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


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

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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:
440 Locust Street, Burlington, Ontario

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Another Purse Thief Arrested in Burlington

Crime 100By Staff

November 29th, 2018



The Halton Regional Police Service are still receiving reports of purse thefts. In most occurrences the suspects targeted female, older adults whose purses and/or wallets were stolen from their shopping carts while they were distracted in some fashion.

HRPS crestOn Sunday November 25th 2018 Gentiana STOJKOVA (18-yrs) of Czech Republic, residing in Brampton was arrested by members of Burlington Uniform Patrol for a purse theft at the Wal-Mart on Dundas Street. They were assisted by members of the public and two off duty Halton Regional Police officers.

STOJKOVA was also charged for a purse theft that occurred on October 19th 2018 at the Fresco on Upper Middle in Burlington. Other theft investigations are on-going at this time and further charges are possible.
STOJKOVA was held for bail for the two charges of Theft Under $5000.

Halton Regional Police are reminding residents to be aware of their surroundings and stay alert for distraction type thefts when shopping in the grocery stores, malls and other retail business.

Anyone with information regarding these incidents or other purse thefts is asked to contact Detective Constable Derek Gray of the Burlington Criminal Investigations Bureau – Vulnerable Persons and Seniors Liaison Team at 905-825-4747 ext. 2344.

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

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Provincial Climate Change Solution includes expecting people to pick up litter.

News 100 blueBy Staff

November 29, 2018



The Ontario government today announced a Balanced, Made-in-Ontario Climate Change Solution to Preserve and Protect the Environment for Future Generations. Styled a a new made-in-Ontario environment plan to protect our air, land and water and reduce litter and waste while lowering greenhouse gas emissions and helping communities protect themselves from climate change.

“This plan strikes the right balance between a healthy environment and a healthy economy,” said Rod Phillips, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. “It contains solutions that will protect our air, land and water, reduce waste, address litter, increase our resilience to climate change and help us all do our part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Most importantly, it does all of this without imposing an ineffective, regressive carbon tax on hard-working Ontario families.”

“Preserving and Protecting our Environment for Future Generations: A Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan will help protect the Ontario we know and love, ensuring its pristine beauty and strong communities can be enjoyed now and in the future. The new plan is posted on the Environmental Registry for public input for 60 days.

“This government will hold polluters accountable with stronger enforcement and tougher penalties for breaking environmental laws. These made-in-Ontario emission standards will also consider factors such as trade-exposure, competitiveness and process-emissions and will include the authority to introduce exemptions for Ontario’s auto sector and other exposed industries as needed.

“The plan additionally includes robust transparency measures that will ensure the public has real-time information about monitoring, incidents and enforcement activities.

“Ontario will also enable others to be environmental leaders and do their part in developing environmental solutions. This includes helping unleash the resourcefulness and creativity of the private sector while freeing them from burdensome taxes and red tape that make them less profitable and hinder their growth.

Litter - people picking it up

Meaningful local environmental action through initiatives such as a new province-wide day of action to fight litter.

“It will also encourage meaningful local environmental action through initiatives such as a new province-wide day of action to fight litter, alongside meaningful partnerships with organizations like Ducks Unlimited and the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters to fight invasive species and encourage conservation.

The province might want to consult with Burlington Green on how to organize a litter clean up day.

The media release went on to say:  “Our plan will encourage individuals, families, governments and businesses to take greater ownership of our shared environmental challenges through real actions, big and small,” said Phillips. “We promised the people of Ontario we are serious about addressing environmental challenges of our day while respecting hard-working taxpayers – and we are keeping that promise.”

Ray Rivers will be doing an opinion piece on the new policy

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McKenna gets a salary bump - appointed a Parliamentary Assistant

News 100 blueBy Staff

November 29th, 2018




Jane McKenna

Jane McKenna, MPP for Burlington has been appointed the Parliamentary Assistant to Laurie Scott, Minister of Labour.

Premier Doug Ford said: “I am confident that Ms. McKenna will do a fantastic job as a member of our all-star team.”

McKenna threw her hat in the ring for the job of Speaker of the Legislature.

She has been a Parliamentary assistant when she was the member for Burlington in the 40th Parliament (November 21, 2011 – May 2, 2014 )

Member, Standing Committee on Regulations and Private Bills

Critic, Economic Development, Trade & Employment

Member, Standing Committee on Social Policy

Critic, Government Services

Member, Standing Committee on Social Policy

Critic, Children and Youth Services

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Seniors taking exercise classes upset over program changes that will require people to provide their own equipment.

News 100 blueBy Staff

November 29th, 2018


The city has asked that we publish a statement they have made related to this news story.  That response can be found HERE. 

The city Parks and Recreation department runs a number of programs for the seniors in the city.
Some are exercise related and the some people taking part in those classes, for which they pay a fee, are not happy.

One Exercising Class was told that they would have to provide their own equipment – for health reason.

The equipment includes yoga mats, stretching bands and exercise balls.

resistence bands

Sitting on exercise balls and working with resistance bands is part of most classes – transporting that exercise ball seems unfair the class participants.

Yoga mats and the resistance stretching bands are not much of a problem but the Aldershot resident who talked to the Gazette wondered how a senior was going to use public transit with an exercise ball on her lap.

What also bothered the people in the exercise class was that the message was delivered by the class instructor and not a member of the Seniors’ Centre staff. The change is to be effective with the Spring classes which begin in April of next year.

“Many of the people in the class are on fixed incomes: said our source. “They were shocked and perturbed and couldn’t understand the health reasons.”

The group is getting ready to put together a petition asking that the new plan not be put in place.

Comments from people who were uncomfortable providing their names centered around policy changes without any input from the program participants.

Seniors Centre

The Gazette sat in on a meeting where seniors were asked to comment on the programs that were being offered at the Senior’s Centre on New Street. Few words were spoken because there were a number of staff in the room and participants didn’t feel free to speak their minds. That seemed to be a policy approach at the Centre that wasn’t appreciated.

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Region puts on an Effective Municipal Councils workshop on Setting the Course.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

November 29th, 2018


REVISED: This story was revised when city hall provided information the Gazette did not have.

There was a meeting of The Council of the Regional Municipality of Halton and the Councils of
The Town of Halton Hills, The Town of Milton and The Town of Oakville who took part in a Joint Council Workshop presented by Fred Dean and Nigel Bellchamber on “Effective Municipal Councils – Setting the Course”

The City of Burlington Council members didn’t take part – four of the seven won’t be returning to the Region or city hall for that matter.

Someone got creative and found a way to invite the new members of Burlington’s city council to sit in on the event. Senior staff members sat in on the presentation.

Attending as guests: Regional Councillors-Elect: Angelo Bentivegna, Kelvin Galbraith, Lisa Kearns, Shawna Stolte and Rory Nisan. Staff guests included: Kwab Ako-Adjei, Mary Battaglia, Laura Boyd, Joan Ford, Chris Glenn, Allan Magi, Danielle Manton, Angela Morgan, Nancy Shea Nicol and Mary Lou Tanner.


Half of the taxpayer provided salary paid our city Councillors is for the work they do at the Regional level. This is where they meet.

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Rivers: GM decides to give up on Ontario - have they stopped making mistakes or is this move just another one?

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

November 29th, 2018



It is nothing short of dishonest for federal Conservative leader Andrew Scheer to blame the announced closing of General Motors (GM) operations in Oshawa next year on a federal carbon tax – which has yet to be implemented. It is equally dishonest for the Ontario premier to be running around blaming everything on the policies of the previous Liberal government.

Open for business sign at border

One of the bigger business operations in the province had decided to leave. There was nothing the province could do to keep them.

GM was clear that this was a corporate-wide restructure which is closing at least one plant in Canada and several more in the USA. It has to do with excess production capacity for gas guzzlers and the company’s failure to adjust to changing markets. And nothing Mr. Ford could offer, be it lower taxes, lower electricity rates, fewer labour regulations or a cash grant, would make the company change its mind. Ford was told definitively by GM’s management, as they hung up the phone – ‘the ship has left the dock’.

The traditional big three North American auto giants, and GM in particular, are chronic slow learners and always late to the game. The first electric car was invented by a Hungarian dude back in the early 1800s, over half a decade before Mr. Benz patented the first gas guzzler. By the turn of the century there were almost twice as many electric as petroleum vehicles on the road in America. But cleanliness, simplicity of operation and fast acceleration eventually lost out to the increased range and the lower costs of the more complicated Model T.

GM is not fondly remembered for its own history with electricity. In response to California’s emerging tough fuel and emissions standards in the 1990s, the company piloted the EV1 project. Everybody who drove one loved the car but for some suspicious reason GM killed the project and destroyed the cars anyway.

Two decades later, to compete with the Prius hybrid, the Chevy Volt, a miserable compromise of inadequate battery range and an inefficient on-board gasoline charging system, showed up. Its ultimate demise this coming year will result in few tears. Only last year GM finally got the memo and produced the all-electric Chevy Bolt with a battery range into Tesla territory. These cars are built in Michigan and their batteries in Korea.

Oshawa assembly plant

Neither our governments nor the company saw the writing on the wall – that doing the same things will give you the same result.

It was barely a decade ago when, as GM nearly folded-up camp, it came cap-in-hand to the Canadian and US federal and sub-national governments, begging for a handout to ride out the GW Bush recession. Canada and Ontario wasted no time asking how much, and we ended up with a combination of loans and equity totaling almost $14 billion.

The US set specific environmental conditions before issuing the lending instruments and ultimately got all of its money back and then some. The Harper government sold off our equity early in order to present a balanced budget for the 2015 election, and ended up losing $3.5 billion as a result.

In addition there was apparently a billion dollars which had been signed over to a GM entity which no longer exists. There was some kind of ‘old GM’, as opposed to a “new GM“ and the new one isn’t about to pay the money back. This for a company which earned over six billion in profits last year.

Cars are like a narcotic. If GM is a junkie then our governments are the the enablers, feeding its habits and ignoring the consequences. Neither our governments nor the company saw the writing on the wall – that doing the same things will give you the same result. Instead of sending the company to rehab, the governments just benignly encouraged GM to keep doing business as usual – making the same old cars – the same old mistakes.

GM claims the 60 year old Oshawa plant is unsuitable for production of the new generation of EVs and autonomous diving cars. Indeed the facility may be old but isn’t a car a car? Auto companies regularly run different models on the same assembly line. GM is doing that now, building trucks on a line formerly used for sedans.

And why have we all been blindsided by this closure announcement? The company has a contract with its labour union which extends beyond the planned closure date, surely the union should have been consulted. The union president is convinced GM is on a path to also close the other two factories it operates in Canada. What does that hold for the security of pension and benefit obligations?

Leggat old adv

The Leggat family have been in the car retailing business for a long long time.

GM was once Canada’s largest auto maker. Does its executive brain trust think there will be any remaining buyer loyalty after this caper? Once the dust has settled GM might as well take their dealership operations with it if it closes the door on Canadian production. The union boss, Jerry Dias, wants Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Trump to impose a 40% tariff on GM cars built in Mexico and China. That would teach it a lesson Dias says.

We know little of GM’s corporate decision making process, but perhaps somebody should have listened when it warned that Donald Trump’s recent tariffs would end up in a smaller GM. Trump’s reaction to the US plant closures, threatening to remove the federal subsidies for buyers of GM EVs, is as wrong headed as his tariffs were. Those EVs are currently built in America, after all.

GM claims that it has seen the light, joining Ford Motors, Volkswagen and others in shifting from gasoline to EV production. Once upon a time, six months ago, Ontario buyers used to get a provincial incentive for new EVs, as buyers do in several other jurisdictions across Canada and throughout the USA. And a carbon tax raising the cost of gasoline would encourage more car buyers to join the EV crowd. These policies are consistent with the direction the new GM is heading.

Scheer and Ford

Leader of the federal opposition Andrew Scheer with Ontario Premier Doug Ford. Note the picture to the left of former Toronto Mayor the late Rob Ford

But it doesn’t sound like retaining those Wynne government pro-EV policies would have kept the Oshawa plant open any more than Mr. Ford’s killing them did.  Scheer and Ford need to take a step back and re-examine their own policies before they heap unwarranted blame on their political opponents.

Pointing fingers and slinging mud are unhelpful at this time. And putting up signs saying ‘Ontario is open for business’ is a waste of time when the business model the government is using dates back at least thirty years. Like the evolution of the automobile its past time to move into the 21st century.

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:

Who Killed the Electric –      History of the Electric Car –      GM Trade Unertainty

Open for Business –      Trump’s unintended Consequences –      Trump Tariffs

Bailouts Don’t Work

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Youth Arrested for Armed Robbery in Burlington

Crime 100By Staff

November 28th, 2018



On November 27th 2018 at approximately 4:30 PM, police responded to a report of a robbery in the area of Mountainside Drive and Maryvale Court in Burlington.

Police arrived on scene and spoke with a 15-year-old male who had been robbed of a gold chain which he was attempting to sell through “Letgo”, a buy & sell website.

During the attempted sales transaction, the suspect reached into the vehicle he arrived in, pulled out a pellet gun and demanded the victim surrender the chain.

The victim grabbed onto the pellet gun and threw it to the ground after which a struggle ensued. The suspect then fled in the vehicle with the gold chain.

HRPS crestThe vehicle operated by the suspect had been stolen from the Dundas area of Hamilton overnight on November 25th to 26th. This vehicle was later located by police abandoned on Lansdowne Drive in Burlington.

On November 28th 2018 at 12:40 AM, police arrested the suspect, a 15-year-old youth from Hamilton who cannot be identified because of his age. He was later released on a Promise to Appear in Milton Youth Court on December 27th 2018 charged with robbery, using an imitation firearm during the commission of an offence and possession of property obtained by crime under $5000.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact Detective Constable Mark Urie of the Burlington Criminal Investigations Bureau at 905-825-4747 ext. 2338.

Tips can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers “See something, Hear something, Say something” at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), through the web at, or by texting “Tip201” with your message to 274637 (crimes).

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Brant street development running into timing issues - over-development has neighbours up in arms

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

November 28, 2018



The first the Gazette heard of the status of the 2100 Brant development that is currently at a Local Planning Appeal Tribunal was a mention at the final city council meeting of the current council.

The discussion took place in a Closed Session so there was no information to report.
Then we got a document that had a letter from the National Homes legal counsel. A portion of that letter said:

Please also be advised that we will be asking the LPAT to convert this PHC to a SETTLEMENT HEARING to approve the settlement which National Homes (Brant) Inc. and the City of Burlington have reached. The settlement is reflected in the planning instruments (the Official Plan Amendment, Zoning By-law Amendment and Plan of Subdivision), all of which are attached to this letter. If you have a concern with the PHC being converted to a settlement hearing please contact the undersigned prior to Tuesday, December 18, 2018.

Also, part of the document we got was an outline on where things were in terms of what the developer was asking for.

Aerial of the site

Vacant for years, the land had been donated to the Catholic church and then bought by a developer who had big plans – too big for the neighbours

The development application was at LPAT because the city had failed to respond to the development application within the 120 day timeframe required.

The application was to permit the development of 233 townhouse consisting of 27 dual frontage townhouses, 123 standard townhouses and 83 street townhouses at a density of 43.4 units per net hectare.

The documentation on this development is complex and constantly changing.

Residents from the Havendale community put together a very well written and data supported response to the delegation.

Area resident’s point out that “a lame duck outgoing Council exacting some final tribute likely instigated by the retiring ward Councillor. There are so many planning failures and empty information boxes on so many critical things in the OMB/LTAP Notice that it is a repugnant rip off of the democratic and due public process in the planning and normal sequence outlined in the Planning Act.

Landscape master plan

Traffic issues with just the one street running through the development that exist onto Brant and Havendale

“There will be no staff reports on important matters such as: stormwater and groundwater flows in this escarpment location and how they are to be managed to achieve pre-development runoff rates, and to prevent impacts downstream; a full staff recommendation report with comments from various City departments and the public on the amendments and 19 or so variances requested; a Committee meeting with delegations and debates, and a vote; a following Council meeting with delegations, debate, and a vote; and then an opportunity for appeal.

“All of this democratic process and more is being arbitrarily taken away in this move by a defunct Council.
Tom Muir, an Aldershot resident said “I was told that the planner in charge of the file, Lola Emberson, wrote the basis for the amendment – there is no signature or otherwise identification – and that she agrees with it. Frankly, it looks more like it was written by the developer consultant than an objective planner. It’s a disgrace for a professional and objective planner, working for the residents of the City, to sign off on such a deficient basis for an approval of all the amendments wanted.

Park distances

The lack of a park within the development is a major issue.

“Anything built on such a vacant site as this application would meet the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) targets for intensification, including a reduced build that would address and meet the existing OP and substantial resident comments and submissions suggesting revisions to the application that would satisfy all the PPS and intensification needs.

“It is notable that this appeal by the developer was made possible by the City neglect to make a decision on the requested Official Plan amendment within the 180 days’ timeline.

“This City neglect to make decisions on requested amendments extends also to amendments on zoning by-laws within the 120 day timeline on several other applications, appears to be a policy-like decision to sidestep the normal democratic public process, described above, for the planning process.

Built form

Traditional look to the built form.

“The developers love it as it removes any negative public and planning objections from the process of deciding the application. The public is effectively shut out of any due process, rights of appeal, and the City Council cannot do anything of its own volition without going through the OMB/LPAT. In the end, only one or two LPAT Chairs make the decisions.

“There is another appeal by National Homes on their 484 and 490 Plains Rd application for zoning by-law amendments based on the City failure to make a decision within 120 days. Again, this appeal is designed to sidestep the democratic due planning process, and is facilitated by the City planning and legal staff in an apparent deliberate fashion in ignoring the lapses of the mandated timelines for making decisions. There is a pre-hearing conference meeting set for December 19, 2018, one day after the meeting for 2100 Brant St.

“It’s the same developer, and similar logic, so it is a logical question as to whether this application can be approved without due process, just like the 2100 Brant St application.

“We ought to be concerned that such a planning ruse like these appeals can be used throughout the City planning and development process to undermine public participation in a democratic way of transparent decision-making based on a discussion of the merits and demerits of applications.

Brant street frontageMuir said: “And we should definitely be concerned that the existing planning, legal and senior managers have seemingly organized themselves in such a way as to allow this failure to occur. All I have heard in my complaints to city planning is a litany of possible things that could have happened to allow such a failure to occur, from inadequate staff for processing applications and studies submitted by the developers.

Muir making a point

Tom Muir has pointed out many of the problems with a development he feels is being rushed.

Muir believes “This is a management and policy failure that must be fixed right now.

All this will land on the desks of the new city council that will roll up their sleeves and figure out how development applications are going to be handled.

The Planning department is swamped with applications. There are a reported 26 planners on staff who have to manage the reported 30 development applications in the pipeline.

It is close to an untenable situation and must be emotionally draining for the planners, who for the most part are young, well educated and personally motivated to do good work.

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Bryce Lee: Wants more than any city council could get done in its first 100 days; doesn't think the new Mayor will last more than one term.

100 daysThe Gazette has invited residents for their thoughts on what the new city might try to achieve in its first 100 days.  A lot of wishful thinking and some misunderstanding of how the city actually works.  Interesting comments.


By Bryce Lee
November 28th, 2018

Have often thought the ward boundaries should shift, to accommodate two extra councillors account some wards are geographically larger than others. Even the load so to speak.

No more structures blocking the view of Lake Ontario.

The lake is perhaps the greatest asset this City has, do not lose it to developers!

No more fancy homes on Lakeshore east to Guelph Line.

The issue is the portion shown as parkette. The city had three options: keep the land and develop it as a parkette, lease the land to adjoining property owners until the city decides on its long term use or sell the land. The want to sell it.

The issue is the portion shown as parkette. The city had three options: keep the land and develop it as a parkette, lease the land to adjoining property owners until the city decides on its long term use or sell the land. The city sold it.

Over a long time that entire area should become a linear park. Selling those lots on Lakeshore Road between Market and St Paul to home owners was stupid and short sighted.

Let the council delegations be heard, good amplification is required; citizens must not be ignored. They voted the current Councillors in; they can just as easily be voted out in four years!

421 Brant

Approved – all but impossible to change the decision

Looking north from Queens Head

Developer is expected to appeal the council decision to keep the structure to 17 storeys – developer wants 24 – same as the approved building across the street.

As to the planned monstrosities opposite the current city hall and elsewhere; the so-called Official Plan needs to be reviewed. Such tall buildings should be fronting the edge of Metrolinx railway line, not in the downtown area. Keep the downtown building height to six stories, set back from the new wider sidewalks.

Have affordable shops on perhaps the ground floor or even the second floor.

Motorized vehicle parking should be at the rear of said structures or below level; 1.5 vehicles per household please. Employees should also be afforded parking, below street level.

Traffic barriers in place on LAkeshore for the Car Free Sunday last year were expensive and not really used. The event was poorly attended.

We are an automobile based society

We are an automobile based society regardless of the method of propulsion; make charging stations available payable by bank card. The car park with Elizabeth on the east and John Street on the west should be a many level parking garage with retail shops and professional offices on the ground floor and second level, shops to be fronted on the streets mentioned above.

Maintain, if possible, the residential areas of old Burlington below Ghent Avenue; homes constructed post WWII, and occupied for the most part by baby boomers.

Keeping those aforementioned residences allows residents to walk to most locations; The Brant Street No Frills plaza needs to be retained; grocery outlets are few and far between in this City unless one has suitable transportation.

City sponsored transportation should have free Sundays and free all the time to seniors.
Ensure all of the provincial subsidy is used; smaller electric powered (solar?) buses with frequent service is required.

And if the current Provincial Premier wants to merge Oakville and Burlington to Hamilton, tell him he too could be voted out of office, sooner than later!

Meed ward election night 1

Mayor Elect Marianne Meed Ward

My own thoughts on Meed-Ward: she will be a one term mayor, as were the two previous female mayors of Burlington.

She was wonderful as a Councillor however a mayor requires a whole different mindset.  She will stumble and in four years be out of office.

As for the other newly elected Councillors; being a ward Councillor requires time; time far beyond what the incumbents know. A Councillor is a 7/24/365 job; no rest during the four years; while  elected.

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Burlington Animal Shelter Closed Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018

notices100x100By Staff

November 27th, 2018



The Burlington Animal Shelter, located at 2424 Industrial Dr. will be closed from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 28.

For urgent animal issues, please call 1-888-264-3135. All calls will be returned within 24 hours.

Animal shelter

Animal Attacks

All bites or scratches from an animal that cause a break in skin must, by law, be reported immediately to the medical officer of health. If you have been bitten or scratched by an animal, especially if rabies is suspected, contact your doctor or your local health department immediately.

If your dog or cat is injured from a fight and you believe it may have been bitten or scratched by a rabid animal:

Do not handle your pet. There may be fresh saliva from a rabid animal on its coat that may carry the rabies virus
Isolate your pet
Call your veterinarian and Animal Control right away

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December Glass Show & Sale Reception taking place on Plains Road December 1st.

eventsred 100x100By Staff

November 27th, 2018



The Annual AGOG December Glass Show & Sale Reception is happening this Saturday December 1st.

Visit the studio, meet the artists, have some snacks and enjoy an afternoon of Glassing!

Five talented glass artists in two studios at 654 & 652 Spring Gardens Road, Burlington, Ontario L7T 1J2

Siobhn glass rabit

A piece of work by John Highley will be on display

John Highley / Mosiac Glass
Siobhan Lynch / Copper Foil
Joe Speck / Fused Glass
John Martin / Painted Glass
Teresa Seaton / Copper Foil

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Public meeting on erosion control in Aldershot conflicts with new council inauguration.

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

November 27th, 2018



The people who are politically active in this city will want to be at the Performing Arts Centre on Monday December 3rd to celebrate the swearing in of a new city Council.

The City of Burlington has initiated the West Aldershot Erosion Control Class Environmental Assessment (EA) study to address erosion concerns and produce detail design for erosion control works within the study area. This study is being completed as a ‘Schedule B’ project in compliance with the Municipal Engineers Association Class EA process.

The PIC is scheduled for December 3rd, between 6 and 8 PM at the Aldershot Pool, Community Room

West Aldershot erosion control map

Area of erosion control study in Aldershot.

One wonders then why the city would schedule a Public Information event on the erosion control work the same day as the swearing in.

Surely it wasn’t deliberate?

“A key component of the study will be consultation with interested stakeholders (public, landowners and regulatory agencies). Dates, times and locations of these Public Information Centres (PICs) will be advertised and posted here on the project study page. Those interested may subscribe to this page and will be alerted of future updates.

“A Public Information Centre (PIC) to review and discuss the EA Study, including improvement options, is scheduled for:
Date: Monday, Dec. 3, 2018; Time: 6 to 8 p.m.
Location: Aldershot Pool, Community Room
50 Fairwood Place West, Burlington, ON L7T 1E5

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Lowville Festival Benefit Concert December 1st.

eventsred 100x100By Staff

November 26th, 2018



Lowville Festival, the festival of all the arts for the artist in all of us, is presenting a special fundraising concert on Saturday December 1st, 2018. Lowville Lit Up will feature a broad range of performers from Burlington and environs, all of whom will be donating their efforts in support of the Festival.

Andy Griffith

Burlington folk singer-songwriter Andy Griffiths

Featured artists include legendary Hamilton singer, Jude Johnson, who was born in Burlington; young Burlington country singer-songwriter Hayley Verrall; Kate Madden, a recent graduate of the Sheridan College Musical Theatre Program in Oakville; Toronto baritone Lawrence Cotton, who was featured in last summer’s Truth and Illusion; Burlington folk singer-songwriter Andy Griffiths; Burlington musical theatre performer Paul Mark, who has appeared on Broadway; and pianist Michael Mulrooney, a veteran of numerous theatrical productions across Canada, who is currently Music Director at Tansley United Church.

Eric Trask and Loretta Bailey

Eric Trask with his wife Loretta Bailey doing a practice script reading.

Lowville performers appearing in the concert include actor Eric Trask, who has appeared in presentations at a couple of past Lowville Festivals, including A.R. Gurney’s Love Letters. Eric will be doing a reading from a story by the late great Canadian storyteller Stuart McLean. The Major 7th Band, comprised of musicians from Lowville and environs, who have also been featured in Festival performances, will bring their unique mix of Celtic and folk songs to the evening.

Rob Missen and Loretta Bailey

Robert Missen and Lorretta Bailey, Founding Co-Artistic Directors of the Lowville Festival.

Robert Missen and Lorretta Bailey, Founding Co-Artistic Directors of the Lowville Festival, will serve as Hosts. The concert will conclude with a number of popular singalong carols.

The concert takes place at St. George’s Anglican Church Hall, 7051 Guelph Line, north of Derry Road, at 7:30 pm on Saturday December 1st, 2018. Tickets for the concert are $25 in advance, $30 at the door and available at Different Drummer Books and by phone at 289 337 9520

7:30 PM
TICKETS $25 in advance/$30 at the door

For more information contact Robert Missen at 905-632-6047 or .

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