Getting More Value For Your Money

opinionandcommentBy Steve Marks

December 6th, 2017



When you’re young, you have this idea that once you’ve got the job you want, you’ll be financially stable. If you’re lucky to earn more money than you need, you’ll never have to worry about finances ever again.

Unexpected expensesWhat we don’t realize is that the more money we get, the more we spend. And, perhaps more poignantly, we tend to spend our entire salaries. Which means that when an unexpected expense comes along, we have to dig deep, take out loans, or use a lot of credit.

But if you’re just managing to live on what you’re earning, what’s the solution? A promotion or raise might be the ideal scenario, but chances are you have no control over that. Your income is going to stay the same, and so are your expenses.

There are some very useful ways to get more from your money. If you do the following, you might find yourself in less debt, or even with a bit of extra cash at the end of the month which you can save.

1. Shop online

There are many reasons people still don’t shop online. You may be wary about buying fresh groceries that you can’t pick out yourself. You may enjoy the process of shopping, using it as a way to take some time out of work in the office or at home. You may simply not want to change what you’ve been doing for so many years.

Shopping on lineHowever, there is one very good reason to shop online that should change your mind. You end up saving money. This is, for the most part, for two reasons. The first is that you’re not going to be tempted by things you don’t need while walking down the aisles. The second is that you can compare prices easily, without having to do more work than most of us are ready to do at the store.

Better shopping habits are one of the best ways to make the most out of your money, and online shopping makes it much easier.

2. Take advantage of credit card deals

If you’re stuck with credit card debt, it might feel like you’ve got an endless mountain to climb. You keep paying money into your credit card and it keeps getting eaten up by interest. However, if you take advantage of credit card deals, you can go a long way towards wiping out that debt.

Some of the best credit cards in Canada will take on your debt at 0% interest for the first year. This provides a great opportunity to make your payments actually count. Also, look out for rewards deals which, if you make good use of them, will actually save you significant cash.

3. Use budgeting apps

Budgeting is incredibly important, as you need to be able to see how much you’re spending against how much you’re earning if you want to change your habits. Many of us aren’t cut out for budgeting, however, and do a half-hearted job of it at best.

Telling money where to goThe good news is that budgeting apps now do the hard work for you. They categorize your transactions, showing you exactly what you spend on, making it easier to figure out what you can cut down on.

Get budgeting, and you’ll soon find you may not need to use your whole salary every month.

Steve Marks is a finance consultant who focuses on the development of best credit management practices for young people.

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Parks and Recreation department offering big discounts - what if there is no snow?

News 100 yellowBy Staff

December 6th, 2017



The Parks and Recreation department appears to now have a marketing unit.

They are offering rentals at up to 40% Off during the holiday season.

Starting December 1st, through to January 7, 2018, all Ice, Gyms, Pools, Auditoriums and Community Rooms will be on sale. For more information and terms and conditions: visit

Some of the $$ off opportunities are:

Live play #1

Live play #2

Live Play #3

Live play #4

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Second public art installation in Aldershot to be installed in Spring of 2018

artsblue 100x100By Staff

December 5, 2017



Xiaojing Yan’s design has been chosen as the public artwork that will be installed on a median on Plains Road near the Francis Road intersection.

A community jury made up of residents, local artists and business owners reviewed three proposals along with feedback from 220 residents during the summer. The artwork, Dwelling, is expected to be installed in spring 2018.

Plains road art

Public art will be set up on the median on Plains Road near the Francis Road intersection.

Dwelling has six house shapes in different sizes made of stainless steel. In a media release from the city the art work is described. “A house creates a sense of place, belonging and home. The notion of home relates to places of memory, family history, social comment and environmental issues. It is through relationships and experiences that a house becomes a home.

“The house image has been turned into a greenhouse to honour the Royal Botanical Gardens. This represents health, physical activity and recreation. It also suggests an evolving social metaphor of sustainability and self-sufficiency.”

xiaojing-yan artistXiaojing Yan is a Chinese Canadian artist who lives and works in Markham, Ont. She earned a MFA for Sculpture from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a BFA from Nanjing Arts Institution in China.

Yan’s work has been exhibited in galleries and museums internationally. Her work has been included in many private and public collections. She is also a recipient of numerous awards and grants, including the 2014 Outstanding Young Alumni award from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, a project grant from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Chalmers Arts Fellowship and Mid-career Grant from Ontario Arts Council.

Aldershot public art # 2

Public art installation on Plains Road at Waterdown Road.

In 2010, a Xiaojing Yan design was selected for the Burlington Downtown Bike Rack Project. Yan sees her design as part of the evolution of Plains Road from a gravel road to a highway and then to a residential main street.

Dwellings is the second piece of public art to be installed on Plains Road.

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634 volunteers put in 74,380 hours of service at the Joseph Brant hospital

jbhhealth (2)By Staff

December 5th, 2017



The new wing of the hospital is open – all we hear are good things.

The last stretch of the $60 million fund raising drive is going well.  The city of Burlington had to tax its citizen for $60 million and the hospital Foundation had to raise another $60 million.

The hospital is now focused on doing major renovations on the older portion of the hospital.

Each year the hospital prepares a report on what they did during the year. These are sometimes as dry as toast without any butter – and never contain a critical word or make any mention of where improvements are needed.

This year the hospital created a large graphic – filled with numbers.

JBH by the numbers

634 volunteers put in 74,380 hours – that’s 117 hours per volunteer. Impressive

It certainly tells the story.

You can read the full report HERE

Related new stories:

Door to door campaign.


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New drug program for those 24 and under will provide an extensive list of pharmaceuticals at no cost - starts in January.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

December 5th, 2017



They are calling it OHIP+

You are going to hear a lot about it in January when the province rolls out a program that will make more than 4,400 drug products free for anyone age 24 years or younger.

There not be a program to enroll in – all that is needed is a health card number and an eligible prescription.


All you will need to participate in the OHIP + program is a valid Health card.

Who will be covered?
All babies, children and youth age 24 years and under who have OHIP coverage will be automatically covered by OHIP+

OHIP+ coverage will stop on your 25th birthday, but you may qualify for other financial help with prescription drug costs.

What medications will be covered: The list is extensive and includes:

antibiotics to treat infections
inhalers for asthma
various insulins, oral diabetic medications and diabetes test strips
epinephrine auto-injectors (e.g. EPIPENs®)
drugs to treat arthritis, epilepsy and other chronic conditions
medications to treat mental health conditions (e.g. antidepressants)
attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) drugs
drugs to treat some childhood cancers and other rare conditions

The starting point is a visit to your doctor or nurse practitioner and get a prescription.

Then you take your health card OR health card number to any pharmacy in Ontario.

The pharmacy will fill their prescription at no charge – you don’t pay a dispensing fee, deductible or co-payment.

Trillium Drug Program members.

If your child is age 24 or under and a member of a Trillium Drug Program household, as of January 1, 2018 they will be covered through OHIP+. This means, because you don’t pay out-of-pocket for their medications, no money from those medications will count toward your deductible.

Students going to university/college in another province

Hoskins Minister of Health and Long Term Care

John Hoskins – Minister of Health and Long Term Care will be all over the television news when the OHIP+ program is rolled out. He was a Liberal Party Leadership candidate the lat time around – expect to see him in the race the next time the Liberals go looking for a new leader.

If you’re going to university or college in another province, your prescriptions may still be covered by OHIP+ if you:

remain insured by OHIP
have a valid prescription
get your medications from a pharmacy in Ontario

Expect to hear a lot more about this program – there is an provincial election in June and the current government really wants to get re-elected.


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Parts of Longmeadow Road to be closed December 6th for sewer repairs

notices100x100By Staff

December 5th, 2017



A part of Longmeadow Road will be closed on December 6, 2017

Longmeadow Road, between Deerwood Drive and Winding Way, will be closed on Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for emergency sewer work.

Signs and barricades will be up and through traffic will be detoured on Deerwood Drive. Access to homes where the work is being done will be maintained at all times.

road barriers Longmeadow

Be prepared to deal with road barriers on parts of Longmeadow.

For more information, contact Florin Patrau at 905-335-7671, ext. 7838

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Two groups of high school parents await the recommendation of the report Margaret Wilson is writing.

highschoolsBy Pepper Parr

December 4th, 2017


In an earlier version of this story, we incorrectly said that Tom Muir had aligned himself with the Bateman parents.  He was very sympathetic with the Bateman situation but worked with the Pearson parents

Margaret Wilson, the Reviewer brought in by the Ministry of Education to do formal review the Halton District School Board (HDSB) decision to close two of the city’s seven high schools has said she expects to have her report in the hands of the Ministry well before Christmas.

She is perhaps on her second draft of the document.

Margaret Wilson PAR Admin Review

Margaret Wilson

Being the professional she is Mrs. Wilson did not tip her hand during her conversations with media.

She is reported to have said to one of the participants during the second evening of public delegations that she “would recommend a second PAR (Program Accommodation Review)  if she had very good reasons.”

The HDSB PAR review will be the 13th that Wilson has done – she is an experienced hand at this game. Wilson noted that the only time she recommended that a PAR be done a second time was when she did one at the HDSB – and at that time she recommended to the Ministry that a second PAR was advisable.

Many of the Pearson and Bateman parents are hoping that she does the same thing again.

All Wilson can do is make a recommendation. It is the Minister of Education who can order the Director of Education to hold a PAR. It is not clear if the school board trustees can choose not to proceed.

Voting by hand

Halton Board of Education voting to close two of the city’s sven high schools.

The trustees voted on June 7th to close the schools. Parents from both Bateman high school and Pearson high school appealed to the Ministry of Education for a review of the process the HDSB went through in making that decision.

The Board held a PAR – a Program Accommodation Review and created a PAR committee consisting of two parents from every high school in the city. That committee was scheduled to meet on five occasions – and met on seven occasions when the Director of Education felt the additional time the PARC people wanted was justified.

The PARC was never able to arrive at a consensus. The structure of the PAR was such that the two high schools had to fight within the PARC to keep their school open.

Hard working people PARC

PARC members placing small paper dots beside their preferences when the committee was eliminating some of the options.

Central high school was exceptionally well organized – they held a fund raising event that put $14,000 into their war chest and then did a tremendous amount of research that pointed to some serious flaws in the board of education staff position.

What turned the tide for Central was their research that showed it was going to cost $400,000 a year basically forever to bus students from the Central community to other high schools in the city. Somehow the Board of Education staff failed to figure that out on their own.

With that information in had the Director of Education revised his recommendation to have Bateman closed instead of Central high school. That put the fat in the fire and had the Bateman parents howling – claiming that the Central parents had thrown them under the bus.

Protesters PARC

Central high school parents demonstrating outside the school board administrative offices.

The result was that parents were now fighting to save their school – rather than looking at the serious flaws in the process and convincing the Board to take an approach where everyone could work together to find a solution that worked for everyone.

The Bateman parents were asleep at the switch. They should have seen that their school was at risk but they did nothing in the way of organizing until they had to and by then it was too late.

The Bateman community that is leading the Administrative Review request has difficulty sharing information. There were reported differences of opinion within the group and they were not able to work with the Pearson parents on a combined approach.

Denise Davy - automotive guy

Denise Davy, c0-chair of the Bateman high school parent group,standing talks to the representative from the auto body industry at an Administrative Review meeting

Bateman had a great story to tell – few people in the city knew of how strong a program there was at that high school for students who faced personal challenges coping with traditional school programs.

It didn’t help that few of the trustees visited all the high schools to see first-hand what was being done at Bateman.

What was, by contrast, really interesting was that Wilson visited every high school and made a point of visiting the two model shops that were operational at Bateman.

The most significant flaw in the PAR process was the way the Board trustees handled their vote. On June 7th – their meeting went until well past mid-night while they heard the last of the delegations.

The PAR rules call for a period of ten days between the last of the delegations and the vote. That didn’t happen.

To make the situation just that much worse – the province, realizing that the PAR process was a mess, ordered a moratorium on all PARS on June 28th. Using the 10 day rule the Halton situation would not have been saved even if the Board had followed their own rules. There for the sake of 11 days went two high schools.


Will the nursery at Pearson high school be lost to the community when the high school closes?

Pearson, a smaller high school that had been stripped of most of the elementary feeder schools was basically starved to death by board boundary reviews.

They needed more time to get themselves organized but never did have the mass that Bateman and Central were able to pull together.

Their argument was that there is a place for a smaller high school in Burlington and that they needed the feeder schools put back in place.

The Director of Education is of the view that a high school enrollment should bet at the 1000 + level.

A piece of corollary damage is the impact on the exceptional nursery that has been run at the school since it opened.

Should Mrs. Wilson decide not to recommend a second PAR be held the city will have to adjust to that reality?

Part of the solution is to elect better trustees and get a Chair in place who understands what the job is and then how to do it.

Burlington has also to come to terms with the fact that it has just 4 of the 11 votes – its trustees need to reach out and develop coalitions with the trustees from Milton, Oakville and Halton Hills.

The decision to close the Robert Bateman high school was more a blow to those parents who had their children in special needs classes.

Muir with pen in hand

Tom Muir – an inveterate delegator.

Tom Muir, an Aldershot resident who doesn’t have children aligned himself with the Pearson contingent and worked with them as they prepared their request for an Administrative Review.

Muir is of the view that “closing Bateman is a disaster for these needy kids and their parents. It will be life-altering. It can’t just be “moved” and “transitioned”. Nelson he added is no place for Bateman kids.

“It is clear that closing any school will stress many students, overcrowd others. MMR will be over capacity by 2020 and will need trailers. Hayden remains pig stuffed and will be for the foreseeable future, with 12 now, and maybe 18 trailers, in future.”

Muir believes there is sufficient material grounds to recommend a voiding of the 2017 PAR, and to replace it with another PAR or suitable process.

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Tyandaga residents listen to report after report and learn that the brick company plans to begin cutting trees this winter.

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

December 4th, 2017



TEC stop quarry expansion Jul17It was a meeting where no one got what they wanted – the gap between the Meridian Brick company and the TEC  – Tyandaga Environmental Coalition was far too wide.

Meridian Brick was not giving an inch and the residents remained steadfast; they wanted their homes protected from what they were certain was going to be environmental and health damage.

It was a lengthy meeting – more than two and a half hours during which the brick company went through report after report on the progress of various issues – noise, human health, PM and silica monitoring, a species at risk report, an Archaeological study and a Salamander study. Most, but not all, delivered by people who could not have been more boring.

The evening was moderated by a brick company representative who would not let the microphone out if his hands. It was humiliating to those people who stood to speak.

The company continually talks of “ Being a good neighbour” which they say means “doing our part to keep you informed about what’s happening with Aldershot East, the third phase of the Aldershot Quarry.” Drives the residents crazy.

Aerial of the site with house location shown

The red line is the boundary for the third quarry that Meridian Brick wants to prepare for excavation work – which will require the clearing of all the trees.

During the meeting the company let it be known that they were very close to doing a clear cut of the wooded area in the eastern part of the property – which is yards away from the homes on West Haven Drive.

The residents pressed for a date – not a word from the company – who are just issuing reports that are mind numbing while city and provincial elected officials stand by muttering but doing nothing.

The MPP, doesn’t seem to be able to get the meeting the TEC people want with the Minister of NAtural Resources and Forestry and the Mayor has yet to realize that he can actually do something.

It was a depressing meeting.

Excavation equipment 1

How do you lesson the noise from a piece of equipment like this?

Excavation equipment 2

Expect a lot of noise from this equipment.

There was a report on managing the noise – the audience was assured that there was a plan for that as well.  How they are going to manage noise from the heavy duty excavation equipment will be interesting.

In one of the presentations the audience was told that two documents govern pits and quarry operations: the license and a site plan.

Many feel that the license issued in 1972 doesn’t reflect the environmental changes that have taken place since 1972.

The requirement for a site plan put this right smack in the middle of the city’s domain. The whole Air Park mess was about the need to file a site plan.

The city hasn’t said a word about whether or not Meridian Brick is in compliance with the site plan requirement. Watch for some push from the environmental lawyer representing the West Haven residents.

Meridian Brick has set out a timeline for the excavation work they plan to do. There was the hint that they were saying to the residents that they didn’t have to worry – a lot of the work was 10, 12, 15 and 20 years out.

Most of the residents will have moved on – this isn’t a young family community.

Westhaven looking toward lake

West Haven looking toward lake.

And while that may be true – the value of any homes that are put on the market is going to be a lot less than the value today. An appraiser report suggests that values decline by between 10% to as high as 40% when a quarry is opened close by. The maps in this story show just how close that quarry is to the high end homes.

Activities in the north corner will not take place until late in the site’s life – approximately 15 to 20 years in the future.

The entire east quarry site will be progressively rehabilitated and reforested as the site is extracted.

Meridian Brick said the complete initial mitigation plan will be completed in the fall of 2017.

An access corridor to the west area of the site and initial tree clearing is to begin in 2017/2018 winter.

In 2019 to 2023 site preparation stripping of stage 1 and continuing rehabilitation of the center quarry.

2023-2033 – Stage 2 preparation and excavation.

2033-2038— Stage 3preparation and excavation.

East and center quarrysa linked

Map shows the link between the center quarry that is being worked now and the eastern site that the company wants to begin working in 2018.

The Archeological study that was done to determine if there was any land that was used by the aboriginal community. There was some evidence found, enough to call for further study – but not enough to be able to say that there actually was an aboriginal community on the property.

Interesting however is the mention that the report has t6o be sent to the Minister of Tourism and Culture and Sport who happens to be none of the than Burlington’s MPP Eleanor McMahon. The rport read out to the audience says: “This report is submitted to the Minister of Tourism and Culture and Sport as a condition of licensing in accordance with Part VI of the Ontario Heritage Act, RSO1990, c 0.18.

McMahon - First public as Minister

Minister McMahon has a duty to approve at least one of the reports that Meridian Brick issued. No comment from her office so far.

“The report is reviewed to ensure that it complies with the standards and guidelines that are issued by the Minister, and that the archaeological field work and report recommendations ensure the conservation, preservation and protection of the cultural heritage of Ontario. When all matters relating to archaeological sites within the project area of a development proposal have been addressed to the satisfaction of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture and Sport, a letter will be issued by the ministry stating that there are no further concerns with regard to alterations to archaeological sites by the proposed development.”

Is the Minister going to issue such a letter – without meeting with the TEC people?

There are issues that the TEC people can follow up on – but they do so at their expense. So far the city hasn’t lifted a finger in the way of support for the residents.

They are hoeing rough ground over on West Haven Drive.

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Ontario Progressive Conservatives want to broaden their platform to appeal to those marginally committed Liberal voters and the undecided.

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

December 4th, 2017



The Ontario Progressive Conservative party, much like its federal counterpart is regularly supported by less than half the voters. To win an election they must either hope for a strong NDP showing, to take votes away from the Liberals, so they can come up the middle. Or they could broaden their platform to appeal to those marginally committed Liberal voters and the undecided.

Patrick Brown Looking sideways

Patrick Brown, leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Opposition party.

The latter is exactly what newish PC leader Patrick Brown is doing. Coming out of a policy convention last weekend he tabled an extensive, if verbose, election platform, the ‘People’s Guarantee’ with 147 promises. It is a shopping list of promises that, in keeping with the season, might have been put together by Santa’s elves. Indeed the platform, for the most part, could have been written for the Liberals or NDP and is clearly designed to draw supporters in those parties over to the Tories.

After Harris and Hudak it is hard to imagine that an Ontario conservative could be so progressive. One could accuse Brown of wanting to spend like a drunken sailor, except for the fact that he is a tea-totaler. Though one has to wonder how he ended up with terminology typical of an alcoholic’s anonymous handbook – one hundred and forty seven promises.

Brown would cut taxes for the middle class by 22.5%, reduce electricity rates by another 12%, refund 75% of child care costs and allocate $1.9 billion into mental health care, in addition to introducing another unenforceable law – the “Trust, Accountability and Integrity Act”.

patrick-brown smiling

Patrick Brown – does he have a lot to smile about.

And there is more in a platform with spending that would make the current Liberals almost look like conservatives. For example there is $5 billion for new subways, 15,000 new long term care beds and a $500 rebate on buying winter tires. Plus he’d be keeping many Liberal programs such as youth pharma-care, free tuition for the needy, and offering a new seniors’ dental care plan.

That’s a lot of cash he’s promising to throw around and the document contains an itemized accounting of where it is coming from and where it is going. Of course it is an optimistic accounting, but aren’t they all? The Liberals are claiming that Brown is hiding $12 billion in sneaky cuts to healthcare, education and other social programs (page 76 of the ‘People’s Guarantee’). And they might be right but how would one know, since it is so difficult to navigate such a weighty and sprawling document, that few will even bother?

Brown is still very much an unknown commodity in the province. A career politician, he spent years on Stephen Harper’s backbench in Parliament, nursing all the right right-wing sentiments one expects of a good Harperite. But he is campaigning as a changed man – he’s seen the light and it’s called compromise – pandering to the softer side of humanity. He even claims to accept a woman’s right to choose and has embraced the LGBT crowd. And why wouldn’t all of this now be genuine? After all his father had run for the NDP a couple of times.


Patrick Brown has his work cut out for him – keeping his conservative base happy and making the Progressive Conservative tent big enough for others.

Will this be enough to win the pink palace? That will also depend in part on whether the public is ripe for a change of leadership. That is the prescription from the right wing media, though Brown may not exactly be the package they have in mind. And it will also depend on the competing platforms yet to roll out from the Liberals and NDP, and possibly the Greens – and whether they can find enough holes in Brown’s platform to shake his credibility.

Patrick Brown is paying for his income tax cuts with the cash rolling in from a new carbon tax he’ll introduce to replace Ontario’s current cap and trade climate change plan. That means for every dollar working folks will save in income taxes they’ll be using sixty or seventy cents of it just to fill up their cars – not quite the bonanza the income tax cuts seem at first blush.

Carbon taxes are sales taxes, regressive in that they affect those with lower incomes the most. And if they are effective in reducing carbon, the amount of revenue generated will start to fall, rather than rise as predicted. So if the carbon tax doesn’t bring in enough cash to cover everything on his extensive laundry list, expect to see the list get shorter – or watch the deficit and debt grow. There is no free lunch when it comes to balancing the budget.

Brown has taken his cue in economic and environmental policy from the federal government, first by adopting Trudeau’s prescribed carbon tax, and second by cutting the income taxes of those in the relatively lower income classes. This provides both a restraint and a stimulus to economic growth respectively. And that is an appropriate approach given that Ontario’s economy is booming and had outpaced the rest of the country last year – best in the G7.

Brown Patrick with headset

Now that he has a platform – the leader of the Opposition now has to get out on the road, get known and sell the book with 147 promises in it.

But with unemployment lower than it has been in almost two decades, priming the pump without also applying brakes will only lead to inflation. Good economic policy avoids trying to fix something which isn’t broken. And Ontario and Canada are both doing well economically.

But some folks just like to change horses every once in a while and they’re entitled – this is a democracy. And if we can believe what he says in his ‘People’s Guarantee’, Brown is a different kind of Progressive Conservative – one that Ontario has not seen since the days of Bill Davis. And that would make him more his socialist father’s son and less like the Grinch he used to work for.

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 a candidate for provincial office in Burlington in 1995.  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:

People’s Guarantee –      PC Convention –      147 Promises

PC Platform –      Cutting Taxes –      A Red Tory?

PC Plan to Win –      Who is Brown –      Brown isn’t Transparent?

Ontario PC –      Tax Plan Falls Short –      Ontario Polls

Ontario Economy –      Patrick Brown

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Finance department gives Council an Operating budget with a 4.19% increase over last year.

Budget 2018 ICONBy Pepper Parr

December 3rd, 2017



Budget time.

City staff presented an Operating budget with a 4.19 % increase over last year – this will be the xx year that tax payers have seen increases in the 4% range.

Future tax

The disturbing part of this budget is the prediction going forward for increases that are wll above inflation at a time when the economy is very healthy. The line that is solid yellow is the one that tax ayers need to focus on

The proposed net tax levy for the 2018 fiscal year for the Operating budget will amount to $159,855,656. Staff propose that Council approve this amount on January 22, 2018.

Staff did a line-by-line review of the base budget and found $600,000 in savings.

James Ridge

City manager James Ridge.

The strategic review of the Operating Budget is done by a Leadership Team comprised of the City Manager, Director of Finance, Director of Human Resources. The Director of Planning and Building and the City Clerk took part as rotating member.

The following were events that impacted the Operating budget:

The estimated impact from legislative changes to the Employment Standards and Labour Relations Acts (Bill 148) of $1 million results in an additional tax increase

The annualized impact of changes made within the Transit Service to provide operational sustainability of $1.3 million results in an additional tax increase

Impacts from the 2014 arbitrated Fire settlement of $1.2 million results in an additional tax increase

The increase for the dedicated infrastructure levy of $1.9 million results in an additional tax increase

A business case to increase maintenance standards on city sports fields for $320K

Where the money gets spent

Where the money gets spent

These events plus the base budget already in place result in a total tax increase to 4.19%.

The following table provides a breakdown of the city’s tax increase.

Tax impacts from budget croppedThe cost increases put upward pressure on the budget; more money going out. The lower than anticipated assessment growth meant less money coming in. The difference between those two numbers is found in the pockets of the tax payers.

Spicer + Ridge

Former Director of Transit Mike Spicer sitting with city manager James Ridge – the facial expressions tell the story. Spicer resigned several months later.

Council learned on September 7, of the “challenges facing the department’s operations”. Those challenges are going to add s approximately $1.3 M to the proposed 2018 budget.

Municipalities are service organizations that rely heavily on human resources to deliver the range and quality of services that residents have come to expect. Human resource costs (including benefits, training, etc.) as a percentage of the City’s gross budget has changed from 50.5% in 2004 to 46.2% proposed for 2018.

Local Boards include the Burlington Public Library, Burlington Museums, Art Gallery of Burlington, Burlington Performing Arts Centre (BPAC), Tourism Burlington and the Burlington Economic Development Corporation (BEDC). For 2018 a base budget increase of 2.0% was provided for local boards, equating to $295,910.

The city continues to make good progress on its infrastructure renewal needs as Council has provided Predictable Infrastructure Investment, in the form of a dedicated incremental infrastructure levy. The proposed budget includes a 1.25% ($1.9 million) levy as recommended in the city’s Asset Management Financing Plan.

A recent review of the Vehicle Depreciation Reserve Fund (VDRF) recommended that the annual contributions to the reserve fund be increased from 3% to 4% per annum to ensure long-term financial sustainability. This increased contribution has an incremental $32,000 ongoing impact to the operating budget.

The city revenues in 2018 will, in part come from the following increases:

• increase in registration fee and rental revenues of $181,000 to reflect increased volume of participants as well as increases to fees

• increase in Building Permit fees of $186,000 to reflect an increase in the costs to administer enforcement of the Building Code (Bill 124)

• increase in Development Application and Approval Processing (DAAP) fees of
$140,000 to reflect an increase in volume and a 2% increase in fees

• increase in parking fines of $215,000 and daily parking revenues of $150,000 to better align with historical revenue trends

• increase in Transit advertising revenues of $170,000 as a result of a new advertising contract.

How budget gets done

The process for putting a city budget together.

A tax bill doesn’t always translate into cash in the city coffers. The city budgets annually for tax write-offs based on assessment reductions or property class changes agreed to by MPAC and/or the Assessment Review Board (ARB).

Annual write-offs have traditionally been approximately $1 million. In 2017 write-offs are estimated to total $2 million due to continued processing of longstanding appeals being resolved by the ARB. These write-offs have depleted the allowance account which will require a provision to be made at year-end as part of the retained savings. The budget for write-offs has been increased by $50,000 to $1.175 million.

These growth costs and other inflationary increases have been offset by assessment growth which allows a municipality to finance increased costs without increasing taxes.

Over the past five years Burlington’s weighted assessment growth was:

2013 0.87%
2014 0.58%
2015 0.97%
2016 1.16%
2017 0.15%

Staff continue to believe a portion of this is one-time in nature.

Paradigm from the west Nov 2017

The first of the five tower Paradigm on Fairview will begin to be occupied in 2018 – adding to the tax roles.

There are three major projects under construction that will be at least partially completed in 2018 – with people moving in – tax get levied and assessment growth improves.

The 2017 Approved Budget included $200,000 to implement the first phase of the Enhanced Sportsfield Maintenance Strategy. Included with the 2018 budget is a business case to provide the remaining funding requirements of $320,320 and 3.2 FTE to fully implement this strategy. This business case aligns with the city’s Strategic Direction of a Healthy and Greener City. It will result in improved turf resilience and playability as well as demonstrates environmental leadership and stewardship of our natural assets.


Services the city provides.

The proposed city increase of 4.19%, for urban residential taxpayers translates into a tax increase of $21.03 for each $100,000 of residential assessment.

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Call for stronger role from ratepayer groups - does anyone know how many we have?

opinionandcommentBy Stephen White

December 3rd, 2017



I would submit that one of the reasons this Council and Mayor have run amuck over the past seven years is because there are no strong countervailing organizations in place to challenge or question their decisions.

There are a lot of intelligent, thoughtful and resourceful people who delegate regularly, or write to their Councillor, or express feedback, but because they are acting as individuals and not as part of a concerted, united organization they get “blown off”. A case in point is the November 13th Council meeting on the 421 Brant Street development.

Your city council members: The Significant Seven.

Your city council members: The Significant Seven. Three of the seven were first elected in 2010 – all were re-elected in 2014. Two have been there more than 20 years

By contrast, Oakville has 17 Ratepayers’ Associations. They offer a strong, sustained and ongoing mechanism through which local residents can make their voices known and their opinions heard. When they delegate their Council and their Mayor listen. When they push the agenda and demand action they are able to quickly galvanize public support and things happen. Their efforts around saving Glen Abbey Golf Course is a case in point.

Burlington crest - with city referenceECoB is a great start, but if it turns into Shape Burlington it will just be gabfest and a waste of time. The time for pleasantries and persuasion is past. I hope part of ECoB’s mandate entails identifying and formally supporting municipal election candidates. Without a strategy in place we’ll have a repeat of 2014 with multiple candidates running in each ward, vote splitting, and incumbents slipping through again.

Stephen White is a Burlington resident who comments frequently in the Gazette.

It is worth noting that the Town of Oakville Clerk reaches out to the community and asks for contact information from each of the known resident and ratepayer groups and ensures they are kept informed of what takes p0olace in Oakville.

Related content:

Shape Burlington

Formation of ECoB

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ECoB and city hall meet - will citizens support this new group that wants a much more collaborative relationship with the city. Shades of Shape Burlington perhaps?

By Pepper ParrNews 100 yellow

December 2, 2017



The first meeting was a low key event. The idea for getting people together to meet and talk about the way city council was letting growth take place first appeared on a Facebook page with an entry by Susan Goyer, a retired banking executive who was relatively new to Burlington with a love of puppies.

That Facebook page attracted attention and then some traction.

People decided to meet – they needed a place to gather – thought city hall could be used on a Saturday – that didn’t work out so they gathered in the Party Room of the Buntin’s Wharf condo.

ECOB founding Nov 25 back of heads

It wasn’t a large group – but it was a very effective group. Can it be grown to be one that teaches city hall what collaboration really means?

There was a lot of work done via email before the meeting took place – selecting the name, setting out just what they wanted to achieve –which meant melding together a lot of individual agendas.

The common thread was getting some citizen control over city council and not being reliant on the ballot box every four years.

ECoB – Engaged Citizens of Burlington – well worth watching.

The city council approval of the 421 Brant development that was to rise opposite city hall was the spark. That was more than this group of people wanted to see and they called a meeting to see who would turn up. It wasn’t a large group – 25 – maybe 30.

At the initial two hour meeting they agreed to incorporate, created a Board of Directors, raised $5000 on the spot and agreed that they would appeal the city decision on the 23 storey tower on Brant Street to the Ontario Municipal Board.

In a delegation to city Council on November 30thm in the evening, ECoB set out part of their objective.

Kearns + Josie

Several of the people that showed up for the first public ECoB meeting – Lisa Kearns, standing, is one to watch – impressive skill set.

Engaged Citizens of Burlington (‘ECOB’) is a non-profit group representing residents and business owners working towards building a better Burlington for generations to come.  ECOB is a diverse group which has received substantial interest from individual residents and other groups who have a desire to provide a collective voice concerning matters of planning, growth and development as they affect this city in which we live.

ECOB wish to make you aware of a number of concerns and objections that we have with regard to the proposed Official Plan.  We are of the view that the proposed plan will have a serious impact on the residents’ standard of living.

Our comments tonight focus largely on the downtown core as there has been insufficient time to adequately examine the effects of the OP on the rest of the City.

There is a longer term objective. They want to reach out to other groups in the city and become an umbrella that any interest group can get under and access the resources of the organization

The OMB appeal is on the front burner because there is a time frame they must work within.
Where will this group go? Hard to tell. There are some very impressive people involved – mostly downtown core – with some very good talent coming out of Aldershot.

The group leadership is firm on their desire to attract people from every ward in the city.

They meet next on Wednesday, December 13th from 7-9 pm at the Burlington Baptist Church- 2225 New Street- next to Dodsworth & Brown.

Part of staff response to shape

Part of the 2011 staff response to the Shape Burlington report.

The creation of this group bears some resemblance to Shape Burlington, a group that was formed in 2010 to bring about better access to city hall.

Councillors Sharman and Lancaster: both part of the Shape Burlington committee who seem to have forgotten what the report was all about - civic engagement

Councillors Sharman and Lancaster: both part of the Shape Burlington committee who seem to have forgotten what the report was all about – civic engagement

Two of the people who were on that group (Councillors Sharman and Lancaster) went on to become members of city council and seemed to forget what Shape Burlington was all about.

James Ridge

City manager James Ridge.

Tanner Mary Lou

Director of Planning – Mary Lou Tanner

One could do well if they wagered that neither James Ridge, the city manager nor the Mary Lou Tanner, Director of Planning have read the report.

Is ECoB just another Shape Burlington? Time will tell.

Related news stories:
Mistrust of city hall

Shape Burlington report

City hall reaction to the Shape Report – nothing has changed.

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Santa tomorrow on New Street - parade starts at 2 pm - pm Guelph Line at Prospect

eventsred 100x100By Staff

December 2, 2017



For the really young ones it is a beautiful day.

The weather will be crisp, much of the sidewalk along the route will have people sitting in their lawn chairs, some will have the tailgates of their pickup trucks down to be used as seating and on some of the streets that empty into New Street there will be small hibachis with a little BBQ.

It is Santa Clause Day parade in Burlington.

The parade will start at 2 p.m. at the corner of Guelph Line and Prospect Street and make its way downtown along New Street. The parade then travels north on Brant Street and finishes at Caroline Street.

Santa parade route

Santa parade route

This year’s parade will feature 82 entries, including floats, mascots and 16 bands. The parade will include traditional favourites, such as the Burlington Teen Tour Band, the Junior Redcoats, Top Hat Marching Orchestra and the Halton Regional Police Service Pipes & Drums.

Santa For-unto-us-1024x473

The real reason for the season

Children are encouraged to bring letters for Santa, which will be collected by letter carriers from Canada Post along the parade route. Spectators may bring non-perishable food donations, which will be accepted by the Burlington Teen Tour Band boosters and the Gift of Giving Back. The Burlington Oldtimers Hockey Club will be collecting loonies and toonies to help support the operation costs of the parade.

They fill the street and they are Magnificent to look at - Burlington's Teen Tour Band

A real parade in Burlington includes the Teen Tour Band

Many local businesses have contributed donations, flatbed trucks, float entries and sponsorship funding to this year’s parade. For a complete list of sponsors, visit This year’s gold sponsor is BUNZL.

Spectators will have the chance to help choose the People’s Choice Award for best parade float. Voting will begin online after the parade at All entries will be entered in to a draw for a chance to win a prize.

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Jim Young asks city council why they have put the cart before the horse as they work at creating a new official plan?

opinionandcommentBy Staff

December 1st, 2017



A city Council Committee of the Whole listened to delegations in an afternoon and an evening session yesterday.

There were three delegations from people representing developers setting out the impact the proposed Official Plan would have on their projects.

This was followed by four people who delegated in the afternoon – in the evening there were nine registered delegation.

The Gazette will report on what those people had to say. We want to pass along what Jim Young, an Aldershot resident, had to say. Young is perhaps the best delegator this Council has seen during 2017. He has been superb and taught this council some badly needed lessons. He was instrumental is convincing this city council to maintain the ten minute time allocation for delegation. Staff had proposed that it be limited to five minutes – and council was prepared to go along with it.

During his delegation on the Official Plan Young had this to say:

I am not here today to condemn or oppose the latest rendition of the Official Plan.

Jim Young

Jim Young

Neither am I opposed to intensification, downtown density or the concept of mobility hubs.
My first concern is a Big Picture concern about the validity and workability of an Official Plan that is contingent upon several other plans, if those contingent plans are not yet in place.

Official-Plan-Binder_ImageThe draft Official Plan references the Cycling Plan and the Transit Master Plan, both of which have been in development for several years and are still some time from completion. It also references The Downtown Parking Study, which as we speak is still seeking public input and an Area Specific Plan for the Downtown Mobility Hub which according to your timeline will not be completed until June 2018

There are matters of great importance which will impact the lives of citizens embodied in the official plan which council are being asked to vote upon when the prerequisite building blocks are not yet in place.

Is it fair or reasonable for you to vote on detailed areas of intensification and density before we have the Transit Plan in place to move people through these propose areas of intensification?

Can you really make a decision which will determine the walkability and the transport modal split for cycling to ensure livability in our new high density intensified city, if we don’t have a cycling plan in place to support it?

Jim Young

Jim Young speaking at a public meeting on transit issues. He has led some of the public commentary on how the transit service is not meting the needs of the citizens

Can we plan for a forecast 19,000 new residents every 10 years, many of whom the new intensified precincts are designed for and almost all of whom will bring cars if we do not have a parking plan in place? If buildings are approved with 1.2 parking spaces per unit while the average Ontario household owns 1.7 cars, where will we put the all cars? We cannot just hope people will be less inclined to own a car. We need to have that plan in place.

The proposed intensification precincts are premised upon the success and high level of utilization of the downtown mobility hub; yet the Area Specific Plan for that will not be presented to council until June 2018.

The Official Plan Review team has a huge task on their hands and they have to juggle a number of research projects at the same time and manage to find time for real public engagement. The above sets out the projects that all have to be eventually pulled together to create what will become the city's official plan for the next five years.

In 2012 the Official Plan Review team set out how many moving parts there were in the Official Plan. Young points out that many of the parts are contingent upon several other plans that have yet to be determined before the bigger picture is cast in stone.

How do we intensify around a mobility hub when we don’t have the details of what that hub will look like, how it will work? If it will work?

I am asking how can council and staff move forward on this very complex and, for our city, somewhat revolutionary, official plan if the building blocks of all the other supporting infrastructure plans are not in place?

A lot of common sense there. Using a well-worn phrase Young pointed out that the Planners had ‘put the cart before the horse.’ He got that right.

Good questions – Jim Young didn’t get any answers – staff have yet to comment on the points brought up during the delegations yesterday.  That is supposed to take place when the Committee of the Whole resumes this afternoon.

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Citizens force council and the Planning department to allow more room for public discussion of the draft Official Plan. Many want it to become en election issue.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

December 1st, 2017



The citizens of the city got what they have been pushing for – they didn’t like the pace or the rate at which the draft of the Official Plan was being pushed by the Planning department.

The Gazette asked this early on November and Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward has been asking this question for months as well.

During Committee of the Whole meeting yesterday afternoon and evening Council heard again and again that the pace was far too fast.

Paul Brophy, a downtown resident said “The community is only just now becoming aware of the transformative change this plan, in its current draft format, will impose upon Burlington residents” and asked “Why rush such a fundamental change to the look and feel of our downtown. Remember once the plan is approved there are no do overs – city council with the assistance of planning staff must get it right the first time.”

“Frankly much of the community has a perception that the planning staff is running the show and council not so much. This perception must change with deliberate transparent action from council that clearly shows you have Burlington resident’s best interests at heart.”

Sharman July 2016

Councillor Paul Sharman

Brophy took exception to a comment made by Councillor Sharman who was chairing the meeting and for the first time in our recollection a delegator pushed back and told the Councillor that his remarks were offensive.

Lisa Kearns told the Committee that more time was needed and asked that any decision be moved back to June of 2018.

Councillor Dennison pointed out that the city would be in full election mode by then – which was the point Kearns was making and that the end of March might by a better date.

Earlier in the meeting Sharman said the Planning department was looking for a way to tinker with the dates and come up with a way to give the public the time they were asking for.

Kearns introduced Council to ECoB – Engaging Citizens of Burlington – a group that took shape very quickly – managed to raise the first $5000 of needed funding, had their Director appointed and were in the process of incorporating all within a week.

ECoB plans to make extensive use of social media; part of the team that kept Central high school off the list of schools the Board of Education put forward last June has signed on with ECoB.

Kearns set out what their long term objectives were but chose not to mention that one of those was to appeal the decision council made earlier in the month to approve the 421 Brant development by a 5-2 vote (Meed Ward and the Mayor dissented on that one).

Tanner and Taylor at June 21-17 workshop

Director of Planning Mary Lou Tanner at a public meeting with Councillor John Taylor. There is yet to be a solid meeting of Council minds and the Planning department.

There appears to have been some back channel conversations on a later date for the draft Official Plan to get to Council. The Planners wanted it to be by the end of January, now they appear to be thinking in terms of late in March – those who delegated on Thursday are pushing for June.

This issue isn’t over yet – watch for as a boisterous city Council meeting on December 11th, when this gets decided.

Make a note then of how closely the Mayor stays to whatever position Meed Ward takes – he can’t afford to be too far from her politically.

There is a shift in the role the citizens of the city are going to play in the way the city is developed. Get ready for more – there are a number of groups across the city grumbling for better civic leadership. Expect to see them come together – some within that group talk about a slate of candidates that can clean things up at city hall. The words “reform” and Burlington now get used in the same sentence.

The late John Boich would be proud.

What’s the rush?

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Paul Sharman takes a chance and uses some spare committee time to let people just speak extemporaneously to council - and it worked.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

November 30th, 2017



It was an absolutely remarkable hour and a quarter.

The afternoon session of the Standing Committee meeting was basically complete – all the developers who had things to say about the draft Official Plan had completed their delegations. The Halton Hamilton Hone Builders Association once again made their point that more time was needed before attempting to pass the Draft of the Official Plan

Each of them had what they felt were strong and compelling arguments for the points they were making and the ask they had of Council.

Gloria Reid, on the right with her husband - a welcome addition to the BurlingtonGreen board.

Gloria Reid gently suggested to Council that they could learn to do things differently – that were other community engagement tools they may not be aware of.

Jeremy Skinner gave a superb delegation – if there is an award for the best delegation to Council this year – it would go to Skinner. We hope to be able to publish that delegation in the near future.

He was followed by Gloria Reid who delegated on behalf of BurlingtonGreen. She gently suggested to Council that they were talking the talk when it came to civic engagement but they weren’t necessarily walking that talk. We will report in more depth on what the “teachable moment” from Reid was.

There was still about an hour left on the clock and Committee chair Paul Sharman decided to open up the meeting to anyone who wanted to come forward and address the committee.

Sharman at Lakeside Village visioning

Councillor Sharman was exceptionally engaging with speakers that were invited to talk to committee.

What followed was truly remarkable. The atmosphere was relaxed. No one had anything prepared – they were just winging it – and what we got to see was real dialogue.

No one had rock hard positions – the speakers were told that they had ten minutes. Every one of them ended up being at the podium for at least twenty minutes while back and forth questioning and answering took place.

Sasha Menzies spoke, Christine Dobbs spoke, Don Fletcher spoke.


Hearing Councillor talk about Aldershot grow by 27,000 was a stunner.

It was relaxed – we learned that Fletcher once lived in Aldershot and while talking about intensification mentioned that he and his wife had four children in five years – someone on Council mention that that was certainly intensification – and no one was offended. Fletcher added that he is a sculpture who works with nude female models.

Fletcher learned a lot about how the Official Plan is going to get to the point where it is the law of the land and how it will get revised going forward. Few people in the city understand how complex that process is.

Several of these “add-on” delegation thought the Official Plan should be made an election issue.

Dobbs wanted to know how “information gets out there” and came up with half a dozen ideas straight from the cuff that Council members wanted to talk about.

One of the speakers thought the city should rename itself and use Tyendaga and let that reflect our heritage more accurately.

During the conversation there was an astounding bit of information from Councillor Craven. At maximum build out Aldershot will grow by 27,000 people. That should shake up some of the good folks in Aldershot.

Fletcher talked about the “polarity of this council” – that this Council was not uniform on its vision for the city.

Remembered, respected

Remembered, respected and never to be in the shadow of an office tower.

Menzies didn’t think the Cenotaph should ever be in the shadow of any building. She talked of her 9/11 experience and what she referred to as the “sniper” experience in the United States. She spoke movingly of what it was about Canada and Burlington that she appreciated. We sometimes have to hear from others just how good things are for us in this country.

Sharman as chair of the meeting took a chance and opened things up – not what we usually see from him.

What Council saw was that they are capable of dialoguing with members of Council – and that citizens do have a contribution to make.

Will any of it stick? Gloria Read made the point that “these things take time”. And they do but city council got to see what it is like when they open things up a bit and listen and dialogue with people.

It does work.

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I am pro development, but I am NOT pro development of a canyon of 25 storey condo buildings up the entire length of Brant Street.

opinionandcommentBy Deby Morrison,

November 390th, 2017



It is unacceptable to be rushing this Official Plan through Development and Committee tonight to head to Council for a vote when the public has been given 14 days to comment on such major and drastic changes to the future of this City. Defer the approval of the Official Plan to June, 2018. Defer approval of the Downtown Mobility Hub precinct plan and Official Plan policies until June, 2018.

Official-Plan-Binder_ImageThe Official Plan was released November 9, 2017 to the public, an email went out Nov 13/17 and the public was given 14 days to Nov 27/17 to comment. After only 14 days, why is this plan being considered today, November 30, 2017, at a Planning & Development committee meeting to be sent to Council for a vote? Noted, there were three public open house presentations of this plan from November 16 to 20th, 2017, 4 days, during which time I was out of the Country; I am sure that I am not alone in this situation. Many Burlington residents are still unaware that the Official Plan has been released.

This Plan is recommending drastic changes to the City and is going to forever change the landscape and culture of Burlington and our Downtown. This should not be rushed to Council prior to a specific, detailed design of the Downtown Core has been established and further public consultation and discussion. I haven’t had time to review the entire report, but I do not agree with raising heights to 17 to 25 storeys from 4 to 8 storeys in entire precincts and changing precinct borders without a more refined, detailed design of the Downtown Core.

Burlington aerial

The fight is for what kind of growth there will be on Brant Street – the spine of the Downtown core.

I am pro development, but I am NOT pro development of a canyon of 25 storey condo buildings up the entire length of Brant Street. What a sure way to kill the Downtown core for people and entrepreneurial business and encourage car traffic. What is being proposed would create a most unfriendly environment for people and create a congested traffic mess. This City is going to end up with what King Street in Toronto has become.

Toronto is spending millions trying to figure out how to end the daily traffic gridlock and bring people back to King Street at night. We have history and lessons close by to draw from, why would we do this to our Downtown Core? Who is benefiting from this type of Development and why are we in such a rush to move forward in this manner?

I attended many of the public sessions on developing the new official plan and the grow bold initiatives and was left with the impression that the majority of residents did not support this level of increased height and density in the core. The City is on target to meet their intensification targets of 200 people/jobs per hectare as we are already at 174 jobs/hectare, without this level of intensification in the Core.

It would be irresponsible to change these zoning laws without having a Downtown Design, Transit, Traffic and Infrastructure Plans in place. The traffic and construction time and effect of these buildings will gridlock the downtown in the near term and forever be a detriment to the appeal and draw to our downtown core. Any successful City needs a successful Downtown.

Downtown core precinct

Proposed Downtown Core precinct

Making zoning law changes for Developers over these past years has led Developers to overpay for downtown properties as they gambled on whether or not they would be able to build 23 storeys vs. the zoned 4 to 8 storeys. These Developers have allowed the Downtown Core to become somewhat shoddy as they have not kept their properties in good repair nor have they allowed entrepreneurial business owners to sign long term leases. Developers wanted to be ready to go when “the height was right”. Should Developers be rewarded for these actions; driving up property prices and encouraging decaying property conditions. Why should the residents of the City have to pay the price because Developers are lamenting that they can’t make a profit on 4 to 8 storeys as a direct result of their own decision to overpay for property. Should Developers be driving the design and future of our Downtown Core? Or should the citizens of Burlington be the driving force behind the design of our Downtown?

A wonderful Downtown ‘culture’ has been emerging the past few years with interesting entrepreneurial businesses bringing residents and tourists alike to our Downtown Core. Kellys, a major draw for residents & young people from far and wide, Centro Garden Store & their Sunday Farmer’s market & Maker’s Markets, Tamp Coffee, a major meeting hub for business & residents, the Burro, draws a younger crowd from far and wide, just to name a few and none of these businesses will survive the higher rents these new high rise condos bring.

In fact, Kellys has been given their walking papers by a Developer, Centro is slated for a 17 storey development and we won’t get these businesses back. We should be nurturing and encouraging these business owners, as against all odds, they were building a culture and environment that was drawing young people, residents and tourists to the core. If there’s any doubt about that just look at the current businesses at ground level in the current high rise condo towers: real estate, bank, mortgage, franchise, medical, empty; absolutely no draw or culture to be found.

Sometimes what’s in the buildings is more important than the buildings and we have an opportunity to foster and create that environment in our City. Part of the Downtown Core should be developed into an area where these businesses can flourish, perhaps a Pedestrian Promenade. This should be designed prior to any change in the Official Plan. We only have one Downtown Core, there is no where else in our City for these businesses to relocate or this type of Pedestrian friendly area to be developed. I’m sure if this type of project was tendered to Developers, we’d see some wonderful plans.

We have a gem on the Lake, let’s be careful going forward and foster a thriving “Niagara-on-the-Lake” destination, not a “Toronto Queen’s Quay Nightmare” on the Lake.

I am pro development downtown, however, I am for reasonable, responsible development with a defined design plan prior to pushing forward.

Deby Morrison is a member of the Core Residents Association.

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Seventeen year old male charged with stabbing two others during a fight in the Warwick Drive - Surrey Lane community in Aldershot.

Crime 100By Staff

November 30th, 2017



At approximately 7:45 PM yesterday police responded to a report in the area of Surrey Lane and Warwick Drive of a large group of male youths fighting.

When officers arrived the youths had already dispersed however a vehicle leaving the area was stopped and two of the occupants reported being stabbed during the fight. Both were transported to the Hamilton General Hospital by ambulance. The extent of their injuries is not yet known however they are not believed to be life threatening.

A third youth was located at the Joseph Brant Hospital where he was being treated for a cut to his right arm that occurred during the same fight.

Investigators were able to identify and arrest a 17-year-old male youth responsible for the stabbings. This youth cannot be identified because of his age. He was held for bail charged with the following offences:

• Aggravated assault
• Carry concealed weapon
• Possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose
• Assault with a weapon (Two counts)
• Breach of undertaking

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact Detective Phil Vandenbeukel of the Burlington Criminal Investigations Bureau at 905-825-4747 ext. 2343 . Tips can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers “See something, Hear something, Say something” at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), through the web at, or by texting “Tip201” with your message to 274637 (crimes).

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Burlingtonians put Facebook to work to get their opinions out - is anyone listening to them?

News 100 yellowBy Staff

November 30th, 2017


We appear to have attributed a comment made by Liz Benneian to John Was in the copy of the material from the Facebook page.  Mr. Was is offended and has asked that we remove the comment attributed to him.  He has asked for an apology – Sorry John – we certainly would not have you on the side of those who want to do something for the Trumpeter Swans

There are almost as many opinions on the usefulness of Facebook as there are people using the site.  As a society we are still struggling with how to use it effectively, fairly and legally – without doing any harm.  The Americans are still grappling with how the Russians intruded on their most recent presidential election.

Burlington is finding that its citizens have taken to Facebook to get their story out.  The current story is the dis-satisfaction with the way city hall is rolling out an Official Plan and determining where growth can take place and what kind of growth can take place  in various parts of the city.

The approval of a 23 storey tower opposite city hall was what set things off.  Ward 2 city Councillor Marianne Meed Ward putt her views on what is known as the 421 Brant development on Facebook.  Liz Benneian a well known and respected environmental advocate commented on the Meed Ward posting – and then things took off.

Liz Benneian 1

Liz Benneian

November 29 at 9:26am

All the people commenting on this thread, if you want to have any power over these decisions, you need to organize. Share your emails with each other. Organize a community meeting. Support each other in getting your views heard and delegating at Committee and then Council. Be prepared to be in it for the long-term. Organization and persistence are the key to having an impact.

Comments flowed in.  If there was ever any doubt in your mind that social media works read on, and on – and on.

Phillip Wooster I don’t agree with this intensification by adding numerous tall buildings in the downtown core which will destroy the character of Burlington as we know it. But the question must be asked, “Why are the politicians, special interests/developers, bureaucrats supporting this type of development when as Marianne has noted we get NOTHING in return.”

Pam Casey I would like to register to speak at the meeting but before I do register, I want assurance that I will not be booed at. I would like to express my view. Can you make that happen Marianne?

Deborah Jukes I have lived in Burlington ALL of my life in the core as a child, then to north and four years ago, right sized back to the core! Hearing about this plan makes me want to leave Burlington…. this plan angers and saddens me! It shows no respect for our history or the life style we aspired to when we talk about a walking community! Be careful City Council- you about to pave paradise!!!

Candice Carson

There have been a few posts like this providing a bit of an “FYI” to residents but as our ward representative can you please share with us what actions you have taken to advocate on our behalf? From what I can…See More

MizTracy Ann
Some of the buildings that will be replaced by this plan look like they should have heritage designations. Do they? If there are appropriate places for higher rise buildings in the downtown, couldn’t a requirement be that they be designed with retail space at ground level?

MizTracy Ann If we were to distribute and place small signs on our property stating our opposition to the intensification. What do residents feel would be a good message to put on the signs? One clear statement we could all display. Thoughts?

Liz Benneian
Sorry for butting in again. Lawn signs are nice but the very best way to advocate for what you want is to contact your Council members. Phone them, write them, email them. Sign up to have your say at the relevant Council or committee meeting. Show up a…See More

Larissa Fenn
Participants on this thread may also be interested in the relevant background:…/ser…/Official-Plan-Review.asp

Lisa Kane
Do we need to register to attend the meeting, or it is just for speaking?

Mark Sheehan
This video is disturbing to say the least. So in essence, the City planners and the “Rogue 5” Councillors are basically planning to tear down every one of the city’s historic/character buildings that make up Burlington’s charm and heritage and replace …See More

Lisa Quondamatteo Is there any kind of petition I can sign Marianne?

Liz Benneian
My two cents again. Usually petitions mean very little to politicians. Call, write, email, show up at Council. Organize your community. Make this an election issue.

Phil Garner

Thomas C. Riddell
Burlington fine the way it we don’t want to be Toronto lakeshore

David G. Denis
I want to register my disapproval of these plans. What is going on with the City of Burlington? I planned to retire here after living here for 30 years but the gridlock and lack of a downtown is going to make me leave. Is this a high density property t…See More

Michelle Sallows Preyde
Every city NEEDS to maintain a quaint, downtown core if the want to attract tourists, both local folks who shop and eat downtown for the experience and out of town folks who want to experience Burlington.

Leslie Clanachan
Burlington was one of the few cities that voted in favour of keeping the OMB so that should tell you where there priorities are. For shame councillors. I can’t imagine any resident in Burlington thinking this is positive and responsible growth plan. Li…See More

Geraldine Armitage
I think the Council has gone absolutely MAD. I would like to speak but will have trouble keeping civil.

Enid Donaldson
What a terrible idea. I thought what they allowed up at upper middle and Appleby was bad enough.

Ron Dennis
Back in the 1960s, when I covered Toronto Township, (Now Mississauga) for The South Peel Weekly, they had a tall building-loving planner known as Highrise Harry (Petschar). Looks like his ghost is lurking in Burlington city hall.

Iain Stubley Someone must be getting something in return some nice brown envelopes full of $$$$ and trips overseas … very sad how can those in power be so detached?

Linda Yvonne Johnson
How many historical buildings are going to be knocked over for this?? People from Oakville, Mississauga, Hamilton, Stoney Creek, Grimsby and beyond come to Burlington for our waterfront and the ambiance that exists in the downtown core. All of this w…See More

Frances C Iuticone
BIG NO. I live in the core. Traffic is unbearable now. I had no idea. Thanks for the info. I’m sharing to everyone

Barbara Hitsman
This is just terrible! I sure hope the city doesn’t let this plan go ahead! These are some lovely charming buildings!!😩😩😩👎🏼👎🏼👎🏼

Marie Grenier Davis
The same is happening in Aldershot, concrete and more concrete tall buildings are part of the plan.

Citizens will gather at city hall this afternoon and this evening to listen to the Planner defend the plans for the Downtown Mobility Hub and then listen to the council debate.

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Wallets and purses being stolen from unattended carts in supermarkets.

Crime 100By Staff

November 29th, 2017

The Halton Regional Police want to identify two individuals involved in several thefts that have occurred in Oakville and Burlington. The individuals have attended grocery stores and stolen wallets and purses from unattended shopping carts.

On November 3, 2017, the two suspects attended the Whole Foods grocery store, located at 301 Cornwall Road, Oakville. While the victim left her buggy unattended for a brief period, the unknown female suspect stole the victim’s wallet. The unknown male suspect appeared to be acting as a look-out while the female committed the theft.

Superemarket cart - unattended

It takes place in seconds – she wasn’t looking – he was.

On November, 26, 2017, the same two suspects attended the Metro grocery store, located at 1521 Rebecca Street, Oakville. During this incident, the suspects stole the victim’s purse while she left her shopping cart unattended. The suspects quickly fled the store after committing the theft.

On November 27, 2017, the suspects attended the Food Basics grocery store, located at 3365 Fairview Street, Burlington. During this incident, the suspects stole the victim’s purse as she attended a cooler to select a carton of milk. Once again, the suspects fled the store immediately after the theft.

During this busy Holiday Season, Halton Regional Police are reminding residents to keep a close eye on their purses and wallets. Residents should be aware of their surroundings and be alert for distraction type thefts when shopping in the grocery stores, malls and other retail business.
Residents are reminded to only carry the necessary identification such as Driver’s Licence or Health Card, and should try to minimize this potential loss by leaving their SIN card, birth certificate and passports securely at home.
If you become a victim of a purse or wallet theft please contact your financial services providers, cancel your cards and then call the Halton Regional Police to file a report.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact Detective Constable Derek Gray of the 3 District Criminal Investigations Bureau at 905-825-4747 ext: 2344. Tips can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers “See something, Hear something, Say something” at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), through the web at, or by texting “Tip201” with your message to 274637 (crimes).

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