Ride to Provide, a high energy indoor cycling event, raises $62,000 for the Burlington Food Bank

News 100 yellowBy Staff

October 3rd, 2018



They pumped and they puffed and in the end raised $62,000 for the Burlington Food Bank.
It was the 3rd annual Ride to Provide, a high energy indoor cycling event at LA Fitness on Brant. All proceeds from this event go towards fighting hunger in our community.

120 riders cycled for 30 minutes each as cycling instructors lead them through the ride. All riders received a cycling shirt and lunch provided by Jake’s Grill and Oyster House.

Food bank ride 1

120 riders pumped and puffed to raise $62,000 for the Burlington Food Bank

One in seven families in Burlington are battling hunger. There is an ongoing need to provide food 12 months a year to the hungry in the community. The individuals that the Burlington Food Bank support are diverse and encompass many people. Hunger doesn’t discriminate! It impacts a neighbour, friend, relative, or co-worker. The Ride to Provide raises funds to allow the Burlington Food Bank to build their program and provide more food to the hungry.

Robin Bailey, Executive Director at Burlington Food Bank said: “We thank the Ride to Provide participants for rallying together to not only support this event but to help the Burlington Food bank provide fresh nutritious food to people in need.”

“The Burlington Food Bank is thrilled with the overwhelming support we received from the people and corporations in our community,” says Norm Crook the Chair of the Burlington Food Bank.

“A fun day was had by everyone and together, we managed to raise $62,000 to help address hunger in our great city.”

Every dollar contributed counts in feeding the hungry in the community. To learn more about the event visit: www.ridetoprovide.ca.

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BFAST releases transit survey results,Endorses Meed Ward for mayor.

News 100 blueBy Staff

October 3rd, 2018


BFAST’s news release earlier today said City Council defeated a motion to provide a pilot project for free fares for seniors by a vote of 6-1. The actual result was 4-3, with Mayor Goldring and Councillors Meed Ward and Lancaster in favour.

Bfast Transit group logoBurlington for accessible Sustainable Transit (BFAST) says the results of its candidates’ survey on transit policy could mean a change for the better. The group surveyed all Burlington mayoral and council candidates and endorsed Marianne Meed Ward for mayor.

“Marianne has been in the trenches, fighting for decent transit service in the face of a wall of opposition,” said Doug Brown, BFAST chair. “While the other candidates are not necessarily hostile to transit, Marianne’s record speaks for itself.”


Bfast survey a

Bfast survey b

Transit - unhappy customer

An unhappy transit user venting before the Director of Transportation Vito Tolone and Mayor Goldring.

BFAST welcomed the priority that both mayoral city council candidates are giving to transit in their survey answers and platforms.

“We were pleased at the fresh perspectives many of the candidates brought to the issue,” said Brown. “We sincerely thank everyone for their participation and congratulate them for participating in the electoral process as candidates.”

Thirty-three of the 37 candidates favoured establishing transit service before new developments were built. Twenty-nine favoured a pilot project offering free transit for seniors during off-peak hours, a proposal the present council defeated 6-1.

The survey results, and BFAST’s recommendations, are public at https://bfastransit.org/election-2018.

Transit wkshp = Edwardth = Mayor with cell

Joey Edwarth, President of Community Development Halton, Mayor Goldring and on the far right Doug Brown of Bfast. Mayor is checking out a transit cell phone app.

The survey was conducted by email in late August and early September. All 37 of the mayoral and council candidates submitted responses. In some cases, the responses came with extensive comments, which BFAST published in full. Email addresses for the candidates were obtained from the city’s election website.

BFAST, established in 2012, is a citizens’ group that promotes public transit in Burlington. It is the lead organizer in the annual Transit Users’ Forum, delegates to city council and staff, provides information to transit researchers and works with other community groups to improve Burlington’s transit system.


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Drummond: Evidence is overwhelming, businesses adapted to $14 minimum wage. They would adapt to $15.

opinionviolet 100x100By Andrew Drummond

October 3rd, 2018



Last Wednesday, Ontario Minister of Labour, Laurie Scott announced that Ontario would not follow through on its commitment to raise the minimum wage to $15 on January 1, 2019. The new Ford administration argued that “The increase of 20 per cent this year was a lot for businesses to absorb so we’re putting a pause on the minimum wage,” Scott said. “What we’re doing is that businesses have the chance to catch up but we’re also helping the low-income people in Ontario with tax breaks,”.

The regressive position of the Ford government contrasts with the actions of the government of Alberta which on October 1, raised its minimum wage to $15 across the province. Alberta’s Labour Minister, Christina Gray claimed “Going forward, we know that paying a little bit more to workers will provide greater stability, lower turnover, more loyalty,” she said. “We hear that a lot from businesses that pay at or above that higher minimum wage — that there is a benefit in retention and lower training costs.”

The argument from the Ontario government and other fiscal conservatives is that business has been hurt by the increases in minimum wage and that has caused them to scale back on part time jobs, hurting the most vulnerable. “Employers are finding it hard to cope with the precipitous rise in the minimum wage. In response, they’re cancelling part-time jobs.” said Minister Scott in an editorial for the Financial Post. This statement raises the following questions: What is the reality of this assertion? What impact did the proposed wage raise have on businesses in Ontario and specifically in Burlington?

Ad 2The evidence is so far inconclusive. In Ontario, 51,000 jobs were lost in January. Many critics of the minimum wage increase incorrectly pointed to this as evidence of the detrimental effect of the policy – however the data told a different and more nuanced tale. In additional to the confusion over the data there was also anecdotal evidence showing that some companies (notably Tim Horton’s franchises) had dramatically scaled back their employment immediately on January 1 as response to the implementation of $14 as a minimum wage.

However, there was not nearly as much focus on the employment numbers after January to measure the long-term effect of the policy. When we look past the January employment figures, we see a different picture emerge. For example, in February, Ontario gained 16,000 jobs. In March another 10,000 were added. By July, Ontario had gained 132,000 jobs since the end of January, more than offsetting the gut jerk reaction from employers when the minimum wage came out. Ontario currently has the lowest unemployment rate it has had over the past 5 years at 5.4%. The argument that employment has struggled under a higher minimum wage appears to be disconnected from the actual employment figures.

Fortino adFor Burlington specifically, we need to understand what a living, rather than minimum wage should be. Living Wage Halton has done an exceptional job of figuring out what the minimum value needed to live here is. They take into account a 4 person family with limited expenses. The family does all its travel on public transit, needs only limited childcare for 1 of 2 children, and has a meagre entertainment budget (a weeklong camping trip and once a year to the zoo). This is measured against the current values of food, housing, and services in Halton to compute what exactly the 2 adults need to earn on a 40 hour workweek to support this family.

Servoce Ontario adThe current value for the Halton region is $17.95 an hour. This amount represents the bare minimum that a person needs to make while working full time and supporting a family on two incomes. Against that value, the current $14 Ontario minimum wage is clearly inadequate. A family with minimum wage earners would have a shortfall of $15,800 in their yearly budget just to make ends meet. To cover this shortfall, the family would need additional earnings from part time jobs that made up 22.5 hours a week. While there are obviously some assumptions made here in the makeup piece, (taxes would be lower for example) a family should not need many hours of part time work just to have a meager lifestyle.

Wimpys adThe question is then can Burlington businesses afford it? What has been the local result of the increase to $14/hour? There is relatively little unemployment data available at the city level. However, the 2016 census put Burlington’s unemployment at 5.7%, or 1.7% lower than the province as a whole. So Burlington is relatively well off compared to Ontario at large. Extrapolating, if Ontario gained jobs despite (or because of) a minimum wage increase, it is possible that Burlington did as well.

To test this theory, I conducted an informal survey of a number of plazas in Burlington over the past three  weeks. At every one of them, there were multiple companies looking to hire. As far as I can tell, every Tim Horton’s in the city is looking for more people, and many clerical/retail opportunities exist as well. If the minimum wage hike had done such damage, why are there so many businesses still looking for people willing to work at that wage?

What all this means is that the closer the minimum wage gets to $17.95 in Halton, the better off all families and by extension our entire community will be. The caveat on this is that it only works if business can sustain it. The evidence is overwhelming that businesses adapted to the $14 minimum wage, and they would certainly be able to adapt to $15 as well.

Businesses are doing Ok, so it’s time to make sure families are doing Ok too.

Andrew Drummond HeadshotAndrew Drummond was the New Democratic candidate for Burlington in the most recent provincial election.

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Get a quick early peak at the CBC documentary on the Teen Tour Band when they marched in the Rose parade.

eventsred 100x100By Staff

October 3rd, 2018



They are going to be on the air Friday, October 19th on CBC Docs.

The “Band Geeks”, a documentary follows the Burlington Teen Tour Band as they got ready to participate in the January 1, 2018 Tournament of Roses Parade. The documentary follows the band for four months.

BTTB prepping for the Rose Bowl

The Burlington Teen Tour band prepping for the Rose parade in California.

BTTB teaser pic 1There is a short teaser that promotes the Band – CLICK HERE.

Don’t miss it – the Tenn Tour Band is a large part of what Burlington is all about.

Friday, October 19, 2018 at 9 PM on CBC-TV – look for CBCDOCS

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Roland Tanner: The 2007 rose-tinted vision for downtown Burlington should give us warning for the rose-tinted vision of the current City Council.

opinionred 100x100By Roland Tanner

October 3, 2018



In 2007, Bruce Krushelnicki, director of planning at Burlington City Hall, told us the Official Plan was “right up-to-date, which is a point of pride for us. I think we are the first community to establish an urban growth centre for our downtown.”

This single statement contradicts two articles of faith repeatedly made by the current council:

a) that the Official Plan was 30 years old and indefensible before it was replaced this year and

b) that the urban growth centre designation on downtown, which is the primary reason enabling over-development downtown, was not a city-made decision but was forced on us by the provincial government.

A volunteer on my campaign forwarded an article dating from about 2007* to me the other day. Published in the Toronto Star, it was illuminating to say the least. It details how things have changed in ten years, and how certain claims now held as unquestionable facts by council and staff in 2018 were viewed in a different way in 2007.

The article begins with a quote from Elizabeth Law, owner of Elizabeth Interiors, then located at Brant St and James St.

Plan B rendering

The removal of the Waterfront Hotel and replacing it with a larger development got a lot of public discussion. It was a group of residents – the Plan B team that put forward an option that would open up Brant street and create a clear view of the Pier and the lake.

“I believe that if you develop your downtown core well, then that’s your opportunity to individualize the community,” says Law. “The city planners have kept the downtown waterfront area wide open to make sure everyone can still see the lake and people love that. Even with all this development, the town has kept its history upfront and centre so it doesn’t lose its identity. Customers come into the store and say, `Isn’t it great that we finally have a downtown with character?’” (Elizabeth Law, Elizabeth Interiors, circa 2007)

But Elizabeth Interiors left downtown in 2017 and is now located on Fairview St. The location of the old store lies empty, and is unlikely to be filled as the building is approved to be demolished as part of the development at Brant and James which will see two highrise condo tower of 24 storeys built (the second tower may still be held to 17 storeys, depending on the decision by LPAT). As part of the redevelopment, two heritage properties are likely to be reduced to facades or lost entirely. So much for keeping “history upfront and centre”.

The Delta Hotel will give the city some first class convention space that could radically change the way the city is seen by the small corporate convention community. Add the Performing Arts Centre to the portfolio and the city has a good offering. Now to put a team in place that could work with the Delta Hotel organization.. We don't have that in place today.

On Lakeshore Road looking east from Elizabeth street – a different city. A 22 story condo, an eight storey hotel and a 7 strong condo south of the hotel.

The new Bridgewater development south of Lakeshore Road cuts off a large area which was formerly a ‘wide open’ view of the lake. The planned redevelopment of the Waterfront Hotel (formerly the Travelodge), shown to the left, will see a further major loss of space currently considered by most people to be part of Spencer Smith Park, albeit it is actually in private hands.

“Burlington has many ambitious plans on its agenda. With a current population of about 163,800, the target is 184,500 residents by 2021.” (Toronto Star, circa 2007)

Burlington has already surpassed this target with a population in 2017 of 187,000.

“A few blocks away, the Village Square is being enhanced by an Artisans’ Walk area of shops, restaurants and galleries. And there is a proposal to locate a McMaster University campus for 5,000 to 7,000 students across the street.” (Toronto Star, circa 2007)

There is no ‘Artisans Walk’ to my knowledge. The planned McMaster campus downtown fell through, and the business school was placed on the South Service Road instead.

“The Brant Street Pier, an S-shaped pier that will stretch 132 metres out into the water, is expected to be completed in 2008.” (Toronto Star, circa 2007)

People on pier between trees

The Pier

Years of legal and construction problems saw the pier at a standstill until it was finally opened in 2013. Planned daytime mooring for boats and a wind turbine were abandoned.

“[Waterfront revitalization] has also generated a lot of developmental interest. We’re seeing some condo development on the Lakeshore Rd. and we’re getting about a building a year. The third or fourth condo is just now being started. One was occupied this year, one was finished last year.” (Bruce Krushelnicki, director of planning for Burlington, circa 2007).

I was recently told by a council member that the number of highrise condominiums was very small, and that it was irresponsible to speak of a large number of towers as only a handful had been approved. Yet in 2007 the head of planning expected a new condo every year. On balance, it’s Bruce Krushelnicki who was closer the mark.

The Waterfront East condo/ hotel project, being developed by Mayrose-Tycon, has most of its approvals. “It’s been a long time coming because it’s complicated due to the shoreline,” Krushelnicki says. “About $1.2 million will be spent just on its stabilization. The site will also include open public space to continue the waterfront trail. They haven’t branded the hotel yet but it will probably be four-star.”


A controversial project from the very beginning – the Nautique was tuned down by the city, lost an appeal at the OMB. The developer has taken the appeal decision to an Administrative Review panel.

First approved back in the last century, the Mayrose-Tycon development, now known as Bridgewater, is finally taking shape on Lakeshore Road. Intended as a ‘landmark building’ which council argued would not act as a precedent for other towers, it has, as feared, set a precedent which has led to other nearby buildings being successfully appealed to the OMB. A public footpath, constructed around 2004, was open to the public for about a month before being closed and remaining closed ever since.

As we watch Lakeshore between Elizabeth and Pearl start to resemble the sort of urban tunnel we have seen in Toronto, I find it almost impossible to believe that we were assured, again and again, that that residents’ fears for downtown were groundless. We were told, by Councillors, that citizens who express doubts are ‘entitled’, ‘privileged’ or ‘NIMBYs’ for expressing concerns. But our fears have been completely justified. We now see a colossal 22 storey concrete and glass tower that fundamentally changes the nature of downtown forever. This building, more than any other in downtown Burlington, I see as an unforgivable error of judgement.

“Parking problems are an issue, like most communities achieving higher density. ‘Four years ago a multi-level parking lot opened on Locust St. and there is a proposal for another parking structure to open downtown,’ says Krushelnicki. New homes and condos have to provide parking of 1.25 spaces per unit. ‘That doesn’t facilitate the ordinary two-car family or visitor parking so that’s putting pressure on the downtown. We’re going to review that standard and it will probably increase.’” (Toronto Star, Bruce Krushelnicki, 2007)

If such a review ever happened, council decided to keep the parking at 1.25 spaces per unit. Current appeals and proposals brought to council by developers have tried to reduce spaces per unit to 0.9. While reducing reliance on cars is absolutely the correct objective for our city, we need the infrastructure and transit in place to make such a situation work. Without it, pressure on downtown parking, which many downtown residents already find highly problematic, will become far even worse. The planned additional multi-level parking facility is still a very long way off.

“When increasing intensification, transit-supportive development warrants a better bus service. ‘But to get to that you have to endure the congestion that is created by the intensification until the transit is built to meet demand. So the lag time is a funding lag’” [Krushelnicki] says.” (Toronto Star, Bruce Krushelnicki, 2007)

One of the new buses added o the Burlington Transit fleet. There were busses that had more than 15 years on their tires - those old ones certainly rattled down Guelph Line when I was on one of them.

One of the new buses added o the Burlington Transit fleet. How many and what size of bus will the city need to provide the kind of transit service thay are talking about?

This might be called the ‘if you make traffic bad enough, people will have to take the bus’ approach to city planning, still prevalent at City Hall. To me, it’s a highly problematic logic. In essence, City Hall is willing to deliberately create a city-wide problem and inflict discomfort on residents. Meanwhile we have had successive councils that simply do not believe in public transit, have cut funding, cut routes, and increased prices. The result is a fall in ridership by approximately 300,000 rides per year (15%) when other cities are seeing 100%+ increases.

Bruce Krushelnicki’s rose-tinted vision for downtown Burlington in 2007 should give us warning for the rose-tinted vision of the current City Council. Since 2007 too many things went wrong; too many businesses are leaving or being forced out of downtown; the waterfront is being irreparably damaged, over-development is here. All these things, we were told, would never happen.

It’s not good enough. We can’t buy this tired sales-pitch any more. Burlington needs change.

*The article was long ago cut and pasted into a Word document, and is no longer available at the Toronto Star website. It is undated, however it dates after the passing of the Places to Grow Act in 2006 and the then planned completion of the new pier in 2008.

Roland Tanner is a ward 2 city council candidate

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InterCounty Baseball League gives the Herd the green light - they will play out of Welland next year.

sportsgold 100x100By Staff

October 3rd, 2018



IBL_Horizontal_LogoThe Intercounty Baseball League today announced approval of the Burlington Herd’s application to transfer to Welland for the 2019 season. The move was approved unanimously at a League meeting Monday night in Cambridge.

Burlington has had a team in the IBL since 2012 playing out of Cosgrove Field. The rationale for the application, and the League approval, was that the franchise was moving to a better ballpark, better arrangements with the municipality and an overall better environment in Welland.

Herd team signThe team will play at Welland Stadium which seats 3,000 fans and was home to the Welland Pirates of the Class “A” New York-Penn League from 1989 to 1994. The Pirates were a farm team of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

“The team is moving to a great ballpark and we think a great community that is excited about having an IBL team. We had two games there last year when Hamilton’s park was unavailable and the players and teams thought it was great,” said Commissioner John Kastner.

This is not the first time the IBL has had a team in the Niagara Peninsula. The Niagara Falls Mariners were in the League from 1985 to 1989.

The other seven IBL member teams are Barrie Baycats, Brantford Red Sox, Hamilton Cardinals, Guelph Royals, Kitchener Panthers, London Majors and Toronto Maple Leafs. The League celebrated its 100th season in 2018.

For more information contact League commissioner John Kastner (519-301-3227) or Ryan Harrison of the Welland franchise (905-630-9036.)

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UPDATE There are now six Registered third party advertisers - the money men.

News 100 redBy Staff

October 3, 2018




City hall - older pic

What does it cost to get an office in this building?

There are now six Third Party Advertisers.

Three more were added in the several hours since we published the first version of this report. Someone needs funding and this is how they are going to get it.

In addition to Jennifer Beleck there are now two numbered corporations on the list – note that the numbers are consecutive which suggests they were created very recently.

2657391 Ontario Limited

2657392 Ontario Limited

2657393 Ontario Limited

2657394 Ontario Limited

26573945 Ontario Limited

This is a very troubling issue.

Give us a day or two to research who the rascals are bind those corporations.

Rules that apply to Third Party Advertisers:
A third party advertisement is an advertisement in any broadcast, print, electronic or other medium that has the purpose of promoting, supporting or opposing a candidate in the election, or a “yes” or “no” answer to a question on the ballot.

A third party advertiser is any individual, corporation or trade union that causes an election campaign advertisement to appear.

A third party advertiser is required to register with the City Clerk of the municipality where they want to advertise.

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Ward 2 debate video now on line

council 100x100By Pepper Parr

October 3rd, 2018



What is believed to be the largest audience ever for a political debate in Burlington is now available on line.

Here is the link:

Full house 350

Will crowds like this listening to the debates get out and vote. And will this election make a difference?

Standing room only

Standing room only

The audience is estimated to be about 400 people – if the Fire Marshall had been aware of the event he might have shut it down – too many people in the space.
While there are forces in the city that have no time and will not traffic with ECoB _ Engaged Citizens of Burlington – the public clearly wants this level of engagement – city hall notwithsttanding.


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City manager tells his staff to not 'let the nastiness get you down. We have your back.'

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

October 2nd, 2018



In an email that we believe was sent to city hall staff by the city manager James Ridge had the following to say:

One of the reasons I applied to be Burlington’s City Manager almost four years ago is because of the stellar reputation Burlington has. It is known coast to coast as a city that for decades has been well governed, well managed, and blessed with professional and talented public servants (all of you). Nothing in my time here has changed my opinion, in fact I believe that even more powerfully now. This is an exceptional public service organization filled with exceptional people who I am proud to have as colleagues.

James Ridge - looking right

City manager, James Ridge.

We are, however, in the midst of a particularly nasty election campaign. While much of the campaign is respectful and focused on policy not personalities, there are sadly elements of the new wave of toxic populism that invariably includes attacks, not just on the institution the candidate wants to govern, but also on the professional public servants in that institution. The radioactive accelerant for this brand of populism are those corners of social media popular with people who are convinced they are smarter than everyone else, and who get some sort of twisted pleasure out of demeaning others.

I know in talking too many of you over the summer that you are feeling the impact of this, and I want to assure you personally and directly that we have your back. All of us on the Burlington Leadership Team are monitoring everything that is being said and written, as well as on social media. We will remain apolitical, but will address any candidates who demean or threaten staff, and we will file formal Media Council complaints where needed. If somebody comes after your reputation, or questions your integrity and professionalism, we will push back.

Ridge and Chris Murray - city managers

Burlington city manager James Ridge with Hamilton city manager Chris Murray – before they met to negotiate the purchase of some water lots the city rents from Hamilton. Hamilton took a pass on the Burlington offer.

Recently a candidate publicly committed to firing an entire department if elected. There are two important facts for you to remember: One member of Council can’t fire anyone, let alone a whole department. Even a majority of Council can fire only their one employee; me, and defending you when you can’t defend yourself is my most important responsibility. So please don’t lose a moment’s sleep worrying about this sort of empty posturing.

I ask you to keep on doing the excellent work you do, keep your heads up, be proud of the contributions you make to this community, and don’t let the nastiness get you down. We have your back.”

Our source gave us the the following comments:

“I have heard from a few different people that this went by email to all staff on September 26th from Burlington City Manager, James Ridge.

“I know several staff were concerned that this crosses the line between a neutral civil service and one that is partisan. I find this sort of behaviour to be both unacceptable and offensive. It is clearly targeted at a specific cadre of candidates.”

The Gazette asked Kwab Ako-Adjei | Senior Manager, Government Relations & Strategic Communications if the memo was actually sent to city staff.  His reply was:  “Yes, James sent that. If you do run the story we would hope that the memo is posted in its entirety so it’s not taken out of context.”

The Gazette has two other sources – all have asked to remain unidentified.

It is indeed a nasty election.

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Halton Region Health Department confirms case of rabies in a bat found in Burlington

Halton Region Health Department confirms case of rabies in a bat found in Burlington

News 100 redBy Staff

October 2, 2018



The Halton Region Health Department received test results confirming that a bat found in the area of Upper Middle Road and Appleby Line in Burlington had rabies. This is the first confirmed case of rabies in Halton this year.

bat“The Health Department is reminding residents to avoid all contact with bats and other wild animals,” said Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Halton Region Medical Officer of Health. “Residents who may have had physical contact with a bat should see a physician immediately and contact the Health Department by calling 311.”

Rabies is a viral disease that causes severe damage to the brain and spinal cord, and if untreated before symptoms appear will lead to death. The virus is spread through the saliva of an infected animal, usually entering through a bite or scratch. Rabies illness in humans can be prevented after exposure to rabies by the use of rabies vaccine, which is extremely effective, but only if it is administered before symptoms occur.

It is not always possible to identify if a bat has rabies, however rabid bats may move slowly, lose the ability to fly, remain active during daylight hours or be unresponsive to loud noises.

bat flying

There are a number of things you can do to protect your family and pets:

• Seek medical attention immediately if you come in contact with a raccoon, skunk, bat or other potentially rabid animal.
• Report all animal bites or scratches to the Halton Region Health Department.
• Warn your children to stay away from any wild, stray or aggressive animals.
• Do not feed or keep wild animals as pets.
• Do not touch dead or sick animals.
• Make sure your pet’s rabies vaccinations are up to date.
• Keep your pet on a leash when off your property.
• Have your pet seen by a veterinarian if it has come in contact with a raccoon or other wild animal.

For more information on rabies, visit halton.ca or call the Halton Region Health Department by calling 311.

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Burlington Herd management is moving the team to Welland - more respect in that part of the province.

sportsred 100x100By Staff

October 2, 2018



herd-logoThe Burlington Herd, members of the Intercounty Baseball League (IBL) today announced that the team has been approved by the IBL to relocate to Welland, Ontario and Welland Stadium for the 2019 IBL season.

“At the end of every season we conduct a complete review of our operating structure. Although continued park improvement efforts spearheaded by the Herd through community initiatives improved the facility, the facilities current set up has made it obvious that the economics would not lend themselves to a sustainable business model for an ever-growing Intercounty Baseball League operation,” Herd majority owner Ryan Harrison said.

Ryan Harrison HERD

Ryan Harrison

“Through many meetings with key municipal officials, it was apparent that the complex we called home was not going to see many of the small upgrades that would be required to be successful and a tough decision had to be made.”

The Burlington Herd called Cosgrove Field home starting in 2011 when Elliot Kerr relocated the Twins from Mississauga. In the fall of 2017 Ryan Harrison, Jason McKay, Dan Pokoradi and Adam Harrison would take over ownership and rebranding to the Herd.

Herd player sliding home Ph by Crystal Young

Locating the team in Burlington was a business model that just didn’t work.

Harrison continued, “We thank our corporate sponsors and dedicated fans for the support and partnerships we have had over the years. We also want to thank our employees and support staff who made the Herd experience among the best in the IBL. We’re excited about the future of our club and we’re dedicated to growing the Intercounty Baseball League brand into the Niagara Region.”

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Rivers: We are left with a bad taste on our palates, leaving the question of where do we go from here?

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

October 2nd, 2018



We are left with a bad taste on our palates, leaving the question of where do we go from here?

Just as I predicted. President Trump had called NAFTA the worst trade deal in history – and now it is history. Well in name anyway, though it is essentially intact and newly re-minted as the United States, Mexico, Canada Agreement (USMCA).

Some are calling this eleventh hour agreement a win-win-win. After all Canada has successfully fought off a pre-emptive strike on our time tested agricultural supply management system. Yes, we’ve lost some ground in the ability limit dairy and other sector imports, which will likely result in more American agricultural goods on our shelves. But then supply management was never about trade protectionism – it was about farm income stability.

Trudeau on USMCABut even though we minimized the potential damage, Canada still took another hit to its economic and social sovereignty. And the US appears to won little and lost nothing, compared to where we all were in NAFTA. So we have no reason to be popping champagne corks on this side of the 49th. When the mouse and the elephant take each other to bed, we should understand how it is going to turn out.

But the biggest disappointment was with the process and the negotiating tactics of the other side in this last round. If the illegal tariffs on steel and aluminum were intended to scare us, they did. But the artificial deadlines, threats and verbal abuse were untoward and over the top.

The process came to an end because Trump ran out of time, given the upcoming congressional elections around the corner and so much else on his plate. Otherwise we’d still be in Washington, though never Ottawa nor Mexico City. And the irony is that the US Congress may not even approve the deal, particularly if the Democrats win the House. Though it appears Canada and Mexico will ratify the agreement, even if somewhat reluctantly.

Trump looking hardish at Trudeau

BFF – Best Friends Forever ? President Donald Trump sizing up Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Canada and the USA are supposed to be best of friends with the longest undefended continuous land border anywhere. Our relationship has always been characterized by RESPECT. Even when Nixon was bombing the hell out of Vietnam and Trudeau the senior was criticizing him for that, and allowing American draft dodgers into this country. There was civility between our leaders – despite how they felt about each other in private.

At the end of the day there is no question that the economies of all three nations have benefited from the enhanced trade, if not real free trade, which resulted from NAFTA. Trump’s denial of that reality reflects his ignorance of these matters and is an outright falsehood. But then he lives in that never-never land he calls America First.

His style, behaviour, and his disregard of international diplomacy have cast a pall on what should be a glorious celebration of the renewal of, arguably, the second most successful trading partnership ever (after the EU). And his outlandish bullying of his two closest and natural trading partners has left a bad taste on all of our national palates, leaving the question of where do we go from here? When is the next surprise coming?

The military tactic of divide and conquer is how you fight a war, not re-negotiate a trade deal with your friends. It was an insult to both of his trading partners for them to be treated as vassals. Nobody needs to be told that America’s economy is large, but a breakdown of trade in autos even between Canada and the US would have hurt them too. Was this so-called disastrous NAFTA really that bad a deal for the US, that it survived the terms of three other presidents and has contributed to the current US economic boom?

In the end there will be little difference in the implementation between NAFTA and USMCA. The US gained little so all the fuss was much a do about not much. But Canada and Mexico will have a new perspective when it comes to dealing with their neighbour in the future, or at least the future until Trump is history himself. The America we used to know – the brand we admired for the last century has been damaged, though hopefully not forever.

Trump being laughed at the UN

President Trump pauses while the world laughs at his comments at a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly. He wasn’t telling a joke – he was the joke.

Our first trade agreement, the Canada-US deal was negotiated between friends singing about their smiling Irish eyes. But Trump doesn’t have friends. Men are seen as competitors and women as sex objects. It is jokingly said that his closest buddies are Colonel Sanders and Ronald McDonald, though one is dead and the other a cartoon character. But insulting the chief insulter is unhelpful. He doesn’t get it, as when the whole world laughed at him during the ridiculous presentation of his accomplishments at the UN last week.

It is doubtful anyone but North Korea’s Kim would have been able to do a better job than Freeland and Trudeau, negotiating almost thanklessly in that hard place. We didn’t win anything in our transition from NAFTA to USMCA, but at least we didn’t lose much. This entire exercise was about fulfilling a false campaign promise by an out-of-touch wanna-be who miraculously became the most powerful man on earth. For him it’ll always have to be a win-lose-lose.

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:

USMCA –    US View –    Canadian Perspective

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Ward 2 debate draws 350 people - full house - standing room only.

council 100x100By Pepper Parr

October 2, 2018



It was certainly a full house.

An estimated 350 people filled the Burlington Baptist Church on New Street last night to hear the six candidates vying for the city council seat that has been vacated by Marianne Meed Ward who is running for Mayor.

Full house 350

It was a full house – ward 2 all candidate debate.

It was standing room only taking place on an evening when the weather was “inclement”. People were flowing into the church sanctuary well after the 7:00 pm start time.

Standing room onlyIt was polite debate; there were no demonstrations; there was no disruptive behavior.

The Gazette will report at length on who said what and the audience response to the different candidates.

Every candidate tries to get their supporters to attend and applause vigorously at the right moment.

If applause is any measure of the way the audience was going then Lisa Kearns owned the room.

Flooding inThe debate on the matter of cannabis being sold at retail locations in Burlington was the question that showed a clear division. It split almost evenly between those who wanted the city to wait and see what other municipalities decided to do and those who felt the city should vote for permitting the commercial outlets right away.

At one point during the meeting this reporter began to wonder if there were going to be questions on issues other than intensification.

The bulk of the applications for development are landing in ward 2 where there are some pretty strong views that feel there is just too much.

There were also a number of issues that indicated there is a lot of homework to be done on the part of the candidates.

Candidates ward 2

The six candidates running in ward 2.

One of the six: Lisa Kearns, Roland Tanner, Michael Jones, Kimberly Calderback, Walter Wiebe or Gerard Shkuda will take the ward 2 seat on December 3rd when a new Council is sworn in.


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Meed Ward ask city communications department to remove the material about the Mayor from City Talk

News 100 redBy Staff

October 1st, 2018



In a statement on her web site Ward 2 city Councillor and Mayoralty candidate Marianne Meed Ward said:

City Talk logo“The video in the September – October 2018 issue of City Talk featuring the current mayor who is running for re-election is a violation of city policy that is intended to ensure incumbents running for re-election do not benefit from city resources during an election period.

Meed Ward points to city policy: “Use of Corporate Resources during an Election” policy states (Page 3):
“From May 1 of a municipal election year until Election Day inclusive:

“City Talk issues will not include information or messages from any member of council nor photographs of any member of council.”

mmw with supporters

Mayoralty candidate Marianne Meed Ward

“The City Talk newsletter should be recalled, the member of council removed per policy, and the newsletter resent. Typically, during an election year, instead of featuring a member of council to promote a city initiative, city staff working on that initiative will be featured in promotional materials. That must also be the case here, to fairly and consistently follow policy.

“I have notified the elections office, city manager, deputy city manager (who is acting City Manager while the City Manager is out of the office), and the communications office, to request the change be made.”

Link to the policy:

Link to the Gazette’s original story.

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Correction: Ward 2 debate taking place at the Baptist Church on New Street.

Newsflash 100By Staff

October 1, 2018



An error was made in the location of the ward 2 debate this evening.

The event is taking place at the Baptist Church on New Street.

We regret the error and any confusion we caused.


Baptist church

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This is either very stupid or there is a political game being played by the city administration.


SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

October 1st, 2018


The short video mention in this article does not appear in a re-issued version of City Talk.

City Talk logoWith what is proving to be a tight race for the office of Mayor one has to ask why the city would publish its most recent edition of City Talk and feature the Mayor in a video as the lead article.

If there was ever a reason to complain to the Elections Officer – this is it.

Rogers hockey with Mayor

It is a very short video – 38 seconds but it will pull at the heart strings of those dedicated to the healthy city everyone wants.

Someone at city hall is either very stupid or there is a political game being played by the administration.

With most documents issued the final sign off is that of the City Manger.  We understand he is currently out of the country.  He might want to stay out of the country.

We are not providing a link to the article in City Talk – no one should add to the malfeasance.

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



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Gazette editorial cartoonist Mike Allen has figured out just who it is that wants the high rise development.

October 1, 2018


Mike Allen, the Gazette cartoonist took a hard look at the debate taking place between the ward 2 candidates this evening and tried to discern just what the issues are.
Is it traffic congestion, the possible loss of a divine cupcake shop; is it all about the kind of development that is taking place?

Many wonder – just who wants the development anyway. Mike has figured that out.


Sept 30 King Kong

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Ward 2 debate to take place this evening at New Street Baptist church; part of the political history of the city will be written this evening.

council 100x100By Pepper Parr

October 1, 2018



The city is in the bottom half of the ward level debates between the candidates running for a seat on City Council.

This evening there will be six people on the stage at the Burlington Baptist Church on New Street that moderator is going to have to manage in what is planned as a two hour event.

Lisa Kearns Election Photo

Lisa Kearns

Calderback in yellowKimberly Calderbank, Michael Jones, Lisa Kearns, Gerard Shkuda, Roland Tanner and Walter Wiebe are the nominated candidates.

Tanner standing

Roland Tanner

There are some clear lines developing as to how candidates have aligned themselves with the top issues during the debate.

Michael Jones 2

Michael Jones with his daughter

There are some very strong contenders; there are others that are struggling to create a profile and there are candidates the city has heard very little about.

Ward 2 has always been seen as the core of not only the geography of the city but where political activity has been rich at least ever since current council member Marianne Meed Ward became a member of council in 2010.

Meed Ward has taken a big political risk and thrown her hat into the ring and challenged the incumbent Mayor for the chain of office.

Will the energy she brought to the ward and city council become part of a new council or will she leave the political stage in Burlington and move on to something else?

Walter Wiebe ward 2

Walter Wiebe


Gerrard Shkuda

And who in ward 2 will fill her two inch stilettos?

The city is about to hear what the six candidates have to say.

It could well be a defining debate for the city.

ECOB logoThe 2018 election is believed to be the first time there have been debates in every ward in the city. There are many who have chosen to see the really hard work done by ECoB – Engaged Citizens of Burlington as somehow partisan and that they have somehow rigged the debates.

When the political history of the city is told someone is going to have to explain why the three incumbents running for re-election chose to avoid taking part in the debates. History will record if there is going to be a price paid for the decisions they made.

This evening we get to hear from the people who want to lead ward 2 at city council.

Related news content:

Mike Allen has figured out what the ward 2 issue is.


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A Night on the Town’ with ‘Country Boy’ Ricky Skaggs and his band Kentucky Thunder,

eventspink 100x100By Staff

October 1st, 2018



‘A Night on the Town’ with ‘Country Boy’ Ricky Skaggs and his band Kentucky Thunder, will be at the Performing Arts Centre om Tuesday, October 16 at 8pm.

The legendary bluegrass superstar brings his roots revival jamboree to Burlington for its only stop in Southern Ontario.

Ricky Skaggs Courtesy of BPAC

Ricky Skaggs brings Kentucky Thunder to Burlington.

Since he began playing music more than 50 years ago, Skaggs has released more than 30 albums and has performed thousands of live shows. He started his own record label, Skaggs Family Records, in 1997 and has since released 12 consecutive GRAMMY®-nominated albums. His latest release, Hearts Like Ours, with his wife, celebrated artist Sharon White of The Whites features the couple dueting on handpicked country love songs.

Skaggs is due to be inducted into the revered Country Music Hall of Fame Class of 2018 this fall. Skaggs was also inducted into the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame this September.

Earning 12 #1 hit singles, 15 GRAMMY® Awards, 13 IBMA Awards, nine ACM Awards, eight CMA Awards (including Entertainer of the Year), two Dove Awards, the ASCAP Founders Award, three honorary Doctorate degrees, inductions into the Musicians Hall of Fame and GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame, the 2013 Artist-In-Residence at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, an Americana Music Association Lifetime Achievement Award in the Instrumentalist category along with countless other awards, Ricky Skaggs is truly a pioneer of Bluegrass and Country music.

Tickets can be purchased by telephone, online or in person:

905-681-6000, www.burlingtonpac.ca
440 Locust Street, Burlington, Ontario

The full schedule of BPAC Events is available here:

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The new city council will have to debate whether or not to permit the opening of commercial cannabis shops in the city.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

September 29th, 2018



The federal government has made it legal to sell cannabis to the public on October 17th.

You will be able to purchase up to 30 grams (close to one ounce) of dried recreational cannabis at one time for personal use.

The province gets to decide where the product is to be sold.

Cannabis smokers

Think Sound of Music – 2019 Heavy public use of cannabis could kill the event.

As of October 17, 2018, the Ontario Cannabis Store website will be the only legal option for purchasing recreational cannabis. It will follow strict rules set by the federal government.

The Ford government has said it will launch a private retail store system for selling legal recreational marijuana on April 1, 2019, and it will give Ontario municipalities a one-time chance to opt out of having those physical shops within their boundaries.

Meed Ward H&S profile

On cannabis – Meed Ward says sell it, regulate it and get some of the proceeds.

Burlington Mayoralty candidate Marianne Meed Ward has said she “supports cannabis shops in Burlington, under strict location and distribution regulations. This is a legal, in some cases medically necessary, product and we have to make room for it. I do not support taking the easy way out with an opt-out. Many of our residents suffering from pain and other medical ailments deserve the opportunity to buy medical marijuana at convenient locations.

“A priority for the new council”, said Meed Ward, “ will be establishing rules for locations, licensing, zoning. Stores should not be near schools or in mixed-use residential buildings. They should be accessible by transit. These stores would be in plazas or stand-alone buildings that don’t conflict with nearby businesses.

“We need stronger bylaws on smoking in public spaces, to prevent residents from being exposed to second-hand cannabis, as well as tobacco (we don’t currently enforce the bylaw restricting tobacco use in parks).

Smoking cannabis shouldn’t be permitted near cannabis stores, especially those located in plazas with nearby businesses. I’m open to further input from residents on locations/ licensing rules.

“We need to ensure cannabis cannot be obtained by children or teenagers. I’ll approach the province for a share of revenue for enforcement costs.”

The Gazette knows of at least one ward level candidate who would prefer that the city wait.

Premier Ford has said municipalities will have until Jan. 22 to decide if they want to ban dispensaries from their territories. Cannabis shops will be allowed, once they are licensed, to open April 1st.

Goldring - Christmas picture

Goldring – cautious on public sale of cannabis in Burlington

Wallace at council meeting

Mike Wallace – wants the public to have time to think about the public sale of cannabis.

Mayor Goldring is reported to have said “the city should opt out and examine how other municipalities sort through the still-hazy provincial regulations.”

Mike Wallace also favours the opt out approach “but only temporarily.”

Greg Woodruff asks, with a wink of his eye, if the stuff isn’t already being sold in the city. Police reports on drug raids suggest there is a healthy market in Burlington. The hope is that making the sale public will drive the underground trade to the convenience stores.

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