A banner in a baseball park that tells what Burlington is really all about.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

June 26th, 2018



There is such a thing as a good news story.

You read it and a smile comes to your face.

City council recently approved a small name change for a part of the baseball park in behind Nelson high school.

A group of people didn’t want to change the name of the park – they wanted to dedicate the actual baseball diamond to a citizen we lost almost a year ago.

City council went along with the idea and we now have – well the picture tells the story.

Casey poster
We all miss him.

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ECoB sets out its agenda and direction going forward after being badly shaken by the surprise resignation of its president.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

June 25th, 2018



With the application to appeal the city council decision to approve a 23 storey tower across the street from city hall in tatters the Engaged Citizens of Burlington organization set out a list of just what it has achieved in its short life.

What has ECoB accomplished since December 2017?

ECOB Dec 13 #3

An early public meeting was well attended – financial support was good. The problems were at the leadership level.

– ECoB held a community meeting to bring residents together in December.
– ECoB has delegated at Committee and Council Meetings
– ECoB held a rally at City Hall, with reporters from the Hamilton Spectator, The Burlington Post and The Bay Observer present and got good media coverage.
– ECoB held a very successful potential candidate workshop in February at Tansley Woods
– ECoB was featured twice on Your TV – The Issue – to bring residents issues about the proposed Official Plan to the public.
– ECoB was instrumental in having a story not only in The Hamilton Spectator, but also the Toronto Star.
– ECoB met with Mary-Lou Tanner and members of her staff to suggest ways of making residents a more integral part in the planning process. This did result in some minor changes.
– ECoB met with Eleanor McMahon to encourage Provincial involvement.
– ECoB met with the Downtown BIA and the Chamber of Commerce.
– ECoB met with the Mayor and some of the Councillors who were prepared to hear our concerns.
– ECoB has requested an investigation into what we consider “the closed meeting” when Council adopted the new official plan.
– ECoB has sent this request to the Ontario Ombudsman as well.

Jim Young

The sudden and surprising resignation of Jim Young as President of ECoB has set back the organization. Their plans for all candidate public meetings in September and October are a sign that the organization still has some life left.

“We have rented venues for Ward Candidate Meetings that will be held the last two weeks of September and the 1st week of October. We want residents to be able to make an informed decision when they enter the polling booth in October.

“Any donations received have and will continue to be used to help the residents of Burlington have a voice. Donations were used to incorporate, pay for director’s liability insurance, flyers, workshops. As an incorporated body, we are mandated to follow the regulations set out by the province of Ontario. We are required by law to have an Annual AGM as well as our books have to be reviewed by an auditor.”

ECoB created a Gofundme site and to date has raised $2,575 from that source. A number of people and organizations wrote cheques and a fair amount of cash was raised. ECoB could and should issue an interim financial statement to provide some stability and uncertainty to a badly shaken organization.

Related news story.

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Intended as a serious effort to control what gets built in the downtown core - the ECoB antics turn out to be a bit of a farce.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

June 25th, 2018


The Gazette has been advised by Jim Young that he “neither signed, submitted nor withdrew the appeal” of a city council to approve the building of a 23 storey tower across the street from city hall.  Exactly who did what when is not all that clear.  More to come.

It is almost a comedy of errors.

A developer announces that they are applying for the right to build a 27 storey tower opposite city hall.

ECoB rally posterThe public is aghast – well at least some of the public.

A newcomer to Burlington announces that she wants to form a committee to stop the proposed development.  As a retiree the citizen heads for Florida for the winter and tries to run the committee from the sunny south – that doesn’t work out and for a short period of time there are two committees – one having just the one member.

ECoB pic 1 Jan 18

An early ECoB meeting

Meetings take place.  Another committee is formed.

Public meetings take place

A Staff report from the Planning department is released saying they could live with a 23 storey building.

City council on a 5-2 vote approves the project

More meetings are held.

Funds are raised

The group decides to call itself ECoB – Engaged Citizens of Burlington. It is driven by a small rump group that is determined to prevent the construction of such a tall building.

Some very smart people join ECoB and give the nascent organization some oomph.

Goldring reverse town hall

Mayor Goldring making a point at his Reverse Town Hall meeting.

The Mayor holds what he calls a reverse town hall meeting and gets upstaged by ECoB who walk into the meeting room and come close to taking over the Mayor’s meeting.

ECoB is on a roll and focused on an attempt to appeal the decision city council made to approve the 23 storeys.

One of the strongest members of ECoB announces that she is going to run for the ward seat on city council.  The ward incumbent had already announced that she was running for Mayor.

While this is happening the provincial government has changed the rules on how city hall development decisions are made.

The OMB – Ontario Municipal Board is replaced by LPAT – Local Planning Appeal Tribunal.

ECoB shows up at city hall with their appeal.

Not yet they are told by the Clerk’s Office.

There is some suspicion within the ECoB group that city hall might be playing with them and not being as forthright as they should be.

The Clerk’s department keeps ECoB informed.

The date to file the appeal forms arrives.

The appeal documents are filed with city hall.

Then to the surprise and utter amazement of several of the people heavily involved in ECoB, the President of the organization resigns and files his letter with city hall and withdraws the appeal. (Jim Young, the former ECoB president says he did not withdraw the appeal.)

People are stunned.

421 Brant

421 Brant – a development without a name is now a done deal.

Then, to the surprise of many, the resignation letter appears on the web site of a city Councillor who cheerfully takes the former president to task.

The City Clerk takes steps that removes the resignation letter from Councillors web site.

The now past President of ECoB sends a letter to media asking if they are interested in his side of the story.

Some are. Nothing is forthcoming and the former President goes to ground.

The developer is either given or about to be given a building permit and demolition of the single and two storey buildings along the east side of Brant Street north from James can begin.


Stephen Leacock,

Stephen Leacock, the celebrated Canadian humourist, could not have written a story as funny and at the same time as sad, as this.

Related news story

EcoB still has an agenda.

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Bridgewater development said to be behind schedule - not true says the developer.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

June 25th, 2018



The comment we got was that: “Word on the street is that the Marriott has stepped away from Bridgewater. Too many cost overrides and construction deadlines not being met.

Jeff Paikin, head honcho at New Horizon Developments, the people building the Bridgewater development, says this is “Completely not true. We had a call with them 10 days ‎ago. Full speed ahead. That is completely fiction.”

Bridgewater Aerial-rendering-1024x758

When completed it will be a magnificent development that will be the talk of the town for months – with the best hotel in the Region.




Our source says “I have heard this from three different sources. I know the construction is way behind schedule. One of the people who purchased in that development has been told that the move in date has changed. Our building that needs to be power washed by Bridgewater because of all the red dust that has accumulated has been told to hold off having this done as they are behind schedule and they have a lot of stone cutting that has yet to be done.”

The truth lies in there somewhere.

It would be a little late for Marriott to be backing out at this stage.

Bridgewater at night lit up

The Bridgewater will change the skyline of the city and be seen from miles away when fully lit up at night.

This is a project that has been plagued by delays. The land assembly for the project began in 1985 – approval was given by city council in 1995.

New Horizon was given the project in January of 2015 and they have been digging for the garage levels and pouring concrete ever since. Delays are not unusual in the construction business.

Bridgewater was always going to be a quality development – and quality takes a little more time.

Related news story.


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If Doug Ford actually comes through with his 10 cent per litre savings on gas - will that savings come out of the hide of municipal transit?

council 100x100By Pepper Parr

June 25th, 2018



With the provincial election out of the way – we will figure out just what kind of a government we are going to have in the weeks and months ahead.

The political focus now shifts to the municipal sector. The 2018 election is going to be a lot different that the one that took place in 2014.

There is an excellent collection of candidates across the board for the municipal side. There is next to nothing new on the Board if Education side – we will leave that to a future news story.

What Burlington is now seeing is a group of younger people who are smart and want to see things done differently. They care about their city in a much different way than most of the current council.  They are open to new ideas and they are putting new ideas forward.

Several have excellent web sites. Some of the candidates are digging into their own wallets and self -funding their campaigns.

It is a little difficult to keep up with all the campaigns. The Gazette is continually scanning the various candidate web sites and looking for imaginative ideas and solutions to problems the city faces put forward by some of the candidates.

Tanner standing

Roland Tanner, candidate for the ward 2 city council seat.

Roland Tanner, a candidate in ward 2 and one of the people involved in the creation of the Shape Burlington Report in 2010 has some thoughts on how the city is going to fund transit.

The first big plus is that Tanner actually wants to see transit funded – not something one could say about the current council.

In a report he released on his web site (https://rolandtanner.ca/) Tanner said: “Thanks in large part to community groups like Burlington for Accessible Sustainable Transit (BFAST), which came into being to protest against transit funding and service cuts made in 2012, Burlington City Council has recently been indicating an increased commitment to investment in Burlington Transit, hand in hand with commitments of $45 million in funding from the provincial and federal governments for Burlington alone. As a result, the Burlington Transit Users’ Forum was characterized by cautious optimism in April.

Tanner want to be sure that the incoming provincial government commits to not reducing the 2 cent gas tax transfer to municipalities?

Tanner points out that those funds “could be threatened by the 10 cent gas tax promised by the incoming provincial government. The 10 cent cut will reduce the overall gas tax received by the province from 14 cents a litre to 4 cents. Of that 4 cents, the province is obliged to pass 2 cents per litre to Ontario municipalities. That means 50% of the remaining gas tax will be going to the cities, not the province. Is it realistic to think the provincial government will be willing to let that continue to happen?

Tanner cropped

Roland Tanner – a member of the Shape Burlington report committee.

There is in in the conclusion Tanner makes that the 10 cent per litre savings Doug Ford said he would give citizens has the potential to come out of the hide of the transit sector.

Tanner asked City Hall to provide exact details of the financial implications of the gas tax transfer being repealed, and they kindly provided them. In the 2017-18 fiscal year gas tax funding for Burlington amounted to: $2,262,568

Tanner concludes that if the gas tax funding from the province is changed the city would have to increase taxes by 1.47 percent, in order to keep transit funding static.

He adds that: “If Burlington is to grow successfully, it is essential that Burlington Transit receives the investment it needs to provide a better service. City Hall should be acting as soon as possible to ask the provincial government to commit to maintaining the municipal gas tax transfer at 2 cents per litre, and oppose any attempt to download provincial government cuts onto municipalities.”

In a May Toronto Star Letter to the Editor Tanner write:

Until the City of Burlington adopts a much more courageous approach to citizen engagement, Burlington will keep finding itself in a cycle of worsening resentment and distrust towards City Hall and council. Such an approach was recommended by the 2010 Shape Burlington Report, which called on City Hall to ‘re-invent itself’ in order to empower citizen-led entities – community councils, advisory committees and panels chosen by civic lottery – that act a ‘”on ramps” to participation’ for people who otherwise don’t get involved city affairs.

A previous Progressive Conservative government downloaded the cost of a a bunch of services to the municipal sector.  Are we about to see this happen again?

Contacting Tanner:

Web site: https://rolandtanner.ca/

Email  roland@rolandtanner.ca

Telephone  289 259 4023

Facebook:  https://facebook.com/roland4ward2

Follow on Twitter:  https://twitter.com/roland4ward2

Related links:

The Shape Burlington Report.

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Two thirds of workers don’t have a workplace pension; teachers,federal, provincial & municipal employees have a defined benefit with a fixed payout. Some corporate pension plans get misused. Not much fairness.

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

June 25th, 2018


“When people think whatever they happen to believe constitutes a fact, there goes a reasonable chance at having a meaningful discourse.” (Kevin Mathews, Care2)

Even if, true to his election promise, Mr. Ford doesn’t fire a single civil servant, they will all be retiring one day.  And that will cost the government a whack of money in pension payouts, right?  We know public pensions come from the government so they must be paid for with tax payer money.


Burlington has a senior citizen population that is growing faster than neighbouring communities.

That is gospel because we hear that opinion all the time – reading the National Post, The Sun and Globe and Mail; or just listening to some of my readers of this column.  So I thought I’d try a back-of-the-envelope calculation, using the federal pension system as an example, just to get a handle on the facts around pensions.  Most defined-benefit pension plans operate in a similar fashion.

Federal employees each contribute about 10% of their annual salary into their pension fund.  And like most other employers, the government matches that amount, thereby doubling the contribution.  For employees starting out at age 20 and assuming an average $50,000 salary over their working career, they would contribute about $5000 annually.  After 30 years of service the employees would be eligible for retirement (85 formula) having added some $300,000 in total to the pension fund.

At retirement, when the employees are 55, they would receive 2% of their average last five years’ salaries multiplied by their years of service.   In this highly simplified case that would amount to an annual pension of $30,000 per year (2% X 30 yrs. X $50,000).   Of course pension plans are a platform for investment which can earn capital gains, dividends and interest.

So even at a modest 3-5% return over the initial thirty years of paying into the fund, the retirees’ initial endowment would double or more over all that time.  That would give the pensioner over twenty years of getting back their own money – taking them well beyond their 75th year before their pension contributions finally run out.

Indexing the pension for inflation, which has been insignificant over the last two decades, would affect that calculation in the other direction.   And while those pensioners who live a long life will be a drain on the plan, those who die prematurely will allow the pension fund to accelerate.

pension benefits +There are competing types of pension funds.  Though under attack by right-wing think tanks, the defined benefit, with a fixed payout, is still the modus operandi for pension plans for teachers, hospital workers, provincial and municipal employees, crown corporations, financial institutions (banks and insurance companies) as well as a number of larger private sector organizations.

The defined benefit is also the formula used by our highly successful Canada Pension Plan.  However the current favourite of the chattering classes and the investment industry is something called a defined contribution plan, where the payout will depend strictly on how well the money had been invested.  This is akin to hiring a financial advisor, giving him/her your money and accepting the vagaries of the markets and the whims and/or skill of the advisor – the Casino Rama pension plan.

Still two thirds of Canadian workers don’t even have a workplace pension plan at all, let alone a defined benefit plan.  Former premier Wynne understood the frustration of those who had been excluded from the security provided by a registered pension plan.  She had proposed to ensure that all Ontario workers were covered by a plan comparable to the one government employees receive.  But the premier was forced to compromise in the face of opposition by other provinces, though not before forcing the federal government to increase CPP payouts for all Canadians.

Sears scoreboard

The failure of Sears as a corporation impacted pension benefits – Why?

There are a mess of private pension plans out there and why not?  What better way to get your corporate hands on a whole bunch of cash in a hurry, to pursue some risky investment or bail the corporation out in an economic downturn, than dipping into a find you control.   And because pension plans are tax-deductible, dipping into those assets is like getting money for nothing – at least the taxable amount.

Nortel pension

Nortel pensioners have had to take on a protracted court case to get some of their benefits.

And then there are the consequences of bankruptcy.  Look at Nortel, Stelco and now Sears – just the latest private plans to abuse the trust of their pensioners.  When it comes to collecting pensioners fall behind secured creditors, banks and bondholders in getting compensation after bankruptcy.

And if/when the companies eventually go into receivership it falls to governments to bailout the pension fund, as the Ontario government has done a couple times with Stelco.  But bailouts are never what the pension should have been – usually compensate to a fraction of entitlements.  And, of course, bailouts are undertaken with taxpayer dollars.  That is a fact and not an opinion.

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.     Tweet @rayzrivers



Background links:

Fact Vs Opinion –    Pension Facts –    Federal Pension Rules

Sears –     Stelco –    Nortel

Conversion of Plans –    More on Pensions – 

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New Rose Garden at the RBG opens to the public this weekend.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

June 22, 2018



The new Rose Garden in Hendrie Park, Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) will officially open to the public on Saturday, June 23rd. The occasion will include the Hamilton and Burlington Rose Society Annual Show.

Canadian shield roseMuch like the rejuvenated Rock Garden, the new Rose Garden embraces new designs and techniques that reflect a more modern, environmentally conscious approach to growing roses. One that people can implement in their home garden” said Jim Mack, RBG Head of Horticulture.

The new Rose Garden focuses on Ontario-hardy, disease resistant roses together with companion plants. Beneath these beneficial plant pairings is a trickle irrigation system. Deep roots, combined with a consistently maintained layer of mulch, means less artificial watering which promotes an eco-friendly approach.

pink roseThe companion plantings and advanced irrigation system creates a garden that is resilient and sustainable; a garden growing in healthy soil working together to attract beneficial insects that stave off pests.

Opened in 1967, the original Centennial Rose Garden showcased a large monoculture of hybrid tea and floribunda roses for nearly 50 years. Despite the best efforts of RBG’s horticulture team, the collection had suffered in recent years. Using environmentally-friendly treatments could not outweigh the reality that the garden was made up of disease-prone roses, further compromised by falling under the shadow of large shade trees.

In 2017, construction began on the rejuvenated garden, sacrificing a year of roses in order to take the garden in a bold new direction.

RBG Turner tea-houseHighlights of the new garden include approximately 3, 300 roses displaying 300 different cultivated varieties, 4, 500 companion plants and many new enhancements to the garden landscape. This includes upgraded pathways, fences, gazebos stairs and lighting as well as renovations to the Turner Pavilion Teahouse that overlooks the new garden. Education elements include an array of new interpretive signs, including the “story of roses” display, teaching visitors about the history of roses.

In 2017, Royal Botanical Gardens launched a $3 million fundraising campaign in support of the new garden and are currently raising the remaining $700-thousand. More information can be found at www.rbg.ca/rosegarden.

Rose garden layout

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Planners opting for 18 storeys at the SE corner James and Brant opposite city hall. 23 approved on the NE corner.

News 100 blueBy Staff

June 21st, 2018



Ward 2 city Councillor and a candidate for Mayor Marianne Meed Ward reports that City staff are recommending modified approval of an 18 storey high-rise at 409 Brant Street, opposite City Hall and across the street from the already approved 23 storey building at 421 Brant St.

409 with 423 shadowed

Looking south on Brant with the approved 23 storey structure shaded.

The developer, Revenue Properties were looking for 23 storeys – matching what has been approved on the NE corner of the intersection.

The recommendation from staff will go to the Planning and Development Committee; recommendations from this committee will go to City Council for a final decision.

The detailed staff report outlining the recommendation and rationale hasn’t yet been released, but should be available online and at City Hall by Friday June 29.

Meed Ward does not say how she got the information.

The city is circulating a notice to residents who participated in earlier meetings on the application and left their contact information; that my have been the source.

Staff will be recommending modified approval of the amendment to the City’s Planning and Development Committee of Council. Staff recommend approval of a mixed use building with a height up to 18 storeys (17 residential floors plus roof top amenity area), including 760m2 of commercial space at grade and 365 m2 of commercial or office space on the second floor, subject to significant design and public realm improvements, and a parking rate of 1.25 spaces per unit.

From Civic Square

Looking east from Civic Square – the approved 23 storey Carriage Gate project is shaded.

Meed Ward gives us her take on the development application:  The property is currently zoned Downtown Core Zone which permits mixed use buildings up to 4 storeys in height.

The property is designated Downtown Core which permits mixed use buildings of 4 to 8 storeys.

Some might wonder if the developments approved and proposed for the eastern side of Brant street opposite city hall don’t need a reality check.

The planners and city council approved a 23 storey structure on the north east corner of Brant and James; the Ontario Municipal Board ruled that a 27 storey structure could go up at Martha and Lakeshore; the Bridgewater is going to have a 22 storey condominium and the talk around the redevelopment of the Waterfront Hotel site includes mention of a possible 30 storey building.

Street - what is being taken downShould the developer of the 409 Brant property not want to accept the staff recommendation – they can appeal – but the appeal procedure is quite a bit different – the old Ontario Municipal Board process usually had the developers wining.  The Local Planning Act Tribunal is a new game that is yet untested,  Bet on the developer taking the staff recommendation to the LPAT.


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First annual Casey Cosgrove Memorial Golf Tournament at Hidden Lake July 19th

eventsred 100x100By Staff

June 21, 2018



Bryna and the rest of the Casey Cosgrove family are hosting the first annual Casey Cosgrove Memorial Golf Tournament.

If you’ve followed their story or knew Casey even a little bit then I don’t need to tell you how special he was (and continues to be) in his desire and ability to inspire and help others and his community.

We are hosting the first annual memorial golf tournament in his honour to help benefit others who are struggling through a similar story.

The event is July 19th (Casey’s #) and we are still looking for prize donations, silent auction items, hole sponsorships, volunteers, and of course player registrations…and no, you don’t need to be a golfer to play (there is a “fun” group of players).

casey_cosgrove_ golf graphicCasey Cosgrove Memorial Golf Tournament
Where: Hidden Lake Golf & Country Club
When: Thursday, July 19, 2018
Cost: $195PP includes golf, cart, lunch, dinner, and prizes

288 golfers, double shotgun at 1pm sharp

Your choice of round…either competitive 18 holes or fun 18 holes

Competitive 18 hole tourney for 144 “golfers” who stack their teams and are better “scorers” than golfers

Fun 18 hole tourney for those who don’t care how you score, maybe don’t golf much, but like sunshine and getting out with friends for a great cause

Long drive, closest to the hole, straightest drive competitions

Competitions on the fun 18 that we are going to keep quiet but geared to the event

Golfer arrival gifts, amazing prize tables, fantastic silent auction

Any and all help is appreciated. You can contact us at info@teamcaseygolf.ca

To register please go to: www.hamiltonhealth.ca/teamcaseygolf

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Candidate for Mayor wants to see commercial space included in the Solid Gold development

News 100 blueBy Staff

June 20th, 2018



During the Statutory meeting two weeks ago on the two tower development being proposed for the Solid Gold property on Plains Road, Mayor Goldring asked Tom Muir, an Aldershot resident, about the commercial space potential.

The proposed development is for a 12 storey apartment building that will run along Cooke; the ten storey will run along Plains Road. The rules call for 874 parking spaces – Vrancor, the developer proposed 581. The plan is for 450 units

Greg Woodruff, a candidate for the Office of Mayor claims: “This building could be configured to offer 32,000 square feet of contiguous commercial and 10,000 in the other building serviced by 100 surface parking spaces.

“That is actual commercial guys, and it’s possible in this building right now – this would give the Home Hardware a workable location or many others. We are driving businesses out forever.

Solid Gold replacement

Plains Road at Cooke.

Instead, they are pitching 99 residential surface spaces with residential units along Cooke Boulevard? This a no-no even in the most hard-core urbanist “lens”.
You don’t have living space at grade along a major street or residential parking. The “ground” is the limited resource.

There is not a single blade of grass on the thing. What a dystopian nightmare.

Solid G from south west corner PlainsThis is terrible urban design – does not represent good land use planning or compliance with the Provincial Policy Statement.

It’s clearly incompatible with the existing homes on Clearview Ave.

Compatibility is based on the neighbouring existing usage as far as I understand, not some imagined future usage.

Woodruff would make the “first level totally commercial, reserve the surface parking for the commercial.

Reduce the west tower to 6 stories. Reduce the east building to 3 stories for compatibility with the existing residential usage.

The public is going to discover that the Bus and Go that is imagined in future doesn’t go to anything except rows of condos and small offices. That’s not an attractive urban city, it’s a nightmare.

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Rich Harmony in Aldershot - Friday Night.-

eventsblue 100x100By Staff

June 20th, 2018



Richard Street and his Rich Harmony Singers plan on delighting you with some great Broadway choral music (and an outstanding piano accompanist in Ian Green) on Friday evening June 22nd, 7:30, at St. Matthew-on-the-Plains, Burlington (Aldershot).

Rich Harmony posterIn addition to the Cole Porter classics, there’ll be choral selections from some of your favourite shows, including “Chicago”, “42nd Street”, “A Chorus Line”, “Sweet Charity”.

If you happen to teach young children or have grandchildren of your own, they’ll more than likely be able to clue you in about “Moana”, “Tangled”, “Toy Story”, “Rocky III” and “Beauty and the Beast”.

But until you convince them, they’re unlikely to believe a group of [lively] seniors would dare attempt to sing some of their favourite songs (“You’re Welcome”, “I See the Light”, “You’ve Got a Friend in Me”, “Eye of the Tiger”, “How Does a Moment Last Forever”?)

If this kind of an evening of light, fun music drive on over to St. Matthew-on-the-Plains . Parking is behind the church – or across the road at Burger King (or maybe its McDonalds – a hamburger place anyway).

126 Plains Road East is east of Waterdown Road on the south side. 

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Just what is intensification going to do to Burlington - more than we have been told.

background 100By Pepper Parr

June 20th, 2018



There are decisions being made now about what this city is going to look like in five years.

With the possibility of an appeal of the city council decision to approve the 23 storey tower at Brant and James opposite city hall now dead and a building permit either issued or in the works one can ask – Is this building just a one off or is it the shape of things to come.?

Cogeco TV has a program hosted by Mark Carr – The Issue. It has a spotty audience, there was one occasion where no one called in for what was basically a one hour call in show. So – not much of an audience – but here are at times very good guests.

In a recent program Marty Staz and Mike Wallace, both realtors were talking about the matter of intensification and what it was going to do to us.

Marty Staz with Mak Carr

Mark Carr interview Marty Staz on Cogeco’s The Issue.

Marty has the look and the bearing of a serious executive – he is the vice chair of the Burlington Chamber of Commerce and is currently a candidate for the ward 1 city council seat. Mike Wallace is a candidate for the office of Mayor. He is a former city councillor and Burlington’s Member of Parliament for xx terms.

This edition of The Issue is well worth watching. Staz sets out what he thinks the city is faced with. The segment runs just shy of i5 minutes – worth your time.

The October election is going to be about how the next city council deals with what we are facing.
Link to the program is HERE


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Where does the election campaign money come from?

council 100x100By Pepper Parr

June 20th, 2018



Albert Facenda, a small Burlington developer, with distinct views of his own, made a comment on political donations where he appears to be skewing just what some candidates mean when they say they will not accept donations from developers.

Facenda says: “Since many business owners could benefit from council decisions. Taxi owners, building supply companies, arbourists. Paving companies, the list goes on and on. Will MMW (Marianne Meed Ward) keep an arm’s length relationship with them and refuse their personal donations. That slope gets quite slippery when you only exclude developers.”

election fundingThe province changed the rules about political campaign donations making it illegal to accept donations from corporations and unions. What the province wanted to end was a specific sector of the economy donating large sums of money to people running for council.

Meed Ward has taken a grass roots approach – she is looking for those $25 donations and perhaps $100 donations. She wants to see the campaign funds coming from a broad section of the community and not bunched up from the corporate sector.

When a corporation sends a candidate a cheque they expect their phone calls to be returned.

There is at least one current candidate that isn’t taking a dime from the public purse – the candidate is funding the campaign.

We are aware of another that has put the first $9000 into his campaign.

Each candidate knows how much they are allowed to spend – they get told what that amount is when they file their nomination papers.

In one of our more recent conversations with Meed Ward she said she wasn’t sure yet what she could spend – but she did have a number in her head as to what she expected to have to spend.

What gets raised and spent is made public when the campaign is over – it would be nice to know where the money is coming from before you vote.

How do you keep election campaign funding clean.  Choose the ones you like that reflect your values and send them a cheque.  Doesn’t have to be a big cheque; it shouldn’t be a big cheque.  Just help keep elections clean.

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Thieves pilfer purses while people visit the Holy Sepulchre Cemetery.

Crime 100By Staff

June 20th, 2019



There is no level to which a thief will not descend.

People visiting a cemetery park their cars and leave a purse, maybe a camera, maybe a small computer. They won’t need them during the visit to the burial plot they want to spend some time at.

One can almost imagine the conversation a thief would have with himself – no one will expect anyone to rob a car at a cemetery – but that is exactly what was done at the Holy Sepulchre Cemetery earlier this week.

Police have been investigating several thefts from vehicles that have occurred since the beginning of June in Burlington (Aldershot) at the Royal Botanical Gardens and Holy Sepulchre Cemetery.

Suspect(s) gained entry into several vehicles through unlocked doors and by smashing windows after which they stole purses and subsequently used stolen credit cards at various locations in Hamilton.

holy-sepulchre cemeteryOn June 18th 2018 investigators arrested Richard James BLASDELL (49-yrs) of Brantford for his involvement in these occurrences. He was released on a Promise to Appear in Milton Court on July 11th 2018 charged with the following offences:

• Theft under $5000 (three counts)
• Fraud under $5000 (two counts)
• Possession of property obtained by crime under $5000 (two counts)

Police are reminding the public of the following prevention tips:

• Ensure your unattended vehicle(s) are kept locked/secure
• Never leave personal identification or valuables in your vehicle
• Park in a well-lit and attended areas whenever possible
• Never leave spare keys in your vehicle
• If you have to leave valuables in your vehicle, lock them in your trunk. Don’t tempt thieves by leaving packages or purses in plain view or on the seat.
• Remove garage door openers, GPS navigation and cell phone devices & power cords from your vehicle or at the least, removed from view
• Consider installing CCTV / Surveillance cameras which can capture the crime and aid in suspect identification

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Greg Woodruff wants to be Mayor - files nomination papers.

council 100x100By Staff

June 20th, 2018



Greg Woodruff

Greg Woodruff

Aldershot Greg Woodruff has thrown his hat into the Burlington Mayoralty.

That decision has the potential to tip the scales – not in Woodruff’s favour.

Woodruff ran for the office of Regional Chair in the 2014 municipal election.

He has never held public office nor has he served on any Advisory committees.

His web site is at: gregwoodruff.com

Woodruff page

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ECoB withdraws its appeal - 421 Brant development is now a GO!

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

June 20th, 2018



It has been a bumpy road for ECoB. One of the small but very effective grass roots citizen organizations has lot yet another board member.

Jim Young threw the organization a serious curve when he suddenly resigned which reduced the organization to three board members.

Kerns - head slanted

Lisa Kerns one of the original ECoB board members resigned when she announced she was going to run for city council.

Lisa Kerns, a very effective ECoB member resigned when she announced her intention to run for the ward 2 city council seat.

ECoB – Engaged Citizens for Burlington was formed when some in the downtown core were appalled with a city council decision to approve a 23 storey tower opposite city hall.

The first ECoB meeting was held on the recreation room of one of the Lakeshore Road condominium recreation rooms. A number of people showed up with cheques in their pockets to fund the nascent organization.

It wasn’t all that clear what the organization was going to do. Were they in place to oppose the building a high rise towers in the downtown core?

Were they going to appeal any city decisions?

It took ECoB some time to find their footing but they did. When Mayor Goldring held what he called a Reverse Town Hall to address the concerns people had over intensification downtown the ECoB people came close to taking over his meeting when they walked into the meeting with a resolution that had been passed by ECoB group hours earlier.

Weeks later ECoB held a meeting that drew about 85 people and raised far more money than they expected.

421 Brant

The 23 storey Carriage Gate development will now get its building permit.

Their agenda began to become clearer. They would appeal the city decision to the LPAT, the organization that was created to replace the OMB.

That proved to be easier said than done. The number of days hat were available to file an appeal was not clear.

At one point the ECoB people showed up at city hall and were told they were too early – so they waited.

They were fortunate enough to have an experienced, retired municipal planner who was able to advise and counsel them on the process and procedures. Working ones way through municipal procedures is another world.

Model with Tanner

Deputy city manager Mary Lou Tanner, on the left, looking at the LEGO 3D model ECoB made showing what the downtown core could look like if high rise developments were permitted.

ECoB had a knack for catching the public’s imagination.  During the early debates on downtown intensification citizens wanted to city to create a model of what downtown might look like with high rose building.  The city said these things take time to create and they didn’t have the resources – ECoB found a way to let people know what the downtown core could look like if there were a lot of high rise condominiums – they creted their own 3D model with Lego.

ECoB did register an appeal to LPAT on the Council’s decision to allow the construction of a 23 storey building on the corner of Brant and James Street on June 13th, 2018.

They then withdrew the appeal?

Jim Young

Jim Young

– Why – Two Reasons – a letter of resignation from Jim Young, chair of ECoB which was sent to the City Clerk’s office indicating that he was not in favor of the appeal going forward on June 14th.

There were a number of issues behind the Young decision. One was an article that ran in the Toronto Star that mentioned a developer in Markham who was suing the City of Markham and two Markham residents who had signed the appeal application. They were being sued for ten million dollars.

This kind of law suit is issued by developers and people with a lot of money when they don’t like what media writes.

The Gazette was sued by Nicholas Leblovic in October 2012 for $1 million. The writ turned some of the blonde hair on the head of the wife I had at the time into grey – it marked the beginning of the end of that marriage.

Waterfront Advisory committee in happier days. City council voted to shut the committee down at the end of December. Chair Leblovic is thught to havebeen an ineffective leader that wasn't producing the results the city had hoped for.

Nicholas Leblovic, on the right, at the time Chair of the Waterfront Advisory committee on a tour of the Pump House in the Beachway.

The law suit went nowhere. Leblovic issued the writ then failed to follow up. The Gazette had to cover the costs – the lawyers are not cheap – and Leblovic got to go his merry way.

Issuing this kind of writ has been seen as an abuse of process; there is now legislation in Ontario to put a stop to this kind of thing.

ECoB questions a system that encourages residents to appeal decisions made by municipalities, yet fails to protect them from developers who can threaten lawsuits.

ECoB decided to withdraw the appeal. The city can now issue Carriage Gate a building permit and the 23 storey tower can be built.

Earlier this week Jim Young sent the Gazette a note saying: “I have put together a timeline of the events leading up to my resignation from ECoB and my reasons for resigning. It is fairly long and detailed. Are you interested in it?”

The Gazette said it was interested but we have yet to hear from Jim Young.

ECoB points out that it was created to be a voice for the residents. All organizations have internal issues. ECoB always indicated that the Municipal Election was important, in some ways, more important than the appeal.

True change will only come about with changes on Council.

While the withdrawing of the appeal application disappoints some, ECoB points out that it has been very active and will continue to be active.

ECOB Dec 13 #3

ECoB’s first public meeting

– ECoB held a community meeting to bring residents together in December.

– ECoB held a rally at City Hall

– ECoB held a very successful potential candidate workshop in February at Tansley Woods

– ECoB was featured twice on Your TV – The Issue – to bring residents issues about the proposed Official Plan to the public.

– ECoB was instrumental in having a story not only in The HamiltonSpectator, but also the Toronto Star.

– ECoB met with Mary-Lou Tanner and members of her staff to suggest ways of making residents a more integral part in the planning process. This did result in some minor changes.

– ECoB met with Eleanor McMahon to encourage Provincial involvement.

– ECoB met with the mayor and some of the Councillors who were prepared to hear our concerns.

ECoB Crowd Feb 22

ECoB’s meeting for people who were interested in running for public office.

– ECoB has been meeting with potential candidates in the upcoming Municipal Election.

– ECoB has rented venues for Ward Candidate Meetings that will be happening in the fall just before the municipal election

ECoB is more than just about appealing a decision to build the 23 storey tower at 421 Brant Street.

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City Council chamber getting a major upgrade giving the place a new look - maybe the look of the faces around the horseshoe will look different as well?


There was a time when city council has 17 members. The city has a seven member council – four people can decide major issues. Many want to see that changed.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

June 19th, 2019



No one lingered to reflect on all the things that have happened in the Council Chamber for more than a decade. The meeting of city council last night was the last that will take place in the Chamber until a new Council is sworn in after the October 22nd election.

Town Crier David Vollick reading the message from Gazette publisher Pepper Parr at Council in December of 2011.

Town Crier David Vollick reading a message to city Council.

The Chamber is going to be totally renovated with significantly upgraded technology. In the new Chamber every delegation will have a place to sit, and if we understood what we heard, delegations will be required to sit when they delegate.

Hopefully there will be a timer that delegations can see when they are speaking – the Chair has to cut in and remind speakers that they are running out of time.

Council meetings will take place in Room 247 which will have web casting equipment in place

Council Chamber April 2011

Better seating, better view of the material being shown on screens are hopefully part of the upgrades being done to the Council Chamber.

Jim Ryan addressing council 1978

Jim Ryan addressing council 1978

For those who watch Council meeting via the web cast hopefully Burlington will join other Halton municipalities and have a split screen that allows the viewing public to see the visuals that those in the Chamber have been able to see.

An upgrade to the quality of the visuals is badly needed and an automated voting system that is better than the embarrassment the city is using now.

At the close of the meeting city manager James Ridge offered to cut out a piece of the carpeting that lines the horseshoe to give council members as mementos. No one took him up on the offer but Councillor Taylor did say he might like dibs on his chair.

Frank McKeown, Mayor's Chief of Staff, attempts to fix the clock in Council Chambers. There are things that perhaps need fixing on the eighth floor.

Frank McKeown, Mayor’s Chief of Staff at the time, attempts to fix the clock in Council Chambers.

The big question on the seating arrangement will be who will occupy the chair usually used by the city manager. His contract is thought to be coming up for renewal and there are some people who are described as heavy hitters who don’t think he has earned a second contract and others who don’t think he will be a good fit for what has the potential to be a much different council – at least three of the seven seat will have new faces.

Craven of ward 1 and Taylor of ward 3 have announced retirements and Meed Ward in ward 2 is running for Mayor – that means at least three new faces

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Six candidates in ward 1 - slim pickings so far.

council 100x100By Pepper Parr

June 19th, 2018


UPDATE: Marty Staz advised the Gazette that he has “over 25 years of roots in Ward 1 and is in the process of a search for a new home in the Ward.

There are now six candidates running for the ward 1 city council seat. It is beginning to approach the ten that ran for office in ward 6 during the 2014 election.

Despite there being six candidates – the pickings are pretty slim.

The most recent entry is Judy Worsley, the woman who runs the Aldershot BIA, said to have been hand-picked by current council member Rick Craven.


Jason Boelhouwer, centre was seen at municipal event before the last election – then he dropped out of site.

Jason Boelhouwer
163 Old Orchard Rd., Burlington, ON, L7T 2G2

Boelhouwer ran in the 2014 election – he was no match for Rick Craven.  Doesn’t bring much to the table.  Other than showing up at a few public meetings as a participant – we haven’t heard much from Boelhouwer

Kelvin Galbraith
93 Queen Mary Ave., Burlington, ON

Arlene Iantomasi
772 Old York Rd., Burlington, ON, L7P 4X9

Rene Papin

Rene Papin with presumptive Burlington MPP Jane McKenna

René Papin

Papin doesn’t give a home address – believed to live outside the ward. Papin, his sister is a school board trustee, has wanted to hold public office for some time.  He was a contender as the PC candidate in the the 2011 provincial election.  He was asked to step aside – and did.

Marty Staz
773 Miriam Cres. Burlington, ON, L7T 1C7

Staz lives out of the ward.  do fully understand Aldershot you really have to live in Aldershot. It is a community with a very distinct mind-set that Councillor Craven tapped into very successfully.  It may be some time before Aldershot sees another politician who can hold the ward the way Craven has, despite his shorrtcomings.

Worsley Judy

Judy Worsley, Executive Director of the BIA wants to move up the food chain – can she create her own profile and be effective?

Judy Worsley
629 Cedar Ave., Burlington, ON, L7T 2R4

Worsley is thought to be the candidate of choice for retiring ward 1 council member Rick Craven.  He has a well oiled campaign team that just might have enough life in it to give the seat to Worsley.  The question many ask is: will it be Worsley speaking or will she be just a puppet for Craven.  She is going to have to craft her own profile and convince the voters that she is her own person.

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Indigenous people will be recognized at every council meeting - hopefully the public will remember poor old Joe Brant too.

News 100 redBy Staff

June 19th, 2018



At the start of Standing Committee and Council meetings the chair will read a Land Acknowledgement statement.

mississaugas-new-credit-first-nation-canada“Burlington as we know it today is rich in history and modern traditions of many First Nations and the Métis. From the Anishinaabeg to the Haudenosaunee, and the Métis – our lands spanning from Lake Ontario to the Niagara Escarpment are steeped in Indigenous history.

“The territory is mutually covered by the Dish with One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant, an agreement between the Iroquois Confederacy, the Ojibway and other allied Nations to peaceably share and care for the resources around the Great Lakes.

“We would like to acknowledge that the land on which we gather is part of the Treaty Lands and Territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit.”

The national anthem will be sung at the start of City Council meetings.

For the next several days the Brant Street Pier will be lit with colours representing each of the Indigenous people of Canada: June 19, the Metis; June 20, the Inuit; and June 21, Six Nations of the Grand River First Nation.

Oblong great sunrise - think


In this portrait Joseph Brant is seen wearing the gorget given to him by King George III. That gorget is the most important piece in the collection at the Joseph Brant Museum.

In this portrait Joseph Brant is seen wearing the gorget given to him by King George III. That gorget is the most important piece in the collection at the Joseph Brant Museum.

It will be interesting to learn just how much more information there will be about Joseph Brant at the Joseph Brant Museum when it completes its transformation. In the past there has been just a pretty pathetic display of material.

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Police report that 37% of all tobacco now being sold is un-taxed and illegal

News 100 blueBy Staff

June 19th, 2019



Anyone buying illegal tobacco products is funding organized crime.

Cigarette profits aThat’s the message Crime Stoppers of Halton is delivering to the public through a promotional campaign to help combat the distribution of illegally manufactured cigarettes.

The initiative is also part of a campaign by several Crime Stoppers programs to create awareness and stop the sale of contraband tobacco products across the Greater Toronto Area.

“We want people to know they are helping finance organized crime activity such as drug smuggling, gun running and human trafficking,” said Detective Constable Jodi Richmond, police coordinator of Halton Crime Stoppers. “A lot of this criminal activity is organized by outlaw motorcycle gangs and the cost to taxpayers runs into the billions of dollars.”

Jodi Thomson Crime StoppersRichmond also said an increasing number of fire deaths in Ontario are now being blamed on illegal cigarettes which are made without self-extinguishing safeguards.

“So not only are people who buy contraband cigarettes helping organized crime to thrive, but they are also putting lives at risk,” she said. “It’s definitely not a victimless crime.”

Dave Bryans, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ontario Convenience Stores Association said “The Ontario Convenience Stores are pleased to stand with Halton Crime Stoppers in fight against contraband tobacco that is infiltrating every community in Ontario.

“Today we see contraband reaching epidemic proportions at 37% of all tobacco now being untaxed and illegal with highs in Northern Ontario of 65% +. We are hoping the new PC Government will work with Crime Stoppers and the Convenience Store sector to address this issue and look for solutions to minimize the delivery system in Ontario.”

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