Burlington is one of 150 communities selected to create a 150 Mosaic - part of the huge art piece was done at the Art Gallery on the weekend.

artsblue 100x100By Staff

May 23, 2017



The Canada 150 Mosaic project brings together 150 communities and thousands of participants to create community murals that celebrate Canada’s unique history and culture. Burlington’s mural will be made of 400 tiles.

More elaborate tiles

This work is not part of the Burlington effort – it was in the painting room where people could get some ideas.

During the weekend literally hundreds of young people and their parents were at the Art Gallery taking part in what is going to be a national visual celebration of our 150 years as a nation.

Burlington residents were invited to paint their own tile that will become part of the mural.

When there is an open event that focuses on young people we get to see the Art Gallery at its best. The regular high brow art shows are fine – we do get to see some exceptionally good work.

What the kids bring is energy, enthusiasm and awe.

Leslie Page

Leslie Page runs the Children’s program at the Art Gallery

The art program for the younger set is guided by Leslie Page who was swamped with the turnout on Monday afternoon when she had to tell some people that the gallery was going to close soon – they could take one of the 400 blank tiles home, paint it and bring it back.

It was that kind of day.

Boy - his Canada

It was a “master piece as far as this young boy was concerned – the girl wasn’t as certain.

Everyone was welcome – they weren’t expected to be an artist to participate. The limited number of mural tiles were handed out on a first come, first served basis.

There was a painting set up at the Burlington Mall; the Gazette covered the event Monday afternoon at the Art Gallery

The finished product will be unveiled on Saturday, July 1, 2017 at the Burlington Music Centre on New Street at 10:00 am

Table of tiles - angled

Burlington’s contribution to the 150 different murals that are being created to celebrate our sesquicentennial

The Canada 150 Mosaic project is led by internationally recognized artists Lewis Lavoie, Paul Lavoie and Phil Alain. It is a mammoth undertaking.

On July 1st, Canada will turn 150 years old. It is a country that has welcomed the world through its borders.
To celebrate this birthday, the Mural Mosaic team is launching a bold undertaking. Over a two year span, the trio plan to create a mural including all provinces and territories, over 80,000 paintings and 150 individual murals that when united will form one gigantic mural mosaic. The mural, if ever connected would be over 365 meters wide (4 football fields) x 2.5 meters high (8 feet).

Grandin and Prevost - dominique

Two local artists look over the hundreds of tiles painted to make up the mural: Donna Grandin and Dominique Prevost seem to approve.

The mural will represent a cultural mosaic, a time capsule, a visual portrayal of history, an art masterpiece from the soul of the nation. An art piece that fifty years from now, may inspire another generation, who will in turn be able to celebrate through the mural, and maybe take it upon themselves to add to this memory

Like the first settlers to come to the country, this project is full of ambition, adventure and the desire to trail blaze into new exciting frontiers. It will also face great challenges and obstacles. But, if history proves itself correctly, the trio of art explorers, Lewis Lavoie, Paul Lavoie and Phil Alain will find their way and en route will meet up with like-minded art explorers and something remarkable will be born.

Girl piating a tile

Every tile was an individual effort – this artist is thinking through what she wants to say with her tile.

Each province and territory will have only 5-15 individual communities who will be selected to represent the province and the nation. Each community will host an event inviting participants from far and wide from their region to participate and create their own community mural, which will then connect to the nation.

Upon the completion of the entire Canada 150 Mosaic, each community mural will reside in the town or city where it was created as a reminder of the 150th anniversary, and the pride of the community and the nation.

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Burlington Herd has yet to win a baseball game. New owners must be grinding their teeth.

sportsred 100x100By Staff

May 24, 2017



Herd T-shirtThe Burlington Herd is still looking for that first game win this season.

They play Hamilton in Burlington on Thursday, May 25 at 7:15 pm

On Friday, May 26 they travel to London and play at Labatt Park – 7:35 pm

Standings May 23-17

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School closings: Who said what to who and what influence did they have? Parents to demonstrate outside MPP's office.

highschoolsBy Pepper Parr

May 23th, 2017


There were errors in an earlier version of this article.  Corrections have been made. A link to the circumstances that led to the errors appears at the end of this article.  The Gazette regrets its mistakes.

Some of the back channel meetings that are reported to have taken place are beginning to come to the surface.

Ontario’s Minister of Education Mitzi Hunter has managed to make time for two lengthy meetings with delegations from Burlington.

Denise Davy - Bateman supporter

Denise Davy

Denise Davy and Steve Armstrong met with the Ministry officials last including two policy advisors last week and a representative from the office of Burlington MP Eleanor McMahon. That meeting lasted about an hour.

Steve Armstrong + Cheryl deLught - Pearson

Cheryl deLught and Steve Armstrong

Davy works with the Bateman parents, Armstrong was a member of the Program Accommodation Review (PAR) Committee representing Pearson high school.

Closing both schools is part of the revised recommendation Director of Education Stuart Miller sent to the trustees.

More than 50 people delegated to the trustees earlier in the month. The trustees are now in the “information” stage – the last step before they meet June 7th to make their decision. The information session, a meeting where the trustees get to ask questions of the Director and his staff took place last week; that meeting was recessed until Wednesday of this week. They were not able to complete their questions before 11:30 pm when everyone just wanted to go home.

The final decision is made by the 11 trustees.

Among the issues discussed at the meeting with Davy and Armstrong and the Minister of Education was a reported request for a “cleaner, scandal free process”. Both parents wanted to get the Bateman and Pearson arguments before the Minister of Education and point out to her that they felt the whole PAR process was flawed.

Flawed it may be – but the decision making power is with the elected trustees and that process has to follow its natural course.

It is clear now that the trustees are struggling with the recommendation that was sent to them by the Director of Education.

Where things get interesting is with the meetings that took place in March when Central high school parents trooped to Queen’s Park and demonstrated in front of the Legislature.

MMW with T - shirt

Marianne Meed Ward at a Queen’s Park media event with Leader of the Opposition Patrick Brown Brown.

Meed Ward then held a press conference with leader of the Opposition standing beside her while she complained about the flawed PAR process.

Meed Ward then had a lengthy meeting (reported to have lasted two and a half hours) with the Minister of Education and Burlington MP Eleanor McMahon.

Managing to get two Ministers into the room for a lengthy meeting is not easily achieved.

McMahon - First public as Minister

Burlington MPP Eleanor McMahon.

When the Director of Education changed his recommendation – he hasn’t given a reason for the recommendation change – the Bateman parents began to mobilize and tell their story.

The obvious argument for closing Bateman is that it is 1.9 km from Nelson. There is much more to the Bateman story than its distance from Nelson.

Many had serious concerns over the appointment of Meed Ward to the PARC. If the expectation was that she would deliver for the Central high school parents, she appears to have done so.

Many Bateman parents refer to a comment from a Central parent who said: “We continue to believe that Central is not the problem; the problem lies in the southeast end of the city where Nelson and Bateman have significantly overlapping catchments, 1.9 kilometres apart on the same street, and Bateman has declining enrolment….”

One of the reasons for the PAR being held was that there were too many empty seats in six of the seven high schools – with the seventh, Hayden high school, operating at 130% + capacity.

Many argue that the building of Hayden is the reason the problem of all those empty seats exist.

The decision to build Hayden was made in 2008 when Peggy Russell, a perennial NDP candidate, was a Halton District school Board trustee.

Peggy Russell is a very forthright speaker, she makes her point and seldom backs down. Expect her to excel at the all candidate meetings

Peggy Russell former NDP candidate and a Halton District School Board trustee – she served as vice chair for a period of time.

Russell, who says she was never a push over for Staff, said she felt a need to speak out, saying “you know there is a great deal more to this whole picture than meets the eye and staff are not the ones you should be looking at here, nor should they be vilified in this manner, the individuals who set all this in motion should not be allowed to become a Hero in this whole debacle, it is really very simple.”

The Gazette was not able to actually speak to Ms Russel – the communication was via email.

Did Miller meet with MPP McMahon?  He did not.  As the MPP McMahon would want a briefing from the Director of Education.


Stuart Miller during a Q&A that took place on-line.

Did McMahon influence Miller so much that he changed his recommendation?  She did not.

Miller has said in the past that the recommendation to close some of the high schools in Burlington should have been made years ago – today he certainly wishes that had been done.

Has Meed Ward delivered for the central parents? – most certainly. Has that accomplishment hurt her desire to become the Mayor of Burlington? – only time will tell.

The issue right now is ensuring that the 11 trustees have all the information they need and that they have the wisdom to decide what is best for the city of Burlington.

Related article link
Gazette erred.



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Skinner school board delegation: we have some uncomfortable decisions to make.

highschoolsBy Staff

May 22nd, 2017



Jeremy Skinner, a Ward 5 resident with three students enrolled at Robert Bateman delegated to the Halton District school Board trustees and set out before them what his view of the issue before them was: “The challenge before us is how to maintain student equity in the delivery of programs and opportunities when student enrollments change.”

Skinner Jeremy

Jeremy Skinner

“I believe that the question before us is whether we have sufficient capacity amongst MM Robinson and Dr. Frank J. Hayden to permit the closure of Lester B. Pearson and whether we have sufficient capacity below the QEW to close Robert Bateman?”

Skinner said he felt “obligated to suggest that we “punt” by partitioning some or all remaining Secondary Schools to include students in Grade 7 and 8 like Aldershot and Burlington Central. This will have a positive affect on each Secondary School’s utilization rate which will buy us sufficient time to validate what our ultimate Elementary & Secondary School Network should look like and how best to transition to it.”

The benefits doing this include:

protects capital and staff investments which have already been made at Robert Bateman and Lester B Pearson.

provides flexibility in the board’s capacity response to spikes in future enrollments in Burlington North by enabling three Secondary Schools to respond.

Benefits Grade 7 & 8 students through exposure to a wider range of programs and opportunities such as the technical trades at an earlier grade.


Current elementary school catchment boundaries will need to be reassessed and redrawn as required.

Current secondary school catchment boundaries will need to be reassessed and redrawn as required.

Elementary schools may result in underutilization and thus may have to close.

Skinner added that “In the case of Lester B Pearson, I believe that the short-term risk for closure is too high because too much is dependent upon redirecting student enrollments associated with Dr. Frank J. Hayden to other Burlington-North Secondary Schools. I believe that this risk could be mitigated through Trustee led community discussions to seek agreements for student enrollment to Burlington-North Secondary Schools.”

Skinner then enlarged his field of view and said: “We need to consider the City of Burlington’s revised Official Plan, currently in draft, which identifies 8 major areas of intensification. They are:


The city’s latest approach to directing growth.

the Downtown Core and related Downtown Mobility Hub;
Uptown Centre located at Appleby and Upper-Middle Road;
Mobility Hubs which surround the Aldershot,  Burlington and Appleby GO stations;
The Fairview St. Corridor, and
Most major plazas

The intent is to provide for mixed-use of residential, retail and commercial development of these lands. This will likely take the form of:

relocating the bulk of ground level parking underground or into multilevel purpose built parking towers;

locating retail and/or commercial on the ground and lower floors which comprise the podium of mid-height and high-height residential buildings; and

integrating townhomes and/or stacked townhomes.

An illustration as to what is envisioned, can be found on the east side of Appleby Line from Corporate Dr. to Iron Stone Drive, just below Upper-Middle Rd. Please note that most of these areas of intensification are in South-Burlington. Regardless as to location, they must be considered in future Long Term Program Accommodation (LTPA) plans.

Appleby - East side south of dundas

Appleby Line from Corporate Dr. to Iron Stone Drive, just below Upper-Middle Rd

Given the information above, Skinner “questions as to whether we will have sufficient capacity in South Burlington in the longer term to warrant the closure of Robert Bateman which is best positioned to serve the proposed Appleby GO Mobility Centre.

He suggests “Partitioning Secondary Schools permits us to restore some of the Secondary School catchments back to what they were prior to the erection of Frank J. Hayden which covers North-East Burlington. Then we would adjust each Secondary School catchment to accommodate our best forecast of student enrollments from new residential neighbourhoods.

Bateman high school

Should the Boar of Trustees go along with what the Director of Education has recommended Bateman high school would be closed, demolished and the programs they deliver would be distributed to other high schools.

“Regardless as to which, if any, Burlington Secondary Schools are to close, I believe we are dependent upon HDSB to ensure that current students who are most vulnerable to change and those who seek a career based upon Technical Trade Skills.

“Accommodation of these students and their programs will require significant investments to any Secondary School which is to receive them.

Nelson HS aerial rendering

Many of the programs currently offered at Bateman high school would be transferred to Nelson high school. New facilities would have to be built – at a cost of $12 million

“I seek clarification for the statement made that “ Nelson will need to add technical shops and special need facilities to accommodate students transitioning from Robert Bateman.”

Skinner concedes that “that we have some uncomfortable decisions to make. The decision to even contemplate the closure of one or more secondary schools has a significant impact to the community fabric.”

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Getting tough to actually win a game - Herd gets clobbered by Leafs in an 11-4 loss.

sportsred 100x100By Staff

May 20, 2017



Herd-logoIt’s getting tough to actually win a game.

The Burlington Herd took an 11-4 shellacking from the Toronto Leafs in a Saturday afternoon game in Burlington.

A seven-run ninth inning turned a close game into a blowout for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Toronto led 4-3 before racking up five hits and taking advantage of a Burlington error in the bat-around inning.
Ryan White singled twice and doubled with an RBI and two runs to lead the Leafs. Daniel Szpik and Justin Marra each had two hits, an RBI and a run. Tyler Hardie singled twice and had an RBI and a run, while Grant Tamane, Adam Odd, Brendan Keys and Connor Lewis all drove in a run.

Toronto batters reached base 22 times with 12 hits and 10 walks.

IBL logo - all teamsJustin Cicatello (1-0) went six innings for the win, giving up three runs (none earned) on five hits. He walked three and struck out three.

Herd stats to May 20John Whaley had three hits and an RBI for the Herd, which fell to 0-4. Carlos Villoria had the other RBI. Justin Gideon singled, doubled and scored twice.

Adam Prashad (0-1) took the loss, going four innings and allowing a run on four hits with four walks and five strikeouts. He relieved Rich Corrente, who gave up three runs (one earned) on three hits in four innings. Corrente walked two and struck out two.

The Herd play next on:

May 21: 2:00 PM Burlington Hamilton
May 25: 7:15 PM Hamilton Burlington
May 26: 7:35 PM Burlington London
May 27: 1:05 PM Brantford Burlington

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Got a photo that tells part of the Burlington story - send it in and give up any rights you had to the picture.

News 100 redBy Staff

May 19th, 2017



As part of Canada’s 150 celebration, the City of Burlington is calling upon its residents to submit photos that capture Burlington’s iconic landmarks, including the beautiful lakefront and escarpment.

150 photo exhibitResidents are asked to submit their photos on Instagram and Twitter by including the hashtag: #BurlON150.

The submission period will run until Monday, June 19, 2017.

Selected photos will be published across social media (on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Credit will be given to the photo via username or full name, if available).

Visit burlington.ca/BurlON150  – for more information where you will learn that photos must be in a ‘square’ format (1080 by 1080 px if editing in Photoshop prior to submission).

Then the zinger – By submitting a photo, you release all ownership interest, right, copyright you have to the photo(s). Credit will be given to the photo via username or full name (if available).

The artists in town aren’t going to like this one bit.

The Mayor reminds us that “We know Burlington is a top place to live for many reasons, chief among them is its natural beauty and countless amenities and events. We’re asking residents to showcase Burlington for all to see.”

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Herd hasn't registered a win yet - but they aren't at the bottom of the league.

sportsred 100x100By Staff

May 19th, 2017


The bats were cracking when the Barrie Baycats managed to hold off the Burlington Herd in slugfest that ended with 14- 12 on the scoreboard.

Herd T-shirtThe Herd has yet to register a win in the InterCounty Baseball 2017 schedule.
Barrie opened the game with three runs in the first inning and, after multiple lead changes, survived a late charge from the Herd for its third straight victory to open the season.

IBL win-loss at May 18Kyle DeGrace had three hits, including a two-run home run to give the Baycats a 13-12 lead with one out in the ninth. DeGrace finished with three RBI. Jordan Castaldo also went 3-for-5 with a home run and three RBI, while Kevin Atkinson and Brandon Dhue each added solo blasts.

Branfy Infante singled twice, doubled, and had an RBI and run. Jeff Cowan and Glenn Jackson each drove in a run, and leadoff batter Conner Morro had two hits, three runs and an RBI. Barrie outhit Burlington 18-16.
Enerio Del Rosario (1-0) picked up the win, allowing four runs on three hits in two innings of relief. He walked two and struck out three.

Miguel Navarro started and went 4.1 innings, giving up five runs (three earned) on eight hits, while walking four and striking out four.

Burlington’s Justin Gideon went 5-for-5 at the top of the lineup, driving in a pair of runs and scoring three times. Canice Ejoh had three hits, including a home run, and drove in three with a pair of runs.

Ryan Freemantle and Andrew Leggo each had three hits and two RBI and combined for three runs. Logan Stewart had an RBI for the Herd, which held leads of 4-3 and 12-11 but but dropped to 0-3.

Branden Kuzyk (0-1) took the loss after giving up two runs on one hit with a walk in one-third of an inning.
Starter Ryan Beckett lasted 3.1 innings and yielded seven runs on five hits with three walks and a strikeout.
The Herd play on both Saturday and Sunday. They need at least one win.

Saturday, May 20: Toronto at Burlington, 1:05 p.m.
Sunday, May 21: Burlington at Hamilton, 2 p.m.

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Performing Arts Centre announces 2017/2018 program with a decided Canada 150 spin

News 100 redBy Staff

May 19th, 2017



Each year when the Performing Arts centre announces their program Brian McCurdy gets to have his picture taken with another accomplished woman in the field of the performing arts.

Tammy Fox

Tammy Fox,incoming executive director of the Performing Arts Centre.

This year Brian welcomed Tammy Fox into the job he has done so well in the past and keeps trying to retire from.

Ms Fox is the incoming Executive Director

The two of them announced the 2017/2018 line-up at The Centre’s annual season launch. “The seventh season will bring the best in Canadian and international performing arts to Burlington while engaging the community with meaningful and inspiring experiences.” said Tammy Fox.

Buffy St.Marie

Buffy Sainte-Marie

There is a decided Canadian spin on the program with Canadian icons Buffy Sainte-Marie, Gordon Lightfoot, Tom Cochrane with Red Rider, the Cowboy Junkies, Kim Mitchell, Michael Kaeshammer and Jann Arden scheduled to be on the stage.

The celebration kicks off on September 30 with returning Canadian favourites Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy.

The Barenaked Ladies bring their sold out Canada 1 Five 0 concert on October 26.

Shaun Majumder and An Evening with Cathy Jones & Mary Walsh bring world-renowned Canuck comedy to the stage.

Unique Canadian stories come to life in Fixt Point Theatre’s A Tale of a Town-Canada and Canadian science journalist Alanna Mitchell explores the global ocean crisis in her play Sea Sick.

The 2017/2018 Season also brings some Hollywood to the shores of Lake Ontario. Roseanne Barr and Louie Anderson bring their Emmy Award winning comedy and Olivia Newton-John, Amy Sky and Beth Nielson Chapman explore grief and gratitude in LIV ON.

Tartan Terrors

The Tartan Terror

From North America, The Centre goes global, stopping in India with the spectacle A Passage to Bollywood, a tumble to China with The Peking Acrobats and a skip to the Highlands, via Burlington, Ontario, with The Tartan Terrors.

The Holidays are an enchanting time for all ages at The Centre. The Ennis Sisters host an afternoon of yuletide cheer, and the Men of the Deeps bring a down home Cape Breton Christmas to the Main Stage.


The Canadian Brass

Canadian Brass is nearly synonymous with Christmas while The Nutcracker and Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol are quickly becoming a tradition at The Centre.

Getting tickets to these events goes like this:

The Season Launch attendees who could have been at the event Wednesday evening included – Sponsors, Donors, Media, Series Patrons (patrons who have purchased 4 or more shows to our previous Presenting Season), and Members.

Membership has 4 levels ($75, $200, $500, $1000).

Those who are in attendance were able to purchase their tickets last night – and there is usually a long line at the box office.

Sales the the public begins May 24, 11am Online and Noon by phone/in person.

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Conservatives pick their winner; candidate from Milton not looking all that good.

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

May 19, 2017



Rona Ambrose has been a credible, if not admirable, leader of Canada’s official opposition. Indeed, she has grown from her disappointing early tenure as Harper’s first environment minister. But then Harper promoted her, so she must have exceeded his expectations, doing what the boss wanted all his appointees in that job to do – reduce the role of the ministry in protecting the environment.

Rona Ambrose

Rona Ambrose, current interim Conservative leader leaving politics heading for a US Think Tank

And she’s smart enough to understand that the voters won’t stand for the kind of nastiness, as she has put it, which had characterized the Harper years. So it is unfortunate that after thirteen years in the saddle she will be changing horses, vacating her parliamentary seat and heading for more lucrative work south of the border. Or a better metaphor, she’ll be leaving the daily fish bowl in Ottawa for one of those lucrative beltway political shark tanks.

Her job as opposition leader is almost over anyway and will disappear at end of the month, once her party has chosen its new leader. Of course one could be forgiven for not knowing that a national leadership contest is underway, unless he/she is an ardent political observer, an active member of the Conservative party or a journalist. For one thing there are way too many candidates, thirteen, to seriously follow and keep track of, each with his/her own particular spin.

Then there is the thinly veiled racism that has surrounded the campaign, particularly with some ‘socially conservative’ candidates. This has had the effect of souring the entire process and reflecting unfairly on all the other contestants as a consequence. One would have hoped these prospective party leaders had learned their lesson about race-baiting from the last election.

Kevin oleary

Kevin O’Leary tries to be Canada CEO for all of 30 seconds; chickens out.

Or It could be that the star candidate, that neophyte political wannabe, Canada’s Donald Trump and self-proclaimed Mr. Wonderful, Kevin O’Leary, after trying out to be Canada CEO for all of 30 seconds, has chickened out, deserted the fold and literally left town. But our hero and super star candidate was also a first class membership recruiter, and he has asked his now disillusioned supporters to shift their allegiance to Maxime Bernier, making Max the current front runner.

Bernier is best remembered as the incompetent minister of foreign affairs who left a pile of sensitive files with a biker-chick, his gang-linked girlfriend, and had to be fired as a result. But he is a francophone which the party thinks is big plus for winning seats in Quebec. Though he has a remarkable, some would say scary, libertarian outlook on politics, threatening to destroy Canada’s agricultural supply management system, co-incidentally one on which so many Quebec farmers rely.

Bernie may be a tad extreme but is true to the conservative creed. In fact all of the candidates are preaching smaller government, promising to balance the budget and willing to cut some taxes. It’s that old fake saw about how cutting taxes for the rich will rain down riches on the poor. Since only the wealthy create jobs we need more of them to be wealthier.

All candidates want to get rid of the carbon tax, except the moderate, and maverick, Michael Chong from near-by Wellington-Halton Hills. He would cut income taxes to make the carbon one revenue neutral, à la BC. Chong, like Bernier, is a reformer though his focus is on building a better working government while Bernier sounds like he’d like to get rid of government entirely.

Conservative MP Lisa Raitt asks a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, May 4, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Conservative MP Lisa Raitt

There are only two women in the contest, and both from Ontario. Kellie Leitch has spent a lot of time and effort pitching better screening of immigrants to make sure they are Canada-ready when they get here. Her single issue is called ‘Canadian values’ though, try as she might, she is still having trouble explaining what that means. So the right-wing media assumes she’s talking-up racism and they love her – which is enough to turn most reasonable conservatives to consider anybody but Kellie.

The other female is former Labour and Transport Minister Lisa Raitt. A former Toronto Port CEO, she is one of the few candidates who actually held a senior executive position in the business world. And perhaps that explains her reasonable moderation for most things political. But being moderate doesn’t get you headlines, and to win a nomination for leader of a party now out of power – it helps if you get media attention.  Raitt is the MP for Milton.

The smart money is riding with Bernier come May 27th, particularly now that he has been given a big boost by Canada’s most famous dragon. But the voting is by a mail-in preferential ballot where party members get to rank their choices in the order they would like to have them, or strategically in order to keep some other candidate from winning. So the term ‘front runner’ could well be a misnomer for this box of political chocolates.

This leadership race could be described as a crap shoot, but at least it won’t be a bun fight, since it’ll all be decided by the click of a computer key. Being number one in a poll of thirteen candidates doesn’t mean being number one after the computer does its thing, adding in all the secondary choices. And it’s entirely possible that a candidate could win the election by riding to the top as the most popular second or third choice.

Ranked ballots were used before when the party elected Stephen Harper in 2004, but it was a smaller field of candidates then. Thanks in part to Mr. O’Leary there are about a quarter of a million eligible voters, though not all will vote, especially if Kevin fans decide to sit on their hands rather than vote for Mad Max. The Liberals had almost 300,000 members/supporters on their rolls but recorded less than half that number when it came time to vote at their leadership in 2013

Interestingly, the Conservatives, who have dismissed using a ranked ballot for national elections, are perfectly comfortable with exactly that process for their own leadership contest.

Bernir and girl friend

Maxime Bernier thought to be the front runner who may not have enough second choice support.

Anyway, I’m betting on front-runner Bernier to bring home the prize. And if the world worked the way it was supposed to, Kellie Leitch should finish last, given her polarizing approach to politics.

While the more moderate candidates like Michael Chong or Lisa Raitt might offer the best chance for the party to appeal beyond its ideologically-driven base, that is not going to happen. Chong’s support for the carbon tax makes him a long shot. And Raitt doesn’t sound like she really wants the job, suffering from a disorganized campaign and message. And if her recent interview with National Post columnist John Ivison is to be taken seriously, like Ambrose she may also be heading for the door.

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:

Ambrose –   Candidates –    Nastiness –    Conservative Leadership

Leadership Voting –   Racism and the Tories –   Leitch Video –   Rebel News

Pro Bernier –   Not Bernier –   Lisa –   Lisa Could Win –   Strange Campaign

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Provincial government releasses four significant reports on what they want to see done with the land we have.

News 100 redBy Staff

May 18th, 2017



The provincial government announced today the release of four significant reports that will impact the lives of everyone within the provinces border.

They are referred to as Land Use Plans.

COVER Niagara Escarpment Plan - thumb

Does the province still want to ram a road through the Escarpment?

They are changes to the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, the Greenbelt Plan, the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan and the Niagara Escarpment Plan

The Golden Horseshoe plan and the Niagara Escarpment plans are the ones that impact on Burlingtonians are the latest step in the government’s reform of Ontario’s land use planning system.

The government’s announcement has these four documents solving every problem known to man – and given that they are heading into an election in 2018 they will put a significant spin on this.

Cover - Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe - cover

Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe

The four plans work together to:

Build compact, complete communities with a diverse range of housing options that better connect transit to where people live and work

Retain and attract jobs

Support a thriving and productive agri-food sector

Strengthen protections for our natural heritage and water resource systems and reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Provide public open spaces for recreation and enjoyment

Help municipalities better prepare to minimize the negative impacts from a changing climate, such as more frequent and intense storms and flooding.

These updated plans, said the provincial government, will help ensure growth in the Greater Golden Horseshoe that is sustainable by making more efficient use of land, resources and infrastructure to reduce sprawl, protect farmland, water and natural resources, and promote better-designed communities that support a high quality of life for everyone living in the region.

COVER Greenbelt Plan - thumb

Greenbelt Plan

“Building complete communities and protecting the Greenbelt is part of the government’s plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.

“The Greater Golden Horseshoe is forecasted to grow by approximately 4 million people over the next 25 years and will be home to more than 13.5 million people, working in 6.3 million jobs by 2041.

“The updated plans build on the Provincial Policy Statement to establish a unique land-use planning framework for the GGH that supports complete communities, a thriving economy, a clean and healthy environment and social equity.

“Other reforms to the land use planning system include releasing an updated 2014 Provincial Policy Statement, reforming the Planning Act and Development Charges Act through the Smart Growth for Our Communities Act and proposed reforms to the Ontario Municipal Board.

There are a lot of changes taking place and people with very significant interests are deeply involved. The objective is to ensure that the public voice is clearly hard.

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Lakeshore Road gets a thick layer of asphalt - smooth ride to the new hospital entrance.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

May 18, 2017



The Beachway is undergoing a transition – you won’t recognize the place next time you are down that way.

While the city has closed the beaches – there isn’t all that much left of them – at least until the water levels recede the road in and out is a pleasure to drive.

Lakeshore Road to hospital

Hospital is on the right – nice new layer of asphalt on Lakeshore Road.

The bike lanes are a very welcome addition.

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Burlington’s Beachway closed due to high water levels

News 100 redBy Staff

May 18th, 2017


The City of Burlington has closed the beach at Burlington Beach Regional Waterfront Park—the Beachway—until further notice due to high water levels.

Beach erosion May 17-2017

Significant erosion due to high water levels in Lake Ontario. Wednesday afternoon it looked like this.

The closure takes place to protect public safety. There is significant sand erosion and debris at the shoreline.

Beachway Chld-Fest-2013-Family-sand-castle-1024x733

This is what the Beachway looked like in the summer of 2013. This is what climate change gets you.

The playground, concessions, washrooms, parking and recreational trail will remain open.

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Havendale lands to be developed by National Homes - 238 town homes proposed

News 100 blueBy Staff

May 17th, 2017



According to the Council member for Ward 1, “About 150 people attended a recent “open house” hosted by National Homes to view the developer’s proposal for the redevelopment of the Havendale lands.

Havendale lands photo

Ward 1 residents look over the proposed development for the Havendale property on Brant just north of the EMS station.

The developer is planning construction of 238 townhouses, in various forms.

The proposal (which has not been filed at City Hall) includes an extension of the road allowance from Belgrave Crt, through the new development to Brant Street.

Most people attending expressed relief that the proposal does not include high rise buildings but there were a series of questions and concerns related to traffic, drainage and parking which will ultimately need to be answered.

The Council member will “advise if and when a formal application is received at City Hall. He said his “plan to set up a small neighbourhood advisory committee to review the proposal in detail.”

The property was previously owned by the Catholic Church Diocese and was used as farm land that took off hay each year.

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Muir's Open Letter to the Halton District School Board trustees; asks how strong the Trustees are as decision-makers in this political context.

opinionandcommentBy Tom Muir

May 17, 2017



Tom Muir has been a relentless commentator who asked the hard questions and pressed even harder for answers and the information he felt the public was not getting.
Today – he writes the 11 Halton District School Board trustees outlining their role and the obligation they have to the public that elected them. Muir delegated to the Trustees last Thursday

Dear Trustees,

I have been considering the experience I observed on the evening I delegated to you  and wondering how you are going to move forward in the delivery of your duties and responsibilities.

Muir making a point

Tom Muir

Frankly, there is scarce evidence of your views or intentions in debating this report toward making decisions, and I find this troubling.

This week, May 17, as you know, there is another tabling of the Director’s final report, a formality for final decision on June 7. However, this tabling really only begins your task of, and responsibility for, a transparent and accountable decision-making process. I cannot delegate in person, so please accept this as a written delegation for the record.

This information report tabling allows for your opportunity for deep questions, analysis, and for motions and resolutions for amendments and changes to the Director recommendations.

I have troubling questions about how strong the Trustees are in decision-making in this political context, and if there are any Trustees who will say no to the Director and Board.

I have provided much information, analysis and commentary on this matter, so you should be familiar with this body of evidence, and what it says about the PAR process so far.

The Board and the Director constantly worked at obstructing my efforts to engage the process and investigate the Conditions 1 and 2 that formed the justification for the PAR.

My requests for relevant information were constantly ignored and/or refused. I was forced to go to the Office of Information to request pertinent information, and then I was subjected to more obstruction.

The information I was able to get, which I have provided to you, gives evidence-based proof that the state of utilization that the Board cites as Condition 1 was knowingly and deliberately caused by the Board.

It’s irrefutable that the declines in utilization of those schools are planned declines, the direct result of Board actions.

I’m having problems with how you are portraying the utilization of the schools, like it’s due to natural causes and demographics, and therefore that’s the problem, not the Board’s intention and action. You have been doing this for most of the time since this all started. This misrepresents the situation, and is not truthful.

As I said in my delegation of May 11, utilization in Burlington was planned and directed so as to fill a NE Burlington school (Hayden), and the evidence clearly shows that this was done by choking the life out of 4 of the 6 existing Burlington schools, with premeditation.

Pearson enrollment - monitoring

Steve Armstrong graphed data showing that the changing of boundaries and limiting the feeder school is what put the Pearson high school at risk of closing.

The current UTZ was planned long ago, and imposed by the Board – it didn’t just happen by itself. I have provided proof of this in the data.

But rather than getting to the bottom of how to fix the underlying causes, the Board focused on stopping release of pertinent information to me and the public, including forcing me to submit an FOI request, and even then further obstructing and refusing the release of information.

The current situation of low utilization was caused by the Board, and only by them. Refusing to be transparent and accountable for this is the big lie of the Board.

Now using this PAR, the same Board is now blaming the victims, and recommending that two of the six victims be sacrificed by closure.This recommendation by the Director came right at the start of the PAR, with no public discussion.

To decide the closures, the victims were pitted against one another, a process still ongoing, but it didn’t matter. After a long process the Director still wants his two victims.

His reasons are not the true context, but as they say, if repeated over and over again, people will eventually believe it.

For truth in your deliberations, you have to note each time that you discuss utilization, that the rates of UTZ are the result of a conscious decision by the Board, and implemented in their planning by building Hayden and putting 1500 students there from the other schools and their feeders, causing the planned declines in UTZ in those schools.

Now, as the result of these known consequences, they want to close schools to make it up, and that’s part of their plan too.

There is no accountability, and I think that’s part of the Trustees job to call out, but it’s not evident.

What I have seen is a general administrative failure of transparency and accountability by all the Board, and a failure to show visible oversight on the part of the Trustees.

Do you plan on doing anything to correct this misrepresenting slant, and the failure of accountability?

Stuart Miller

Halton District school Board Director of Education Stuart Miller

The Director’s report also speaks of Condition 2 for the PAR. This mentions that the PAR will address questions of equity of opportunity for students, but I see no concrete problem analysis, or details of solutions.

The report also states that “reorganization involving the school or group of schools could enhance program delivery and learning opportunities.” Please note that the Condition 2 uses the action words “could enhance”. It does not say “will” and so guarantees and specifies nothing.

There is no transparent and accountable information provided by the Board indicating any details of the delivery of this Condition 2 aspect of the PAR. There are only abstract assumptions, and ideology, that larger enrollments and schools allow for this. This assertion is disputed by education studies, and by parents and students in Burlington.

I repeat the point made about how much the financial operating savings are with closures of empty spaces. The $2 million operating cost savings is the only operating funding that is spent on maintaining empty spaces. Since there is no increase in budgets for instruction, more programming cannot come from there,

The PAR Policy statement says that; “Decisions that are made by the Board of Trustees are in the context of carrying out its primary responsibilities of fostering student achievement and well-being, and ensuring effective stewardship of school board resources.”

I remind the Trustees that you will be closely watched to see how your decisions fulfill these duties and responsibilities, in a transparent and accountable way.

Bateman - crowd scene


I ask you to demonstrate how closing Bateman fosters student achievement and well-being in our most vulnerable, and needing of extra support, children? After seeing some of these kids at the delegations, I don’t know how you could in good conscience close their school for so little savings and so much cost, as the most expensive option.

And show me how removing the possibility of the small school experience of Pearson, with the integrated day-care facility, fosters the same things, while providing a test of the real validity of the large school ideology currently dominating the Board planning and design.

And I look forward to you showing me how you equate the ensuring of effective stewardship of school board resources with the closing and loss of 2 of Burlington’s community schools, and the gain of practically nothing of significance in the financial and fiscal condition of the Board. The ignoring of future growth needs, and social changes, is especially reckless regarding closure induced over-utilization, and risks of pressure for renewed future schools and capital needs.

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

Dr. Frank J. Hayden High School

Remember again, it was the Board that created this problem in a planned, deliberate way, and this added cost of school closures in this deliberate plan, in building Hayden, must not be swept under the rug in an attempt to forget it. That is what I see happening now.

I argue that based on demonstrated benefits to student achievement, and stewardship of school board resources, now and in the foreseeable future, there is no case to close any schools. There are simply no demonstrated financial gains in closing schools, thereby destroying the community of Burlington schools, to provide any meaningful benefits. This is the truth of the matter.

Indeed, it is always in the best interest to deliver and act on the truth, because there is no telling what harm will come of leaving out these details in the future. That’s really what happened by leaving out the truth of Hayden’s impact, so please, let’s not compound that mistake by closing schools.

At bottom, we are not only dealing with numbers or dollars, but instead with children, and essentially the future of our community. This makes our decisions much more important than just taking care of business.

The trustees have within their authority the means to move boundaries, feeders, and programs in order to undo the skewed enrollment caused by building Hayden without considering the consequences.

Hayden was built and filled with students by transfers from existing schools that can just as easily be undone.

Trustees - fill board +

The Halton District School Board trustees in session

In conclusion, the Trustees do not have a pressing need to close schools, and it appears that on planning, financial, fiscal, risk, student benefits from demonstrated significantly enhanced academic offerings as opposed to known negative impacts, the real net economic effects looked at closely, and the impacts on the overall school community, it makes no sense.

If you happen to disagree with this assessment, it is your responsibility to demonstrate your reasons in a transparent and accountable way.

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The games have begun - June 7, of 2018 is the finish line for the next provincial government.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

May 16, 2017



They come in at the rate of at least five a day – and they cover everything the provincial government has done or plans to do. Media releases advising of a new piece of legislation or an announcement an Minister is going to make.

They churn them out at an astounding rate – three that we got in one day – there were more.

PROV news - announcement

PROV news - bottles

PROV news - bottles

Ministers are on the go every day of the week – they might not get a summer vacation.

The Liberals are a government with some serious problems on their hands – the best thing they have going for them is the Progressive Conservative Party and the New Democratic Party where Andrea Horwath just hasn’t caught in with the public.


NDP leader Andrea Horwath and PC leader Patrick Brown talking in a corridor of Queen’s Park

Patrick Brown, leader of the Progressive Conservatives, doesn’t get very many people excited – those with a tighter focus on their version of family values love the man and wish he would come out with stronger statements. That isn’t likely to happen – the population of the province wouldn’t go for it.

The Liberals have put out a call to begin to get ready now for the 2018 provincial election.

“In the lead up to the 2015 federal election” said a message to their members “thousands of Ontario Liberals went door-to-door in our local neighbourhoods or made phone calls to support our federal Liberal friends.

“These Days of Action are credited with laying the ground for a Liberal victory then.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne speaks at the hearings into the gas plant cancellations at Queen's Park in Toronto on December 3, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Blinch

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne listening intently.

“Now, just in time for the one-year count down to the 2018 provincial election, we’re pleased to announce that the Ontario Liberal Party will be hosting our own province-wide Days of Action, starting on June 3rd.”

Ontario’s next election will be on June 7, 2018 and ballots counted electronically to shorten nail-biting waits for winners under the proposed modernization of voting laws.

Let the games begin.

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Council passes a bylaw - Taxes due on June 21 and September 21

News 100 blueBy Staff

May 16, 2017



Yesterday City Council approved the 2017 Tax Levy Bylaw that allows the Finance department to end you a tax bill on with payment dates of June 21 and Sept. 21, 2017.

Highlights of the budget which was approved in January include:

• The 2017 budget delivers a base budget increase that continues to invest in existing services and reflects the objectives of the city’s long-term financial plan.
• The budget maintains the $4.8 million annual contribution toward the Joseph Brant Hospital reserve fund to meet the city’s $60 million commitment to the redevelopment project.
• This budget continues City Council’s commitment to a dedicated annual tax increase to address infrastructure renewal based on the city’s Asset Management Plan.
• The city’s approved operating budget of $238 million for 2017 provides a wide range of services and programs, including the maintenance of roads, community facilities, fire protection, parks and transit.

Tax 2017 chart

Tax chart – breaks out what the city spends and what it collects for other levels of government.

Additional service investments for 2017 include:

$254, 000 for maintaining the urban tree canopy
$200, 000 for the maintenance of sports fields
$80,000 in enhancements to washrooms in waterfront parks
$30,000 to support ongoing community events.

The budget is made up of two parts –

Capital budget

Operating budget

The city provides an infographic setting out where those tax dollars are spent.

Tax operational 2017

Tax Capital budget infogr 2017

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Nursery co-op worried that it will be seen as just collateral damage if Pearson high school is closed.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

May 16th, 2017



Any plans to close Lester B. Pearson high school are complicated. A small school with enrollment at 30% below the expected utilization level happens to be the home of the Pearson Cooperative Nursery school, an operation that has been around for more than 40 years and operated very successfully.

In her delegation last week Fiona Wielhouwer was pretty blunt: “ We are here tonight to ask some important questions that have yet to be answered.”


Secure secluded playground for the nursery students – with a nice patch of forest yards away.

The nursery is funded by the city to some degree and by the fees it charges patents. The building it is in – is owned by the school Board but a lot of the capital costs were paid for by the city and the city provides ongoing financial support.

“Our first concern: said Wielhouwer is  the agreement between the City of Burlington and the school board. The community space where the nursery school is located, as well as the third gym (a double gym is typical for a school Pearson’s size), was built cooperatively with capital investments from both the city of Burlington and the Halton School Board. The community had input into the use of the space and the Integrated Community School partnership initiated Pearson Cooperative Nursery school.

“The nursery has had a long standing partnership with the City of Burlington, not the HDSB, for our space. The city paid for part of the community room and the expanded size of the gym, for which the city has an operating agreement with the school board that hasn’t expired – how can that be agreement be broken for the strategic purposes of the school board? Why should the city and taxpayers allow this to happen?

Wielhouwer addressed the issue of rent paid for the space and said “We are not ‘getting away’ with not paying rent. The agreement for the community space that our nursery school occupies gives the city, not the school board, authority to establish the use, policy, regulations and scheduling of the community space.

Despite what some may have been lead to believe, it is not for the Board to charge us rent or a user fee. The city has acknowledged this. The spirit of this agreement was to have a community space that was used by and benefitted the community, which it has for 40 years.

Wielhouwer questions the availability of funding for a potential new space, the timing, and whether the nursery would actually fit the criteria for funding. “This is a major question” she adds. Any funding for a new preschool space would be provided to meet only the minimum requirements from the Ministry…a new classroom would shrink to half our current size and our playground would be diminished by over 50% We also estimate the cost of just the move to be over $22 000.

She adds that: “In addition, over the past 10 years, the nursery has spent $71,000 on capital improvements to the space. Would we be reimbursed for this spending that we would be forced to leave behind?. The financial implications of a move could cripple our non-profit organization.

“This concern has been brushed aside by board staff stating that there would be funding available. Relocation is not a simple solution, and as a small organization run by a board of volunteer parents, we cannot count on an undefined source of funding, nor can we afford moving and remuneration costs. If our worst fears should come to pass…and we are forced out of Pearson and are unable to afford relocation that would result in five people becoming unemployed because of a strategic, unnecessary decision by the board.”


Forty years of history might go down the drain of the high school the nursery is attached to is closed.

“This is not just about us” said Wielhouwer. “The nursery school students and families are not the only beneficiaries from our organization.” Alijcia Gibson, the co-op teacher at Pearson said “Having access that is readily available for students to be able to see the development of children during their fundamental years is something that is not only unique for students at Pearson but instrumental in making the connections between the curriculum and the real world….this practical component has helped the students enjoy and experience success in the classroom.”

There is a key phrase that Wielhouwer uses that points up the problem she is having with the school Board and that is – “a true community school”.

This school board does not appear to have much, if any interest, in community schools. The guiding philosophy at this point seems to be large high schools with enrollment of 1000 + students – 1200 appearing to be the optimum number. The rationale for this approach is that larger high schools allow for a much more inviting academic menu.

Concerns about fiscal prudence don’t seem paramount – the money will be found is what Fiona Wielhouwer seems to be hearing.


An interesting teaching tool – does it portray the lack of any direction for the future of the nursery.

Community is just not something that shows up on the radar screens the bureaucrats use to guide where they are going. School spirit seems to be the point at which the school Board superintendents view what community is all about.

The parents fully understand the importance of school spirit but they, unlike the superintendents, see school spirit as something that is a part of the community.

There is no clear sense as to what the trustees actually hold in the way of a philosophy. It has been very difficult to figure out just what the individual trustees think – they don’t answer questions.

Few of them, in Burlington, have said very much about what for them is the philosophy that drives their thinking.

The Gazette asked each of the trustees to rank community, fiscal prudence and academic services – they were directed not to do so while the PAR was taking place. With the PAR completed one trustee came back with “we don’t want the public to know what we think because they will then delegate and focus on what our philosophy”. So much for an understanding of what the democratic process is all about.

Wielhouwer summed up her delegation telling the trustees that “a nursery school within Pearson is ideal for a true community school. The central location with its big bright windows, looking out on the meticulously maintained playground and forest beyond is a rare find in a city where many young children’s programs are housed in basements or overlooking parking lots and busy streets.”

“Our children need nature and the outdoors, which is a key part of the program at Pearson. Our youngest learners need to be respected with a space that is designed for them (like our nursery school with its tiny toilets and low counters), not gathered like an afterthought in an unused room in a building designed for other purposes.

“Should the nursery school children be collateral damage from this closure? Shouldn’t their needs be considered the same as the high school students?

LBP Rachelle Papin 2

Ward 4 school Board Trustee Rachelle Papin – didn’t ask any questions and wasn’t certain she had actually received the report from Wielhouwer.

“Choosing to close Lester B Pearson High School would have lasting and irreversible consequences that will impact many families. It will force a financially sound, thriving, non-profit nursery school with deep roots in the community to close its doors after 40 years. A decision to close Pearson would impact students aged 2.5 to 18. Pearson High school needs to remain open so our staff, families and high school students can continue to work together for another 40 years allowing children to grow, play and learn.

The School Board delegation process allowed five minutes for each presentation with another five minutes for questions from the trustees.

Fiona Wielhouwer was not asked one single question.

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Mayor comes out against re-development of the Waterfront Hotel property.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

May 16th, 2017



Maybe more construction cranes on the city horizon?  Maybe not – Mayor has decided the waterfront belongs to all the people.

More of the waterfront is getting looked over with an eye to some development – on the south side of Lakeshore Road.

The Mayor’s office put out a call for citizen participation in deciding what should get built on the Waterfront Hotel property.

Here’s what His Worship had to say:

Next week, the City of Burlington is starting a study that affects the future of our waterfront and I am asking everyone in Burlington to get involved.

Waterfront hotel with pier at foot

Waterfront Hotel – at the foot of Brant Street overlooking the pier has been working through plans to re-develop their property – with some co-operation from the city in the past. What changed?

The Brant and Lakeshore planning study commences on Wednesday, May 24, 2017. It will consider what should be located on the property at the foot of Brant Street that is currently home to the Waterfront Hotel.

The owner of the property ­­– Burlington 2020 Lakeshore Inc. — is interested in redeveloping the site. As such, the City’s Official Plan, which is the guiding planning document for Burlington, requires the City to complete a master plan for this area.

This master plan is critically important, as this site is prime waterfront land surpassing anything found in the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area in natural beauty and access.

Bridgewater from lake on the east

The Bridgewater project – right next door to the Waterfront Hotel, began their land assembly in 1985. In 1995 city council approved a 22 storey development that was described at a legacy project.

As Mayor, I am very concerned about the impact any redevelopment could have on our waterfront.

I believe an option needs to be considered that converts this property to open space as a natural extension to the existing park for the future enjoyment of all Burlington residents.

Residents frequently tell me public space on our stunning waterfront is important to them and to our community. I agree wholeheartedly. And I believe that redevelopment of this site will not be welcomed.

Two community workshops for the Brant and Lakeshore planning study are scheduled for Wednesday, May 24, 2017 at 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. in the Blue Water Ballroom at the Waterfront Hotel, 2020 Lakeshore Rd. Read more here.

Let me know what you think by emailing mayor@burlington.ca. We need to have as many people in our community involved in this essential conversation about the future of this waterfront property.

Excuse me?

Where was His Worship when the city sold off a stretch of the best land this city has along the edge of the lake between Market and St Paul Street.  A petition with more than 2000 names was submitted – didn’t make a pinch of difference.  The land was sold and the city pocketed next to nothing – more than half of the property was owned by the province who said they would do whatever the city chose to do.


The sale of the land was the deal of the century – the owners of the abutting property saw an opportunity and went after it – city council, to there everlasting shame, let it happen. Now His worship wants to save the Waterfront Hotel property – where will the money come from to pay for it?

All the citizens of the city got out of it was two Windows to the Lake.

In the 2010 election Marianne Meed Ward made saving the waterfront her campaign cry.  Looks like His  Worship is trying to scoop her on that issue as things began to gear up for 2018.


How we sold a crown jewel.

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An update from Lowville - skatepark plans; movie night, the Festival and the volume dial on your ghetto blaster

News 100 greenBy Walt Rickli

May 15th, 2017

Lowville, ON


Let’s start with something very important. The City of Burlington is proposing a Skatepark in North Burlington. The two options are Lowville Park and Kilbride Park. There will be a public information meeting Thursday May 18th at Kilbride Public School from 6:30 to 8:30. Historically this is the time to have your opinion heard, the City does listen however we need to be present to have input into this decision.

Lowville Rickli with torch

Lowville natives celebrating the Winter Solstice; life is different in the Hamlet.

For those of you who cannot make the meeting and wish to have me pass on your thoughts please send them to me in an email. Please put “Burlington Skate” park as the subject.

So, now let’s talk about the Lowville Movie Night…every time it happens there is a bigger turn out! The conversations that happen afterward are awesome…its such a great experience to share a movie with your community. This Wednesday May 17th , at the Lowville schoolhouse is the next movie night. It will feature the documentary “Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things”. The show starts at 8:00…pizza and cider at 7:31

I can’t send out an email without mentioning… you know what I’m talking about… Ya, you got it… “The Lowville Festival”. Hard to believe however there are still some tickets available. This will be the largest festival to happen in Lowville in a long time…if ever… Hope to see you there.


Liona Boyd, featured at the Lowville Festival

Lowville Festival is May 26th -28th, we are reaching for the stars with Liona Boyd, Second City: Canada The Thinking Man’s America and Motus O’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’. And don’t miss ‘Beautiful Sights and Sounds in the Escarpment’ a free event we are presenting with the Art Gallery of Burlington at Lowville United Church.

For Tickets and additional information go to www.lowvillefestival.com, A Different Drummer Books, or call Bob 289-260-1109.

Here is a quick update on the River Ruin Property. We had a great first meeting with a unanimous decision that we will do what we can to preserve the land. A core group was formed to pursue this adventure. I’ll keep you posted…

Picture this…you are up north…early morning , afternoon, late evening…you pick the time. You,re sitting outside enjoying nature at its best… awe…quiet. The all of a sudden its BOOM BOOM BOOM THUMP THUMP THUMP…someone down the lake has their stereo cranked. Sound travels not only up north but in towns and villages. We all love music however not all the time. A great exercise when you want to enjoy music in the outdoors is to walk over to the edge of your property and see how loud it might be…then adjust accordingly. Music…enjoy it responsibly.


Lowville Festival program and background.

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School closing delegations bring out a lot of new information - public input brings out concerns the parents have wanted to express for more than six months. Trustees are being overwhelmed with data.

highschoolsBy Pepper Parr

May 15th, 2017



Steve Armstrong was one of the 14 members of the Burlington community that sat on the PAR – tasked with being the conduit between the Board of education and the community.

It is safe to say that every member of the PARC believes the process was badly flawed and resulted in communities fighting with each other rather than working together to find a solution that worked for everyone.

PARC Jan 27 full group

PARC committee needed some time to understand the rules they had to work within. They had begun to realize that they were in an impossible situation yet began to come to the conclusion that not closing any schools was perhaps the best option for the immediate future.

The PARC leadership was not able to find a route to a solution; the PARC members did begin to coalesce around the option that called for no school closures. What the PARC did do was reject the original recommendation which was to close Central high school and Pearson high school.

The second recommendation recommended closing Bateman high school and Pearson high school; that led to a much closer look at just what Bateman had going for it – a lot more than many people realized.

That realization and the better late than never arousal of the Bateman parents brought some exceptionally valid information the public didn’t have before. We will have more detail on just what Bateman does have going for it; as much if not more than Central.

Steve Armstrong, a Pearson parent said in his delegation that the Board of Education’s utilization (that portion of the capacity of a school that is being used) sits at 75% and, based on the Board’s projections, will hit 80% in 2020.

That 75% is a city wide number – it includes all the schools – some of which are at the Board policy utilization level of 90% while others are at significantly below.  Pearson is one of the schools significantly below.   Armstrong believes that “If these sorts of numbers (75%)  were being seen at each of the schools we wouldn’t be undergoing this process.”

Armstrong prepared a series of graphs, one of which showed that Burlington’s overall actual enrollment bottomed out in 2014, and is presently on the rise. He also shows yearly Long Term Accommodation (LTAP) for as far back as 2006. The curve labeled as 2010 represents the 2010-2011 LTAP data.

Burlington city wide

This graph shows what the LTAP boundaries were for each of the years – the actual number is shown in red and indicates that enrollment bottomed out in 2014

“Just focusing on the pattern associated with 2020 enrollments we can see that from the 2010 projections up to the most recent data provided to the PAR Committee there has been a strong increase in the expected numbers. Over 700 students to be exact, and 2020 isn’t very far away.”

Oakville city wide

The LTAP numbers for Oakville are shown for comparison

Armstrong notes that this pattern is also seen in the Oakville data, but is a little more “bursty”, and makes bigger jumps when it moves. Not surprisingly the accuracy of the projections goes down, in both municipalities, the further out one looks.”

“The Region is growing, the City is growing, high school enrollment is growing, and the pattern has been that the projection errors tend to underestimate the actual numbers. This isn’t to surprising as the Board recognizes the planned housing growth at a different point than the City does.

PARC Andrea Taylor MMR with PARC member

Andrea Taylor, Principal at M.M. Robinson in conversation with Steve Armstrong during a PARC meeting.

Given the known near term growth, and the lower confidence in the projections beyond 5 years, extreme caution regarding closing schools is merited. Especially if it involves selling real estate assets in return for short term cash benefit.”

“High over utilization (crowding) creates problems, and low enrollment numbers will reduce some opportunities for studnets. Both situations alter the student experience, and we have these conditions present in two close proximity schools located in north Burlington – Hayden and Pearson. As the image below indicates they show a large overlap in “walkability” zones.”

The most recent projections indicate that if nothing changes Hayden will grow in size and be 600+ students over capacity by 2021. And there is no room for additional portables or a permanent addition on that site.

No 7 unwalkable areas

The symbol indicating the school aligns with the boundary area. Armstrong identified just three relatively small areas where a student would not be expected to walk to school from.

Option 19 had proposed to move the French Immersion (FI) program to MM Robinson as a way to deal with this looming issue. The Board had also listed in its Options the idea of capping enrollment, with extra students being redirected to an overflow school.

The PAR Committee also briefly discussed boundary changes, but ultimately the present recommendation stays with moving FI, and monitoring the situation going forward.

Armstrong has great concern and takes “exception to the simple notion of “monitoring”,.

Armstrong argues that the “enrollment numbers for Lester B Pearson as depicted in this graph “we can visualize three sets of data. The upper most curve represents the projected enrollment prior to a boundary change associated with the opening of Hayden. The boundary change purposely reduced the expected enrollment to just below 600 students. Apparently smaller enrollments where Ok back then! The actual enrollment went off the plan quickly, and significantly. Presently that school is sitting 30% below its planned student body, and indeed those 392 students are witnessing the problems of too little enrollment.”

Pearson enrollment - monitoringArmstrong doesn’t have much faith in the Board’s plan to monitor.  “If monitoring simply means standing by and watching then that is unacceptable. If 30 % off target isn’t enough to trigger action what is? The Board needs to put a stronger set of actions around tracking and managing, and the Trustees needs to press for frequent reporting back to them” he said.

Armstrong wil tell you that “Hayden definitely has a “vibe” to it, and it’s more than just being a new building. “When I toured the school as a PARC member I couldn’t help but feel that Burlington needs more of this. In reality, feel probably has little to do with the age of the walls.”

Armstrong likes the idea of conjoining Hayden and Pearson as a way of combining the best of both schools. “If Hayden’s Principal was to also oversee Pearson, similar to what happens with some elementary schools, would this not help ensure success? Since the goal is that some of the students presently going to, or about to start at Hayden, would be instead attending Pearson, why not bring some of the teachers over as well he asks.

Pearson has been a vibrant smaller school in the past, and not everyone is seeking out everything that a large school has to offer. Armstrong points out that currently 25% of Pearson’s students do so through optional attendance. A similar percentage also attend Bateman’s English stream program through optional attendance. Apparently there is value in having such environments available both north and south of the QEW.

With a proposal like this both student bodies expand their programming options, in an environment most suited to their preferences.

“The current set of recommendations would move the city’s overall utilization from the present 80% trajectory to 108%. Based on the historical inaccuracies of the projections beyond the 5 year mark this plan greatly increasing the risks of requiring capital intensive construction in the future.

“Hayden’s projections involve it running at 150% of capacity by 2021. Redirecting FI to MM Robinson to relieve overcrowding is too critical to simply leave to “monitoring” the progress.

“Closing Pearson removes close proximity capacity from the North, eliminates an option for smaller school attendance, and takes what by 2020 will be a 88% utilization up to 111% overall for the remaining 2 schools.”

“Change isn’t always easy” acknowledged Armstrong. “Perhaps starting with a smaller project, that would develop better community based problem solving, is in order.”

Option 7 - short

Closing no schools was always an option – it just took the PARC members some time to realize it might be the best one. 7 dots

Option 19 short

The original option to close Central and Pearson was interesting to those who were not representing either of the schools. 9 dots

Option 28 - short

This was the same as option 19 with some variation on boundary changes and shifts in the program offerings. 9 dots

Armstrong has come to the conclusion that Pearson is necessary to give Hayden some breathing room and to continue the community based approach to problem solving.  He was a strong advocate for retaining access to a smaller school in the North.

The PAR committee members were asked to rank the options that were before them.  Each of the 14 PRAC members were given two dots to put on which ever option they favoured. The objective was to begin to whittle down the 40 plus options that were on the table.  The results made it immediately clear that there wasn’t going to be anything near the consensus the Board would have liked to see.  It also meant that the trustees had a very hard job ahead of them.

After his three months of work on the PARC, Armstrong feels the trustees need to vote for the “close none of the schools option” and allow time for the Board, with significant involvement from the community, to fully study the issues and finally get it right.

Like many in the community, Armstrong believes that Hayden should not have been built – but it exists and parents are going to have to live with that decision.  That is is a fine school today, even though it is over crowded, should not blur the issues about what is done with the other six high schools.


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