Workshop on incorporating native plants in your garden.

eventsgreen 100x100By Staff

April 27th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Does the arrival of spring weather have your thoughts turning to your garden? Perhaps you’re thinking of a way to incorporate native plants and don’t know where to start?

There is a workshop at Royal Botanical Gardens on Saturday, May 12 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Designing Your Native Landscape workshop at Royal Botanical Gardens.

RBG plants

Will your garden look like this after the workshop?

You will be taught how to choose and maintain native plant gardens and what type is right for your property.

You will learn about how to work with the soil you have and how to incorporate raised garden beds into your design.

You will also have a chance to speak one-on-one with a garden expert about a plan for your property. The cost of the workshop is $40 (including HST) and includes a tour of a native garden at the Royal Botanical Gardens, a catered lunch, resources and giveaways.

The speakers include:
Erin Mallon, Stewardship Technician, Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark
Charlie Briggs, Staff Gardener, Royal Botanical Gardens
Tara Nolan, Author and Raised Garden Bed Expert
Crystal Bradford and Liam Kijewski, Native Garden Designers and owners of Wildlife Gardening
Sean James, Master Gardener and owner of Sean James Consulting and Design

To attend the Designing Your Native Landscape workshop, you are asked to pre-register. You can find the link to register at the event listing on the Events Calendar at www.conservationhalton.ca/events.

The Designing Your Native Landscape Workshop is on Saturday, May 12 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Classroom 5 in the RBG Centre, 680 Plains Road West in Burlington.

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Rivers: what role will education play in the provincial election? Think about the graduation rates.

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

April 27th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Liberals have been in power now for a decade and half, even though Kathleen Wynne has been premier for less than half that time. But people are saying it’s time to change, time for a change. They’re tired of the Liberals.

Doug Ford

Doug Ford

Doesn’t everything need to change at some point – it all eventually gets old and tired and needs to be replaced. It’s called transition and life – it’s normal, right? ‘Choose Change’ was the slogan Dalton McGuinty used when he whomped the tired old Ernie Eves Tories back in 2003 with an impressive 46% of the popular vote. That is the ballpark that Mr. Ford now finds himself in as he prepares to take over the reins of Ontario’s provincial government – the pre-emptive premier.

And there are so many reasons to give Premier Wynne the boot. Take education. Did you know that not every student who enters into secondary school graduates from it. Only 86.5 % of adolescents end up with a school leaving certificate in this province. Places like Ukraine actually score over 100% on some of their graduation statistics, though that may just be old Soviet-style statistics still at play.

86%Of course 86% is better than 69% , which was the graduation rate Ontario used to be so proud of back in the days when Mike Harris was in power. But a lot of things have changed. Ontario now has an early education program with universal junior kindergarten, so those little rug-rats can get into the learning mode earlier – something which will benefit them later in life all the experts agree. Although it’s a bit of a stretch to credit our improved graduation rate entirely to the relatively few early educated represented in this statistic.

xxx

Early education

Early education – for two-and-a-half year olds will mean a sea change to the notion of day care and child minding.

The latest Liberal budget would see children as young as two and a half be eligible for free, presumably, Montessori-style early education. Free early education for two-and-a-half year olds will mean a sea change to the notion of day care and child minding. Even the early educators themselves will need to be better educated. A big bonus is the extra pocket money saved by working moms and dads struggling to keep their financial heads above water.

Labour peace may also be a factor that has influenced this double digit climb in graduation from Ontario’s high schools. The last major teacher strike was back in 1997. It’s possible that happy teachers make better teachers and more motivated students. And it’s also possible that the stress of labour-government infighting took its toll on the desire of students to stay in school back then. After all, if your government has no respect for teachers…well… And Mike Harris and ‘create-a-crisis’ John Snobelen, having dropped out of university and high school respectively, may not have been the best role models in those dark days of the nineties.

Perhaps tuition-free university for those in financial need also has had an impact. Students who may have once thought…”what’s the point of finishing school, I can’t afford to go on to higher education anyway”… may have found new motivation to succeed. Apparently 235,000 students have benefited from free higher education, including 10,000 single mothers.

86.5% is just above the Canadian average in high school graduation rates, with only Nova Scotia and PEI slightly ahead of Ontario. Those provinces are also governed by Liberals, but then so is Quebec which is quite a way down the list. The gospel is that an improvement in Ontario’s education outcomes will lead to a more productive economy and more prosperous population. That will be critical as the province faces its future.

sex edThere has been a lot of talk about removing sex-education from the elementary school curriculum. It takes time away from other topics, like Lego or computers. Shouldn’t it be left to the parents to talk about something so sensitive? And hadn’t these children’s parents eventually figured it out on their own anyway, one way or the other. After all, it’s as natural as having a healthy diet and getting plenty of exercise. Your body will tell you what to do – right?

Sexual relationships are one of the most significant aspects of a young teenager’s development. So will getting the basics right help students better get on with/over with sex and leave more time and effort for concentration on their studies? The issue is a muddy pool teeming with education psychologists and the religious moralists each eating the other for lunch.

But teen pregnancies, which can increase school drop out rates, are on the rise in Canada and there is still inconclusive evidence that early sex-ed alone mitigates that effect – despite the logic of it all. Economics and economic opportunities seem to play a larger role in this matter, and fortunately for any new government today’s Ontario’s economy is booming. But perhaps even more importantly, young people, who don’t usually have a lot of pocket money, are now entitled to free pharmacare, so at least they can afford prevention.

We desire higher grad rates because that should deliver a more productive economy and a more prosperous society. And a better educated population should be expected to make better decisions, especially when it comes to election issues and elections. Many of those new grads will be eligible to vote or at least in a position to influence how their friends and family vote. And that may help determine whether there is a new Ford government which will have the choice of lifting the province’s grad rate closer to 100%, or letting it fall back towards the 68% the last time the Tories were in power.

Rivers hand to faceRay Rivers writes regularly on both federal and provincial politics, applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking.  Rivers was once a candidate for provincial office in Burlington.  He was the founder of the Burlington citizen committee on sustainability at a time when climate warming was a hotly debated subject.     Tweet @rayzrivers

 

Background links:

High School Graduation –    Teacher Strikes –    Disparity in Grad RatesTeen Pregnancies

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Official plan gets sent to the Region - with one dissenting vote

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

April 26th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

And so it is done.

City council meeting in a special meeting of council voted 6-1 to approve the draft city plan and send it along to the Regional government.

Councillor Marianne Meed Ward was the lone dissenter.

There were 11 Staff Directions issued – work for staff to do in the months ahead.

There were a number of motions changing parts of the draft.

The Gazette will report on both the Staff Directions and the amendments made to the draft Official Plan. The document that was approved today began in 2010 when this council was first elected.  Staff changes, the decision to craft a 25 year Strategic Plan instead of the traditional four years plan and the realization that the city had to grow UP and not out due to the limited greenfield land that is available made what was arrived at inevitable given the council that is in place and the leadership within the planning department.

The plan moves Burlington from a suburban community to an urban one. With the plan in place to effect that change in the decades ahead the city now needs to come about, like a large ocean liner, and begin to sail in a new direction.

Hotel on lower Brant Street

The small town feel – how much of it can be kept?

That direction will shift but the “small town feel” that Councillor Meed Ward spoke of in her remarks may be a thing of the past.

Deputy city manager Mary Lou Tanner noted that the last time Burlington had a vigorous a discussion on the direction the city was going to go in was in the early 60’s. She added that when the Urban Boundary was set in 1969 the future of Burlington was cast in stone. There was going to be a rural community in a sleepy suburban bedroom community.  And that is what Burlington became.

Without the Escarpment - we might as well merge with Oakville.

The 1969 decision to create an Urban boundary left a rural community a short drive from the downtown core.

The next phase of the evolution of the city is now underway – a city that will have high rise towers 20 minutes from farm fields.

We now have an urban city that wants to be vibrant and at the same time have a rural area; few in the world have this kind of mix. Having a lake at the foot of it all is what makes the city it is.

Now high rise towers become a part of the picture.

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Police vigorously investigating home invasion on Bonnieview Avenue

Crime 100By Staff

April 26th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

On Wednesday April 25th 2018 shortly after 10:30 PM, two unknown suspects entered an unlocked rear door at a home on Bonnieview Avenue in Burlington (Aldershot).

HRPS crestThe suspects, one armed with a handgun and an aerosol weapon believed to be bear spray or pepper spray, confronted two elderly homeowners and demanded their bank cards and pins numbers.

The suspects then forced the homeowners into a bathroom before rummaging through the home in search of valuables.

The suspects stole several electronic items and a purse before fleeing the home.

Several minutes after the suspects fled, the homeowners exited the washroom unharmed and immediately called police.

Uniformed officers, Criminal Investigators and a police canine flooded the area in search of the suspects with negative results.

The suspects are described as follows:

Suspect # 1: White male, approximately 6’2″ tall, medium build, wearing a black ski mask, black jeans and black shoes.

Suspect #2: White male, thin build, approximately 5’9″ tall, clean shaven, wearing a black hoody, trapper hat with fur ear flaps, black jeans and dark glasses with metal frames.

Police are vigorously investigating this crime and are asking anyone with information to contact Detective Phil Vandenbeukel of the Burlington Criminal Investigations – Robbery Team at 905-825-4747 Ext. 2343.

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 www.haltoncrimestoppers.ca .

Police are encouraging residents to always lock their doors and watch for suspicious vehicles and/or people in their neighbourhoods. If you see something out of place in your neighbourhood, immediately report it to police.

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Standing committee stands down and prepares to meet as a city council to approve the draft Official Plan and send it along to the Region.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

April 26th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

They have been at it for two days.

Official-Plan-Binder_ImageAfter a grueling session on Tuesday planning staff returned to their desks in the evening and worked through much of the nigh to craft responses to questions that were asked during the day.

It was much the same for some of the members of council. Just about everyone is going flat out.

With all this going on the members of council begin to move into election mode – nominations open on Monday.

The Standing Committee has worked its way through three different tables that list the matters that have to be debated and discussed. The planners have been working on the language that they feel should be used in any changes that are made to the current draft of the new Official Plan which they hope to get approved and shipped off to the Region.

The work being done now is the foundation on which development and construction will be done.  The developers have been sending in developments almost weekly; one was dropped off at city hall last Friday; Deputy city manager Mary Lou Tanner said it was 1000 pages long.

The Standing Committee met at 9:30 this morning, handled one concern and then did their Receive & File process and adjourned. They will meet at about 10:30 this morning as a city council and apparently approve the draft city plan. Not much notice for people who might want to delegate on this critical document.

There is a question that has lingered over the way this new Official Plan has come to be and that is: What’s the rush?

We may never know.

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Would the Royal Bank send this to you? Never.

IDTHEFT 100X100By Staff

April 26th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

They don’t stop.

The reason they don’t stop is that someone bites the bait and these thieves who reside who knows where can clean you out financially.

Set out below is one of the more recent attempt to steal your identity.

RBC scam

If you look at the message carefully you will see a significant grammatical error.

Anything you get from a financial institution should be ready carefully – and follow that Golden Rule – If in doubt – don’t!

 

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Mayor reminds his colleagues that a bylaw has to be approved before they go home allowing for the collection of taxes.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

April 25th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The meeting was running late and everyone on council wanted to adjourn and go home.

They had already agreed to extend the meeting for an additional half hour – then the Mayor advised council that they needed to take a break and approve a bylaw that would allow for the collection of taxes.

They did that – here are the results:

Tax levy graphic 2017-18Burlington City Council approved the 2018 Tax Levy Bylaw at its meeting on April 23, 2018. The bylaw allows the city to bill 2018 property taxes and set payment due dates for final tax bills on June 20 and Sept. 20, 2018.

The 2018 Tax Levy Bylaw reflects the budget processes of both the city and Halton Region. The province provides the education tax rates. The overall tax increase is 2.64 per cent or $20.93 for each $100,000 of urban residential assessment. Tax impacts will vary by property based on actual changes in the assessed value of the property relative to others.

While the overall tax increase is reported as 2.64% – the tax increase imposed by the city is slightly less than 4% – well above inflation.  The city collects the Regional taxes and has some impact on the Regional tax levy and absolutely no impact on the school board tax levy.

It is a little disingenuous to quote that 2.64% number – but they do it every year.  Tax discussions apparently don’t come under the transparency rule.

The City of Burlington collects property taxes for the city, Halton Region and the Halton district school boards. The total combined tax levy for all three entities is approximately $405 million. The city’s levy is $160 million; the city collects $130 million on behalf of Halton Region; and $115 million on behalf of the Halton district school boards. The taxes levied for Halton Region and the Halton district school boards are remitted to them.

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The new Official Plan, without Transit and Transportation Plans will only be a shell of a document .

opinionandcommentBy Gary Scobie

April 25th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

I want to apologize for some wrong information I presented earlier to Council. I stated that both Downtown Burlington and the Burlington GO Station were Urban Growth Centres assigned by the Province.

I have been corrected by Planning staff and I thank them for this. Only the Downtown has an Urban Growth Centre designation, much like downtowns in other cities. Oakville did move their Growth Centre to the Mid-town Trafalgar GO Station.

We need to do the same in Burlington.

There is a rush to replace our Official Plan with a new one. There is also the feeling that the new Local Planning Appeal Tribunal, or LPAT, along with a new OP will help us gain control of our downtown redevelopment. Unfortunately this is not the case.

Gary Scobie

Gary Scobie

Developers are opportunistic. They see a current situation of a very flexible and malleable OP along with the protection of Urban Growth Centre and Mobility Hub designations for the downtown as guaranteeing the height they want to build over many blocks of the downtown. They are absolutely correct in their assessment.

The designations provide no height limits whatsoever on buildings.

They provide minimum resident and job standards only, which the developers capitalize on with their arguments for continued height growth and proliferation of tall buildings downtown, against resident wishes.

The new Official Plan, without Transit and Transportation Plans will only be a shell of a document when it comes to protecting the downtown from over-intensification. Packing many people in a small geographic area of Burlington without a way for them to better move to the GO Station will not solve any problem of the downtown, only worsen the congestion problem.

The ideas of many precincts in the new Official Plan, each hand-picked for certain heights is the gift to developers that just keeps on giving. Developers know that their one-off projects in one location each time only need justification for that certain location.

The City must defend every precinct they have set up with complete, detailed proper justifications unique for each one. These they do not have. Developers need only point to the Urban Growth Centre and Mobility Hub minimum growth targets and other nearby buildings already approved or constructed, even in neighbouring precincts, as justification for height beyond what the City wants. The City will get no help from the Province in defending their new Official Plan as long as the twin designations

loom above us, just as the twin gateway buildings will soon loom above us at the James and Brant corner.

werv

A bus terminal has grown to become a Mobility hub.

We are currently stuck with a pretend Mobility Hub in the Downtown. We have a Council that says it cares about the downtown redevelopment, yet approves inappropriate height on Brant Street and cannot present a valid case to the OMB to stop inappropriate height on Lakeshore Road. The over-arching demand of high density through proliferation of high buildings in the downtown is guaranteed to continue as long the Province has the hammer over our heads. Everything we do downtown in the future is governed by these intensification demands placed by the Province through the twin designations. The LPAT rules acknowledge this and the multi-precinct approach in the new Official Plan will lead to undefendable reasoning against the
precedents already set and the lack of justifications to stop tall buildings where developers desire them.

Urban growth centre boundary

Urban Growth Centre boundary

We have only one defence available to regain control of our downtown for sensible, controllable growth. That is to petition the Province to remove the Mobility Hub designation from the Downtown and to move the Urban Growth Centre designation from the Downtown to the Burlington GO Station.

You can’t do that effectively if you are passing a shell of a new Official Plan at the same time. You need to at least keep the current Official Plan in place as an example of our attempt to manage growth downtown in a gentler manner while you argue our case to the Province for removing the high intensification rules from the downtown.

Will you show the citizens in this meaningful way that you do care about our downtown and what it is to become and set this new Official Plan aside while you pursue a better avenue to protect our downtown from the over-intensification that is currently heading toward us like a freight train that will come off the rails?

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David McKay: Time to approve it and get on with the business of doing as much as we can to make it work .

opinionandcommentBy David McKay

April 25th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

David McKay taught science to many of the people who help run the city.  Now retired from classrooms – he appeared before city council to put some of the city’s history in perspective.

I appreciate you taking yet another round of delegations on this matter. My comments will be
made from the perspective of someone who has been involved as a citizen with planning issues
in Burlington for some fifteen years, as a member of city advisory committees, community groups and as an individual. I have followed and on occasion participated in the development of this plan for seven years as it followed a windy and sometimes unpredictable road.

One cannot of course, comment on the entire plan, and I shall confine my remarks to three aspects:

Official-Plan-Binder_ImageFirst, I must commend council and staff for realizing and accepting that so much had happened and was happening since the completion of the previous plan that amendments alone would not suffice, and for having the courage and commitment to build an entirely new plan.

The process of developing this ambitious document included an extensive amount of citizen
engagement with numerous public meetings on various aspects of the plan and finally on the
document as a whole; with frequent opportunities to appear before committee or council.

While some of these events were not entirely amicable, there was opportunity to comment
or suggest and these meetings did result in alterations to the final plan. The amount of time
given to the engagement process and numerous revisions and rewrites of parts of the plan
were much greater that had occurred during the development of previous plans.

Secondly I would comment on a specific part of the new plan which is indicative of a realization that our City is big enough and varied enough that different areas need different treatment in a City Wide Planning Document. My community was involved in the “Neighbourhood Character Study” which resulted in specific planning requirements and control by-laws for particular communities with a particular history and particular needs. This was achieved through an extensive consultative process between city staff , neighbourhood associations, outside consultants and individual residents. The process was lengthy, challenging, and at times frustrating but in the end it brought positive results for all parties involved. There are other areas of the plan which reflect this type of community based planning.

Finally I wish to give “my take” on a portion of the plan which has been the focus of much of the recent discussions – The Downtown Transportation Hub. To fully evaluate this part of the Official Plan it is necessary to know and understand how we got to where we are at present.

It began, really, with the Provincial Greenbelt Plan, developed in the middle of the previous decade by a Group headed by our then mayor, Rob McIsaac. This plan, while needed and beneficial in its curbing of urban sprawl, had a profound and immediate effect on our City as virtually all of its undeveloped land (about 50% of our area) became part of the Greenbelt or the Niagara Escarpment Lands and Alton became our last subdivision.

Click to view report

Then of course came “Places to Grow” – a detailed outlining of where the millions of new residents of the “Greater Golden Horseshoe” were to be accommodated over the next 20 years. Municipalities were not given any say in this allotment, and Burlington received its quota of new residents to be accommodated; and this would be need to be through “infill”.

In addition, the municipality had to establish a “designated growth area” where the number of jobs and residents per hectare would be the highest. Burlington chose to designate its downtown as this growth area. Here, Mr. Chair, is exhibit A from an event held almost 10 years ago. The Mayor’s Downtown Summit was a daylong event that brought together council, staff, invited speakers and interested citizens to talk about how the requirements of the designated area could be met within a downtown area of limited size, surrounded on three sides by residential communities. One conclusion at least was clear – growth would be vertical, not horizontal as is true in the core of any City. The questions were how high and how often.

The implementation of Places to Grow went relatively smoothly for some years – high rise buildings were erected on the north side of Lakeshore, with one now being built on the south. Existing high rises on Elgin and Ontario were joined by the Strata on Maple and another high rise on Brock and the Berkeley on John St. is now well underway. In the main the heights of these buildings were peacefully negotiated and put the city well on the way meeting its targets.

Two recent events have created challenges for the City and suddenly made citizens aware of just how much growth others would like to thrust upon us. First the direct appeal to the OMB of the proposed building at Martha and Lakeshore where a height far beyond that planned by the city was requested; and to the astonishment and dismay of almost all of us it was granted. Clearly the OMB continues to worship at the Altar of the Provincial Policy statement, whose nautique-elevation-from-city-july-2016mantra is “Intensification above all”. Second, the deadline for OMB referrals to be heard under the ‘old’ system brought forward a raft of applications by companies, some of whom did not have a clear idea of just what they were going to do, but didn’t want to deal with the new system. Visualizing all that infill in an around our core is quite unsettling.

So what to do? Certainly the growth that has taken place and will take place in the core is significant and will change the tenor and tone of our downtown streetscape. We do not need all the proposed structures to meet the Places to Grow requirements; indeed there are not enough prospective downtown condominium owners to fill them all if they were to be built.

Burlington did not ask for the Federal Government to add four million immigrants to the Greater Golden Horseshoe area; Burlington did not ask for growth quotas: Burlington did not ask for an unending supply of developers with deep pockets who all think that they can make a good profit out from yet another condo tower; Burlington did not ask for an outside arbitrator who seems wedded to intensification regardless….But that’s what we got.

We are seven years into formulation of this plan and have included as much input from as many people as possible. There are no clear alternatives to its proposed directions. It is time to approve it and get on with the business of doing as much as we can to make it work .

 

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ECoB's 3D model of part of the down core made it into the web cast of council Standing Committee.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

April 25th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

They were determined to make it a bigger part of the public record – they just had to find a way to do it.

A delegation was being given by the son of Lesley Imber, a family that lived in the downtown core west of Brant.

Remy Imber was one of two boys who had constructed a 3D model of the downtown core out of Lego. It was part of an ECoB initiative to give the public some idea as to what the city around city hall would look like once several of the high rise towers were completed and occupied.

Remy was giving the delegation, which he did very well. Part of his delegation was on the belief that the city would not create a 3D model that would show what the city core would look like. At that time city manager James Ridge said that he didn’t have the staff, the financial resources or the data to create a model of any kind. It wasn’t something Ridge wanted to do but he did say that if he were able to have a model created it would be sometime in 2019 – late 2019.

That wasn’t going to deter the ECoB people – somewhere along the way they came up with the idea of making a 3D model out of Lego – the idea may well have come from the boys. The struck me as the type that had creative nimble minds.

When Remy had completed the delegation ward 2 Councillor Meed Ward made mention of the 3D model and asked where it was – “out in the hallway” replied young Remy.

Downtown model

Remy Imber during his delegation along with his 3D model of the downtown core.

Bring it in suggested Meed Ward. That wasn’t something chair Craven wanted to do but Kelly Childs, part owner of Kelly’s Bakeshop, had used a copy of Money Magazine to illustrate how important her Bakeshop was to the image of the city in her delegation. There was a two page feature in the magazine which she had on hand to show everyone.

If Kelly could use a visual prop then Remy could certainly do the same thing.

Within minutes it was being carried into the Council Chamber and set out for the Council members to see and get included in the web cast of the meeting.

Both sides of the downtown core debate were getting in every debating point they could.

Politics had become theatre – which of course it always has been.

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ECoB - We need to call a truce. We have tried everything possible to bring a sense of balance, to bring a better vision, to bring a complete plan and we are exhausted.

opinionandcommentBy Lisa Kearns

April 25th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Engaged Citizens of Burlington (ECoB) is a not for profit group working towards a better Burlington for generations to come.

Kearns direct smile

Lisa Kearns – part of the ECoB leadership team. Is there more than ECoB in her future?

Working within the civic process, we are particularly concerned with issues of planning and development. The group is energized to bring voices and action to challenges that will affect the quality of life today and in the future, we are advocates for good planning across the entire City.

In the months from inception, ECoB has held an open meeting, a rally, a municipal elections workshop, hand delivered thousands of flyers, displayed hundreds of lawn signs, received press, appeared on community television and radio, grown our social media base, inspired a record number of delegations, met with provincial and municipal elected officials, city planning, business owners, developers and most importantly residents.

We have reflected on our position on the matters contained in the Draft Official Plan and truly reflect to objectively determine if we are the outliers, to see if were the radicals, to see if there was any truth to the tactics used to silence us. And here’s the thing, we are not. What we are – are concerned residents and now we are engaged.

From fragmented pockets across the city have woven together to tell the same story – we are not against growth – we are against excessive intensification and loss of community. The same Provincial Policy Statements are used in every development justification report and the same committee and council allow the most obtuse interpretation of these guidelines to promote efficient land use and development patterns. The same policies that govern Toronto and Mississauga have only one safety net in place and that is our Municipal Official Plan. That is why today is so important.

In previous delegations, residents and ECoB have set out specific areas for reconsideration. We asked to have the bar set higher – in the spirit of vibrancy to increase the uses in the Brant Main Precinct, we were successful in receiving a “should” contain three uses in the three storey podiums that extinguish our unique downtown retail. We talked about employment land designations and the ability to keep the door open for future considerations, we saw uproar that ensued from our agricultural friends.

Kearns at podium

Kearns at the podium during the ECoB candidates meeting.

We know you are aware there is a deficiency here and that is why the City has actively taken steps to ignore and deduce the consistent wave of pushing into this process.

The number of drafts that have come out, the inability to build a model that neighbourhood kids could complete, the inadvertent scheduling conflicts, the refusal to meet by some Councillors, the letter from the City Manager to silence instead of collaborate, thrown out petitions, NIMBY lawn signs in every ward, minutes of grow bold videos that hardly scratch the surface #growbold, #goodplanningmatters, and the most stinging “just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean it isn’t good planning”.

Right down to the special meeting of Council scheduled directly after this Committee meeting – how is anything from the 30+ delegations today going to receive due process and influence the vote tomorrow?

And aren’t quite done. There is still the Transit Plan, the Transportation Plan, the Mobility Hub Plan, the secondary phase of the Downtown Area Specific Plan. The challenges are still ahead and if we cannot all be on the same page with the most important City document, we most certainly will be challenged in the phases that shape our future.

Here’s the thing, planning is suggestive and without doubt a challenging task and profession. While we know that we’ve been a pain we also want you to know that we do respect the work that has been done and hope that if anything, this pressure will give you more support to create a plan that is built exclusively for our great city.

We need to call a truce.

ECoB Dec 13 #2

ECoB’s first large community meeting – they had traction and a following.

We are not against growth, we are not against change. But we are against it done poorly, done in a way that contravenes protection of established neighbourhoods, a way that cannot audit the 5% growth, cannot protect our own green space, and in a way that will ebb and flow as supporting plans come forward. We have asked for a complete vision and are no where close.

We are asking for help because it is not Ok to extend permissions for 18+ stories abutting low density residential, it is not Ok to allow in-congruent infill, it is not Ok to allow hundreds of town homes that double the density permissions, it is not Ok to push residents in Alton village, Pinedale, Bluewater/ Avondale, Dynes, Aldershot and more to the very edge – where the only option is seeking relief from the municipal tribunal.

It is not Ok to leave every resident wondering when they are going to have to become experts in the planning process that they have entrusted to those before us. Let’s make sure that the balance in in our favour now.

The province has mandated growth, we recognize that there needs to be growth, but is it councils responsibility to protect community. The question is does any of this document actually enforce a successful and complete community. We need the Committee to insist that amenities are included not just residential. It is about quality of life and not quantity of people. We seem to be more focused on getting people out of the city instead of keeping people in the city – embedded into their communities through a live, work and play approach.

We have tried everything possible to bring a sense of balance, to bring a better vision, to bring a complete plan and we are exhausted. We have asked, does the city want to fight with the residents or against the residents, only you can decide with the vote today.

And so, with the last chance to address this Draft Official Plan today we ask you to let down your guard, let us in, and really hear your residents. We continually hear Staff ask – “is this plan defensible”, and yet the bigger question is “is this plan accountable?”.

This is the last chance to be accountable to residents today and residents in the future.

Lisa Kearns is a downtown Burlington resident who has been instrumental in creating ECoB – Engaged Citizens of Burlington.

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Muir - This new OP is not complete. Let the planners do their job.

opinionandcommentBy Tom Muir

April 24th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

I have a number of comments and concerns, based on some of my experience for the last several years, regarding the staff bring forward of this new OP with recommendation for adoption.

1. This new OP is not complete, and not good planning practice to adopt at this time with piecemeal structure and many loose ends. It is lacking in accuracy, details, and clarity.

There are 3 Mobility Hubs Plans that are an inherent part of this OP, that are incomplete. These will not be reviewed publicly and given Planning Act due diligence process until possibly early 2019.

The PPS/Planning Act specifies the need for a transportation systems plan, freight support plan, a transit support plan, and an active transportation plan. There are none of these complete and available to inform council, the public and decision-makers.

All those thousands of unaccounted for vehicles are not going to disappear because the planners refuse to recognize they exist.

There are other components of the proposed plan needing publicly settled that are incomplete.

The truth is the important planning pieces that are needed are data and facts, not all kinds of assumptions and fact-less assertions.

Taken collectively, the assertions, assumptions, and conclusions, made in support of recommending adoption of the proposed OP, are not substantiated by an evidence-based research design that can predict the future, and are professionally frowned on statements that overreach the research design.

growbold-847x254I cannot say, or agree, with the ability of the City and staff to deal with this lack of key information, and failure to implement the Planning Act/PPS, and yet they still recommend adopting an incomplete OP that has demonstrated such a lot of public opposition and continues to demonstrate this opposition tonight.

Again, I say this is not good planning, and this should be obvious, and seems to be to ordinary citizens.
You owe it to us all that you pretty much need to know, and be able to tell us on facts, that this Plan is going to work as you say. But you don’t know that.

However, what people do know is that walk, bike, and bus is not going to work for people, not in Burlington for a lot of practical reasons, so open your eyes and see.

With your focus on intensification, everything else is assumed to fit, when you should be doing the planning to make it fit.

Residents want you to be able to make the intensification fit so the Plan can fly. Plan it to work, now.
Right now, for numerous current applications – Plains Rd, Brant St, Downtown etc.- the density asked for simply has to be based on reduced standards of everything in order to squeeze it in, and if that has to be done then it doesn’t meet the PPS and needs of the existing OP and by-laws.

pigs-might-fly

Pigs don’t fly?

This won’t work because the parts don’t fit together. Pigs don’t fly.

2. Over the last few years, I have delegated severally on this OP over the process, and on a significant number of specific applications in Ward 1 Aldershot, Ward 2 Downtown, and issues related to transportation, transit, and the biking plan.

So I know what I have seen and heard, repeatedly, about what needed information is really missing and how some at the City insist that this missing information does not matter, and the city must move ahead without this key business information, and it must be done right now.

I don’t think this is anywhere good enough.

No matter when the proposed OP is approved by Council, and becomes “informative” only, not “in force”, the Mobility Hubs and the other missing plans I mentioned, are still not informative or in force until first approved by City Council, then the Region, which means it does not exist until then.

So then the Planning Act/PPS says the existing OP is required to be used, must be framed in this OP framed local context, and most important, this OP is to implement the PPS.

What is not to be considered is the language of a non-existent OP, and non-existent Mobility Hubs, and non-existent plans for transportation, transit, active transportation, and so on.

I must ask how all this that does not exist yet, is to be complied with in good faith, in such a situation where developers, not to mention the politicians and managers, are steadily trying to indoctrinate the planning staff, (ongoing in time with the proposed OP development), to encourage and approve density and form of a non-existent, not in force, and not policy relevant OP, or planning concepts and ideas?

In my observation and experience in this, I simply have to question how the Planning staff are supposed to retain their professional objectivity, and serve the public interest, when they are bombarded with this language from developers, and more so, in my view, badgered and cajoled by some insistent members of Council, and some City managers, to adopt and to act out the same directions?

With all this shoving and encouraging density and form at them, how can the planners be objective?

I’m telling you to let the planners do their job. I have seen myself some of you just not do that, but interject in questions to planners at meetings.

I have seen, and been told enough, not to think that they are not being unduly influenced about what to do.

We all know there can be a fine scary line between professional integrity and having a job.

I provide here one section from the OPPI Professional Code of Practice for your information.

2 PROFESSIONAL CODE OF PRACTICE

1.0 The Planner’s Responsibility to the Public Interest

Members have a primary responsibility to define and serve the interests of the public. This requires the use of theories and techniques of planning that inform and structure debate, facilitate communication. and foster understanding. Accordingly, a Member shall:

1.1 practice in a manner that respects the diversity, needs, values and aspirations of the public and encourages discussion on these matters;

1.2 provide full, clear and accurate information on planning matters to decision makers and members of the public, while recognizing both the client’s right to confidentiality and the importance of timely recommendations;

1.3 acknowledge the inter-related nature of planning decisions and their consequences for individuals, the natural and built environment, and the broader public interest; and

1.4 identify and promote opportunities for meaningful participation in the planning process to all interested parties.

I don’t have the time here to explain these, however, I have said what I mean and I say again, let them do their professional and objective duty.

And give the residents and Council the critical information needed to inform us all before things get decided, and to keep the faith.

muir-delegatingTom Muir is an Aldershot resident who has been delegating for more than 30 years. He understands the process better than many of the members of council. He is blunt, direct and usually exceptionally well informed. He is a ward Councillors worst dream. And he loves what he does,

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Now we know why: Jim Young goes on record - Grow Bold, Urban Growth Centres, Downtown Mobility Hubs and Special Development Precincts have simply been a smoke screen.

opinionandcommentBy Jim Young

April 24th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

For years now everybody has known that the OMB was a very developer friendly organization.

Its decisions usually favoured developer’s amendments over official plans and that in any fight for increased density or increased height the developer would win and the citizens would lose.

Jim Young with Kell in background

Jim Young – delegating to city council.

That changed recently. The new Local Planning Appeal Tribunal LPAT will be much more cognizant of city official plans and will apparently favour Official Plans in effect at the time of any appeal.

The current Official Plan is the plan that would have to be considered by LPAT. That’s the plan that has low to medium heights all the way up Brant St. and limits intensification and height to around the go stations.

So if a developer were to take the city to LPAT today, LPAT would probably rule in favour of the heights laid out in the existing plan.

For years developers have bought up land on Brant street, the core and along Plains Rd knowing that the city Official Plan limits would be easily over ruled at the old OMB. City council accepted some drastic amendments knowing that the OMB would do just that.

Now there is a good chance that a similar appeal to the LPAT would result in the present heights in the present official plan being upheld.

That would be good news for citizens but bad news for Developers.

On TV recently Councillor Sharman defended a council position that since developers investments cannot break even until their building plans exceed 16/17 storeys, it is incumbent upon city council to help them achieve this. He repeated this statement at a meeting I attended with ECoB, City Planning and Himself. This philosophy seems to be shared by a majority on council.

So if developers need at least 16 storeys to break even and current city plans limit heights to between 4 and 12 storeys downtown where can a developer go?

They can’t go to LPAT, because LPAT may well favour the current city official Plan Heights and rule in favour of the lower heights.

The only alternative was to go to a developer friendly city council and ask for a New Official Plan that would permit higher buildings in the downtown core making any future appeal to LPAT more plan friendly and therefore more developer friendly.

And that is exactly what our New Official Plan has become. A permit for Developers to build higher while avoiding the risk of losing arguments at the New LPAT.

All the talk of Grow Bold, Urban Growth Centres, Downtown Mobility Hubs and Special Development Precincts have simply been a smoke screen to cloak a very developer friendly plan in a veneer of planning respectability.

That also explains the rush to get the plan on to the books. The longer the old plan remains in effect the longer the developers are left holding properties they cannot turn into profits. This is a serious cash flow and business problem for them.

So from a somewhat banal project to review the official plan starting seven years ago, suddenly as the OMB LPAT differences became obvious last year, the push was on to get this done.

The only delays that were allowed were to help council to be clearer on exactly what was being proposed, to give staff the time to tweak the plan to ensure that the “Special Development Precincts” were exactly where the developers owned property, while dressing it up as “Public Consultation”. We are now at the 3rd or 4th rewrite I believe of this Official Plan.

Jim Young

Jim Young

As I recall the original plan was to have it adopted by council and submitted to the region by November last year. It has now been delayed three or four times, once for council, once for staff once to allow a regional agricultural mapping inclusion. It seems it can be delayed for just about anybody or anything except the people it most impacts. The people of Burlington.

At least one member of council, a large number of private delegations, delegations on behalf of various citizen advocacy groups asked time and time again if this process might be delayed to allow the people of Burlington greater input and real engagement in the process and then put the plan to them in the upcoming election. Every attempt to delay that process to allow greater citizen engagement or input was rejected by council.

Now we know why.

It seems we can delay the adoption of this extremely unpopular official plan for Councillors, for city staff, for developers and even for the region. Yet when your citizens, your constituents, your voters suggest it be delayed we are told NO!

Now we know why.

We are told that the Official Plan is way too important to delay it and allow the final say by the very people it is supposed to be written for, The Citizens of Burlington, Rural, Urban and Downtown who will have to live with it for the next several decades.

Now we know why.

Now that the citizens of Burlington are becoming aware of the reasons for rushing this flawed and developer friendly plan through council, very much against their wishes, they are mobilising to defeat it in the upcoming election.

Across the city from Alton to Aldershot and in every area in between groups are looking for candidates who will oppose and overturn this Official Plan. Candidates who will rewrite it with real input from citizens whose views have been so ignored and overlooked in this truly terrible Official Plan Process. Candidates who will fight to make citizen engagement a reality in Burlington.

The issue you tried to hide from the electorate will be front and centre in that campaign and you will be reminded of the folly of ignoring your citizens when the votes are counted in October.

If you choose to be the candidates who still, after all these delegations, after all these raised protest voices are still not listening, still not getting it, the electorate have the right to ask: “Are you with the citizens or the developers?”

You cannot continue to ignore us and claim you are with both.

Ballot going in box

The choice will be ours.

It is not too late. You can still delay this, still fulfill the wishes of your citizens. Or you can go ahead and adopt it. The choice is yours and in a democracy that is as it should be.

Just remember – come October, the choice will be ours and in a democracy that too, is as it should be.

 

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The sharks are in the water - they smell blood. Can someone not see how ridiculous this is and push the pause button on the attempt to get the draft Official Plan adopted?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

April 24th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It was as if there were sharks in the water who had smelled blood and they were moving in for the kill.

Tough enough that unhappy citizens were delegating and saying the equivalent of “we don’t want you to do this” – add to that some of the best legal talent that the developers are able to hire and land use planners that know their stuff.

Time and again the consultants were asking staff – “where are the supporting documents”.

The phrase – “you can’t do that” was mouthed by more than one consultant.

Staff  are on the ropes – but there wasn’t a referee in the ring to count them out and let them crawl out of the ring with their noses bloodied and their bodies bruised.

Council has been able to scoff at and denigrate the citizen delegations – they couldn’t get away with that with the professional talent that took long strips from their hides.

There is a lot of “splainin” to do.

The pace at which delegations appear – ten minutes of presentation followed by Q&A with the delegator. One delegation told the Chair that she was representing four clients – ergo – 40 minutes.

The afternoon meeting had to be extended for more than an hour – one Councillor had to leave early – health concerns dictated a break.

The Chair had to clamp down on the audience – no clapping.  One delegator came close to being asked to leave the podium – he was smacking them.

Far too often the documents weren’t on hand and at times the material was so detailed and dense in terms of content that time was needed to read it over a couple of times and think about it.

It was hard to keep up with the number of deferrals that were being asked for.

Does staff and or council not have the capacity to pause and ask: We are not there yet – is that because we are going in the wrong direction?

Not only is this embarrassing, it is so unprofessional. There are some really fine people in the Planning department who just might be freshening up their resumes – the Burlington Planning department is not the really decent place to work that it was when a different Director of Planning was in place.

And it isn’t over yet – council meets again this evening and again on Wednesday and on the 30th if need be.

Is there not a doctor in the house that can step in and put a stop to the planning carnage?

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

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Tyandaga Golf Course will officially open Saturday, April 28. Spring specials!

sportsgold 100x100By Staff

April 24th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

Time to dust off your golf clubs and shine your shoes.

The City of Burlington’s Tyandaga Golf Course will officially open for the 2018 golf season on Saturday, April 28.

Tayandaga golf course

5, 803 yards of scenic terrain and 18 holes

Tyandaga offers memberships, tournaments, clinics, private lessons, men’s and women’s league play, and in-season and off-season rentals. The course combines a perfect mix of urban convenience with rural beauty, natural waterways, contours and mature trees as well as dining and catered private or corporate events.

Players wishing to book a tee time can do so online at www.tyandagagolf.com.

Tyandaga Golf Course is an 18-hole course with 5, 803 yards of scenic terrain characterized by its natural waterways and broadleaf woods

Spring specials on green fees include $45 to ride in a golf cart and $30 for golfers that are walking

 

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Bfast gives the city a rather spotty report card - consistently poor funding is the biggest concern.

News 100 redBy Staff

April 24th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Burlington Transit’s report card improved slightly over the past year and about 100 transit users and community activists left the fourth annual Transit Users’ Forum at the Seniors’ Centre Apr. 21 with a renewed sense of optimism for the future of the city’s bus system.

Transit report card

With some of the highest transit fares in the whole of the GTA a B- for fares looks a little too generous.

Burlington Transit Director Sue Connor told the meeting she is committed to seeing steady improvement in service and is hoping for support from City Council.

Burlington MPP Eleanor McMahon outlined millions of dollars in extra provincial funding for the system. Participants also got the chance to question Connor and a panel of community transit advocates at the forum, sponsored by BFAST (Burlington for Accessible Sustainable Transit) and 13 other community organizations.

New fall schedules will make use of new equipment and personnel to ease the strain on the system, Connor reported. She said she was frustrated that improvements could not be made faster but many technical issues had to be fixed. “You have to fix your foundation before you build you house.”

Drawing on her experience as Director of Brampton’s system, Connor said Burlington Transit would investigate establishing a grid system of routes that she said would get passengers to their destination more quickly.

15-minute service

Sue Connor at mike

Sue Conner with a smile that transit users would like to see more often. She has a challenging task ahead of her.

“It won’t be long before we have 15-minute service to the three GO stations in Burlington,” she said. “We have to be prepared for that.”

“Although there’s still a lot to do, I have to recognize that City Council made a big investment in transit in 2017 and 2018. And I think that was a remarkable step and hopefully we can keep that momentum going,” she said.

Connor praised BFAST for organizing the forum. “Their insight into transit in Burlington has certainly helped me, in my early days, to see what some of the issues are,” she said.

BFAST Chair Doug Brown urged Burlington’s city council to do its part by raising per-capita funding above its current rank of lowest in the GTA.

doug-brown-with-buses

Doug Brown breaks into a smile every time he sees a new bus being put into service.

“Transit investment saves cities money. Brown said. “It does not result in additional spending, it results in long term savings. You need less road capacity, you need less maintenance, you need less parking, you’ve got all the health benefits of lower emissions and the list goes on an on.”

Strategic investments

McMahon + Hersh

Burlington MPP Eleanor McMahon engaging ECoB member Penny Hersh in conversation.

Burlington MPP and President of the Treasury Board Eleanor McMahon said the government was reversing a previous pattern of downloading responsibilities and costs to municipalities.

“It’s important that we continue to make strategic investments in transit infrastructure in Burlington,” she said.

“Burlington will receive an extraordinary $45 million in public transit funding” as a result of a federal-provincial agreement detailed in an announcement a week ago, she said.

Recent school closings will also affect demand for transit, warned a trustee for the Halton District School Board. Connor reported that Burlington Transit was now meeting regularly with school-board transportation officers on issues like these.

The bus bays on the north side of the Burlington GO station will finally move back to the south in 2019, Connor reported. But designers of the station renovation left room for only six bays on the south side. “I have not been able to get an answer from Metrolinx” on the reason for the shortfall, she said. Burlington Transit is studying construction of a bus bay on Fairview St., a short walk to the station, but final plans would not be ready until 2019.

Transit terminal - John Street

There was a time when transit staff suggested to city council that the terminal be closed – now t has been upgraded to a part of a mobility hub.

The downtown terminal will have improved hours, from 8am to 6pm on weekdays and 9 to 6 on Saturdays “and we will not be closed a half hour for lunch,” Connor said.

Presto cards more available

Transit users applauded the news that a deal is being finalized to make Presto fare cards available at seven Shoppers’ Drug mart locations across the city. And they welcomed the announcement that the downtown terminal will be open longer and will not be closed during lunch hour.

The marks on this year’s transit report card, decided by the roughly 100 people in attendance, improved slightly from last year. While the system’s drivers once again got an A and fares got a B-minus, passenger info got C-minus and convenience and schedules got an E. The BFAST Steering Committee awarded a D to City Council on the budget issue, saying last year’s infusion helped but more commitment is needed.

Bfast 2018 forum

The 4th annual Bfast Transit Forum drew a healthy crowd. They left the event with some hope in their hearts. Now to elect a city council that will fund the service,

Those were among the highlights of the half-day meeting, which saw a number of provincial and municipal candidates in attendance. Ward 2 Councillor and mayoral candidate Marianne Meed Ward welcomed participants in the absence of Mayor Rick Goldring, who was out of town for the event. Former MP and current mayoral hopeful Mike Wallace also attended.

 

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Kearns sets out where the city got it wrong wth the community benefits that were given to the 421 Brant - 23 storey high rise.

opinionandcommentBy Lisa Kearns

April 24th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

This delegation sets out my position on item PB 33-18 – Community Benefits 421-431 Brant St. as Jim Young has delegated on behalf of ECoB this evening.

Section 37Aaron A. Moore, Phd and expert on urban politics and public policy penned the IMFG Paper on Municipal Finance and Governance said the most common rationales used to invoke and justify the use of Section 37, more broadly know as density bonusing are:

• funding related infrastructure upgrades
• sharing the wealth created by development
• compensating those negatively affected by the development

In review of the 421 Brant St. Inc. report, there are few indirect infrastructure supporting benefits. With the longer vision of pedestrian-oriented flex street and the impending anchor mobility hub provisions the closest benefits are:

421 Brant• $150K in streetscape improvements coupled with $250K in setbacks/widened view corridors.

In my analysis, much of this can be takes as part of the 5% parkland dedication and the initiative to broaden the streetscape could have been reviewed by increasing Schedule O in the Draft Official Plan to widen Brant Street from Lakeshore Rd. to Caroline Ave greater than the current 18m in order to satisfy the Main Street function of: Table 1 Transportation Facilities. 2.4. Main Streets:

Serve the Downtown Urban Centre and the urban corridor that connects the Downtown Mobility Hub to the Burlington GO Mobility Hub;

Support mixed use places that contain a pedestrian-oriented public realm and street-oriented buildings;

Accommodate high levels of pedestrian and cycling activity and transit service, and moderate levels of vehicular traffic, typically within narrower rights of way;

Accommodate a moderate to high degree of people-moving capacity.

One way this could be interpreted is that the negotiators of this Report PB-33-18 have in part, bought benefits they didn’t necessarily have to and could have drafted the benefits the City finds favourable into the draft official plan, which this application is required to be in compliance of, when this was perhaps a missed opportunity, in part and adds up to nearly a quarter of the value of the total benefits.

Did we negotiate too specific and too early?

Not limited to direct funding for infrastructure upgrades, cost avoidance for future pressures on infrastructure can fall in this same category. This is where I will allocate the provision of green technology and sustainable architecture. At an indirect community benefit of $300K, LEED certification standards and/or compliance with the City’s Sustainable Building and Development Guidelines have been negotiated.

Appendix E in report PB-62-17 draws in the Burlington Sustainable Development Committee which has recognition under the current OP provides that “to the greatest extent possible, proposed development shall be consistent with the goals of sustainable development”. While the general concept of this building is acceptable, there is no evidence of stewardship initiatives in the plans to use LEED at a certified level although a willingness was verbally indicated. Why include this benefit at the application phase when it can be advantageous at the bonusing stage, perhaps the weight should have been greater in the public comments to prevent this crossroads.

Sharing the wealth created by development. There is no doubt that there is a financial consideration in a project this large, we know that from the Altus Group Economic Report and the uptick in development revenues in the City budget, not to mention the on going tax base increase. But just how much is the increased height really worth and how should this be spread out amongst the indirect parties. While not nearly enough to purchase even one unit in this property, $300K in cash is better than the single option negotiated in the 4853 Thomas Alton Blvd. report PB-16-16 which requires commitment from a housing provider to deliver affordable housing on a long term basis.

Nick Carnacelli

Kearns wants Carriage Gate developer Nick Carnacelli to think in terms of the opportunity for the applicant to help drive value out of being in a position of power for the community.

Where I do take exception is to the Applicants’s previous delegation in such an absolute statement that “the Region of Halton does not have an affordable housing plan and the City does not have a program”, that is not to say that this excuses or discounts the real need and concern for housing affordability. In fact this is where an opportunity for the applicant to help drive value out of being in a position of power for the community by spearheading inclusivity through the Section 37 provisions.

A hard look should be taken on if this was the best we could get. Going beyond shouldn’t be just going beyond height, it should be going beyond basic requirements and setting the foundation to create a demographic mix that contributes to our vibrant downtown.

Toronto Star columnist Andrew Keenan muses that the purpose of Section 37 in the Planning act is to offset the problems caused by changes to a neighbourhood when different kinds of developments are added to it, such as to compensate for increased traffic, population, or changes to the streetscape new developments bring. We would deduce that the bigger the problems, the bigger the benefits.

The list of problems with this application have been captured through online comments, delegations, written submissions, coffee shop talks, emails and a current of anxiety and unease through the community. One resident’s submission on May 15, 2017 summed it up concisely, her excerpt reads“…insufficient parking for residents, only 2 elevators, no parking for visitiors, no parking for commercial tenants, change to the individual shops along Brant with a design that is completely out of context visually with the neighbourhood, shadows and traffic…this proposal does not belong in this location”.

421 James street rendering

What will the impact of the 421 Brant development be on city hall – not just the physical impact but the impact on the way the city is going to grow.

Alas, the Section 37 Benefits – a hefty $400K in privately accessible visitor parking, a quarter of the benefits to keep visitors out of the already contentious parking needs of the downtown. This could be viewed as a benefit, however, does it address parking for the 900 square meters of retail space? At minimum the recommendation for retail store stand alone is 1.5 spaces per 100 GFA that’s a minimum of 13 spaces, but we have 8. The comparison is easy to make that other stand alone retail doesn’t offer on site parking, however, if we are afforded a chance to improve this at the foundational level, does 8 private spaces address the spaces lost with no net benefit?

This provision is meant to compensate residents for the real or perceived effects of development by providing for new amenities in the neighbourhood. Public art, a covered promenade, and the remaining benefits do little to offset the anger that has swelled in the community around this application. There are no open community amenities, no greenspace compensation for more trees, nothing. These negotiations do not even come close to anointing the damage the neighbourhood perceives and feels.

The delegation, deferred from the last meeting, was to ask Committee to simply afford the public the same opportunity that the applicant was given to have an opportunity to openly delegate and tell this committee if they have succeeded in negotiating Section 37 benefits that truly align with building an engaging city, good governance and community building.

We know our City could have done better to Grow Smart, not just Bold.

Kerns - head slantedLisa Kerns is a downtown Burlington resident and an active member of ECoB – Engaged Citizens of Burlington.  She is also a self admitted policy wonk – she digs and figures out just what much of the baffle-gab means.

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Sarah Harmer to share top billing at the Lowville Festival with tenor Ben Heppner

News 100 yellowBy Staff

April 24th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

She is coming home, just for a few days, but she will be on the stage at St. George Anglican Church where the Lowville Festival will put on its fourth event.

Sarah Harmer smile

Sarah Harmer

Sarah Harmer, Burlington’s own singer-songwriter, with five albums to her credit, a couple of which have been nominated for multiple Juno Awards, and a new one in the offing.

Sarah, the home own girl who never gets invited to perform in the city will perform on Friday June 8th.

The Lowville Festival is raising the bar for its fourth annual season in north Burlington’s majestic Escarpment country. This year they are presenting a couple of stellar headline attractions, Sarah Harmer and the world renowned Wagnerian tenor Ben Heppner, as well as the premiere of a new theatrical workshop/presentation by Burlington director/story weaver June Cupido.

The Lowville Festival defines itself as “a festival of all the arts for the artist in all of us”. The ultimate aim is not only to feature all of the performing, visual and literary arts, but also to provide opportunities for attendees to participate in the creative process. To that end, local singers are again being invited to join the Lowville Festival Choir, which will perform in concert with Ben Heppner.

St. George Anglican church

St. George Anglican church

For their fourth season, they are using two presentation locations on Lowville’s central and historic St. George’s Anglican Church just north of Derry Road, and the Lowville United Church just south of Britannia Road. Lowville is almost equidistant from downtown Milton and Downtown Burlington, and with its magnificent and extensive Lowville Park and location on the Niagara Escarpment, is fast becoming an easy-to-get-to oasis for both Burlingtonians and Miltonians.

Ben Heppner 1

Ben Heppner

 

Ben Heppner, Canada’s leading dramatic tenor who has appeared with all of the world’s major opera houses including the Metropolitan Opera, Covent Garden and the Wiener Staatsoper. He is currently host of the CBC Radio Two’s Saturday Afternoon at the Opera. For this concert he will be joined by the Lowville festival Choir, which has been a highly lauded component of the Festival since its inception in 2015. This year we introduce the choir’s new director Janice Schuyler Ketchen

Truth and Illusion: Two forces present in every moment is a theatrical monologue presentation that examines how our lives can be guided by two separate forces: what lies in our hearts and souls (the truth) and … what we project to the outside world (the illusion).

This story gathering and weaving process will take you on a thought–provoking journey as we explore the stories we tell each other and how they connect us. The members of the creative team come from our surrounding communities, all with diverse backgrounds, yet each with a story that speaks to society as a whole. This will be presented on Sunday evening June 10th at Lowville United Church.

The Lowville Festival is the vision of its two Founding Co-Artistic Directors: Lorretta Bailey, a Lowville resident, has performed in musical theatre productions across Canada, including the original Toronto production of Les Miserables; and Robert Missen, proprietor of the Bobolink Agency.

 

LOWVILLE FESTIVAL 2018
A FESTIVAL OF ALL THE ARTS FOR THE ARTIST IN ALL OF US
JUNE 8-10, 2018

Sarah Harmer in Concert
Friday June 8th, 2019
7:30 pm
St. George’s Hall
7051 Guelph Line (north of Derry Road)

Tickets $50 advance/ $60 from June 1st

Ben Heppner in Concert
with the Lowville Festival Choir
Saturday June 9th, 2018
7:30 pm
St. George’s Hall
7051 Guelph Line (north of Derry Road)

Tickets $50 in advance/$60 from June 1st.

Truth and Illusion: Two Forces present in every moment.
Sunday June 10th, 2018
7:00 pm
Lowville United Church
5800 Guelph Line (at Britannia Road)

Tickets $30 in advance/$35 from June 1st.

Tickets will go on sale May 1st on the Festival Website

www.lowvillefestival.com

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Police officer pleads guilty to stealing drugs from the evidence locker - to be sentenced June 7th.

News 100 blueBy Staff

April 24th, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It is always difficult when a member of the team you work with steps outside the accepted boundaries and action has to be taken.

Yesterday Staff Sergeant Brad Murray, a 16-year-member of the Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) entered a guilty plea before a Judge in the Milton Court House.

Murray pled guilty to one count of Breach of Trust in relation to thefts from the Service’s evidence vault.

Sentencing has been put over until 9:00 a.m. on June 7, 2018, in the Ontario Court of Justice in Milton.

HRPS crestMurray was arrested on May 28, 2017 and charged with two counts of Breach of Trust, two counts of Theft Under, and one count of Obstruct Justice. These charges stemmed from an internal audit and a subsequent independent investigation into HRPS drug vault anomalies that occurred between August 2015 and April 2016.

Upon his arrest, Murray was suspended, with pay, a requirement of the Police Services Act, the only suspension currently allowed under the current Act.

Murray was investigated by the Toronto Police Service and prosecuted by a Crown from outside of this jurisdiction to ensure a fair and independent assessment of the evidence.

Staff Sergeant Murray still faces disciplinary procedures under the Police Services Act. It should be noted that the Police Services Act proceedings arise out of the same facts that underlie the criminal charges that were laid against Murray in 2017. One of the possible outcomes upon a finding of misconduct is Murray’s dismissal from the Halton Regional Police Service and termination of his employment.

Chief Stephen Tanner stated, “I am pleased to have learned that a guilty plea to the criminal charge of breach of trust was entered by Staff Sergeant Brad Murray in criminal court in Milton earlier today. This is just one step in the disciplinary process.  Now that the criminal component has been concluded, we will proceed with the internal disciplinary process. One of the outcomes that is possible through the Police Services Act hearing process would be dismissal from the service and termination of employment”.

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Director of Transit levels with Bfast audience - there are challenges at transit - without funding she can't do the job,

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

April 23rd, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It was a Transit Forum that had people applauding and for the most part leaving the room satisfied that there were going to be changes made to the bus service in the city.

The public got their first chance to listen to the new Director of Transit, Sue Connor, who came to Burlington from Brampton where she turned that operation around. Transit users in Burlington are hoping she can do the same thing here.

Sue Connor with Jim Young

Jim Young joined Director of Transit Sue Connor on a panel discussion

Connor came across as a little on the humble side. She admitted that there are problems and she believes they can be fixed but the fixing is going to take time and she will need money from the city to make it all happen.

Which of course has been Burlington’s problem for the past decade – the city has not been willing to put money into transit – shaving and paving the roads is where the dollars have gone.

Bfast founder Doug Brown cautioned Connor not to get fixated on just the capital side – the buying of new buses and fancy technology – he wanted to see dollars going into operations.

Connor talked of transit as a business – Brown cautioned her on that too – transit is a service he said.
The 4th Annual Transit Forum was the largest ever held – the event had to take place at the Seniors’ Centre where a larger room was available.

There were a number of differences this year – the city manager sent his deputy but she didn’t say a word.
Other than Marianne Meed Ward there wasn’t a city Councillor in sight. The Mayor was reported to be out of the country and ward 3 Councillor John Taylor was on a vacation – in Amsterdam.

With that kind of council member attendance one can get a sense as to how big a task Sue Connors has ahead of her.

Bfast audience Nisan - scobie +

Ward 3 city council candidate Rory Nisan on the right with community advocate Gary Scobie in the center

The hope, perhaps, is that there were at least five people who have announced they are running for office in the October municipal election.

There were a number of school board trustees in the room: Leah Reynolds and Richelle Papin.

Some people thought a new transit plan was going to be announced – that didn’t happen but the audience certainly heard about the $45 million the province has showered on the city for transportation. Eleanor McMahon, Burlington’s MPP, who is also running for re-election, said that we are “entering a golden age for transit”

McMahon + Hersh

Burlington MP Eleanor McMahon on the left in full campaign mode bending Penny Hersh’s ear during a break in the Bfast Forum.

She added that communities on the Lakeshore East and West GO lines will be the first to get 15 minute service – no date though on just when that will happen.

Doug Brown pointed out that Burlington has already experienced a golden age for bus transit – in 1982 the city has 15 minute service on every bus route.

He said that 2012 was a disastrous year for transit – gas tax money that went to transit was reduced from 30% to 20% and half a million dollars was taken out of the transit budget. A transportation Master Plan at the time took another half a million out of the budget by cutting back on the number of routes and service frequency.

Up until very recently Burlington didn’t offer any transit service on both Christmas and New Years Day.

Connor is working on a new plan for transit and moving at least some of the service from the current radial approach to more of a grid system. She wants to create a five year plan – her challenge is going to be to get it funded.

Model with Tanner

Transit and intensification are joined at the hip in Burlington. Citizens had wanted the city to prepare a 3D model of what the downtown core would look like once the high rise towers began to get built. City said they couldn’t create a model – so residents had students do something with LEGO. Former city planner and now Deputy City Manager Mary Lou Tanner looks over the model.

She told the audience that there would be service changes in September and that her immediate focus is going to be on reliability – something the transit operation has not been able to do with the number of buses in the fleet and the number of operators on staff.

For the most part the audience had nothing but praise for the drivers – they always get a round of applause.

Some good news – Shoppers Drug Mart will become a part of the Presto card sales and refill operation.

The Downtown terminal will be open from 8-6 Monday to Friday and 9 to 6 on the weekends – and will no longer close at noon for lunch. There was a time when the then Director of Transit wanted to close the downtown terminals and have people hoof it over to city hall to buy bus tickets.

Connor told the audience that she has to first fix the foundation of the existing service and that she has a lot of work to do.

The audience learned that 80% of the transit traffic comes from half the routes

Sue Connor at mike

Burlington Director of Transit Sue Connor.

Connor told the audience that she wants to dialogue with the community – words like that haven’t been heard a Transit Forums before. Connors came across as a nice lady who wants to make a difference.

Connor expects to take a report to city council sometime in June – at that point the audience that liked what she was saying Saturday will know if she can walk the talk,

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