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

News 100 yellowBy Staff

April 24th, 2018



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.


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

Return to the Front page

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

News 100 blueBy Staff

April 24th, 2018



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”.

Return to the Front page

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



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,

Return to the Front page

Rule changes will prevent condominium boards from saying no to electric charging stations.

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

April 23rd, 2018



There are more than 18,500 electric vehicles currently on the road in Ontario

More than 680,000 people in Ontario live in condominiums and more than 50 per cent of new homes being built in the province are condominiums.

With those two facts in hand it didn’t take the provincial government very long two put them together and come up with a program that would allow people to install charging station in the condominiums.
Some condominium boards do not permit he installation of an electric charging station.

condo charging station

Province changed the rules – condo board cannot say no to electric charging stations.

Starting May 1, 2018, new changes will be in effect to make it easier for condo residents to charge their electric vehicles at home as part of Ontario’s plan to fight climate change.

The new changes will:

• Reduce current requirements to make it easier for condo owners to get approval from their condo corporations to install an electric vehicle charging system in their condominium.

• Prevent condo boards from rejecting an owner’s application to install an electric vehicle charging system on condo property when the owner meets certain conditions.

These new rules to facilitate the installation of electric vehicle charging systems in condos will remove barriers to condo residents who own electric vehicles, or are thinking about purchasing one, by enabling them charge their vehicles where they live.

Ontario’s Electric Vehicle Charging Incentive Program has provided incentives worth approximately $2.5 million for the installation of almost 3,000 home charging stations since January 2013.

electric charging station 2

Once the charging stations are installed – a way will have to be found to share the things fairly.

The Climate Change Action Plan and carbon market form the backbone of Ontario’s strategy to cut greenhouse gas pollution to 15 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020, 37 per cent by 2030 and 80 per cent by 2050.The government will report on the plan’s implementation annually and review the plan at least every five years.

Tracy MacCharles, Minister of Government and Consumer Services pointed out that “One of the largest contributing factors that inhibits drivers from purchasing an electric vehicle is the fear of having nowhere to charge it. Condo owners have indicated they have faced challenges when trying to install charging systems on condo premises. Through these new laws, we will increase opportunities to install charging systems at condo properties in order to support residents who own or wish to purchase an electric vehicle.”

Read more on reforming Ontario’s Condo Law
Subscribe to ONCONDO to receive updates about condo law changes

Return to the Front page

Ward 2 Councillor will oppose much of the 421 Brant Street community benefits agreement at council this evening.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

April 23rd, 2018



City council is going to consider community benefits, which are set out in Section 37 of the Planning Act, at a city Council meeting this evening.

Community benefits are an agreement a city signs with a developer who has been given more height and density for a project that asked for a zoning and or Official Plan amendment.

The agreement the city planning department arrived at with Carriage Gate, the developer of a 23-storey tower on Brant Street opposite city hall, has a number of people wondering why there isn’t all that much for the community in the agreement.

421 Brant

The benefits the community is to get for the added height and density doesn’t seem balanced to some people.

The tower was approved by council last November, on a 5-2 vote and gave the developer almost double the existing OP heights of 12 storeys (on the James/Brant corner of the property only) and 4-8 storeys on the balance of assembled lands.

There will be several motions from the ward Councillor who wants to modify staff’s proposed Section 37 Community Benefits.

Marianne Meed Ward will also raise what she calls the “larger issue” of how the city handles the use of Section 37 Community Benefits.

Meed Ward doesn’t think residents are getting a good deal and will be referring her colleagues to an alternative model she thinks the city should explore – Community Benefits Agreements.

According to Meed Ward, they are used in Toronto and elsewhere in Canada and the United States. She supports using CBAs instead of Section 37 because they give residents a seat at the table.
Meed Ward points out that Section 37 Community Benefits are only available if council grants height and density above the Official Plan and Zoning Bylaw. Burlington residents want their council to respect the Official Plan and the Zoning bylaw.

Meed Ward argues that “ Section 37 Community Benefits represent only a fraction of the value uplift of the extra height and density granted to the developer. The calculation of benefits is based on the difference in value of the land at the current OP/Zoning permissions, and the amended OP/Zoning permissions. Then a factor of about 25% of that value is applied, to represent the city share. Community benefits are not based on the market value of the new units.”

MMW speaking Ap 11

Marianne Meed Ward announcing her decision to run for the office of Mayor earlier this month.

Third, said Meed Ward “Section 37 Community Benefits can be either cash or “in-kind” benefits, both of which are used for 421 Brant. What gets included in the in-kind benefits are often things that in my view should be a standard part of any application or be provided via the city’s budget — such as public art — rather than having to exceed our OP/Zoning to get these items.”

Fourth, Meed Ward says “the cost of Section 37 Community Benefits are often passed on to purchasers. This has happened in at least two developments I am aware of: the ADI mid-rise on Guelph Line, and the Molinaro development on Maple, where residents were required to pay $1 million to buy the Geo Thermal System. This pass-through of costs erodes affordability, something we’re told is a goal of high-rises in the first place.”

Burlingtonians have opinions - the city manager wants to hear what you think - become part of his Insight panel.

Councillor Meed Ward wants public representation at the table when community benefits for increased height and density are being negotiated.

Meed Ward’s fifth point is that “residents don’t have a seat at the table when negotiating Section 37 Community Benefits. These discussions take place behind closed doors between staff and the developer. The Ward councillor is consulted, but also doesn’t have a seat at the table, and their input can be ignored. Staff develop a proposal for benefits for council consideration; the public consultation kicks in when the report comes to Committee and Council for approval. Residents are forced into a reactive posture, rather than working together to get the best outcome. During the public discussion residents can ask for changes; council members can bring motions for changes.

Meed Ward believes that “granting extra height and density on any property fuels land speculation, which increases property values and tax assessment. That’s because properties become priced not at the current OP/Zoning permissions, but at the new height/density granted.

“This erodes the value uplift used to calculate Community Benefits, as land is priced assuming whatever was granted under an OP/Zoning amendment will be granted in future. So residents get a smaller amount of the pie.

She adds that “the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation takes land value into account when assessing properties for tax purposes, so residents and businesses face spiraling tax assessments. In the downtown, that is passed on to business owners, increasing their cost of doing business.


The Berkeley under construction on Maria at John Street is close to being topped off.

Seventh, Section 37 Community Benefits are voluntary — a developer does not have to agree with them — and can be renegotiated later via a council vote. We’ve already seen this occur with the Carriage Gate development at Caroline/John/Maria/Elizabeth (the same developer as for 421 Brant St). The original proposal included a community benefit of roughly 75% affordable units, calculated at Halton Region’s affordable housing rate.

This was later renegotiated via a council vote of 6-1 to roughly 25-30% affordable units. Meed Ward said she did not support the change.

“With all these drawbacks, Section 37 Community Benefits aren’t the community benefit they propose to be” said Meed Ward and adds that there is an alternative — private Community Benefits Agreements.

Meed Ward is Councillor for ward 2 and a candidate for the Office of Mayor in the October municipal election.

Return to the Front page

CAUTION - If you get the Pay Pal message about your password being changed - ignore it.

News 100 blueBy Staff

April 22nd, 2018



This one is particularly nasty.

paypal logoIt looked Ok.

It isn’t

You respond – and the process of sealing your identity begins.

Nasty because you think that a trusted service provider (even if the fees are a little on the steep side) is protecting you.

Dear Customer,
We just wanted to confirm that you’ve changed your password. If you didn’t make this change, please login to your PayPal account now.

It’s important that you let us know because it helps us prevent unauthorised persons from accessing the PayPal network and your account information.

Tips to help protect your password:

• Never share your password with anyone.

• Create passwords that are hard to guess and don’t use personal information. Be sure to include uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols.

• Use different passwords for each of your online accounts.

Yours sincerely – Pay Pal

When we saw the message we check our Pay Pal account – the log in and the password had not been changed.  Remember – if in doubt – don’t.  And when it comes to your financial affairs – doubt everything.

Return to the Front page

Earth Day - real spring weather and a movement to rid the planet of plastic straws.

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

April 22nd, 2018



It is going to be a day when we can actually appreciate the day we were given.

We have been into spring for weeks – how any depends on which unit of measure you use to determine when spring starts and stops.

For those of us in Burlington spring has been toying with us – here for a bit then gone for a bit.
Earth Day has the sun shining and the promise of temperatures that will let one get to just a T-shirt. A day to do a check in on what we have done to this earth.

Plastic straw poterThe Earth Day Network organizers have chosen to focus on plastic – it is threatening our planet’s survival, from poisoning and injuring marine life to disrupting human hormones, from littering our beaches and landscapes to clogging our streams and landfills.

This year, spring takes place between March 20 and June 21, if you use the astronomical method.
If you follow the meteorological calendar it runs from March 1 to May 31.

plastic - sea of

A sea of plastic – everything you see in this picture is plastic floating on the water.

Return to the Front page

The movement of oil has somehow become a constitutional issue - Alberta and British Columbia are slugging it out.

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

April 22, 2018



Today Canada is in the midst of another constitutional crisis as British Columbia and Alberta slug it out over the twinning of the Trans Mountain pipeline and the delivery of bitumen from the Alberta oil sands to ports in B.C. The pipeline is one of three which were recently approved by the federal government given its constitutional authority over inter-provincial matters.

Today’s global oil prices mean that Alberta desperately needs the efficiency of pipeline transport for its export-destined bitumen to be competitive on world markets. The pipeline in question involves a twinning of an existing pipe being developed by Texas based oil industry giant Kinder Morgan. This should be straightforward, a done deal, and it would be, except for the politics.

john Horgan BC

John Horgan, the NDP Premier of British Columbia and kept in office by a couple of Green Party members is battling out the twinning of an existing pipeline with the NDP Premier of Alberta.

B.C. NDP premier Horgan feels that if he doesn’t at least try to stop the pipeline, his fragile coalition with the B.C. Greens, who vehemently oppose all ‘tar sands’ development, will collapse ending his brief spell as government. So he’s chosen to tilt at windmills, challenge the pipeline on shaky environmental safety grounds, where the province may claim some authority.

Rivers 23 Notley fingers pointing

Rachel Notley, NDP Premier of Alberta explaining that when her oil can go to BC their wine can come into Alberta

There is a lot of politics on all sides. Rachel Notley’s NDP government is facing an election next year and she has to be seen defending Alberta with her life, which she is doing in spades. Her success here will be the key to her getting re-elected, despite the polls which confirm Albertan’s perennial preference for the Tories and their new leader, Jason Kenny.

And Kenny’s biggest ally is Kinder Morgan which is exploiting this B.C. opposition by halting construction and threatening to withdraw from the pipeline project entirely. There are a few protesters at the work sites, mainly environmental groups since most indigenous communities have signed on to the project. But halting construction has panicked Albertans who are understandably fed up with waiting and watching one pipeline proposal after another bite the dust.

Liberal MP and leadership candidate Justin Trudeau attends a Remembrance Day ceremony in Montreal, Sunday, November 11, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes.

Justin Trudeau believes the federal government has the power and the right to approve the twinning of the pipeline but he doesn’t appear to be sure how he can get shovels into the ground.

The Liberals have been unequivocal that the pipeline is within their exclusive jurisdiction and it will be build. But that will be problematic if Kinder Morgan pulls the plug. And besides, Albertans don’t trust the Liberals and learned to hate Justin’s father for doing to them what they think he should be doing to B.C.’s Horgan right now. Why doesn’t he just invoke the War Measures Act (Emergency Act) like his Dad did and tell Horgan….”just watch me”? Wasn’t getting involved in Alberta’s energy what Pierre is still scorned for today?

We have this unique situation of two NDP premiers from neighbouring and historically best friend provinces now at each other’s throats with threats to cancel electricity contracts and cut off wine and oil and bitumen.

The new federal NDP national leader is missing in action while his political kin are heading for the OK corral. Perhaps it’s just that the federal NDP is still pondering their Leap Manifesto which prescribed shutting down all tar sands eventually.

B.C.’s claim of provincial jurisdiction over federal laws has found a resonance with the Liberal leader in Quebec – also facing an election soon, and looking to shore up those errant separatists who might be persuaded to stick with the Liberals over the PQ. After all it wasn’t that long ago that a proposed Energy East project would have driven another pipeline through Quebec en route to the Maritimes.

Alberta has offered to put up some money to soothe Kinder Morgan, and the feds are thinking of buying in and maybe even buying Kinder out. It’s not clear that Kinder Morgan wants to sell, but everything has its price and perhaps the government might sweeten the deal with a threat of nationalizing in the public interest.

Pipeline -Transmountain

The federal government says the Trans Mountain pipeline twinning will be done. Just when is the real issue.

Federal investment into the project would add a whole new dimension to the potential fight between the two levels of government. And yes everyone knows that the feds would win, but when things go to court they don’t always leave the judges’ benches the way we might expect. Take the poor fellow who thought he could bring cheap Quebec beer into New Brunswick. We live in the same country –  right?

Rivers hand to faceRay Rivers writes weekly 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:

Trans Mountain –    Leap Manifesto –     Alberta Threats

Free The Beer Ruling

Return to the Front page

Male falls to his death from downtown apartment building - James and Elizabeth

News 100 blackBy Staff

April 21st, 2018



Shortly after 1:00am this morning the Halton Regional Police responded to an apartment building for a medical call near Elizabeth Street and James Street in Burlington.

It was reported that a 20 year old male had fallen from a 5th floor balcony onto the ground. The male was transported to hospital but had succumbed to his injuries.

An investigation commenced at the scene surrounding the circumstances into his death; however, nothing appears suspicious in nature.

Anyone with information that would assist this investigation is asked to contact Detective Phil Vandenbeukel, Halton Regional Police Service – 3 District Criminal Investigations Bureau 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- 477 (TIPS) or through the web at

Return to the Front page

Saturday could become a pivotal day for transit improvement advocates - Director of Transit will be on a panel - she will be listening..

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

April 19th, 2018



The Bfast 4th Annual Transit Forum takes place on Saturday at the Seniors Centre – get there early and you can take advantage of the free Continental Breakfast.

Bfast Transit group logoBfast has been advocating for better transit for years – some of the people in the organization know more about the history of transit in Burlington better than anyone currently employed at the transit department.

They are closer to being listened to than they have in the past seven years. It has been a hard slog – the appointment of a fully qualified and respected transit executive has begun to make a difference. Sue Connor came to Burlington from Brampton where she grew that operation into one of the xxx

She will be part of a panel discussion and open for questions – this is the time for the public to let her know what they want and need and where the problems are – and there are a lot of them

The Vital Signs report produced by the Burlington Foundation highlights where some of the transit problems exist.


Getting around a

A partial snapshot of how people who live in Burlington get around or get to work

Bfast have a deep understanding of the transit business – they have been delegating to council for years and for the most part have not been listened to – to some degree due to the poor management leadership at Burlington Transit.

There is much better leadership in place now; the recently appointed Director of Transit is a recognized and respected professional.

Connor Sue

Sue Connor, Director of Transit.

The problem Sue Connor will have is getting the funds she needs to upgrade both the transit assets and money for additional staff – and then some money to do some experimenting.  Connor is probably part of the Burlington Leadership Team (City Manager James Ridge call it the BLT – not a sandwich).  The challenge for her is to get some of the money the city has marked for infrastructure updates – there is a special tax levy dedicated to road repairs.

Transit service - ridership decline

This is the picture Sue Conner got when she asked – How are things going? It wasn’t pretty.

Burlington is some distance from ever creating a special tax levy to bring the transit service up to the level the the planners keep telling the public is going to be needed as a critical part of the Grow Bold initiative that is going to put something in the order of an additional 1000 people in new homes each year between now and 2031.

The planners keep talking about the need to get people out of their cars and maybe onto bicycles and transit.  Connor is surely saying to her colleagues on the BLT – Sure – provide me with the funds I need to do just that.

There may be agreement between the transit people and the planners on what is needed – getting it through this council is another matter entirely.

Saturday is the public’s chance to make their voices and their opinions heard – but ya gotta be there to be heard.

Salt with Pepper are the musings, observations, thoughts, reflections and opinions of the publisher of the Burlington Gazette.


Return to the Front page

“No Voice No Representation” Rally at City Hall on Monday April 23rd at 6pm till 6:30pm.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

April 19th, 2018



The Alton Village Resident’s Association is holding a “No Voice No Representation” Rally at City Hall on Monday April 23rd at 6pm till 6:30pm.

Does the city expand on the space it has on Brant Street by adding to the back of the building or putting office space on Civic Square? Or is there a new city hall in the cards for us?

Will the “No Voice No Representation” Rally be real? Will people show up?

They are inviting anyone who plans to run for a city council seat to attend and take part.

Ken White, who has said he will be filing nomination papers at city hall for the ward 6 seat, is involved with the resident association in creating an opportunity for “council candidates to speak their mind and air their concerns about Burlington. This is an all Wards invitation.”

Return to the Front page

Region shells out $2.3 million for community programs through Investment Fund.

News 100 redBy Staff

April 19th, 2018



Regional Council approved more than $2.3 million in funding for community programs through the Halton Region Community Investment Fund (HRCIF).

The HRCIF provides funding to non-profit social service and community health initiatives that support the health, safety and well-being of Halton residents. Funding is provided in one, two or three year grants, supporting programs that address mental health, prevent homelessness, support older adults, children and youth, and enhance food security.

By supporting our non-profit partners to improve access to services, Halton Region is able to have a direct and tangible impact on our residents’ quality of life. Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr. “A key priority of the Halton Region Strategic Action Plan, 2015-2018, is to increase the investment in the HRCIF, and Council is achieving this by increasing the funding from $702,691 in 2012 to more than $2.3 million today.”

Since 2012, the number of projects funded has more than doubled, from 25 to 55 currently.

The following programs will receive funding from the HRCIF in 2018:

• Canadian Mental Health Association Halton Region Branch to provide free walk-in counselling.

• CNIB to help blind and partially-sighted older adults adapt to their sight loss.

• Central West Specialized Developmental Services to provide workshops on healthy sexuality to vulnerable clients and to provide training for community service workers.

• Community Living Burlington to support the Autism Job Club to provide pre-employment skills development to clients with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

• Distress Centre Halton to expand a telephone check-in program to support people with mental health issues.

• Elizabeth Fry Society of Peel-Halton to provide case management to individuals participating in the Halton Drug Treatment Court.

Food for Life

Food for Life refrigerated storage house – and a load of food ready to be delivered.

• Food for Life to support food collection and distribution to community agencies and partners serving Halton residents that have difficulty affording food.

• Food4Kids Halton to provide food to children who have limited or no food during weekends.

• Halton Children’s Aid Society to provide service navigation support for youth aged 14-24 in Halton Hills.

• Halton Food Council to support community garden programming in assisted housing communities.

• Halton Multicultural Council to support vulnerable refugee clients with a settlement plan, information and wrap around support.

• Kerr Street Mission to help train and mentor volunteers to support people in distress, isolated seniors and at-risk youth.

• Kerr Street Mission to provide a walk-in cooler/freezer that will increase access to fresh food for clients and expand partnership programs.

• Licensed to Learn to support one-on-one, peer-led tutoring programs for low income and at-risk children.

• Milton Transitional Housing to increase availability of bridge accommodation and supportive one-to-one counseling to people in housing crisis.

• Mississauga Furniture Bank to purchase a delivery truck to provide furniture and household goods to low income and vulnerable clients in Halton.

• Oak Park Neighbourhood Centre to support a network of service providers working collaboratively to reduce barriers and improve quality of life for people with complex needs.

• Open Doors at St. Christopher’s – Feeding Halton to support the expansion of the Fresh Food Markets which provide local food at a discount to individuals with low incomes.

• Reach Out Centre for Kids (ROCK) to provide gender-diverse and trans-specific programs and peer support for children, youth and their families.

• Resiliency 4 Recovery – The Anglican Church of the Incarnation to expand recovery support programs for youth living with mental health, substance misuse challenges and other vulnerabilities. Funds will also support adults 30+ who are dealing with opioid misuse challenges.

• Schizophrenia Society of Ontario to train frontline staff at two local mental health organizations in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy related to psychosis.

• S.E.N.A.C.A. Seniors Day Program Halton Inc. to provide a therapeutic art program for physically and cognitively-impaired older adults.

• STRIDE (Supported Training and Rehabilitation in Diverse Environments) to develop and implement a workshop series to help people who have experienced an absence due to a mental health issue return to work.

• Support & Housing Halton to purchase a passenger van to transport clients to appointments, food banks, employment and other group activities.

• The Bridge from Prison to Community (Hamilton) to establish a reintegration program in Halton to work one-on-one with ex-offenders and their families.

Return to the Front page

Museum awards a contract for the creation of the exhibit area of the transformed Joseph Brant Museum

News 100 redBy Staff

April 19th, 2018



Retainong wall for the wester side of the expanded museum

Transformation of the Joseph Brant Museum site.

While back hoes and cement truck work across the property transforming what was a single structure that we knew as the Joseph Brant Museum a company called Kubik is thinking through what there will be in the way of exhibits and interpretive features that will be installed in the large xxx foot space that will be underground.

Fort York

A view of the Fort Henry museum that Kubik did some work on.

Kubik has been awarded the contract to provide the interpretive design, fabrication and installation at Joseph Brant Museum. The company has done work on the Fort York Visitor Centre, Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum, Wild Weather (Science North), Canadian Museum for Human Rights and Canadian Museum of Nature – Canada Goose Arctic Gallery.

Edwardiam costumes - exhibit

An illustration of some of the dresses in the collection at the Brant Museum.

Kubik has presented a concept design that will feature central, charismatic, and dramatic exhibit hubs, timeline exhibits that will connect to central displays, over-sized interactives and immersive displays. The museum staff thinks they “ may even have a “fashion runway” in the costume gallery.

We can’t wait for that feature.

Return to the Front page

Frank McKeown resigns as head of the Economic Development Corporation.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

April 19th, 2018



This is going to hurt.

Frank McKeown has advised the Board of the Burlington Economic Development Corporation that he will be retiring from his role as Executive Director effective June 27, 2018.

Frank McKeough, former Chief of Staff to MAyor Rick Goldring asked about how politicians can handle complex issues when voters tend not to be informed and don't have the background needed to arrive at decisions.

Frank McKeown – speaking at a public meeting.

McKeown joined BEDC in 2014 and quickly began the redevelopment of the business model at BEDC to focus on supporting businesses to locate, start up and expand in Burlington. In 2017, BEDC worked with over 300 businesses to support them to relocate and grow in Burlington. BEDC has helped develop more than 4000 new jobs in Burlington over the last four years.

Among McKeown’s other accomplishments during his tenure:

• aligning BEDCs Economic Vision with the city’s Strategic Plan and the Official Plan

• launching , BEDC’s new innovation centre focused on helping companies start up and grow. In the first year of operations, TechPlace had over 3500 visitors, hosted over 50 events and developed a LaunchPad program that has attracted high growth startups like servicePath and 3terra to Burlington

Frank McKeown, then the Mayors Chief of Staff explains a concept to Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman. McKeown was described as the 7th council member during the Strategic Plan sessions.

Frank McKeown, then the Mayors Chief of Staff explains a concept to Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman. McKeown was described as the 7th council member during the 2011 Strategic Plan sessions.

• developing a strong focus on partnerships to deliver services to the business community which resulted in initiatives such as Mohawk College Career Crawl and Burlington Day at Mohawk

Tech place logo• ensuring Burlington businesses benefit from the new Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster initiative announced by the Government of Canada.

It is going to be exceptionally difficult to find someone who can pick up where Frank left off. No reason mentioned why he chose to retire.

Anita Cassidy, currently the manager of economic development, will be appointed acting executive director and will be a candidate to fill the role of executive director when the board conducts a search process following the municipal election this November.

Return to the Front page

What they gave you with their left hand they will take away from you with their right hand.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

April 19th, 2018



Earlier in the month the provincial government announced reductions in the cost of some GO transit services
What they are giving you with their right hand is going to be taken away with the left hand.

Premier Wynne announced last week that the cost of a trip on a GO train was going to be less.

GO train Go Bold

How you get from your house to the GO station is something you might want to re-think.

Beginning in early 2019, the province is reducing the cost of GO Transit trips to just $3 for PRESTO users who are travelling under 10 kilometres anywhere on the GO network. Ten km wouild get you from the Aldershot station to the Burlington station – no deal there.

All GO Transit and Union-Pearson Express trips anywhere within the City of Toronto will be reduced to $3

What the Minister didn’t say was that at some point in the not too distant future the free parking at GO stations was going to come to an end.

Additional parking space is going to be created at the Aldershot GO station but that, apparently, is going to be the last parking spot created at a GO station in the Burlington area.

It costs MetroLinx a reported $40,000 for every parking space they provide (no breakout on just how that cost was arrived at – but let’s take them at their word for the moment) and they just can’t afford to create parking space for that price. And the land needed isn’t really available.

The solution: They are going to dissuade people from driving to the GO stations by making people pay for a parking spot. The howling on that one when the details are announced will be louder than the public reaction to that New Street Diet.

Not to worry – don’t expect an announcement on having to pay for parking before the provincial election.

After, tighten your grip on your wallet and think about other ways to get to the GO station.

Salt with Pepper are the musings, reflections, observations and opinions of the publisher of the Burlington Gazette.

Return to the Front page

Supremes take Gold in a cheer-leading competition.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

April 18th, 2018



The girls in the Junior Prep Level 1 Division from Supreme Cheerleaders won Gold at the Ontario Cheerleading Federation (OCF) National Championships this past Saturday at in Brampton.

The team had athletes between the ages of 9 and 14 who put on an winning show to beat out five other teams in their division for this title.

Cheerleaders - Superstars National Champs

They put on an winning show to beat out five other teams in their division for this title.

Tracey Page – Co-owner, Supreme Cheerleading said: “These amazing young ladies represented both Supreme Cheerleading and the city of Burlington with pride and enthusiasm this weekend. They were an absolute joy to watch and the entire Supreme family of coaches, athletes and parents could not be prouder of this great group of young athletes.

Supreme Cheerleading provides athletes the opportunity to sweat, smile, learn and grow in a supportive team environment. More on the organization at  –


Return to the Front page

Open letter to City Council: Staff update to official plan language regarding neighbourhood protection is not acceptable.

News 100 blueBy Greg Woodruff

April 18th, 2018



Staff recently updated the language in the official plan regarding neighbourhood protection. The language as presented is not acceptable. And a proposed motion by Marianne Meed Ward does not go far enough.

Meed Ward said she is” Working on language for motion (meeting staff tomorrow) but intent will be to remove towns from low density neighborhoods. Apartments already out.

The language as proposed by staff would essentially green light semi-detached housing in all areas of Burlington. Townhouses and apartments could also be approved if they are “compatible with the surrounding area”, respectful of the “physical character” and provide an “amenity area.” This is the same subjective language that is a problem all over the city. People have to know what to expect and we have seen the planning definition of all these terms can be very far from what residents expect. This subjective language and the ability to convert houses into semi-detached needs removed from the “Residential – Low Density” definition.

Woodruff opinion visual

Part of an advertisement running on video screens in some Tim Horton’s locations in Burlington.

Secondarily the definition of “Residential – Medium density” allows all sorts of unexpected and unwanted development. The language allowing for 4 story buildings with a rooftop deck in “Residential – Medium density” areas is also unacceptable. The difference between “Residential – Medium density” and “Residential – Low density” is largely invisible to residents. I doubt anyone knows what zone they are in and you have to check the map embedded in the 600-page official plan to have any idea.

We do not need to get into a discussion of the wisdom of these changes; We need to deliver the advertised protection to residents. The city is running ads on video screens in Tim Horton’s locations explaining how your neighbourhoods will be “protected.” What many people take that to mean is “protected from significant change.” Letting loose with semi-detached and 4 story buildings next door is a significant change.

If the city advertising said; “in neighbourhoods we will be limiting development in some areas to semi-detached and other areas to small apartment buildings” – then my complaint would be blunted. However the advertisements are very clear neighbourhoods will be “protected” and will “not change”.

We are setting up years if not decades of people that will have all sorts of legitimate anger directed to the city. We can leave the fate of the neighbourhoods to future OP battles. More than enough change is generated at the moment for people to absorb.

Direct staff to:

1) Remove the reference to semi-detached from 8.3.3(1).1

2) Remove 8.3.3(1).b entirely

3) Remove “non-ground-oriented dwellings”, “back-to-back townhouses” and “low-rise” from 8.3.4(1).a

4) Remove “non-ground-oriented dwellings” “back-to-back townhouses” and “low-rise” from 8.3.4(1).b

5) Modify 8.3.4(1).c to read “the maximum building height should be comparable to the average height of the highest points of the rooflines of existing residential buildings on the immediately adjoining properties sharing lot lines with the lands under application.“

We all need to get involved! Please like, share, tweet this post or e-mail a link to friends.

Greg WoodruffGreg Woodruff is an Aldershot resident who ran for the office of Regional chair in 2014.  There are those who believe Woodruff will seek public office during the 2018 municipal election.

Return to the Front page

Shuttleworth first Burlington resident to announce intention to seek a public school board trustee seat.

News 100 blueBy Staff

April 18th, 2018



Margo Shuttleworth, a candidate for the Ward 4 Halton District School Board trustee position in 2014 announced today that she will seek the seat currently held by Richelle Papin in the October municipal election.

Shuttleworth was a consistent observer of the HDSB Program Accommodation Review that resulted in the closure of two of Burlington’s seven high schools.


Margo Shuttleworth

She has been, actively involved in community engagement during her seven years as a Burlington resident: a member of the Burlington Charter Action Team, Healthy Kids Steering Committee member, Parental Involvement Committee member (PIC), Healthy and Safe Routes to School Co-ordinator, Parent Council Executive, Age-Friendly Community Chair Founding Board Member and Small Fry Skating Vice-President.

As a mother of children in the HDSB school system Shuttleworth describes herself as being committed to continuing to fight for the students of Ward 4.

You can reach Margo Shuttleworth at: or call 289-838-4078

Related news story

Return to the Front page

Tow truck driver adds a needed bit of common sense to the matter of vehicles being towed.

News 100 blueBy Staff

April 17th, 2018



There have been a lot of silly statements made about the couple that parked their car -n the parking lot on Brant just north of Caroline. (It isn’t fair to call it the No Frills parking lot – they don’t own it – they are just tenants).

The couple admit that they saw the sign but parked anyway and wandered off to shop elsewhere and returned to find their car gone and had to pay $300. To get it back.

There have been dozens of comments on that story. One from a tow truck driver makes a number of important points.

Folks…I have been in the towing industry for many many years. I do not and have not ever worked for Classic Towing. I thought as a member of the towing community I would break some of this article down for the general public.

1) Who should i contact to right a wrong or inquire how to solve a potential corrupt scam……*YOU parked on private property and left the premises, YOU were in the wrong. There is no scam.*

John - No frills - laneway

People who park their car and then leave the parking lot get towed.

2) It seems a huge scam as the tow truck driver said he takes 50 cars out of there a day…..*So he gives people a 15 min grace period in case they just ran somewhere then takes min 10 mins to hook up a car…lets say 15 mins to get to their pound location…another 15 to unhook the car and write an invoice…another 15 mins back to the parking lot. That’s 55 mins…Impossible he tows 50 cars a day…I highly doubt the driver said that*

3) A $20 warning ticket would have sufficed. I would have learned my lesson….*WHO is going to write the ticket? and what lesson is to be learned if this is as you say “A huge scam”*

4) Once I came back and couldn’t find my car I obviously saw the other signs that cars will get towed. In their defence it is clearly marked by signage…*So its the shady tow truck drivers fault YOU are not aware of your surroundings?*

Tow signs in No Frills

The signs are displayed in several locations in the parking lot.

5) Is there anything that can be done? Some investigation into how the towing company and the plaza owner are potentially preying on customers. It just seems so corrupt…*YOU left the property…YOU are NOT a customer while eating dinner off the property…how are they preying on you if you illegally parked on private property that is clearly marked with the signage in this article*

I could go on for hours…but at the end of the day us tow truck drivers have a job…TOWING CARS. The owner of private property has EVERY right to remove cars that shouldn’t be there…the tow company was hired to do a job. If you think for one second this is the only private property that has cars towed think again. There are many plazas, apartments and condos, businesses etc etc….Remember folks…us horrible preying scam artist vultures in tow trucks..may one day be the guys that save your life or get you out of a bad spot.

Our tow truck driver adds that: “In order to be able to tow accident scenes in Ontario tow truck drivers go through police screening. Yearly.

Tow truck - no markings

Tow truck sits at the entrance to the parking lot – waiting.

He adds: Being labelled a piece of garbage isn’t pleasant. A lot of people don’t understand or have any clue the things we have to do and see on a daily basis. We continuously get beaten down. I am not saying ALL tow truck drivers are great awesome decent guys…like any industry there is always bad apples….but…Classic Towing is one of the biggest companies in Canada, I find it difficult to believe they are involved in anything illegal, scam or shady.

The tow truck driver asked that we not identify him.

Return to the Front page

If the nice weather actually arrives it will be a great day to plant saplings. No BBQ this year.

eventsgreen 100x100By Staff

April 17th, 2018



The City of Burlington’s annual community tree planting event has been tied to the annual Burlington Green Clean Up Green Up event that takes place on Saturday April 21st.

The tree planting will take place at Tuck Park, 3405 Spruce Avenue on Saturday, April 21, from 1 to 4 p.m.

Residents are invited to be a part of adding to the urban forest by planting a total of 500 saplings.

GreenUp 2017 tree plant

The Green Up part of the 2017 program. Tuck Park this year.

Each event will feature:

• Planting 500 saplings
• Question and answer with city arborists
• Stewardship and education about our urban forests

Pre-registration is not required but attendees are asked to register in advance by going to Burlington Green’s website, or upon arrival at the event. Here are some details:

• Saplings are in one-gallon pots that can be easily carried to planting spots.
• No experience is needed. City arborists and planting experts will show attendees what to do.
• Participants are advised to use alternative transportation such as Burlington Transit, ride sharing, cycling or other forms of active participation as parking will be very limited.

What to wear/bring:

• Check the weather and dress for the conditions. We will be outside and will plant rain or shine.
• Wear sturdy footwear – no sandals or flip-flops, please.
• Bring your own work/gardening gloves.
• Bring your own snacks and beverages and plenty of water, especially if it’s hot.
• Bring your own shovel, if possible.
• Consider going green to the planting; walk, bike, carpool or use public transit.
• Bring your volunteer hour form if you’re a high school student looking for volunteer hours.

Burlington is one of Canada’s best and most livable cities, a place where people, nature and business thrive but it does not have a private tree bylaw.

For details on the CleanUp part of the day go to:

BurlingtonGreen has announced that there will not be an EcoFair this year nor will there be a BBQ

Return to the Front page