Sound of Music volunteers desperate for answers as their organization appears to be melting down.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

July 27th, 2018



It started out with an email sent on July 18, 2018, at 4:29 PM, from Peter Martin, president of the Sound of Music Festival who said:

Greetings Everyone.
Let me start off by apologizing profusely for the short notice of the cancellation of tonight’s meeting. This decision was made by the board.

Dave Miller is no longer with the festival.. We as a Board wish Dave the best of luck with his future endeavours.

We will provide further information at a later date.

The email stunned many.

Since then the Gazette has heard from many Sound of Music Festival volunteers; copies of emails have been sent to us.

SOM 2012 crew marking for set up

The volunteers – the heart and soul of the Sound of Music Festival. Here two check to see that the right vendor is going to set up in the right space.

There appear to be two camps: a Board of Directors who are failing to comply with their own bylaws and a large number (estimated to be more than 500) of volunteers who are dedicated to the now fired Executive Director.

Those who have provided email messages have asked us to not identify them at this point in time.

The confusion for the people who actually make the Festival happen is evident in this response to the Peter Martin notice of a meeting cancellation:

This is very unprofessional…

There needs to be a wrap up meeting as per our bylaws when will this be happening?

Can we have a meeting to discuss what will happen in transition towards a new executive director?

Where will the job listing be posted?

We have scheduled meetings coming up with all of our suppliers who will be attending them with me?

Shall I cancel until further notice?

The inventory organization and storage move happening next Wednesday.

Have the vehicles been organized and what time will they be picked up?

I have my committee showing up at 6pm to start organizing who will be there to talk to the sponsors and arrange for the locations to be unlocked?

I would also like to inform you that xxx – redacted, will no longer be continuing with the festival, several members of logistics have heard that Dave has left and have made the choice to leave due to uncertainty of how this change will negatively impact the festival they feel that having a new executive director and operations manager will be too stressful and add a lot of work to their plate.

I am holding a xxxxx meeting this Friday to try and talk to people – is there more information I can pass on about the current situation?

Awaiting your response feedback / comments.

Another volunteer joined the email thread and asked:

Crews putting in stakes

Festival set up crews setting up tents.

The funny thing here I have ask myself, who is the BOARD? Is it strange that you are part of an organisation and you don’t even know who the BOARD is – the BOARD!

This feels like a stranger have just walked into your home and separated your family.

I agree we deserve answers. Also where can we read the constitution by which the BOARD operates, is there a constitution; who puts the BOARD in place?

What structure is this organisation following and how is the processes of the BOARD vetted? At the end of the day WHAT IS THE GOAL.

Burlington just might be witnessing the melt down of an organization that has put the city on the map and drawn thousands of visitors to the downtown core.

Volunteers have explained to the Gazette that there are reports that have to be made to granting organizations and sponsors in order to ensure that the Festival can take place in 2019.

Streaming in Friday night

They stream into Spencer Smith Park in the thousands to take in a free concert.

At this point the President, Peter Martin and another Board member have installed themselves as the co-executive directors until a new Executive Director can be put in place.

The Gazette has reached out to the President and the Festival Corporate Secretary for comment and answers to a number of questions.  We have not heard from either person.

Many of the volunteers fear that the Board is going to choose someone with little or no experience with the Burlington Sound of Music.

It is not too late to save this incredible organization – but they are running out of time.

Dave Miller is taking a much needed break from this mess – he is reported to be taking a vacation that will see him unavailable until about the middle of August.

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Attracting new talent to the staff side of city hall and putting a succession plan in place part of the Strategic Plan.

News 100 blueBy Staff

July 26th, 2018



City council got a briefing from the Director of Human Resources on how she is building a 21st century workforce.

The big picture is the building of a 21st Centry city that will have a 21st Century work force that is expected to result in an exceptional quality of life in Burlington.

It is a lofty and laudable goal.

How are we doing so far? That is a question for which there isn’t an answer.

Great weather to be outside, enjoy a burger and contribute to the United Way Campaign and be part of a team that pulls a fire truck down Brant Street.

There was a time when senior management at city hall created opportunities for staff to socialize and take part in community fund raising. The photographs shows staff supporting the United Way at a BBQ in Civic Square.

What we do know is how the city is planning to achieve the goal which is part of the Strategic Plan.

The municipal sector is not one that takes in new people at senior levels – everything about municipal government is complex and at times obtuse.  Private sector, bottom line focused executive talent doesn’t fit the municipal mold.

Senior management tends to come from within the sector.  A look at the CV’s of most of the senior people will show that they have been in the sector most of their careers.

The Human Resources department believes that if they focus on developing skills, providing learning opportunities and creating a work environment that supports innovation, respect, and creativity, employees will be better engaged in the work they deliver to the community and this will have a positive impact on the service they provide.

Clerks give everyone that funny look all the time - and take best costume prize during the 2011 United Way fund raising event.

As part of the 2011 United Way fund raising event there was a costume contest. The Clerks department came out the winner – do they give everyone that funny look all the time?

When employees are engaged and supported and when they understand how their work contributes to the quality of life by residents, they better serve the community. Simply put, look after your employees and they will look after your customers.

According to a 2013 article from the Harvard Business Review entitled Employee Engagement Does More than Boost Productivity: “Organizations with a high level of engagement do report 22% higher productivity”. Organizations with engaged employees, have lower turnover because they see the direct connection between what they do and the positive impact to their customer. “People want to come to work, understand their jobs, and know how their work contributes to the success of the organization.”

Additionally, labour market risk has been identified in the City’s Enterprise Risk Registry as one of the top risks the City is currently facing. Building a 21st Century Workforce is focused on attracting, developing and retaining the best workforce so that we better serve our community and thereby mitigate the labour market risk. Building a 21st century workforce is a good business strategy.

The City’s approach to developing and implementing workforce initiatives has been to engage employees from all departments, roles and perspectives so that the outcomes will be inclusive, meaningful and sustainable. To that end, the following groups are examples of the approaches taken at the City of Burlington:

1. Four Culture Teams (comprised of a total of 45 employees):

Staff Investment: This team is working on a new employee recognition, award and mentorship programs.

Innovation Team/Innovation Cafe: Innovation Café, developed through the Mohawk Future Ready Leadership Program, is a way for staff to bring new, innovative ideas forward. The Innovation Culture Team developed the “Think Tank” which is a mentorship program for those who wish to submit an idea to the Innovation Café and are interested in receiving assistance/feedback with their idea.

Values: A staff team focused on the development of organizational values and behaviours.

Communications: This team acts in an advisory role with Government Relations and Strategic Communications and act as a resource to the other culture teams.

City general manager for Budge and Corporate Services Kim Phillips gives it more than the old college try for the United Way. Last year the city staff contribution was for a total in the last 22 years of xx

When Kim Philips was City general manager for Budge and Corporate Services she worked to make staff a part of community events. Here she is part of a tug team – the fire fighters won this one.

2. Mohawk Future Ready Leadership Program (MFRLP) Teams – (50 participants):

The MFRLP is a leadership development program designed to teach staff leadership through project management. Seven teams have now completed this program and three more are in process. Projects have included:

Electronic Documents Management Strategy
Creation of an Urban Design Advisory Panel
Innovation Café
Volunteer Management Strategy
Inclusivity Framework (Internal)
New Site Plan Approval Process
Corporate Vehicles – Process and Policy Alignment
Design Awards
Reducing Corporate Waste
Welcome to Burlington

In addition to the work being completed by the Culture teams and the Mohawk participants, work is also being undertaken by various departments, project teams, supervisory/managerial staff and the leadership team.

In her report to council Laura Boyd, Director of Human Resources,  said: ”There is a lot of great work being accomplished by employees across this organization to make our workplace and employees the best. As we enter an era where retirements will rise and where we will be competing with public and private sector companies for talent, it is important to recognize that by building of a 21st century workforce, we are investing in a good business strategy, one which will provide us a competitive advantage into the future.”

What is equally important is the city’s reputation as an employer. Is Burlington a place where people in the municipal sector want to work?

We will follow up on how Burlington is working to polish the brand.

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Young people get to experience what fire fighting is all about.

News 100 redBy Staff

July 26th, 2018



The Burlington Fire Department recognized 12 young people, aged 12 to 14, who successfully completed Camp Ignite, a firefighter boot camp, at a graduation ceremony at Burlington Fire Station 1.

Fire fighters - Camp Ignite

Camp Ignite graduates – 2018

Burlington Fire Chief Dave Lazenby and fire department staff, along with Big Brothers Big Sisters staff, volunteers and families congratulated the campers and celebrated their accomplishments at the department’s first-ever Camp Ignite.

Fire fighters - rapelling

Rappelling down the wall of a building was part of the week long camp experience.

Camp Ignite is a week-long boot camp, in partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Halton and Hamilton, that gives youth the opportunity to participate in emergency response training while providing them with valuable life skills. Campers experienced a scaled-down firefighter recruit training program, including:

Fire fighters with hoses

Handling the fire hoses is not easy. The experience was very real for these young people.

• Vehicle rescue training
• High-angle rope rescue training
• Car and dumpster fires training
• Search and rescue training
• Water rescue training
• CPR awareness and first-aid training

This camp was funded by donations provided by Burlington Professional Firefighters Association, IAFF Local 1552 and the City of Burlington’s Parks and Recreation Department.

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Burlington Resident arrested and charged with multiple drug and criminal offences.

Crime 100By Staff

July 26th,2018



The 3 District Street Crime Unit (SCU), began an investigation earlier in July.

At the conclusion of the investigation a Burlington Resident was arrested and charged with multiple drug and criminal offences. On July 25, 2018, A Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) search warrant was executed at the residence of the accused. Discovered inside the residence were quantities of Xanax, Marihuana and cocaine. The street value of the drugs is not known at press time.

Jahmael SMITH 21 yrs, has been charged with the following offences.

Trafficking a controlled Substance
Possession for the purpose of trafficking (Xanax)
Possession for the purpose of Trafficking (Cocaine)
Possession of Marihuana
and Four counts of Fail to comply with Probation.

The accused will be in Milton Court for a bail hearing on July 26.

Tips can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers “See Something? Hear Something? Know Something? Contact

Crime Stoppers” at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), or through the web at

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Sound of Music Board holding an emergency meeting.

Newsflash 100By Pepper Parr

July 25th, 2018



A follow up on that Sound of Music situation.

The Board and the committee chairs are meeting this evening.

What isn’t clear is – which chairs will be in the room?

Some have resigned and the vice chair has not been invited.

There are several chairs who have expressed their disdain, anger, disappointment – they are just royally pissed off – and they haven’t been invited.

There is someone who has been invited – an as yet unnamed mediator who is there to ensure that the meeting doesn’t turn into a punch up.

So far – not a word from anyone on the Board.

Stay tuned.

Rapt attention crowd

With crowds like this – how can you screw things up. Easy end up with Directors who forget what their job is.

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Can the Sound of Music even take place without the volunteers - they don't think so. They are not happy campers.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

July 25th, 2018



There is a lot of buzz, a lot of questions and very few answers on what appears to be a major mess at the Sound of Music Board of Directors level.

The Board recently dismissed Dave Miller as the Executive Director. These things happen,

However, in this situation there hasn’t been a word from the Board and there are a lot of questions from the 500+ volunteers – the people who serve on the 21 committees that make the Festival happen every year.

The Gazette has learned that the board in place now is not elected by the member of the Sound of Music.
More surprising – the Sound of Music doesn’t actually have a membership other than the directors who elect themselves.


When Walk Off the Earth is on the stage Spencer Smith park is packed.

It does have a $2 million dollar budget and consistently wins awards for the quality of the annual event.
In most not for profit corporations the Executive Director attends all the Board meetings – and Miller did attend the Board meetings – but he wasn’t permitted to stay for all of the meeting. He would deliver his report and then be asked to leave.

The Gazette has learned that the music selection, that is the bands that play at the event are not chosen by the Executive Director.

Many have complained about the quality of the bands in the recent past.

We are advised that the Board has hired a company to do the band selection for them in the future and that the company they have hired is owned or operated by a former Board member.

Anywhere else that would be called a conflict of interest.

The city of Burlington gives the Festival a significant grant every year, the province of Ontario also gives a substantial grant. The sponsors come up with an additional $400,000 + each year.

SOM 2012 crew marking for set up

It is the 500 volunteers that make the Sound of Music actually take place – and right now they are not happy campers.

The Gazette has reached out to Peter Martin President of the Sound of Music as well as the Corporate Secretary. No response so far.

The Board appears to have taken the route that less sophisticated corporate officers take; duck, say nothing and hope that it will go away.

When there is a real story it eventually comes out.

The Gazette reached out to the Mayor – no response there either.

We have heard from a number of volunteers who are not happy campers.

We asked several of the candidates for public office and got the following responses:

Roland Tanner

Ward 2 candidate Roland Tanner

Ward 2 candidate Roland Tanner said: “The Burlington Sound of Music is an independent not-for-profit corporation. As such, its internal staff appointments are not a matter for the City of Burlington and it would be unhelpful for me as a candidate to pass comment on recent changes at this time. I look forward to hearing the Sound of Music’s plans for continued success as they approach their 40th anniversary.”

Stolte looking left

Ward 4 candidate Shawna Stolte

Ward 5 candidate Shawna Stolte: “As a Ward 4 Candidate I am disturbed about the secrecy and lack of information coming forward from an organization that has received millions of dollars of funding from the taxpayers of Burlington over the past 40 years.

I understand that there is likely legal reasons for not fully disclosing the details of the strife between the Sound of Music Board of Directors and the Executive but I do believe that some explanation is warranted and appropriate.

What disturbs me even more is the apparent lack of transparency and respect given to the hundreds of volunteers that make the Sound of Music Festival the success that it is.

The SOM is the keystone of Burlington’s summer festival season and these volunteers donate thousands of hours of their precious time from their work, family and leisure lives because they believe in the spirit of music and community that the Sound of Music Festival brings to the city. They deserve a better explanation as to what is going on.

The SOM is in crisis and at a crossroads. All organizations go through periods of distress, particularly when senior management are not on the same page, but I’m not convinced that the future of this event that is so critical to the cultural and economic prosperity of our city should be left in the hands of a clearly struggling organization.

Meed Ward winsome

Councillor Marianne Meed Ward is a candidate for Mayor.

Mike Wallace with Japan's Order of The Rising Sun Award July 2018

Candidate for Mayor Mike Wallace with his recent Order of the Rising Sun medals.

Mike Wallace a former member of city council as well as a MP for Burlington said today that: “The Sound of Music festival is an important community event not only for Burlington residents but vital to attracting visitors and building the Burlington brand across Ontario. It is an important part of our culture and our economy.

“As a former board member of the organization, I appreciate the challenges of organizing and managing this fantastic festival with a complex mix of paid and volunteer staff. I welcome the opportunity to help the organization resolve any of the challenges it is facing, in any way I can.”

Ward 2 Councillor and candidate for the office of Mayor Marianne Meed Ward said: “The news was a shock. This must be difficult for everyone involved.

Legitimate questions have been raised around board governance which deserve a response. I encourage the board to be open and transparent with the community, while protecting personal privacy and confidentiality.

I thank Dave Miller and all the volunteers, past and present, who have given generously of their time to make this a great event for our community. We all want the event to be successful.

Vince Fitorio

Ward 1 city council candidate Vince Fiorito

Ward 1 candidate Vince Fiorito said: “Since the SOM festival generates about $10M in local economic activity, attracts tourists, contributes significantly to Burlington’s strategic direction of an “Engaging City” and the City of Burlington (CoB) is a significant source of SOM funding, The City of Burlington is an important SOM stakeholder with an interest in its continued success.

To ensure the SOM festival’s continued success in the future, I recommend:

1) City Council request a seat on the SOM’s governing board (we voluntarily gave it up in 2015)… after the October 22nd municipal election.

2) City Council make an inquiry into the current state of the SOM governance and the festival’s viability going forward. Given the distraction of a looming municipal election, the ideal city councillors to lead this inquiry would be either retiring City Councillors Rick Craven, John Taylor or both.

3) City Councillors leading the inquiry meet individually with former Executive Director David Miller, President Peter Martin and Corporate Secretary Rich Anderson, for their suggestions on how the SOM festival can be improved going forward.

4) City Council send an email or letter to all SOM 2016-2018 volunteers, inviting their feedback and commentary for the purposes of improving the SOM festival going forward.

5) City Council meet “in camera” to discuss their findings and generate a report recommending actions to be taken to ensure the SOM festivals continued success going forward.

6) The city should approach other major SOM sponsors

a) to gauge interest in sharing the cost of an independent review of the SOM’s finances for the purposes of finding efficiencies and savings, going forward.

b) for their support of the CoB’s request to retake a seat on the SOM’s governing board

Lisa Kearns Election Photo

Ward 2 city council candidate Lisa Kerns.

Lisa Kerns, a candidate for the ward 2 council seat said: “From my perspective, more information concerning the change in leadership at Sound of Music appears to still be coming forward. My interest in this hinges solely on whether City funds were used appropriately or positions of power were abused. I hope the outcome of this change in direction is founded in transparency and respect, more so that the change contributes to enhancing the event.

The Sound of Music festival is a tremendous event for the City of Burlington and Ward 2 alike bringing vibrancy to our great City through culture and entertainment for residents and visitors.”

This is a story that isn’t going to go away.

Fox procolamation

Craig Gardner on the left being recognized by Mayor Goldring

Several of the volunteers the Gazette has talked to have either resigned from the committees they sit on or will resign in the near future.

Craig Gardner, a two year volunteer pointed out that the Committee chairs have to produce reports – and that those reports have to be submitted and accepted if future funding is to come through.

Gardner added that without the volunteers in place the Festival just couldn’t take place.

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A development that is much bigger than anyone expected - but it meets all the rules and for the most part complies with the Official Plan in place now.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

July 25th, 2018


Part two of a two part article on a proposed development in the east end of Burlington,

When the plans for the re-development of the Lakeside Village Plaza were shown to the public last week it wasn’t what many people thought they were going to see.

The presentation had large posters showing what would go where.

Two of the three candidates running for the ward 5 city council seat were in the room; Councillor Sharman worked one end of the room while retired school principal Mary Alice St. James worked the other end.

Sharman - hand raised

Councillor Paul Sharman explaining the development.

Councillor Sharman has been working to get some development of the site since his first year as a city Councillor – few thought that this was what Sharman had planned for the community.

St. James has made it clear that she doesn’t like the height and she isn’t pleased with the length of time it will take to complete the project. This could be as much as a decade – great for sidewalk superintendents but not what those who want a “peaceable Kingdom”.

If approved by city council the site will consist of nine buildings and underground parking with some of the structures reaching 19 storeys into the sky.

The proposed development V a

Nine buildings will be on the site – they range froma single story to 19 storeys.

The Plan has five phases that will take years to be completed.

The information before the public at this point comes from a Justification report prepared by professional planners who were hired by the developer, Glanelm Property Management.
The city’s role up to this point is to ensure that all the required reports are received and the required fees are paid. Glenelm has paid the city $235,052.50 and the Region $9,184.72.

Dana Anderson

Dana Anderson – planning consultant for the developer.

At this point data and information is coming from the developers planner. Residents haven’t had a chance to hear what the city has to say. The ward Councillor is in love with this project – it is something he had been pushing almost from the first day he was elected.

Ward 5 candidate Mary Alice St. James said: “The Lakeside Plaza is an example of why I put my name forward as a candidate as Ward 5 Councillor. Throughout Ward 5 there are intensification proposals for Lakeside Plaza, Appleby Village, on vacant land ripe for development and in the south end of Ward 5 where older homes are being swooped up to be over-intensified, over-massed.

Mary Alice - speaking

Mary Alice St. James – pulling in the votes.

1- Lakeside Plaza is a tired plaza that requires a much needed, as soon as possible update.
2- This first draft is too high, too dense with too many buildings with too big a span, all of which is too close to the abutting streets and current residents.
3- The City of Burlington needs to oppose this first draft.

The developers Justification report talks in terms of “taking into account efficient sequencing of site servicing, ensuring adequate access and parking is provided for uses that operate during the redevelopment process and facilitating the relocation of existing tenants to new portions of the site with minimal disruption to business operations.”

Phase 1 includes the demolition of the north-west corner of the existing plaza structure and the construction of a 6 storey residential structure with 3 levels of underground parking (Block B) facing Kenwood Avenue. Access Lane A will also be constructed at this time which will provide shared access to the Subject Lands and Skyway Arena. A second access will be introduced on Kenwood Avenue along with the associated Access Lane B which, through future phases, will connect to corresponding driveway access on Hampton Heath Road.

Layout - pedestrian

Where the buildings are to be located with parking and green space at the ground level

Phase 2 will see the demolition of the remainder to the west wing of the plaza and the construction of a 1 storey commercial podium facing Lakeshore Road with two residential tower elements on top with 13 (Block E) and 13 (Block F) storey heights. A 5 storey residential structure will link the two towers, the top of which will correspond with a further building step back on both tower elements. A 1 storey restaurant building (Block A) will be attached to the podium building facing Kenwood Avenue. Access Lane B will be extended to the middle of the Subject Lands.

Existing Access Lane D which provides access to Lakeshore Road will be improved with sidewalks and landscaping. The parking area north of Block E and F will be reconfigured and improved with landscaping and sidewalks.

Phase 3 will see the demolition of the eastern portion of the commercial plaza. The 1 storey grocery store will be redeveloped with an attached 4 storey retail and office building. A landscaped public amenity area will be created in front of Block I. The surface parking area in front of Block I and the grocery store will be reconfigured, providing landscaping and sidewalks. The service lane at the rear of the property will also be improved at this time.
That grocery store redevelopment – where will people shop while that is being done?

Hampton Heath

The view of the development from Hampton Heath looking west.

Phase 4 will see the removal of the remaining central portion of the commercial plaza and the construction of a 1 storey commercial podium with two residential tower elements (Blocks C and D), both 10 storeys in height. The two tower elements will be linked by a 3 storey residential structure, the top of which will correspond with a further building step back on both tower elements. The parking area in front of the blocks will also be reconfigured, landscaped and improved with sidewalks. A public amenity area will be constructed in front of Block D and a pedestrian only mews created between Blocks D and I. Access Lane A will also be extended up to the mews.

Phase 5 will replace an existing surface parking area with a 1 storey commercial podium facing Lakeshore Road with two residential tower elements on top with 17 (Block G) and 9 (Block H) storey heights. A 5 storey residential structure will link the two towers, the top of which will correspond with a further building step back on both tower elements. A landscaped pedestrian path into the Subject Lands will be provided between Block H and the abutting Scotiabank property.

Lakeshore elevation

This is what the development will look like when completed. All the buildings front onto Lakeshore Road.

The proposed redevelopment will see the phased implementation of a 3 storey underground parking garage for all portions of the Subject Lands where new buildings are proposed. The garage will be constructed as the corresponding above grade portion of each phase is constructed.

The proposed redevelopment has carefully considered these guiding principles in its design. The redevelopment is an efficient use of land through intensification at an appropriate location in the City and advances the Province’s growth objectives while balancing other objectives of the OP. The redevelopment will also be appropriately phased to ensure these principles are continued to be addressed in the implementation of the development.

The proposed redevelopment conforms to the City’s policy direction for land use by providing for a redevelopment on an under-utilized site in an existing neighbourhood. The redevelopment provides for a mix of housing and also maintains the planned function for the existing commercial centre.

Kenwood elevation

The view of the development from Kenwood looking east.

The Official Plan seeks to achieve a number of goals for new development with respect to urban design including compatibility with existing neighbourhoods while promoting higher densities and compact built form. The buildings are proposed to be located on the site in such a way as to provide a gradation in height and density. The highest buildings (at 18 storeys) are located along Lakeshore Road, a Minor Arterial road, opposite apartment buildings ranging in height from 5 to 19 storeys.

The building heights in the proposed development decrease moving away from Lakeshore Road. A 14 storey building is proposed along Kenwood Avenue opposite the existing Husky Gas station and commercial plaza.

A 6 storey building is proposed further north along Kenwood Avenue, opposite which are two storey townhouses. Two 11 storey buildings are proposed abutting the northerly lot line which abuts the park. These buildings will face the existing Skyway Arena and Park. The existing one storey grocery store will remain at its current location with a 4 storey addition along its westerly fa ade to provide for additional retail and office units. The distribution of heights and densities allows the proposed development to fit into the existing urban fabric and provides appropriate transition to minimize impacts on the surrounding residential land uses.

The Subject Lands are just under 4 ha and represent a significantly large redevelopment area which allows for a distribution of heights throughout the site. Given that the one storey height is being maintained for the grocery store and restaurant in Block A, it is appropriate to transfer what could have been 11 storeys in height on that Block to additional storeys on the buildings along Lakeshore Road (where taller buildings are more context-appropriate given the arterial road frontage and existing taller buildings to the south).


There are a number of hoops that every development application has to go through. The developers planners spend a lot of time making sure that they comply as much as possible –and where their compliance is a little on the short side – the find a justification for a change in the zoning.

The proposal is consistent with Provincial Policy Statement 2014 (but not with 2017)

The proposal conforms to the Growth Plan, 2017

The proposal conforms to the Halton Regional Official Plan, 2015 and the inforce city of Burlington Official Plan, except those sections proposed to be amended.

The proposal is in conformity with the general direction of the proposed intensification framework set out in the draft city of Burlington Official Plan dates April 2018.

They don’t say they are in conformity – they say they are in conformity with the “general direction”.

Doubtful male

Not convinced yet.

The proposal can be adequately serviced and does not create any adverse impacts to the existing site and surrounding areas.

The proposal is well served by existing community infrastructure including public transit, bike lanes, parks, schools, places of worship and an arena

The proposal enhances the pedestrian environment within the site and along the exterior street frontages and along the exterior street frontages.

The proposal is in keeping with the character of the neighbourhood, provides an opportunity for intensification within the Built Up Area, preserves and upholds the overall urban structure as set out in the in-force OP and would implement the proposed urban structure set out in the Officasl Plan Review.

Careful here – the Justification report appears to want it both way – the development upholds what is required by the existing OP and would implement what was in the draft OP that has yet to be approved and will not apply to this development.

In the notes taken when the public met in a visioning session in 2015, the vast majority of the comment talked in terms of three, four and maybe six storey buildings. There was one mention of high density towers (25 storeys),

This development is for the most part legal – they can do what they want to do.

Related new stories:

The early concept.

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Why do people delegating at city hall feel they have to thank council members for listening to them?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

July 25th, 2018



At the start of almost every delegation made to city council the words: “Thank you to Council and Staff for hearing my delegation.”

It is my view that the council and staff should be thanking the delegator for taking the time to prepare their remarks and speak publicly to those elected to office. Many members of Council do say – Thank you for coming – and then stop listening. Rarely do the members of council say – That’s a good idea – I will ask staff to make it happen.

Gary Scobie

Gary Scobie- a frequent delegator

Jim Young A

Jim Young, one of the best delegators city council gets to hear.

Language determines the direction a conversation takes. If a delegator appears as a supplicant members of Council will treat them as supplicants.

Burlington’s city council has treated the public as supplicants during the period of time Cam Jackson was Mayor and for the two terms Rick Goldring has been Mayor.

The public lets them do this and the civic leadership in the past has been content to let it continue.

It is going to take a Mayor that fully understands and commits to the belief that the voters are supreme on the day they cast their ballots and that they matter every day of a term of office.

The Gazette has listened to well over 100 delegations – some are exceptionally well prepared – others could have used more work but every delegation was an important part of the democratic process that has to be respected by the elected to office.

The current Procedural bylaw needs a revision; it limits how a delegator can address council and basically prevents a delegator from addressing staff in a formal setting unless the chair lets that kind of interaction take place.

Burlington has a city manager who believes his role is to protect his staff. He has been recorded as saying that he is passionate about protecting his staff.

On far too many occasions the Chair of a council meeting, the Mayor is the worst offender, insist that there be no clapping or applause when a delegator has finished their presentation. The Mayor however has no problem letting the public applaud when he is handing out certificates of merit.

The public process is a large part of the heart of a community. It needs to be allowed to swell and be proud and to express sadness and disappointment.

Wallace conceding

Candidate for Mayor – Mike Wallace

Goldring campaign picture

Seeking re-election to a third term Rick Goldring

Citizens of Burlington will decide between three candidates in October. The number of new people running for office makes it evident that people want to see changes.  Nominations close on Friday.

Use the summer to think about what you want and then determine who best meets your wishes.

Meed Ward winsome

Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward running for Mayor

Greg Woodruff

Greg Woodruff wants to be Mayor

Municipal government in Canada is not political party based. Hopefully both the Liberals and the Progressive Conservatives will not hop on the wagon being pulled by a candidate for Mayor.

The New Democrats and the Greens have their followings as well.

Candidates have to be judged on their merits and being a Liberal or a Progressive Conservative is not necessarily meritorious.

Salt with Pepper is an opinion column reflecting the thoughts, opinions, observations and musing of the Gazette publisher.

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Open-air burning ban lifted by Fire department.

News 100 redBy Staff

July 24th, 2018



The Burlington Fire Department has lifted the open-air burning ban, issued on July 13, 2018.

Residents that live in designated burning areas, with open-air burning permits, can resume open-air burning for controlled brush burning and recreational fires.

brush fire

Controlled out door fires are not permitted – with a permit.

The Burlington Fire Department will continue to monitor and assess the fire danger rating, and the local weather forecast, and provide updates on city burning restrictions.

For more information about open-air burning and fire safety tips, contact the Burlington Fire Department at 905-637-8253 or visit

Joe Wintar, Chief Fire Prevention Officer explains that “The recent rainfall and current weather conditions have led to the decision to lift the open-air burning ban in Burlington. Though the fire ban has been lifted, residents should still use extra caution when burning outdoors. Open-air burning is only allowed in approved rural areas of Burlington and requires an open-air burning permit.”

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Wards 1 and 2 have long candidate lists - a lot of people want to be in local politics.

council 100x100By Staff

July 24th, 2018



The number of candidates running in wards 1 and 2 is impressive.

Both are wards where the incumbent has either announced retirement or has plans to go on to bigger and better things.

As a Standing Committee chair, Ward 1 Councillor Rick Craven is as good as it gets. Handling delegations and accepting the ideas of other people - not as good. But he wins elections.

As a Standing Committee chair, Ward 1 Councillor Rick Craven is as good as it gets. Handling delegations and accepting the ideas of other people – not as good. But he won elections.

Ward 1 Councillor Rick Craven has opted for retirement and, as of today, there are ten people wanting his job. Jason Boelhouwer, Vince Fiorito, Kelvin Galbraith, Arlene Iantomasi, Kevin Lee, Garry Milne, Tayler Morin, René Papin, Marty Staz and Judy Worsley

Meed Ward H&S profile

Marianne Meed Ward is looking for an upgrade from Councillor to Mayor.

In Ward 2, incumbent Marianne Med Ward has declared herself a candidate for the Office of Mayor. Seven people are taking a run at the seat: Kimberly Calderbank, David Cherry, Michael Jones, Lisa Kearns, Gerard Shkuda, Roland Tanner and Walter Wiebe

There are several candidates that will get votes from family and close friends and that will be about it.
A number of people have suggested that with a high number of candidates it is anyone’s race to win – which is why we have elections.

Candidates have to get out and convince people that they are the best choice and can best represent the citizens.

Burlingtonians are much more primed for change this election. One can expect higher voter turnout.
Engaged Citizens of Burlington (ECoB) has taken on the task of holding debates in all six wards as well as a debate for the Mayoral candidates. The Canadian Federation of University Women are collaborating with ECoB on that event.

Dates and times are being worked out, several of the events will take place in local schools.

3D Block Red Text VOTE 2018 over white background.

For those who have looked at the list of candidates and wonder if they have even a hope – the time to drop out is this Friday, July 27 at 2 pm.

Some might remain in the race just to see their name on a ballot.

The Gazette expect to interview all the candidates.

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TD Bank on Guelph Line robbed - bandit gets some cash.

Crime 100By Staff

July 24th, 2018



At approximately 12:50 p.m. on the 24th of July, 2018, a lone male suspect entered the TD Canada Trust at 1505 Guelph Line in the City of Burlington. The suspect approached a teller and demanded money at which time he was provided a quantity of cash before leaving the bank.

No weapon was seen in the commission of this robbery and there were no injuries.

The suspect walked from the area, last seen heading south west toward Guelph Line.

Robbery Suspect 2 July 24-18 TD

Police asking for help in identifying this bank robbery suspect.

As observed in the attached photographs the suspect is described as; male, white, 40-50 years of age, with a thin build, short brown/greying hair, an unshaven face, wearing a black Nike Toronto Blue Jays baseball hat, dark sunglasses, a black jacket with white stripes on the sleeve, matching black pants and grey casual shoes.

Robbery Suspect 1 July 24-18 TD

Side view of suspected bank robber

Police are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying the suspect. Anyone with information relating to this incident is encouraged to contact the Halton Regional Police Service Criminal Investigations Bureau at 905-825-4747 extension 2316.

Tips can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers “See Something? Hear Something? Know Something? Contact Crime Stoppers” at 1-800-222-8477 or throught the internet at

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17 year old girlfriend stabs 21 year old boyfriend at Mountainside and Guelph Line

Crime 100By Staff

July 24th, 2018



On Tuesday July 24, 2018 at approximately 1:55 pm police received a call for 20 year old male who had been stabbed. Police and ambulance attended the area of Mountainside Dr and Guelph Line.

As a result of the initial scene investigation it was determined that the male was stabbed by his 17 year old girlfriend during an argument.

The female was arrested and the victim was transported to hospital for treatment via ambulance. At this time, the injuries to the victim do not appear to be life threatening.

To help protect the identity of the victim and as the suspect is a young offender names are being withheld.

No additional information is expected to be released.

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Two public art commissions - Lowville and Appleby Ice Centre

artsorange 100x100By Staff

July 24th, 2017



The city of Burlington is continuing with its public art program and is looking for submissions for Lowville Park and the Appleby Ice Centre.

The mural commission for Lowville Park is $5,000 – design only.

The Appleby Ice Centre commission is $12,500 – design and fabrication/installation)

Applicants must be a resident of Burlington. .

Deadline: Friday, September 14, 2018

King Road

Art work done above the grade separation on King Road.

The Local Artist Program is dedicated to telling local stories using local talent. Each year, the City of Burlington public art program commissions local artists to create small to medium-scale artworks throughout the city. This can take a variety of forms including murals, small-scale sculptures and functional artwork such as bike racks and benches. These commissions are open exclusively to artists residing in Burlington, Ont. Free professional development opportunities are available to assist artists with the application process and project development.

The Application Package is available at:
Calls for Artists

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Trouble in paradise: Sound of Music board of directors are being challenged to change their ways.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

July 24th, 2018



The Sound of Music is part of the heart of Burlington.

There are some who are uncomfortable with the noise. The SoM works hard to respect the time frames within which they have agreed to operate.

During the weekend they operate the city closes down Brant Street that is then flooded with people enjoying the city at its best.

But there is trouble in paradise.

The Sound of Music Board appears to be politically corrupt.

Dave-Miller SoM

Dave Miller, former Executive Director of the Sound of Music.

The Gazette was made aware that Executive Director Dave Miller was summarily fired last week.

Shortly after that the Gazette began to hear from the hundreds of volunteers that make the festival the event that it is.

Many were prepared to talk but not on the record.

The Gazette reached out to the President and the Sound of Music Corporate Secretary and asked some questions. There was no response.

We asked Peter Martin, President the following questions:

Would you provide a statement on the organizational status of the Sound of Music.
Is there a replacement for Dave Miller in place?
Who will do the work that Miller has been doing?
Who will conduct the post festival interviews with the 21 committee chairs?
When will you be available for an interview?

We asked Corporate Secretary Rich Anderson the following questions:

Would you confirm that the Sound of Music Festival is incorporated as a non-profit in Ontario.
Would you set out how the by laws define the membership of the organization.
Would you describe the process that puts directors into office each year, that is who actually elects the directors and what are the requirements to serve as a director.
Would you provide me with the date of the last AGM

The Gazette has not had an answer from Martin or Anderson.

What we did get was a letter Tara Hambly, a chair of one of the 21 SoM committees and a former SoM vice president.. It is the volunteer committees that make the Festival the success it is.

The letter, written in September of 2016, was her resignation from the SoM. In a conversation Hambly said: “I am willing to go on record with how it changed back when I was on the board and the VP of the festival.

“I have been in contact with many who just resigned and forwarded my resignation letter from 2 years I have been involved in this Festival for numerous years now and have thoroughly enjoyed my time, however after the events of this past Wednesday I feel as though I am no longer able to continue in my role on the Board.

Sound of music - from stage

When the music is right – Spender Smith park is filled. The music hasn’t been as right as many thought it should be the past few years.

“As a Board member you sometimes you do not agree with the results of a motion, however, regardless of the outcome you as a Board member have to support the direction of the Board. I feel I am no longer able to support the decisions that the Board makes and therefore am resigning.

“When I chose to resign it was my decision and therefore, how I resign will also be my decision, not on the pre-written statement provided to me.

“Over the past year there have been specific decision that I am not proud of and feel need to be changed. My regret is that I have not always spoken up on some issues and for others I may have not spoken loud enough.

1. “The Executive Director should, by virtue of their role, be a member of the Board and be a part of all meetings to be able to offer expertise and opinions on any motion. They should not be a voting member, however, they should be there always, in a non-voting capacity. How can you have someone run the day to day dealings of a Festival and ignore their opinion? It is not right. If there are motions that deal with the contract or concerns of the executive director, at that point they can be asked to leave, but not having them there for the rest is detrimental to the organization. Withholding agendas and topics of discussion from the executive director do not allow for the input needed going forward.

Spoons - female lead

The Spoons on the Sound of Music stage – it doesn’t get better than that.

2. “AGM should be open to ALL. Having an AGM with only 10 directors present who are only concerned with re-electing themselves is not in the best interest of the organization. AGM’s use to be open to the public and notice was put in the paper so anyone could attend. SOM is funded with money from the city, government grants and sponsors. It is run by volunteers. All stakeholders should be able to have a say in who the Board is and who the Executive is. At the very least, the meeting should be open even if not everyone has a vote. Why make it so secretive? People have put their names in to join the Board to be brought to AGM and are then asked to wait outside. Why are they denied the opportunity to speak about their intent to joint the Board? The Board has given itself full power to make changes and decide who they want to join. Unfortunately, with this power comes personal agendas and vindictiveness. People are holding on to grudges from the past and awaiting opportunity to act on them.

3. “Transparency between the Board and Operating committee. Everything is done secretively in Board meetings. The Board has spoken up about concerns with transparency between the executive and the board thinking the executive is hiding information. The Board demands transparency however, refuses to be transparent with the chairs and vice chairs, volunteers who bring so much insight and expertise to the organization. Chairs and Vices have just as much right as the Board to offer opinions and to know everything that is going on. These volunteers devote hundreds, if not thousands, of hours every year to put on the Festival. With so much time devoted they have a right to know what is going on and to have a say.

Listening best babe

They come to listen – and listen they do.

4. “The make-up of the Board. If you are going to have a working Board it should go back to how it was with all Chairs being on the Board. Having some on and others not creates division within the organization. If you do not want a working Board then you have a Board run by completely outside individuals. But if it is a working Board, it should go back to how it was with all Chairs on the Boards and all chairs able to have a say in matters. Walking into operations meetings last year I could feel the tension in the room when the Board entered, especially when we entered late. First of all, I personally apologize for the lateness at times. My time is no more valuable than anyone else’s. Making people wait while a Board meeting is conducted is disrespectful. The Board should have either conducted meetings on separate nights or recessed to join operations at the designated time. Unfortunately, there are Board members who would leave after Board meetings. As a working board you should be aware of the operations of the festival and if not for that reason, attend out of respect to the volunteers giving up their time to follow through on Board motions. If it is to remain a working board, it needs to be a working board, and board members need to work with the volunteers to ensure the success of the festival.

5. “The division in the organization. There is a clear division among the board and operations. In speaking to chairs and vice chairs I personally feel that many do not feel appreciated for their contributions to the festival. Many have asked how you get on the Board and have come to realize that it is much harder than it should be. Anyone should have the opportunity to put in their name and be considered. There is a clear division between the groups as it is not transparent on how one can have a fair chance to get onto the board.

Two woman in chairs

The weekend event is a family affair.

6. “Conflicts of Interest. If you are financially gaining from your role in the Festival, or as a result of something you did while in your role at the Festival it should be openly disclosed to all so it can be decided if there is a conflict of interest or not. Many volunteers bring expertise to their committees from their work experiences, however, if their Festival involvement results in personal financial gain or employment opportunities, everyone should be made aware of the situation to decide if it is a conflict or not.

“I have enjoyed all my time with the Festival and it was very difficult to come to the decision to walk away from it, however, I know that right now being on the Board would be putting myself into an environment I do not want to be in. There are just too many decisions that I do not support.

“Last week someone told me everyone was replaceable. I agree we all are replaceable, but at what cost? People can be replaced however things will never be the same when they are and it’s not always for the better.

Rapt attention crowd

Still some room for those with a blanket – crowds are fully engaged when the music is right.

“I hope that things will change for the better and Sound of Music will once again find the greatness it had and a much warmer, welcoming environment to all, and equal say for all. Transparency to all stake holders is key to achieving this.

“All the best to each and every one of you I hope our paths cross in the future, it has been a pleasure.

“Please consider this my formal resignation, effective immediately.
Tara Hambly

The SoM is a $2 million operation that raises about $440,000 in sponsorship money.

That red light was a sign - Sound of Music didn't get the $37,000 they felt they needed as fall back money if the weather turned on them and events had to be cancelled. Note that the pier in this 2011 picture isn't visible because there was nothing to see. The city plans on offocially opening the pier during the Sound of Music festival this summer. SOM should charge the city a fee for horming in on theior event.

The many sponsors that make the Festival possible are all listed. Note that the pier in this 2011 picture isn’t visible because there was nothing to see.

The city of Burlington funds the organization.

The province of Ontario funds the organization.

The TD Bank is a major sponsor

Tim Hortons is a major sponsor.

The list goes on.

The Burlington Downtown Business Association is one of the sponsors.  In a conversation with Brian Dean, Executive Director of the BDBA he said that if there is an issue with the way the SoM Board is operating I will want to take that to my Board and ask for input from them on what the BDBA position with the SoM should be going forward.

One can expect all the sponsors to take a second look at just what it is they are sponsoring.


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Mike Wallace awarded the Order of the Rising Sun by the Japanese Embassy in Canada. Beats the Burlington chain of office he wants to wear.

News 100 redBy Staff

July 23rd, 2018



Former Conservative MP and Burlington mayoral candidate Mike Wallace has been awarded the Order of the Rising Sun by the Japanese Embassy in Canada.

Mike Wallace with Japan's Order of The Rising Sun Award July 2018

Mike Wallace with Japan’s Order of The Rising Sun Award July 2018. This is a very significant award.

The award puts him among 140 foreign nationals named earlier this year to the award of civil and military merit. The Ontario MP represented Burlington from 2006 to 2015 and is now running for mayor of the city in this October’s municipal race. He was previously elected four times to the Burlington city council before entering federal politics. Wallace was presented the award in a private ceremony at the Japanese Embassy in Ottawa.

When Japanese Ambassador to Canada Kimihiro Ishikane presented the medals in July, Wallace had a strong cheering squad, with his wife Caroline, parents, sister and former staff all at the ambassador’s Rockcliffe Park residence.

“I am deeply honoured by this award,” Wallace said. “It is the Japanese version of Canada’s Order of Canada.”

Wallace’s fellow award 2018 award winners include former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, U.S senators Robert Corker and John McCain, among others.

Wallace “contributed to promoting parliamentary relations and friendship between Japan and Canada,” as an MP and former co-chair of the Canada-Japan Inter-Parliamentary Group, the 2018 medal list document said.

He was named co-chair of the group in 2011 after serving on the group’s executive five years before that. At the time he said he wanted Canada to pursue an active diplomatic relationship with Japan.

Japan was especially grateful for the leadership Wallace demonstrated in coordinating Canada’s response to the 2015 Fukishima disaster.

chain of office

Burlington’s Chain of Office, worn by the Mayor when he chairs council meetings and at Official events.

“I want to follow our community’s lead in solidifying both economic and cultural ties with Japan as we have done locally with our sister city, Itabashi, Japan,” he said.

The Order of the Rising Sun outranks the Burlington Chain of Office.  Would Wallace wear both – assuming he wins the election.

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Sound of Music volunteers are demanding a meeting with the Board of Directors - why was Miller fired and who is running the operation day to day?

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

July 23rd, 2018



The Generals sometimes haven’t a clue as to what is going on within the ranks.

And it is those in the ranks, in the trenches that make the Sound of Music Festival work.

And those people are very angry and anxious about what is happening to an organization they are passionate about.

There are 21 different committees that work to make the event happen each year.

Brant street getting ready

Brant Street getting ready for the Sound of Music.

One of the key committees was scheduled to meet last Wednesday to wrap up the 2018 festival. Each committee chair is obliged to present a report about their festival experience – what worked well, what didn’t, areas to focus on for next year.

The comments the Gazette is getting include:

“It helps us to plan for next year. We received a message indicating the meeting was cancelled with no further information provided until Peter Martin sent a message stating Dave was no longer with the festival and that the Board had cancelled the meeting.

“We have demanded a meeting to understand why this happened and to present our reports. The board has no idea what half the committees do. For some, it’s their first year on the board. We also want answers as we reported to Dave and have no issues with him or his leadership.

“As many of us have resigned in protest (with no comment from the board), Peter only wants to have the current chairs at the meeting. Our operations rules state outgoing chairs have a duty to present their report. I would like that opportunity. I would also like to know why Dave Miller was fired because I believe it is a two or three year witch hunt come to fruition.

“It says so much about Dave’s leadership that many, many long-standing volunteers have resigned. It also speaks volumes about Peter Martin’s lack of leadership that it has been almost a week and nothing has been said about his dismissal to the people who worked the most closely with him. He is selectively reaching out to certain volunteers and ignoring others because he does not understand nor value the people who gave their time and effort to building the festival.”

The people who have commented have asked that their names not be used at this time. Several want to speak publicly but are waiting until scheduled meetings take place.

The Gazette has reached out to the president Peter Martin and the Corporate Secretary Rich Anderson.

There has been no response yet.

City council is basically on vacation until early September. The Gazette has asked the Mayor’s office for some comment. Nothing so far.


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Massive changes proposed to a plaza in the east end that has certainly seen better days.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

July 23, 2018


Part one of a two part article on a proposed development in the east end of Burlington,

The redevelopment of the Lakeside Plaza Village has a long history. It goes back to the first term of ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman, who at the time was doing everything he could to get something happening to a plaza that was run down at best and not getting any better.

Its heyday was more than two decades ago,


Forlorn looking Skyway Plaza – looking for someone to save the place – but the owners seemed content to leave it as it is.

The owner of the property wasn’t interested in doing very much with it. Sharman was having the devil of a time just to get into the office of the people that owned the development.

It was frustrating and disappointing. He had some strong ideas on what could be done – but nothing was happening.

At one point a former city manager, Jeff Fielding told Sharman that the city could get interested in rolling the Skyway arena that was behind the plaza, into a possible bigger development. “All I need” said Fielding at the time “is a Staff Direction.”

Fielding got his Staff Direction.

Direct the Director of Planning and Building and request the Executive Director of the Burlington Economic Development Corporation as follows:

Prepare a series of re-development options for the site based on intensive mixed use re-development and approach the owners of the property with the redevelopment plans; and

Investigate and report on the authority available to permit the use of incentives for re-developing the site, and

Provide an estimate of the resources needed to prepare and implement a Community Improvement Plan.

It didn’t take long to get things moving.


The room was packed -it was one of the few Standing Room only meetings that the Gazette has covered. This community was fully engaged.

What we saw next was a very impressive community meeting that had the owner of the property in the room along with the planning consultant and the architect.


City staff were on hand to listen to what the residents had to say.

Participants were asked to talk about what they wanted to see happen.


Many months later architect Cynthia Zahoruck released some drawings that showed the Skyway Arena blended into the plaza development and also tied to Burloak Park that was scheduled for a major upgrade.  Zahoruk’s work was impressive.

The Skyway Plaza, as it was known to many, was an east end commercial location that was as close to a suburban slum as Burlington is going to see, had suddenly become headline news – especially in ward 5.

There is a basement bowling alley that hasn’t been used in years. There was once a Swiss Chalet outlet. However the demographics of the community began to change and the plaza began to lose some of its retailers. No parking problems at this location.


The first early stage design concepts included the city owned park and ice rink in the design. The thinking in the early stages was that the park north of the development and the park south of the development could be tied together. That idea seems to have been lost.


There were a lot of trees in the early concept designs.

At the time the Economic Development Corporation was going through a leadership change – Frank McKeown was brought in as the new Executive Director; he had previously been the Mayor’s Chief of Staff.

The owners of the property now saw an opportunity to do something significant with the plaza. Last week they held the first of the public presentations on what they had in mind.

It was radically different than anything anyone expected.

The proposed development V a

The proposed development.

More tomorrow on just what the proposed development will mean and the kind of opposition that is developing and how the developer justifies this level of intensification.

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Sound of Music said to be in a 'total state of disarray'

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

July 23, 2018



The sudden and very unexpected firing of Dave Miller as the Executive Director of the Sound of Music Festival could have serious ramifications for the city if some announcements are not made soon

The Festival is basically a volunteer operation with just four paid staff members running a $2 million dollar operation.

Peter Martin, president of the Sound of Music has not made a public statement.

The chairs of the various committees that do the work are upset and ready to make comments on their own, however everyone the Gazette has talked to have asked that their names not be used at this point.

Sound of music - from stage

When the music is good the crowds are great – so what happened?

One committee chair has said that “Peter Martin is only selectively replying to requests for information.” This committee chair said: “ I sincerely hope that if he takes on this co-executive director position that he does not draw a salary as that would he a further conflict of interest for him.”

The Festival has 21 committee chairs that make the Festival work.

People directly involved in the organization point out that the Festival gets something in the order of $400,000 in grants annually and that the Sound of Music has to submit reports on what they did with the grant money in order to qualify for future grants.

With the chairs as upset as they are there is some doubt in the minds of many that it might not be possible to hold a Festival in 2019.

Festivals are big business for the communities that hold them – and they are competitive.  Burlington has been a leader in the Festival business for a number of years and has worked to expand the size of the event.  City council has not been as keen as the Festival leadership on growing the business.

One person told the Gazette that Miller was let go with no explanation to the membership and that there does not appear to be a replacement in the wings.

Dave-Miller SoM

Dave Miller, former Executive Director of Sound of Music.

Miller is at this point negotiating a severance package.

The people who do the volunteering are a dedicated bunch. Some use their vacation time to work the festival; there is a group that take a room at the Waterfront Hotel and sleep five to six people in the room they rent while they work the Festival.

There is the story of the volunteer who put in 140 hours over a 12 day period.

The Board in place now has four new members that are reported to have little in the way of Festival experience.

The current Board of Directors is made up of:
Peter Martin – President; Peter Van Dyk – Vice President; Scott Newport – Treasurer; Rich Anderson – Corporate Secretary, Andy Porecki – Director; Ashlee Sorochan – Director; Cyrus Jeejeebhoy – Director; Karen Loranger – Director and Pat Leyland – Director.

The Gazette asked one committee chair who elects the Board of Directors? The response was – “I don’t know.”

SoM kick off crowd

Crowds were on the thin side during the ticketed events held during a Kick Off weekend.

The Sound of Music Festival is a non-profit organization and has a set of bylaws that sets out who can be a member of the organization and who gets to vote.

The Executive Director of a non-profit cannot be a member of the Board. An Executive Director is appointed by the Board to run the organization.

SoM sweet seats 2018

The Sound of Music is constantly looking for new revenue sources – Sweet Seats was part of an initiative to generate more revenue.

The regulations that set out what a non-profit can do are quite different than the rules that apply to a corporation. The biggest difference is that a non-profit does not have any equity – no one can participate in the distribution of profits. There are no shareholders – just members.

None of the volunteers the Gazette spoke to could say just who the members are.

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Major new brand coming to the Burlington Mall - in the fall.

News 100 blueBy Staff

July 23, 2018



The Burlington Mall is undergoing a major rejuvenation and upgrade – is a world wide brand going to be part of that re-branding?

Miniso is a discount store that started in Tokyo and is beginning to open the North American retail sector. Burlington appears to be its next location.

Miniso logo and store

A brand that is planning on 6000 locations in North America – expected to open at the Burlington Mall in the fall.

Miniso, positioned as a Japanese lifestyle brand is part Chinese variety retailer, part discount store that could give other low cost variety stores more than a run for their money.

They already have stores in downtown Toronto at the Eaton Centre and at Bramalea City Centre, Square One and Erin Mills Town Centre. A store is expected at Oakville Place.

The stores are known for selling low price but high quality products, including cosmetics, accessories, stationery, electronics accessories, home decor, kitchenware, and snacks.

According to the brand’s website, the brand launches new products every seven days; shoppers are not likely to get bored.

Miniso store-interior

Packed with low cost – high quality goods the Miniso brand will keep the shopping crowd busy.

An opening date has not yet been announced, the Burlington Mall is planning on an official opening of the refurbished mall and the announcement of five new restaurants and a number of new tenents.

The company was founded in 2011 by Japanese designer Junya Miyake and Chinese entrepreneur Ye Guofu, the company is headquartered in Guangzhou, China. In 2016, the company’s sales revenue reached $1.5 billion, up from $769.9 million one year previous.

Miniso has expanded outside of the Chinese market and operates 1,800 stores in Asia, Europe, Australia, Africa, North America, and South America. It plans to eventually open 6,000 stores worldwide.

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Greg Woodruff: 'How do we get back to a good policy that respects the wishes of people who live here now?'

opinionred 100x100By Greg Woodruff

July 20, 2018



People in Burlington are going to have to decide if they are seriously interested in changing the current direction of this city or not. Are we just going to express anger or change the direction of the city? A Burlington filled with 11 story buildings is not practically different than 17 story or 23 stories. From the base of these buildings in the tight “trenches” that emerge you are not going to have any idea how high the buildings are. The lower heights are preferable, but they don’t make the city fundamentally different.

Many candidates are selling nothing substantial in the way of change. Slightly-less high does not represent a different destination for the city.

The policy of hi-rises everywhere is entrenched in the new official plan with the Region. It’s not amendable by Burlington City Council while it is with Halton Region (I checked). And it can also be approved by the Region with no further input from us (again I checked). The next Council will almost certainly inherit it as an in-force document along with 421 Brant and 409 Brant in an approved state at 18 stories. 421 is totally approved at 23 stories with all appeals expired. Unless the would-be Councilor has mastered mind control or time travel we need policies that affect a drastic change of course.

high profile 421

Brant and James – a done deal.


Lakeshore and Martha -under an Administrative Review.

Jeweller after

409 Brant – approved at 17 – expected to go to LPAT

I do not like this direction. I’ve opposed it on multiple fronts and have for five years plus. However, I wish the plan to oppose it to be based in reality. Complaining about buildings one by one is useless. Modifying the buildings by some number of floors is does not take us to a different place. Vilifying the existing council as “out of touch” accomplishes nothing. What is the actual practical plan to change this direction? Just electing different people to the council will not do it, because the direction will be firmly entrenched. What rules need changing and how?

Bridgewater CROPPED

Bridgewater and Lakeshore and Elizabeth

Brant lakeshore - Molinaro b

Lakeshore and Brant – just a concept at this point.

We can not have would be Councillors going around and saying “People in Burlington are all for intensification, but this specific building is too much.” “I don’t like this” is not an operational policy. “We don’t want over-development” is not an operation policy. “I love Burlington” is not an operational policy. The Council makes policy. What exactly is the policy you propose?

With no plan of action, all we will get from the next Council is what we are getting now; “You think this building is bad, you should have seen it before.” The candidates are just taking “over-development” and making it “slightly-less overdeveloped.” Things that are “less bad” are not “good.” Taking a terrible direction and making it less terrible is nothing I’m excited about. Official-Plan-Binder_Image

What this all comes down to is the next Council willing to modify the heights in the New Official Plan down and how much. This is going to be an unbelievably hard slog – with multiple groups bitterly against this. It’s going to require the Region and Province to play along.

I don’t see how this is possible unless local candidates win on a mandate. You need to scare politicians at the Regional and Halton level that voter reaction on this issue is so great that it’s “tough political moves” or “extinction” at the ballot box. Nothing else will change the direction of development in Burlington.

People in Burlington are angry – you should be. But don’t let candidates ride that anger. It’s not going to get us to a policy that changes the direction of the city. All it will get is a new crop of faces making excuses. As it turns out; the municipality does operate under restrictions set out by the Province. You have to strategically work the framework, which will not respond to protests of love or anger.

“This building is too much” is not a mandate, policy or anything that helps. Neither is demonizing the existing Councilors. Ask your candidates “What exactly is the policy you propose?” If they don’t know now, don’t expect them to have any idea of what to do later.

Greg Woodruff

Greg Woodruff

Greg Woodruff is an Aldershot resident who is running for the Office of Mayor.  He has in the past run for the office of Chair of the Region of Halton.  Professionally Woodruff toils in the world of information technology.

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