Expect to hear a lot about Plan B - if city council is smart they will adopt it quick quick before they totally annoy the people that put them in office.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

November 19th, 2017


Part 3 of a multi-part series.

Residents of the city, especially those in the downtown core, have been bombarded by Mobility Hub proposals – there are four of those; an application for what many believe is the first of many 20 + storey high rise buildings on Brant street, (the first one has been approved by city council); a new Official Plan that is now in draft form and a proposal to tear down the existing Waterfront Hotel and build a couple of high rise towers on that property.

Bridgewater from the north looking south

The land for this development was assembled in the mid 80’s; approved by city council in 1995.

While all this is going on the Bridgewater development, first approved back in 1995, rises floor by floor to its 22 storey level.

There is a group of people who have organized themselves behind the working name: Plan B.

Yes, they will have a petition but this group has some well heeled residents who have had enough – they are not going to tolerate changes to their waterfront.

They have the support of the Mayor and the Council member for ward 2, Marianne Meed Ward – which they feel they don’t particularly need. They are working towards getting the support of a much wider – city wide – public that the politicians will want to get behind.


Plan B – stands for Better

So where did Plan B come from?
Well there’s the Plan B organization and then there’s the Plan B – Waterfront Hotel Redevelopment proposal.

First things first. The people.
The City Planning Department’s September 14th Workshop 3 on the Waterfront Hotel Redevelopment left a lot of residents feeling disenfranchised with the process. The Emerging Preferred Concept, largely based on the previously presented Concept 1, was introduced and the rationale for it’s selection was hastily presented.

Emerging concept

What about the green space that everyone had pleaded for in previous workshops? Oh, that would be between the two buildings. Really!

This was followed by a “prescriptive” (the Mayor’s words) workshop to critique the proposal, at each table, most of which had a tactical member from Mr. Vranich’s organization. (Draco Vranich is the owner of the Waterfront Hotel)The problem was that few attendees believed what was being sold and for good reason.

The Emerging Preferred Concept (above) included a 14-18 storey building on the west end of the property, abutting the east border of Spencer Smith Park, effectively making the park gateway down Brant Street a right-hand turn only! What about the green space that everyone had pleaded for in previous workshops? Oh, that would be between the two buildings. Really!

How could anyone believe The Planning Partnership’s recommendations when their evaluation of a design with a building on the west side (previous Concept 1) was that it could provide the exact same a) step back from Brant Street corridor b) transition to surrounding context c) create a gateway at Brant/ Lakeshore and c) provide transition to Spencer Smith Park, as a design with no building on the west side (previous Concept 2)?

And when the attendees tried to ask questions and raise concerns, there was just not enough time or microphones! Some of those disenfranchised citizens decided to do something about it, so Plan B was born.

It’s not rocket science.
The Plan B design simply employed the City’s own Concept 2; reducing the height of the buildings from 20 & 30 to 22 & 14 respectively, and effectively stepping the buildings down to the lake and the south eastern pathway of the park.

They just did what they thought the Planning Department should have done in the first place when they produced their Emerging Preferred Concept; provide the owner with the opportunity to develop his property in a fashion that respected his as-of-rights in exchange for more green space available to the public at the east end of Spencer Smith Park. A natural win-win!

Part 1: The background – how we got to where we are.

Part 2: Citizens want input.


Plan B rendering

This is the Plan B design – notice how it has both Brant and John Street emptying into the park.

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Police arrest three and seize two Mercedes Benz vehicles in a drug bust.

Crime 100By Staff

November 19th, 2017



A Burlington resident was caught up in a Regional Police drug investigation that had the police seizing two high end vehicles,  a lot of prohibited substances and more cash than most people carry around in their wallets.

Three men were arrested in a Cocaine and Opioid investigation

Nov 17 seized items HRPS

Police display items seized in a drug bust. The “cattle prod” is an interesting item.

On November 16, 2017, the Halton Regional Police concluded an investigation concerning an alleged cocaine trafficker identified as Kacey JOHN (35 years) of Oakville.

Kacey JOHN was observed conducting what officers believed to be a suspected drug transaction at a commercial parking lot near the intersection of Westoak Trails and Bronte Road, Oakville, with two men; Gary WARD (27 years) of Burlington and Ryan VOTHKNECHT (21 years) of Hamilton.

Gary WARD and Ryan VOTHKNECHT were placed under arrest and found to be in possession of 15 grams of cocaine. Officers also located a small amount of marihuana and two prohibited knives in Gary WARD’s pockets.

During the early morning hours of November 17, 2017, members of the #2 District (Oakville) Street Crime Unit executed a Controlled Drugs and Substances Act search warrant at Kacey JOHN’s residence. Kacey JOHN was located inside the residence and placed under arrested for trafficking cocaine. A search of the residence resulted in the seizure of:

Approximately 6.5 ounces (182 grams) of cocaine
• Approximately 130 oxycodone tablets
• A small amount of marihuana and cannabis resin
• 20 diazepam tables
• A replica handgun
• A prohibited knife
• A prohibited conducted energy weapon (cattle prong)

Nov 17 vehicles seized

Seized in a drug bust: 2011 Mercedes Benz GL350 and a 2016 Mercedes Benz B Class.

The police also seized a 2011 Mercedes Benz GL350 and a 2016 Mercedes Benz B Class.  The value of the controlled substances seized is estimated at $12,000.


Kacey JOHN (35 years) of Oakville was held for bail and charged with:
1. Trafficking Cocaine
2. Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking Cocaine
3. Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking Oxycodone
4. Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking Diazepam
5. Possession of a Controlled Substance Marihuana
6. Possession of a Controlled Substance Cannabis Resin
7. Possession of a Prohibited Weapon (Knife)
8. Possession of a Prohibited Weapon (Conducted Energy Weapon)

Gary WARD (27 years) of Burlington was released on a Promise to Appear for:
1. Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking Cocaine
2. Possession of a Controlled Substance Marihuana
3. Possession of a Prohibited Weapon (Knife)
4. Possession of a Prohibited Weapon (Knife)

Ryan VOTHKNECHT (21 years) of Hamilton was released on a Promise to Appear for:
1. Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking Cocaine
2. Possession of a Controlled Substance Marihuana

The Regional Police have begun to add the following sentence to their media releases: “Please be reminded that all persons charged are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.”

What the police are not doing is advising the public should those accused be found not guilty.

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Road work project in the west end seems to be taking forever.

notices100x100By Staff

November 18th, 2017


The road work being done on Spring Gardens road work has been extended to Nov. 24, 2017

The work is taking place near Valley Inn Road.

Something a little off here. Work started on Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017 when work on hydro power lines closed the road between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

Then the road was closed for road work from Monday, September 25 to Friday, November 17, 2017.
And now the extension for more time.

Might be worth the drive to see what is going on out there.

Spring Garden Road closure map

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Rivers wonders if the over-population of earth is what is going to drive us into space and living on some other planet.

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

November 18th, 2017



A reader recently suggested that we might have to leave this planet should the consequences of climate change become overbearing. Fortunately for him astronomers have been working on that very solution.

They have located a planet which just might do the job as our next residence – a new earth for us after we have filled-up all the proverbial ashtrays here. It is an unfortunate human condition for too many of us – move on rather than clean up the teenager’s bedroom we live in.


The Planet Ross B

The planet Ross 128 b has a temperature not unlike ours, today. And it is only 11 light-years away – too far for the daily commute but, at only 65 trillion or so miles, it might be close enough for the hardiest and youngest among us to relocate. And the really good news is that, being about a third larger than our earth, it will be that much longer before we’d need to move again.

To expedite this kind of travel, scientists are working hard to invent a functional working particle transport mechanism, like the one used to ‘beam them up Scotty’. That would allow space cadets to avoid those deep-sleep chambers which Stanley Kubrick imagined in his travels with HAL back in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Of course I am expecting any day to hear that the amazing Elon Musk has developed a new Tesla which can reach warp speed.

Starship Enterprise

The Starship Enterprise – many of us were raised on the story of that adventure. Was it just a peak of what is to come?

Kubrick’s flick dates back to the late sixties, well before most of us had even heard of global warming. But now it is over two decades since the global science community came together in Rio (1992) to really ring the alarm bell. Brian Mulroney should always be remembered for the leadership he showed in bringing his minsters on-side, back then, with all things environmental including the changing climate.

In fact most of Canada’s political leaders have done more than just pay lip service to the environment. Pierre Trudeau led the fight against acid rain, Mulroney expedited the clean-up of the Great Lakes, and Chretien signed onto the Kyoto climate agreement, though he did little about actually implementing it. But Stephen Harper was the odd man out, pulling the country out of Kyoto and eroding other environmental protection safeguards.

GW Bush must have been Harper’s mentor, for they were in lock-step on tax cuts for the rich and the war in Iraq, as well as global warming. In the end Bush was so reviled by his peers and party that he wasn’t even invited to attend the GOP leadership conventions. Who would have thought America could have had a worse president, at least until Mr. Trump showed up?

scheer - big smile

Andrew Scheer, leader of the federal opposition

And now Harper’s protégé, the thirty-something Saskatchewan. MP Andrew Scheer has taken over the reins of Canada’s second party. Scheer is not yet a household name so has embarked on an advertising campaign to that end. But the early ad I watched was just fluff, the safe stuff all politicians are guided to spout – where’s the beef? He has been labelled a social conservative and today that tag represents some of the most divisive aspects of social policy, particularly when it comes to gender politics, a woman’s right to choose and the environment.

Coming from the prairies it is unsurprising that this young Diefenbaker mostly echoes the tired ideology of Brad Wall, the province’s outgoing Premier – oil is king and never say yes to a carbon tax. But Saskatchewan is yesterday’s Alberta, at least when it comes to energy and climate change. How ironic that this home of Canada’s socialist party, the NDP, is being led by the neo-con Wall.

Scheer might want to mimic the approach his former colleague and once fellow Harper-era MP Patrick Brown has employed since he became leader of Ontario’s PC party. Brown has seen the light, is a changed man, and from what he has been saying about policy these days almost sounds like a Liberal – a far cry from that last extremist Tory leader. Brown has done a one-eighty degree turn on classroom sex education and a woman’s right to choose. Of course that is not how he campaigned to the party faithful back when he was running for the job.

Something about the climate, and I don’t mean the weather report, is on the front page almost every day now. So Canadians cannot help but think about what is happening to our world. Hopefully the security of our planet will be among the highest priorities of the next Prime Minister to be elected in 2019. And that would mean a real carbon reduction strategy, including a conservative policy on population.

Even back in my day most folks who cared about the environment restricted themselves to simple replacement, a two child family. That wasn’t because we didn’t love children – but because we did – and cared what kind of world we were leaving them. It is estimated that a third child for a family in America would add almost ten thousand tonnes of extra carbon into the environment, almost twenty times more than could ever be saved by any of us turning down the thermostat, adding more insulation and driving hybrid-electric cars.

Tesla recoverable rocket

Tesla SpaceX recoverable rocket. No longer will vehicles go into space and disintegrate when the re-enter earth’s environment – they can now be brought back to earth. The grandchildren cam visit at Christmas.

Indeed the single most effective way for any of us, of child bearing age, to reduce our carbon footprint would be to restrict ourselves to having only one or two children. The consequences to this planet of having as many as five children would be literally astronomical – and would indeed force astronomy and all things related to astronomy to become our highest priority.

Rivers hand to faceRay Rivers writes reguloarly 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:

New Planet –    Kubrick’s Movie –   Coal Phase Out

Climate Change –    Scheer Ad –    More Scheer –    Harper Climate Change

More Harper –    Climate Deniers –    Even More Harper –   Reducing Carbon Footprint

Over Population –    More Over Population

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Great idea - but the price is a little on the stiff side?

News 100 blueBy Staff

November 17th, 2017


Residents and community partners are invited to register for a workshop, Cultivating the Power & Possibility of Citizen Leadership: Creating Caring and Resilient Communities, Nov. 27, 2017 at LaSalle Banquet Centre.

Tamarack Institute and the City of Burlington are co-hosting a workshop with internationally recognized facilitator, Sylvia Cheuy, to explore Citizen Leadership: how it is nurtured, and the techniques and processes of working with citizens to become a positive force for change.

This workshop is for those who:

Arnold Joanne

Joanne Arnold delegating at city hall and being challenged on the validity of her petition.

• Desire new ways to lead, engage and transform in your community
• Recognize the power and impact of citizen leadership in the development of resilient, caring neighbourhoods and communities
• Want to learn how municipalities and organizations can serve as catalysts for deepening community and fostering relationships of trust between neighbours
• Want to explore why multi-sector engagement is essential to positively impacting complex community issues such as: health and well-being; poverty reduction; overcoming loneliness and isolation; neighbourhood renewal; crime prevention; and, youth development
• Recognize why community engagement and collaboration are the foundation of inclusive leadership, including: NGOs; businesses; funders; and, national, provincial or local government
Cultivating the Power & Possibility of Citizen Leadership: Creating Caring & Resilient Communities

Date: Nov. 27, 2017

Time: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. A light breakfast will be served at 8:30 a.m. Lunch is provided
Location: LaSalle Banquet Centre, 50 North Shore Boulevard, Burlington, ON

Cost: Single registration: $199. Two registrations: $179 per person. Three or more registrations: $149 per person

To learn more, or to register, visit https://events.tamarackcommunity.ca/resilient-communities.

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Tansley pool closed for part of the day.

notices100x100By Staff

November 17th, 2017



Tansley Woods Pool is closed for unexpected maintenance and is expected to re-open November 17th at 11:00am.

And we all know what “unexpected maintenance” is.

No snow? There are always swimming pools. Check out the available programs and register for a spot.

Check out the schedule at Tansley before driving over.

Tansley Woods

Pool closed until 11:00 am

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If you can identify your stolen bike - you just might be able to get it back.

Crime 100By Staff

November 17th, 2017



Halton Regional police officers in Burlington seized several bicycles on November 9th 2017 as a result of an ongoing investigation.

The police want to identify the rightful owners of the bicycles.

Recovered BicyclesAnyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact the 3 District, Criminal Investigations Bureau, through Angela Oliver at 905-825-4747 ext. 2374.
Angela will put the caller in contact with an on-duty investigator.

Tips can be forwarded to Crime Stoppers; “See Something, Hear Something, Say Something” at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), through the web at www.crimestoppers.ca or by texting “Tip201” with your message to 274637 (crimes).

Charges are pending at this time and an update will be released when more information is available.

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Halton Learning Foundation Benefit Bash a resounding success - the need they serve however is growing faster than the fund raising.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

November 17th, 2017



The Halton Learning Foundation hold what they call a Benefit Bash, an occasion they use to thank the people who support their work and to let loose just a little bit.

The Foundation is in place to work with school principal’s to meet those immediate need situations that far too many students face.

Lesley MansfieldLesley Mansfield, the Executive Director of the Foundation reports that “This year’s Benefit Bash was one of the most successful to date, raising almost $89,000 in support of Halton District School Board students in need. Demand from schools to help vulnerable students is up more than 40% this year to date, so these funds are critical to ensure we can continue saying ‘yes’ to requests for support.”

hlf-posterThe Foundation provides financial support and is one of those early indicators of where there are real on the ground needs that often don’t get detected.

HLF provides emergency funds for students who require basics such as warm clothing, food, school transportation and school supplies, or who need help to be included in experiences such as field trips or school teams.

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West Haven residents are told that they can win their battle with the brick manufacturer.

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

November 17th, 2017



Organizing your community and getting people out to meetings is the hard part. Every group that doesn’t like what the politicians or the bureaucrats are doing to them always has a core group – often very small and usually led by one person with energy and driven by the issue.

The Tyendaga Environment Coalition (TEC) doesn’t quite fit the mold. The issue is critical to the community – saving their homes from the disruption of a shale mine metres away from their homes that is under threat.

The residents feel they are not being served by a Mayor and the ward Councillor who have basically walked away from their constituents.  Situations like this tend to make people angry and gets them out to meetings.

The issue is the decision the brick manufacturer made to begin mining shale in the third “cell” on property along King Road north of the North Service Road.  The company has a license to do what they are doing – it was issued in 1972.


The mining operation consists of three pieces of property: a west, central and eastern cell. The eastern cell is just metres away from homes that are in the million dollar plus range.

The residents believe things have changed since that license was issued and they want the  brick manufacturer to limit their mining operation to the west and central cells and leave the east cell as it is with a reported 9000 Carolinian forest trees on the property

Sarah Harmer at TERC Nov 16-17Then when you hold a meeting you get lucky and attract a musician with some star power and then during the meeting a resident takes to the microphone and tells how upset he is with what is being done to his lifestyle and commits $5000 on the spot.

The Thursday evening meeting was the third held by the TEC organizers – each time they held a meeting they had had to look for a bigger space.  The movement has traction.

TEC Nov 16 the agendaIt does help that the people in the West Haven community are pretty flush – many were able to write a cheques for $500 to create a war chest and hire some legal talent and get access to the experts who can help dig out the data.

It helps too when the provincial government sends observers – there just might be something going on.

Observers from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing  were in the room.

Roger Goulet, one of the PERL – Protecting Escarpment Rural Land – driving forces, gave the audience of 200 a geography lesson that put the issue in a larger context and and pointed out just how inaccurate some of the information being given out by the brick manufacturer is.

The panel that answered some questions had Gord Miller, a former Ontario Environmental Commissioner speaking.

They had Dr Lynda Lukasik, Executive Director of Environment Hamilton talking about how to measure air quality and just how damaging the dust from the shale mine was to the lungs.  When you have someone from Hamilton talking to you about air quality – you know you have someone who “knows whereof they speak”.

But the man who kept the focus was David Donnelly, an environmental lawyer who spoke with passionate that is supported by a deep knowledge base and just the right amount of chutzpah.

David Donnelly

David Donnelly. informed, entertained and told the audience that they can win their battle.

Donnelly was part prosecutor, part evangelist nd always on point.  He worked that crowd almost as well as John Diefenbaker did in his day.

Donnelly informed the audience that he had “served” the Ministry with an order to live up to the Environmental Bill of Rights, which sounded very impressive.  What he did was email a document to the Ministry of the Environment and will follow that up with a hard copy that will be mailed.

Donnelly is no charlatan – he is just very good at entertaining and informing a crowd.  He wanted the audience to:

Write a letter to the Mayor and the ward Councillor.  He asked the audience to write the Mayor and tell him that they support the TEC position.

“Is this something this crowd and the community should do”  asked Donnelly.  All those in favour say Aye.

Aye said the audience in unison – then Donnelly asked for the Nays – you could have heard a pin drop.  Anyone who might have had the courage to say Nay would have been stoned on the spot.

Donnelly asked the audience if the city should hold a design charette to decide what should be done with the property.  He did the Aye and the Nay routine again

The TEC people held a draw – a nice piece of fund raising,  and left a jar on the table with paper money in it – $20’s would give people the hint.

Donnelly explained to the audience the steps that were being taken – he was convincing.

TEC Nov 16-17 crowd

An audience of 200 listened intently as the progress to date on their attempt to stop a brick manufacturer from continuing to mine for shale.

The crowd got to learn what a MZO order is – a Ministry Zoning order, a document that would compel a person or a corporation to stop what they were doing because the Minister had issued an order that the zoning on the property that allowed the shale mining to take place was on hold.

“All it takes is a stroke of the pen” said Donnelly

At times he sounded like one of those traveling evangelicals that aroused an audience and had them all at the altar.

It was fine theater and very effective community organizing.  Donnelly and Goulet and Miller made a very critical point.  Winning issues like this has been done before.  Residents of Burlington had convinced a Joint Tribunal to refuse to issue a license to expand the Nelson Aggregate quarry in the Escarpment.

There is much more in the way of detail and background that the Gazette will report on.

What was clear was that the TEC was on a roll – it just might be do-able.

In the process of getting what the want the residents find that their Mayor and the ward Councillor are on what they feel is the wrong side of an issue.

One member of the TEC team said that their people had called the Mayor’s office to see if he was going to attend the meeting.  A staffer is reported to have asked ‘Why would the Mayor attend an event at which he is going to b ambushed.’  The comment is probably not true but it did reflect the distrust that exists between the people and their Mayor who got elected partially on his environmental credentials.

Meridian, the brick manufacturer is hold a meeting to update the community on where they are with their plans.  It will be a messy meeting – will the Mayor and the ward Councillor attend?




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Beachway home sells for $1,320,000 - one of those willing buyer - willing seller deals

News 100 redBy Staff

November 17, 2017



This one sale sets a new price level and marks the beginning of the end for the Beachway community that wanted to remain in their homes.

The owner of a property that is in excellent shape with two residences on the land has been sold.

Skinner house on Beachway

Sold for $1,302,000

The Regional Council approved the sale and a price of $1,302,000 that does not include incentives as outlined in the public Beachway Strategic Acquisition policy.

The sale will close December 22.

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Much chatter among members of Council about the Meed Ward radio interview - Mayor also went on the air.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

November 17th, 2017



The buzz on the 7th floor of city hall is fierce. Word has it that many of the members of council (they all have offices on the 7th floor) are less than happy with Ward 2 Councillor Meed Ward taking to the air waves with her concerns about council’s 5-2 approving the 421 Brant 23 storey tower.

Meed Ward was on the air on Wednesday, the Mayor was on the air this morning.

Meed Ward with Mayor Goldring: she is more comfortable with herself as a speaker.

Meed Ward with the Mayor.

Those two are clearly in full election mode.

The stakes are high.

Meed Ward will run for Mayor – if she loses she will leave public office. She did well as a broadcaster and newspaper columnist and might return to that sphere. She has always been attracted to the television camera lights.

The Mayor has served two terms and will want to leave the public sector having achieved something.
The city now has a Strategic Plan that the Mayor will take credit for – deservedly. He will take credit for the Grow Bold initiative that the city is working on.

If the re-development of the Waterfront Hotel site is anywhere near what the Plan B citizens group wants the Mayor will want to take credit for that – he can then leave office and be seen as a very successful Mayor.
Two people with a lot at risk.

Wallace conceding

Mike Wallace in his campaign office the night of the last federal election when he lost his seat as a Member of Parliament.

Mike Wallace is also out there wanting to return to public office (note that we say public office and not public service) and hoping to snatch the chain of office and return to city council.

His worship opined during his time on radio that the talk of people taking the city council decision to the OMB was much more than filing an objection. These things cost money and require access to people who can speak with some authority on the merits of the decision city council made.

It is going to be interesting to watch – and even more interesting to see what the citizens of Burlington do when it comes time to mark their ballots in October of 2018 – less than a year away.

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Leadership change in the Halton Hamilton United Way organization - Brad Park to be the new CEO December 1st.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

November 17th, 2017



Awkward time for the United Way to change leaders but Jeff Valentine will leave the Halton Hamilton United Way December 1st and take up a position at Sheridan College.

The United Way organization has found itself having to focus on its organizational structure as it goes through a change that has the Milton, Oakville, Halton Hills, Burlington and Hamilton organizations merged into a single organization for planning and program development purposes.

The first attempt at this kind of merger didn’t get the votes needed – but it was approved by all the area organizations on the second attempt.

Brad Park United Way

Brad Park incoming UWHH CEO brings field level experience and a degree in business management to the job.

Known now as the United Way Halton & Hamilton, (UWHH) the their Board of Directors announced the appointment of Brad Park as the organization’s new President & Chief Executive Officer. The change in leadership comes after current CEO, Jeff Vallentin signaled his decision to leave UWHH earlier in October.

Anne Bermingham

Anne Bermingham, chair of the UWHH Board of Directors

The UWHH promoted from within. Anne Bermingham, chair of the Board of Directors said “we’re grateful for the depth of leadership that has allowed us to promote from within.” Bermingham added that “Brad Park is well known across the communities served by UWHH. He is a proven executive leader in the United Way movement and he is highly regarded for his passion and his track-record of results. “

Park has been serving as Chief Development Officer in the newly amalgamated United Way Halton & Hamilton. Prior to the amalgamation, Brad served as the CEO for United Way Oakville since 2012 and brings over 23 years of leadership experience with United Ways.

Jeff Vallentin will be joining the executive team at Sheridan College and his last day at United Way will be Friday, December 1, 2017.

United Way logo 2017The merger of the organizations has been disruptive. Park has a major task ahead of him to ensure that the badly needed programs run efficiently and that the needs of the tens of thousands of people the United Way serves continue to be met.

A point of contention when the five organizations were merged was that all funds raised through United Way in a community are dedicated to the people in that community: easier said than done.

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Developer tells city Council what his project is all about - council approves it on a 5-2 vote.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

November 16th, 2017



We are at a point in Burlington when a developer can have tonnes of abuse heaped upon them when they bring forward a project that many do not like.

Developers have to work within a set of rules and it is the job of the Planning department to ensure that the rules are adhered to.

Carriage Gate team

The planning advisor, Robert Glover, the planning consultant, Ed Fothergill and the building executive Mark Bales before a public meeting at which the citizens got their first look at the 421 Brant project that has been approved by city council.

When all the studies have been completed, when the staff within the Planning department have had their internal discussions a report is written and sent to a city Council Standing committee where there is extensive debate – often lasting hours.

It is interesting to note that during the Standing Committee debate there was just the one public delegation.

One also has to note that at that particular Standing Committee, James Ridge, the city manager inserted himself into the debate with comments that are seldom heard from a city manager.  Planning issues are the domain of the Director of Planning.

There is a segment of the Burlington population that does not like what it sees happening to the downtown core of the city.

Developers bring a project to a city Planning department; a report is prepared by people with designations that qualify them to make planning decisions.

That report gets debated by a city council, the people the citizens of the city elect. The current city council was elected in 2010 and every one of them re-elected in 2014. That is the democratic process we have and depend on.

Nick Carna take a picture of with Mayrose planner on right

Nick Carnicelli, centre, takes photographs of a city planning department presentation of his 421 Brant Street development

There is nothing corrupt about city council, they are not “in the pockets of the developers”.

With very few exceptions every home in this city was built by a developer that had to get a project through the planning process and then approved by the city council that was fairly elected.

Why we feel we have to beat up on as developer who followed all the rules is difficult to understand.

Nick Carnicelli, president of Carriage Gate, was the last delegator at the city council meeting last Monday. Here is what he had to say:

We are very proud of our project and the design excellence that it brings to the Downtown. A new building that enhances the streetscape and pedestrian experience while at the same time building on and enhancing important elements in the Downtown is very exciting.

We have assembled a team, including many pre-eminent planning, design and technical professionals. With their assistance, we have ensured that our project is comprehensively planned to address all relevant planning issues – it may well be the most comprehensively planned application that the City has ever received and builds on and enhances the most significant elements of the Downtown.

Our application has been reviewed within an emerging statutory framework for the Downtown based on the City’s Strategic Plan and will bring not only much needed housing to the Downtown BUT also new contemporary and usable retail and office space

In response to a rigorous review and scrutiny of the application by the City of Burlington, the Region of Halton and several other commenting agencies, many significant revisions have been made, with special attention being given to how people and land uses relate and work together at ground level and City-building initiatives:

The magnitude of the overall development has been reduced by approximately 25%. This has been accomplished by a number of changes related to not only the height of the building but also the size of the floor plate of the tower, the amount of the site that could be developed at-grade and revisions to the design of the building.

The entire building is pulled back from the property lines on all three sides – both the podium and the top to establish view corridors that do not exist today to frame City Hall, Civic Square and the Cenotaph. This has resulted in the buildable area of the site being reduced by 20% yet opportunities are provided for enhanced street-scaping, patios, tree planting, street furniture, paving materials and lighting to reinforce how special this site really is.

The lower podium adjacent to Brant and James has been cut back to provide view corridors – The original view corridor at the corner of Brant and James was 5 X 5 metres. It has been expanded to 16 X 16 square metres. This increases the size of the view corridor by over 500%.

The expanded view corridor in conjunction with wider sidewalks has resulted in a reduction in the amount of retail space – 17% not 30% as inadvertently noted by City staff. The benefits of the widened sidewalks, enhanced street-scaping, the view corridors and the construction of new contemporary retail space far outweighs the benefits of retaining a notional amount of outdated, obsolete and undesirable retail space.

The top floors of the building are pulled back even further and the height has been reduced by over 12.5 m. – 4 storeys

Tower floorplate has been reduced from 800 sq. m. to conform to the City’s Tall Building Guidelines and provide a slender tower.

The area of the proposed tower is well over 25% smaller than those that exist at adjacent buildings. In comparison, 478 Pearl Street built over 40 years ago is an 18 storey building with a floorplate of over 960 sq.
n. This is the equivalent of a 23 storey building built to current standards.

Nick Carnacelli

Nick Carnicelli

We are proposing to contribute to the easterly expansion Civic Square which has been presented as a significant City-building initiative.

Opportunities for public art are provided.

All of these changes recognize the importance of this site and its role within the evolving urban fabric of the Downtown. The City has never seen anything like this!

What Carnicelli didn’t say was that Carriage Gate began assembling property for this project ten years ago and that they at one point took a proposal to the Planning that met the 12 storey limit many people want.

It was a pretty plain looking building that used every possible foot of the property – not much in the way of a street-scape – but it met the rules.

The developer and the Planning department worked together to come up with the structure that met the new tall building guide lines that were new and the developer revised the proposal.

City council decided it was what the city needed and with two exceptions, the Mayor and the ward Councillor , voted for it.

Why are we beating up the developer?


Related news story:

Planning consultant explains the kind of growth Brant Street could see – become the spine of the city.

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Intensification is reaching into smaller neighbourhoods - land assembly taking place at James and Martha.

News 100 blueBy Staff

November 17th, 2017



The developers are seeing the opportunities and are picking up bits and pieces of property just outside the downtown core.

The three homes that also serve as business premises on the south west corner of James and Martha, the ROCK Centre is just across the road, have reportedly been sold the Mattamy interests.

James and Martha

The three houses in the lower left hand corner are reported to have been sold.

The council member for the ward, ward 2, lives further north on Martha.

The Mattamy people built a large part of the Palmer Drive part of Burlington. They promote themselves as  Canada’s Top Home Builder · Over 90,000 Homes Built ·

No word on just what Mattamy intends to build – just that at least one of the business operations will be out of their space by the end of December.

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Jim Young tells about what he heard at a city council meeting - palpable feeling that there may have been a settling of old scores between some members of council

opinionandcommentBy James Young

November 15th, 2017


In November of 2016 Jim Young said to city council during a debate on the amount of time a citizen would have to delegate that: “Sometimes it may seem as if we delegates are the enemy of the process. That we somehow stand in the way of the great works and plans you all have in mind for the city.

“The democratic processes of our city demand that qualified, talented professionals like the city staffs and managers, we are fortunate to have in Burlington, apply themselves to a certain vision of the city.

“That they nurse that vision through the often tortuous process to council for approval and implementation, only to have someone like me, a citizens delegate, put a flea in council’s ear, a spoke in staff’s well-oiled wheel and force a review all of their efforts and the inevitable delay that brings.”

Jim comments on the most recent meeting of city council.

On Monday night Burlington City Council, ignoring the more than 1400 signatures on a petition and the 13 delegations opposed to it, voted to break their own rules governing downtown development and allow the development of a 23 story building in contravention of their own 12 Story bylaw. (Only one delegate, the developer, spoke in favour of the project.)

This was a sad display of council voting against the vast majority of citizen opinion, a rejection of local voices made even sadder by the fact that compromise may have been possible. Instead entrenched positions and a degree of “Not in My Wardism” were allowed to carry the day.

Jim Young

Jim Young delegating before city council.

We all know and understand that council cannot be swayed by every nuance of public opinion, we elect them to lead and expect them to do so, but in this instance the opposition was so overwhelming and the possibility of compromise so obvious that the wisdom of the five Councillors who voted for the amendment, in a the year before an election, must be seriously questioned.

Why, for instance, could the developer not have settled on 15 or 17 floors, there would still be ample profit in this, it would still meet intensification targets and be much less intrusive on the character of the area?

Why was there no offsetting land allocation for park or green space? Why does council not hold the developer responsible for affordability units in the development? (Only vague and non-binding considerations on affordability are embodied in the proposal)

While sensible intensification and increased density are supported by all of council, city staff and the majority of citizen opinion, last night’s decision to allow a development so far removed from the official plan, existing bylaws and any sense of building proportion, may well prove to be a tipping point in the eventual destruction of Brant street as we know it. Other developers have already snapped up adjoining properties and now have the green light on non-complying developments.

Ironically, the idea of downtown walk-ability and community vibrancy that the downtown plan seeks are the very things that will be destroyed by developments like this as the floodgates open and they become the new downtown.

On Monday night, there was palpable feeling that there may have been a settling of old scores between some members of council and ward 2’s Councillor Meed Ward. It would be a sad day indeed if decisions of this importance are based on past enmities. Hopefully, electors will such behaviour accountable in next year’s civic election.

Jim Young

Jim Young as he thinks through a point he is making at a transit meeting.

On the subject of elections, if I may be so bold as to offer Councillor Dennison some advice: Questioning the integrity of a well-intended citizen petition is just not smart politics. Even if a few of the more than 1400 signatures were not fully vetted, disparaging the integrity of the signatories as well as insulting a lot of citizens, ward constituents and voters, is hardly the way to encourage civic engagement by well-meaning citizens. If a few signatures were disqualified would 1399 have swayed you?

Mayor Goldring had to remind the gallery of the rules of decorum at the groans which accompanied one Councillor’s suggestion that this would not set a precedent for future downtown development, (by Wednesday, one more developer had requested approval to add two more stories to a proposed building at Locust and Elgin Streets) or that council’s rejection of citizen input is a template for future engagement.

While he insisted, we will listen in future and staff will listen in future. The groans from the gallery suggested: “Then why are you not listening now?”

Burlington City Council loves to parade their national and international honours and laurels for civic engagement. They now have to learn that when you talk the self-congratulatory talk you must also walk that walk!

When you ask citizens to come together, ask for their input, then, when they do, you overwhelmingly reject them, you can no longer claim that high ground on civic engagement.

You either listen to your voters and compromise or they will assume their voices are only heard at election time with all the future electoral consequences that entails.


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Forty hours a week - walking back and forth - to promote an oil change operation - that is blocks away from a national franchise in the same business.

News 100 redBy Staff

November 16th, 2017



How many people have seen the man trudging along Guelph Line between Palmer Drive and Mainway carrying a sign and wearing a costume?

Who is he – why does he do this?

Captain Crazy Pants

Captain Crazy Pants – selling an oil change service.

He is Captain Crazy Pants, a performer who walks for 40 hours a week and is paid by Pro Oil Change, a company in the business of changing the oil in your car.

He doesn’t identify himself but they eyes behind the mask are those of a younger man who speaks well and is committed to what he does.

40 hours a week – walking up and down a busy street is commitment.

They are tucked in behind the Husky gas station on Mt Forest and while they have a sign it is hard to see from Guelph Line – so Captain Crazy Pants trudges up and down Guelph Line wearing the sign that promotes the location.

Pro Oil change

The oil changing bays are tucked in behind all the trees. A couple of blocks south there is a national oil change franchise beside a different gas station. Competition at its best. The little guy gets innovate and holds his share of the market.

He says the work he does keeps his boss in business,

When not “walking the line” Captain Crazy Pants has done impersonations of Captain America, Spiderman and Batman.

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Another bank level scam - be vigilant and remember - if in doubt - don't!

Crime 100By Staff

November 15th, 2017



If you were a TD Bank customer and your company used wire transfers to move funds – the message set out below might be one that you would look into by click on the pdf document that was attached.

You would pay dearly for that mistake.

At TD Commercial Banking, we are committed to helping you move your business forward.

To efficiently process incoming funds via wire transfer to your TD account(s), you must review the document attached so we can process it for you.

All incoming wire transfers will be debited $17.50. Other fees may be applied by the issuing financial institution and intermediary banks.

TD is committed to your business

Trust your business banking with TD

Don’t believe a word of it – if your bank want to communicate with you – they will not do it with an email message.


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Is there a way to make what many feel is a minus into a plus for the city?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

November 15, 2017



The decision has been made.

421 BrantThe condominium that is to be built on the corner of Brant and James Street is to rise up to 23 storeys.

How many parking spaces, the number of elevators, how many, if any, affordable units – all that will get worked out in the months and weeks ahead.

We now know that the land assembly of the block to the south is all but complete – just the jewellery store to be acquired.

What we heard however is that the block to the south – the one that was once the Elizabeth Interiors operation – is going to be limited to 17 stories – a limit that is set out in the Downtown Core Mobility Hub that isn’t cast in stone yet.

That could be both a mistake and a missed opportunity.

We have yet to hear much in the way of negative comment on city hall as a structure. It gets referred to as “iconic” and the city planner likes the building.

Given that we are going to have high rise buildings can we not make the best of it.  If the city hall is really “iconic” (I’ve yet to be convinced) then feature it.

While Burlingtonians hate Toronto being made a reference point – bear with me.

When you drive up University Avenue from Front Street and approach Adelaide there are two towers (Toronto type towers) on either side of the street. Both are Sun Life Assurance buildings meant to frame University as you go north.

University Avenue Toronto

Set aside that the two buildings on either side of University Avenue in Toronto loom over the street – it’s Toronto. Note the way they frame the street.

The photograph we have dropped in isn’t all that good but it makes the point. It is possible to have buildings in place that serve as a frame to what lies beyond.

Now come back to Burlington and place yourself on James Street a block or two along the street and look towards city hall.

James looking at city hall

James Street looking west to Brant Street.

The current Carriage Gate building, on the right in the photograph, which is going to be turned into a 23 story tower. That is a done deal.

The property on the left, now the vacated Elizabeth Interiors store will fall within the rules that are going to govern the development limits for the Downtown Mobility Hub.

There is an opportunity here.

Someone with initiative and a desire to see something significant come out of the decision that has been made could pick up an idea like this and make a difference.

Why not work with Carriage Gate and Revenue Properties (the people who are assembling the block south of Brant and James) and build a better city.

Look for a design that is as close as possible to identical in design and have them rise to the same height. Same set back from the side walk; same trees, same patio set up, same sidewalk furniture.

The public art set outside each building would complement each other.

That is something that people could be proud of and perhaps change the way downtowners look upon their city. For those who need the quaint and historical the Queen’s Head and the old Russel Hotel will still be there.

Can the 421 project be more than just the first high rise tower in the downtown core?

Look at the Sun life building on University.

All this assumes that those opposed to the Carriage Gate building don’t take their beef to the OMB.

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Plan B - a citizens group wants major input into the design of the Waterfront Hotel re-development. They don't want to see the waterfront getting treated the way they think Brant Street has been treated.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

November 15, 2017



Well – we now know that there are going to be high rise – 23 floors plus – in the downtown core. That got decided at a defining city council meeting on Monday evening.

Ten years from now the city will look a lot different.

There is one development issue that could be even more critical to the development of the city, the look and feel of the downtown core.

Site aerial

The Waterfront Hotel as we know it today is on the left – the red patch of excavation on the right is where the Bridgewater is being built.

The city planners are currently working their way through a study of the re-development of the Waterfront Hotel property.

When the owner of the Waterfront hotel, Darko Vranich let the city know that he wanted to increase the density  and add some height to the land there was an agreement struck that the city would hire people to come up with some design ideas. Three teams of designer/thinkers were to be assembled; two would work with the city – a third would work with the developer. And the developer would pay for all three studies.

A group of citizens have decided they are going to insert themselves into the process in a significant way. Several of the group live in the Lakeshore condos and they don’t want to see their part of the city go to the dogs.

No petitions from these people. They are hard core and they have done their homework and are putting ideas on the table.

The starting point.

Waterfront site

The site that is being re-developed is shown in dark blue – with a rendering of what the Bridgewater development will look like relative to the Waterfront Hotel.

The city has taken the public through an intensive community engagement process – all the meetings took place in the downtown area – what the people in Headon, the Orchard, Palmer and Alton think about what happens to the Waterfront Hotel property isn’t being recorded.

After a number of sessions where ideas were set out as sketched and then produced as rough models and made public.

The process started with three possible designs put forward: Two came from the city planning department and a third from the developer.

The Plan B people were not impressed – they came out with an idea of their own while the city produced what they called an “emerging concept”.

Let’s see what these all look like.

The early design concepts:

Concept 1

This is the first concept that came out of the Planning department. It shifts the focal point of the site from Brant Street to John Street.


Concept 2

This is the second concept that came out of the Planning department. It keeps Brant Street as the main road into the property but moves the towers to the eastern side of the property. Twenty and 30 floors was a surprise.


Concept 3

This is the design that was submitted by the property owner. It uses John Street as the entrance to the eastern end of Spencer Smith Park. The massing is to the east and west of the property. The suggestion that 40 storeys was acceptable has made many people gulp.

What the Planning department made of the three concepts.

City preferred

The Planning department took the three concepts and what they liked from all the designs that came out of the community workshops and have given the public what is being called Planning Department’s Emerging Preferred Concept. The concept doesn’t suggest any building heights. The concept does make both Brant and John Street entrances. to the Park.

Not so fast say the Plan B people – more public space please and lower your sights on the height while you are at it.

Plan B rendering

The Plan B people saw it all quite a bit differently. They wanted far more space at the foot of Brant street and have the Pier show cased .

All this goes to a city meeting on November 28th.

There is an opportunity to do something spectacular – but it is going to take a city council that decides not to make the mistake made in 1995 when what is now the Bridgewater development decision was made.

What is interesting is the way many of the Waterfront Hotel re-development designs snuggle up to what is going to be the Marriott Hotel and the seven story condo at the foot of Elizabeth Street.

There are a lot of people who want to keep the quiet quaint feel of the downtown core.  There isn’t going to be anything quaint about the waterfront five to six years from now.  It could end up being very smart looking, swift, hip and cool.  But getting to that point will be a painful process.

Related new stories:

Part 1 of a multi part series.

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Councillor Taylor now in save the waterfront views mode - he wasn't there in 2015 when it really counted.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

November 14th, 2017



Ward 3 Councillor John Taylor was Ok with a 23 storey tower opposite city hall. His focus was on saving the waterfront view.

He called it the view the  jewel of the city.

“The lake is the prize” he said, “we have to protect that view.”


What a view. Councillor Taylor, along with the other members of Council except Meed Ward, voted to sell it to private interests.

Taylor needs to be reminded of the position he took in 2015 when he voted to sell lakeside land to property owners whose homes abutted land the city owned.

There were several small parcels of land owned by the city and the provincial government.

A staff report on what was to be done with property that was referred to as “windows to the lake”.
The Staff report set out three choices: Do nothing, lease the land or sell it.


The graphic tells the story. The city owned the land inside the red boundary line. Three property owners had land that abutted the city property. The city sold the land they owned for peanuts. Taylor voted for the sale of that “prize”.

Residents whose property abutted the land saw an opportunity and moved quickly to make an offer. The succeeded in convincing the city to sell them the land and today those property owners have a superb view over the lake and no longer have to put up with the public walking past the edge of their property.


Councillor Taylor – protecting those waterfront views.

During that debate Councillor Taylor grumbled about creating new parkland saying that there was a public park less than a block away. And indeed there was a public park – Port Nelson Park – a small patch of land that has a very good view of the lake.

Taylor said at the time that the public didn’t need anymore parkland in that part of the city.

Taylor was quite right – the “lake is the prize” – then why did he go along with selling lakefront property to private interests in 2015?

We will never know – and that magnificent stretch of land will never be in the hands of the public again.

Indeed the lake is the prize.

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