Premier gets tour of the new part of the hospital - checks up on a patient.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

October 10th, 2017



It was promoted as the “Official Opening” of the Joseph Brant Hospital; the television cameras were on hand with more guest chairs than one usually sees set out for this kind of event.

The Premier wasn’t on hand to turn over a cheque – the hospital has gotten all it is likely to get from the provincial government for some time.

ynne - patient was the photo op

Premier doing one of those Photo Ops – while checking in on a patient.

The Premier was there to do a tour of the new digs and to have one of those photo op conversations with a patient.

This was the first occasion we had to tour the new building – and it is very smart looking. A lot of effort went into making it look and feel like a nice place to be if you aren’t well.

People comment favourably over the view – most seeing the lake as the best side. Once you’ve seen a stretch of water what else is there to see other than a sunrise.

The view from the escarpment side are very very nice.

The corridors are wide, the colour scheme is soft, welcoming.

The rooms are large, really large.

Vandewall and McMeekin

Hospital president and CEO Eric Vandewall and MP Ted McMeekin

It is certainly a huge, huge improvement over what people had to put up with. Eric Vandewall has every reason to be proud of what he has done. Vandewall is quick to credit the team he had working with him – the job wouldn’t have been done as well as it was done without Vandewall’s leadership.

The Hospital Foundation now needs to round up a couple more million to complete the raising of the $60 million they were tasked with.

The next step for the hospital is to make itself a Centre of Excellence and show that this hospital is a lot different than what the public had to put up with.

Wynne - JBH tired looking

The Premier seemed to be a little off her mettle this morning.

Wynne JBH - tired #2

She didn’t sparkle. She seemed tired.

The Premier seemed to be a little off her mettle this morning. She didn’t sparkle. She seemed tired.

Ted McMeekin, her Loyal Servant and Subject was on hand to greet her when she walked in the new entrance.

He was joined by Kevin Flynn, Minister of Labour, Eleanor McMahon, Burlington MPP and Minister of Tourism Culture and Sport along with Eric Vandewall, President and CEO of the Hospital and Chair of the Hospital Board Kathryn Osborne.

The Premier was in Burlington to tour the hospital and comment on the end of another busy construction season, celebrating significant progress on many hospital, school, transit, road and bridge projects across the province.

For this she came to Burlington?

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City Information Technology services will be disrupted for upgrades Saturday the 14th.

notices100x100By Staff

October 10th, 2017


The City will be doing some upgrades to its IT systems.

As a result, phones and most online services, including registrations, will be unavailable Saturday, October 14, 2017 from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The upgrade will provide benefits as it will enable the delivery of increased internet and processing speeds and network capacity, which supports our continued goal of technology modernization.

city hall with flag poles

Information technology services getting an upgrade.

During the upgrade, many services will be unavailable including:

• Online registrations, including parks and recreation
• Parking exemptions
• Business licence renewal
• Marriage licences
• Dog licences
• Tax payments
• Online reporting
• Burlington Transit phones and Trip Planner
• GIS/Mapping
• Phone and voicemail

Please consider using the city’s systems at alternative times.

We apologize for the inconvenience while this necessary work is being done.

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Nearby Niagara Fall faces a financial crisis.

News 100 redBy Neil Sullivan

October 10th, 2017



When we think of Niagara, we imagine an area that thrives almost by default. Aside from Toronto, it’s probably the biggest attraction in close proximity to Burlington, and it’s known the world over as a sort of natural wonder. This fall, however, there have been some troubling reports indicating that the area is experiencing some potentially serious financial woes.


The water isn’t as clean as many people think it is.

For the most part, these woes appear to be due to a dispute between the State of New York and the Seneca Nation of Indians. For some time now these two entities have essentially had an agreement in place to share revenue from the casinos in and around Niagara, which actually account for a great deal of Niagara’s budget. However, the dispute has resulted in disruption of incoming casino revenue for the city. Because of a hitch in the extension of the revenue sharing agreement, the Seneca have declared that they owe the State of New York no further payments – which, if they stick to it, will be a fairly devastating position.

New York is also in a fairly poor position to exert any sort of pressure on the casinos themselves. For one thing, the Seneca Nation is its own entity and appears to have every right to operate the venues independently. Additionally, however, if casinos did close or receive pressure, New York would risk losing gamers over the border. As we know, Canada has its own legal casino venues not too far from the area. And online casinos have become more popular as well, with iGaming sites and software providers partnering to create the most cutting edge games for those who would rather play online. In short, there are alternatives to the Seneca casinos just on the Canadian side of the Falls.

These are the core issues giving Niagara trouble, though it should be mentioned that tourism, too, could be in a precarious position. Naturally the Falls are the main draw to the area, and will always attract tourists regardless of what’s going on with the casinos. However, if there’s anything that can make the Falls less appealing as a destination, it’s probably the overflowing wastewater that’s been plaguing them of late. Just recently reports surfaced of a 15 million gallon discharge of “untreated sewage and stormwater” flowing out at the base of the American Falls, and it wasn’t the first time this season that something like this has happened. Naturally the Falls have a way of cleaning themselves up, at least to the naked eye – but think about how much 15 million gallons really is. The mere thought of that much sewage would give any traveller pause regarding whether or not to visit the area.

Fortunately, these issues shouldn’t have big enough economic consequences to directly affect Burlington, and they may even be limited largely to the U.S. side of the Falls. But it’s still a fairly significant issue for the greater area if these problems cause a significant crisis for Niagara.

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Is there a link between the closing of two Burlington high schools and the plans for a new administrative office?

opinionandcommentBy George Ward

October 7th, 2017



Many residents in Burlington are still questioning why we are closing two schools in the growing City of Burlington. The Halton District school Board has presented its perspective and justification for the closures, it still doesn’t make sense.

Hayden High school, Burlington's newest built as part of a complex that includes a Recreational Centre and a public library with a skate park across the street.

Hayden High school, Burlington’s newest built as part of a complex that includes a Recreational Centre and a public library with a skate park across the street. The school is well over its intended capacity and currently has 12 portables.

To begin, closing both Pearson and Bateman high school does not alleviate the overcrowding at Hayden (overcrowded with over 1,650 pupils and growing, necessitating the use of 12 portable classrooms and a desire to add 6 more in the future).

Secondly, it does not alleviate the growing pressures on our busing system and in fact contributes to the growing problem and safety concerns. Closing our schools makes absolutely no sense, is unwarranted, unjustified, and simply put is very short-sighted.

The board seems to have lost sight of the fact that schools are public assets and that taxpayers have invested their money in these schools and communities. If one was to look at these school closures in Burlington solely from a financial perspective you would realize that closing Pearson and Bateman will result in a substantially higher costs.

Closing two schools save approximately $2 million, however, some of these operating costs, such as the pool and day care, added busing, and other new ongoing costs to take care of the closed schools are not accounted for. In addition, the costs of capital equipment and facilities to transition specialty programs to Nelson was put at $12 million, but there is concern that this will  be much higher.  While a no school closure would result in the expense range of approximately $250,000 in operating costs. How is that being fiscally responsible?

Gerry Cullen

Some of the data that was presented during the PARC meetings was out of date and conflicted with other data put forward. Many had difficulty figuring out just what the full story was. Superintendent of Facilities Gerry Cullen was challenged at times to give a satisfactory explanation.

Throughout the Program Accommodation Review (PAR) process, it became clear early on of the lack of transparency when it came to information sharing from the board. From information and data changing periodically to the extensive and lengthy data provided, it became a challenge to gain insight into the facts that led to the decision to close our schools.

With more questions than answers, one might start to wonder:  What is the real motivation behind the HDSB wanting to close these schools?

Perhaps when we go back through Board Minutes to understand why the board needs to move forward on school closures in Burlington.

Below is an excerpt from HDSB meeting minutes of February 2017:

The Halton District School Board Administration is experiencing significant growth pressures due to growth in student population and the increasing complexity of its work. As a result, the Board’s existing office facilities have become woefully inadequate. This is not a question of quantity of space, but rather of quality of space.

Five level bldg

It is only a concept but it gives you some idea as to how far along the thinking is within the Boar of Education Administration.

Our analysis of how to meet the Board’s current and future needs presents an opportunity to provide the staff of the HDSB with a 21st century work environment: a new 95,000 sq. ft. facility to accommodate 350 staff within a single building, designed according to the guiding principles identified herein.

The sale of the existing J.W. Singleton site would make this project possible 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.

Budget Estimate: 95,375 sq. ft. x $310/sq. ft. = $29.6M

This estimate is based on the HWDSB (Hamilton-Wentworth) precedent and it is for project costs only. Land costs are not included, as they will depend on the site selection. Space for growth (10,000 sq. ft.. included) is based on HDSB projections, and can be adjusted should projections increase.

• 1 move required
• Unknowns could impact the costs include site issues such as geo-technical, soil, zoning,

• Only 1 move – no temporary accommodations required, and minimized disturbance to staff.
• Because this would be a purpose-built environment, it is the option that would best meet the Board’s needs outlined in this report without compromise.
• Other sites no longer in use could be used to raise funds.

It is clearly stated in the minutes that it is NOT a situation of need for additional space but rather a desire for better quality of space. According to the board, a better facility for their staff would in turn provide better education. How does having a nicer work space for HDSB board staff contribute to a better quality of education for our students?

Protest outside board office

Demonstrations didn’t make a bit of difference. The trustees, who are the people who made the decision, didn’t hear the parents.

Bateman hug

Bateman high school parents chose to give their school a public hug.

Shouldn’t priority be that our students have the “best quality learning environment”. Where students can walk or ride their bikes to school instead of sitting on the floor of an overcrowded bus. Where students are able to learn in an environment that is quiet, calm, and not overcrowded, where classes are not held in hallways, where students are not learning in portables, where there is sufficient heating, air conditioning, and/or proper ventilation systems?

The planning for a new Administration office for the Board Staff are moving along:  The following comes from a report prepared by a firm of architects.  The options before the Board were set out as follows:

Do Nothing,’ but maintain the existing facilities, for an estimated cost of $20M over the next 25 years, with no improvement to the actual offices in terms of functionality or design .

Complete a Renovation- Addition to one of the existing buildings, which  would  yield a compromised facility with increased disruption, for a similar cost to the final option .

Build a new facility, estimated at

$29 .6M (not including land) is the option that would best meet the Board’s needs as outlined in our guiding principals .

In order to obtain true value and create the desired synergies enabling Board staff to work at their best, we strongly recommend the Board proceed with constructing a new Administrative office facility .

Because of existing legislative requirements, selling the J .W . Singleton property appears to be the best way to generate sufficient dollars to fund this project . This would in turn allow for a new administrative facility to be centrally located in the Milton/Oakville area, where the Region’s growth is projected in the next 25-50 years .

The next phases of this Study will explore potential partnerships that could yield community benefits as well as capital and operating savings . Once specific sites are identified, concept plans, cost estimates and implementation strategies will be completed .

It appears that the need to accommodate 350 board staff takes precedence over the 76 elementary schools, and 17 secondary schools that serves over 50,000 students, excluding those in adult, alternative, and Community Education program within our school system.

Despite the fact the Minister of Education announced a moratorium on the Program Accommodation Review process and the fact that the HDSB is now subject to an Administrative Review, the HDSB continues to move forward on their plan to close two Burlington high schools, despite the fact the process that led to the decision has been publicly deemed to be flawed.

So, the question still remains.

Why is the HDSB really closing schools in Burlington?

Related article:

School Board announces it is looking for partners.

LBP George Ward 2George Ward is a semi- retired quality control auditor who is deeply involved in the community effort to keep the Lester B. Pearson high school open. Both his children and some of their children attended Lester B. Pearson.

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Jagmeet Singh - The NDP's hope for a chance to form a federal government.

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

October 6, 2017



I’ve heard it said that Tom Mulcair would have won the last federal election if only he’d shaved his beard. But I guess the NDP rank and file missed that barb, since they have just chosen a new leader with an even more impressive facial mane.

Singh - audience

Singh organized his community and brought in far more new members than any other leadership candidate. Now to see what he has in the way policy ideas.

Jagmeet Singh won the federal NDP leadership on the first ballot. And of course he did! He had signed up over a third of the NDP membership and most of the others didn’t even bother to vote. Who can blame them? Of all of their previous leaders only Layton gave the membership hope of winning the top prize. And after the last election they are back to where they started.

Singh - red turban

The Minister of Defence wears a turban – not as colourful but something we have accepted in most parts of the country.

So the old NDP was ripe for a change, needed to do and be something different. And no candidate less represented the good old losing days than the 38 year old lawyer and MPP from Brampton. There was a buzz about this articulate young snappy dresser, even with that colourful turban he dons, which unfortunately reminds one of the TV cartoon character Marge Simpson.

He had the numbers and ran a winning campaign, at least within the confines of the NDP. The old guard in the party either gave up or went along for the ride, tired and hopeless, after the unexpected whopping they experienced at the polls last time around. And with a new leader and so many new members, almost a tripling of the membership, this is truly a ‘New’ Democratic Party.

Yet despite all the buzz about this new whiz kid they’ve chosen to follow, he hardly seems ready for the job of PM. For one thing he is reluctant to sit in the House of Commons, at least until the next federal election in 2019. That would make him a bit of a ‘pig-in-a-poke’ come the time to cast our ballots. You’d think Singh, himself a master of martial arts, would be itching to step into the ring, to flex his muscles and to take on the current knock-out champ?

Singh - blue turban

Jagmeet Singh is colourfull both in dress and character and very intense.

Perhaps the real reason is that his policy envelope is nearly empty when it comes to anything but social policy – immigration and racial equality in particular. Of course that is his background, as a defence lawyer and MPP, where his main claim was pushing the Wynne government to end the practice of police racial carding.

His religion obviously plays a big part in his life given how he dresses and what he fights for. For example, he advocated for Sikh motor cyclists wanting to be exempted from wearing helmets, because they didn’t want to remove their turbans. Was Singh placing his religious preference over public safety?

Sikhs make up less than 2% of Canada’s population though they have proven to be a powerful political force in their own right. How else would one explain how their children are allowed to bring ceremonial daggers to school with them, or how they alone among recruits can override the RCMP dress code? It is a religion of peace, but then aren’t they all?

Some will want to draw comparisons between Singh and Obama, another leader of a major political party, representing a visible minority and campaigning to deliver social equity. A key difference is that with Obama, faith was between him and his maker, but Singh’s is conspicuous. That can be both a strength and a shortcoming.

Already there are concerns about how he will be received by the average voter in Quebec, and whether he will be able to ever win back all those Jack Layton voters who went to Justin. Quebecers generally disapprove of the blatant display of religiosity, be it by Muslim, Hassidic Jew, or even by the more traditional Catholics. And without Quebec how can he ever hope to form the government in Ottawa?

Perhaps that is how it was meant to be. For in the history of Canadian politics the NDP has always been that bridesmaid, not the bride, the king’s advisor but never the king. The social democratic movement’s greatest gift was when the CCF pioneered single payer health care, though they have also left their imprint in many other areas of public policy.

Still wherever the NDP has formed provincial governments, even in Ontario, they aspired towards mostly pragmatic and middle-of-the-road policies, much like the Liberal governments they sometimes replaced. And that is the problem. There is already a progressive Liberal party – why does Canada need two?

Nobody soft-shoed around socialism more than former NDP leader Mulcair, plunking himself in the middle between a rightish Harper and a leftish Trudeau. And he lost big time. Would his party’s showing have been any worse had he just stood up for what his party is supposed to represent?

Singh - yellow turban

Will the turban be something that Canadians take to?

Notwithstanding their new leader, the best the NDP can ever expect is to continue to be a third party, hopefully the party of Canada’s social conscience. Their dream of ever becoming the government was thrashed when they scuttled Trudeau’s plan for a preferential ballot, forcing him to entirely pull the plug on electoral reform.

With our first-past-the-post system now secured into the future, there will certainly be opportunities for third parties in the next minority government. And  that may come as soon as 2019. But it all will depend on just how well Mr. Singh plays his cards in the great game of Canadian politics.

Rivers-direct-into-camera1-173x300Ray 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:

NDP Election –   More NDP –   Sikhs on Bikes –   Singh Bio

Police Carding –   Sikhism –   Trudeau’s Worst Nightmare

Singh Interview –    Leadership Race –     Quebec –    Absentee Leader

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School Board wants to listen to people and organizations that might be interested in using some space.

News 100 blueBy Staff

October 6th, 2017



Community organizations and members of the public are invited to a meeting on Wednesday, November 8, 2017 at 7 p.m., to discuss potential planning and partnership opportunities within Halton District School Board facilities.

Partnership opportunities in existing schools and co-build opportunities in proposed new schools, as well as a new Board Administrative Centre, will be discussed at the J.W. Singleton Education Centre (2050 Guelph Line, Burlington).

HDSB sign with flag

Education Centre – has been described as a development site.

The full list of facilities available for community partnerships and the community planning and partnerships policy can be viewed at

Potential partners are requested to bring relevant planning information such as population projections, growth plans, community needs, land use and greenspace/park requirements to the meeting.

It’s a bit of a step in the right direction.

The HDSB has not been as aggressive in marketing the opportunities that exist in the buildings they have. There are numerous opportunities for the Board of Education to partner with the municipalities.

There is a pressing need for additional facilities for Seniors north of the QEW – this is the time to start those conversations.

There are a number of people who were members of the Burlington PARC who thought there was a sharing of facilities opportunity that would keep Pearson high school open and the Nursery operation at the location.

Hopefully the Board will be more open to some innovative ideas.

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Seniors community serves up a Thanksgiving Dinner and looks into providing equipment that will allow seniors to get the kind of exercise they need.

News 100 yellowBy Connie Price

October 6th, 2017



What a wonderful day……..just what the Burlington Seniors Community Inc. had hoped for!

The Volunteer teams of St. Christopher’s Open Doors cooks and servers and BSCI’s Board and Volunteers worked together seamlessly: all deserve credit for the efficiency with which the meal was prepared, including the 225 lbs. of turkey cooked and served.


The Burlington Seniors Community organization organized a Thanksgiving day dinner – cooked more than 200 lbs of turkey

The attendance, even though we initially thought we would limit it to 225 – 270 were fed. We didn’t turn anyone away.

The decorations and tables were inviting and attractive with a Fall theme, which afforded us the opportunity to give each table centerpiece as a Birthday Gift to whomever at the table had a Birthday nearest to the Event.

BCSI # 2

The Thanksgiving Day Dinner took up two rooms at St.Christopher’s – 270 were fed and entertained. Turns out the Seniors can run programs of their own without having to deal with city hall.

While the Guests ate, Aldershot High School Student, Alex Bella performed magic and card tricks at the tables to baffle the seniors.

The Entertainment was outstanding, fun and all seniors themselves. The performers included the New Horizons 20 piece Band, comic musical singer Bette Pender & Sinatra style crooner Fred Burnell, both from the Burlington Footnotes, the Weekly Strum Ukulele Trio and last but certainly not least Burlington’s Singing Veteran, Bill Read, who led the audience singing through a medley of old tunes with his Ukulele, including a patriotic song he had written and performed many times in the past 18 years singing for early morning commuters at the Appleby Go Station.

He concluded his performance along with the afternoon, by asking everyone to stand and sing God Save the Queen and O Canada with him.

Very emotional for many. What gifted and talented seniors we have in Burlington!

As the Guests left, they were given a Take Home Bag with items, information and literature of importance to seniors.

BCSI equipment

Some of the types of Senior Exercise Equipment available to promote balance & increase flexibility, while encouraging social and mental health through socialization.

Since BSCI’s mandate is “To be a leader for information, education, recreation and social interaction for our diverse and growing community of seniors” , we also circulated a Survey with information and questions asking the seniors’ opinions on two projects we are currently promoting and want their input and comments about. We received 152 completed Surveys, regarding our new Seniors Without Walls Program and the building of Outside Senior Exercise/Social Spaces.

These are just two of the projects that BSCI are becoming involved in to further our aim to fill some of the current gaps, especially for socially and physically isolated seniors.

The Thanksgiving dinner was a day of rolling up our sleeves and doing the work to accomplish it.



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Yahoo issues introductions on how to protect yourself - a little late for that.


IDTHEFT 100X100By Staff

October 5th, 2017



Most of us read about the Ancaster resident who was arrested for being the mind behind the hack into the Yahoo site.

Karim Baratov, a dual national of Kazakhstan and Canada, was arrested at his home in Ancaster, Ont. by Toronto Police and handed over to the RCMP.

Baratov with girls

Fast cars – fast women – those days have come to an end for Karim Baratov

He hasn’t seen anything outside a jail cell since.

The size of the computer hack was massive – billions of people had personal data compromised. We will be dealing with the fallout from that hack for decades.

Probably well after Baratov get out of an American prion, assuming he is convicted.\
Governments and police forces around the world are struggling to get at least a bit of a grip on the identity thefts taking place.

Baratov is accused of being paid by two Russian spies to break into the email accounts of targeted individuals, according to an early release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

He and his lawyers put up a fight to prevent him from being extradited to the United States where he was to stand trial.

When it became evident that the extradition was going to take place the Canadian lawyers threw in the towel and off he went to California where the full force of their criminal justice system will be thrown at Baratov who is a dual national of Kazakhstan and Canada.

yahoo sign

The massive compute hack lowered the price shareholders got.

Yahoo was in the process of being sold to a large American telecommunications firm (Verizon) who ended up paying a lot less for Yahoo once the hack was made public.

Corporations that get hacked have in the recent past been slow to inform the public. That is beginning to change.

Baratov with car

Karim Baratov with one of the several cars he owned.

Yahoo recently released instructions for people who have a Yahoo email account on what to do to protect themselves.

If I had a Yahoo account I would be moving out of that site quick, quick, quick.

If you decide to stay with Yahoo – here is the link to the instructions issued.

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Burlingtonians are being asked to send emotional support to the people of Las Vegas.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

October 5th, 2017



Burlingtonians are being encouraged to reach out and write heartfelt messages for the City of Las Vegas to show support for all those affected by the recent tragedy.

Las Vegas has asked for cards to be sent to the city to help heal the community.

Las Vegas shootings

People running to get out of the line of fire at a country music festival in Las Vegas. Four died with more than 500 seriously injured.

Cards can be dropped off at Burlington City Hall until Oct. 13 or mailed directly to Las Vegas City Hall.

Burlington City Hall drop-off:
Location: 426 Brant St., lobby
Hours: Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.


Las Vegas City Hall mailing address:
c/o City Hall
495 S. Main St.
Las Vegas, NV 89101

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Vigil for victims of all accidents and tragedies: for families, friends, and loved ones; for survivors and first responders who will have memories for the rest of their lives

eventspink 100x100By Staff

October 4th, 2017



This evening from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm the doors will be open at THiNKSPOT for anyone who wishes to drop-by (even if for a few minutes) as a Silent Vigil for victims of all accidents and tragedies: for families, friends, and loved ones; for survivors and first-responders who will have memories for the rest of their lives; for the psychological fear this can randomly happen again; for individuals who feel such anger and hatred that their choice is to kill another human being.

THiNKSPOT is just what the word says – a spot to think, reflect, exchange ideas, learn what other people think and explain what you think to others.

The feature that makes THiNKSPOT work is the setting and the level of facilitation,

The feature that makes THiNKSPOT work is the setting.

It is located in Lowville, yards behind the Lowville Bistro, surrounded by the Walkt Rickli Sculpture Garden where there is plenty of parking across the road.

Those who take part will will create a mural from play-doh, crayons, markers, LEGO, the dry-erase wall, paint, gifts of nature, as a response based on unconditional love for every part of the system that we are connected to.

Debra Pickfield, the woman that runs THiNKSPOT, said earlier today that her “ personal belief is we are connected to every part – even the evil, anger, and hatred – because my choosing to ignore macro-level actions and events that may have caused the horror, means I am also connected to the micro-level outcome. I cannot wipe my hands and say it has nothing to do with me.”

She suggests you “ bring your families; or come on your way home from work; share with your friends and colleagues. Help us bring a collective response of community and caring that defines us – not the hopelessness and fear that separates and detaches us.”

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Announcement of who the facilitator will be for the Administrative Review is somewhere between Queen's Park and Burlington.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

October 4th, 2017



It is taking a bit longer than anyone expected but the Ministry of Education assures us that there will be an announcement shortly on who has been assigned the task of doing the Administrative Review of the PAR process that resulted in the decision to close two of the city’s seven high schools.


Is there any life left for this high school?

“The Ministry is currently in the process of finalizing the details regarding selecting a facilitator to undertake an Administrative Review for the Pupil Accommodation Review which included Lester B. Pearson High School and Robert Bateman High School.

“Once finalized, the ministry will notify the Halton District School Board, lead petitioners and the broader public.”

The parent groups at each high school feel there is a lot riding on whatever the appointed facilitator concludes after looking at all the documents.

Miller with students Mar 7-17

HDSB Director of Education Stuart Miller with students during a public meeting. Bate parent group member Denise Davy stands to Miller’s left.

Halton District school Board Director of Education Stuart Miller told the Gazette recently that “these reviews tend to be paper heavy”.

There are those in the community who feel that the delay in appointing someone is a part of the process to keep the issue out of the public eye until the June 7, 2108 provincial election is out of the way – that’s ten months off.

The Board staff had hoped that this would all be done quickly so they could get on with the job of getting one school upgraded so they could take in the students. Many of the Bateman students are due to move to an upgraded Nelson high school in 2020.

Lester B. Pearson is scheduled to have their last high school graduation in June of 2018; in 2019 they are supposed to become M.M. Robinson students.

PARC with options on the wallsOne wonders if the PARC that was created to serve as the communications channel from parents to the Board will have anything to say once the Administrative Review is completed.

Most parent groups felt the PAR failed the community – which is part of why they requested the Administrative Review.

The school board staff just want to get on with the job of transitioning students to their new schools – the parent groups have taken the position that this isn’t over yet.

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An amazing piece of film footage - watching the earth move.

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

October 4th, 2017



You’ve heard the phrase: “The earth moved” perhaps in a context you don’t want to expand on.

We came across a piece of film footage that is actually awesome. The earth literally moved!

It runs for 20 minutes – you won’t want to spend that much time on it. But the first three to four minutes are  riveting to watch.

Perito_Moreno_Glacier_Patagonia_Argentina_Luca_Galuzzi_2005If there was ever any doubt in your mind that the earth’s climate has changed – spend a couple of minutes on this.

You will see a glacier of ice being pushed into the sea and creating huge waves.

They call it glacier calving – walls of ice as high as fifty feet – maybe more just crashing down into the sea. That ice will flow into the waters resulting in a cooling that changes a weather pattern.

It is the sight of the ice crashing down that makes this film footage so fascinating. It was taken from people who are on a ship who are recording the glacier as it disintegrates.

It’s worth a few minutes of your time. Come back to it when you have the time. Just the first couple of minutes:
Click here for the link.


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Youths under the age of 12 damage vehicles in 23 Milton driveways - damage estimated at $10,000

Crime 100By Staff

October 4th, 2017



This isn’t a Burlington story but it is both important and of major concern to every parent out there.

The Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) has identified the suspects who damaged vehicles at 23 houses in a Milton neighbourhood on Saturday, September 30 at approximately 2:30pm. The damage was caused by children under the age of 12 and is estimated to exceed $10,000.

The Criminal Code of Canada prohibits children under the age of 12 from being prosecuted for criminal activities. Police have alternate mechanisms and programs to ensure these offenders are held accountable.

Police cruiser New_lookCriminal offences by young children are not common, but are investigated with the same tenacity as any other offence. The HRPS has been actively communicating with all parties involved and is confident an appropriate outcome can be reached in the absence of criminal charges.

The HRPS takes pride in its role facilitating services and support for the victims of crime and the children responsible for this unique circumstance. Those responsible have been offered counseling with their parents, and the victims will be provided with paths to restitution.

The HRPS encourages communities and residents to report all crime as soon as possible. Immediately reporting incidents allows police to respond more quickly, which is a key factor in ensuring thorough and successful investigations. Emergency calls should be directed to 9-1-1 and non-emergency calls to 905-825-4747.

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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Hamilton making bid for the second Amazon world headquarters - that gives new meaning to Growing BOLD.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

October 3rd, 2017



We often get news items from our friends across the bay and we explain that the Burlington Gazette is about Burlington. We add that if an atomic bomb were to fall on Hamilton – that would not be news – but the tidal wave that would come across the bay would be Burlington news.

A bit of an exaggeration but it makes the point.

There are of course exceptions – and the news that Hamilton has tossed its hat into the ring to attract Amazon’s second headquarter office to their city would be bigger than a bomb being dropped.

Wherever the Amazon people put their office it is reported that it will include 50,000 jobs and that kind of growth would certainly impact Burlington.

Fred Eisenburger Hamilton Mayor

Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger reaches out to Amazon inviting them to check out his city when looking for a second headquarters operation

Has Hamilton got a hope in hades of attraction what is being referred to as Amazon HQ2? Who knows? The suggestion has been made that Amazon wants to locate the second corporate headquarters outside the United States. No rocket science in the thinking behind that reason.

In a unanimous Council vote, the City is sending a clear message to the Seattle-based technology giant that we have the people, the infrastructure, the talent and the resolve to deliver results. HQ2 involves the creation of 50,000 jobs in the next ten to fifteen years and $5 billion in capital expenditures.

“This represents a significant opportunity that our team is focused on pursuing. The economic and creative transformation of our city aligns perfectly with Amazon’s expansion plans. We know we are going to be competing with cities from across North America and we are confident in the value, excitement and energy Hamilton brings to what we believe will be a winning proposal,” said Mayor Eisenberger.

“When reviewing Amazon’s request for proposal, the City looked closely, both at the attributes of the type of city they were seeking as well as the technical and land requirements. Considering a number of these key elements, the City sees its strength on a multitude of fronts as a solid match for Amazon’s requirements and business drivers.


James Street crawl: They’ve never seen anything like this in Seattle, location of the Amazon head office.

The economic development opportunity is deemed a game changer and a solid way to show that Hamilton is investing in the city for future generations.

The city has shared the message they sent to Amazon. Bold indeed.  Good luck to them. Here is what Mayor Eisenberger had to say:

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The renovation and rebuild of the Joseph Brant Museum just might be doomed.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

October 3rd, 2017



A number of years ago when city hall was working its way through the mess related to the building of The Pier, a former General Manager, who is no longer with the city, said that from time to time there is a project that just doesn’t go right, and added, “the pier is one of those projects”.

The plans to create a totally different Joseph Brant Museum than the one we currently have, which is a bit of an embarrassment, might be turning into one of those projects that just doesn’t go right.

The new museum idea has been in the works for more than a decade.

Museum Board has plans for a major upgrade to the Brant Museum - is this a place for you and your skill set?

The Joseph Brant Museum as it looks today.

There were all kinds of problems raising the money that was needed. There was a bit of a shortfall (just a million dollars) and the city went out on a limb saying it would pony up the funding shortfall and look to the province to get the money back.

Most of this council just wanted to get the project moving.

Once the city has put their money on the table I don’t we should expect the province to come along with a cheque but that is an issue that will get worked over later.

The Capital Projects people at city hall told city council that if the project was to get started – they needed the city to commit. The city committed and the tenders went out.

And darn – the best tender came in at just shy of half a million over the budget.

Things were indeed going wrong.


The current replica of the original structure would be raised and re-oriented with increased exhibition space created underneath.

The lowest bid for construction of the Joseph Brant Museum expansion was $8.9 million from Aquicon Construction Co. Ltd.

The total project cost had been estimated at $10.4 million in November 2016; that got revised up to $10.965 million in September 2017, and revised upward again last week to $11.437 million after construction tenders came in.

The city was prepared to put up $2.1 million – that share has risen to $3.978 million which doesn’t include additional operating and capital costs.

Funding for the project is now:

Federal Cultural Spaces Grant: $ 4.479 million
Provincial Trillium Grant: $ 500,000
Joseph Brant Museum Foundation: $ 2.479 million
City of Burlington: $ 3.978 million (up from $2.1 million)
TOTAL: $11.437 million

Building the expansion isn’t the only thing that has seen cost increases.

The cost of operating the museum once it has been re-built is looking at a shortfall that is projected to be $208,000 – for the hiring of three additional staff. That staff will run a program about which basically nothing is known.

There is mention of two travelling exhibits each year will provide revenue. A staff report is suggesting that the financial problems be worked out in the 2018 budget with a combination of one-time funding of $87,000 spread over two years, and an increase to the base budget grant of $150,000, followed by 2% annual increases thereafter.

Consistently increasing capital and operating costs are not the only issue. There is a really messy land ownership matter that has yet to be resolved.

Details on that are far too complex for this article. Just who owns the land (at this point in time the hospital does) but they can’t just sell the property. The federal government has their hands in this one.

In this portrait Joseph Brant is seen wearing the gorget given to him by King George III. That gorget is the most important piece in the collection at the Joseph Brant Museum.

In this portrait Joseph Brant is seen wearing the gorget given to him by King George III. That gorget is the most important piece in the collection at the Joseph Brant Museum.

The original owner was Joseph Brant himself who was given the land for his service to the Crown.
How the city thinks it can get the land as city property is an amazing story – wait for that one.

Is the rebuild of the Joseph Brant Museum a doomed project? If the project were a hospital patient the doctor would be suggesting it might be time to get your affairs in order.

City council hasn’t heard the last of this one.

An election issue perhaps? The Museum, the New Street Road Diet, the 2018 budget that is going to be painful, the cost of getting the transit system the city is going to need if we are going to get people out of their cars are all major issues. How many members of the current city council are going to be re-elected in October of 2018 – just a year away?

Five of the seven members of Council wanted to see the project proceed. Meed Ward and Dennison dissented.

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Parking lot enforcement at the No Frills Brant street location is getting brutal.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

October 3rd, 2017



Parking is an ongoing problem in Burlington.

It is expensive and it is limited.

Commercial operations  and retailers provide parking space to attract customers.

The malls have huge parking lots which at times are packed.

John - No frills - laneway

Parking at the plaza was getting out of hand – something had to be done. The crackdown has been close to brutal.

There is a parking lot on the east side Brant Street just north of Caroline where there is the only downtown supermarket. It gets a lot of traffic.

In the past year varying levels of security have been brought in to chase off those that abuse the space.

That didn’t seem to be working so a tow truck operator was brought in to tow away vehicles that had no right to be in a parking space.

Terri, a nurse who works in Hamilton and lives in Oakville had a habit of doing her grocery shopping at the No Frills on Brant.

Tow sign - details

These are really tough rules. But the owners of the property do have the right to do what they are doing.

Last week she parked her car and was about to head for the supermarket when she found herself about to be ill.

She needed a washroom – quickly and headed for a restaurant that was not part of the plaza.

When she returned – her car was gone.

She was livid and she was broke and didn’t have the money to pay to get her vehicle out of the pound that was on Fairview – a ten minute drive away.

Terri was able to find a friend who drove into Burlington – got her to the pound where he car was sitting and able to go home; more than $300 poorer and still livid.

She felt she had a personal emergency and had to leave the property.

That isn’t the way the tow trucking company is seeing things.

The signs on the pillars in the parking lot spell it out quite clearly. You can park if you are shopping at retailers in the small mall. If you leave the property you are then parked illegally.

And you get towed.

Tow truck - no markings

Tow truck sits at the entrance watching for people who park their car in the plaza and then leave the property. stiff new rules are in place.

During our time on the site Monday afternoon we saw the tow truck cruising around the lot. The truck had no markings; it did have a female driver who took exception to us taking a picture of the truck. After confronting us and asking why we were taking pictures – we identified ourselves – and the truck left the property.

In conversations with a number of people who had parked their cars none said they knew of the new “we will tow your car” practice.

Most people wondered why the owners of the lot were being so tough. “Couldn’t they just have someone put a notice on every car parked letting them know what the parking rules were”, asked more than one of the people we talked to.

Terri, the nurse thinks it is all a scam. She thinks the owners of the property brought in the towing company to skim hundreds of dollars from people who park their cars and then leave the parking lot.

Tow signs in No Frills

Just what does “as ammended” mean?

The owners of the parking lot have the right to do what they are doing – the fee they are charging do seem excessive and the approach they are taking isn’t going to do much in the way of goodwill for anyone.

The dry cleaner I do business with wasn’t aware that cars were being towed – she usually knows what is going on.

Terri, the Hamilton nurse did have a conversation with the operator of the No Frills franchise. It wasn’t a pleasant conversation.

There is a city operated parking lot just yards to the south of the plaza that usually has space.

Tough practice on the part of the property owners, painful for those who get caught and a sign of what we might be looking at as parking gets even more difficult when all those high rise buildings begin to get built along Brant Street.

There is more to this story – just what does that “bylaw as ammended” mean – and just where does the average citizen go to get information?

Messy – and for Terri the nurse expensive.

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Michael DeGroote named the 2017 Wayne C. Fox Distinguished Alumni.

News 100 blueBy Staff

October 3rd, 2017



Building community needs big bold steps with people who are prepared to put their resources behind an idea.

Michael DeGroote H&SMichael G. DeGroote was one of those people and last week McMaster University folk gathered for their annual Evening of Accolades gala to recognize DeGroote for his exceptional generosity to the University by naming him the 2017 Wayne C. Fox Distinguished Alumni

The Wayne C. Fox Distinguished Alumni Award was first presented in 2000 to its namesake, Dr. Wayne C. Fox. Each year the legacy of the award continues to recognize our outstanding alumni. It is presented to an alumna or alumnus of the DeGroote School of Business whose personal accomplishments, reputation and character have by association enhanced the reputation of McMaster University.

Twenty-five years ago, the DeGroote School of Business became the first named business school in Ontario with the unveiling of a brand new building at McMaster University. The man behind that building was Michael G. DeGroote.

His path to success is both inspiring and remarkable. Born in Belgium in 1933, DeGroote immigrated to Canada with his parents as a young teenager. He left school in Grade 9 to work the tobacco fields in Southwestern Ontario, in order to help his family make ends meet. At 18, he acquired a used truck and established a small trucking firm, carting farming supplies around the region.

After moving to Hamilton in the late-1950s, DeGroote purchased Laidlaw Transport Ltd. In the years ahead, he would grow the company into the largest school bus operator and third-largest waste management company in North America. He was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1990, and was awarded an honorary degree from McMaster in 1992. He currently resides in Bermuda.

Degroote accoldaes

Celebrating the Wayne C. Fox Distinguished Alumni Award tradition with past recipients: Back row from left: McMaster President Patrick Deane; David Feather, MBA ’89; Neil Skelding, MBA ’88; Paul Allison, MBA ’81; John Marinucci, B. Com. ’80; Gino Scapillati, B. Com. ’81, Len Waverman. Front row from left: Teresa Cascioli, B. Com. ’83; Michael G. DeGroote, Hon. Doc. ’92; David Williamson, B. Com. ’83; Ed Minich, MBA ’74.

A longtime friend and supporter of McMaster, DeGroote made global headlines in 2003 following a landmark $105 million gift to the University. The gift established a number of medical research centres, and facilitated completion of the Michael G. DeGroote Centre for Learning and Discovery (MDCL). The McMaster School of Medicine was renamed the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine in 2004.

A decade later, graduands of the School of Medicine were surprised when DeGroote took to the stage during Convocation to announce a new $50 million gift. The latter supports an increased focus on national and international health leadership at McMaster, and prompted the forming of the Health Leadership Academy (HLA) – jointly overseen by the Faculties of Business and Health Sciences – among other resources and research endeavours.

The occasion marked the School’s silver anniversary and took place last week at the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto.

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The impending sale of the Easterbrook's on New Street at Guelph line may be the first step of a rebuild of that part of the city.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

October 2, 2017



The Burlington that many people want to stay just the same as it was thirty years ago have just a few days to enjoy an ice cream cone at Easterbrook’s on New Street.

Word from staff at the location is that the property has been sold.

Easterbrook on New StreetEasterbrook’s as it is today.

Someone will be getting bold and asking the city to give them height and density the city needs.

Times they are a changing indeed.

Intensification New St at Guelph possible

This is what the city planners think the Guelph Line – New Street plaza COULD look like.

Intensification New at Guelph - existing

This is what the Guelph Line – New Street plaza looks like today.

The Guelph Line New Street location isn’t part of one of the mobility hubs but the planners have high hopes and great expectations that something van be done with the plaza on the east side of Guelph Line – adding residential to the mix of that commercial site.

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City opens up with goodies for the senior set: celebrating National Seniors’ Day

News 100 redBy Staff

October 2nd, 2017



The City is hosting a series of open houses today to celebrate National Seniors’ Day and honour older adults who make a difference in our families, workplaces and communities.

Transit - seniors with Gould

Seniors at a meeting on the city’s transit service .

The celebration will kick off with a ceremony at City Hall at 9:50 a.m.; the Mayor will do the photo op thing with song from Sing, Sing, Sing, a choral group made up of three choirs.

Open houses will be held throughout the day at city facilities featuring a variety of activities and refreshments.

Attendees at the open houses will be entered for a chance to win one of two Burlington Seniors’ Centre annual memberships and one of two Parks and Recreation $25 gift cards.

Open Houses
Location: Aldershot Pool
Time: 10 a.m. to noon
Activity: Free swim

Mayor Rick Goldring has his membership application processed at the Seniors' Centre - filling another of his campaign promises.

Mayor has his membership application processed at the Seniors’ Centre.

Location: Brant Hills Community Centre
Time: 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Activities: Free pickleball and badminton

Location: Burlington Seniors’ Centre
Time: 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Activities: Facility tours, entertainment, bike ride and bike demo

Location: Tansley Woods Community Centre
Time: 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Activities: Sing, Sing, Sing performance, free swim, community group representatives and information tables

The ceremonies over the Naval Promenade becomes the fous with the Seniors' out in force listening to the All MAle Welsh Choir. Strolling along is Craig Stevens, the city's project manager on the pier project. He direction and oversight kept the project going when it got a little wonky at times - but that's another story.

Naval Promenade at Spencer Smith Park is the perch for seniors out in force listening to the All Male Welsh Choir.

All city pools and arenas will be offering free drop-in recreational or lap swims and skating for Adults 55+ on October 2nd.

No mention of the level of bus service that will be available.

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Draw for the wood salvaged from the willow trees in Spencer Smith Park to take place October 10th at city hall.

News 100 greenBy Staff

October 2, 2017



The city has managed to get a lot of mileage out of the wood salvaged from two trees they said had to be cut down – they had lived 70 years and that was enough.

The wood salvaged from the trees has become iconic and is being made available to people who the city thinks will do something useful with the planks.

There are 15 planks, no detail on the length, width or thickness that will be given to whoever wins a draw to take place October 10th at city hall

Willows - Weeping_Willows_Spencer_Smith_Park

The trees and the setting. The Trees and the Gazebo are no longer part of the scene in Spencer Smith Park.

There were 469 applications from people interested in making furniture or art from the wood 15 wood salvaged from those two iconic weeping willow trees removed from Spencer Smith Park.

The 70-year-old trees near the gazebo at the waterfront park at Lakeshore and Brant streets were removed in June 2016 after City of Burlington arborists found significant rotting and areas of decay in the trees. The trees were originally transplanted by park founder Spencer Smith in the 1950s.

The city is making use of the Spencer Smith willow tree wood through:

• Wood boards finished by local companies Arborwood Tree Service Inc. and Exotic Woods
• Wood chunks and 100 tree cuttings distributed in June
• A tribute planned for Spencer Smith Park at a later date.

Willow tree wood

Willow tree trunks being trimmed and turned into planks.

Due to the overwhelming interest in the wood boards, eligible applicants—those who demonstrate a skill in woodworking or who have hired a skilled woodworker—will be entered into a draw on Oct. 10. Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward will draw the winning names.

The community, including all willow wood applicants, is invited to watch the draw take place on Tuesday, October 10th at 5:45 p.m. in the Atrium of City Hall, 426 Brant St.

Those who cannot attend can see the video on the city’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. Winners do not have to be present when their names are drawn.

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