Bike Thieves target YMCA - can you help identify them?

Crime 100By Staff

April 28th, 2017



Can you help?

Police are seeking assistance from the public to identify a male responsible for three separate bicycle thefts from the YMCA Burlington.

bike Suspect picture 1Bike Suspect picture 2Anyone who can identify these suspects is asked to contact D/Cst. Mark URIE of the Burlington Criminal Investigations Bureau – Residential Property Crime Team @ 905-825-4747 ext 2338. Tips can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers “See something, Hear something, Say something” at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), through the web at, or by texting “Tip201” with your message to 274637 (crimes).

Return to the Front page

Reaction begins to set in: parent writes a 21 point letter on what she heard at the school board meeting.

highschoolsBy Dianne Miller

APRIL 28th, 2017


The reaction begins: parent Dianne Miller write about her experience at the meeting where Director of Education Stuart Miller reports to the trustees.

After attending a rally for two schools (I have a teenager at each of the proposed school closure sites) prior to the meeting last night I went from a feeling of wow – so many care – to wondering if it is remembered that two schools are up for closure.

I apologize for the length of this letter, I hope you will take the time to read it.

For three hours, a group of parents, students, and community members, sat and listened both to Stuart Miller trying to defend the most expensive option that he is recommending and to the school trustees who had a chance to ask many, many questions. Kudos to some of the trustees. It was obvious some had read the proposal; reflected; made notes; had very pointed questions; were there to challenge the proposal; hear rational arguments; present alternatives; defend the school they were representing (if up for closure). The difference in those fighting for their school and those who were not was striking.

I have to respond to some things that I heard last night that were in obvious conflict or were not addressed for myself.

1) A gentleman sitting beside Mr. Miller (to his left for those sitting in the community section) (Dom Renzalla) responded to why Kilbride students had been removed from LBP and redirected to Frank J. Hayden High School.

The rationale…it didn’t make sense for them to pass by two schools. Really? Then what justification was reached to have Orchard students “pass by” LBP to head to Nelson and/or Bateman? What justification was utilized to take two new northern community developments (one already decided in a boundary review (prior to the PARC process completion) and another slated to MMR in the Director’s proposal) to pass by LBP (the closer school) to head to MM Robinson?

2) The focus in response to the only question Trustee Papin seemed to ask related to defending LBP related to the decreasing numbers. The response – Kilbride students were only about 80 students (it was closer to 120) and wouldn’t stop the declining numbers. No but ignoring the fact that Hayden was originally meant to have 4 feeder schools but now has 7 feeder school while Pearson has 1.5 feeder schools definitely is relevant. So too is the decision to have the two new developments go to MMR (passing by LBP). A further 2 other proposed developments north of the highway has also been ignored.

No matter what facts/logic that has been put forth – i.e. 1284 of the 1800 empty spaces are south of the highway; 3 years of overcrowding at Frank J. Hayden (that’s okay, we will monitor); and the fact that both MMR and LBP can be the solution to that overcrowding, have all been roundly ignored.

3) Splitting cohorts – this seems to change depending on the situation and which school is being discussed. So the ideal is no splitting of cohorts? Well, C.H. Norton is split to 1/2 to MMR and 1/2 to LBP. No problem. Gifted program – oh well, no problem, in the proposal, with splitting even though already low numbers in this stream that needs to be back-filled. The new development – nope – it cannot go to LBP because then you might have to split the English and French cohort – no can do. Not sure how that decision why reached? Why did they have to be split – given “LBP’s declining numbers” both English and French were able to be accommodated at LBP. Frank J. Hayden – French Immersion – sure no problem – let’s move them from the student body at Hayden and re-route to MMR. Robert Bateman – no problem in tearing apart the different cohorts and splitting between multiple schools. Central, once under consideration for closure, presented the argument that the cohorts would be split (i.e. to Aldershot and to Nelson and suddenly that wasn’t okay. It is convenient how there is an issue with cohorts until it doesn’t suit the narrative being spun.

4) Late French Immersion (LBP) and French Immersion. I haven’t heard the difference addressed once. So, LBP’s Late French Immersion program is going to move to MMR? How is that stream going to work with the FI group that has worked in that stream from Grade 1? Normally one needs to get permission to switch over or needs to be at a level to integrate with the FI stream from Late French immersion. So how is this going to be dealt with? Doesn’t this then exacerbate conflicts?

5) Nursery Co-op at LBP. This item/group has been given little to no thought. LBP was adapted to include accommodation for the Nursery Co-op. A third gym was added with city and community donations. This program has been here for 40 years. Zero mention/zero consideration. Apparently though, per the report, no adaptation is needed with the LBP move. See you later Nursery Co-op program. The “we will have to consider” etc. what to do with this group is not reassuring. Given that you will throw all schools into over capacity, what responsibility will you possibly feel to accommodate this amazing co-op win/win program that has flourished at LBP?

6) The most expensive option. MMR and Bateman from what I understand, have both undergone some adaptations for special needs programming. This costs money. Now we will wipe out one school and all of the money put into those adaptations (including the industrialized kitchen, which is no where else) and replicate them at Nelson. How in any way, shape or form is this showing fiscal responsibility? As a taxpayer I was appalled to hear Mr. Miller state, “12 million dollars may seem like a lot but”. No, stop after the but. It is a lot of money. It is duplicate money when Bateman already has those features. It is sheer irresponsibility on behalf of this board to even consider an addition to Nelson while closing Bateman which already has those features. The justification of having one fully adapted location in the South and North does not warrant this expenditure. You see, it is already in the south. Spend the funds if you want it at MMR only to upgrade.

7) We heard a lot about we cannot remain at status quo. Boundary change will not fix the problem. Let’s address the status quo. So, Aldershot gets to remain at status quo in the Director’s current proposal. Hayden remains at status quo (minus the FI students). The red herring for Aldershot is that it might become a theme school (which the Director mentioned in his report and at the start of the meeting). This plan was then diminished by Stuart Miller himself as probably not workable (as it hasn’t worked in other areas) half way through the night. So why the game? Why the red herring that one is even going to look at this if you are already determining it is going to fail?

Status quo – you have left LBP at status quo (under-utilization) and Hayden at status quo (over-utilization) for 3 years while robbing students in both of a rich, full educational experience.

Re the boundary change – yes, indeed it will address some of the problems. LBP can absolutely be a solution to Hayden’s overcrowding as can MMR. All three schools can become more equitable with boundary change. Add into that the 4 potential new developments and you can definitely have a 3-way win.

Question – if the 90% capacity goal for each school isn’t working – perhaps the 90% goal is in error to begin with. Has anyone ever checked this underlying assumption/premise? Why not 85 or 80%?

8) Closing schools is very short term thinking. Looking at your past projections/reports you were off in those numbers. What is to say you are not going to be off in these projections? Once the land is gone, it is gone. I heard a trustee ask last night about other options. Why have they not been pursued 100%? When I spoke with Eleanor McMahon’s office, they too brought up other options prior to closure. Why is the Director determined to close not one but two schools prior to full exploration of all of these other options and funding available (again as mentioned to me by Eleanor McMahon’s office)?

9) As a community member with a student at LBP, I was disheartened to say the least that no one seemed to care about this school’s potential closure or the impact on the students/community. It was like one school’s closure only was being debated. Does no one care? Why is it so easy or accepted that LBP should close? The perception by the community is this has been planned. That has never been denied. Why will no one stand up, at the board level or trustee level for this group of students? They deserve every bit as much consideration as those at Bateman or elsewhere. By standing up for them I do not mean gutting their school and moving them elsewhere (if that is your response).

10) Questions were not answered last night. The “we’ll wait and see”; “we’ll monitor”; “that is a possibility”; “we will see how this plays out or levels out” inspired zero confidence. Why would anyone put their faith in a report that gave these responses as their answers when challenged?

11) I would love to see the minutes of the meetings leading up to the decision to build Frank J. Hayden High school. I am sure one point included that the community was “growing” and that a “community school” was needed. But you see each community believes the same. While this point keeps being dismissed as this is in the past and we are here now, who gets to be held accountable for spending $32 million for a build that caused the current problem? That decision is going to result in two other schools being axed. This is acceptable how? It also brings into question why the public or even the Minister of Education should trust the current recommendations.

12) A question was asked (and not answered) as to what is an acceptable level of over-capacity. The current reality at Frank J. Hayden (with the we will monitor attitude) is:

Students have classes in the hallway, in the cafeteria and in the community library next door

There are 12 portables currently on site – potentially 18 in the future

A lie was told last night about how students are maybe in the portable for one class then in the school. That is not true. Some students want to leave Hayden as their whole school career has been spent in portables only.

If Hayden is at over-capacity why is it still accepting new students; why is it actively recruiting students for sports teams from other schools?

Surely this is a fire hazard.

The solution to the over capacity – rezoning of the parking bylaws. Really? So the community (for the parks, library, school) are going to fight it out for parking spaces to accommodate potentially 18 portables? More fire hydrants? Yet you have a school (LBP) which has room for expansion without these issues. Yet, zero consideration is given to this obvious solution.

13) In perhaps the height of insensitivity, given the divisive and emotional nature of this process, I cannot believe that the issue of potentially building yet another shiny new school in the south (meaning even more schools south of the hwy would close) came up last night. Seriously, someone really needs to rethink why they are in the position they are in and who votes them in. This is in the student’s best interests how? What happened to, “we are not here to close schools, no one wants to do this.”?

14) Even given all of the proposals some of the streams still may not be where they need to be. Wasn’t that was this process was supposed to be partly about (as well as under-utilization)? May I submit that just looking at programming in and of itself without giving weighting to:
a) ability to participate in sports teams b) clubs c) single lunches (preferred by school admin) d) graduating with those you began Gr 9 with e) being known by your teachers and fellow students f) safety/bullying issues g) social issues – i.e. anxiety, integration, etc. for some all need to be considered.

Take off the narrow focused blinders. Saying that those other issues, or even special needs considerations violates the spirit of the a) under-utilization and b) programming which triggered the PAR is operating in a vacuum. You cannot just look at two facets. Again, to do so, does not take into account a 360 perspective and full interests of the student. It checks a box. It meets a rigid criteria. It is a self imposed rule that is very narrow in its’ thinking.

15) No one has ever answered this question for me. Is the board for or against online courses and other means of learning (i.e. virtual learning)? Throughout this process and in the surveys it was used as a negative and to justify conflicts, lack of options for programs etc. Yet, a gentleman, from the board, spoke last night about how it is increasing, how some prefer it, how they have increased it in younger grades – this made it sound like a positive. Which is it? Are we to presume it will be done away with once we have reach maximum capacity of streams since it is being utilized to point to course conflicts and a justification for moving pupils around?

16) Busing. Never addressed satisfactorily in this process. We already have a problem. The assumption is that the students from LBP all live 1.9 km from MMR. Not true. So what happens then? More busing? Gifted students split -north/south – busing for them? The Director hedged re northern busing for the gifted students. Not okay. This is an on-going cost. Makes no sense.

17) One consideration that was totally brushed off was parents indicating (or students) that to stay at their school, with their friends, they would drop out of French Immersion (Hayden). The Director didn’t give much weight to this. Parents I know, who’s children would go to MMR should LBP close as recommended, already have their paperwork and decision made to move to the Catholic school board system. Those in the gifted program, who have been together since Gr 1-8 (and who are slated to be split) – well, the attraction per the Director is that they would prefer to be closer to their home/community and save 10-20 minutes. Sir, with all due respect you do not know the students. Their friends, not the 10-20 minutes, are their priority. To the parents – the Fraser Report data, the reputation of their current school (over another), their need to keep their child from another at MMR (which is why they are at LBP due to past bullying issues) is what is of importance. I say this not to disrespect the staff and students at another school but to show how it is of concern. The loyalty of the FI students isn’t to FI – it is to their peers at Hayden and to their school. You are under-estimating this sir. If you are wrong, especially with the FI at Hayden you still have an overcrowding issue and then a stream issue.

18) This was supposed to be about the students. It is not. Those at Hayden have been left in overcrowding for three years. Current solution – move FI -maybe 50% (if others choose mainstream) or 100% and monitor the rest (re overcrowding). Utilize portables. Bateman – it is okay to impact the most vulnerable in our school population with yet another move. You claim to understand how hard this is for them – if you did and really took to heart reports of what change vs. consistency does mean to them – you would not be making this decision. For those at LBP who answered the report that they appreciated and loved the close relationship with the teachers; that being known means a lot to them (vs. a number in a larger school); to having that opportunity to really fit in by participating in a sports program; then you would do everything you could to revamp those numbers to bring them up to about a 600 range of student population. You wouldn’t be separating cohorts at the elementary level and streaming them to two different schools. You would actually listen to them; see their faces; hear their words; read their signs; feel their pain. My daughter feels crushed and invisible in this process. My son feels resigned that this has been the plan all along. I cannot in good conscience tell them otherwise.

19) Has anyone, and I mean anyone, given the rhetoric I keep hearing about optimum programming being at 1200 students per school or even consolidating schools, read the reports/studies (too numerous to mention by professionals in their field) that say that 600-800 is the best number for high schools? If we want to look at the experts and their opinions – why is all of that data, information, input, years of experience, routinely ignored? Or, in fact is this information not even being considered?

20) I felt it was very misleading when a question was asked about new growth in Burlington (in fact we are already at the proposed growth now that the City of Burlington had expected in future years), to hear only about development south of the highway (and mainly condos so it doesn’t really count). The north will have, per Jack Dennison, the final single dwelling units, multiple townhouses, etc. The south will have condos or high density on existing properties that will be rezoned. The city and the board appear to use different metrics. The city has adjusted and realizes, due to financial considerations and cultural differences, that more than one family may occupy a dwelling. This actually caused the explosion at Hayden partially (i.e. incorrect forecast/numbers were projected by the board). What adjustments are you talking about to reflect this reality?

21) What were the results of the survey where the community was asked to input on their choice of options. For many that I spoke with, the 7B option of “no school closures – but boundary reviews” seemed to be the prime choice. Yet, even before your final report, that was being discounted as one that would not work. What then is the purpose of all these surveys – student, parent, community, first meeting (where no questions were answered), if input is ignored?

I have said it before and I will say it again, if you didn’t go into these jobs with the intention of closing schools, then that should be your starting and ending point. You are in the education field – be creative. All of the individuals that are working so hard to save their schools have put hours into coming up with creative ideas, ways to save their schools. Don’t ignore them. Stop seeing the children as a group – as an entity. They are individuals. Work with them, work with the community, to save all of our Burlington schools.

I write this letter for our community schools not just for my daughter and son, but for all the children and future high school students. They are worth it.

Return to the Front page

New Medical Wellness Center opens - gala launch.

eventspink 100x100By Pepper Parr

April 28th, 2017



It is going to be a whole new product line.

Media were invited to check out – a new truly comprehensive Medical Wellness Center.

Dr. Ira Price, internationally renowned for expertise in cannabinoid medicine is announcing a new Synergy Health Services clinic to serve Burlington area patients. An exciting new concept, the new clinic truly is a comprehensive Medical Wellness Center, adding vape yoga, massage, acupuncture, exercise therapy and a ground-breaking Cannabis Exploration Center to the Synergy model.

Marijuana educationWe were invited to join them for a gala to celebrate! We were to be treated to kombucha samples (including a special Kombucha Martini made by a guest mixologist!), wine and beer tasting, and tasty organic treats by Green Bar, Hamilton’s vegan cafe.

Catering was to be provided by JONNY BLONDE, a celebrated local eatery known for its chef inspired, locally farmed, anti-biotic-free ethical eats.

Members of the local business community who donated many great prizes for the exciting raffles that were to take place throughout the evening were going to be on hand.

This had the look of a great evening; something to talk about for weeks.


It is going to be a whole new product line.

Dr. Price seems to have come to term with the three-month suspension for misconduct given to him by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, for altering a medical record and misleading a college investigator.

Synergy Health Services’ website lists Price as an assistant clinical professor, Division of Emergency Medicine, at McMaster University.

We weren’t able to “celebrate this innovative new addition to the Burlington health landscape” – we had to work the next day.

Return to the Front page

Is poverty just one of those things that every society has and we just learn to live with? Don't say that to Leena Sharma Seth.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

April 28th, 2017



There were about 60 – maybe 70 people gathered around 10 tables. They were a pretty representative bunch; there were the professionals, the practitioners and the volunteers – the people in the trenches.

They were there to talk about poverty – something they want to be able to ensure that by 2026 all residents will have a livable income and as a result have access to opportunities, resources and supports to thrive and to fully participate in an inclusive Halton community.

They have their work cut out for them.

Burlington is a city that will admit that there are some serious pockets of poverty in the city and that something should be done – but social welfare is a Regional responsibility. The longest serving city council member wasn’t prepared to try free transit service for seniors on Monday’s on a trial basis.

He was prepared to let them have discounted bus tickets – but there was a sort of means test to get into that program.

The chatter around the city council horse shoe is about everyone getting in on the purchase of property – you can’t lose in that game. Get a starter property and move up the value ladder.

Food for Life

Michael Mikulak, Community Food Network Manager Halton Food Council, Leena Sharma Seth, Director, Community Engagement Halton Poverty Roundtable, Colleen Mulholland, President and CEO Burlington Community Foundation, and Brenda Hajdu Executive Director Food for Life.

This city council doesn’t really understand or appreciate the eco-system that gets food into the hands of people who just don’t have enough money to pay for the food they need.

With housing prices rising – rents tend to rise as well – and the scarcity of rental properties owned by landlords that have no qualms about jacking up the rent as much as they can and then making life miserable for any tenant who chooses to fight back.

Getting to that 2026 target is a challenge indeed.

Some of the ground work took place at St. Christopher’s United Church where the group gathered under the auspices of the Halton Poverty Roundtable.

Each participant was given a sheet of paper with a number of questions on it. How would you have answered these questions?

How do you define poverty? How should it be measured? Are there data gaps that need to be addressed to help improve our understanding of poverty in Canada?

What will success look like in a Poverty Reduction Strategy? What target(s) should we pick to measure progress?

Which indicators should we use to track progress towards the target(s)?
On which groups should we focus our efforts?

Which Government of Canada programs and policies do you feel are effective at reducing poverty? Are there programs and policies that can be improved? What else could we do?

Poverty - Leena-Sharma Seth

Leena Sharma Seth, Director of Community Engagement for the Halton Poverty Roundtable

These people were meeting during the week that the provincial government announced that 4,000 people in Ontario would be put on a guaranteed income program for a period of time to see if with an income that they know is going to be there for a period of time – can they rise out of the poverty they have to lie with?

The Gazette wants to follow what Leena Sharma Seth, Director of Community Engagement for the Halton Poverty Round Table does with this group of people.

Return to the Front page

The Evolution of Journalism and The End of the Newspaper

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

April 28th, 2017



Like a growing number of people these days, I almost never read a newspaper anymore, though I seem to be searching for more information than ever before. Oh sure a couple papers get delivered to the end of my laneway most days. That gives my dog some practice retrieving and allows me to pull off the sudoko. But the rest of the newsprint and advertising material make it to the fire-starter box mostly unscathed.


Guys like this really existed once – and they really wore hats like that.

Like so many, I just don’t have time to read any one paper anymore because I don’t get all I need from a single paper. There are so many potential sources of information of varying quality out there today such that that a single daily no longer does the job. So why pay for fire-starter?

Besides restricting oneself to only one paper, no matter how objective it claims to be, can’t but influence attitudes and beliefs. Editorial slant and policies are just as important as the topic at hand – sometimes more. So if the Toronto Sun and National Post are biased to the right and the Star too far left, does that mean we should all subscribe to the Globe and Mail? It’s not that simple.

The US leading network, Fox News, has long called itself ‘fair and balanced’, when we all know it is anything but. But then MSNBC, its politically polar opposite, is apparently even more opinionated. More opinion and less news – that is the trend today.

Then there are late night talk shows. Former ‘Daily Show’ host, Jon Stewart, used to brag about more people getting their news from his comedy show than the regular networks. Indeed, coupling news with entertainment may be the most effective way to deliver information to the public.

News Telegram last

There was a time when Toronto had three daily newspapers – each having several editions. It was a battle royal until the “Telly” folded.

Thanks to technological evolution it now only takes only a couple of keystrokes to find anything on almost any topic of your choice. And that will eventually bring the traditional news networks and papers to their natural conclusion – and perhaps spin-off some other medium. Sure there will be still be some real news on the internet but you’ll have to search to find what you want among the blogs, opinion columns and fake news stories.

Objectivity is in the mind of the beholder these days, it seems. Otherwise how could so many seemingly intelligent people who look at the same facts come to alternate conclusions. Was the crowd at Trump’s inauguration larger than the one at Obama’s? Did Russia really hack into US political party computers? Are the high costs of electricity in Ontario due to Mike Harris’ deregulation or McGuinty’s green energy?

Trump has coined the term ‘fake news’ though we all know he is the master of all fakers. Truth can be what we want to believe it to be. And the guy who has become the US president, like in the fable about former president Washington, cannot tell a lie.

But the folks who make and run much of the internet are trying to do something about fake news. Google and Wikipedia, and even a United Nations agency, have stepped up to the plate promising to find ways to identify and reduce that problem. Good luck to them.

Milla Pickfield started an internship as a journalist interviewing the Chief of Police. She aced it - wasn't able to do as well at understanding what gets done at Board of Education meetings.

Milla Pickfield started an internship as a journalist interviewing the Chief of Police. She aced it.

Bottom line is that it is everyone for themselves when it comes to information and mis-information. And perhaps the quickest way to authenticate a story is check who else is carrying it. Peer review for professional journals includes the consideration of bibliographic sources, above and beyond the essence of the story itself. So shouldn’t we all be as careful?

And that means it becomes our responsibility, each and every one of us, to exercise vigilance over what we read and what we believe to be true. The old adage that ‘news is what’s in a newspaper’ is no longer valid. It might just be fake reporting or unsupported opinion.

This weekend the Canadian Association of Journalists is holding its annual convention and awards for Canadian journalism in Ottawa. I’ll be there looking for some answers on this topic, but I won’t be holding my breath.

Rivers looking to his leftRay 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:

Newspapers –   Newspapers Dying –  Columnists vs Bloggers –   US Fairness Doctrine

Truth –   Tump’s Truths –   Media Bubble –   Google and Fake News –   Wiki and Fake News

UN Fake News –   Fox vs MSNBC

Return to the Front page

Meed Ward releases a statement on the school closing report sent to school board trustees.

highschoolsBy Staff

April 27, 2017



Ward 2 city Councillor Marianne Meed Ward and former member of the Halton District School Board Program Accommodation Review Committee (PARC) has released a comment on her position on the Report the Director of Education gave the trustees last Friday.

The Gazette asked for a comment last week – Meed Ward released her statement on her ward web site late yesterday. It reads:

Meed WArd at PARC

Ward 2 city Councillor |Marianne Meed Ward was a member of the PARC.

I have taken some time to read and reflect on the report and the process to date, as a parent and as a former PARC member.

Let me start by saying my heart goes out to the Pearson and Bateman communities.The recommended option is undoubtedly devastating news. I toured each of the high schools along with other PARC members. Every school in Burlington is unique and offers something special to its students and communities. No one wants to see a school in their community closed. Any school closure is disruptive and represents a loss.

I came into this process with a commitment to do what is best for all our students, and have an open mind to new information. I have learned there is no perfect solution for the issues faced by the Board, and no solution without some impact on the community – even status quo.

There will be community disruption no matter what the final decision is, including closing no schools, since boundary changes would still be required to address over or under enrolment at four of our schools, effectively “closing” those schools to students who find themselves outside of redrawn boundaries.

Some options are better (or worse) than others, and I have discovered there is no consensus around any option, in the community, at the PARC or at the Board table. This will not be an easy decision for Trustees to make – nor should it be.

Whatever decision the Board of Trustees makes, we must work together as a community to ensure it is implemented with student welfare at the forefront, and ensure it improves the educational experience for all of our students for the long term.

Parents get to delegate to the trustees on May 8th and 11th.

Return to the Front page

Ty Howie to lead the fall reveal for the Performing Arts Centre - May 11 - not to be missed.

eventspink 100x100By Pepper Parr

April 27, 2017



It is now an annual event.

The evening that the folks at the Performing Arts Centre do their annual “reveal” of what the fall program is going to look like.

The past two years have had the Chief Cheese of the Centre on the stage with a personality doing a pretty dismal chit chat about the program.

Badly staged, badly scripted with some decent visual of the artists that will be taking to the stage.
Connie Smith interviewed Brian McCurdy two years ago; now Brian is a nice man who understands artistic talent and knows anyone that matters in the performing arts community. But an onstage personality he ain’t.
Connie did her best to coax words out of him – it was close to painful to watch.

The following year Executive Director Suzanne Haines was on stage with Costin Manu touting the fall line up.

Those two should have been given the hook after the first act – but they continued and the audience at least got to hear what the fall lineup was.

As things turned out – Haines did get the hook about a year later – there are things one should not do in their office – in the privacy of one’s home is the preferred location.

PAC SeasonLaunchInvitation - reveal

Not to be missed.

This year – expect it to be very different and much more entertaining. Ty Howie could have been a comedian – he is responsible for bookings at the Performing Arts centre – and is one of the more entertaining speakers in the city.

During the farewell for Brian McCurdy when he left the PAC the first time Ty Howie was the Master of ceremonies. He was excellent

Expect a really good performance from him on May 17th wen the program for the fall is announced.

The Board that oversees the operation of the Performing Arts Centre has been searching for a new Executive Director – an announcement should be coming soon – they have been at it for a while.

Return to the Front page

Joseph Brant hospital thanks its volunteers during National Volunteer Week

News 100 yellowBy Staff

April 27, 2017



Most of the organizations that rely on volunteers to meet the needs of the work look for occasions to celebrate what they do

The Joseph Brant Hospital needs hundreds of volunteers – and during what is National volunteer week they came up with a neat graphic to express their gratitude.

Brant hospital with faces and heart


Return to the Front page

Sound of music announces its 2017 line up - includes a day of ticketed events.

som1 100By Staff

April 27, 2017



Sound of Music Festival presented by Tim Hortons is proud to announce the Festival’s 2017 free concert schedule! Once again this year, festival-goers will be able to enjoy FREE SHOWS on Father’s Day Weekend, June 15-18.

Concerts will feature artists USS, Finger Eleven, The Trews, Moist, The Road Hammers, Wintersleep, Steven Page, Bleeker, Doc Walker, The Mahones, Harrison Kennedy, Terra Lightfoot, illScarlett and Danny Michel.

SoM stck photot for 2017The full 9-day schedule kicks off on June 10 with a one day ticketed event, featuring performances by The Offspring, Live, Marianas Trench, Smash Mouth, Spin Doctors, Killer Dwarfs, Sumo Cyco and special guests Randy and Mr. Lahey from Trailer Park Boys.

Events and activities include Downtown Streetfest, Club Series, Silver Series and Family Zone. Plus, you can look forward to another day of free shows on June 11 to celebrate Canada’s 150th, in partnership with The City of Burlington. The June 11 line-up will be announced on June 1.

Return to the Front page

Another dangerous scam - identity thieves send out millions of these - and some people get caught.

Crime 100By Staff

April 27, 2107



This bank scam is pretty raw and direct.

Scotia ScamThe message looks pretty official but the fact is that Scotia bank does not send emails like this.

If you are a Scotia Bank customer and bank on line you will see the following message. They don’t do what the email at the top of this story does.

Scotia scam statement

How do you know the message is not from the bank – look at the address of the people it came from. The sender of this message  has created and used a name that looks like it could be from Scotia Bank –

ScotiaBank <

But it isn’t – they have included the word secure to lull you into thinking it is real. Many Scotia customers might get lured in by this.

Pay careful attention to the address an email came from – and if in doubt – don’t!

Return to the Front page

Hard questions and soft answers were served up at a Board of Education meeting .

highschoolsBy Pepper Parr

April 27, 2017



It was a meeting that ended with the Chair directing the trustees to rise and leave the room.

A member of the public had stood up and called out a question – he was told questions were not being taken. Georg Ward, the man who wanted to ask the question isn’t a man to be shut down easily. We will come back to what George Ward wanted to know.

Stuart Miller, Director of Education sat in front of the trustees, not amongst them this time. He was there, along with Scott Podrebarac, Superintendent, and Dom Renzella Manager Planning, to answer questions the trustees had about the recommendation given them the previous Friday to close two schools and transfer most of the programs at Bateman high school to neighbouring Nelson high school that is less than 2 km to the west.

Kelly Amos, chair of the school board was not in attendance.

Collard - direct into camera

Ward 5 school board trustee Amy Collard

Miller was soundly grilled, for the most part by trustee Amy Collard whose ward the school to be closed is located in. She told the audience in a pretty well packed public gallery that it was going to cost $12 million to replicate what already exists.

Miller’s position was that the issue wasn’t the condition of the school nor the costs involved but that future enrollment was just not going to make the school viable.

There is an International Baccalaureate program at Bateman high school that will be transferred to Central high school, some 6.5 km to the west that was in the first recommendation given to the trustees.

Miller stumbled a number of times in explaining to the trustees why the Board staff made the recommendation they did.

The set up in the Board room where the meetings take place is such that those testifying, and that was what Miller and his colleagues were doing, face the trustees and not the public gallery. The Gazette chose not to attend the actual meeting but to watch the event via the live web cast where the facial expressions and body language of those testifying could be clearly seen.

We were able to note as well that there were never more than 40 people watching the web cast.
Trustee Collard put forward a number of very stiff questions and made it clear that she wasn’t buying most of the arguments Miller had in his report. What wasn’t at all clear was if Collard had the support of enough of the other 10 trustees to result in a decision to keep the school open.

PARC with options on the walls

PARC in session.

When the trustees announced last October that they were going to accept the Board Staff recommendation to hold a Program Accommodation Review (PAR) and create a committee ( a PARC – Program Accommodation Review committee) to look at all the issues related to the Board staff recommendation that Central High school and Lester B. Pearson high school be closed.

The PARC was given a list of 19 possible options to solve the problem of the 1800 empty seats. The closing Central and Pearson option stood during the first few of the seven meetings the PARC held but as different ideas came forward closing Bateman and Nelson were placed on the table.

PAR HDSB Parents at Bateman

First public meeting at which Board of Education explained the PAR process at every high school was very poorly attended at Bateman high school

Up until that point Bateman high school parents weren’t concerned about being closed.
The Central parents were exceptionally active from the first meeting and held rallies, a fund raiser that put $14,000 into a fund the pay for signs and other costs.  Bateman had a lot of caching up to do.
Many felt that having city ward Councillor Marianne Meed Ward representing Central high school on the PARC made the difference for that school.
Our observation was that while Meed Ward certainly wasn’t her usually very much in your face city councillor she was quite a bit quieter at the PARC. Central had a very strong case and they were very good at getting that case in front of anyone with ears.
Central, the oldest high school in the city has gone through having to deal with a possible closure twice in the past. They knew how to organize and make their case.
The PAR process was such that communities found themselves fighting against each other to not be closed.

The process however did bring to the surface data that left a lot to be desired. The PARC was made up of two parent representatives from each of the seven high schools in the city. These people found that much of the data they were being given was suspect and Board staff kept having to make revisions, sometimes on the fly.
There were a total of more than 40 different closure options considered by the PARC, one of which was to not close any schools. That option didn’t get a lot of attention during the questions asked last night.

The problem the school board staff faced was that there are 1800 empty high school seat in Burlington. And that wasn’t a situation that was sustainable – board staff believed that high schools had to be closed.

Protesters PARC

Central parents protested whenever and wherever they could.

Central made the case that closing their school would mean there would be no high school in the core of the city and $400,000 a year would have to be spent to bus students.

In 2013 the Halton District School Board opened a new high school in north Burlington and named it the Dr. Frank Hayden high school.
Many wondered why that decision was made to open a new school was made. It resulted in students being pulled from other high schools which lowered the student enrollment creating the problem of lower enrollments and resulting in the decision to close schools south of the QEW.
Hayden high school is part of a complex that includes a recreational centre and a public library and is very popular.

No more desks set out in neat rows. The classroom furniture is now such that students can sit by themselves or in groups of two or three - up to eight. The objective was to create situations where the students learn to work as groups and to collaborate on a problem - question or assignment.

The real issue is the empty seats – there are 1800 0f them and that is a situation the Board stall tell the 11 trustees is not sustainable.

Lester B. Pearson didn’t get all that much in the way of discussion during the three hour meeting.

The Gazette will publish additional material later in the day.

Parents now get to delegate to the trustees on May 8th and 11th. There are strong emotions and strong cases being made against closing Pearson and Central.

There are also those 1800 empty seats and a demography that suggests they may not be filled in the near future.

Return to the Front page

Downtown visioning part two- a closer look for those who did not attend the event.

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

April 26, 2017



By 2031 Halton will have a population 1 million people; its population today is about 550,000.  That is the kind of growth the Region is going to experience -and Burlington is going to get a significant share of that growth.

While Burlington doesn’t yet know exactly how much the city’s population is going to have to grow; the current population of 183,000 is expected to grow beyond 210,000 within 25 years. Some see that as a conservative number.

The urban boundary is set – nothing significant is going to be built north of the 403 – Dundas line except for mall small pockets of development in Lowville and Kilbride.

The rest of the population growth is going to be located south of the 403 Dundas line that separates the rural from the urban.

Study area visioning

Study area with the many precincts the planner created.

City hall no longer talks about Burlington being suburban; we are an urban city and our growth is going to have to be up because there isn’t any significant land available to grow out for residential development.

The Downtown visioning exercise that took place at the Lions Hall last week, and on which we reported on in some detail yesterday, was in part to learn what the public feels about different aspects of downtown development.

The city has a Downtown Core commitment that sets out its vision for the core; there is a precinct system that sets out specific neighbours and applies specific zoning for those precincts.  The (BDBA) Burlington Downtown Business Association (what has seen its border move north quit a bit, that has its policies and objectives. and there are policies for what the city wants to see in terms of the street-scape – wider side walks, benches or people to sit on and retail at the ground level

The Planning department has released a draft version of the Official Plan. The Plan that is in place now was first crafted 23 years ago. Efforts to revise that plan were abandoned by the new Director of Planning, Mary Lou Tanner who has been with the city for HOW LONG.

She joined the city at a point where staff were doing a revision of the existing Strategic Plan, a document that is created by each Council that sets out what it wants to do during its term.

Close look

The audience paid close attention to the material that was on display.

Somewhere along the way council and the planners decided that instead of a four year plan they would craft a 25 year Strategic Plan and spent a considerable amount of time engaging the public to review the document. Council has Burlington as one of the citys’ with the best level of citizen engagement in the province and uses every opportunity to tout that claim.

Centre ice - fully engaged audience

Groups of people gathered to ask questions of planning staff or the consultants that were in the room and to exchange opinions as well – and there were a lot of opinions.

There was indeed very significant public engagement but one would be hard pressed to find five out of every thousand residents who can tell you what the four pillars on which the Strategic Plan is based actually are.
City council seems to believe that if they say the city has the best public engagement policy then it must be so.

In this part two article on the event, we have set out a number of the visuals the audience was shown to give people a sense of all the variables the planners are looking at; the audience was then asked: The question the audience was then asked  was :

“What’s here? What’s not? What’s missing? What would you add? How would you make it better?”

Study area 1

The mobility hub is the black dotted line; the pink line demarcates the primary and secondary WORDS

Study area 2 - parklands

The study area boundary is demarcated by the pink line – the straight green line on the right is where the Elgin promenade will be located – that will link the downtown core to the Centennial trail.  Each graphic builds on the previous one.

Study area 3 - parlands + environmental

The environmentally sensitive areas are added.

Study area 4 all + heritage

Heritage buildings get dropped into the picture.

Study area 5 all + landmarks

Existing landmarks and cultural features are added.

Study area 6 all _ corridors

The significant site lines to the lake are shown – don’t think people realize just how few corridors with a direct look at the lake there are. We just assume that every street shows the water when it is really just Maple, Brant and Burlington.  Elizabeth isn’t indicated on the graphic.

Study area 7 All + tall buildings

In a development proposal that will get its public statutory meeting in the very near future the planning consultant they hired advocated using Brant Street as the spine that would be the location for many of the tall buildings that are expected.  The orange marks show where those tall buildings are now.



This is your city – this is what you have to work with. What do you want to see done?  The Planners are looking for feed back from the public; they appear to be open minded and ready to listen.

Getting a closer look

Getting a close look.

The information they gathered last Thursday evening will be compiled and blended into a second presentation that will take place  June 21st. The public will get to see just how well the planners have listened.

MMW with mob hubs in background

Councillor Marianne Meed Ward listening intently.

It was an active meeting – small crowd given the importance of the event – but it was a rainy night and the room couldn’t have held many more people.

The audience was told that there would be little in the way of changes to the existing employment lands.  Meed Ward explained that developments pop up and get presented to the Planning department and added “you want to be in charge of that”.

Return to the Front page

Central arena upgrades to begin in May - some program disruption is expected.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

April 26, 2017



Improvements to the Central Recreation Centre arena and auditorium, will begin at the end of May.

Over the next year, the following enhancements will be made:

• A new passenger elevator (funded by Canada 150 Infrastructure Grant Program)
Central Auditorium and Accessibility Upgrades
• Installation of new windows to improve natural lighting
• New sports flooring
• New kitchenette
• New lining for pickle ball court
• A new universal washroom
• A new accessible ramp providing access from the lobby to the rink.

The recreation centre will remain open throughout the construction although users may experience some disruptions during construction:

• The front doors of Central arena will remain open. Visitors wishing to access the auditorium will be required to use the auditorium entrance located on the east side of the building.

• During the construction of the accessible ramp, ice users will be required to use the east and west arena pad doors to gain access to the ice.

• During the renovations of the auditorium the space will be closed for use.
Signage will be installed to help direct users.

As a result of the construction, some youth and senior programming as well as rentals will be experience service interruptions. Plans are being made to accommodate these users and renters at other city facilities where possible.

Return to the Front page

Wallet of woman missing since July 2016 found near Bronte Creek

Crime 100By Staff

April 26, 2017



The Regional police now have a wallet that belonged to Helen Robertson, the 79 year old woman who disappeared on July 5th 2016.

Missing woman #2 July 6

Helen Robertson – missing since July 2016

The original finder of the wallet provided the precise location where the wallet was found. This led police to the area of Appleby Line and Harrison Court in Burlington where ground search efforts are underway by members of the Search Incident Response Team (SIRT), Tactical Rescue Unit (TRU) and Police Dog Services.

Robertson search areaThe wallet finder is a youth who is not a resident of Halton but was in this location fishing in Bronte Creek and located the wallet while walking up an embankment to leave. The youth later attended a sporting function at Norton Park and intended on turning it in to police.

After the sporting event, the youth accidentally left the wallet behind and went home.

The wallet was later found by Burlington City staff. At the time, the youth did not know the significance of this wallet and investigators are grateful that he came forward.

Investigators are in regular contact with the Robertson family and they are aware of the current search efforts underway.

Return to the Front page

City appoints new Fire Chief - was with the London, ON service - brings experience from the UK with him.

News 100 redBy Staff

April 26, 2017



David Lazenby has been named the new Fire Chief for the city. He was the Deputy Fire Chief for the City of London

Now in his 21st year in the fire service, Lazenby has held various roles in Canada and in the United Kingdom. Lazenby’s career began in the UK where he held progressive positions, including a secondment to the National Resilience Assurance Team where he helped to oversee the response to large-scale natural and man-made disasters.

Lazenby David

David Lazenby appointed new Fire Chief

As operations chief in London, Lazenby was responsible for 14 fire stations and 340 staff as well as the hazardous materials, technical rescue and water/ice rescue teams. He previously oversaw the training and communications divisions.

Prior to his current career, Lazenby spent 11 years in the private sector working as a management accountant for one of the world’s largest minerals companies.

His education includes qualifications from the Charted Institute of Management Accountants, a Diploma in Public Administration from Western University and a Certificate in Fire Service Administration from Dalhousie University.

Lazenby will oversee the operation of a fire service with about 200 full-time staff and 65 volunteers serving the community.

Acting Fire Chief Ross Monteith and Deputy Chief Karen Roche ran the fire department when former Fore Chief Tony Bavota left Burlington for Toronto where he works with that fire department. Lazenby has big boots to fill.

Return to the Front page

Police arrest person accused of a series of vehicle break-ins; lay 28 charges - this one wasn't let out on bail.

Crime 100By Staff

April 26, 2017



Regional police got a bit of a break and have arrested Michael Blaire Martin MCNAUGHTON for a series of vehicle break-ins.

Early in March the Halton Regional Police began an investigation into a rash of vehicle break-ins in Burlington where vehicle windows were being smashed and property stolen. These thefts occurred at various restaurant parking lots throughout the City of Burlington.

A similar rash of entries occurred again on March 17th 2017 however the Burlington Mall and Mapleview Mall parking lots were targeted. On this date the suspect also stole a black 2003 GMC Yukon from the Mapleview Mall parking lot and left behind a Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck that had been reported stolen to Brantford Police the day prior. The stolen GMC Yukon was recovered in Cambridge on March 29th 2017.
Investigators from the Burlington Criminal Investigations Bureau have identified Michael Blaire Martin MCNAUGHTON (28 yrs.) of no Fixed Address (Formerly of Hagersville) as the person responsible for these crimes.

MCNAUGHTON was arrested March 30th, on unrelated matters by the Brantford Police Service with assistance of Project Shutdown members. (Project Shutdown is a multi-jurisdicational initiative aimed at combating auto-thefts in Southern Ontario involving officers from the Brantford Police Service, Halton Regional Police Service, Hamilton Police Service, Ontario Provincial Police and Six Nations Police Service).

A Judge’s Order was obtained and MCNAUGHTON appeared in Milton court on April 11th 2017 to face the following 28 criminal charges.

• Fraud Under $5000 (two counts)
• Mischief Under $5000 (eleven counts)
• Possession of Property Obtained by Crime (two counts)
• Theft of Motor Vehicle (one count)
• Theft under $5000 (twelve counts)

Police are continuing to investigate similar occurrences in Oakville and Milton and further charges are possible. MCNAUGHTON remains in custody and will appear next by video on May 4th 2017.

Anyone who may have any information pertaining to this investigation is asked to contact the Burlington Criminal Investigations Bureau at 905-825 4747 ext. 2316, Crime Stoppers “See Something, Hear Something, Say Something” at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), through the web at or by texting “Tip 201” with your message to 274637 (crimes)

Police are reminding the public of the following prevention tips:

• Ensure your unattended vehicle(s) are kept locked/secure
• Park in a well-lit and attended areas whenever possible
• Never leave spare keys in your vehicle
• Never leave personal identification or valuables in your vehicle
• If you have to leave valuables in your vehicle, lock them in your trunk. Don’t tempt thieves by leaving packages or purses in plain view or on the seat.
• Remove GPS navigation and cell phone devices & power cords from view when not in your vehicle
• Help police catch those responsible by keeping an eye out in your communities and immediately reporting any suspicious activity.

Return to the Front page

City has program that result in the development of better neighbourhoods - Check them out.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

April 26, 2017



Burlington’s neighbourhoods and community groups are described by Chris Glenn, Director of Parks and Recreation as “the heart of this city” Nurturing and putting in the resources to keep them healthy and active is what is behind five city programs.

As part of National Volunteer Week, the City of Burlington is encouraging residents to actively champion community building with the help of the City of Burlington’s community support programs.

The city offers a total of five different programs designed to bring neighbours together and make Burlington a better place to play and live. The programs include:

• Love My Hood
Introduced in 2015, the Love My Hood program is designed to make it easier for residents to host neighbourhood events by providing the organizers with resources, support and funding up to $300.

General Brock woodlot Burlingtongreen

City funding helped transform the woodlot located at the park lands of the former General Brock High School into a healthy forest.

• Neighbourhood Community Matching Fund
The Neighbourhood Community Matching Fund program provides up to $5,000 in city funding to support community group-led projects in Burlington. Approved projects receive up to 50 per cent of the funding for the project from the city when matched by the group with an equal contribution of volunteer hours, donated services and materials or other funds raised, such as cash donations.

• Community Development Fund
One-time Community Development funding is available to community organizations that provide programs and services that enhance the quality of life for residents. The funding can be used to help pay for training, equipment, advertising or start-up costs.

Alton skating - two boys + dad

There wasn’t that much of an uptake for the neighbourhood ice rink program – that was die to a warm winter – but there was one rink set up in the Alton Village that did get a couple of young players out on the ice – before it all melted away.

• Neighbourhood Rinks
The Neighbourhood Rink program encourages neighbours to come together to maintain a natural outdoor ice rink in their local park during the winter months. City staff installs the rink boards which are then maintained by neighbourhood volunteer groups. The rinks are open to the public and free to use.

• Facility Fee Waiver
Fee waivers are available from the city to help pay the rental fees for a City of Burlington-permitted facility that is being used by a non-profit organization to offer a program, service or event for Burlington residents.
There is more information on each of these programs on the city web site.

The Mayor hopes to have at least 150 Love My Hood events taking place in the city by Canada Day – his way of seeing the city really celebrating the country’s sesquicentennial.  That event is just a little over 60 days away.


Return to the Front page

Pilgrimage passes through Burlington - walking to Parliament in Ottawa.

News 100 redBy Donna Flemming Zaffino

April 26th, 2017



On my way to run errands I spotted a group of people walking with banners and signs eastwards from the downtown core on Lakeshore Road. As an amateur photographer I saw a terrific photo opportunity, quickly turned my car around, caught up to the group who were now past Seneca Rd on Lakeshore.

They’re quick.

When asked if I could take a photo and what their message was I was met with bright smiles and a glowing welcome. A conversation started.

The Pilgrimage for Indigenous Rights (PFIR) is a group of dedicated walkers on their way from Kitchener, ON to Parliament Hill in Ottawa to call on all members of Parliament to vote yes to enact Bill C-262 – “An Act to ensure that the laws of Canada are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”.

Zaffino picture - walkers

A stop in Burlington for those walking a pilgrimage for the rights of the Indigenous people. They are walking from Kitchener to Ottawa.

The private member bill was drafted by Romeo Saganash (Cree Nation) the NDP MP for Abitibi-Baie-James-Nunavik-Eeyou. The Bill was tabled in the House of Commons on April 21, 2016 for First Reading where it still sits today.

The group consists predominantly of Christians from various churches. Their mission “we are seeking to make right our relationships with host peoples in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.” PFIR reports there is a total of 50 registered walkers. Not all will be taking on the entire challenging journey.

This group of 21 walkers had just had a lunch break at Spencer Smith Park and were on their way to Oakville.

A van followed them with supplies and acted as a safety vehicle. They have a busy schedule each day. At night they have arrangements with various churches along their route. The church provides them dinner, a place to sleep, breakfast and then they are on their way again.

Their excitement was contagious.

Their message is important – do all of us understand what we did to the indigenous people of this country from the late 50’s to 1985? It wasn’t something to be proud of – there is a need to make those mistakes right.

Terry Fox once ran through Burlington – look at the difference he made – the rest of us are in a position to do something equally as important.

Something to remember.

Donna Fleming Zaffino is a Burlington resident with a camera and a passion to capture images of important events.

Return to the Front page

What the downtowners think should be done with the downtown core -

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

April 24th, 2017



The Mayor opened up the event with a short overview of the changes taking place in the city and how the need to intensify and create an Official Plan that would deliver on the promises made in the Strategic Plan.

The audience of something under 100 people on a very rainy night filled the Lions Hall where people were told that what people enjoy about living downtown is:

1.The Waterfront (29.85%)
2.Restaurants and Cafes (18.62%)
3.Walking (18.11%) …

Research told city planners that the first  transportation choice was Walking (37.78%)

The meeting was to have people take part in a Downtown Mobility Hub Visioning Workshop.

Mobility hubs were defined as:

Neighbourhoods within a 10 minute walking distance of major transit stations that will support new residents and jobs in a transit, pedestrian and cycling focused environment.

Clicker being usedWith those pieces of data in front of them the audience was asked to use small hand held devices they would record their responses to questions shown on a large screen.

There were interesting with surprising results.

Appreciate that these were ward 2 people for the most part answering questions about the downtown core.

The Planners intend to take this road show into every community that will have a mobility hub.  The workshops will see a return visit to each community once the Planners have had a chance to evaluate the data they collect.

The initiative will take about  six months to cover each of the four mobility hubs.  The next session for the downtown hub is scheduled for June 21st.

Time line mob hubsThe event was framed as a visioning exercise during which ward 2 Councillor Meed Ward explained that developments pop up at the Planning department and they have to process every application that is filed. “You want to be in charge of that process” said Meed Ward.

2 - Enhanced cycling

The strong agree support doesn’t appear to align all that well with the opposition to bicycle lanes on New Street.


1 - waterfront protected

No surprises here.

3 - commercial on Brant

Very mixed views on this question.

4 - daily needs transportation

Vehicles were not included in the question.

5 - downtown growth - where

The street names don’t show up on this map – the white box is the mobility hub area.

6 - downtown transit adquate

This view – from what was a ward 2 crowd contrasts with what the Bfast people think. More thinking to be done on transit matters.

7 - new development family orientated

Compare this with the question on more affordable housing.

8 - affordable downtown

A mixed view here.

9- afforable downtown - more

This response comes as no surprise.

Following the formal presentation the audience was invited to take part in the four information stations where planning staff were on hand to answer questions. The groups that clustered around the information stations were at times intense – in a positive way. They had a lot of questions and the planning staff took a lot of notes.

Director of Planning Mary Lou Tanner and Anne McIlroy, the consultant the city has hired to guide this process watched and listened intently.

Close look

All the charts and data set out got very close inspections.

There are two parts to this feature article on the visioning exercise. The second part which will follow tomorrow reviews the visuals on the elements of the downtown core and what the planners have to work with.

Return to the Front page

Director of Education gets to defend his report to the trustees Wednesday evening - what kind of a witness is he going to be?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

April 25th, 2017



The Director of Education Stuart Miller was not able to visit with staff at Bateman high school Friday afternoon to tell Principal Mark Dudley and the rest of the staff that the school was recommended for closure in the Director’s report to the trustees.

He sent Associate Director David Boag in his place.

The Gazette has heard from several of the trustees, We now know part of the reason Miller gave advice to the chair – as Secretary to the Board Miller is obliged (his words) to advise the trustees when they have questions.
In isn’t clear just what the role of the Secretary of the Board is – advise; to counsel; to direct. It occurs to us that there is a bit of a conflict here.

Miller expects to be in front of the Board of Trustees on Wednesday to defend the recommendation he put forward. Is Miller defending a position to the people he is required to advice and counsel?

In essence Miller is testifying as a witness to the trustees on remarks he wrote in the report they are considering.

What kind of a witness is he likely to be?  That depends on the kinds of questions thw trustees ask.  Will they be real defenders of the public that elected them?

A “hostile” witness at common law is one who is “not desirous of telling the truth”. Such a witness may be cross examined to the extent that the judge sees necessary to do justice, which can include a broad area of topics such as all facts in issue, the witnesses reliability and credibility on the circumstances of the case.

Is Miller a hostile witness?

Don’t expect the Chair to take exception to anything the Director of Education has written. Expecting the Chair to take a strong hand is expecting too much. This chair, Kelly Amos, does not lead. She does not treat her Director of Education as a person that is accountable to the Board of trustees. There is a comfortable (too comfortable) working relationship between the Chair and the Director of Education.

We don’t feel the Director of Education is to be faulted – he has a large (the largest in the Region) organization to run and has to work with a provincial government that can change the rules of the game at any point in time.

The rules and procedures for the Program Accommodation Review that is taking place now is considerably different than anything school boards have had to work with in the past. There is close to unanimous agreement that the process if flawed and at some point the Ministry of Education will make the required changes. Little comfort there for the people at Bateman and Pearson.

There are a few trustees that, while still growing into their roles, may summon the courage to speak out and ask the difficult questions.

Speak now or take it in the ear at the October 2018 election.

The trustees also want to direct some of their questions to staff – the planning department has not served the citizens well, staff changes needed there.

The Superintendent of Facilities needs a job performance review.

The Director of Education is going to have to get tougher with his staff. He is new to the job – far too many people at the top decision making level are new to their jobs.

Time to hunker down and get it right this time.

It was done very very wrong when the decision was made to build Hayden. That mistake could have been lessened by a fairer approach to the boundaries that were created. What is in place now is close to the kind of gerrymandering American politicians do to create constituency boundaries that assure a political party can win.

Parents in Burlington are now angry – some at an emotional level, others have looked at the issues logically and put forward some very sound comments – they deserve a haring and answers to the concerns they raise.

Lisa Bull from Bateman has made comments that cannot be ignored or brushed off. Rory Nisan from Pearson has written a refutation on the decision to close Pearson that the trustees need to pay attention to and arrive at their own conclusions and not rely on the Secretary to the Board of Education to advise them.

And where is city Councillor Marianne Meed Ward. She spoke passionately and with great confidence on her decision to accept the role as a PARC member. Why is she now close to mute?

Return to the Front page