caused extensive property damage and service disruptions in North Halton.

“Our drills and exercises help us protect the community from emergencies,” said Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr. “We are proud to work with our local partners to minimize the risks, coordinate response efforts and reduce the impact of crisis situations. By regularly assessing and improving our plans, we ensure that essential government services are available when you need them most.”

As part of this exercise, titled “Exercise Downburst”, the Region tested its procedures for opening the designated emergency evacuation centre in Halton Hills (at Gellert Community Centre). Participants included:

• the Canadian Red Cross
• St. John’s Ambulance
• Halton Regional Police Service
• Halton Region Paramedic Services
• HMC Connections
• the Salvation Army
• the Halton Hills Fire Department

The exercise focused on efforts to protect resident safety during and after the event, as well as the recovery activities that followed. Participants assessed the Region’s coordinated response to identify strengths, challenges and areas for improvement.


Halton Paramedic Services Deputy Chief Peter McMurrough discusses response strategies with Oakville Fire Deputy Chief Andy Glynn.

Halton updated its Emergency Program and Plan in June 2018 to incorporate lessons from previous exercises and new technologies (such as the Alert Ready Emergency Alert System, which delivers urgent notifications via television, radio and mobile devices). In addition to “Exercise Downburst”, which was the largest scenario planned for 2018, the Region has also participated in six smaller exercises and drills this year to ensure it is ready to respond to emergencies in Halton.


Halton Regional Police Service Deputy Chief Roger Wilkie reviews an Incident Action Plan.

Emergency preparedness is a shared responsibility that involves individuals, all levels of government and the community. To learn how you can stay safe during severe weather events and other crisis situations, visit halton.ca.


Canadian Red Cross cots fill a lodging area at the Emergency Evacuation Centre (Gellert Community Centre, Georgetown).

The Regional Municipality of Halton serves 570,000 residents in the City of Burlington, the Town of Halton Hills, the Town of Milton, and the Town of Oakville. Halton Region is committed to meeting the needs of its residents through the delivery of cost-effective, quality programs and services, including water and wastewater; Regional roads and planning; paramedic services; waste management; public health; social assistance; children’s and seniors’ services; housing services; heritage programs; emergency management and economic development.

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Ontario’s Climate Change Plan: Much Ado About Nothing

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

November 30th, 2018



Almost every aspect of Rod Phillips’, Ontario’s environment minister’s, climate change plan is something we’ve already done or are doing. In short it’s yesterday’s news.

For decades the federal and provincial governments, and other semi-government agencies have been doing exactly what the province is calling new; working with the private sector on developing performance standards and cleaner technologies. It was the McGuinty government which first introduced regulations adding corn-based ethanol to gasoline.

Titanic chairsBut we have all heard the alarm bells. The people who actually understand global warming are imploring governments everywhere to heed the urgency of taking action. In that regard this ‘new’ Ontario climate action plan is akin to the proverbial rearranging of deck chairs on the Titanic. Improved seating may allow a better view of the icebergs floating ahead of the ship but won’t stop the collision.

The problem today is less about how cleanly we extract energy from fossil fuels, it’s that we continue to use fossil fuels at all when cleaner alternatives abound. Mr. Phillips likes to use the example of how Ontario reduced its emissions by 22 percent from 2005, as if he were the Liberal environment minister back then.

But that reduction came about because we stopped burning coal to produce electricity, not because we improved the efficiency of the scrubbers. And to add insult to injury for the lonely scattering of Liberals in the back benches, Mr Phillips is also claiming credit that today Ontario’s electricity system is mostly carbon free. Yet scarcely half a year ago he and his boss, Mr. Ford, called it a ‘mess’.

This plan has no legs, no heart and no teeth. There are no details or any kind, only a set of best intentions. By focusing primarily on industry, the government is dismissing all of the actions all the rest of the people can do to reduce their carbon footprint. And the $400 million carbon trust fund is more than a drop in an ocean, but it is hardly adequate if one were serious about significantly reducing carbon emissions through technological change.


It is a program that worked for everyone.

Ontario is following Australia’s lead in abandoning emissions trading and carbon pricing and hoping that technology will save it. But the low hanging fruit has been already been harvested. And like Australia, Ontario will miss it’s Paris agreement related emissions target. But even more importantly, we will have lost the momentum which made us the most successful jurisdiction in Canada when it came to reducing our carbon footprint.

There is an irony when the minister muses about possibly imposing financial penalties (fines) on large emitters, for those companies still operating in the province. But how is a financial penalty for generating carbon emissions not some kind of carbon tax by a different name? Won’t the cost of those fines not get passed down to consumers and families?

Cap and trade was an industry friendly approach to lowering emissions. It treated emitting industries as partners in solving the climate change problem. The Ford government is threatening instead to criminalize our industrial enterprises. That is if it is serious about going back to the old command and control approach, involving fines and courts and maybe even prison time. So much for the province being ‘open for business’.

corn driven ethanol

Ethanol: a policy that Ontario is looking to rekindle and expand despite the fact that recent evidence shows it is bad for the environment and even worse for the climate.

Bio-fuels like corn and firewood are considered renewable resources. When they grow they absorb CO2 even though burning them ultimately releases it. That was the rationale for adding corn-derived ethanol into gasoline introduced over a decade ago by the McGuinty government. That is a policy that Ontario is looking to rekindle and expand despite the fact that recent evidence shows it is bad for the environment and even worse for the climate.

At best this plan is one of those motherhood/fatherhood concept papers. It begs for description by cliches. It could have been worse. It’s really is too little too late. Nobody should have been expecting much given where Mr. Ford was coming from, so at least we weren’t disappointed.

The truth is we have seen this movie before though it seemed fresh yesteryear when Doc and Marty took us ‘back to the future’. And at least they weren’t travelling in a gas guzzler running on ethanol.

If the Ford Government was looking to provoke the federal government into bringing its carbon tax into Ontario, it couldn’t have done a better job than with this sad package of old ideas stolen from the days when global warming was still just another academic research topic.

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:

Ford Climate Change Plan –      More CC Plan –      Even More CC Plan

Ethanol –      Clean Technology –      Australian Approach

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Household mobility and housing choices; who moves and why.

News 100 blueBy Staff

November 30th, 2018



People move for a combination of economic and non-economic reasons (i.e. family, employment, housing, education and others). As described in a recent Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) research report, on household mobility and housing choices, people who move within the same city or town are often motivated by the desire to change tenure or type of housing, improve its quality or size, shorten commuting time, obtain better access to amenities or change neighbourhoods. For those who move to a different city, province, or country, they are usually motivated by economic reasons such as employment or education opportunities.

Community Development Halton produces reports on social issues on a regular basis. Their data is used by the Region and municipal governments when they are developing programs and policies.

CD changes to where by % AAccording to the 2016 Census, over one in ten (11%) Halton residents changed addresses a year ago, slightly below the national average of 13%. They are the movers and total over 61,000 individuals. Although Oakville accounts for over one-third (37%) of the region’s mover population, Milton has the highest percentage (13%) of movers among its total population.

Over 40% of the mover population moved within the same municipality. Burlington has the highest percentage at 48.1%. Over half (52.7%) of the movers in Halton Hills came from other municipalities in Ontario most likely the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA)2 and its surrounding region. Over 14% of those who moved in Oakville came from other countries. They are mostly immigrants.

Movers from other provinces represent the smallest mobility group, less than 4% of the mover population. The national average is about 6%.

CD movers pie chart AThe CMHC research report has some interesting findings on household mobility and housing choices. The impact of household mobility on housing turnover is greater in the rental market than in the housing market.

Across the nation, movers are more likely, after their move, to be renters than homeowners. Some 60% of movers resided in a rented dwelling after the move while only 40% owned their new housing.

Households moving within the same municipality have a greater impact on housing turnover than households moved in from other city, province or country. Some 7.5% of all households made a move within the same municipality, whereas only 4.7% of households moved from outside the municipality.

Movers have varied preferences for structural type of dwelling. Movers within the same municipality were most likely to move into apartments in low-rise buildings, while movers from other Ontario municipalities had a particularly strong preference for single-detached housing.

Community Lens is prepared by Community Development Halton to disseminate and interpret important community data as it becomes available.

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Another one of those win - win - win ideas that Jim Young believes can actually be achieved in the first 100 days of the new city council.

100 daysThe Gazette invited readers to tell the city council that will be sworn in next Monday what they felt were the more important issues that could be acted upon in the first 100 days of four year term.  So far there have been some very good ideas; there are also some ideas that suggest the writer was not all that well informed.

Jim Young, an Aldershot resident involved in the early stages of the Engaged Citizens of Burlington (ECoB) initiative has also been a member of the Burlington Seniors Advisory Committee that has been advocating for a better transit deal for seniors.

By Jim Young
November 30th, 2018

In a previous Op Ed for The Gazette on the “First Hundred Days” I asked for patience and realistic expectations from a new council. Most of the issues that gave rise to the electoral shake up at Burlington City Council are simply too big and complex to expect them to be resolved in the first hundred days.

The “Adopted” Official Plan, Changes to The Downtown Mobility Hub and the missing Transit and Parking Plans all require significant work by staff and review and reconsideration by council. They may also require Regional approval and compliance with Provincial Legislation. So while work on these gets underway in the first hundred days, don’t expect quick results on these portfolios. Given the last fiasco on the OP, we should be demanding that council and staff take appropriate time to seek our input and get the OP right this time.

However one immediately winning issue that can be achieved as a simple 2019 Budget Amendment, is “Free Transit for Seniors during Off Peak Hours” (10.00 to 2.30 Monday to Friday). An idea whose time has surely come.

This was originally proposed by Burlington Seniors Advisory Committee in 2016 for the 2017 budget and defeated by 6 votes to 1. The idea is detailed in BSAC Position Paper “Improving Transit for Seniors Improves Transit for Everybody” and has since been adopted by Burlington for Accessible Sustainable Transit (BfAST) who support the idea and for other disadvantaged groups and as part of a more comprehensive Long Term Transit Plan.

Sue Connor with Jim Young

Jim Young with Director of Transit Sue Connor.

In the BfAST 2018 election All Candidate Transit Survey, all six Councillors elect and Mayor elect indicated support for the idea. Some wholeheartedly, some with qualification, suggesting it might be expanded to other disadvantaged groups.

The buses already run empty during those off-peak hours so the only cost is an amount of lost revenue and that is not overwhelming. Based on figures supplied by Burlington Transit in 2016 I calculated it might cost between $48,500 per year and $72,750 depending on the rate of uptake. The previous Director of Transit agreed the cost for a one year trial would be less than $100,000. In an email to me his biggest concern was that any trial would prove so popular, it would be difficult to repeal. It is less than one half of one percent of the city transit budget.

It is possible that provincial funding for transit, a complex formula based on ridership (not revenue) might increase enough to offset any loss of revenue.

Perhaps Transit Director, Sue Connor, who has won the respect of city staff and transit advocates equally, can provide updated figures for the cost, the potential Provincial funding increases and whether there might be an overall gain for Burlington Transit.

As well as filling our mostly empty, off-peak buses the “Improving Transit Paper” details the impact of: Reducing Traffic Congestion, Improving Road Safety, Reducing C02 Emissions, Providing a Dignified Alternative for drivers who lose their Drivers License to age related issues. It also outlines some economic benefits for the city and local businesses and the health benefits to seniors who suffer from social isolation.

Bfast 2018 forum

Bfast events that bring citizens up to date on transit events are always well attended. Might they be heard by the new city council as well?

So come on Mme. Mayor and Brand New Councillors. What are you waiting for? This will help Fill the Buses, Reduce Traffic Congestion, Improve Road Safety, Provide Economic Benefit for Local Retailers and help improve the Health and Well being of our Seniors; all of which I’m sure were on your platforms.

This is a win – win – win for Council, for Burlington Transit and for Seniors. It is also an opportunity to demonstrate that our new council listens to our citizens and delivers on its election platforms and positions.

Related news story:

Seniors Advisory committee request for a pilot project doesn’t get past a Standing Committee

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Scotia Bank at 4011 New Street robbed Thursday afternoon.

Crime 100

By Staff

November 30th, 2018



The Halton Regional Police Service are currently investigating a bank robbery that occurred in Burlington.

Scotia - Bella Alim - electric charge station

Electric charging station outside the ScotiaBank that was robbed Thursday afternoon.

Shortly after 4pm on November 29, 2018, police officers responded to the ScotiaBank branch located at 4011 New Street in the City of Burlington after a 911 call was placed reporting that the bank had just been robbed by one suspect.

One suspect entered the bank and jumped over the top the of the counter after ordering the tellers to open tills in order to obtain money. No weapons were seen, no one was injured and an undisclosed sum of money was taken.

Suspect fled the bank on foot North through the plaza before fleeing in a waiting vehicle.

Suspect #1 Description:
• Male
• Tanned Skin
• Early 20s
• Black Ski Mask over face
• Wearing white hooded sweatshirt that had black sleeves with red lettering up and down the sleeves, wearing black gloves
• Dark coloured pants with dark coloured shoes
• Carrying a small black canvas bag

Suspect Vehicle Description
• Older Style Brown Buick Regal driven by unidentified second suspect.

Both suspects remain outstanding at this time.

Anyone with information related to this incident is asked to contact Detective Steve Siomra at 30 Division Criminal Investigations Bureau 905 825 4747 Ext. 2343.

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

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Heroin Importer Sentenced to Serve Ten and a Half Years in Jail

Crime 100By Staff

November 29th, 2018

Following a lengthy trial and conviction, an accused has been sentenced to serve ten and a half years in jail for charges related to drug importation.

In the fall of 2016, Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) intercepted three packages from India and Malaysia. One was destined for a multinational package delivery company in Georgetown, Ontario, and the other two for a mailbox store in Port Perry, Ontario. The three packages contained a total of 990 grams of concealed heroin.

HRPS crestOn November 7, 2016, Innocent ANNIH (49) of Toronto attended the package delivery company in Georgetown, attempted to retrieve the package, and was arrested by the Halton Regional Police Service.
The Halton Regional Police Service’s Drug and Morality Unit conducted a further investigation into each of the three heroin shipments, which resulted in further evidence being obtained against ANNIH.

On September 28, 2018, following a two week trial, Superior Court Judge Conlan convicted ANNIH of Conspiracy to Import Heroin, and two counts of Attempted Possession of Heroin for the Purpose of Trafficking.

On November 23, 2018, Judge Conlan sentenced ANNIH to ten and a half years in jail.

“The Halton Regional Police Service applauds this sentence, the length of which reflects directly on the seriousness of these opioid-related crimes,” said Inspector Kevin Maher, Regional Investigative Services.

“The removal of a heroin importer from our streets is a real and tangible success in our ongoing deployment of upstream efforts to ensure that the safety and well-being of the residents of Halton remains intact.”

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A VERY ELECTRIC CHRISTMAS at the Performing Arts Centre

eventspink 100x100By Staff

November 29th, 2018



Lightwire Theatre is going to give the city a ‘A VERY ELECTRIC CHRISTMAS’ at the Performing Arts Centre on Wednesday, December 5 at 7pm.

Electric Christmas courtesy of BPACSince bursting to national acclaim after appearing as semi-finalists on ‘America’s Got Talent’ and winning the top honors on TRU TV’s ‘Fake Off’, Lightwire Theater has gone on to enthrall audiences worldwide with their unique combination of skill and grace as told through the technological innovations of moving light characters.

People of all ages will be captivated by the dazzling visuals and unique menagerie of characters that magically appear out of the darkness. Combining the arts of puppetry, theater and dance with the music of timeless holiday hits, this magical and captivating tale of family, friendship and hope creates a truly one-of-a-kind, inspired and exhilarating holiday experience that will be a treasured memory for years to come.

The BPAC Presents Holiday series includes: John McDermott Christmas with special guests DALA, National Ballet Theatre of Odessa’s The Nutcracker, A Next Generation Leahy Christmas, and The Andy Kim Christmas Show. The Holiday Series presented by BPAC is generously sponsored by Cogeco.

The Burlington Performing Arts Centre is also hosting the Festival of Trees from November 22 – December 20. Each Christmas tree is sponsored and decorated by a local business or organization within the community. Canadian Tire – Burlington Stores, kindly donates all of the Christmas trees.

Patrons and visitors to BPAC will have the opportunity to take one of these stunning trees home by purchasing raffle tickets. Winners of the Festival of Trees will be drawn at The Andy Kim Christmas Show on December 20.

Lightwire Theater – A Very Electric Christmas
Wednesday, December 5 at 7pm in the Main Theatre
The Burlington Performing Arts Centre
Tickets can be purchased by telephone, online or in person:
905-681-6000, www.burlingtonpac.ca
440 Locust Street, Burlington, Ontario

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