Mayor gets soundly booed at a debate between the four Mayoralty candidates

council 100x100By Pepper Parr

October 10th, 2018



It was a good meeting.

Once again ECoB – Engaged Citizens of Burlington showed how to do it right.

Sitting in the aislesCentral high school was packed – they were sitting on the floor in the aisles listening to the last of a series of debates.  This one was between the four candidates running for Mayor.

The full debate can be seen and heard HERE

All the bases were covered during the Q&A.  The Mayor once again fibbed on what the tax increases were. He uses a blended number which includes the school board taxes and the Regional taxes when the only number that matters is the budget that Burlington’s city Council passes each year.

Mike Wallace also likes the blended number.

During the question and answers he mentioned that when he was on Council they went for seven years without any tax increases. And that left the city with a huge infrastructure deficit that we are now paying for.

Development and traffic congestion were the prime issues. Some decent information came to the surface.

Given that the debate took place in ward 2 – home turf for Councillor Meed Ward who is now a Mayoralty candidate, she was expected to get the best applause. And she did.

Her team was feeling particularly boisterous after the debate, which Mike Wallace pointed out really wasn’t a debate – more of a polite set of questions and answers.

Full house

It was Standing Room Only – and there wasn’t much of that.

It was a start – Wallace did say that he had never been before an audience of this size in Burlington before. Times they are a changing.

As each of the candidates was going through their closing comments everyone was listening to Rick Goldring – would he blow it again?

He started out sounding nice – the words were appropriate – and then he let is all get away on him. He attacked Meed Ward for her involvement in the Halton District School Board decision to close two of the seven high schools in the city.

Mike selling

Candidate Mike Wallace – selling his story after the debate.

The Mayor’s outburst is at the close of the debate – scroll to the 1:50:56 minute point on the video. He starts out nicely enough but they he throws a curve.

The audience erupted – he was booed, laughed at and ridiculed as he tried to explain his comments.

Moderator Deb Tymstra was not able to bring the audience under control.

It was local politics – perhaps not at its best.


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All five of the numbered companies that were registered as Third Party Advertisers are gone - poof!

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

October 9th, 2018



And now there are none.

Gone – all five numbered companies that were registered as Third Party Advertisers for the 2018 Burlington municipal election.

Just the one left – someone had a change of heart – or perhaps someone thought the optics on all this were not that good.

This is all that is left on the city web site.


Third party advertosers as of 3-25 Oct 9

Before the Gazette dug into this there were the following:

2657391 Ontario Limited

2657392 Ontario Limited

2657393 Ontario Limited

2657394 Ontario Limited

26573945 Ontario Limited

Previous articles.

Number of Third Party Advertisers increases.

Who is behind those Third Party Advertisers.

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Sean Baird is the owner of three numbered companies registered as Third Party Advertisers. The boys are just taking care of business.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

October 9th, 2018



It looks as if all five of the numbered companies that were registered as Third Party Advertisers for the 2018 Burlington municipal election were formed by Sean Baird, head of the Ampersand Group – operators of several prominent Burlington restaurants.

The Gazette researched the second and last numbered companies that were once shown on the city web site. The first of the numbered companies was researched by a citizen who brought that information to our attention.

Baird 392The critical feature is the number given to the corporation.  Each of these corporations was registered on line.  When a registration is done on line the province gives the application the next available number.  That would suggest that all five corporations were registered by the same person at the same time.

This kind of work is usually done by lawyers.

Baird 395

The address shown on the forms we received is the same as a prominent group of lawyers.

There were originally six Third Party Advertisers registered and shown on the city’s web site. Five of the six were numbered corporations.

2657391 Ontario Limited    Sean Baird is the registered owner
2657392 Ontario Limited    Sean Baird is the registered owner
2657393 Ontario Limited    Not researched
2657394 Ontario Limited    Not researched
2657395 Ontario Limited    Sean Baird is the registered owner.

There are now just two numbered shown on the city web site.  They are:

Jennifer Beleck 

2657391 Ontario Limited

2657392 Ontario Limited

Everything that took place was legal.

What it tells us that there are people who had planned on running advertising, making robo calls, doing polling or anything else that usually gets done during an election. Those activities are usually an election campaign expense.

Candidates no longer have access to corporate or union funds.  However, anyone can create a numbered company, raise funds and spend those funds on an election campaign.

That appears to have been the plan for Burlington.  Until the Gazette began to shine some light on the dark corners of election campaigning.  That’s when several of the numbered companies were taken off the list of registered Third Party Advertisers.

How are you liking this election campaign so far?  The boys are just taking care of business.


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Voting is easier than ever - the election results this time will determine the kind of city you are going to have for decades.

council 100x100By Staff

October 9th, 2018



When the house is filled with people who are engaged, informed and active in their communities you know the politics of the city, the province and the country are going to get talked over.

The United Nations report on Climate Change and the Ontario Premier’s burning desire to end the federal carbon tax had heads shaking – even those of the dyed blue crowd.

The politics of both Hamilton and Burlington got a good going over. One Aldershot resident asked who I thought was going to be elected in her community. We were on the same page. I asked if she had voted yet and replied – No, the election isn’t until the 22nd. She didn’t know she could vote on line when the kids were in bed.

City Clerk will oversee the municipal election and sign the document that makes the winners official.

City Clerk Angela Morgan will oversee the municipal election and sign the document that makes the winners official.

City hall in Burlington is getting out the message. Advance polls are open between October 13 and October 17 for municipal election

Online voting until October 17.
Elected positions include Halton Regional Chair, Mayor and members of City Council for the City of Burlington, trustees for the Halton District School Board and Halton District Catholic School Board and Conseil scolaire Viamonde and Conseil scolaire catholique MonAvenir.

You can learn who is running at:

Here are your ways to vote:
Advance Voting (Oct. 13 and 17):
• 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• Oct. 13, Mapleview Shopping Centre-food court, 900 Maple Ave.
• Oct. 17, Mapleview Shopping Centre-food court, 900 Maple Ave.
• Oct. 17, Tansley Woods Community Centre- community rooms 1 and 2, 1996 Itabashi Way
Online Registration and Voting (Oct. 1 to 17):
• Anytime
• Have access to the Internet? If yes, register and vote online from anywhere starting Oct. 1
• Use your Voter Information Notice (VIN) to register and vote at

Election 2018Election Day (Oct. 22):
• 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
• NEW in 2018: Vote at any of the four locations in your ward.
Things to remember before voting:
• Make sure you are on the voters’ list
• Have your Voter Information Notice with you
• Have identification that shows your name and address.

Links and Resources
Am I on the List?  CLICK Here to find out

Where Do I Vote?  CLICK here to find out


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Publisher of the Gazette files a complaint with the Integrity Commissioner against Ward 6 Councillor Blair Lancaster

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

October 8th, 2018


Part 2 of a series

Late in September Ward 6 Councillor Blair Lancaster used the Facebook page Burlington News to explain why she was not going to take part in the debate the was organized by ECoB.


A former Miss Canada Beauty Queen Ward 3 Councillor Blair Lancaster.

She believed the facilitator of the debate Mark Carr was biased – he ran against Lancaster in 2010.

Lancaster appears to have difficulty with just what bias is.  In another note she posted  on the Facebook page Burlington News she said:

“As you can see in the photo there is clearly a bias when the host of the show ran against me in the past and the co-host ran against me in the past and is now running again against me. I will not be participating in a debate hosted and organized by such an obvious biased group of individuals.”

Blair on The Issue

Ward 3 city Councillor Blair Lancaster refused to take part in a ward level debate because she believed the moderator was biased – for appearing on a cable TV program along with another candidate who had run against her. The TV program took place months before election campaigning began.

She also took exception to two news stories the Gazette published; she said we had threatened her in one of the articles.

The two stories are set out here:

Why is it that incumbents don’t want to defend what they have done?

Lancaster tells ECoB she won’t participate in their debate – blames the Gazette.

We invited readers to look at the article and let us know if you can find any threats. We did not threaten Ms Lancaster.

Councillor Lancaster listens carefully and tends to be cautious; still in a 'learning mode'.

Councillor Lancaster listens carefully and tends to be cautious.

There were two parts to the comment Lancaster made on the Burlington News Facebook page. The second part had to do with my personal relationship with city hall.

Ms Lancaster wrote:

The editor of the Gazette has already been banned from city facilities for other inappropriate actions.

Our first question is: Where did Lancaster get this information? We didn’t give it to her.

There is a problem with my access to city hall – I will elaborate on that and give you full disclosure.

The information Lancaster made public was given to her, and every other member of city council during a closed session of city council sometime between August 25th 2017 and November 16th 2017.

The city is permitted, under the Municipal Act, to go into a closed session to hear matters related to property matters and human resource issues.

Disclosing matters that are discussed in a closed session of city council is a serious matter. Serious enough for a Judge to actually remove a member of a city council from office.

In September of this year the Region of Halton and all four municipalities engaged Integrity Principals as the Integrity Commissioner for the Region and the four municipalities.

Councillor Blair Lancaster gets out to almost every photo op there is and has served as the lead spokesperson at a number of NGTA community events with crowrs of 250+. Her constituents are not happy with how she is handling the Air PArk issue.

Councillor Blair Lancaster at a photo op.

I filed a complaint with the Commissioner on Lancaster’s abuse of the City Code of Good Governance. That complaint will follow a process that is set out. I have been told that there will not be any response from the Integrity Commissioner until after the election.

Lancaster is not incorrect; I have been banned from city hall.

Why? That is complex and I will explain that in detail in the next article in this series.

Part 1 of a series

Next – Part 3 of a series

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

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Burlington Cougars looked out of gas and over-matched on Saturday night in Brampton.

sportsgold 100x100By Pat Shields

October 8th, 2019



Coming off of double overtime game on Friday night, their fourth straight game requiring extra time, the Burlington Cougars looked out of gas and overmatched on Saturday night in Brampton. The Admirals (formerly the Orangeville Flyers) were all over the Cougars, emerging victorious with a 8-2 win.

Cougars - BurlingtonIt was a tough start on Saturday for the visiting Cougars, with the Admirals jumping ahead 2-0 midway through the first period on tallies by Justin Vernace and Hudson Lambert. Moving to the second stanza, it was more of the same for the Cougars as they struggled to control the pace of play and fell further behind on the scoreboard.

jacob_buch_ Couger

Jacob Buch on the left

Brampton added two more goals to extend its lead to 4-0, before Cougars forward Jacob Buch got Burlington on the board with his 5th goal of the season. That was as close as the Cougars could claw though, as Brampton added three more goals before the end of the frame to go up 7-1 and chase Cougars goaltender Thomas Lalonde in the process.

In the third period, Cougars forward Max Lightfoot found the back of the net for his 3rd goal of the season. Brampton would get it back before the end of regulation though, with David Mastropaolo netting his first goal of the campaign.

It was another tough outing for the Cougars special teams, as they were unable to convert on 5 power play opportunities, while going 4-for-5 on the penalty kill.

Looking ahead, Burlington’s schedule won’t allow for much rest time as they are set to host the Milton Icehawks on Monday afternoon at Appleby Ice Centre. Puck drop will be at 2:00pm.

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Councillor Sharman has found a debate he is comfortable attending; a private school in the ward.

council 100x100By Pepper Parr

October 8th, 2018



Sharman pointing LVP

Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman.

It appears that ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman has finally found a community level debate that he is comfortable attending.

Sharman declined to take part in debate that was organized by ECoB – engaged Citizens of Burlington because he didn’t know:

“Who are the directors of the incorporated ECOB entity? I understand the original participants have resigned.

“There has been no information about the ECOB “organization” on the website.

Full house 350

Ward 2 residents packed an ECoB debate.

“In the short history of ECOB there has been a continuous demonstration of divisiveness, disrespect of Council / City management, inflammatory misinformation and partisan posturing.

“I will not participate in any event sponsored by ECOB.

“I will post this message on all my public communications with respect to this event.”

If Sharman would do his homework he would know that ECoB held an event for anyone interested in becoming a candidate for a seat on city council or serving as a school board trustee.

The ECoB debate in ward 2 packed a local church.

Sharman at Waldorf ward 5 debate

He has announced that he will attend a debate that is being sponsored and hosted by the Halton Waldorf School in his ward.

The debate will take place on October 15th and be moderated by Halton District School Board trustee Amy Collard.

The Sharman logic is something to behold but at least the ward 5 residents will have an opportunity to hear what the council incumbent has to say.

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Who is behind those Third Party Advertising numbered corproations - and why did they suddenly get removed from the list city hall maintains?

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

October 8th, 2018



First there was one – then there were seven – then there were just three.

When an individual or a corporation wants to be a Third Party Advertiser they are required to register with the City Clerk who is the Returning Officer for the Municipal election.

Hudak third party ad

The provider of this ad is clearly displayed – you know who is paying for the ad.

With candidates not permitted to take donations or in kind benefits a donour can create a Third Party Advertiser account and run advertising for a candidate.

Six were set up on the same day. All were numbered corporations.

This is public information – takes a bit of research and fees for the searches. One search indicated that Sean Baird of the Ampersand Group, operators of a number of restaurants in the city, including Prime and The Dickens was associated with one of the numbered companies. We won’t know what his role is until we see the full report.

The Gazette reached out to Mr. Baird asking if he was the person behind the numbered company. Baird asked why we were asking. We said we were doing an article on the Third Party Advertisers and wanted to confirm his involvement.

Mr. Baird asked us to send him the story and he would then comment.

Media doesn’t work that way.

We don’t have the reports yet on the searches we made – the company that provides the service doesn’t work on the weekends or holidays.

We should have something early next week.

What we found interesting was the moment our investigation was made public five of the numbered companies disappeared from the city web site that sets out who the Third Party Advertisers are.

Fire fighters McGuinty

The Ontario Liberals got tremendous support from Ontario fire fighters. Whenever Dalton McGuinty showed up ina municipality – there would be a guard of half a dozen beefy fire fighters serving as security. The Fire Fighters in Ontario rarely lose salary arbitration hearings.

It appears that the owners of some of the the numbered companies withdrew their desire to be Third Party Advertisers.

When a Third Party Advertiser registers the city sends out a notice but they don’t appear to send out a notice when one of them withdraws. Interesting.

The Gazette has the corporate names for all the Third Party advertisers – let’s see who had a change of heart.

In principle there is nothing wrong with being a Third Party Advertiser.  People opposed to termination of a pregnancy have the right to advocate for and support candidates who share their views.

Where it becomes a problem is when the people behind the advertising choose to hide behind a numbered company.


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She’s Got Leggz Set to Host Fundraiser for Halton Women’s Place

eventspink 100x100By Staff

October 8th, 2018



A local Burlington business is hosting a fashion show that will warm up everyone’s legs… and hearts!

Leggz 1She’s Got Leggz, a leggings apparel company that also sells an array of tops, sweaters, scarves and dusters, is hosting their first-ever fashion show in support of Halton Women’s Place: “Be Your Own Kind of Beautiful.”
The event, which will feature a fall and winter clothing line-up sported by local models, will be held on Thursday, October 18, 2018, from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM at Waters Edge Salon & Spa on Old Lakeshore Road in Burlington.

Major sponsors include Waters Edge Salon & Spa, and Clinton Howell of RE/MAX Escarpment Realty Inc., Brokerage.

Tickets for the event are $40.00 each. To order tickets and make a donation to Halton Women’s Place, please visit:

The event will include a silent auction, and glamjulz; other local businesses will also be selling their specialized merchandise.

Proceeds from this special event will be donated to Halton Women’s Place, a safe haven that provides , information, and education to support a future without abuse for women and their children.

Leggz scarfTheresa Place and Laura Youngs, the founders of She’s Got Leggz, are two moms who became friends through their children. They fell in love with leggings and decided to start their own business. They thought the business would be a hobby to earn extra money for vacations, kids’ social activities and extra spending money, but it became a passion. With an amazing team behind them, they are fast becoming Canada’s #1 leggings company! You can learn more at

Halton Women’s Place provides a safe haven, information, and education to support a future without abuse for women and their children. It is a gateway that offers safety, support and a future without abuse for women and their children.

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St. Luke's Anglican Church works at growing its congregation and attracting some younger people.

element_people2By Pepper Parr

October 8th, 2018



The clergy, those people we often refer to as “men of the cloth” approach their life’s work quite differently than most people.

For those men and women it is a calling. We hear that often – just what does it mean?

For Stuart Pike, lead Minister at St. Luke’s Anglican Church on Ontario Street where the church is not just a place of worship but an historical site that is part of the congregation’s DNA, the journey began when he was 17.

Stuart Pike with congregants Sept 18

Stuart Pike with congregants in the church hall after a service.

His Father was in the Air Force which meant some moving around the country. High school years for Stuart, who is properly addressed as the Reverend Canon Stuart Pike, was in Arvida, Quebec. He suspected at the age of 17 that the church was where he was going to spend his life but wasn’t certain. He recalls telling God at the time that he would have to get back to Stuart later when he, God, was more certain as to what he wanted Stuart to do.

The second deep calling came a little later. Stuart was certain that he had been called – he just wasn’t sure where he was to go. He served in the Air Force, not full time, and was approached to become an Air Force Chaplin. He knew that wasn’t where he wanted to serve.

Before entering the Ministry full time Stuart completed a degree in psychology at Queen’s University and then a Masters Divinity degree at Huron College at Western University.

Then it was back to Quebec where he was Rector, Greater Parish of Gaspé in Quebec where he served from 1988 to 1998. Greater meant that there was more than one congregation to care for.

Stuart Pike with youth worker

Reverend Canon Stuart Pike with Rebecca Vendetti, Youth Ministry Coordinator.

Stuart was ordained as a Deacon in June 1, 1988, and as a Priest on January 5th 1989; both in the , Diocese of Quebec. He spent an additional two years in the Archdiocese office and then accepted a congregation in Grimsby – then years later he came to Burlington. I suggested to Stuart that he seemed to serve in a congregation for about ten years and then move on. He quickly assured me that he wasn’t planning on going anywhere soon.

The Sunday I visited St. Luke’s there was a congregational event during which the many different groups set up small tables to show fellow congregants what they do. It was surprisingly diverse. The room buzzed with conversation; people met in alcoves and corners to have quiet conversations.

There was no talking to Stuart at this point in his day. Everyone wanted a piece of him. A strong Minister will spot people who have a need even before they approach him. That is the part of the job that calls for him to be open, understanding and accepting.

That phrase “for the love of God” is more than a group of words; it has a meaning that is not deducible from those of the individual words. That’s the world Stuart lives in

When asked what his favourite book in the Bible was Stuart needed just a moment to say St John but then added that his favourite Bible story came out of St. Luke, the Road to Emmaus story is one of Luke’s ‘most exquisite literary achievements’. It describes the encounter on the road to Emmaus and the supper at Emmaus, and states that a disciple named Cleopas was walking towards Emmaus with another disciple when they met Jesus. They did not recognize him, and discussed their sadness at recent events with him. They persuaded him to come and eat with them, and at the meal they recognized him.

Our churches aren’t as full as they used to be. In Burlington there are several churches that have merged with others and a couple that will have to close if things don’t improve.

Couple promoting something

They wanted our attention – they got it – the conversation going on in the background looked interesting.

For Stuart Pike churches are about community. He will tell you that a journey of faith is to develop and grow into something far deeper than anything the secular world has to offer.

Prayer is fundamental to faith – he doesn’t say that people have forgotten how to pray but he yearns for more prayer in the life of people in his city

Two women in conversation

Quiet conversations.

That we are all sinners with a God whose love for us is unconditional is not an easy sell. Stuart will tell you that his own congregational growth is flat.

I ended the interview asking Stuart what his favourite him was.
He reached for the hymn book and paused for a moment until he had his voice and then quietly sang the words:

Eternal Spirit of the living Christ,
I know not how to ask or what to say;
I only know my need, as deep as life,
and only you can teach me how to pray.

St Lukes with fall colours

A church built on land that was part of the land grant given to Joseph Brant – it has been in place since 1834.

Come, pray in me the prayer I need this day;
help me to see your purpose and your will–
where I have failed, what I have done amiss;
held in forgiving love, let me be still.

Come with the strength I lack, the vision clear
of neighbor’s need, of all humanity;
fulfillment of my life in love outpoured;
my life in you, O Christ; your love in me.



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Mike Allen - Lemmings - every blessed one of them

Editorial cartoonists are left to their own devices. The Editor doesn’t get to tell them what to do. Mike Allen will run an idea by us but that’s as far as the editors gets to go.

We loved the sentiment in this one – can anyone spot the flaw.

Two of the Goodness of Guinness at the Queen’s Head on the Gazette’s tab for the first person who spots the flaw. Send your best guess to  Offer expires 6:00 pm Sunday the 7th

MMW lemming Oct 7

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If you don't have a credible argument - baffle the public with BS

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

October 6th, 2018



There was a time in the province of Quebec during their provincial elections when one political party would find a candidate with the same family name as a member some other political party. Both names would appear on the ballot – voters were confused – which was the objective.

The rules were tightened up and that practice came to an end.

There is a group in Burlington that is doing the same thing.

ECOB logoECoB – Engaged Citizens of Burlington came to life in December of 2017. I was in the room when the 20 some odd people decided they wanted a city wide grass roots organization.

The representation for all six wards was a little thin – this was just a formative meeting. What impressed me at the time was that there were people from different parts of the city with cheques in their pocket – all they needed to know was who the cheques should be made out to.

These were small local citizens groups that believed there was a need for a larger organization.

ECoB did stumble in their opposition to the development the city had approved opposite city hall. They filed an appeal then at the last minute withdrew the appeal.

What they have achieved is something that has never been seen in this city before. Churches filled to the rafters with people listening to all candidate meetings.

Full house 350

Resident packed the Baptist Church on New Street. The city had never seen anything like it before.

Resident at Bateman debatte

The staff at Bateman high school kept having to put out another row of chairs as residents continued to walk into the cafeteria where the debate was held.

Since then, a reactionary group that is interested in getting behind special interests, has done everything they could to dismiss and diminish what ECoB has managed to do.

Sharman seat at ward 5

The seat at the candidate table reserved for Councillor Sharman wasn’t used. He didn’t show up for the debate in his ward.

The member of city council most opposed to ECoB has been Paul Sharman, followed by Blair Lancaster and then Jack Dennison.

It isn’t clear yet just who the players are behind this other group who call themselves Informed Citizens of Burlington

They claim to be a not for profit group searching for and sharing information during the 2018 local municipal election. The only thing the Gazette has been able to find s a twitter account.

Transparency doesn’t appear to be something they understand; it certainly doesn’t appear in their mission statement.

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Train Fatality in Burlington

News 100 redBy Staff

October 6th, 2018

HRPS crestEarly this morning, at 7:45 am, a pedestrian was struck and killed by a westbound GO train on the railway tracks west of Burloak Drive and north of Harvester Road in Burlington.

The deceased person was a forty-two year old Burlington man. The death has been deemed non-suspicious.

Halton Regional Police report that this incident is still under investigation and no further details will be released at this time.

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Given all the evidence, and in the absence of a better rationale, climate warming can't be logically denied. We’re in the lobster pot and the heat is on.

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

October 6th, 2018



To cook live lobsters you place them in a large pot of cold water and set the pot on high heat. The lobsters may be confused at first by their new surroundings, but being crustaceans, they always try to remain positive. You can barely hear them as they discuss their recent travels and the interesting things they witnessed under sea before crawling into that darn trap.

In a matter of minutes they will begin to feel their environment heating up and the lobster chat quickly turns to lobster screams of panic – hey somebody get me the heck out of here. But eventually the screaming stops as the inevitable befalls them – and soon they are ready for the garlic butter.

That’s us, without the garlic butter. Of course we can’t say with certainty that climate change wouldn’t have happened anyway. The greenhouse effect is really just a theory after all. But given all the evidence, and in the absence of a better rationale, it can’t logically be denied. We’re in the lobster pot and the heat is on.


Hurricane Maria smashed into Puerto Rico years ago – they have yet to recover.

Take hurricane Maria which smashed into Puerto Rico last year leaving over 4000 people dead and over 90 billion dollars in damages behind its brief visit. That is almost the entire annual GDP of the small US owned island. And here our own Doug Ford was off in Calgary this week lecturing Albertans on the evils of a carbon tax to reduce greenhouse gases. That would be because it has increased the price of gasoline by so little that nobody even noticed when Ford killed the provincial cap and trade carbon tax.

We can’t afford a carbon tax but we can afford the mounting costs of insurance and property taxes. There is the inevitable bail-out for communities like Ottawa and Gatineau, once the bills are in for the damages from their most recent spontaneous twin tornadoes. How much was spent helping people recover from Burlington, Toronto and Calgary’s floods a few years ago?

Go trains flooded

The Don River overflows in Toronto.

It’s not that Ford and his disciples are necessarily stupid and/or shortsighted. It’s that they’re clearly incapable of comprehending complex matters, like the science behind climate change and sound economic policy. Alternatively, they are being deceitful and playing a very dangerous political game with our lives and our future.

Contrary to his stump speech, the carbon tax is not the absolute worst tax for Canadian families and it does not make everything more expensive. It is a selective tax that increases the cost of using fossil fuels, making safer alternatives more attractive. And it is revenue neutral. A well-designed carbon tax is virtually cost-free to society since the money collected for using carbon is rebated to taxpayers. And those who end up using fewer fossil fuels become the real winners, with extra cash in their pockets.

Mr. Ford might do well to read a newspaper once in a while. He would then have seen that seventeen of the 18 warmest years over the almost 140 years (since we started recording global temperatures) have all have occurred since 2001. And 1998 was the 18th. 2016 ranks as the warmest rising almost one degree Celsius.

Donald Trump is the king of all climate deniers but even his own government has estimated that if we continue to use fossil fuels the way we do, the earth’s average temperature will skyrocket by 7 degrees before the turn of the century. If you thought this year’s storms were bad, wait till you see what 7 degrees will do to that tree in your front lawn. And America promises to be one of the hardest hit by the effects of climate change, ironically.

Ford and carbon tax

Bold words.

Mr. Ford has promised to bring forward a climate change mitigation plan of his own sometime this autumn and one can only imagine what that might include. The UK and France have set 2040 as the year in which all gasoline and diesel vehicles will be banned. China and Germany, which arguably invented the motor car, are also developing guzzler phase-out plans. India has set an aspirational target of 2030 and Norway of 2025. So what about Ontario?

Ford is clearly blowing smoke when he says that a carbon tax is the absolutely worst tax. Perhaps he hasn’t heard about the highly regressive HST, which allows his government to gouge us eight cents on the dollar for just about everything we buy, sell and re-sell. Since he cancelled cap and trade and the extensive rebates of the former Liberal government, Ford is now sitting on over a billion big ones which can only be spent, by law, on helping to reduce carbon emissions.

Why doesn’t our ‘Billion Dollar Man’, who hates the worst taxes, just eliminate the provincial portion of the HST for electric cars? Perhaps he could talk nicely to the feds, for a change, and convince them to also lift their portion of the HST. That would be a powerful incentive for new car shoppers looking to clean up their driving habits. And Ford could still boast about how he is cutting taxes and saving hard working families money on their next family car.

Electric cars

Buying an electric or gas-electric hybrid car is perhaps the most important thing one can do to help reduce their emissions.

Buying an electric or gas-electric hybrid car is perhaps the most important thing one can do to help reduce their emissions, without having to radically alter their current lifestyle. Folks might also consider switching from natural gas heating to electricity for hot water and their homes. Though that only would make environmental sense if the Ford government stopped dismantling of our renewable energy system. And without a carbon tax, switching to electricity is not likely a sound economic choice for the average family.

But we don’t need to wait for government. Those of us who eat red meat and consume dairy products should look at cutting back our consumption of these foods. Cows and sheep are ruminants, and belch methane gas as part of their normal digestion process. Though carbon dioxide (CO2) makes up almost 80 percent of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, methane traps as much as 100 times more heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide over its decade-long life. It is over 20 times more potent as a contributor to climate change than CO2.

So reducing our intake of red meat and dairy products can help each of us do our little bit to save the planet. New Zealand has a huge dairy and red meat sector and has considered implementing a tax on animal methane – a FART tax they call it. Perhaps Mr. Ford has that in mind for his upcoming climate plan. But when it comes to the carbon taxes Ford seems to spew as much hog wash as bull.

Thanksgiving family-dinner

Thanksgiving …

But the good news is that turkey, not roast beef, is the traditional fare for the upcoming weekend’s celebration of Thanksgiving. So enjoy and give thanks for today because we really do harvest what we sow, and the times they are a changing. Oh and by the way, even eating lobster would be better for our climate than beef – if only we could afford it.

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:

Puerto Rico –     Ottawa Tornado –    Global Temperatures

Seven Degrees –     Billion Dollar Man –   Ford Lectures Alberta

Guzzler Bans

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Ward 2 candidate discovers that city council has the power to determine where a mobility hub should be located

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

October 5th, 2018



Ward 2 candidate Roland Tanner has done his homework.

There has been confusion and different opinions on just what the city can do about the location of the mobility hubs – there are four of them.

Location hubs are locations with significant levels of planned transit service as identified by the regional planning transportation agency Metrolinx under The Big Move.


Mobility hubs

The city has four mobility hubs. Three , those at Go stations are named as gateway hubs. The hub downtown is referred to as an anchor hub.

There are some people who feel that the locating of a mobility hub in the downtown core is being used by some developers as a pretext to convincing city council to approve high rise towers.

Tanner did what any good researcher does: ask questions.

Tanner reports that “MPP Jane McKenna’s office yesterday confirmed to me that Burlington City Council has complete control over mobility hubs. According to this opinion, the city can choose to remove the mobility hub designation in downtown without reference to the province.

“Yesterday morning I emailed MPP McKenna’s office with this question.

“Can you give me the government’s and MTO’s perspective on the designations regarding the urban growth centre and Metrolinx mobility hubs in downtown Burlington, and whether the municipality has the ability to request that the locations be lifted, modified or moved? Or does the ability to change the designations lie entirely with the municipality as part of its ability to modify its own Official Plan?”

“This is the reply I received from MPP McKenna’s office some hours later:

“It requires a local Municipal Council decision to change the designation in the official plan (provided it is currently designated in the official plan).

There is no specific Provincial requirement to designate the mobility hub that our MTO team is aware of.”

“What does this mean asks Tanner

“The MTO (Ministry of Transport) is responsible for Metrolinx. Burlington’s two mobility hubs in Ward 2 are recognized as Metrolinx anchor and gateway hubs under ‘The Big Move’. The MTO has clearly now stated its opinion that Burlington, and Burlington alone, has the ability to decide the location of its mobility hubs.

Will there be a reduction in the number of people who use the transit service when the new rates hit May 1st? Probably not - the people who use transit for the most part don't have a choice.

Most people see the bus stop on lower John street as a place to transfer from one bus route to another. The city saw it as an anchor mobility hub – that definition gave developers a reason to apply for more density – higher buildings.

“This suggests Burlington has the power to remove the ‘anchor mobility hub designation’ from downtown. I am now seeking urgent clarification from the City of Burlington as to their position in light of the MTO assessment. I will update residents as soon as I receive a reply.

“Some weeks ago, when I submitted a similar question to the city about the process for removing designation of a mobility hub, I received this reply:

“There is no legal framework that exists to challenge in force provincial planning policy.”

Burlington downtown ‘Anchor Mobility Hub’.

“Anchor hubs are major transit points where multiple modes of transit meet – like Union Station, or Pearson Airport. It is currently a mystery as to how the downtown hub was designated an anchor hub.

“While this statement is certainly true in a technical sense, it did not answer the intent of the question as to whether Burlington has the power to modify the designation given to mobility hubs and the urban growth centre. It seems that MPP McKenna and the MTO have now provided their interpretation.

“Anchor mobility hubs are intended to be major transportation points where multiple modes of transportation meet – buses, trains, planes, etc. Lester B Pearson and Union Station are anchor mobility hubs. The St John’s St bus station does not, by any reasonable interpretation of the phrase, amount to a major transportation hub with multiple transportation nodes coming together.

Mobility hub - downtown

Burlington downtown ‘Anchor Mobility Hub’. Anchor hubs are major transit points where multiple modes of transit meet – like Union Station, or Pearson Airport. It is currently a mystery as to how the downtown hub was designated an anchor hub.

Tanner standing

Roland Tanner

“While the intention of placing the bulk of a growing population near transit is absolutely the right idea, and one I entirely support, downtown has never met the criteria for such designation. Having two Metrolinx mobility hubs in Ward 2, closer than anywhere outside downtown Toronto, while lacking anything approaching the transport infrastructure needed at the ‘anchor hub’ downtown, is a mistake. It is a mistake which has led to the widespread public unease which is being seen at this municipal election.

“The whole of Hamilton has just two Metrolinx mobility hubs.  Oakville has one.  Milton has one.

“So why does Ward 2 have the same number of Metrolinx mobility hubs as some major cities, and more than others? Perhaps we’ll never know – the entire process by which the mobility hubs were designated appears unclear.

“We have over-designated our ward for growth, with the result that change is happening far beyond what is reasonable or what the community wishes to see. It now appears, according to the provincial government, that we have the power to fix the problem.”

Expect Tanner to do something about fixing what he sees as a serious problem.

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Just why did some Council members not take part in the ECoB debates; one says she was threatened.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

October 5th, 2018


Part 1 of a series

With the ward level debates behind us – now is the time to look at just what we learned about ourselves as a city.

It is absolutely incredible that all three incumbent Council members; Dennison, Sharman and Lancaster refused to take part in the debates organized by a citizens group.

The incumbents kept saying ECoB, the group that organized the events, had no credibility. That argument got blown apart when close to 400 people came out on a wet chilly night to hear the ward 2 candidates debate.

Full house 350

The ward 2 ECoB debate – more than 400 people.

Audiende at the entrance

The ward 1 debate – locking the doors didn’t keep people out.

The issue that kept Blair Lancaster from taking part in the debate organized by ECoB – Engaged Citizens of Burlington was the bias she perceived and the two articles the Gazette published.

The Gazette has never been able to interview Lancaster, she literally scoots away when we approach her.

We learned why Lancaster decided not to take part in the ECoB debate from a comment on the Burlington News Facebook page.

Burlington News is a Facebook page. It is not an accredited newspaper. It appears to be the most recent hobby of John Was who often uses the name Andrew Miller.

A number of months ago the Gazette had to ask John Was to stop posting comments on the Gazette. We found that his goal was to constantly attack a member of city council.

In her comment on the Burlington News Facebook page Lancaster posted:

To: Attendees and Participants of the ECOB organized debate on September 20th, 2018

Please be advised that I will not be attending this evening’s debate.

Unfortunately, the organizers of the ECOB debate have failed to provide a fair and equitable environment for a debate to occur.

I initially shared my concerns about the debate’s facilitator, whom I believe to be extremely biased.
While ECOB initially responded positively to my request to change the facilitator, they immediately went on to share information about my private correspondence with the Burlington Gazette—to discredit me and my concerns.
The Gazette then proceeded to write an article citing threats of violence against me.

Lancaster had more to say and we will report and react to that information in due course.

Links to the two articles the Gazettte published in which Lancaster claims she was threatened are set out below.  If you can see a threat do let us know.  You can send your comments to

Dumb decisions

Lancaster announces she will not take part in the ECoB ward 6 debate.

NEXT: Part 2 of a series

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Ward 1 all candidate debate fills the Aldershot East Plains United church.

council 100x100By Pepper Parr

October 5th, 2018



The last of the ward level debates that have been organized by ECoB – Engaged Citizens of Burlington, took place last night at the East Plains United Church.

Audiende at the entrance

Locking the doors didin’t help – people just kept coming in through a side door.

The number of people who wanted to get in was so big that the doors to the building were locked; Didn’t matter. Here is what one of the ECoB helpers had to say.

Attentive crowd with bio sheets

The audience was riveted at times and used the sheet with the short bios to follow who was sating what.

“Well that was one for the books.

“People were banging on the locked doors demanding to be let in !

“Other people came in a different way and then went to the locked doors and opened them for them.

“We gave up.

“Who would have thought that East Plains United Church would have been the “IN”
place to be tonight.”

It was packed. And it was a good debate.

There was one comment that defined the community. “No one who lives in Aldershot ever says they live in Burlington.”

It was a fun debate. The candidates were serious, no one got booed and there was a sense of humour that was in place throughout the evening.

ECoB arranged for the debate to be videoed – The link to that debate is HERE.

The Gazette will report on the debate at length during the evening.

The candidates

The stage wasn’t wide enough to squeeze in al the candidates. The 11 performed well.

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Mayor is reported to have gotten nasty with his closing remarks during the Burlington Green sponsored debate.

council 100x100By Pepper Parr

October 4th, 2018



It happens – you miss an event that was both important and significant.

And I missed this one.

I was at the Burlington Green Mayoralty debate and left the room for the rest room while a short promotional video was to be shown.

While I was out of the room the Mayor is reported to have fouled the air – not we are not talking about flatulence here.

Each of the candidates was given two minutes to make a closing remark.

The Mayor apparently chose to use some of the phrasing that Councillor Craven used when he wrote a nasty little bit about how ineffective Councillor Meed Ward had been as city Councillor.

Councillor Craven chooses not to bow out gracefully

A resident sitting in the second row directly in front of the stage said: “I was shocked that he used his two minute closing statement to make a direct personal attack at Councillor and Mayoral candidate Marianne Meed Ward, naming her and saying that she has not done anything in 8 years on council, and that she can’t work with others, in a rude and condescending and very unprofessional display.

A man behind me shouted out “oh this is just terrible” and then a chorus of boos rang down, loudly and for a prolonged time, even when the moderator tried to interrupt.”

Another resident said “the mayor did get booed in his closing remarks for repeating Craven’s refrain. Craven rushed to the stage afterwards. To use his 1 minute to attack Marianne shows he’s desperate.

“In Burlington, the public is not on for a candidate attacking another candidate in a debate.”
Mayor Goldring is, in public, usually polite. In private he can be very cutting and has been known to let his emotions get the best of him.

A resident who has one of the Mayor’s signs on his lawn had this to say:

“I think it is also noteworthy that the Post has already removed page 4 (with the Rusin ad) entirely from it’s online version of the paper.

“Because I am still somewhat of a neophyte when it comes to municipal politics, why would Rusin spend his money in such a transparent attack?

“FWIW, I have a Goldring sign on my lawn, but his public reaction to this (or lack thereof) will determine whether I give it back tonight.

“It is one thing to claim that Goldring has a better vision for the city, it is quite another to launch an aggressive, sexist, unfounded, personal attack.”

Burlington Green did record the debate – they hope to have the full hour and a half ready for distribution – we will publish what they make available.


Marianne Meed Ward and the Mayor at the debate they did for the Millennials. If looks could kill…

At the debate put on for the Millennials the Mayor was photographed giving Meed Ward a hard stare – but the camera doesn’t always get the complete picture does it.

What we are seeing is an election where the incumbents are beginning to look a little desperate. And desperate people do desperate things.

Rusin ad

Advertisement that was scheduled to appear in the Burlington Post.

In a previous article we ran an advertisement that was scheduled to be published in the Post. We’ve not seen a copy of that paper that comes out on Thursday but we are informed that the advertisement has been pulled from the electronic edition.

It is now a nasty election.

The debate scheduled to take place in ward 2 on Tuesday at Central high school should be interesting.

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Election advertising is getting really nasty - negative attack ads do have an impact.

council 100x100By Pepper Parr

October 4th, 2018



If you were wondering what those numbered corporations that had registered with the city as Third Party Advertisers were going to do – you can stop guessing.

There are a number of people we know who are into this stuff – no one wants to give any names – this kind of stuff is always done in the shadows.



MMW - Goldring comparison

Part of an election advertisement – really really nasty.

An email was sent out earlier today – what you see below is just a part of the  For all the details – Click HERE

One Gazette reader noted that he didn’t think the mayor has the integrity or the courage to call out this disreputable action. He’s too compromised and desperate to hang on to power.

An advertisement that is going to appear in the Post later today is pretty slimy as well.

Rusin ad

Peter Rusin ran against the Mayor in 2014 0 did very poorly. Running in ward 3 this time around.

There is going to be more of this.

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Candidates for the job as Mayor debate - no sparks yet - but the differences in the platforms are becoming clearer.

council 100x100By Pepper Parr

October 4th, 2018



The people of the city got to use the space at NuvoOne in a studio that was the broadcast centre for 100 Huntley Street. Few of those in the audience to listen to the four people who want to be the next Mayor had been in the huge cavernous room before.

The room was not brightly lit – the debate between the candidates wasn’t all that illuminating either.

Judy W table

The studio used for the debate needs some help with its lighting. It could become a major meeting place in the city – no parking problems.

The event was sponsored by Burlington Green and the turnout was good, there were seats to be had but not many.

Time had been set aside for all the ward level candidates to meet and greet people. Not sure all that many minds were changed but the candidates were active. The room had the feel of a trade show with all the merchants standing before their tables with their campaign literature set out.

It was a great occasion for all those who like the thrust and parry of politics – the closing of the two schools in June of 2016 was still a hot topic.

MMW - Wallace - Rick G

Three of the four candidates for the Office of Mayor.

There wasn’t a defining moment in the debate. None of the candidates drew blood or scored a significant point. Amy Schnurr, who wore a suit, which told you that it was an important event, told the audience that she had a whistle she would blow if things got out of hand – never had to put the thing to her lips all evening.

Candidates Greg Woodruff, Marianne Meed Ward, Mike Wallace and incumbent Mayor Rick Goldring answered the six questions but no one got in a good shot at any of the others.  There was no defining moment.

The final question to be asked was left up to the audience.  Did they want to hear what the candidates had to say about cannabis, traffic improvements or affordable housing for seniors.  The audience chose housing for seniors.  Interesting.

What has become clear is the approach each wants to take to the developing of the city.

Woodruff doesn’t want to see any buildings more than six storeys tall – nothing higher than a mature tree.

Woodruff doesn’t have much chance of being elected but he makes some really solid points when he explains what he feels is really happening to the city.

Planning staff put together charts and posters to advise, educate and inform the public. An Official Plan review isn't a sexy subject but it deserves more attention than it is getting.

Planning staff put together charts and posters to advise, educate and inform the public.

Meed Ward wants the Official Plan city council spent years completing and sent off to the Region to be brought back where it can get overhauled.

She told the audience that between 2016 and 2017 the city lost 17 companies – we’d never heard that before from the Economic Development Corporation.

Mike Wallace explained on more than one occasion that he wasn’t really up to date on the specifics of an issue but he would get himself up to date once he was Mayor.

We did learn that Mike Wallace’s wife wants to move into a condo downtown – maybe in five or six years.

The Mayor said we have to grow, the province was making that very clear. Goldring didn’t come up with any ideas or initiatives that could or would change the trajectory the city is on.

Meed Ward said, on several occasions that the growth that is required by 2031 has already been reached.

Transit Del Luca + Woodruff

Greg Woodruff, on the right, talking policy with Steven Del Duca,   a former Minister of the Wynne government

Woodruff and Goldring pointed out that there is another growth requirement coming our way – the Region is going to be told that an additional 220,000 people have to be added to population by 2041. The Region gets to determine which municipality that growth is going to be allocated to.

The audience heard significantly different views on the shale mining that is being done at the small quarry on upper King Road where the lifestyle of several hundred resident in spacious homes will have undergo significant changes.

When the Tyendaga Environmental Coalition (TEC) fought hard to get someone at city hall to listen they were told that Meridian Brick had a license and there was nothing anyone could do. Last night it became clear that there was quite a bit that could be done – they heard that there should be a 200 metre set back behind the homes.

Meed Ward wants the Environmental Commissioner to issue a zoning hold that would put a hard stop to the plans to begin mining for shale in the eastern cell of the quarry.

Full TEC site

The shale quarry on King Road is now a significant election issue. All four candidates had opinions.

Eighteen months ago TEC couldn’t get much in the way of attention from city hall. They have proven that if you persists you can prevail.

Meed Ward focused on the need to restore trust and civility at city hall.

Mike Wallace said he has the connections that are need to ensure that Burlington gets heard at Queen’s Park.

Rick Goldring said he has proven that he can work with anyone; that he is as non-partisan as a politician can be even though he ran as a Green candidate in 2006

Designed to improve the flow of traffic - but is it worth hold a photo - op for?

Designed to improve the flow of traffic – but is it worth hold a photo – op for?

The idea of using roundabout to better manage traffic was put out; do something about synchronizing the traffic lights – the Mayor did tell the audience that there is a pilot taking place – he didn’t say where or how long it would be before there was some data that would allow some decisions to be made.

The city has a significant amount of land that is zoned as Employment Land. When Schnurr asked the candidates what they would do with that land Mike Wallace actually began to wiggle a bit in his seat. This was a question made for him. When he launched his campaign several months ago he told his followers that he had an idea for a Liberty Village look alike in Burlington.

Liberty Village is a part of Toronto where a lot of the high tech happening is taking place – it is a part of the city where people live, work and play – a phrase that is dear to the hearts of everyone running for office. People in Burlington want to be able to live, work and play in houses that are affordable.

That put the matter of affordable housing on the table – just what is it and how does the city get more on it in the inventory of what there is that can be bought or rented.

Paradigm from the west Nov 2017

There will be a number of affordable units in the Paradigm development on Fairview .

Meed Ward pointed out that there are affordable units being included in some of the developments. The city and the Region are going to have to work on this to ensure that the public understands the issue and how to can be tackled and also to understand the difference between subsidized housing and affordable housing. It is probably the biggest challenge the city faces.

Mike Wallace put a good idea on the table when he suggested that when there is a problem on the bridge to Hamilton and traffic gets badly backed up in the city that street with four lanes have three of the lanes made one way so that traffic can move faster.

Good idea – one that will need a lot of massaging to make it work – it would mean a lot more in the way of traffic management for the police but it could certainly be done.

Each of the candidate was asked to talk about their strength and weaknesses: Meed Ward admitted that she need to learn to cut back on how long she talks – blessed relief for us all there.

Mike Wallace said his strength was his ability to pull people together and get some collaboration into the mix. His weakness – he tends to be a little too frank.

Goldring on Facebook live 1

Mayor Goldring said he tends to “ruminate” on issues – no argument with him on that one.

The Mayor admitted that he tends to ruminate too much – he won’t get an argument there.

It was a good debate – the city has grown in the past eight years; residents are no longer prepared to sit and passively listen. They want to be at the table well before decisions are made.

That is a big cultural change for this city.

Giving all the ward level candidates space and the time to talk to people was a good idea – but it did make for a long evening.

John Street - Elizabeth parking lot

At one point it was going to be the home of the McMaster University School of Business. That idea didn’t pan out. Now there is talk of making it a park. Meed Ward loves the idea of a park – she wants it to be on the roof of an office building that would have underground parking.

Turning the Elizabeth street parking lot into a park was an idea that got put out – no problem with that for Meed Ward – put the park on the roof of an office building and put parking underground.

The public got to see what NuvoOne plans to do with the space that was once used exclusively by Crossroads.  It could be developed into a major space where people can work and play and collaborate.

What didn’t get debated?  Taxes – not a word.  Tax increases from the city in excess of 4% during the last seven years just isn’t sustainable.

The ward 1 debate takes place this evening at the East Plains Road United Church – giving the 11 candidates the time they need to set out their platform is going to be a challenge for moderator Mark Carr.

There will be another Mayoralty debate at Central high school on the 9th.




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