Do you have an idea for the bird that best represents the city?

By Staff

January 9th, 2020



Stand By says the city motto.

The city has a crest with images that links to the agricultural past.

The city has a flag.

It hasn’t chosen a flower nor has it chosen a mascot – the Jefferson Salamander is a cinch for that category.

Soon the city might have decided upon a bird that represents some of what the city stands for.

There are a few days left to nominate a City Bird

The Bird Friendly Hamilton Burlington community team is seeking nominations from the public for a choice of a “City Bird” for Burlington (and one for Hamilton as well).

Is there a species of bird you think has a special connection to Burlington?

Nominations must be submitted by midnight of Friday, January 14th. Nominations will be reviewed by the BFHB team and short-listed to the top 5 to 10 most suitable bird species to represent the city. The final vote to select one City Bird will be put to the public in an online poll to follow, in late January 2022.

The City Bird Nomination Form is HERE:

Bird Friendly Hamilton Burlington is working to get both Burlington and Hamilton certified as Bird Friendly Cities in 2022, under the new Nature Canada program. Selecting a “City Bird” is part of the certification process.

To learn more about Bird Friendly City:

Facebook: Bird Friendly Hamilton Burlington
Twitter: @BFCHamBurl
Instagram: birdfriendly.hamburl

Nature Canada’s Bird Friendly City webpage:

Bird Friendly City: A Certification Program

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Lawson Hunter interviews Gazette publisher and former Council member Rick Craven - should be a hoot.

By Pepper Parr

January 7th, 2022



Lawson Hunter is one of those Burlingtonians who gets involved.

Lawson Hunter delegating before Burlington City Council

He has delegated at city hall on numerous occasions and served on the Board of a number of organizations.

He has a regular podcast he does each week called Burlington NOW on which he interviews people he thinks are interesting.

He was the first person to interview Scott Wallace and get part of the unfortunate story about the closure of Burlington Taxi out to the public.

Lawson Hunter also does a regular program on CFMU, the McMaster University radio station.

Lawson gave me a call before the end of 2021 and asked if I  would go on the air with him and talk about how we all got through that year.

I am a newspaper person:; radio and TV were never mediums I worked with.  I talk too fast for radio and my ears are too big for television.

But a chance to promote the Gazette was not something I wanted to miss.

The conversation we had is being broadcast over the McMaster University radio station – CFMU.

Link to that broadcast is HERE

The interview will air live at 5pm Monday on CFMU-FM 93.3. If you are in Burlington you should be able to pick up the interview on your radio.  If not click on the link above at 5:00 pm

I was advised that I share the program with former Councillor Rick Craven – hearing the differences in our opinions should be a hoot.


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And we thought these things were behind us - Telephone Town Hall on the 19th

By Staff

January 7th, 2022



City will host another COVID-19 Telephone Town Hall on Jan. 19 at 6:30 p.m.

The City of Burlington will host its eleventh COVID-19 telephone town hall event.

The event provides an opportunity for the community to hear how this latest Covid19 variant is impacting us and a chance to ask questions about the on-going COVID-19 pandemic and how it is impacting city programs and services.

The event will be hosted by Mayor Marianne Meed Ward, who will be joined by a panel of local leaders, including representatives from Joseph Brant Hospital, to help answer residents’ questions.

How to Participate

Residents who would like to participate in the town hall can do so in the following ways:
Register in advance: Burlington residential phone numbers will be randomly selected to be part of the telephone town hall. Residents who would like to be added to the telephone call list can email by noon on Jan. 18, 2022.

If you registered for any of the previous town halls, you are not required to register your phone number a second time. If you wish to have your phone number removed from the call list, please email by noon on Jan. 18, 2022.

Join by telephone: Anyone who does not receive a telephone invitation can call 1-800-759-5308 just before 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 19 to join the town hall.

For those individuals calling in, please be advised more than one attempt may be required due to the high volume of traffic on the phone lines. If the first call does not connect, please hang up and dial the 1-800 number again.

Listen to audio: Live audio from the Jan. 19 town hall will be broadcast on YourTV, channel 700 on Cogeco and on the YourTV Halton YouTube page.

Once the call begins, a moderator will provide participants with instructions for how to submit their questions to the leadership panel.

A recording and transcript of the town hall will be posted online after Jan. 19 

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New disruptions on the GO Lakeshore Westbound service

By Staff

January 6th, 2022



Another hurdle.

Lakeshore West GO train customers will need to check their schedules this month as construction on the Hurontario light rail transit (LRT) project will affect some trains trips in January.

Hurontario LRT construction continues to move forward in Mississauga at Port Credit GO Station. The work will affect some Lakeshore West GO train service this month. Metrolinx News has the latest information GO customers.

Let’s start with the most significant service change, happening on Saturday, Jan. 8.

These service changes mean there will be no GO train service between Union Station and Oakville GO throughout the day.

A new signal bridge is installed over the tracks

Signal platform work will disrupt service on the GO Lakeshore west service.

Some service on the Lakeshore West corridor will be impacted by ongoing work.

GO trains will still run hourly between West Harbour GO and Oakville GO and half hourly between Aldershot GO and Oakville GO where buses will be available to take customers between Oakville GO and Union Station Bus Terminal. Customers who use Long Branch, Mimico or Exhibition GO will not have bus or train service and will have to use local transit providers.

Why is this happening? Metrolinx is carrying out important work related to the construction of the Hurontario LRT project near Port Credit GO Station which can only take place when trains are not running.

Weekday service changes in January
There will also be some temporary service changes to Lakeshore West GO train service throughout January.
These changes will take place Jan. 6, 13, 18-21, after 9:30 p.m. on weekdays.

Just like the Jan. 8 disruption, there will be no train service between Union Station and Oakville GO while crews work on building the Hurontario LRT near Port Credit GO.

Replacement buses will be available at Oakville, Clarkson, and Port Credit GO to get customers to the Union Station Bus Terminal and back again, directly from the GO station’s bus loop.

Here’s what you need to know for January 6, 13 and 18-21:

GO train service will be a little on the hectic side for parts of January – getting signal platforms in place is critical for that day that 15 minute service is available.


The 8:45 p.m. Union Station – 10:03 p.m. West Harbour GO train is the last westbound train to make all stops to West Harbour GO
There will be a bus bridge between Union Station Bus Terminal and Oakville GO

Replacement buses will not service Exhibition, Mimico, and Long Branch GO Stations during the service adjustment.

Similar impacts to Lakeshore West GO train service are planned for February and March. Metrolinx will update customers as these impacts to service are finalized.

Oh Joy!

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Webinar for not for profit organizations - If you are a board member or a leader you don't want to miss this event.

By Staff

January 6th, 2022



Burlington is blessed with a number of not for profit organizations that serve the public very well.

The people working for those organizations don’t earn a lot of money and for many it is a constant struggle.

The provincial level has brought in some changes to the legislation that governs how they are to operate.
Governance issues are always complex and take time to get used to.

Ontario’s Not-for-Profit Corporations Act (ONCA) was proclaimed on October 19, 2021 and nonprofits have three years to update their bylaws and letters patent to comply.

Benjamin Miller is a staff lawyer on the Nonprofit Law Ontario project of Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO) He is presenting in a webinar on January 20th, If you are part of the not for profit sector this is an event you want to take part in – especially for the Board members.

The webinar will walk through what is new in the ONCA, steps nonprofits need to take to transition to the ONCA, and how Community Legal Education Ontario’s (CLEO) free resources can help you create ONCA compliant bylaws from scratch or adapt your current bylaws.

Ontario’s Not-for-Profit Corporations Act (ONCA) replaced Ontario’s Corporations Act on October 19, 2021. To learn more visit

Join us:
Ontario Not-For-Profit Corporations Act (ONCA) Transition Presentation
Thursday, January 20, 2022
9:30 am – 11:00 am
Free event via Zoom

This session is suitable for: Organizations already incorporated under Ontario’s Corporations Act or a special Act.

This session is NOT for:
– Organizations thinking about incorporating
– Organizations incorporated under Canada Not-for-Profit Corporations Act
– Organizations incorporated under Co-operative Corporations Act, or
– Other statutes outside of Canada

Benjamin Miller (he/him) is a staff lawyer on the Nonprofit Law Ontario project of Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO) where he focuses on nonprofit and charity law and policy. Over the past 4 years at CLEO, Benjamin has answered hundreds of nonprofit law questions and developed an online interactive bylaw builder for the ONCA. Benjamin also works at the Ontario Nonprofit Network and has worked at the Canada Revenue Agency in the past. Benjamin holds a JD/MPP from the University of Toronto and an MA in political theory from the University of Ottawa.

Required: Pre-Session Questionnaire   (30 seconds)

Register here: Registration closing on Tuesday January 18, 2022


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Hearing directly from municipal and Regional leadership would be useful at this point

By Staff

January 4th, 2020



Support from the leadership at the provincial, regional and municipal levels are going to be given by media release.

The Premier laid down the decision to move back to Stage 2 for a 21 day period.

Mayor Meed Ward on the porch of her home preparing to do a YouTube broadcast during the early days of the pandemic.

Nothing in the way of a message from the Mayor (unless you count the quote at the end of this article) or the Regional Chair. We have a Mayor who will get out on the street to support the front line workers at the hospital but unable to find a way to put together a message on YouTube or work with the City Administration to put something out on the city web site.

Could our Mayor not wear the Chain of Office and sit in the Council Chamber and talk to the public.

In 2018 when she was running as a member of Council she asked people to not just vote for her but to trust her.

Your Worship – the public needs to be able to demonstrate that you have their trust and they will work with you.
Please – work with them.

The impacts on City services as Ontario moves to modified Step Two of the Road map to Re-open are as follows:

The Province of Ontario has announced a return to a modified Step Two of the Road map to Re-open with new public health measures to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The following temporary changes will be in place from Jan. 5 until at least Jan. 27, 2022.

Recreation Changes
• City of Burlington facilities for indoor sports, recreation and fitness activities will be closed, and the start of all in-person Winter programs will be postponed

• All indoor programming, including recreation courses and drop-ins are cancelled or have transitioned to online. Registered participants and pass holders are being contacted directly, and those who wish to withdraw for a full refund may do so

• Facility rentals at City recreation locations, as well as Halton District School Board and Halton Catholic District School Board are cancelled. Renters are being contacted with details around rental contract adjustments and credits

• Faith-based rentals and renters who provide child care may continue to operate in modified Step 2

• Registered recreational virtual programming will continue, and online registration can be found at Options to stay active at home are also available online at

There are still opportunities to be active for your physical and mental health, including:

• tobogganing, neighbourhood rinks and parks and open spaces. Please stay off any artificial turf as it can be easily damaged during winter.

One of the places where people can get outdoors, exercise and maintain social distancing. Registration necessary.

• The Burlington Rotary Centennial Pond is open with pre-registration required for outdoor skating. Online registration opens 25-hours in advance of the skate time at Please remember to complete COVID-19 screening before arrival for your skate.

• The Play Lending Library has outdoor equipment to borrow. Contactless pick up and drop off is available at Brant Hills Community Centre at 2255 Brant St. and a full listing of equipment is available at

Impacts to other city services
Service Burlington
City Hall, located at 426 Brant St., remains open for in-person service by appointment only for commissioning services and marriage licences. Walk-ins are not permitted.

Please visit, or call 905-335-7777 to book your appointment. Residents can also visit to access a variety of City services online.

Service Burlington is available to answer questions by phone during regular business hours, at 905-335-7777 and
Burlington Transit

Burlington Transit will run a COVID-emergency schedule beginning Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022. For schedules and routes, visit

Halton Court Services
The Court administration counter services at 4085 Palladium Way will remain open for in-person services from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday. Where possible, members of the public are encouraged to access court administration services online by email at or on the Halton Court website at Halton Court Services.

Parking Services
Parking enforcement requests and parking exemptions may be delayed. Urgent parking enforcement requests posing a safety concern will be given priority.

Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

For more information on the City’s COVID-19 response, visit

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward said:  “We know how difficult it is to once again face restrictions to slow the spread of Covid-19. These last two years have been so hard and you’ve all made so many sacrifices. Thank you for hanging in and caring for each other. We’ll get through this.

“Our Emergency Control Group has met regularly throughout the holidays to review the impact of recent announcements on City services, so we can respond appropriately to this rapidly changing situation. Our key focus remains delivering the essential services you count on, while keeping staff and residents safe.”

Links and Resources
• Province of Ontario media release:
COVID-19 Resources

• For information about COVID-19 in Halton Region, including the latest public health guidance and the status of COVID-19 cases, please visit

• Community questions and requests regarding City of Burlington services can be directed to Service Burlington by phone at 905-335-7777, by email at or online

• Residents can stay informed at as well as on our social media channels: @cityburlington on Twitter and

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ONE Burlington plans a virtual event to celebrate the diversity of faith and culture in Burlington

By Staff

December 31st, 2021



With a foundation in faith, ONE Burlington (OB) celebrates the diversity of faith and culture in Burlington, Halton and area, by organizing engaging events that recognize the dynamic links between faith, cultural, environmental and service initiatives in our communities. We invite you to share in our upcoming seasonal events for winter 2022.

In recent winters, our events included World Religion Day, World InterFaith Harmony Week, the Share the Love Food Bank Drive and Black History Month – events endorsed by the InterFaith Council of Halton, the InterFaith Development Education Association, the Halton Multicultural Council and the Hamilton InterFaith Peace Group.

Our next event is World Religion Day (WRD) which is celebrated in January. On Sunday January 16th  2022 our online WRD will bring believers from different world religions together to discuss the future of faith from the perspective of their own. After WRD Simcoe (1pm) and WRD Durham (2pm), WRD Halton / Hamilton begins at 3pm.

The keynote presentation is by Dr. Brian Carwana from Encounter World Religions Centre, Guelph. Other speakers  are Hanadi Al-Masri of the Halton Multicultural Council, Rabbi Jordan Cohen of Temple Anshe Sholom in Hamilton, media personality Reverend Michael Coren of St. Christopher’s Church in Burlington,  Sita Jayaraman of the Halton Catholic District School Board, and Ervad Mehbad Dastur of the Ontario Zoroastrian Community Foundation in Oakville.

Participants and attendees must register for our WRD Halton / Hamilton event through this Zoom Registration link:

ONE Burlington events are free and funded in part by the City of Burlington and the Government of Canada. If you don’t want to receive eMail notices about our events, please let us know by entering UnSubscribe in the body and/or Subject line of a Reply eMail. If you’ve requested this before, we apologize and will double check.


Best wishes to you and yours for 2022,  from the ONE Burlington Executive and Event Committees


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Hospital under pressure - asks that only the really ill attend

By Pepper Parr

January 1st, 2022



The Joseph Brant Hospital put the following on their web site:

Hospital visits

This wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has placed Joseph Brant Hospital’s Emergency Department under pressure.

Joseph Brant Hospital – under pressure.

If you have mild COVID-19 symptoms, you do not need to come to the ED. Coming to the ED risks exposing vulnerable people to the virus. Call your primary care provider or TeleHealth Ontario for advice on managing mild COVID-19 symptoms at home.

We understand the challenges involved in obtaining PCR testing, but our ED cannot administer COVID-19 tests upon request. If you are eligible under new provincial guidelines, you may book your COVID-19 test at

If you visit the ED, you will be seen based on the severity of your illness. Because of the high volume of patients, many of whom arrive by ambulance, please expect longer than normal waiting times to be seen by a physician.

The JBH Emergency Department is safe and our nurses and doctors are ready to care for those patients who need our help the most. Please help us by saving the ED for emergencies.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

It’s not the most reassuring statement.  A comment from a reader:  “Right now my friend we are all on the same ship and at the mercy of the winds because I don’t think there is anyone at the wheel and if there is he or she does not know how to read a compass and they don’t have any charts to guide them.”

The province no longer has access to the raw data – they have stopped counting the new infections and are instead counting the people who have been admitted to hospital and those in an ICU beds.

Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario Medical Officer of Health

Dr. Kieran Moore, the Provincial Medical Officer of Health spoke to the public yesterday (Friday) and did his best to assure people that while things were tough everyone is going to have to tough it out while we all deal with a very very contagious virus that does not appear to be as damaging as the Delta version of Covid19.

There will be all kinds of misinformation out there – go to original sources and listen to the details carefully.  We have not faced anything like this before..

The medical people are telling us to wear masks, be with people who are fully vaccinated – get fully vaccinated and stay six feet away from people when you can.

Related news stories.

Medical Officer of Health updates public

Current rules on how the pandemic in Ontario is being managed.   Who gets what and where do they go

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Summer of 2021 had no real RibFest; no Sound of Music; no Canada celebration but an election no one wanted

By Ryan O’Dowd: Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

December 29th, 2021


The worst of the pandemic was over, for the time being, or so we thought – July was a month of a cultural boom for Burlington.

A dark cloud hung over Canada Day as the national zeitgeist remained contemplative over Canadian identity and its relationship to residential schools and a broader problematic history with Indigenous peoples.

Nevertheless, Burlington pressed onwards.  The Sound of Music put on a virtual show featuring some of our top local talent. It wasn’t the same as spending a weekend at a rapturous, muddy Spencer Smith Park enjoying the spectacle but the event was a solid effort to entertain Burlington in a safe, socially distanced way.

The Mayor and a city Councillor were featured in an online reading rendition of Dangerous Liaisons.

By the end of the previous month, online entertainment in Burlington consisted of City Staff and the Mayor starring in productions of Dangerous Liaisons and The Odd Couple. This reporter is sure they did a fine job but is equally as sure they were happy to see the professional entertainers back. The Sound of Music featured Indigenous speakers but as a Gazette contributor pointed out they didn’t showcase any Indigenous artists, a missed opportunity, all things considered.

Citizens Group continues with a long drawn out protest over plans for an enlargement of the Nelson quarry.

Education-based events came out of the Performing Arts Centre, which hosted a mid-July Musical Theatre Week. The Burlington Public Library added items to their lending program to encourage outdoor fun, including bikes, games, and hobby items (such as bird watching kits and archery sets).

The library was a great source of entertainment throughout the pandemic, seeing a 103% increase in eCheckouts of books (they also expanded their collection) after closing their doors. Brant Museum re-opened featuring a space exhibit. Elsewhere, the community was beginning to be able to organize again, a bedrock of a functional democracy.

CORE Burlington (Conserving our Rural Ecosystems) hosted their first event since the start of the pandemic to oppose Nelson Aggregate’s Mount Nemo quarry expansion application.

The City of Burlington invested $25,200 into the 2021 Neighbourhood Community Matching Fund recipients. The community investment went towards three community projects, focused on enhancing infrastructure amenities within parks, gardens, and buildings on public lands or on lands that are accessible to the public. The winners were Grow for Change Urban Farm Community Therapeutic Programs, The Orchard Community Garden Project, and Community Garden in Roseland.

City Council prepared to break for the summer but still had their share of business. They began work on the 2022 budget, more on this in the final quarter – an early figure included a city tax increase of 5.57%.

On July 6th Laura Boyd, Executive Director of Human Resources, gave a presentation to staff on the problems the City is facing to attract needed staff, and to keep the staff they had. Despite heading into summer break the City remained in a declared State of Emergency which put the day-to-day running of the city in the hands of the Emergency Control Group (ECG).  As a result, Council gave the city manager delegated authority to spend $250,000 without referring to the council before getting the cheque signed in case of an urgent matter, he just had to tell them how many times he spent $250,000.

On July 12th the City had to pony up $165,000 to get parking sensors in downtown Burlington that were accurate, this was a fix to a problem in the completion of a project allotted $525,000 in 2017. Gazette readers wondered if we needed sensors tabulating the number of cars in a parking lot and expressed frustration over the growing costs. The City of Burlington announced the appointment of Maciej Jurczyk as the City Auditor starting August 16, who, arriving at a tumultuous financial time, would surely have his work cut out for him.

The Rainbow Crosswalks were a story that destined to have a long run. Expect them to be an election issue at the end of the year we are going into.

Elsewhere, the Gazette continued to follow the rainbow crosswalks story, aside from the vote on location (right in front of the Halton Catholic School Board office), another story was brewing. The Gazette reported belief from observers that Marianne Meed Ward threw three of her council colleagues under the bus when they voted against the Mayor to have six additional rainbow crosswalks done as soon as possible, rather than the more fiscally prudent approach of adding one each year. The Mayor wanted to again raid reserve funds to pay for the additional six – Kearns, Stolte, and Sharman had no problem with the crosswalks – just not all at the same time. The Mayor tweeted out thanks to her councillors other than Kearns, Stolte, and Sharman, which some took as a suggestion they didn’t support the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, which was not the case.

As for regional growth plans, big problems for the city were on the horizon. That sentence is quite literal as big developments in downtown Burlington, begun under the former Major Transit Station Area and Urban Growth Center designations, looked impossible to stop. The Gazette congratulated the Mayor and Council on their achievement in shifting these designations to keep high-rises out of downtown Burlington but some of them were poised to be grandfathered in while the City’s Official Plan stalled. After all the fights, including some successful ones the City waged with the Region, downtown Burlington was fated to be forever changed. The City won but lost.

Halton Regional Police Services announced their use of the Brave App, designed to connect people at risk of overdose with the help they need: an ally they can talk to, a human supporter to help them stay safe, and digital monitoring technology to help them when they’re in danger. The app connects them with a community of overdose responders, and/or professional emergency first responders. The use of the app was in response to what they called an overdose crisis in the community.

Local wheelchair basket player Melanie Hawtin joined the Canadian Team representing Canada at the Tokyo 2021 Paralympics.

On July 20th , a local wheelchair basket player, Melanie Hawtin, was announced to join the Canadian Team representing Canada at the Tokyo 2021 Paralympics.

Rumblings of a federal election call began early in August. In preparation, the Green Party announced their candidate, a young man named Christian Cullis, on August 10th. On August 12th the Gazette began investigating rumours of a Burlington People’s Party candidate, who was revealed to be Michael Bator shortly thereafter.

On August 15th the Gazette reported on some conveniently timed Burlington investment announcements by MP and Cabinet Minister Karina Gould who used the Rock Garden in Hamilton to announce that the federal government had come up with $579, 000 from the Great Lakes Action Plan V – Great Lakes Sustainability Fund for the RBG’s Wetland Rehabilitation Program and the City of Burlington’s Grindstone Creek Erosion Control Planning. The RBG would be receiving $425,000 for their program, while the City will be receiving $154,000.

Ahead of the election call Gazette field reporters surveyed Burlingtonians about their feelings on the election, most felt it was unnecessary, irresponsible, even a dereliction of duty by the federal government in some cases.

Others shrugged it off, believing whoever was in power would make a similar gambit if they liked their chances to re-election. Nevertheless, the election was called on August 15th, that it was called at all would remain a defining election issue.

The Gazette began profiling the players, starting with every major party candidate in Burlington and spoke to those candidates who were interested. In August the Gazette profiled Gould, who championed the $10 a day child care program as the cause dearest to her (upon re-election she would be named Minister of Families, Children, and Social Development). NDP candidate, Nick Page, and the Green Party’s Cullis, shared similar visions of a more equitable society and saw emerging from the pandemic as the opportune moment to consider some foundational changes.

Page and Cullis were so closely aligned that when the NDP candidate pitched proportional representation his pitch was that the Green Party would have a bigger voice in influencing climate change. It was an example that had our editor run a piece with the question “huh?” in the headline. The Gazette’s fruitless efforts to speak to Conservative candidate, Emily Brown, were well documented. They had to be after the first piece on Brown sent readers into a tizzy.

Emily Brown, federal Conservative candidate for Burlington is ranked as a sharp shooter – missed the bulls-eye during the election.

Brown neglected to engage with the media herself so the Gazette dug into what information was available, at the heart of her platform was protecting gun owner’s rights. It was an issue Brown was extremely passionate about, she is an accomplished shooter and held several positions within local shooting groups. For whatever reason Brown supporters didn’t like this, a self-identified, core tenant of her campaign being highlighted, they objected greatly to any Brown article without any factual objections.

NDP sign defaced during the federal election.

Early in the campaign, Oakville/North Burlington NDP candidate Lenaee Dupuis had a lawn sign vandalized with the words “No Commies” spray-painted on it, which would prove to set a regrettable tone for the campaign. The race was afoot and would continue into September.

With City Hall off for the summer municipal affairs in Burlington went mostly quiet, but regional development disputes continued to pile up. Mayor Meed Ward had thus far succeeded – there are new Urban Growth Centre boundaries in place and once the Official Plan gets completely approved – it was in the hands of the Ministry of Housing and Municipal Affairs –all it had to do was get through the 40 some odd organizations appealing – to become the law of the land. But business at Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) moves glacially. The 40+ people and organizations appealing the adopted but not in force Official Plan wanted to see time frames and firm commitments from the City of Burlington and Region of Halton in order to bring the appeals to a conclusion.

Instead, proceedings got kicked further down the road when the city and region failed to provide a consolidated list of issues by the assigned deadline. The future of development in Burlington hung in the balance and it seemed like the OLT met every couple of months just to schedule their next meeting and break for lunch.

In other city news, staff would be required to be vaccinated. On August 24th an application was made for a holiday market on the Elgin promenade, with no word on who made the application, this story would develop as the year went on.

The walkway at Crawford Lake was a popular destination once people were able to get out.

For most of Burlington not too deeply entrenched in the mire of politicking, August was another promising month. Hassaan Basit, President, and CEO of Conservation Halton said that from January until August, their parks saw around 850,000 visitors, which is a 30 to 40 percent increase from last year. People were getting out in droves, more people were being vaccinated, more businesses were open, the comparatively rosy COVID-19 outlook in July continued in August, as opposed to the taking one step forward and two back we’d grown accustomed to.

The Gift of Giving Back operated an event different from what it was best known for. From its inaugural 2007 event up until 2019 the Gift of Giving Back would pack gymnasiums full of food bins with the help of community sports teams and students.

COVID-19 put a halt to their traditional food collection method in 2020, but they still found ways to contribute.

The Royal Botanical Gardens hosted an Enchanted Garden Tour, a full kilometer long, leading through the Rock Gardens and hosting six different stations for kids to learn about this year’s theme, the monarch butterfly. Kids clad in fairy wings as colourful as the monarch butterflies themselves were giddy on the tour. Burlington Artscape showed off local artists who lent their time to create paintings on leaf canvases sold in support of the Joseph Brant Hospital Foundation.

Respecting the social distancing rules was easier said than done at the August outdoor patio jazz event at the Performing Arts Centre

The Performing Art Center put on sold-out jazz shows on patios, not a computer screen, patios sat with real live people in the flesh.  Live shows were put on by Bling International at the pier. The live music events were in recognition and celebration of Black, African, Caribbean, Canadian appreciation month.

The federal election dominated much of September. The Gazette interviewed candidates across Burlington’s three constituencies and by the time ballots were cast most major party candidates had participated. Emerging issues among all candidates included COVID-19 recovery and vaccine passports, housing, cost of living, climate change, reconciliation with Indigenous communities, and that the election itself was taking place at all.

Environmental debates took place, which Conservative candidates in Burlington and Oakville/North Burlington opted to avoid causing latecomer Oakville/North Burlington Green Party candidate, Bruno Sousa, to slam their absences as “infuriating.”

As election night approached, Gazette reporters took to the streets to get a sense of the biggest issues on the public’s mind, there was much overlap with the candidates there. The majority of those surveyed still didn’t want an election to take place, but it had shrunk to a slight majority with nearly half of respondents split between being in favour of the election happening or not counting it among their priorities issue-wise. The Canadian Coalition for Firearm Rights arrived in Burlington just before the election. In a note to their members, they said they were there so “voters can learn the truth about the Liberal party. The mainstream media will never give voters an honest overview of a future under more Liberal government.” It’s the kind of fringe language that might’ve done more harm than good but at this juncture, this kind of discourse had been a reality of the campaign.

Burlington MP Karina Gould wearing her campaign colours campaigned harder than she had ever campaigned before – and won – again. Same with van Koeverden, v and Pam Damoff. It was a clean sweep for the Liberals in the Burlington, Oakville and Milton ridings.

The ballots were cast, Gould, van Koeverden, and Damoff retained their seats in the Burlington ridings. Nationally the country ended up with a Liberal minority government.

What lingered was the hostility of it all. Several candidates called the campaign the nastiest they’d seen. The Gazette editor posted a similar reflection regarding bitterness in the election comment sections when the dust settled.

During this same month, Burlington’s Community Leaders had to release a statement speaking out against harmful messages, harassment, and misinformation targeted against our medical and healthcare professionals. It is behaviour as deplorable as it is misguided, front line workers do not make policy, and reflected the hostility that defined an ugly election season.

In less vitriolic election coverage news, three-quarters of a million students took part in a mock election, 5,478 schools across Canada participated and votes were cast in all 338 federal ridings. A good step in getting students acclimatized to the voting process.

If actually built – these two towers would be at what the developer called “ground zero” for Burlington. Towers were to be 35 and 30 storeys.

On September 8th a virtual Pre-Application meeting took place for two towers: a 30 storey and a 24 story on Lakeshore Road between Brant and Elizabeth Street. During the presentation, given by people representing the developer, David Faletta attempted to convince viewers that the old Urban Growth Centre boundary would apply.

The City approved the Holiday Market proposal to run between December 9th and 12th with little in the way of public input and mixed reaction from downtown retailers. What’s more, they seemed to have signed off on the market as an annual event.

Creeping towards normalcy, Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns held her first in-person ward meeting since the beginning of the pandemic – eight people attended.  An additional 35 took part virtually.

September saw quintessential Burlington events like the Terry Fox Run at Spencer Smith Park. Team Casey’s Terry Fox Event followed suit, in honour of the late Casey Cosgrove, a man described as remarkable and an inspiring community champion, who too suffered from cancer. They played a baseball game wearing t-shirts with the following quote: “This disease will not take away my disability and wish to inspire,” Casey, 2017.

Rib-Fest returned with a drive-thru BBQ event at Burlington Centre, a Food Truck festival took place at Spencer Smith Park, the month was full of activities.

On September 30th Burlington hosted the Every Child Matters Truth and Reconciliation Day gathering at Spencer Smith Park. Organized by Amber Ruthart, a local Indigenous music studio owner, the event was informative, moving, and a celebration of Indigenous culture with song and dance.

“I hope that education continues and is not just a trend. Also, we hope to be doing more indigenous awareness social events in the future here in Burlington,” said Ruthart.

Speaking to the Gazette, Ruthart reiterated the need for reconciliation to be a constant consideration and not a trend. Event organizer Ruthart, said her native name translated into “loud voice,” her message was loud and clear.


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January to March of 2021 was hard - it didn't get any easier during the balance of the year

By Ryan O’Dowd: Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

December 27th, 2021



The year started out with a sense of caution, within days the caution turned into a lockdown that would last for weeks.

It took some getting used to. Here is how Burlingtonians handled the first three months of 2021.
Life for so many in began in the same way in 2020, isolated and lonely. Lockdown had taken effect once more, Joseph Brant Hospital opened operation of their field unit tent early in the month and the Gazette monitored how and where the city of Burlington would eventually administer the vaccine.

Halton Regional Police Services Chief Tanner.

And so, the city of Burlington and the Region of Halton stayed inside, isolated and waited…with one notable exception: Police Chief Stephen Tanner.

On December 21st, Premier Ford announced a lock-down to take effect on Dec 26. On December 22nd, Police Chief Stephen Tanner asked the then Police Services Board Chair, Rob Burton, for permission to leave the jurisdiction to travel to Florida on a private matter. Burton gave permission. However, Burton did not advise the other members of the Police Services Board on what he had done.

On December 26th, Chief Tanner left for the United States. On December 26th, the province invoked a shutdown for 28 days.

There was considerable demand for the Chief to be fired. Oakville Mayor Rob Burton resigned as Chair of the board on January 11th but remained on the board.

Chief Tanner apologized for poor judgment in requesting the travel, and Burton lost his position as Police Services Board Chair for his poor judgment in granting it.

While some like Mayor Burton and Chief Tanner were in the news for all the wrong pandemic-related reasons, charities in Burlington were continuing to find creative ways to make the new normal work.

On January 22nd Ward 4 Councilor Shawna Stolte drove around Burlington to pick up donations left on porches and address the needs of the Food Bank. For their part, the Food Bank was servicing an all-time high of people in need and somehow holding it together.

Local food drives were working well.

Stolte’s plan was an early year example of the kind of innovative contactless donation that would run throughout 2021 organized by generous Burlington citizens.

Elsewhere, city council got off to a rocky start in 2021 or rather continued their rocky 2020 trajectory. Reports released on January 11th detailed how COVID-19 had impacted the municipal government: 196 people were laid off; 290 jobs had reduced hours; 68 people were asked to put in additional hours. Morale reached a low point.

The Operations draft budget for 2021 budget came in with a 4.99% tax raise, it was a number Mayor Meed Ward didn’t like the look of, so throughout the month, in a series of meetings, they tried to get that number down to a more palatable 3.99%.

Budget concerns were springing up as a result of pandemic losses. Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sherman made an ominous statement concerning transit losses.  “There is a serious concern about a million-dollar loss at transit that we have not been told about and there is another one coming.”

In the calendar year 2021 the city finance department  presented two budgets both of which included what they referred to as a COVID budget.

Municipal disappointments relating to development disagreements would become a growing theme through the year’s news.

Mayor Meed Ward setting up her computer for the broadcast of her remarks on the need to stay indoors and not congregate with others.

Rolling into the month of February the city remained in the grip of a low point of the COVID-19 pandemic.   A light began to reveal itself at the end of the tunnel: by the middle of the month the stay-at-home order for Halton had been lifted, although with restrictions in the red zone, which Halton was in, remained limiting. Vaccine centers were established, and Burlington looked forward to a post-pandemic oasis. Of course, the pandemic wasn’t over, and we know now the light at the end of the tunnel was but a slightly brighter ongoing tunnel.

On February 1st Burlington announced its COVID-19 Task Force and it was massive. Headed by Mayor Marianne Meed Ward the Task Force contained every name you’d guess may be on there and then some. Various leaders, decision-makers, and experts assembled to assist the hospital and health care workers with anticipated patient surges and broader community efforts with COVID-19 and pandemic recovery.

Mohawk Public school where classrooms had to be closed.

The Region of Halton saw its lockdown and Stay-at-Home orders lifted on February 16th – those eager to get out of the house found a heavy snowfall waiting for them. A day later the Gazette reported the first case of COVID-19 in a Burlington school – in Mohawk Public school where the classroom had been closed. Other schools in the Region reported cases as well. Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Halton Region Medical Officer of Health, warned of variants of concern and data that could lead to another lockdown.

On February 23rd inoculation locations were announced, Burlington prepared for the vaccine to be made available but just when that day would come remained unclear. Writers and commenters at the Gazette expressed their frustration with vaccine acquisition timelines.

People were frustrated.

The skyrocketing housing market was proving not to be a short term event. The Toronto Regional Real Estate Board Market Watch, was reporting average sale price for a home in Halton was $1,206,016, an increase of 17% from the previous year.

Most disturbing was the report of an uptick in domestic violence. In early February the Halton Regional Police Service reported that if the current trend continued, officers would attend more than 4,000 intimate partner violence incidents by the end of the year.

Early in 2021, it had become clear that the problems of 2020 would not be discarded with that year’s calendar.

Still, there was the promise of change on the horizon, and acts of generosity continued to be a bright spot of Burlington’s pandemic response.

The cultural sector offered impressive contributions to Black History Month. Several of Canada’s finest instrumental jazz musicians were online on February 10th thanks to a grant from the City of Burlington’s Community Support Fund, a program created to support Burlington artists during the pandemic.

Police cruiser decorated to reflect the concerns of the LGBQ community.

The Halton Regional Police Service and its Black Internal Support Network solicited the community’s help in the design and creation of a Black Heritage Police Cruiser.

Also falling under the matter of diversity education was the Halton District School Board’s (HDSB) release of a plan that included an Indigenous Perspective and Awareness area. They appointed Stephen Paquette to a position as the Board’s Indigenous Knowledge Guide and Engagement Advisor, Paquette would participate in Ryerson school renaming later in the year. The HDSB’s plan covered 2020-2024, one-quarter of the time frame had passed making the document, and the world changed as it was written so how much their priorities will have swayed on the document on a whole remains to be seen. But proper education on Indigenous history is always welcome and a lack thereof would come to the forefront of one 2021s defining stories later in the year.

On February 20th Regional Council announced they would make an application to the Federal Court of Canada to review the CN rail hub.

Following several closed meetings, City Council was working to bring a budget to the table with a more palatable tax increase than the 4.99% debated in January. Things were trending closer to Mayor Meed Ward’s vision; the city ended up with a  4.14% increase, which was the largest of her term to date.

Burlington city council had voted for a new Official Plan which almost immediately faced a list of appeals that climbed to 48 – this would be an ongoing story for the balance of the year.

Rolling into March there was news that those over the age of 80 could book their vaccination appointments on the 3rd of the month. At last.

By March 6th, 15,000 people aged 80+ had scheduled vaccination appointments. By the month’s end appointments were available to those aged 65+. More businesses got the go-ahead to open. The winter of our discontent seemed to be ending, not quite made glorious, as the old quote goes, but made something closer to manageable.

Burlington Centre opened for business.

Malls opened on March 8th to the highest provincial case count since early February;  over 1600 new infections, tempering the good news. On the final day of the month, Premier Doug Ford warned people not to make plans for Easter. The pandemic remained far from over.

Staff at city hall were surveyed on their well being and the results outlined an overwhelmed group. “Workload and expectations” were the top concern, accompanied by “unclear priorities,” and a “lack of breaks, inability led to disconnect, and work-life balance.”

Work-life balance concerns went all the way to the top of city hall with Mayor Meed Ward herself, who the Gazette reported on March 10th had ruffled some feathers by instructing her staff not to email her outside of 9 am to 5 pm.

Despite being overwhelmed, surveys from the staff gave the City a ringing endorsement at the March 3rd meeting, 75% of them believe somewhat or strongly the City had responded well to the changes impacting staff caused by COVID-19.

On March 9th city council hosted a Zoom meeting on the housing strategy they wanted to put in place as part of the Burlington Lands Partnership (BLP). The BLP’s founding, which unfolded late 2020 and throughout the first quarter of 2021, was due to widespread support for the city to take a greater strategic role in targeting municipal land development in Burlington.

The BLP positioned themselves to fill the void of a single entity with a mandate to realize the potential of emerging land development deals. The BLP suggested mutually beneficial partnerships with not-for-profits, developing communities, Halton Region, and the Provincial and Federal Governments. The BLP Steering Committee, poised to do much of the grunt work, was being established, seats on that committee were highly sought after by members of Council. As constructed, the final decision on any development will be made by city council.

There was concern over whether every idea would reach city council, or if such opportunity would only be afforded to ideas the Steering Committee felt had merit.

Young people were also plagued with lagging well being during the pandemic and the HDSB hosted two mental health and well-being information sessions for parents and guardians. There were components of pandemic-related stress among students, but this is an important conversation at any time.

In late March the HDSB aimed to set an example for the community by engaging in environmental learning activities on Earth Hour, March 26th.

Burlington was on its way to becoming experts at socially distanced events and March was rife with them. The Sound of Music, a staple of Burlington tradition, put on a different kind of show. On March 27th, Monster Truck played a Sound of Music Return to Live Series event from the Burlington Performing Arts Center, a ticketed live stream event.

The Burlington Arts and Culture Fund supported Aeris Körper’s PROSPECTS, a virtual contemporary dance routine followed by a discussion affording an innovative night to enjoy arts from home. And the Brant Museum announced the Around the Town Easter Egg Hunt that would take kids around significant Burlington heritage sites and allow them to enjoy time outside.

The Jefferson Salamander, which should be the city’s official mascot, made the news again as it headed for its traditional breeding ground.

The Parks and Recreation department opened registration for several programs. As a Gazette contributor at the time wryly observed, “Someone believes there is going to be a spring, followed by a summer during which the city Parks and Recreation department will offer the best program it can.”

And the City reminded everyone to be cautious of salamander mating season; they would be crossing Kings Rd. in heat. It was beginning to look like a normal Burlington spring.

The second quarter of the year will be published on Tuesday.

If readers want to dig in a little deeper on any one story – use the archives.  Enter the subject matter and you should get the full story.

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For unto us was born - a Prince of Peace

By Staff

December 23rd, 2021



The parade didn’t take place this year – but the image of that float comes to mind today. Make sure your children understand what the message means.

And have a Happy Christmas being grateful for all we have.

We sometimes lose sight of what the Season is about.

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A day to just give because you can - it works - quite well actually

By Staff

December 17th, 2021



Giving Tuesday for 2021 went well – better than the year before.

The idea of creating a day in the year when the focus was on giving came out of the 42nd Street YMCA in New York City in 2012 and just grew.

Kristen Curry, Chair, Halton Gives explains how the idea works in Canada, in each of the provinces and then how in Ontario, where there are 42 local groups, work with not for profit organizations, to help them reach out to local groups and guide them as they do their own very local fund raising

This year Halton residents, businesses, community groups, charities and non-profit organizations came together to celebrate GivingTuesday on November 30th, and demonstrate their generosity on this global day of giving!

Over 70 Halton organizations partnered with Halton Gives and took part in GivingTuesday this year.

Here are some of the local highlights:

200 families from Immigrant Services and Childcare Programs will receive $100 gift cards to use for a holiday meal and/or warm clothing for winter

7 cribs were filled with items for families in need (diapers, formula, cereal, etc.)

Funds were raised for Child and Family Services to alleviate the cost of programming for families of children with developmental disabilities

The Oakville Rangers – took some time off the ice to raise funds to purchase gift cards for people in need.

$1,500 was raised in grocery gift cards plus 2 boxes full of food items, with the help of a local youth hockey team Oakville Rangers

Donors were thanked on social media with a reach of 1,000

Funds were raised to purchase 100 Reindeer Chocolate Packages to be delivered to clients

$4,700 was raised to support students experiencing food insecurity

4 guide dogs were fully funded and named through a contest (Alfonso, Jaz, Magic and Neka)

Over $7,500 was raised to provide in-need clients and families with a hand up over the holiday season

Food4Kids volunteer Gayle Cruikshank with Linsday Batstone from Two Sevens Capital.

Curry explained the impact the pandemic has increased the need for human connections, acts of kindness and positivism. The demand for support programs and services across in Halton

. It also has Thank you to everyone who participated in GivingTuesday this year. Whether you donated your time, money, talent, or voice for a cause – your actions made a difference!” said Kristen Curry, Chair of Halton Gives.

Halton Gives is a civic movement participating in the global GivingTuesday initiative. Our goal is to engage the Halton community in supporting (and celebrating!) the work of the amazing charities and non-profits that support the Halton region.

GivingTuesday is a movement to celebrate giving of all kinds, celebrated on the Tuesday after Black Friday and Cyber Monday; in 2021 the date was November 30th.

The movement was launched in Canada in 2013 by GIV3 and The idea was originally founded in the US in 2012 by 92nd Street Y in partnership with the UN Foundation.

Giving Tuesday will be on November 29th in 2022


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Back and forth at a Council meeting - just to get to the point where they agree to take a half hour break.

By Pepper Parr

December 15th, 2021



To get a true sense as to how your City Council got to the point where they could approve the Operations budget for 2021 it helps if you can listen in.

We don’t have audio to pass along but our software does capture what is said (not all that well unfortunately, but it does give you a sense as to how things were going.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

The Mayor is in the Chair – the information in brackets is the time.

(38:23) Alrighty we are at the end of all of the individual items. So we are now back up to the budget as a whole. So we are at Item D having dealt with all of the amendments that were pulled. Perhaps we can get the revised amount it did change with that last vote. So we will need to if we need a recess. Let me know. Laurie, if or if you’ve got that number that we can insert into the revised recommendation on the board. As far as I know. Didn’t change.

The capital numbers did not change the operating main motion. The tax levy amount needs to be revised to 191, 550, 509. This brings the city’s portion of the tax impact of 4.62% and an overall impact of 2.87.

All right, so let’s get that up on the board. You know the number of clauses to vote on and we’ll take those individually.

Mayor: All right. I will read it into the record.

We have approved the 2022 operating budget including any budget amendments approved by the Corporate Services strategy, Risk and Accountability Budget Committee to be applied against the proposed net tax levy of $191,552,509, which as we heard delivers a tax impact city portion only a 4.62 and a region portion of 2.87

Overall, once you blend it with region and education, second approve the 2022 capital budget with a gross amount of 77,384,020 with a debenture requirement of $8,600,000 and the 2023 to 2031 Capital forecast with a gross amount of $752,172,369 with a debenture requirement of $38,975,000 as outlined in finance department.  As amended by the Corporate Services strategy, risk and accountability Budget Committee and approve that if the actual net assessment growth is different than the estimated 2.45% any increase in tax dollars generated from the city portion of assessment growth from the previous year be transferred to these tax rate stabilization reserve fund or any decrease in tax dollars generated from the city portion of assessment growth from the previous year. Is act 1997 and section five of the Ontario regulation 80 to 98. It is Council’s clear intention that the excess capacity provided by the above referenced works will be paid for by future development charges.

So I will pause for a moment I see our clerks hand in the air. Go ahead, Kevin.

Thank you, Mayor. We’re just wanting to confirm with council if they want to vote on everything clause by clause. So there are five clauses to this. This motion would you like to have it separated clause by clause or I understand that counsellor Bentivegna wanted capital that would be close to separated. We’re here to fulfill your needs. So just let us know.

Mayor:  All right. Well, certainly the first two have to be separated once we get to the second one. I will ask if there’s anything further to be separated out. Maybe we’ll handle that way. And then we’ll proceed sort of on the fly here. So we have oh, I just we just lost the screen. Are we going to get those motions back up, Kevin?

Clerk: Yeah, I think that we’re just separating them out for the vote. The screen that you see is what you’re voting on in the system. So if we have to separate things out, we have to redact them from the screen.

Mayor: So the first one up is the operating budget. Okay, so as amended and I will look to the board for questions and we will have to just pause momentarily to make sure that we tee up everyone’s time that they have left. And I I’ve been keeping some notes I hope our clerks have as well and the first person I have on the board is counsellor Stolte. Apparently you have four minutes left. Go ahead.

Ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte.

Stolte: Thank you, Mayor. I’m actually not going to comment. What I’m going to ask for is whether or not we could please take a recess. The last round of voting on those amendments that were pulled has dramatically changed the work that we did where we last ended up last week. And I personally need a few minutes to decide to figure out where I stand on support or not support the budget at this point. So not being put in a position of having to do that thinking on the fly. I would appreciate if we could recess for a few minutes.

Mayor: Absolutely. I’m prepared to recess so I do see some hands on the board. If you are speaking to the budget, let’s hold that if you are speaking to the recess counsellor Bentivegna –   did you want to speak to the request for a recess?

Bentivegna: I don’t have problem I will go. recess. I would like to see the the numbers on up so that not only we could see him that the residents can see what the new numbers are.

Mayor: You’re talking about the tax rate numbers. Okay, we will we will endeavour during the recess to get that included in what you have here. Counselor current speaking to the recess.

Ward 6 Councillor Angelo Bentivegna

: “Thank you very much. I am speaking to the recess in regards to inviting the clerk with an opportunity to speak around procedural options should the budget not pass we received some commentary and committee commentary carries through to council.

Mayor: Certainly and as chair, I will direct all questions to the appropriate Staff.  And Kevin I assume that would be you go ahead.

Oh, yes, council. So Through you, Mayor to the council. There are options. If the budget fails, then Council can then direct staff with with some direction and then we’d have to come back with a new budget. Or there can be an alternative moved at the same time. So there’s those are two options if the budget fails. At any point in this conversation if Council wishes to they could refer this back to staff with direction as well. So those are some of your options for today.

Mayor: Already, everyone clear on the options so we don’t have the four votes today we’re talking budget for a little longer. So I’m going to suggest given the significance of this vote and the the need for folks to have I think that we take a half hour break and come back at quarter to two so we will recess until 1:45 and come back and see where we’re at till three o’clock. Sorry. You want to go till three o’clock. Okay. Cancer. Galbraith has requested a recess until three I’m happy to. (41:57)

And at that point Council took a half hour break.

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City Talk reports news before it even happens? Who tells them to do that?

By Pepper Parr

December 15th, 2021


The City Communications department sent us the following:

The recently issued copy of City Talk, which is managed by City staff, was inadvertently sent out and delivered earlier than anticipated. City communications to residents about Council services and initiatives, like the City budget are never sent out prior to formal City Council approval. As much as possible, City staff work on communication materials like City Talk in advance, however, information isn’t shared till approvals. We apologize for the error.

The 2022 election is a good time to re-think a council that approves news in a city publication. This is pure news spin.

Burlington has a communications group that puts together the vast majority of the material that is posted on the various social media accounts the city has along with City Talk, a print piece that is delivered to the homes in the city.

A Gazette reader, who keeps an eye on things at city hall reports that her copy of City Talk was delivered on Tuesday, the 14th at around 1 pm.

“I watched the council meeting this afternoon and if I am not mistaken it was close to or after 4PM when council voted on and passed the 2022 City Budget.

Reporting news before it happens: is this a new city communications department policy.


Our reader added that the story in City Talk makes one question if Council Meetings are simply for the public when decisions are made and published before the formal vote.

Good question, especially given that it takes several days to put together an edition if City Talk, then it has to be printed and then delivered.

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Holiday Market Closed early on Saturday due to high winds

By Pepper Parr

December 12th, 2021



Mother Nature howled – people were sent home

It was unfortunate.

Mother Nature turned on the people who worked hard to make the Holiday Market in Downtown Burlington a success.

It was windy most of the day but when the wind topped a light standard and crashed into a couple of cars it was time to send everyone home.

Light standards topped damaging cars – Holiday Market was shut down

Next door at Village Square traffic was decent – Lola’s was doing a booming hot chocolate business; protected by the buildings the decorations stayed up.


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We are still in a State of Emergency dealing with a pandemic - how much longer ?

By Staff

December 9th, 2021



Will the State of Emergency be lifted soon?

And if it is – what difference will it make to the lives we live each day.

Definition and Authority
An emergency is defined under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act as “a situation, or an impending situation that constitutes a danger of major proportions that could result in serious harm to persons or substantial damage to property and that is caused by the forces of nature, a disease or other health risk, an accident or an act whether intentional or otherwise”

Under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, only the head of council of a municipality (or his or her designate) and the Lieutenant Governor in Council or the Premier have the authority to declare an emergency. The Premier, the head of council, as well as a municipal council, have the authority to terminate an emergency declaration

established to assist the Mayor/Council in determining if/when our existing state of emergency should be terminated.

When considering whether to terminate a declaration of emergency, a positive response to one or more of the following criteria may indicate that a situation, warrants the termination of declaration of emergency.

City Staff are thinking through what will have to be clanged if the State of Emergency is lifted – but we aren’t there yet.

The Covid infection numbers for the day – province, Region and Burlington,


Regional Covid19 infections as of December 8th


Burlington Covid19 infections as of December 8th

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Standing Committee recommends a 4.46% budget increase - goes to Council on the 14th

By Pepper Parr

December 9th, 2021



It was a terrible budget process – everyone of them came out with mud all over themselves. Nisan the budget chair displayed some nasty habits.

It looks, at this point, that a tax increase of 5.47 % has been whittled down to 4.46% for 2022.

It has been a struggle and a lot of backing away from hard held positions.

City Manager Tim Commisso explained to Councillors that they were in the process of setting a $1 billion budget

The finance people have been put through a wringer – they have had to come back again and again to justify and explain what was very difficult for many Councillors.

That Standing Committee recommendation now goes to council where changes can be made – but they are much harder to make at the Council level.

Four budget motions were brought to the table; all created by Councillor Stolte and Mayor Meed Ward who have not been known for working all that well together.

Some hatchets were buried and this Standing Committee approved some budget changes.

One last vote – to get the amended budget passed at the Standing Committee level this afternoon.

Later ….

They got there, they voted and there is a recommendation that goes to Council on the 14th.

Don’t think it is over yet.

Some of the people who voted for the recommendation can now sponsor a reconsider – only people who voted for the recommendation can ask that their vote be reconsidered.

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Milton decides to live with a 5.45% tax increase

By Pepper Parr

December 7th, 2021



The Town of Milton bit the bullet and accepted a 5.47tax increase last night is there a message for Burlington Marianne Meed Ward?

Milton Mayor Gord Krantz has been saying for some time that Burlington is going to have to get used to higher buildings and higher taxes.

The antics at city Council last week look like an attempt to stem the tide.

With the budget being debated at 4.95% perhaps council should quite while they are ahead.

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Taxi cab owner: 'We reached out at regular intervals trusting in their reassurance that the by-laws would be changed'

By Pepper Parr

December 7th, 2021



Did you ever had a puppy that you had to train not to piddle on the floor? I had one and when he did his business where he wasn’t supposed to I’d give him a stern look and call him a bad dog and put him in his business box.

Scott Wallace did just that, gave Mayor Meed Ward a couple of paragraphs of some strong language when he wrote the following letter:

Our response to the Mayor’s statement on November 24th has not come easily. We must speak to the facts that outline our last few years urging for change in our local taxi industry. We could not be more proud of our Burlington Taxi team for their hard work and dedication over the last 53 years.

With all due respect, we take strong exception to our Mayor’s statement that asserts, “the Taxi By-Laws were written to protect Burlington Taxi” and that our “closure was unrelated to the by-law review request in 2018.”

We ask, what exactly has the By-Law protected? Did the By-Law protect the taxi drivers now out of work since November 2021? Did the By-Law protect Burlington Taxi from having to shut down its operations? Did the By-law protect taxi companies from unregulated competition; ride share companies that have enjoyed the luxury of no city license fees, no federal taxes, no commercial insurance, no vulnerable sector criminal checks, nor an obligation to support wheelchair accessible transportation?

Former Ward 6 Councillor Blair Lancaster talks with Scott Wallace, proprietor of Burlington Taxi. Lancaster was on the Council that Wallace had taken his concerns about the taxi industry in 2018.

It gives us no pleasure to say that the city’s process failed to support its business community, taking little notice of our repeated pleas over the years for comprehensive change.

We saw the tsunami coming (Uber/Lyft drivers, the pandemic, a severe labour shortage, a spike in insurance rates). What we missed was the acknowledgement that our By-law request in November was one small part of a fulsome City By-law review initiated in 2018.

For the record, our final plea in November was to allow our drivers to continue working as employees under new Burlington Taxi ownership, and further give them the ability to align themselves with other Cab companies of their choice as independent operators, as every other city does in North America.

Facts don’t lie. The last time the City of Burlington reviewed its taxi by-laws was in 2009, which was written based on the recommendations of a consulting firm hired by the city of Burlington, not the taxi industry.

In 2016, the City was urged to review the new unregulated ride share service (Uber). Council and staff agreed to complete a review of these services. Our industry concern had little to do with Uber itself, but everything to do with regulation of the Uber business model. Regulation is what keeps people safe and ensures fair play among businesses. In Burlington’s case, the ride share industry has no responsibility to anyone – not to the city, not to its drivers, and definitely not to its customers. As a rider, if you experience an unsafe ride, or are a victim of excessive surge pricing, there is no one to call. The city has not regulated ride share companies, perhaps a way to absolve its responsibility, but it certainly doesn’t solve the problem.

Our former council, recognized that our Taxi By-Law was antiquated and in desperate need of comprehensive review. That is why, in early 2018, the former Mayor directed the City to commence a comprehensive review. Public record shows the details surrounding this direction. Nothing came of this.

Not liking the sound of that letter. Was it even read?

We thank our current Mayor for her recognition and issuing her statement on December 2nd regarding taxi, that, “In 2019, city staff formed a small team to look into the by-law review and removed the motion from the regular reporting list, with a plan to report back to council on progress. That report didn’t happen… We acknowledge that the review should have occurred. It didn’t, and for that, we take responsibility.”

“Facts don’t lie. The last time the City of Burlington reviewed its taxi by-laws was in 2009, which was written based on the recommendations of a consulting firm hired by the city of Burlington, not the taxi industry.”

It should not go without mention that we have reached out at regular intervals to the city, each time trusting in their reassurance that the by-laws would be changed.

The election of new city representatives unfortunately sidelined the former Council’s directive for a comprehensive review of the taxi industry and our hope for actual change.

Following our closure last month, Council has re-committed the City to reviewing and updating the Taxi By-Law.

Our hope is that the City will NOW actually follow through with meaningful change.

Our thanks to Ward 4 Councillor, Shawna Stolte, for taking up the torch and advocating for change.

Our City deserves it.

One small ray of hope.  There will be a Verbal Update on Licensing of New Taxi Businesses in Burlington at a Standing Committee on Tuesday.



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City finance puts a bylaw in place to access their lines of credit - you never know.

By Staff

December 5th, 2021



Council won’t spend a minute on this item in the consent agenda

A bylaw to authorize the temporary borrowings of monies from the Royal Bank of Canada to meet the ordinary expenditures of the corporation.

At various times during the year, it may be necessary to arrange short-term loans from the City’s banker to meet the current ordinary expenditures of the municipality.

Director of Finance Joan Ford is on a first name basis with the bank manager.

There are times in the year when cash flow is at the lowest point and operating expenditures must be covered during the period just prior to the collection of the property taxes. In previous years, we have borrowed from our Reserve Funds during this time and will continue to do so as necessary in 2022.

Borrowing arrangements with the Royal Bank provide us with a $5,000,000 line of credit at the prime-lending rate minus 3/4%. At the current time, prime stands at 2.45%. It has not been necessary to access this credit line during 2021 or prior years nor is it anticipated to be needed for 2022. The by-law is prepared to meet the requirements of the banks.

The City also has borrowing arrangements with Scotia Bank to provide a credit facility of up to $5,000,000 for administering the City’s purchase card program. In 2021 and prior years, this credit facility was paid off monthly and the City anticipates that the facility will be used in the same manner in 2022.This borrowing agreement does not require a security agreement.


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