They failed to break into the premises; they lost control of the getaway car - but they did get bail.

Crime 100By Staff

October 31st, 2017



It was a crime that had not been thought through and the escape plan proved to be less than reliable.

HRPS crestThe Regional police arrested two males  for attempted Break and Enter after crashing a stolen car.

On Saturday October 28th 2017 shortly before 11:00 AM, a citizen contacted police after observing two men attempt to pry open the rear doors of a business located at 2475 Mountainside Dr. in Burlington.

The men were unable to gain entry into the business and were seen fleeing the scene at a high rate of speed in a grey Toyota Echo.

Minutes later, police received a report that a matching vehicle had struck a tree in the area of Mount Forest Dr. and Nottingham Ave. and the two occupants fled on foot. Officers arrived on scene and determined the vehicle had been stolen from Hamilton.

Police searched the area with the assistance of canine and located one of the men hiding in a backyard near the scene. The second man was later located in the downtown area of Burlington after police received information that he had boarded a city bus.

Arrested & charged are:

Noah Stanley LANDRY (21-years-old) of Hamilton
• Break and enter
• Possession of property obtained by crime
• Possession of break-in tools
• Breach Probation

Vihanga JAYATHILAKE (27 years-old) of Burlington
• Break and enter
• Possession of property obtained by crime
• Possession of break-in tools
• Fail to stop at the scene of an accident.

Both were released on a Promise to Appear in Milton Court on November 22nd 2017.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact the Burlington Criminal Investigations Bureau at 905-825-4747 ext. 2316. 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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Freeman Station gets a $4000 cheque from District 15 of the Retired Teachers of Ontario.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

October 31, 2017



Retired teachers

Retired Teachers of Ontario members presented the Friends of Freeman Station with a grant of $4000. Left to Right: Ron Danielsen, FOFS President; Ruth Miller, RTO Project Sponsor; Penny Hambly, RTO Awards Committee; Carolyn Hilton, RTO Awards Committee; and Claudia Stewart, RTO-District 15 President.

Retired Teachers of Ontario (RTO) announced approval of a grant application by Friends of Freeman Station (FOFS) to fund a computer control system for its historic model railway educational exhibit. The money will be used to purchase the central “brains” of a planned interactive, museum-quality model railway diorama depicting life in the village of Freeman (now part of Burlington) in the early 1900’s.

“The diorama, we envision, will eventually be an exciting educational experience for visiting school groups as well as the general public,” said Bob Miller and Ken Taylor, co-leaders of the FOFS Basement Diorama Railway Committee (BDRC). “We were pleased to receive word of the RTO/ETO favourable decision.“

cheque FOFSClaudia Stewart, President of RTO District 15/Halton, said, “We look forward to continuing involvement of our RTO members in the creation and operation of the diorama, and we see it as an important addition to the learning experiences of local youth and the general public – a nostalgic look back at life before airplanes, computers, and smart phones.”

Freeman Model B

One of the pieces of rolling stock that will be part of the diorama when it is completed and located in the basement of the Freeman Station

Brian Aasgaard, President of FOFS, says construction of the Lower Level Railway diorama will begin soon at the Burlington Junction Station, and will proceed in several phases. The computer system will eventually automatically control lights, lighting effects, audio and video playback, and movement of the model trains to create an informative and educational story of life in the village.

Freeman - model A

A larger look at some of the rolling stock that will be part of the diorama to be located in the basement of the Freeman Station. This equipment is on view at the Station until November 4th.

The diorama team includes approximately 35 persons with model railroading, diorama creation, and authoring interactive educational materials. Interested parties are invited to join the team. Skills sought include 1/24 scale modeling, scene painting, computer programming, teaching, writing, carpentry, G scale model railroading, and electrical expertise. More information is on our Web site:

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How did the city ever get to this point with the New Street road diet?

News 100 blueBy Staff

October 31st, 2017



Bike lanes - New street

Before dedicated bike lanes on the lift – proposed lanes (and what is in place for the pilot) on the right.

Will city council actually make a final decision on the one-year pilot on a section of New Street between Walkers Line and Guelph Line, reducing the number of lanes from four to three with buffered bike lanes?

This issue has been mired in the Transportation department and the subject of much debate between the cyclists and car drivers.

A staff report with findings from the one-year New Street pilot project will be presented to Burlington City Council at the Committee of the Whole meeting on Mon. Nov. 27 at 6:30 p.m. A copy of the report will be available beginning Nov. 18 and can be found on the city’s webpage dedicated to the project.

Throughout the one-year New Street pilot project, the city will be sharing updates and information collected.
Comparison of travel times on New Street before and after the implementation of the one-year pilot:

New Street bike lanes - long pic

All kinds of graphics material was made available to the public – problem was the public didn’t show up at the public meetings. Less than 20 people – more staff than tax payers.

A Closer Look at the Numbers:
Travel time data on New Street between Walkers Line and Guelph Line was captured using BlueMAC technology. When an outbound bluetooth signal is detected from a passing mobile phone or car, the BlueMAC technology, located at New Street and Walkers Line and New Street and Guelph Line, is able to record the travel time of each vehicle.

While the number of recordings does not represent the total number of cars using New Street during the times above, it does provide a sample size that is significantly larger than one captured manually.

Ward 2 city Councillor sets out her position in her newsletter: “Residents have reported significant delays turning from side streets onto New St, increased traffic on side streets that weren’t intended to handle the volume, and delays in travelling at certain times of the day.

“More than 2000 people have signed a petition seeking an end to the pilot project. We need to consider the lived experience and input from residents as much as the Bluetooth data. We have yet to learn whether there has been an increase in cyclists due to the new lanes, but we know the lanes have impacted thousands of drivers.

“When there is an accident on the QEW or 403, there is no extra capacity to take the volume on our streets, including New, leading to significant gridlock. When people are commuting home from long work days, or meetings or errands, each extra minute in traffic is precious time away from family. Based on what I have heard and learned so far, it doesn’t make sense to continue the lane restriction.”

East bound traffic

Our experience was a little more than the time shown on this graphic.

West bound traffic

This is about what the Gazette experienced.

The Gazette’s experience on travelling the route: We experienced minimal delay – what we didn’t see was any more than two cyclist on the route at any one time – and most of the time there were none. On two occasions we did see cyclists using the sidewalk.

This has been one of the more divisive issues Burlington has had to contend with for some time.

Biggest question is – How much has the city spent on this project in terms of staff time?

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Police nab and name six drivers who were arrested for Driving while Under the Influence.

Crime 100By Staff

October 31st, 2017



The Halton Regional Police Service decided recently to release the names of those arrested and charged with Driving while Under the Influence of alcohol or an illegal narcotic.

The decision to release the names of those charged with DUI offences was not made lightly by the Halton Regional Police Service.”

HRPS crestWhile the number of charges laid nationally is getting smaller “ impaired driving still remains one of the most frequent criminal offences and is among the leading criminal causes of death in Canada. In addition, while alcohol-impaired driving is down over the past several decades, drug-impaired driving is on the rise”.

“In an effort to bring more attention to the risk of driving while impaired, assist in identifying witnesses, and reduce continued offences, the Service will continue to issue a media release publishing the name, age and municipality of motorists charged with impaired driving.”

On Sunday, October 29, 2017, just after 8:00pm, witnesses reported a suspected impaired driver in Burlington. Drazen Abramovic (49) of Burlington was charged with impaired operation of a motor vehicle.

On Sunday, October 29, 2017, just after 7:00am, witnesses reported a suspected impaired driver in Halton Hills. Reuben Etcheverria (40) of Guelph was charged with driving over 80mgs.

On Sunday, October 29, 2017, after 3:00am, a traffic stop was initiated at Derry Road and Ontario Street in the town of Milton. As a result of an investigation, Jonathan Moll (22) of Milton was charged with driving over 80mgs.

On Sunday, October 29, 2017, just before 3:00am, witnesses reported a suspected impaired driver in Burlington. Leslie Takacs (53) of Burlington was charged with driving over 80mgs.

On Sunday, October 29, 2017, just after 2:00am, Halton Police officers investigated a collision involving an impaired driver in Burlington. Police charged Mitchell Thomas (28) of Burlington with impaired operation of a motor vehicle.

On Sunday, October 29, 2017, after 1:00am, a traffic stop was initiated at Queen Street and Meadvale Road in Acton. As a result of an investigation, Kyle Stevenson (26) of Acton was charged with driving over 80mgs.

The Halton Regional Police Service remains committed to road safety through prevention, education and enforcement initiatives.

Members of the public are reminded that driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol is a crime in progress and to call 9-1-1 immediately to report a suspected impaired driver.

The Service’s Twitter and Facebook accounts should not be used for this purpose as they are not monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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Draft Official Plan to be released to the public November 10th - Council wants to pass it before the end of the year.

News 100 blueBy Staff

October 31st, 2017



Burlington’s proposed new Official Plan is scheduled to be released to the public on November 10th.

The document will then be explained to the public at three community meetings and then be presented to the public at a Statutory Public meeting where the public can comment.

The Plan will then go to city council where it will be approved (unanimously?).

At that point it becomes the law of the land – unless someone appeals it to the Ontario Municipal Board.

Official-Plan-Binder_ImageThe proposed new Official Plan contains additions, deletions and modifications to the draft new Official Plan that was released in April 2017.

Feedback received from agencies, stakeholders and the public was considered in undertaking revisions to the draft new Official Plan. Also, the proposed new Official Plan will contain the proposed new Downtown Precinct Plan and associated policies resulting from the Downtown Mobility Hub Area-Specific Planning process.

Following the release of the proposed new Official Plan, the city will hold three open houses and a Statutory Public Meeting.

Concept 2 - looking north from Lakeshore

The Official Plan, when approved will determine just how much of this kind of development can be approved.

Open Houses
The purpose of the Open House sessions is to provide the public with the opportunity to review and discuss the proposed new Official Plan with representatives of the city. There will be no formal presentation given.

Three Open Houses are being held to support the release of the proposed new Official Plan:

Thursday November 16, 2017
6:30 – 8:30 pm
Art Gallery of Burlington, Shoreline Room
1333 Lakeshore Road

Monday November 20, 2017
1:00 – 3:00 pm
City Hall, Room 247, Level 2
426 Brant Street

Monday November 20, 2017
6:30 – 8:30 pm
Haber Community Centre, Community Room 1 – East
3040 Tim Dobbie Drive

Upper Brant precinct

The city has created 13 different precincts in the city. Each will have specific Official Plan limitations and zoning attached to guide future development. Sown is the Upper Brant precinct.

There is then a Statutory Public Meeting which provides the public with the opportunity to provide comments to Council on the proposed new Official Plan. A staff report concerning the proposed new Official Plan will be available for public review on November 20th. This report will provide an overview of the key components of the new Official Plan and will include staff responses to feedback received on the draft Official Plan (April 2017).

The proposed new Official Plan will be presented to the Planning and Development Committee at a Statutory Public Meeting on:

Thursday November 30, 2017
1:00 pm and 6:30 pm
City Hall, Council Chambers, Level 2
426 Brant Street

It then goes to city Council where it will pass and then sent along to the Regional Council.

The new OP is not a legal document (in force and effect) until the Region approves it.

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Less than a year away - and we will have voted for the next municipal government. Here are the rules that will have to be followed to win. Can you spot the loop holes?

backgrounder 100By Staff

October 31st, 2017



New provincial rules ban city council candidates from accepting corporate and union donations, change the maximum allowable gifts, and regulate third-party interventions in next fall’s municipal elections. There is also a restriction on how much can be spent on post-election gifts and parties.

The new rules limit the length of the campaign. It will start on May first instead of the traditional January 1, and nominations will not be accepted after July 27 rather than the former late September deadline. The election will take place on October 22.


Pete Ward photographing his wife when she filed her nomination papers last time around. Will Marianne Meed Ward be filing nomination papers on May 1, 2018.

The elimination of corporate and union monies from the coffers of candidates could assist challengers who in past elections have been financially out-matched by well-established incumbents.

The new rules approved earlier this year increase the maximum individual donation to a candidate to $1200 giving extra power to wealthier donors. The previous maximum was $750. However total allowable donations by an individual to two or more candidates remains at $5000.

That’s also the maximum that a third party can spend in advertising on behalf of one or more candidates.

“A third party advertisement is a message in any medium (billboard, newspaper, radio, etc.) that supports or opposes a candidate or a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ vote on a question on the ballot,” explains the provincial government website on the new rules. “Third party advertising does not include issues-based advertising so groups that do public outreach can continue their issued-based advocacy work throughout the municipal election period.”

Election - Dennison sign

Jack Dennison has always been very very coy about whether or not he is going to run again – wild horses couldn’t hold him back. Who funds his campaign is another matter altogether.

Corporations and unions as well as individuals can register as third party participants in the municipal election campaign, but their ads must identify the funder. That allows corporate and union monies to continue to influence the election outcomes but who is backing who will be evident before election day, rather than the previous system where voters only found out when campaign financial reports were filed months after voting day.

“Third party advertising must be done independently of candidates, who are not able to direct a third party advertiser,” warns the provincial government. “Candidates are not able to register as third party advertisers.”
Candidates will still be allowed to pour large amounts of their own monies into their campaign.

MMW + Leah Reynolds

Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward held her campaign announcement at the Art Gallery and was told by the City Clerk that her supporters could not wear their campaign T-shirts on city property. An asinine interpretation of the Municipal Act.

A candidate for mayor can contribute $7,500 plus 20 cents for each elector entitled to vote for the office or $25,000, whichever is less.

A candidate for council can contribute $5,000 plus 20 cents for each elector entitled to vote for the office or $25,000, which is less.”

We are indebted to CATCH xxx for this information

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Resident expresses an opinion that appears to be held by many - when 194 of 213 parents in a school sign a petition - the numbers have to tell you something. Might be something the ward trustee would make a note of.

opinionandcommentBy Tony Brecknock

October 30th, 2017


Resident expresses an opinion that appears to be held by many – when 194 of 213 parents in a school sign a petition – the numbers have to tell you something.  Might be something the ward trustee would make a note of.

In 2009 Lester B. Pearson high school didn’t appear to be targeted – or did it? The sudden rush to build Frank D. Hayden Secondary School, and the need to fill it too, without a doubt led to the sacrifice of Lester B Pearson high school. The following are the actual utilization (UTZ) numbers for 2008/9, along with projections.

In the 2009 Application numbers, Pearson was at 120.2% UTZ and fell to 90.3% UTZ in 18/19 – neither a radical change, nor a tip-off to later. Lester B Pearson enrollment went from 768 to 577. This is more than sustainable.

M.M. Robinson band - both popular and energetic.

M.M. Robinson band – popular and energetic. Their school was spared serious consideration for closure when the data suggests they should have been looked at.

It would appear that MM Robinson high school wasn’t even considered for closure, why? MM Robinson high school (MMR) was at 93.7% and fell to 53.4%. Enrollment went from 1262 to 719. Why was MMR spared?

All the others are as noted in the 2009 records, and Robert Bateman high school is given the lowest UTZ at 43.9%, projected in 18/19. and seems targeted, as it is bolded in red in the application numbers, but still has 588 students, down from 1327. Perhaps with its’ regional programs the Halton District School Board (HDSB) feels it is an easier target with moveable student sections. This would indicate that the HDSB did not look at the school population as a whole, but rather at the school/students as segments to be moved at will.

Note that in the 2009 Application numbers, the UTZ projections are more muted than in the PAR numbers, with Central, MMR, and Bateman all below Board targets of 65%.

Pearson is again at 90%, and Nelson is at almost 96%.

In the recent 2016/17 PAR data, things change to Pearson parent’s alarm. From the sudden removal of Kilbride students and their redirection to Hayden, to what was just the beginning of the intentional depletion of Pearson’s student body – what happened here between the application projections, and the PAR numbers?

What else except the building of Frank J. Hayden Secondary School and the HDSB planned draining of students to fill it? Choices were made on who got hit, and that changed the numbers. Why then, were school trustee Peggy Russell’s warnings ignored that Hayden’s build would create the exact situation we found ourselves in?

These planning choices were made by the HDSB in advance, and were not really on the agenda for the parents.

This raised the issue that these choices should have been on the table if the PAR for Frank J. Hayden secondary school was done when, and as it should have been, prior to the decision to proceed with the build of Hayden was made, sometime before 2008/09.

Absent the performance of this PAR, it appears to me, that no one wants to be held accountable for this decision, and for erroneous or short-term planning which causes long-term ramifications. So it is reasonable that parents and members of the community are arguing for the need for transparency and accountability for this.

HDSB Parents at PARC 1 Jan 26-17

Parents from Central, Pearson and Bateman high schools were active observers in the PAR process.

Parent engagement on these choices could have been enabled by not structuring the PAR process the way it was by the HDSB. This structure mostly consisted of various closing scenarios and this pitted parents against parents. Only one option was about no closures, but this was overshadowed by 19 plus options in total, mostly about closures.

At outside PAR meetings, consensus said it should have been done differently, to avoid the conflicts that were built in. It was felt that something like opening it up to the PARC and parents, describing the problem as a whole, and asking for options and possible solutions to solve the problem, would make sense and that kind of process would work for parents.

Board school utilization - justificationInstead, the HDSB predetermined ahead of time what the problem was – low utilization and surplus seats – but would never acknowledge that this was caused by them in their deliberate plans and concealing of the facts. In fact, the PARC members were presented with the problem of which school(s) to close as their starting point, not as one of their potential outcomes.


Hayden high school is part of a complex that includes a library and a recreation centre plus a dozen portable classrooms. Many believe that the opening of Hayden resulted in the need to close Pearson.

So, the HDSB’s “solution” was to close schools in the south to eliminate the surplus seats and overcrowding they created by building a new school in the north without a Pupil Accommodation Review (PAR) to analyze and determine current and future needs in an open and transparent way. This did not work for parents, created crisis and conflict, and as such, the evidence of this presented by Lester B. Pearson and Robert Bateman high school parents was successful in convincing the Ontario Ministry of Education to conduct an Administrative Review.

This confirms that the appeal for an Administrative Review has merit, the PAR conducted late was inadequate, and the process followed did not accord with the PAR policies. This was a main effect of not having the PAR before the build of Hayden.

The HDSB made the decisions on allocating the enrollment before the PAR. In these PAR-based numbers, Lester B. Pearson high school goes from 112% UTZ in 2010 (actuals) to 61% in 2016, and to 50% in 2025. Big swing here from 90.3%. MM Robinson goes from 87% to 53% to 46% over the same time. Robert Bateman continues to fare the worst on UTZ – all the numbers are available.

central-stusdents-in-sanata-claus-paradeSo, Robert Bateman high school was chosen as well, and it appears that having had Central high school as the focus early on in the PAR process, was simply in an effort to create a distraction from the real agenda. What were the UTZ numbers, and arguments, that changed the initial closure of Central to Bateman?

I also wish to note, that somewhere between the 2008/09 application, and the PAR data presented in 2016/17 to justify two Burlington high school closures, Lester B. Pearson’s numbers were slashed in UTZ from 90.3% by 18/19 in the 2009 application, to 55% in 2020, then 50% by 2025 in the PAR numbers. Student numbers went from 577 to 319.

pearson-high-school-signIn addition, there is no explanation – it was a subjective HDSB decision. As you know, with the changes made in boundaries, feeders and programs, Lester B. Pearson was chosen to close, with premeditation… was Robert Bateman.

These policy changes were recognized as a key finding of our meeting as possible solutions that existed if partial reversals were undertaken. However, these changes were never seriously considered, as the HDSB was fixated on the empty seats and low utilization that they had themselves created. The HDSB never considered the actual board’s own data put forward by a community and the PARC members, looking at enrollment, and how the student experience and program offerings, depended on optimal allocation of enrollment, not maximizing utilization.

This fixation was apparent right to the final discussion and debate by Trustees at a Board meeting near the end. Options put forward, or questioned about, were dismissed by HDSB staff as not getting rid of all the surplus seats.

Incidentally, this dismissal was made by the same staff member that had supported, back in 2009, the building of these very same surplus seats through the build of Frank J. Hayden secondary school without a PAR analysis. It was suggested that since this enrollment focused option was factual, and based on the actual data from the Halton District School Board, it thus needed to be explored before a decision was made. But written delegations to support this analysis were ignored.

Remarkably, some Trustees had already written a school closing speech, and read it aloud, expressing their support of the decision to close our schools, prior to the final decision vote.

Voting by hand

The night the school board voted to close two of its seven Burlington high schools the meeting went so late that the vote recording software had gone off line and the votes were done by the raising of hands.

The final deciding vote was was made on the same night as more delegations were presented (against HDSB’s own 10 day procedural rule). Written delegation statements read that night had been prepared, submitted, and approved to present by Chairman Amos. So how much input did the final delegates even have?

This violation of HDSB policy, should without a doubt negate the final vote as they did not comply with their own rules.

The Pupil Accommodation Review Committee (PARC) really didn’t have much say in solving the real problem, as a member of the community put it, of optimally allocating the enrollment, and having that as a key discussion option on the PAR table. They did not get to communicate directly with the school trustees or vice-versa. All conversations or information was filtered through the board. Some PARC members certainly were hindered in sharing information with the community, all of which were PAR requirements.

It seems that the chief characteristic of this 2016/17 PAR is the planned sacrifice of two Burlington high schools, for a school planned and built without any PAR, in the north.

This was guaranteed to breed crisis and conflict, as it did.

So you see…..“There Is Merit To The Administrative Review”

Brecknock TonyTony Brecknock is a Burlington resident who is passionate about the school in his neighborhood that his School Board has decided to close. Mr Brecknock believes the Board is being less than candid with the people it is in place to serve and has set out his opinion on the Administrative Review that is now taking place.

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The natives are restless - Pearson high school parents think they have figured out what the school board is up to in closing their school.

News 100 blueBy Staff

October 30th, 2017



There is no better news source than a citizen who has a vested interest in an issue – they are like a dog with a bone – they don’t stop chewing.

Parents from the Lester B. Pearson high school have been following events at the Halton District School Board very carefully – they think they have figured out what the Board is up to with the decision to close their community school.

On Wednesday October 18th, Stuart Miller, Director of Education was asked by Ward 4 trustee Amy Collard if he would expand on an article published by the Gazette in which we said the school board was well along with its thinking about how they would build a new administrative Centre.

A resident wrote us saying: “I watched with interest the Halton District School Board (HDSB) Trustee meeting of Wednesday Oct. 18, 2017 and in particular the question asked by Trustee Amy Collard to the HDSB Director of Education. Below are the question by trustee Collard and edited responses by Director Miller, Superintendent Veerman and Superintendent Cullen.

Collard and Miller

Ward 5 trustee Amy Collard glares at the Director of Education Stuart Miller during a very contentious debate.

Trustee Amy Collard questions: “… there was an article published two weeks ago, perhaps a little more than that, about the new administration building. And I was wondering if I could get some more information about how far we are along with this process and where the funding for that building comes from. Because there seems to be some concern that the funding comes from areas where the students might benefit from and if there will be any type of community consultation … and just what the steps are going forward and when we anticipate seeing the next report on this?”

In several of the paragraphs that follow the writer has kept the pauses that were part of the answer.

miller-stuart-onlineDirector of Education Miller responds: “… I read the article as well … and there is … ah … it is not … there are inaccuracies in it. Ah … we are prohibited from taking money that would be for student use …ah … prohibited from using proceeds of disposition … all those things to use for an admin. Centre. We can’t use any of these funds to build an education admin center.”


Superintendent Lucy Veerman

Superintendent Veerman states: “… any funding for new buildings would have to come from the sale of existing higher administrative buildings or anything that is not school related.”

Superintendent Cullen states: “… the … ah … status of that … as you recall we have been working on the original outline scope plan … in … in … broad-brush strokes around me. Some of the comments in the article … ah … again were inaccurate around the need for a … ah … new building in terms of the population of the staff currently and in the future. And that again was all outlined in the staff report not the article referred to.”

Trustee Collard asks a follow up question: “Is it perhaps … um … prudent to communicate as to the community that how such a building would be funded and perhaps engage the community a little bit on this?”

Director Miller replies: “… we discussed that and we suggested it is probably not prudent … um … at this point, … because I think it just … it stays out there for a longer period of time and I think … ah … we end up in debates about it … and so …”.

“I have attached a link – you can follow the conversation. might see the responses.”

Our writer adds: “Here is an interesting inaccuracy that ought to be pointed out:

“The questions by Trustee Collard to Director Miller and responses shown above are not reported, summarized or mentioned in the Trustee Questions and Comments 5.8 section of the Oct. 18th , 2017 Minutes of the Halton School Board Trustees meeting.

“Was the article Trustee Collard refers to “being published 2 weeks ago or perhaps before that” from the Burlington Gazette published on October 7th, 2017 and titled “Is there a link between the closing of two Burlington high schools and the plans for a new administration office?”

“The Oct. 7th article for the most part quotes the Halton District School Board: Accommodation Study for Long Term Administrative Office Needs which can be found appended to Feb. 17, 2016, Board Agenda and Minutes on Pages 61 through 91 (assigned HDSB Report 16038 dated January 29, 2016).

“I believe the only inaccuracy was the typographical error of the date of the HDSB meeting minutes of February 2017 instead of February 2016.

“I am surprised, that Director Miller mentioned “… I read the article as well … and there is … ah … it is not … there are inaccuracies in it.” Typically when inaccuracies are mentioned the inaccuracy is identified. However, it makes me wonder due to the speech pattern and stumbling of Director Miller whether the inaccuracies occurred at all or if this was an attempt to discredit without evidence the article? The same applies to Superintendent Cullen … “Some of the comments in the article … ah … again were inaccurate around the need for a … ah … new building …”.

“The article to which Trustee Collard referred did not state where the money was coming from so again, I wonder why amount of concern by the Director and staff other than answering Trustee Collard’s question?

“Remember: all the HDSB money comes originally from the taxpayer and therefore all assets belong to the taxpayer.

“Is this an attempt to deflect from the chutzpah (unmitigated gall or audacity are other terms that could be used to describe the spin the Director tried to put on this matter) of closing two Burlington high schools, then building a $29.6 Million administrative facility and stating “This is not a question of quantity of space, but rather of quality of space.” and “… and in turn, create a facility that reflects the Board’s values, resulting in the delivery of the highest quality education for the Board’s students.”

Those Pearson parents are like a dog with a bone – they don’t stop chewing.

Article on the Board of Education thinking about a new administrative building.


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Ministry of Education sets out where it wants to go with a review of how the decision to close a school is made by a school board.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

October 30th, 2017



It is a little like closing the barn door with the horses already out and on the run but “better late than never” is perhaps an appropriate phrase to describe the provincial government decision to take another look at the way the decision to close schools are made.

In a media release the Ministry of Education said it was committed to revising its Pupil Accommodation Review Guideline (PARG) and Community Planning and Partnerships Guideline (CPPG).

“We heard that there is a need to strengthen the pupil accommodation review process for all school boards and to better encourage joint responsibility for integrated community planning across Ontario” said Mitzie Hunter, Minister of Education..

“Through this process, we will make certain that:

Utilization levels high schools

The Halton District School Board set out utilization numbers in their initial report that many parents looked questioned. The Ministry wants to see better information made available to the public.

“We are placing an emphasis on open and effective communication and partnership between school boards and communities;

“Decisions about the future of our schools consider a range of community and student impacts; and that Boards work collaboratively to consider joint-use solutions where possible.”

The Ministry statement pertained to both Pupil Accommodation Review and Guideline Community Planning and Partnerships Guidelines; this report will focus on just the Pupil Accommodation Review and the decision-making around school closures.

The ministry’s proposed revisions to the PAR aim to create a stronger, more collaborative process that better promotes student achievement and well-being and better recognizes the impact of school closures. The ministry proposes to achieve this by considering the elements.

PARC public - Dec 8 - 16

Public meeting participants responding to questions that we put on on a screen – Many felt that the questions were skewed from the get go and they began to mistrust the Board from the very first meting.

Revising Pupil Accommodation Review (PAR) timeframes:

Extending the current minimum PAR timeframe beyond five months;

Eliminating the minimum modified PAR timeframe of three months; and/or

Further extending time-frames under specific circumstances, such as if new closure recommendations are added mid-way through the accommodation review process.

Gerry Cullen

Superintendent of Facilities Gerry Cullen provided data that he admittedly found confusing – it was the best they could do at the time – the Ministry appears to be suggesting that school boards will have to do better.

Introducing minimum requirements for the initial staff report by requiring school boards to include:

At least three accommodation options (a recommended option, an alternative option and a status quo option).

Information on how accommodation options will impact:

School board budget;
Student programming /achievement;
Student well-being; and
Community and/or economic impact.

Promoting community input in the PAR processes by requiring:

School boards to invite elected municipal representatives and municipal staff to a meeting to discuss the initial staff report;

School boards to disclose municipal participation / non-participation in PAR and Community Planning and Partnership (CPP) processes;

A broader role for trustees throughout the PAR process, beyond ad hoc membership of Accommodation Review Committees, hearing public delegations and making the final decision; and

A participatory role for secondary student representatives in PARs involving secondary schools.

Reforming the PAR administrative review process by:

Extending the time frame to submit an administrative review petition from 30 to 60 calendar days; and
Reviewing the signature thresholds and requirements for launching an administrative review request.

Developing ministry supports, such as:

A PAR toolkit to standardize type and format of initial staff report information;

A template for use by community partners to engage boards with proposed alternatives to school closures or other proposals for community use of schools; and

New support for the review and validation of initial staff report information and community proposals by independent third parties.

The public consultation on revising the Pupil Accommodation Review Guideline will be conducted in two phases:

Phase 1: Discussion Questions

The first phase of the consultation will focus on collecting feedback on the areas of change listed above, as well as other proposed changes to the PARG.  This phase will run from October 12, to December 6, 2017.

Phase 2: Revisions and Editing

In January 2018, the ministry will post a draft of the revised pupil accommodation review guideline and community planning and partnerships guideline for further public feedback.

This draft will be informed by what we heard during Phase 1. The ministry will also post a summary of all Phase 1 feedback.

The Ministry is asking the public for input:

Do you think the ministry’s proposed revisions to the PARG will create a stronger, more collaborative process?

If not, why? Are there other elements the ministry should consider?

If yes, do you have suggested improvements or comments on the elements being proposed?

Do you think the above measures to support improved coordination of community infrastructure planning will work to promote sustainable use of school space in communities?

If not, why? Are there other elements the ministry should consider?

If yes, do you have suggested improvements or comments on the elements being proposed?

When making decisions about school infrastructure within communities, what measures could be conducive to fostering collaboration and cooperation between municipalities and school boards?

Pubmeet politicians BL-JT-PS

Several of the public meetings were packed – there were city council members at the meetings – there was a public that wanted information. They don’t feel they got what they were entitled to.

To submit your thoughts and ideas on revising the PARG please send your feedback with the subject line “Revising the PARG and CPPG” to

These are very wide ranging proposed changes.  Had they been place in October of 2016 when the Halton District School Board announced it was going to hold a PAR would the outcome have been  any different?

The public would certainly have had much better information.  The Gazette works from the assumption that an informed public can make informed decisions.

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DeGroote School of Business putting on a luncheon focused on digital marketing - December 1st

eventsblue 100x100By Staff

October 30, 2017



Digital marketing is more than a buzzword, but it’s also not a replacement for your traditional marketing efforts.

It’s a new approach that’s disrupting the industry by changing how you connect with your customers.

Something is brewing between the city and the University campus on the South Service Road. Mayor wasn't ready to let that cat out of the bag this morning.

Something is brewing between the city and the University campus on the South Service Road. Mayor wasn’t ready to let that cat out of the bag this morning.

The McMaster University DeGroote School of Business is putting on a presentation that will take place at the Ron Joyce Centre on Friday, December 1.

The panel of experts will be discussing and answering questions on topics such as:

Practical tips for using digital marketing strategically.
How to stay competitive in a digital economy.
The integration of traditional and digital marketing.
How to position and prepare content for multiple platforms.
How to build an authentic brand.
The challenges of managing digital properties.

Click HERE to register – $35 – includes lunch

The event is open to alumni, business community members, and students.

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Is the cupcake emporium on Brant Street looking at a short life cycle: Kelly's is going to have to move.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

October 29, 2017



Kelly Childs opened up a cup cake shop on Brant Street in 2013

With exceptional marketing skills she managed to turn it into a destination that frequently has people lined up outside to get in.

Ford + two others at Kellys

Kellys Bake Shop serves as a back drop for a display of antique automobiles on Brant Street.

Childs says she gets thousands of customers a week and has had people fly to Burlington from Buffalo to savour her cupcakes.

Childs cook book - Made with LoveHer operation was seen as a local success story that grew beyond Burlington and included an upscale cupcake recipe book that was as much a coffee table item as it was a cook book for the gluten free people.

The  first few years of operations were great – the name Kellys was splashed on the side of buses; Child used social media to great advantage – there was hardly a promotional angle that she didn’t find a way to use.  The cookbook, interest from financial interests in Dubai was talked about – the only thing that wasn’t mentioned was plans to franchise the operation.

Childs was one of those serial entrepreneurs who always has something on the go.

Kelly Childs Mayors CoC lunch

Kelly Childs addressing a Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

Right now she has what one can only call a crisis in front of her. The owner of the property she rents has sold the building to a developer who wants to have shovels in the ground within the next 24 months – even though there is not as yet an application before the Planning department that is public.

The block on the east side of Brant from James Street to the Brant Street parking lot opposite the Queen’s Head has been bought by Reserve Properties.

Burlington has become a hot spot for developers who seem prepared to put a high rise wherever they can assemble enough land. Brant Street, John Street and Lakeshore Road are ripe for the pickings.

Which creates a problem for Childs – she has nowhere to go.

Her lease was for five years but she is apparently going to have that lease bought out from under her.

“There is very little in the way of commercial space available in the downtown core” she explains. “What there is, is owned by the developers and you can’t get much more than a five year lease.”

Childs is far from a quitter but brick walls tend to be difficult to get over. She will be meeting with the Mayor, talking to the people at the Economic Development Corporation.

Childs will tell you that there will be street level space in the new buildings going up but she adds “they want twice what I am currently paying in rent.”

Childs is thinking through the options that might be open to her and is going public and asking people if they know of a location in the downtown core that she can move into in the next 24 months.

The issue that Child faces is one that every retailer that doesn’t own their premises faces – there just isn’t the commercial – retail property that is needed.

Kelly - park being done Oct 2017

The Brant Street public parking lot is undergoing an upgrade to accommodate the Elgin Street Promenade that will skirt the building. The location is basically ground zero for the Downtown Mobility Hub. Why do this work now when the city knows that the block is going to be redeveloped soon soon?

And for those that who do own the property they are located in – the prices that are being offered by the developers are at times too good to take a pass on.

Childs would like to find something with 25 to 26 thousand square feet – what she is seeing in front of her is a location that would amount to 8000 square feet which she doesn’t feel will meet her needs.

“I’m thinking of creating a petition said Child but she wasn’t clear on who the petition would be addressed to and what it would achieve.

Someone is a going to have to do some serious in-depth thinking to find a way to maintain a vibrant retail life in the downtown core.


Previous article



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Premier begins to romance a critical demographic - will they come to the dance?

News 100 redBy Staff

October 30, 2017



A group of voters that are going to be vital to Premier Kathleen Wynne if she wants to be re-elected as Premier next June heard her say today that she “had the opportunity to hear directly from workers about the changes we’re making with the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act.

wynne-at heritage dinnerAs the bill returns to committee today, it was important to me to hear the voices of some of the millions of people who will be impacted by these changes. What I heard was similar to what I’ve been hearing from people in every corner of the province — it is time for action.

“The economy has changed. People are working harder than ever, but they just can’t get ahead. Parents are worried about whether they can pay for their child’s university or college tuition, or how they’ll afford retirement. Many are struggling to put food on the table and keep up with their bills. In a province like Ontario, where our economy is growing and unemployment is at a 17-year low, this is not fair and not acceptable. The system needs to work better and be fairer to the growing number of people who are put on contract, who are working part-time or who are among the nearly 30 percent of workers earning less than $15 an hour. Ontario can and must do better.

“The Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act is about building the kind of province where anyone who works full time is able to buy groceries, make rent and care for their family. It is about cracking down on businesses that take advantage of part-time workers by paying them less and denying them benefits.

Premier Wynne runs a job training course for MAyor and NAME, gYPTECH

We didn’t pay her even the minimum wage but Burlington did return a Liberal to the Legislature for which she has been eternally grateful.

On January 12018 the province is increasing the minimum wage to $14 an hour, and then increasing it to $15 an hour one year later. They will make it illegal to pay part-time or contract workers less than full-time workers for doing the same work.

They will introducing paid sick days for every worker, stepping up enforcement of employment laws and giving workers at least three weeks’ vacation after five years with the same employer. The government will also make employee scheduling fairer and expanding personal emergency leave so all employees receive at least 10 days per year, including two days of paid leave.

Is all this enough to bring in a demographic that tends not to bother with elections? Kathleen Wynne certainly hopes so.


Goodings on minimum wage

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Board of Education sends the Ministry of Education a pretty chippy response on the way Administrative Reviews are handled - but agrees to cooperate.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

October 30th, 2017



The Halton District school board sent the Minister of Education what can only be seen as a pretty direct set of statements on the way they see an Administrative Review of decisions they made being handled.

The decision the Board of Education made last June was something parents could ask to have reviewed. Any review however was limited to the process the board followed and not the actual decision made by the trustees.

Bateman - crowd scene with Bull

Bateman high school parents and students protesting the decision to close their school.

Parents from both the Lester B. Pearson high school and the Robert Bateman high school filed requests for Administrative Reviews. Of the twelve school groups across the province only the two in Burlington had review requests that were granted.

Read it all for yourself.  The letter is the Board’s response to the request for an Administrative Review made by both the Pearson high and and Bateman high school parent groups.

We are writing in response to the request received on July 6, 2017, for an administrative review of the program and accommodation review (“PARN) process undertaken for the secondary schools located in the City of Burlington which resulted in a resolution of the Halton District School Board (“HDSB”) to close Lester B.Pearson High School effective June 30, 2018.

HDSB staff were able to verify that 194 of 213 supporters who signed the petition are parents of students from the Lester B. Pearson High School community or participated in the program and accommodation review process. This represents approximately 49% of the June 30, 2017 headcount (397).

PAR bannerThe PAR was initiated on October 19, 2016, with the Director’s Preliminary Report being presented to the Board of Trustees at a regular Board meeting On June 7, 2017. Approximately eight months
later, trustees approved motions regarding the Burlington Secondary Schools PAR, which included the closure of Lester B. Pearson High School effective June 30, 2018.

At the outset we believe it is important to establish the parameters and ground rules of a Ministry administrative review of the HDSB’s decision to close Lester B. Pearson High School. The purpose of an administrative review is to allow an objector to challenge a school board’s decision to close an operating school on the sole ground that the board’s conduct of a PAR did not comply with the board’s PAR policy.

Voting by hand

School Board trustees voting to close two of Burlington’s seven high schools.

In the context of an administrative review, it is not open to a complainant to challenge the merits or reasonableness of a decision to close or not close a particular school. The trustees of a school board are elected to make those difficult policy decisions and the Ministry should not interfere with the proper exercise of a board’s discretion to use that power, which is granted under Section 171{1), paragraph 7 of the Education Act. Rather, the scope of a Ministry administrative review is limited to challenging a board’s decision to close a school on the narrow ground that the school board did not follow its PAR policy in undertaking the PAR process.

The merits of the HDSB’s decision to close Lester B. Pearson High School is beyond the ambit of a Ministry administrative review. The focus of this exercise is not whether the decision to close Lester B. Pearson High School was reasonable or financially prudent. Instead, the Ministry’s inquiry should be directed to the issue of whether the Board generally complied with the PAR policy in arriving at the decision to close the school. In order to succeed on this application for an administrative review, the complainant must establish a compelling case that (i} there was non-compliance with the PAR policy and (ii) the non-compliance was material such that the Board would likely have reached a different decision.

It is instructive to review the Board’s statutory authority to close a school. Section 171(1), paragraph 7 of the Education Act reads as follows:

171 (1) A board may,

 “… determine the number and kind of schools to be established and maintained and the attendance area for each school, and close schools in accordance with policies established by the board from guidelines issued by the Minister. “

It is clear from this provision that the organization and conduct of a PAR is to be based on a Board policy that is derived from a Ministry guideline. It is a policy based on a guideline. Strict adherence to such a policy is thus not required given the very nature of policies and guidelines, which are considered general rules and flexible. Strict adherence would be required, however, if a PAR were governed by the provisions of the Education Act or a regulation made under that legislation. It is therefore sufficient if the process undertaken for Robert Bateman High School maintained the spirit and intent of the Board’s PAR policy. We are confident that the PAR process in this case more than satisfies that standard.

The arguments raised by the complainant, although framed as process related challenges, are in substance debating the merits of the Board’s decision.

The Board of Education provided a detailed response to the complaint filed by each parents group.  They are extensive and will be set out in a seperate news report.

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Soccer crowd holding a Volunteer Appreciation & Awards Night

sportsgold 100x100By Staff

October 29th, 2017



The Burlington Youth Soccer Club (BYSC) is hosting its annual gala, Volunteer Appreciation & Awards Night, to honour the achievements of its players and coaches, and to celebrate the contributions of its volunteers. This event takes place Wednesday, November 1st from 6:00 – 9:00 pm and will be hosted by event sponsor, and BYSC Partner, Atrium Banquet and Conference Centre.

soccer balls + leg

Soccer has thousands playing the game.

At the Volunteer Appreciation & Awards Night, the BYSC will be presenting the following awards to the nominated recipients, including:

Referee of the Year (Youth),
Referee of the Year (Adult), Keith Grant
Referee of the Year, John De Benedictis (Recreational)
Coaching Award,
Volunteer of the Year,
Young Volunteer of the Year,
Competitive Coach of the Year,
Male Competitive Player of the Year,
Female Competitive Player of the Year,
Harry Newman (Competitive) Team of the Year,
and the Melanie Booth Award.

The pavement didn't seem to be a problem. Get a dozen kids and a soccer ball plus two nets and you've got a game. It was pleasant to watch - some benches would have kept people around longer.

During a car fee Sunday on Brant the pavement didn’t seem to be a problem. Get a dozen kids and a soccer ball plus two nets and you’ve got a game.

The Melanie Booth award is named after former BYSC player and National Team/ Olympic Bronze Medalist Melanie Booth, and is awarded to a player with successes at the National Level.

Honoured guests expected include Melanie Booth, Ron Smale (President of Ontario Soccer), and Steven Caldwell (Toronto FC),

For information about BYSC events or programs, visit or call 905-333-0777.

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Prime Minister announces a new tax program for the country's working class.

News 100 redBy Staff

October 29, 2017



The Prime Minister was in town.

He spent a couple of hours at the YMCA meeting with people who are taking part in a YMCA Employment Services program and then making an announcement that has national implications.
Burlington is now a Liberal friendly city and the crowds were adoring.


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau being greeted at the Burlington YMCA

These Prime Ministerial tours are major productions with support teams that that amount to more than 25 people.

Security is thick – but not obtrusive.

For the first time in my experience I saw RCMP officers carrying rifles in special back backs that don’t give away what is inside them – these men are sharp shooters.

Easily ten plain clothes police – they are ranked by how close they can get to the Prime Minister. Each wear a button – a pin in their lapel – red ones mean they get close – they surround the PM – you have to get past them to get near the PM. The black ones are at the rear of the room.

There is always one, usually a nervous looking young man standing right beside the PM. It is a well-orchestrated event.

The first part of the visit had the Prime Minister in the lower level of the YMCA talking one on one with people taking part in the YMCA Employment Services program

As structured as the event itself was the Prime Minister didn’t seem to be WORD – he walked into the room – no one said a word – there was no applause. He was greeted by the head of the YMCA and asked a few questions and then began talking to the dozen or so people who were enrolled in the Employment Services program. Each was sitting in front of a computer monitor so the Prime Minister dropped to a squat and was able to talk directly – eye to eye to each person.

PM with students Oct 2017He spent a good fifteen minutes going from person to person – asking what they were looking for in the way of work and the kind of help they were getting.

It was quiet – the only thing that made it a bit unreal was the dozens of photographers and television camera operators hovering.

There was no grandstanding on the part of the PM – he was just in the room talking to people. His communications support people – there were easily six – maybe eight of them – were everywhere paying attention to the details – there had to be a glass of water at the podium and it had to be in a clear glass. .

When all the students had been talked to the PM said a few words and headed for another room where there was a group of about 75 people, all invited, in a room that had Canadian Flags and a backdrop of Canadian flags and a podium for the Prime Minister to speak from.

Justin Trudeau at YMCA

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meeting and greeting at the Burlington YMCA

Television cameras from every network in the country were lined up. The PM announced a 2019 federal investment of $500 million toward the Working Income Tax Benefit (WITB).

Trudeau also announced a 2019 federal investment of $500 million toward the Working Income Tax Benefit (WITB). The Working Income Tax Benefit (WITB) will help those folks who are working hard to make ends meet and who are still struggling at the lower end of the income scale.”

With the speeches done the Prime Minister chatted with the invited guests then headed into the foyer of the YMCA where there were close to 100 people waiting to see him. Babies were held up for a Prime Ministerial kiss – two that we saw – and then out into the street where vehicles were waiting.

To ensure that this was a truly Burlington event there was one lone protester holding up a Save Bateman sign.

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TD Bank on Brant at Caroline robbed this afternoon. Suspect fled with some cash - no one injured.

Crime 100By Staff

October 28th, 2017



The Toronto Dominion Bank on Brant Street at Caroline was robbed this afternoon when a lone male suspect entered the bank at 12:40 pm and approached the teller.

The suspect provided a note demanding cash and indicated he had a weapon. The teller complied with his request and an undisclosed amount of cash was provided to the suspect.

The suspect fled the bank and was last observed running westbound on Eileen Drive.

No weapon was observed during the robbery, nor was anyone injured.

The suspect is described as:

• Male white
• 35-40 years old
• No facial hair
• 5’8″ to 5’9″ tall
• Medium build 170-185 Ibs
• Black touque
• Yellow and black rain jacket
• Blue jeans
• Black running shoes with white trim

Anyone with information regarding this robbery is asked to contact Detective Phil Vandenbeukel of Burlington Criminal Investigations Bureau – Robbery Team at 905-825-4747 ext 2343. Tips can be forwarded 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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Police point out that the Police Services Act permits them to release the names of those charged with driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

News 100 redBy Staff

October 27th, 2017



The Halton Regional Police Service began releasing the names of those who have been charged with the offence of driving while under the influence of both alcohol and drugs.

A number of Gazette readers took offence to this information being made public arguing that a person arrested for driving while DUI is not guilty until found guilty by a Judge.

police in cruiser

Charges being written up.

When asked an HRPS spokesperson said: “The decision to release the names of those charged with DUI offences was not made lightly by the Halton Regional Police Service.”

While the number of charges laid nationally is getting smaller “ impaired driving still remains one of the most frequent criminal offences and is among the leading criminal causes of death in Canada. In addition, while alcohol-impaired driving is down over the past several decades, drug-impaired driving is on the rise”.

“In an effort to bring more attention to the risk of driving while impaired, assist in identifying witnesses, and reduce continued offences, the Service will continue to issue a media release publishing the name, age and municipality of motorists charged with impaired driving.”

The Police Services Act permits this disclosure for individuals charged with a Criminal Offence.

Related news stories:

Two arrested for driving while under the influence

Region police now releasing names

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Rivers think electricity prices will be the biggest issue in the June 2018 election

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

October 27, 2017



If Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals are not re-elected come the provincial election next year, it will partly be because of how the Liberals have managed and mismanaged the energy file. True enough there has never been a power blackout or even a brownout over their period of governance – as there had been regularly during the previous Harris/Eves government. But the price of electricity had been dramatically rising, at least until this past summer when it tumbled by a whopping 25%.

There are a number of reasons that account for why our hydro bills had been rising:

1. Neglected maintenance – During the Rae and Harris years electricity infrastructure, transmission in particular, had been sacrificed resulting in brown and black outs;

2. Privatization – New generation, whether renewable or conventional energy required long term contracts with fixed prices and guaranteed purchases;

3. Labour Costs – The utilities’ employees are among the best paid in the province, senior executives with Ontario Power Generator (OPG) and Hydro One in particular; and

4. Waste – Most memorable is the billion or so spent to cancel new gas plants still under construction, allegedly to save electoral seats in the GTA.


Maintaining the system has not always been the top priority – we end up paying for it eventually.

For a generation Ontario Hydro had typically debt-financed its operations, even before the Davis government. In fact when Mike Harris dissolved Ontario Hydro at the turn of the millennium he discovered an accumulated debt load of almost $40 billion, some $20 billion greater than the value of all of the utilities’ then current assets.

This stranded debt had been placed on our utility bills until more recently when the Liberal government eliminated it.

As rates started rising over the McGuinty/Wynne years, lower income families complained about how they couldn’t afford to pay their hydro bills, some businesses threatened to move out of the province, and even the left wing media were doing an almost daily grind on electricity prices. So early this spring the Premier responded to the criticism by taking out a mortgage, the way someone looking to renovate their house might do. She is using the borrowed money to cut electricity bills for small business and residential customers by 25%.

In a way it’s just turning the clock back. And it’s fair game for opposition politicians to call this a political pre-election move. It sure looks that way – trying to win votes by lowering hydro bills today and paying the piper tomorrow. It’s OK for the political parties to do that – call her out – but not Ontario’s Auditor General, Bonnie Lysyk who is supposed to be an independent officer of the legislative assembly. Instead she is acting like the king-maker James Comey did in the last US election.

The nub of her report is that it would have been less costly to finance the 25% rate cut by adding to the provincial debt rather than piling it onto OPG and its financing agency, because Ontario’s credit rating is better than OPG’s and the interest rate is lower. She is right to point that out but not to assign motive on behalf of the government – that is my job and the job of the opposition parties. And the government would likely respond that the debt should go to the rate payers rather than the general public – something she fails to note.


Former Premier Mike Harris was no friend of a “Best in the Business” hydro system.

The Ontario AG delivered another scathing report almost two years ago in which she decried the use of long-term fixed-price electricity supply contracts, but failed to offer any alternative as to how the system would work otherwise. It has been the provincial policy since the time of Mike Harris to bring on new energy sources through the private sector using long term supply contracts. And the private sector needs the security of a contract to ensure that it receives a fair return on its investments.

Again, she was right in pointing out that privatization had been a costly exercise. But somebody on her staff needed to take a course in micro-economics 101. She presented an imaginary $37 billion number, a purely hypothetical figure which might as well have been pulled from the air. But it is a complicated file, her strength is accounting not economics, and so her report then, as now, was only partly helpful.

Over the last decade Ontario’s energy costs climbed to be the highest in Canada – though still much lower than those in the major North American centres in California and New York. With the 25% reduction Ontario has fallen more in line with the other provinces. But of course it will never be able to compete with Quebec, Manitoba or BC. These jurisdictions have a tremendous advantage with their low cost water power endowment, and they have also retained their provincial monopolies to generate and distribute electricity reliably and cheaply.

patrick-brown smiling

Leader of the Opposition at Queen’s Ark – Patrick Brown

New Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown claims he’d tear up the province’s long term supply contracts, much as Dalton McGuinty promised to tear up the 407 lease Harris had signed years before him. It was simply not possible, the lawyers had sealed it well. And even if Brown were legally able to do that, how would he replace these contracts – how would he keep the electrons flowing and the lights on? I am one of the hundreds of Ontario residents who operate a small solar energy project under Ontario’s MicroFIT energy program. Without a reasonable assurance of market access and price no reasonable business entity is going to take a gamble investing in a public sector electricity system.

Brown is not someone to be underestimated. Over the relatively short period of time he has been provincial Tory leader, the former Harper disciple and MP, has moderated and adapted. In fact he has boldly reversed his view and position on abortion, same sex marriage and sex education in schools. And it has worked for him, he is now leading in provincial popularity with almost half those polled saying they would vote for him. He has been a strong and vocal critic of the Liberal government at Queens Park and on the electricity file in particular.

But if he is to become our next Premier he has to do more than just criticize – to tell us what he wouldn’t do. Brown, who had been promising to release his party’s long term energy plan several months ago, almost immediately pulled back from that promise until next year and the election. Indeed it would be very helpful for Mr. Brown to present a coherent alternative. After all it was his party who created this chaos in the first place by dissolving our relatively stable and low cost provincial electricity monopoly. He might want to look to Quebec, Manitoba or B.C. for inspiration.

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:

Ontario 2003 Black-out –    Bruce Nuclear Deal –    Stranded Debt –   Auditor General Report

More AG –    Large Renewable Suspended –    MicroFit Valuation –    Patrick Brown Energy Plan

Ontario Polling

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City asked for input on where the cannabis retail outlets should be located - is inside city hall an option?

News 100 yellowBy Staff

October 27, 2017



Burlington’s city manager got a letter from the province today – they want to talk to him about just where those cannabis stores the federal government is going to make legal should be located.

The province is preparing for the federal government’s plan to legalize cannabis by July 2018 and is now working with municipalities to identify possible store locations.

cannabis retail outlet

A retail cannabis operation in Colorado – is this what Burlington has coming its way?

In September, the province announced a safe and sensible framework to govern the lawful use and retail distribution of cannabis as a carefully controlled substance. The Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) will be doing the actual retail sales through new stand-alone stores and online ordering.

In accordance with the province’s safe and sensible approach, two primary considerations will be used to guide the identification of municipalities where stores will be located:

• To achieve geographic distribution of stores across the province

• To reduce the number of illegal stores, including dispensaries, currently in operation

The LCBO will utilize guidelines to identify specific store locations with the objective of ensuring that youth are protected and the illegal market is addressed. This includes ensuring stores are not located in close proximity to schools.

Once a prospective store site has been identified by the LCBO, a notice will be posted online and at the location to let the public know that a space has been selected for a proposed storefront. Before any decisions are made, there will be an opportunity for the public to ask questions and provide feedback on the proposed location.

Under the proposed approach, approximately 150 standalone stores will be opened by 2020, including 40 stores by July 2018 and rising to 80 by July 2019. Online distribution will also be available to service all regions of the province.

The government will evaluate how this approach is working throughout the rollout to ensure that the goals of safe, responsible sales of cannabis and elimination of the illegal market are achieved.

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Southbound lane on Brant Street, just south of Victoria Avenue, will be closed on Saturday

notices100x100By Staff

October 27, 2017



The southbound lane on Brant Street, just south of Victoria Avenue, will be closed on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. for road paving.

Would the west side of Brant Street south of the Brant Plaza be kept at a smaller scale? Would this create the kind of traffic that transit needs to justify the amount being spent on bus operations in the city. Does transit even have a future in Burlington?

One side of Brant Street to be paved on Saturday

Southbound traffic will be detoured to the west, down Locust Street.

Northbound traffic will be maintained.

Signs and barricades will be up and Halton Regional Police Services will be on site to help with the detour.

Access to properties along Brant Street will be maintained at all times.

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

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