Meed Ward was at the Clerk's office when it opened for business this morning.

council 100x100By Staff

May 1st, 2018



At 8:30am this morning, Marianne Meed Ward registered to run to serve as mayor of Burlington in the October 22 municipal election.

“I’m running to bring a citizens voice back to City Hall to face the challenges ahead: over development downtown and across the city; inadequate transit, disappearing trees and green space, spending that doesn’t match your priorities, red tape hampering businesses and agriculture, and much more.

Its on banner“Burlington is Everyone’s City, but residents feel your values and vision aren’t reflected in city decisions.

“Together, we can change that. As your mayor, I will put Residents First to create a Better Burlington for citizens, by citizens.

Campaign site

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Rory Nisan is now a candidate for the ward 3 seat.

council 100x100By Pepper Parr

May 1st, 2018



If you were early enough ad got your appointment with the Clerk’s office to file your nomination papers today – you will have your web site up and be talking to financial supporters and have your first press release out.
Rory Nisan, community organizer and Canadian diplomat, has officially registered with the City of Burlington to become an official candidate for the city council election on October 22, 2018.

Bfast audience Nisan - scobie +

Rory Nisan, on the far right, at the Bfast Transit Forum where he heard just how much money is going to be needed to get to the point where transit can meet the current needs and the expected growth.

Nisan now begins to tell his story. Rory moved with his family to Brant Hills in 1989 when Rory was just seven years old.

Nisan’s platform is said to includes a careful and planned response to the city’s growth.

“We need to put our roads first — make them smooth and get the cars moving, while putting more people onto public transit. That is the only responsible way to manage growth in Burlington,” said Nisan.

The young man has yet to fully understand the city’s budget. The transit service is screaming for both capital investments and increases to the operating costs.

421 Brant

Candidate Nisan makes no mention of intensification in his first campaign media release.

The roads and infrastructure needs were so high that the city had to add a special levy that is dedicated to improving roads.

“We don’t want downtown Burlington to look like downtown Toronto, so let’s work together to find common ground to build a Burlington that works for everyone” advised Nisan. That’s the diplomat in him speaking.

Nisan is also concerned with building community, and ensuring Ward 3 residents get value for money.

Nisan added that with Councillor Taylor beginning a well-deserved retirement at the end of his term this year, Ward 3 needs someone with the right skills and experience to hit the ground running.

Campaign site

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Geese get the best of care in a shopping plaza.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

May 1st, 2018



Perhaps it is the geography.

Maybe the people in the eastern part of the city are just once.

Goose nest

Affordable housing? The geese have made a home and are waiting for the goslings to arrive. It will be quite a show when they are born.

Whichever – there is now a pair of geese tending to the birth of some goslings outside the Fortinos off New Street.

An avid Gazette reader was in that part of town and sent us a note and a photograph of Mommy goose sitting on the nest while Daddy goose fends off any interlopers.

“They are almost at the front door of the Home Sense store

“A mama goose sitting on its nest and papa goose watching over and protecting her. Interesting watching him with keeping the seagulls away from the food that people left out for mama goose.

“I saw them a couple or so weeks ago on the top of the Fortinos, you could almost tell they were looking for a place to build a home.”

Geese on Guelph - apple free fall

The trees are gone – and so are the geese.

The geese at St. Christopher’s United Church on Guelph Line were not as fortunate. They had the good fortune of living beside a small row of apples trees that provided them with plenty to eat.

When we eat – the waste has to get discharged somewhere and the good people at who owned the apartment next door agreed with the church that the poop could no longer get dropped on the church driveway  – so the really nice apple trees were cut down and the geese found somewhere else to find their food.

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The Doug Ford Greenbelt development idea came from the development industry.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

May 1st, 2018



There is more – the Doug Ford idea on allowing development to take place in the Greenbelt wasn’t his – it came from some of the best minds in the development industry.

Give a listen.

The development industry – the corporations that have banked land in rural Burlington with the hope that someday – maybe – the rules on development in the Escarpment will change.

Their day appears to have come.

The city is more than just the Escarpment to the north and the lake to the south. It is the people in between that determine who we really are. And it takes more than a magazine saying we are the #2 city in the country doesn't make it so.

Can you see where the affordable housing might be built?


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Week-long celebration of inclusivity and student achievement.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

May 1st, 2018



Education Week from May 7-11, 2018

School Boards are the largest employers in the Region – they have a budget of xxx and we rely upon their product to solve our social, economic and environmental problems.

What happens in the schools reverberates around the kitchen table of every household in the city. There is a lot to pay attention to and a lot of questions to be asked.

The province has set the theme for the 2018 “celebration”: Equity in Action.

equity and inclusionSchools are encouraged to share their equity successes and learn from one another. In Halton, the annual week-long recognition includes a wide variety of activities that demonstrate education in action, celebrate inclusivity and student achievement.

The Board is holding its annual Celebration of Student Excellence event at M.M. Robinson High School Thursday, May 10 starting at 7:30 p.m.

One student per school is selected for this honour by their excellence in academics, vocational, athletic, self-improvement, community work, citizenship or student leadership.

Family math night

Family math night.

Many schools have organized events that focus on student success and highlight the theme of Education Week. They include:

Brant Hills Public School is hosting a Family Math Night on May 9 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Parents/guardians will learn about Manipulatives, Number Talks, Dreambox learning software and other mathematics resources.

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Interventions - what are they? Mayor's Millennial Advisory committee is heading up this idea.

eventsblue 100x100By Staff

May 1st, 2018



100IN1DAY – looks like a type – actually is it an event being mobilized by the Mayors Millenniums Advisory Committee.

100in1day2018-600x578On Saturday, June 2nd, 2018, 100In1Day is coming to Burlington! The idea is to have 100 interventions take place in the city on June 2nd.

What is an intervention – it can be whatever you want it to be – the idea is to do something that will make the city a better place.

The Millennials are holding a number of meetings where people can toss around some ideas and xxx with other people.

A number of meetings have already taken place – we just got wind of this.

Those meeting dates and locations are:

Tue, May 8 6:00 PM
100in1Day Burlington Workshop #8
Centennial Pool, Burlington

Sun, May 13 10:00 AM
100in1Day Burlington Workshop #9
Brant Hills Community Centre, Burlington

You can participate in a series of community workshops designed to inspire new urban intervention leaders through active, inclusive, and engaging dialogue and activity. People of all ages, backgrounds and locations across the city are invited to attend workshops to develop their 100In1Day interventions – from idea to execution.

Imagine the possibilities for our city if hundreds of people united to participate in small initiatives to spark change. 100in1Day Burlington is part of a growing global movement that is changing how people interact with their cities.

100in1 transsformInterventions are simple, often low-cost community projects or actions that are free, open to anyone, and designed to create positive change, like pop-up parking space parties, plant swaps and seed giveaways, alleyway concerts, community art creation and neighbourhood potlucks. Interventions like these take place all on one day, in a series of city-wide 100in1Day celebrations that demonstrate the collective power of small actions.



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Overnight closure of Toronto-Bound QEW/Skyway Bridge - Saturday, May 5 and Saturday, May 12

notices100x100By Staff

May 1st, 2018



Work by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) to rehabilitate the Burlington Skyway Bridge will result in a closure of all Toronto-bound QEW/Skyway Bridge lanes on Saturday, May 5 and Saturday, May 12.
QEW Niagara-bound traffic will not be affected by the construction.

Skyway bridge cropped

Toronto bound lanes of the Skyway Bridge to be closed for repairs.

Closure Details:

Saturday, May 5, 2018
Beginning at 9 p.m., all Toronto-bound QEW/Skyway Bridge lanes will be closed.
All traffic will be detoured onto Eastport Drive.
This full lane closure will remain in effect until Sunday, May 6, 2018 at 10 a.m. All lanes will reopen by 2 p.m.

Saturday, May 12, 2018
Beginning at 9 p.m., all Toronto-bound QEW/Skyway Bridge lanes will be closed.
All traffic will be detoured onto Eastport Drive.

This full lane closure will remain in effect until Sunday, May 13, 2018 at 10 a.m. All lanes will reopen by 2 p.m.
Traffic Detour:

To help assist the flow of traffic on Eastport Drive during the full lane closures, access to Beach Boulevard from Van Wagners Beach Road and Eastport Drive will be restricted to local traffic only. Police officers will be posted at these locations to assist with traffic control.

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Just what did Doug Ford say when he talked about permitting development in the Greenbelt for affordable housing?

News 100 redBy Staff

May 1st, 2018



The Doug Ford plans to permit development in the Greenbelt need a very close look.

Doug Ford

Doug Ford – the day he announced he was running to become the Premier of the province.

There is already all kinds of spin being put on his statement – so just what did he say? A short video clip of his statement is set out below.  Small advertisement is attached to the video – sorry about that.

If you can make any sense of his statement – share it with us.

He is prepared to allow development in the Greenbelt to create more affordable housing and any land in the Greenbelt that is used for housing will be replaced by other land.

Where is that “other land” going to come from?


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The GO transit Lakeshore lines are to get an additional 53 bi-level coaches.

News 100 redBy Staff

May 1st, 2018



Three Liberal members of government – two federal and one provincial – lined up at the Burlington GO station to announce that the federal and provincial governments are contributing approximately $93.5 million to accelerate the purchase of 53 bi-level coaches that will be used to support the expansion of Metrolinx’ GO Rail service.

McMahon GO bilevel announcement

Burlington MPP Eleanor McMahon announcing the plans to add 53 bi-level GO trains to the Lakeshore Line

The politicians describe themselves as Team Burlington: Honourable Karina Gould, Oakville North-Burlington MP Pam Damoff and Burlington MPP Eleanor McMahon.

The funding “will ensure our planning efforts result in a modern and integrated transportation system that improves accessibility and strengthens our communities.”

McMahon added that improving transit and transportation options for commuters and families is an important part of the work our government is doing to create opportunity and make life more affordable for people.

That plan includes our ongoing commitment to invest in a well-designed regional transportation system that connects people to their families, schools and jobs.

No word on just when the rolling stock will arrive.

MetroLinx is preparing for 15 minute service on the Lakeshore lines.

Burlington GO south side

South side of the Burlington GO station where 10 bays have been created for bus traffic to roll in

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Provincial Liberal candidate speaks out against Doug Ford idea to allow Escarpment development.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

May 1st, 2018



Tedjo BEST

Alvin Tedjo speaks out against any development in the Greebelt

It didn’t take Alvin Tedjo, Liberal candidate for Oakville North Burlington in the forth coming provincial election long o let people know where he stands on the Doug Ford announcement to permit some development of the Escarpment lands.

Tedjo speaks of a secret agreement that Ford has made – not quite sure how the word secret gets applied to a statement Ford made.

Tedjo said “Doug Ford’s secret back-room promise that he would pave over our green spaces is reckless and out of touch with communities like ours.”

What is not permitted are any plans to change the rural boundary that the province put in place in 2006.
Development north of the Hwy 407 – Dundas Road link is not permitted.

This map sets out the area within which the province wants to create a new highway at some point in the future. The highway is referred to as the NGTA - Niagara to GTA road.

This map sets out the area within which the province wants to create a new highway at some point in the future. The highway is referred to as the NGTA – Niagara to GTA road.

The three settlement areas, Kilbride, Lowville and Mt Nemo can have some very minor and certainly low level residential development.

Burlington has fought hard on every occasion to keep development out of the rural Escarpment. When the provincial transportation Ministry talked of running a road through the Escarpment from about Kilbride and run south to the 407 people gathered in the hundreds at the Mainway Arena to put an end to that idea.

NGTA No-highway-here1-285x300Tedjo added that the “reckless back-room plan to pave over countless farms, wetlands and forests would be a disaster for our environment and forever change the character of our local neighbourhoods.”

Tedjo has his finger on the pulse of the community – he was the first to speak out against Ford’s comment.

Nothing from the Mayor of Burlington, nothing from the Mayor of Oakville – so far.


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Lisa Kearns announces her candidacy for the ward 2 council seat.

council 100x100By Staff

April 30th, 2018



It was a little stiff as media releases go but the necessary information was in the document.

She is in – she being Lisa Kearns.

One of the founders of ECoB and one of the more impressive delegators a city hall Kearns announced this afternoon that she will file her nomination papers on Tuesday.

The media release read as follows:

You are cordially invited to the press conference and campaign announcement for Ward 2 Burlington Council candidate Lisa Kearns.

Kearns direct smile

Lisa Kearns – will run for the ward 2 council seat.

Nomination papers will be filed the morning of May 1st at City Hall, followed by a community gathering at Central Park.

Located at 2299 New Street, we will announce at 10:30am in front of the Bandshell located off the New Street entrance.

A written press release will follow.

Now to watch and see how she evolves as a candidate.  She knows the issues; she shaped several of the issues – but can she campaign?  what will she be like at the door?

Will she define the issues that she believes in and will she stay focused during the six month.

Burlington is going to see a number of young candidates putting their names forward.  Let us see how they do on th campaign trail.

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Teenager and his chums build a 3D model of the downtown core - get it in front of city council.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

April 30th, 2018



Getting parents out to a meeting at city hall is tough enough – getting teenagers to attend a meeting is something parents will give you a quizzical look should you mention wanting to do that.

It was a little different with Remy Imber, a 13 year old who lives in the community west of Brant and north of Lakeshore, where protecting the community from any development that will change the feel and character of the community is an article of faith.

Remy and several of his friends had built a 3 dimensional model of parts of the downtown core and he wanted city council to see it to show what the intensification is really going to mean.  The people in the St. Luke’s neighbourhood are very protective of about what gets built in the downtown core.

Downtown model

Remy Imber delegating to city council with the 3D model of parts of the downtown core.

There are a number of small developers who have taken small projects to city hall only to find that they have to face an often hostile neighbourhood meeting. Some of the project don’t go much further.

The community organization in the St Luke’s Precinct can get a message out in a matter of minutes should the need arrive.

The neighbourhood is made up of single family dwellings with small apartments sprinkled throughout the neighbourhood.

The Plaza with the No Frills supermarket is a short stroll for most residents. The downtown core is their base with a significant number of people in the community able to walk to their offices or retail establishment.

The health of the downtown core is vital for these people – so when the need to intensify became part of the political language of Burlington – the eyebrows were raised and the question – How much, how high and where – got asked.

421 Brant

The northern wall of the 23 storey Brant development will come close close to the Centro retail outlet on Brant – too close for many people.

When the 23 storey condominium at Brant and John Street was approved the residents were alarmed. The building was going to take up a good stretch of Brant street – right up to the edge of Centro, a retail operation that sells home decorating items and operates a gardening business as well and has a small outdoor garden and plant operation that leads out into the parking lot behind where there is a small Sunday farmer’s market that is very popular.

With Centro about to have the northern wall of a very tall building right beside them the neighbourhood wanted to know what the downtown core would look like with a number of very tall buildings going up. Saying it would rise 23 storeys is one thing, seeing a scale model was something else.

The residents had asked the city to provide a 3 dimensional model and were told that it wasn’t possible – not enough in the way of staff resources to take on the task and a lot of the data needed wasn’t available.

St lukes emerals precinct 2

S t. Luke’s: a neighbourhood that feels it is at risk with the city’s intensification plans.

The people of St. Luke’s precinct people are resourceful – if the city couldn’t create a 3 dimensional model – then they would make one.

That’s where Remy and his friends became the front line. Parents found themselves driving all over the region buying up all the available shades of grey LEGO blocks needed to create the model that they will now take almost anywhere.

One parent said they bought up all the available grey LEGO between Burlington and the Don Valley Parkway.

They found a way to get the model included in a Standing Committee meeting – not something the city really wanted to see happen and certainly not something any of the council members applauded, with the exception of the ward Councillor, Marianne Meed Ward.

The display of the 3 dimensional model became part of the delegation 13 year old Remy was giving. He explained what the different buildings were and letting people get a sense as to just how high 23 storeys are when set beside city hall, Simms Square, the Queen’s Head – and including other projects that are now in the hands of the planners who have to prepare a report for city council.

Model with Tanner

Deputy city manager Mary Lou Tanner, on the left, looks over the LEGO model built by Remy Imber and several of his friends.

The model was on display at the recent Bfast Transit Forum where the former Director of Planning, and now Deputy City Manager Mary Lou Tanner gave it a look.

She had one of those Queen Elizabeth “We are not amused” looks on her face.

That model could well become a part of the race for the office of Mayor as well as the race for whoever gets to represent the ward at city council come the October 22nd election.

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A school with a program that will focus on innovation, science, technology, engineering and mathematics begins to take shape.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

April 30th, 2018



It was an idea that came out of the contentious Program Accommodation Review last June that resulted in the Halton District School Board trustees deciding to close two of the seven Burlington high schools; both south of the QEW.

During that process almost every high school was at risk of being closed. Central high school was recommended for closure along with Lester B. Pearson.

Central got saved and Bateman was set up for closure instead.

Aldershot high school, which had extremely low student population, was a natural for closure but it was kept open.  Somewhere along the way during the PAR discussion someone suggested there was an opportunity to try something different with Aldershot high school.

Maybe an incubator school; maybe a school with a specialized course offering; could it be called a magnet school? Ideas were tossed around but at the time the issue was the closing of different schools and no one paid all that much attention to the Aldershot situation.

Hammil + Miller

Director of Education Miller with a classroom teacher during one of the Robotics events.

Director of Education Stuart Miller stayed with the idea and worked it up into a proposal that he put before the trustees; they bought into it and Senior Staff, along with parents who were close to desperate to do whatever it took to keep their community high school open.

A team made up of Superintendents Blackwell, Truffen and Huntley-Gibbons put their heads together and looked for ways to fully involve a very willing group of Aldershot parents who were interested in a progressive, vibrant program for their school that was not only different but more in tune with progressive educational thinking.

The community came up with some surprising ideas – there were the usual – an arts school, a school with an Environmental focus and maybe a school with a High Performance Athletic program. What wasn’t expected was an Alternative calendar school; a school with a Health and Wellness focus; Post Secondary Partnership Opportunities; Social Justice/Social entrepreneurship and a school for students who learn differently.

The intention was to create a program within the high school that would continue to offer the standard curriculum offering.

Blackwell + Tuffen as a team

Superintendents Blackwell and Truffen during a presentation to the Board of Trustees.

The team developing the concept took it to the trustees who heartily supported the idea of going forward and doing what was needed to have the first class of what were going to be school with an iStem program. iStem is the acronym for innovative, science technology, engineering and mathematics.

The objective is to have students in classrooms for September of 2019. They had their work cut out for themselves.

Earlier in the month more than 75 people including educators, community leaders and people from industry met for a full day in A Think Tank format to collaborate on what the future might look like at Aldershot High School. The new program, beginning in September 2019 for Grade 9 students, will foster innovation and incorporate Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education.

design workshopThe iStem  program will equip students with global competencies, also known as transferable skills, such as critical thinking, problem solving, innovation, creativity, entrepreneurship, self-directed learning, collaboration, communication and citizenship. Project-based learning, design thinking, entrepreneurial thinking and experiential learning opportunities through community and post-secondary partnerships will be essential elements of the program to enhance learning opportunities for students.

The day-long event encouraged brainstorming, collaboration and creativity in support of student learning. The discussions were set out under six subject areas:

Marketing/Branding Ideas
What will people want to know about the course offering? How might we communicate? Who might help us?
How knowledgeable are parents about STEM learning in school? How well informed are parents about the importance of STEM for career opportunities?

Learning: Taking Learning Outside and Inviting Learning Inside
What is the role of industry in providing support in education and career connections? How do we broker partnerships and engage in a meaningful way?
How can we establish and nurture strong relationships with partners outside the education system?
How can the community and local business be selectively engaged in education?
To what extent are STEM stakeholders outside the education system (e.g. community organizations, industry) collaborating to improve STEM education? Where are the gaps?

Competencies and Skillsets vs. Credentials
What are the post-secondary institution discussions about appropriate entry requirements for our future society and economy?
How might post-secondary institutions actively partner with schools in support of STEM learning?
How might we align post-secondary entry requirements with K-12 education evolution?

Learning through STEM
To what extent has K-12 STEM education integrated?
competency-based approaches?
relevant issues-based approaches?
interdisciplinary approaches?
new technologies to support learning?
How can we integrate experiential learning and interdisciplinary learning into STEM learning?

Innovation Hubs
Today’s hubs are no longer just tech-business incubators—they’re dynamic spaces where entrepreneurs in industries like education, social enterprise, and communications technology can access incubation services, use co-working and lab spaces, and make crucial connections. Hubs have the freedom to curate its tenants, develop unique programs and partnerships, and build networks in support of student learning.

The Stanford Social Innovation Review sets out four dimensions of an innovation hub:

1. Hubs build collaborative communities with entrepreneurial individuals at the centre
2. Hubs attract diverse members with heterogeneous knowledge
3. Hubs facilitate creativity and collaboration in physical and digital space
4. Hubs localize global entrepreneurial culture

Why? What if…? How might we…?
Innovative STEM education requires the engagement of multiple stakeholders: governments, educators, parents, community organizations, the science and technology research community, post-secondary institutions and businesses.

How do we collectively support attitudes, values and knowledge?
Participants explored how the I-STEM program could be designed to:
Ensure students have multiple experiential learning opportunities
Foster partnerships between students, post-secondary institutes, government and local organizations
Provide increased exposure to STEM fields

“We have a game-changing opportunity here,” said Bonnie Schmidt, President of Let’s Talk Science, a national organization involved with the Canada 2067 discussion on the future of STEM education to prepare students to “live, learn and contribute to their communities in the economies and societies of the future.”

With technological change, shifting demographics, and increased globalization being the key forces shaping the future of work, participants discussed how these factors can be considered when preparing students for their future.


Superintendent Blackwell.

Terri Blackwell, Superintendent of Education said: “In a world of continual change with evolving science, technology and innovation, we have the opportunity to develop global citizens who contribute to solving complex economic, social and environmental problems.”  “The Think Tank event provided an opportunity to build a vision for learning in the iStem program, share ideas for the future of learning, and build community and post-secondary partnerships.”

concept symbolNext steps in the development of the iStem program will be to analyze the feedback and ideas generated at the event and establish a professional learning plan with staff.

If done right, and there is every reason to believe that the team creating the iStem program will get it right, the Aldershot high school could become the school to get into and the place where teachers who go above and beyond with their students every day will want to teach,

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Bowser Babes pass along $13,500 to the Burlington Food Bank/

News 100 yellowBy Staff

April 30th, 2018



In the fall of 1992, six hockey wives formed BOWSER (Burlington Oldtimers’ Women Supplying Emergency Relief). Their mandate was to help the less fortunate residents of Burlington with a monthly collection of food and cash, all of which would be donated to the Burlington Food Bank. Each month during the hockey season the “BOWSER BABES” are at arenas collecting non-perishable food items and household necessities.


From the left: Louise Addison, Robin Bailey, Barb Charron, Michele Wood and Carolyn Park

Shown here are Louise Addison, Robin Bailey, Barb Charron, Michele Wood and Carolyn Park presenting the Burlington Food Bank with a cheque for $13,500 which includes the BOWSER cash contribution for the 2017-18 season. Including the Christmas dance donation, it brings the BOWSER season total to $17,075. Missing from the photo are Pat Broadbent and Michelle Koskinen

Through BOWSER, the BOHC (Burlington Oldtimers Hockey Club), members have contributed, 86,215 food and household items as well as $233,970 all donated to Burlington Food Bank for those in need. BOHC is recognized as the major contributor to the Burlington Food Bank.

Thanks go out to the BOHC members from the “BOWSER BABES” – Michele Wood, Barb Charron, Louise Addison, Carolyn Park, Pat Broadbent and Michelle Koskinen.

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ECoB points out that 'informing is not engagement' and urges citizens to elect the city council they deserve..

News 100 redBy Jim Young, Chair – EcoB

April 29th. 2018



It is said that “In a democracy, people get the kind of government they deserve”. We believe Burlington deserves better than this.

On Thursday, ignoring the highest number of delegations in its history and some of the best detailed critiques by citizens from every corner of the city and rural areas; Burlington City Council passed its contentious new Official Plan (OP).

421 Brant

Directly opposite city hall on the north side of James street – 23 storey tower, with a proposed tower to the south. Height for that tower – yet to be determined.

While opposition focused on the downtown, widely viewed as belonging to everyone, there was equal concern about over intensification in individual residential communities. The plan, seven years in the making, was seen by most as too developer friendly, too much in thrall to the province and the region and too often dismissive of local concerns.

Transit terminal - John Street

A bus terminal and ticket vending site that was once going to be closed got upgraded to mobility hub.

Putting aside the fears of over intensification in the downtown, the failure to consider more balanced approaches to intensification, the fact that Burlington is already meeting its intensification goals and the ridiculous notion that the John St. bus stop is a “Downtown Mobility Hub”, then the missing details like the definitions of site specific height limits for some precincts, particularly around the Mobility Hubs and the absence of supporting Transit and Parking plans; the greatest point of contention was always the feeling that citizen input was ignored.


A packed public meeting at city hall

The city claims that engagement on the OP was above and beyond but who gets to define “Real Engagement”? In a seven year planning process the city only started to hold information sessions in late 2017 in the unseemly rush to make the downtown a Mobility Hub and therefore an Urban Growth Centre. Only after citizen anger brought ECoB (Engaged Citizens of Burlington) into being did the city even start to pay attention. ECoB position is that this was always too little, too late and that informing is not engagement.

Numerous meetings with Planning and Communication staff failed to move them on the major issues of importance to citizens. Councillors Craven, Taylor, Dennison and Lancaster declined to discuss the OP or the process. The Mayor and Councillor Sharman met with us but had difficulty accepting any vision of engagement other than the staff line that “Information is Engagement”. Only Councillor Meed Ward encouraged greater citizen engagement and her motions at council reflected this.

Rick Craven

Councillor Rick Craven – wasn’t available to meet with ECoB

John Taylor - hand up

Councillor John Taylor wasn’t available to meet with ECoB

Ward 4 Councillor Jack Dennison always has an eye open for an economic opportunity - sees a great one for the city: sell the golf course.

Councillor Jack Dennison wasn’t able to meet with ECoB

Lancaster on bullying

Councillor Blair Lancaster wasn’t able to meet with ECoB

In the final analysis this is another bad plan finalized much too quickly after 7 years of stagnating on staff desks, in an attempt to prevent it from becoming an election issue. It will still be too easy for developers to get sidestepping amendments and it may even favour developers at the newly created Land Planning xxx Tribunal (LPAT) more than the old OP if that had remained in place. Burlington will continue to evolve with much needed resident input. Make this an election issue, change can happen with a new Council.

Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of this, too often, rancorous debate was the self-congratulatory back slapping and high fiving by council on Thursday when they finally approved the new Official Plan. It felt like a council gloating on a victory over its citizens.

Although Council adopted this Official Plan, it requires Regional approval. Staff will be pushing their plan through the Region with additional amendments and the studies that have yet to be completed. Residents will still have the opportunity to demand changes. Until the Region accepts this OP the current OP remains in effect.

ballot box

October 22nd is municipal election day in Burlington

A new Council can overturn this Official Plan and residents get to choose who fills those council positions in the coming election. You can support candidates of your choice, who reflect your views and work to get them elected in October.

If “The purpose of debate is not to win but to make progress,” then ECoB will continue to seek progress from this debate. If any good is to come from this, it should be in the form of improved citizen engagement; despite the city’s claims, there is much room for improvement.

ECoB will explore all options, and continue to reach out to City Council, Communication and Management Staff. A start point for that outreach might well be the long ignored 2011 council report “Shape Burlington”, which uncannily predicts the present citizen engagement issues.

Shape Burlington Report.


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Was it legal? They think it is and no one is going to challenge them on the matter.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

April 29th, 2018



I’m reading about the vote on the OP; was the Special meeting of Council made known to the public?; asked a loyal Gazette reader.

Well it was and it wasn’t made known to the public that a public meeting was to take place? Could it be null and void? asked our reader.

Probably not.

Here is what happened. Our source is ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward and the procedural bylaw.
Meed Ward advises that: “The process to set a special council meeting is to poll council members. This was done weeks ago electronically by e-vote; I did not support it but enough of council did.

“The special council meeting was duly scheduled and advertised as being “immediately after the committee meeting” – so no clear start time.

“As it turned out, committee extended to Thursday morning – that hadn’t been scheduled, just the Wednesday session. Then the special council meeting was to follow.

“So, residents didn’t know about either the committee meeting extending to Thursday or the special council afterward unless they were in attendance or watching the live feed (the video of the meetings is not posted till a day or two later).

Meed Ward H&S

Councillor Meed Ward – did not support holding a Special Meeting of Council immediately after a Standing Committee meeting.

Meed Ward said she “ didn’t have the Thursday extended committee meeting time booked in my calendar. It was scheduled late afternoon on Wednesday.”

“Technically, one could argue the process to call the special council meeting was followed, but it left the public shut out.

Meed Ward said she “ tried to bring a motion to council to refer the council meeting to Monday, a scheduled committee meeting time, but could not get a seconder in advance to put it on the floor.”
Mayor Goldring always make a point of telling the watching audience how many hours each Standing Committee spent and he explains how many bylaws were passed.

On a critical thing like public engagement on the most important piece of legislation this council has passed (technically all they did was approve it) the public was shut out.  Deliberately?

It would have been a small matter for anyone with a real sense democracy to have explained to the audience that was in council chambers and those watching the web cast that a motion to waive the required time between the calling of a council meeting and the holding of that meeting had been waived. It was done electronically directly between the Mayor and the members of council – the public didn’t get to see the vote take place.

Not sure how legal that is – matters not; there isn’t a lawyer in town prepared to hustle up to the County Court and ask for a ruling.


Mayor Goldring at a community engagement meeting.

As for the Mayor and that Special Council meeting – he was too busy handing out proclamations – some of those who were to be given their proclamation didn’t bother to show up.

Let’s see what the readers think.

Meed War’s closing comment on this was: “Not a great day for democracy. Calling out the small number of residents in attendance that morning added insult to injury. If this had been held at the regular council meeting in May, or even at the scheduled committee meeting on Monday, April 30 residents would have filled the room and the podium – because they would have known it was coming and could plan to be there.”


Mayor Goldring handed out Proclamations during a council meeting with a packed council chamber c

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How do you get unintentionally stabbed by a person known to you?

Crime 100By Staff

April 28th, 2018



On April 28, 2018 shortly after 1:00 a.m. an altercation took place inside of Club 54 located at 3345 Harvester Road in Burlington.


It’s a “happening” place.

As 30 year old male was unintentionally stabbed by a person known to him. The victim was transported to hospital with serious but non-life threatening injuries.

A 33 year old male from Hamilton was arrested and charged with Weapons Dangerous and Unlawfully Causing Bodily Harm.

Police are asking anyone with information to contact Detective Constable Olewniczak of the Burlington Criminal Investigations – Robbery Team at 905-825-4747 Ext. 2364.

Tips can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers “See Something? Hear Something? Know Something? Contact Crime Stoppers” at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), or through the web at .

Any person charged with a criminal offence is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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Dennison comments on the approved Official Plan

News 100 blueBy Jack Dennison, Ward 4 Councillor

April 28th, 2018


Burlington city council heaved a sigh of relief Thursday afternoon and approved an Official Plan. The 400 page document now goes to Regional Council where it will be debated again, perhaps revised and sent back to Burlington.  The Gazette has asked each member of council for a copy of the remarks they made after the Official Plan had been approved. Comments made by Jack Dennison, ward 4  council member. are set out below.

I recognize the desperate need to get our new Official Plan approved so that we are more in line with the Provincial Policy statements on growth and intensification. Our current Official Plan and Zoning By-laws are out of line with those Provincial plans. We the city should be able to successfully defend our new official plan heights and densities, where we were unsuccessful with 374 Martha/ADI/Nautique.


Councillor Jack Dennison at a Strategic Planing meeting at LaSalle Park.

That said, I still have difficulty with the proposed Official Plan where entire city blocks downtown have an Official Plan height of 17 storeys or less. Every property owner thinks their property can be developed to that height without consideration for variety of heights.

To solve this problem, we have to be site specific for tall buildings and shorter variety heights. This would allow movement within the blocks to create variety.

We need to:

• In the Downtown Core Precinct, identify that not every site will be suitable to accommodate a tall building and that design guidelines and the Zoning By-law will establish the minimum criteria which may accommodate different forms of buildings.

• Incorporate an effective transition between development within the Upper Brant Precinct and adjacent low density residential.

• Develop policies that will ensure that the conservation of existing heritage buildings is a priority by retaining heritage buildings on site; and ensuring new development must be compatible with adjacent cultural heritage resources.

• Consider implementing a phasing plan for development which could have significant adverse impact on the downtown infrastructure including the road network affecting motorists and/or pedestrians.

• And earlier we modified the 17 storeys to 12 storeys up to 17 based on additional public parking and employment spaces in the Downtown area, and increased the setback between tall buildings to 30 metres, and we do still have area specific plans and zoning bylaws through which we can continue to shape our community including our downtown.

Further, I want the OP and zoning bylaws to be in lock step and we aggressively defend the new OP and Zoning.

We do not want walls of buildings on our primary roads, Lakeshore, Brant and throughout our downtown.

Dennison announcing

Jack Dennison the day he announced the sale of Cedar Springs.

But as I already said, I feel I have no choice but to support the approval of the proposed Official Plan which has been substantially modified through the excellent input from many constituents, including ECOB as well as the Council and staff as a team with the residents – This has been a 7 year process that we had to complete. Thank you to staff for their willingness to listen and amend where they could. We are #1 and we will continue to be #1.

I totally disagree with the east side of Brant Street north of Blairholm Avenue having heights of 7 – 25 storeys, immediately adjacent to single-family residential.

The west side of north Brant is proposed at 10-25 storeys but at least has a 3-storey podium next to Brant: with review in 10 years re: additional capacity to add more tall buildings.

Dennison graph on OP


39 proposed by OP team is more than 4 times present and approved.

26 proposed by Jack is less than 3 times present and approved.

Further I want the OP and zoning bylaws to be in lock step and we aggressively defend the new OP and Zoning.

The specific blocks I take issue with include:

1. Gore Variety: instead of 17, 6 and 3 ; have 6, 8 and 3.

2. 421 Brant Street North to Birch Avenue: instead of 3,6,8 and 11 ; have a variety of 3, 6, 8 and 11 with only every second block having an 11-storey building.

409 Brant image

Revenue Properties proposal for the former Elizabeth Interiors location.

3. 409 Brant Street (Elizabeth Interiors): instead of 3 to 17, have a maximum of 3 to 14 storeys and certainly not 24 storeys.

4. Esso Station at Locust and Lakeshore Road: specify 17 storeys at the back by the Parking Garage and 3 storeys at Lakeshore Road.

5. Modify the block at the northwest corner of James and Elizabeth have a maximum height of 8 storeys like City Hall, not 17 storeys.

6. Modify the block on the south side of Caroline Street between Brant and Locust to have a podium of 3 storeys and not exceed 6 storeys instead of 11 storeys.

John - No frills - laneway

No Frills Plaza

7. Modify No Frills plaza to have a maximum height of 14 storeys, not 17, and the Brant Street building to not exceed 4 storeys instead of 6.

8. Modify the Leggat property to have a maximum height of 14 storeys, not 17, and a maximum at Brant Street of 4 storeys, not 6.

We do not want walls of building on our primary roads, Lakeshore, Brant and throughout our downtown.

But as I already said, I have no choice but to support the approval of the proposed Official Plan.

Dennison closed his comments with the observation that there were only four members of the public in the Council chamber.  That was because for the most part the public did not know exactly when the special meeting of Council was to take place.


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Freeman Station gets a Trillium grant to install an accessibility ramp.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

April 27th, 2017



On Friday afternoon, there was an Open House at the Freeman Station in Burlington. Local MPP Eleanor McMahon congratulated the members of the Friends of Freeman Station on receiving a $36,100 Capital grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation to install a permanent ramp to the door of the building.

“The Friends of Freeman Station is an incredible group of hard-working volunteers who are dedicated to restoring Freeman Station, a building that greatly contributes to Burlington’s heritage and culture,” said Burlington MPP Eleanor McMahon. “Our government is pleased to invest $36,100, over five months, to improve the station’s infrastructure, ensuring that the space is accessible for everyone in our community.”

Freeman with OTF grant

From the right: Brian Aasgaard, MPP Eleanor McMahon,Ron Danielsen and Ward 6 Councillor Blair Lancaster


In addition to the ramp, accessibility upgrades will be made at the primary entrance and modifications to existing washroom facilities. The Station when it is ready, will be used by a variety of community organizations for meetings; and education for students to learn about the history of early transportation and communication in Canada. And thanks to the grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, people of all abilities will be able to access the main level of the building.

“Friends of Freeman Station are thankful to the Ontario Trillium Foundation, and to MPP Eleanor McMahon for this grant, which will make the main level of the station wheelchair accessible, so that everyone can participate in the learning experience the station will provide. Its impact cannot be underestimated.” said Ron Danielsen, President of the Friends of Freeman.

The Friends of Freeman Station are an all volunteer non-profit charity comprised of members of the community committed to saving, restoring and repurposing the original 1906 Burlington Junction – Grand Trunk Railway Station – known locally as Freeman Station, to be an interpretive centre for the community centre.

An agency of the Government of Ontario, the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) is one of Canada’s largest granting foundations. With a budget of over $136 million, OTF awards grants to some 1,000 projects every year to build healthy and vibrant Ontario communities.

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City hall releases a statement on the adoption of an Official Plan

News 100 blueBy Staff

April 27th, 2018



Burlington City Council has adopted Grow Bold: Burlington’s new Official Plan. A report recommending adoption of the plan was presented at a meeting of the Planning and Development Committee on April 24, 25 and 26, followed by a special meeting of City Council on April 26.

The policies in the new Official Plan bring to life the key directions in Burlington’s Strategic Plan 2015-2040, approved in April 2016. Through the strategic plan, Burlington City Council made the decision to protect the city’s rural area and grow up in key parts of the urban area. In the new Official Plan, five per cent of Burlington will see growth, targeted to the Mobility Hubs – the areas around the city’s GO stations and in downtown and uptown Burlington. Fifty per cent of the city will continue to be protected rural land; 34 per cent will remain established residential neighbourhoods; and 11 per cent will be land for employment.

Mayor sitting in downtown GROW Bold

Mayor Rick Goldring sitting in on a public meeting to review the draft Official Plan

Work to revise the city’s Official Plan began in 2011. Significant community consultation in the form of 120 meetings and workshops with the public and other stakeholders helped shape and revise the policy directions in the new Official Plan. Since June 2017, four versions of the Official Plan have been released, each incorporating changes brought forward by the public, stakeholders, agencies and Council.

Next Steps

Following adoption by City Council, the new Official Plan is now subject to review and approval by Halton Region. Until the plan is approved at the regional level of government, the City of Burlington’s current Official Plan remains in effect and will be enforced. The new Official Plan will be used to inform land-use decisions.

Revisions to policies in the new Official Plan, as directed by Council at the Planning and Development Committee meeting this week, are currently being made by city staff before the Official Plan is sent to Halton Region.

Mayor Rick Goldring said:  “I want to thank all the residents and contributors who spoke to Council and shared their ideas and concerns about the new Official Plan. Conversations about how and where our city should grow can be challenging, and throughout this seven-year process Council has listened and learned a lot from those who participated. Your input has resulted in an improved Official Plan for Burlington.

Burlington ariel

A new Official Plan determines what can be built where and how high the building can rise. The picture will look a lot different in five years.

The adoption of the new Official Plan is a significant accomplishment. It marks the first time a city in the Greater Golden Horseshoe Area has adopted a new Official Plan at a time when communities are saying no to urban sprawl. I am proud of Burlington City Council for showing leadership to ensure 50 per cent of our city, which includes the Niagara Escarpment, will remain protected land for years to come and for laying out a path for Burlington that will manage growth in a way that is sustainable and livable for everyone.”

Mary Lou Tanner, Deputy City Manager said:  “On behalf of the city, I would sincerely like to thank the community for their participation in the new Official Plan process. Discussions about growth are hard and while there may not be alignment on every issue, we all want the same things for the community we love – jobs, an affordable place to live and a good quality of life.

The adoption of the new Official Plan is an important step forward for Burlington but it is not the end of the planning journey. More work lies ahead to fine tune and detail how and where the city will grow in the future.

The development a new zoning bylaw and the area-specific plans for the Mobility Hubs will provide more opportunities for public engagement. I hope we will continue to hear from residents and that they will continue to ask us tough questions. It is this type of debate that will contribute to a healthy and vibrant future for Burlington.”

Quick Facts

• Burlington’s new Official Plan is the city’s community vision and will guide decision-making on how we use land, manage growth and invest in infrastructure to 2031 and beyond.

• Burlington’s population is growing. The 2016 Census data shows Burlington grew by 7,535 people between 2011 and 2016 – a 4.3% overall growth rate.

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