Herd is looking for two bat boys.

sportsgold 100x100By Staff

April 17th, 2017



The Burlington Herd (you may have known of them as the Burlington Bandits) are looking for two Bat Boys for the 2017 season at Nelson Park.

Eligible candidates must be at least 12 years old, be able to attend 10-18 games and have transportation to and from each game.

Bat Boys will be asked to work the following game times:

1. Thursdays: 6:15 pm – until end of game.

2. Saturdays: 12 pm – until end of game.

Bandits - rounding the bases after the 4th

These lads are just rounding the bases – but they could become bat boys if they applied.

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to, setting up both dugouts and bullpens, filling coolers, mudding baseballs for game play and cleaning up after the game. Bat Boys will receive a Burlington Herd hat, sweatshirt, full uniform, food and drink at each game.

If this interests you – get in touch with Ryan Harrison at (905) 630-9036

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Get to see the Herd in the Barn on May 4th - translation - Burlington's InterCounty baseball team will play an exhibition game on May 4th at Nelson Park. Team signs Greg Marco.

sportsred 100x100By Staff

April 17th, 2017



The Herd will play a home exhibition  game, beginning on at 7:15 p.m. on May th. They will be up against the Brantford Red Sox at Nelson Park, home of the Burlington Herd on May 4th.

Tickets for the Herd exhibition game will be on sale at the door for only $2.

The team takes to  the field for their home town season opener on Saturday, May 13, 2017 at the Barn (Nelson Park).

Season tickets and group packages are now on sale by calling (905) 630-9036 or by visiting the team’s new website, burlingtonherd.com.

The Herd can be followed on social media platforms (“iblherd”), including Facebook.com/iblherd.

The Herd has announced the signing of Greg Marco, a Waterdown native.

Marco rejoins the Herd after his rookie season in the IBL hitting .096 with two RBI and two stolen bases. The Waterdown, Ontario native recently completed his college playing career at Northwestern Oklahoma State University and has assumed a student coach position with the team for the 2017 season.

A former Burlington Bulls junior team member, Marco was a leader behind the plate, helping the junior team to many successful seasons.

Greg Marco Herd catcher

Greg Marco – Herd catcher.

“Greg had a tough season at the plate last year but, but was very strong for us at multiple positions defensively. He provides speed off the bench, good defense behind the plate and can play infield, outfield and also pitch if required” stated Herd Field Manager Jeff Lounsbury.

Marco is the Herd’s fourteenth signing of the off season.



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Can the Halton District School Board trustee speak now?

highschoolsBy Pepper Parr

April 17th, 2017



It is now down to the eleven trustees – they will determine if any of the high schools in Burlington are to be closed.

The Program Accommodation Review Committee (PARC) that was created did some superb work – the Board Staff were taken aback a bit at how persistent and diligent they were.

Option 7 - short

During the first occasion when PARC members were asked to rank their choices # 7 – Don’t close any high school was not all that high on the list. That changed and it now appears to be the option the PARC would prefer.

Option 19 short

Option #19 – to Close both Central and Pearson was the Board Staff recommendation and the one that the the PARC members ranked higher than the option to not close any of the high schools. Option # 19 is no longer on the list of options that the PARC left on the table.

The option of not closing any of the schools was barely on the table when the PARC process began and at the early look at where the PARC members stood what was known as Option # 7 didn’t rank all that well – but sentiment for that option grew and by the end of the PARC process it was the clear preference, with the trustee serving as an advisor to the PARC asking how not closing any of the schools could be made to happen.

That question could have and should have been put to the Board staff – they are the people well paid to run the educational system for the Region – which is something that can be looked at in the future.
For now – the voters are going to have to coax their trustees to act in the interests of the community and not be taken too far by the preferences of the Board staff.

A number of months ago the Gazette asked the eleven trustees to rank the following in terms of their importance to the individual trustee.

Kelly Amos

Board chair Kelly Amos

At that time Board Chair Kelly Amos said the trustees did not want to attempt to influence that PARC in any way. Fair enough – but the PARC has now been dissolved. Could the people who elected the trustees know where those trustees stand on the following:

Fiscal prudence
Academic offerings

One isn’t better than another – the intention was to get some understanding as to what the values were of each trustee so that when people delegate they can put forward arguments that would resonate with the trustees.

At a recent parent council meeting at Lester B. Pearson high school a small audience held trustee Papin’s feet to the flames when they asked her to tell them she was going to support their school.

LBP Rachelle Papin 2

Burlington’s Ward 4 school board trustee Richelle Papin

Papin was in a difficult spot – two of the schools in her ward are amongst the options for closing. Both Pearson and Nelson are in ward 4. That is what they call a “sticky wicket”.

Papin could have very easily said she was for Option # 7 – keep all the schools open and direct staff to find a way to pay for it. The Director of Education has already said this was not a money issue and that the Board did not have to close any of the schools.

Papin didn’t seem to be able to assure the Pearson parents – her response was that she didn’t yet have all the information yet.

Four trustees

Four of the eleven Halton District School Board trustees sitting in on one of the public meetings.

The trustees need to be decisive and represent the interests of their communities using the values they hold as a guide. Is fiscal prudence more important than community? Is the academic offering more important that fiscal prudence? Tough questions – there is no right or wrong answer – it is a question of individual values. The 11 trustees are going to make a critical decision for the city of Burlington – what are they going to base that decision on?

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For the Director of Education it should have been a reflective weekend - he has a critically important document to submit to the public on Friday..

highschoolsBy Pepper Parr

April 16th, 2017



The weather could have been better but that didn’t matter all that much for Stuart Miller, Halton District School Board, Director of Education – the top position in a school board; he was busy thinking through the report that will be made public Friday April 21st on which, if any, high schools in Burlington should be closed.

Millers report to the Board of Trustees last October was that both Central High school and Lester B. Pearson high school need to be closed because the board has 1800 seats that do not have students in them.

When the report was released to the Trustees they had to make a decision, which they did – that was to create a Program Accommodation Review which called for the creation of a committee.

PARC with options on the walls

The 14 members of the PARC and their advisors.

That committee was created and met on seven different occasions to look at the facts and serve as a communication channel between the Board and the community.

The flow and quality of the information from the Board of Education became suspect quite early in the game – and it didn’t get any better. The quality of the members of the Program Accommodation Review Committee (PARC) surprised the Board of Education staff. These 14 people (two from each high school) were not going to go quietly into the night. The Board Staff came up with 19 options. That climbed to close to 40 which the PARC people whittled down to five.

They were:

Do not close any of the high school – re-work the existing boundaries to balance the high school students more evenly.
Close Robert Bateman in June 2018.
Close Nelson in June 2018
Close Central and Pearson in June 2018
Close Lester B. Pearson in June 2018

There are a lot of provisions and conditions attached to each of these closure options. The Gazette published a detailed list of the options CLICK HERE


Donna Danielli asked – pleaded – with the PARC members to come up ways to keep all the Burlington high schools open.

Donna Danielli, a Milton based Board of Education trustee, sat on the PARC as an advisor. During the last meeting of the PARC she asked, it was really more of a plea, for the PARC members to come up with a way for the Trustees to keep all the schools open.

The process and procedure schedule is as follows:

Wednesday April 26, 2017 – Director’s Final Report will be presented to the Board of Trustees at the Committee of the Whole meeting.

Monday May 8, 2017 (6 pm) – Public Delegation Night.

Thursday May 11 (6 pm) – Public Delegation Night.

Wednesday May 17, 2017 (7 pm) – Board meeting. Final Report to Board of Trustees for “information”.

Wednesday June 7, 2017 (7 pm) – Board meeting. Final Report to Board of Trustees for “decision”.

Trustees - fill board +

The eleven members of the Halton District school Board will decide how many, if any, of the high schools in Burlington are to be closed in 2018

However, anything that happens from this point forward is in the hands of the trustees – they can do whatever they wish. If they don’t like what they are given they can instruct the staff to take the work they have done so far and rework some of the options.


Chair of the Halton District School Board Kelly Amos

Halton unfortunately does not have much in the way of leadership at the trustee level. Eight of the 11 woman on the Board have just over two years’ experience. Kelly Amos, an Oakville based trustee, has been close to mute while the PARC meeting were taking place. Many argue that this is what she should have done.

One is pressed to recall a situation where the Chair actually guided her Board. It is a one vote per trustee operation and Burlington has just four of the 11 votes; six are needed for Burlington to keep all its high schools open.

It all comes down to the content of the report Stuart Miller submits.

Will it be a mish-mash of all the data that has come in; will it be based on his core belief that the academic offering is the most important issue or will he consider the role of community in the placement of high schools?

Miller has already said it is not a money issue and he has also said that the Board does not have to close any of the high schools. It was the level of the utilization rates that triggered the Program Accommodation Review. Miller is on record as having said this process should have been done a number of years ago.

Hammil + Miller

Stuart Miller on the right at a Robotics information session that attracted more than 400 students.

Stuart Miller is a passionate defender of the quality of the academic offering his Board offers the students. He wants every school to allow every students to study want they want to study, which is what drives his preference for large schools with student populations of well over 1000.

Miller has been Director of Education for more than a year; he was appointed in September of 2015.

He is a relatively young man who does not appear to have career aspirations that would take him to the Ministry of Education at some point in his career. He is at heart a high school teacher who can recall the first name of most of his past students. It is not unusual to see him out at a student event on a Saturday morning. He is proud of what his Board offers and while Halton doesn’t get the level of funding other boards get Halton has always ranked well on how its students fare in academic standings.

The challenge before Miller this weekend is the biggest he has faced as a senior Board staff member. He has another challenge that will follow right behind the school closing issue and that is the matter of French Immersion classes.

Joey Edwardh + Stuart Miller

Joey Edwardh, president of Community Development Halton and Stuart Miller

Miller is a practical man – he also has a sense of humour. At a recent Board of Education meeting he gave his report entirely in Gaelic – to the astonishment of the Chair. He didn’t give an interpretation of the Gaelic either. So he has a sense of history, heritage and community values.

Is he capable of realizing and understanding that even the very best academic offering is not of much use if it is delivered in an environment that is devoid of the community it takes place in?

Miller does not live in the Region; his home is in the High Park part of Toronto but the bulk of his academic career has been with the Halton Board.

He has listened too many in the community, however there are those that argue he does not hear what they are saying. He is one of the most accessible bureaucrats this reporter has encountered.

For the sake of the people of Burlington one hopes that Stuart Miller took several long walks during the weekend and began to get close to deciding what kind of a Director is he going to be.

From the left, WArd 6 Councillor Blair Lancaster sitting in for MAyor Goldring who had to remain at Regional Concil to assure quorum, as she signs the 20 year $1.3 milion naming rights deal with Chris HAber in the Centre. Chris Glenn on the right is pleased with that much casj

From the left, Ward 6 Councillor Blair Lancaster signing the 20 year $1.3 million naming rights deal with Chris Haber in the Centre. Chris Glenn on the right is pleased with that much cash. The Haber Recreational centre id part of the Hayden high school complex.

One hopes that he proves to be better than the past Directors of Education who let things slide so badly that we now face the mess we are dealing with.

Both past trustees and past Directors have a lot to be ashamed about. The creation of Hayden high school, the newest in the city, which is now over crowded – at a 150% plus utilization, may be a decision that kills the downtown core of the city.

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Rivers with a somewhat different take on what Good Friday is all about

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

April 14th, 2017



Easter Jesus-on-Cross-

“acknowledging the existence”

This is one of those years when Orthodox and regular Easter fall on the same day, and that is plunk in the middle of Passover. Easter is arguably the holiest of Christian holidays, but it, like religion in general, is declining in North America. It used to be that ‘Happy Easter’ was as common a greeting this time of year as Merry Christmas is around that season. But I can’t remember anyone even acknowledging the existence of the holiday this year, let alone recognizing its religious significance.

Almost a quarter of Canadians consider themselves non-religious now, double what it was less than thirty years ago. About two-thirds of religious folk call themselves Christian, down from over 80% in the early 1990s. And despite all the concern over Sharia law and that Islamophobia, followers of Islam made up little more than three percent of all Canadians according to the last poll taken in 2011. Of course that survey wouldn’t account for recent refugee admissions from places like Syria.

Those claiming to observe the Jewish faith are barely registering these days, the third leg of middle eastern theism – has fallen to a mere one percent. The numbers of all those believers can be expected to further decline over time, despite the ongoing influx of immigrants coming from Asia and Africa, and bringing their faith with them. This trend to less religiosity in our lives, which is also occurring with our neighbour south of the border, may have something to do with the advent of multiculturalism, or the relative affluence of our society, or maybe what’s on the TV.

Easter eggs + people clip

The Easter Bunny is real.

But we still have Easter. It’s a statutory holiday. And Easter does have real meaning for children big and small. It’s the holy Easter Bunny. A couple in Hamilton had their foster children taken away from them because they refused to teach the kids that the Easter Bunny is real. They had miraculously escaped such punishment at Christmas, even though they admit to not teaching the youngsters that Santa was as real as Jesus.

But then Christmas has a more powerful message – it’s that presents are under the tree. Besides, a little baby born in a manger is a far more romantic concept than some guy dying on a cross, getting buried and then rising up from the dead. So you need to teach your kids the real meaning of Easter or you get what you deserve – to lose them to someone who will.

It’s the Bunny stupid! And what better way to celebrate the Bunny than with a Bunny Hop. Hamiltonians will join a number of communities across Canada, though not Burlington yet, in celebrating this adolescent excuse to drink large volumes of a favourite hoppy beverage… and party. Think of the Bunny Hop as replacing the time honoured Easter Parade – screw the bonnet, let’s get drunk.

But this year there is even more reason for those young adults to celebrate, Canada’s Easter bunnies in Ottawa are going to start letting us fill our Easter baskets with more than chocolate and alcohol. The government has just introduced legislation to legalize whacky-tobacky, which means that pretty soon it’ll be legal to grow real pot as your pot plant, share a little tea with Goldie and ‘bogart’ that joint – unless you are under age, of course.


Arguably is less harmful to our health than the alcohol, salt and sugar we currently consume?

Keeping drugs out of the hands and mouths of our children is the official reason for legislating rather than simply decriminalizing marijuana, or continuing the fantasy that keeping it illegal will keep drugs out of kids’ hands – which it hasn’t.

Once the new law is enacted, Canada will be the first developed nation to have a legal framework that allows its residents to grow and use this substance, which arguably is less harmful to our health than the alcohol, salt and sugar we currently consume.

And that means the Eater Bunny has his/her work cut out. Easter eggs and chocolate for children and booze and bud for their parents. Happy Bunny day to all the readers out there. Keep reading and please feel free to add your voice to the discussion.

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:

Religion in Canada –   Christianity in USA –    The Bunny Hop –    Easter Facts

Canadian Marijuana Bill –  More Weed

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Sexual assault reported in the Palmer Drive Community.

Crime 100By Staff

April 13, 2017



A reported sexual assault which occurred in Burlington on March 21st, 2017 is being investigated by the Halton Regional Police Service.

A 16 year old male was walking in the area of Palmer Drive and Bentworth Drive between 11:30pm and midnight when he approached a stopped vehicle. The victim was forced inside the vehicle by a male suspect where he was sexually assaulted by two males. The victim was eventually released a short distance away near Michael Crescent.

Palmer Drive sex assualt

Sexual assault reported to have taken place on the Palmer Drive community.

The suspect vehicle is described as a black utility van with tinted front windows bearing a blue and yellow licence plate.

Suspect #1 is described as male, possibly Hispanic, 6’ 1”, heavy set build, wearing a black shirt, mask and a hood.

Suspect #2 is male, possibly Hispanic, 5’ 11”, wearing a black shirt, black mask and a hood.

There have been no other reported incidents involving these suspects to date.

A time delay in reporting the initial incident was encountered and police would like to warn the public to be vigilant with their safety and report any suspicious incidents to police immediately.

Police are asking anyone with information regarding this or similar incidents to contact Detective Rob Todd of the Child Abuse and Sexual Assault Unit at 905-465-8975. Crime Stoppers

“See something, Hear something, Say something” at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), through the web

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Rules for the selection of delegations to the school board on the possible closing of high schools in Burlington

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

April 13th, 2017



There are going to be two evenings set aside for delegations to the school board on the matter of the Program Accommodation Review the board is currently conducting.

The plan is to hear 25 delegations each evening with the delegator given five minutes to make their case. Five minutes are allocated for the trustees to ask questions or seek clarification.

Dates and times for both registering to be a delegation and dates on which people will be heard have been published.

At a Parent-school committee meeting at Lester B. Pearson high school earlier in the week there was considerable confusion as to just what the process was going to be for the allocation of the delegation slots.

LBP parent school meet april 2017

Parents at a Lester B. Pearson high school – parent school meeting.

The selection of the delegations is not being done on a “first come – first served” basis.

All the delegation applications are given to a staff member who prepares a list which is then given to the Chair who will determine who speaks and when they speak.

The concern at the Board staff level is that people provide enough information so that the selection of delegations is based on information. If your application to delegate is not clear – expect a phone call from the Board staff member handling the documents. The Board staff are asking delegation applicants to be as detailed as they can.

Trustees - fill board +

The eleven school board trustees will make the final decision on whether or not a high school(s) is to be closed and if yes – which one(s).

There has been a view that the Board might want to limit delegations from one of the high schools. The staff member handling the applications is just shuffling paper and passing it on to the Chair of the school board. The staff member would like to ensure that what she passes on has some detail so that the chair can make fair decisions.

There are going to be literally hundreds of parents who will want to delegate and plead with the trustees to not close the school that every member of the family for several generations has attended and that they all love dearly.

Miller with students Mar 7-17

Director of Education Stuart Miller listening to high school students.

While such a delegation may make the person speaking feel all fuzzy and warm – it will do little to inform the trustees or the Director of Education.

There are many voices in the community that do not trust the Board of Education to be fair in the allocation of the 50 slots. It is not the Board staff that will be determining who gets to speak – it will be the trustees you elected.

The Gazette has been given to believe that if there are far too many delegation requests to be heard in the two evenings that have been set aside – additional time might be made available.

The desire, as explained to the Gazette, is to give people a chance to make their case so that the Director of Education can make a recommendation that includes what he hears at the delegation meetings and can arrive at a recommendation that includes the views of the parents.

The trustees need to hear viewpoints that are more than an emotional plea.

In fairness to the schools that are under threat of being closed it is vital that they be given an opportunity to delegate fully. One would think that the trustees would look for a way to ensure that each of the four high schools: Central; Bateman; Nelson and Pearson could be guaranteed a minimum number of delegation slots to make their case with the trustees.

And the allocation of those guaranteed slots should be assigned by the members of the The PAR committee who have worked very hard and know the case that is being made for their school extremely well – the Chair must ensure that they be guaranteed time to speak and not be squeezed out by the running of a clock.

There are some fundamental principles of fairness in play here and the trustees need to be extremely sensitive to the anxiousness in their communities.


Board of Education Chair Kelly Amos: lead in a fair and impartial manner.

The Chair of the Board needs to show some leadership and assure the community that they know they were elected to lead and then to do so in a fair and impartial manner.

This is the time for those people deeply concerned about what happens to ensure that the trustees know what you expect of them.

If the trustees fail to more than adequately meet the needs of the parents who have something to say – there will be an opportunity for the voters to show their appreciation in the June 2018 election.

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City Hall: Will be closed on Friday, April 14 and Monday, April 17, 2017, reopening on Tuesday, April 18, 2017.

News 100 blueBy Staff

April 13th, 2017


City Hall: Will be closed on Friday, April 14 and Monday, April 17, 2017, reopening on Tuesday, April 18, 2017.

city hall with flag polesParks and Recreation Programs and Facilities: Parks and Recreation Programs and Facilities: Activities and customer service hours at city pools, arenas and community centres will vary over the holiday weekend. Please visit burlington.ca/play for a complete listing of program times and burlington.ca/servicehours for hours at customer service locations.

Burlington Transit and Handi-Van: On Friday, April 14, Burlington Transit will operate a holiday service and the downtown Transit Terminal will be closed. Regular service resumes Saturday, April 15. The administration offices are closed on Friday, April 14 and will reopen Tuesday, April 18. Call 905-639-0550 or visit burlingtontransit.ca for more information.

Roads and Parks Maintenance: The administrative office will be closed on Friday, April 14 and Monday, April 17, reopening on Tuesday, April 18. Only emergency service will be provided.

Halton Court Services: Provincial Offences Courts in Milton and Burlington will be closed Friday, April 14 and Monday, April 17.

Babes at parking metersParking: Free parking is available in the downtown core at all pay machines located on the street, municipal lots and the parking garage on weekends and holidays.

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Regional Police Fraud Unit charge former Region of Halton employee

Crime 100By Staff

April 13th, 2017



An investigation that started in 2015 has resulted in a number of criminal charges being laid by the Halton Regional Police – Regional Fraud Unit (HRPS-RFU) against a former Region of Halton employee.

It is alleged the 17 year former employee defrauded the Region of Halton of approximately $770,000 since 2008 by fraudulently administering /awarding Region contracts to a Hamilton based company named Sirron Systems Inc.

The HRPS-RFU became aware of Nicolas REWA’s fraud after the arrest in August 2016 of another former employee, David OHASHI, who was charged with similar offences.

HRPS – RFU have arrested and charged in relation to this incident:

• Nicolas REWA, 55 years, Mississauga, (Halton Region – Public Works Manager) is charged with 2 counts of Fraud over $5000, 2 counts Municipal Corruption, 2 counts Secret Commissions, 1 counts Laundering proceeds of crime, and 1 count of Property obtained by Crime,

• Marion REWA, 45 years, Mississauga, (wife of Nicolas Rewa) is charged with 1 count of Fraud over $5000, and 1 count of Possession of property obtained by crime,

• David NORRIS, 52 years, Stoney Creek, (Sirron Systems Inc. employee) is charged with 2 counts of Fraud over $5000, 2 counts Municipal Corruption, 2 counts Secret Commissions, 1 counts Laundering proceeds of crime, and 1 count of Property obtained by Crime.

The accused are scheduled to appear in Milton Provincial Court on Tuesday May 9th, 2017.

Anyone who may have information about this investigation is being asked to call investigators at the Regional Fraud Unit at 905-825-4747 ext 8739. Crime Stoppers “See something, Hear something, Say something” at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), through the web at www.haltoncrimestoppers.ca or by texting “Tip 201” with your message to 274637 (crimes).

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Public peek at what the mobility hub planners are doing amounted to some maps and a lot of cupcakes.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

April 13th, 2017



We were unable to cover the Open House the city held at the new Go Bold offices that have been set up for the planners that are doing the big think on the four mobility hubs that have become the hot new buzz words at city hall. Mobility hubs seems to have replaced intensification.

Mobility hubs

The downtown hub is the first of the four that is going to get the “community engagement” treatment.

Earlier in the week the city’s communications people set up a conference call that allowed us to exchange views with Mary Lou Tanner, Director of Planning.

The Gazette had a very poor connection – not sure if the problem was on our end or theirs – but it was difficult to have an in depth conversation with Tanner, who is usually quite willing to explain and put forward the reasons for the decisions made and the work being done by her department.

What we did learn was that the mobility hub intention is for people to be able to walk within the defined area of each mobility hub – and that the longest walking distance would be around a mile in length.

Ann McIlroy and Associates are on a three year contract to work with the Go Bold mobility hub team. The McIlroy team have done a lot of work with and for Burlington in the past. One of the more recent assignments was the detailed planning for the new Beachway Park. A lot of the very early design work was done by McIlroy.


Much of the original design work for the Beachway Park concepts was done by Ann McIlroy and Associates – they are advising the city on the mobility hub thinking.

Tanner described mobility hubs as a “higher order of transit” and said there was some science behind this kind of transportation thinking. The intention was to have “area specific plans” for each of the mobility hubs with the downtown hub being the first to get attention from the planners and the Grow Bold team.

The first meeting, the one that took place Wednesday evening, was intended to introduce people to the concept. A colleague of ours, comes out of the real estate sector, described the event as “underwhelming”

“I went to the Mobility Hub Open House. Just a few maps up on display and an “ask” for emails addresses so we could be kept informed. Lots of treats (cakes and candy) and coffee.”

There is another meeting scheduled for June 2nd that will focus on that downtown mobility hub with additional meetings to follow in the fall. Each of the hubs is to get this multi-meeting community engagement touch.

Jennifer Johnson at Lakeside Plaza visioning

The public was heavily involved in community engagement meetings where people poured over plans for a proposal the city had encouraged for the east end Lakeside Village Plaza.

When the community engagement and the deep thinking is complete a report will go to city council where the Planner will ask for directions.

The approach for the Official Plan, which also comes out of the Planning department, where Andrea Smith, Manager of Policy and Research has been focused on getting the new Official Plan ready for the public. Smith spent years working on a revision of the old Official Plan. When Mary Lou Tanner was appointed the new Director of Planning she decided to press the reset button, take a pause and ask if the old Official Plan was worth a revision.

This is the Escarpment we are talking about. Our country, our rural country - forever.

The Escarpment is basically out of bounds from a planning perspective – except for some growth in the hamlets – Kilbride and Lowville.

Tanner apparently decided that a totally new plan was needed – and that is what the city is now looking at.
The draft Official Plan that is being reviewed now is meant to align with the Strategic Plan; the approach being that the Official Plan is expected to create rules and regulations for developers to have a clear idea of what the city want to get done on the next 20 years. At this point we know that we are to grow up and not out – and that all this has to be done within the urban boundary. The Escarpment is out of bounds.

There are going to be three months of discussion and community engagement with perhaps ward specific meetings.

Municipal politics is like any other form of government – new brooms can be brought in and the Strategic Plan scrapped – the planners then have to tinker with and revise the Official Plan – an action that drives people in this city bananas.

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Sunny ways indeed - a couple of more days of sunshine and those cherry trees in Spencer Smith Park should break out in full bloom.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

April 13th, 2017



It was the kind of Spring weather we have all been looking for somewhere. The picture we picked up from a staffer in the Burlington office of our Member of Parliament Karina Gould tells us that there was enough sunshine to coax a bloom to take a chance and come out.

Spring buds Valerie Woods Sawyer

Sunny ways!

We don’t know where this brave tree decide to show us her stuff (all trees that bloom are female just like all ships are female) but seeing those blooms tells us that, in the words uttered by our Prime Minister there are “sunny ways ahead”.

Justin Trudeau borrow them from Sir Wilfred Laurier.

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How does one change the minds of city Councillors on transit spending? The only one that uses transit is the Mayor and then usually for a photo op.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

April 12th, 2017



Bfast poster with BG logo

The third annual Bfast Forum had its highest attendance ever. Just the one city Councillor plus the Mayor bothered to attend.

The Gazette met with Collin Gribbons and Doug Brown to talk about what got achieved during the Burlington for Accessible Sustainable Transit (Bfast) event recently.

The event was the third Open Forum held on transit and recorded the highest attendance ever. “But have they gotten anything done” asked one commentator.

Good question and both Brown and Gribbons had much to say.

“First” said Brown, “is that the transit people were in the room. We have never been able to get them into the room and say something to the audience.”

The issue about transit has always been about funding – more money has to be put into transit to increase the level of service; to add additional services and to begin to come to the realization that transit is a serious part of every urban city, said Brown.

Everyone thinks that means adding to the tax base explained Brown. There is all kinds of money going into transportation and road maintenance. We have situations said Brown where some maintenance work is being done on a cul de sac that gets less traffic than my driveway.

Transit service - ridership decline

Ridership has fallen – due, according to Doug Brown, to the changes in the schedules and the level of service. Anyone attending the April Form on transit would have needed two hours to get from the north east part of the city to the library on New Street where the event was held,

Transit funding - Burlington lags chart

Burlington has not adequately funded transit for close to a decade.

Transit funding - comparative

On almost every metric Burlington fails.

Burlington has been  consistent in always being lower than comparative municipalities in terms of how much it sends on transit.

Doug Brown has tried his best to explain to city council how much damage they do to transit when they change schedules or kill a transit route.  It takes years for people to return to a service that gets arbitrarily changed.

What irks the Bfast people the most is that city council talks of modal splits and includes transit in that split but then fails to fund it adequately.

When given an opportunity to try to some changes on a pilot basis – city council finds a way to get out of trying anything different.

Advocating fr better transit is a disappointing task – that the Bfast people keep at it is a testament to their tenacity.  These people are volunteers – many of them know more about transit than people at city hall – yet they continually  fail to get the hearing they deserve.

There has been a small improvement – the city manager is now at least meeting with them.

The city does maintain an asset status system that sets out the condition of every street in the city including when it is due to have some work done on it.

It is that list which is used to determine how far behind the city is in keeping the roads up to a pre-determined standard. City council just has to give the Director of Transportation a Staff Direction – cut back on road maintenance by a specific percentage because we are moving those dollars into transit.

It is really that simple.

Transit report card 2017Transit report cardWhat isn’t as simple if finding the political will to do that. Phone calls to a Councillor from a large house in that cul de sac has more weight than a call from a single parents who has trouble getting to work because the bus schedule was changed.

Gribbens Collin A Bfast

Collin Gribbons, a Toronto transplant who was stunned when he found that he really couldn’t get around the city without a car. That’s not part of the story the city tells when they use the tag line: Burlington is one of Canada’s best and most livable cities, a place where people, nature and business thrive in all their media releases. They seem to believe that if they say it often enough it will become true.

Bfast as a grass roots organization has grown. Collin Gribbons, a Toronto transplant who used public transit everywhere he went in that city, was a little stunned when he realized how limited public transit is in Burlington. He got involved in Bfast.

His background is in communications within the union sector – work he said he can do from almost anywhere. He moved to Burlington with his family to be closer to his wife’s Mother.

The Gribbons approach to community organizing is to create coalitions that can collaborate to achieve an objective.

The car drivers have a voice – listen to the complaints about the road diet that is being played around with on New Street Gribbons suggested.

His approach is to create coalitions of people who don’t have a voice and join them together to take a case forward to city council – that is where the change is going to get made.

Doug Brown has been toiling away at doing just that for years. When Bfast was formed they began to invite speakers to Burlington to talk about transit issues. “We were never able to get anyone from city hall or the transit service to attend these events. It was almost as if they didn’t want to hear ideas from leading transit thinkers, said Brown.

He will have some difficulty pulling the Burlington city council into that circle where they coordinate and collaborate.

Bfast Transit group logoIf Gribbons is right and he can succeed in creating a coalition that is large enough to offset the impact of those who believe that God gave them the right to drive their cars to wherever they want to go the Bfast people might manage to bring about some change in the way transit is funded.

The city -will spend $24,785,000 on roads in 2017 – the budget for 2018 is projected at $32,065,000 and in 2019 they want to pump $45,428,000 into roads. Council consistently argues that they are years behind on keeping the roads up to the expected standard.

The transit people would like to see some of that roads maintenance money sent their way.  Brown thinks that about $6 million would solve a lot of the transit problems.

Burlington Transit is currently without a Director.  Jeff Black serves as the Acting Director.  He is one of the staff at transit that is worth keeping an eye on.

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Tens of millions of phony email messages about personal bank accounts are sent out every day. They are all attempts to steal your money.

Crime 100By Pepper Parr

April 12th, 2017



They are relentless.

Millions, tens of millions of email like the one below get sent out to lists of email addresses.

When you get one – read the address it came from very very carefully – they are all false, phony messages sent to you in the hope that you just might click on the message.


Royal scam

Read the address this phony email came from. The name between the < > is the sender – not the Royal Bank. If you don’t recognize the name of the sender – don’t open the email.

When you do that they have got a bit of a hook in you and they will slowly try and reel you in to the point where they have enough information to begin stealing your money.

The recipient of this message does not have an account with the Royal Bank

Dear (name erased to protect the recipient)

ID theft screen

When these computer hackers get enough information from you – they can access your bank account and remove funds.

During our usual security enhancement protocol, we observed a payment was placed on pending status due to the recent upgrade in our database. In order to receive this payment you are required to verify your account from our secure verification link.

To Receive payment kindly click :

Log on to www.royalbank.com/cgi-bin/rbaccess/rbunxcgi

Remember,RBC Royal Bank is committed to your security and protection. To find out more, take a look at our

Information Security section under Privacy and Security on the Web site.
© Royal Bank of Canada Website, © 1995-2017 All rights reserved.

Banks in Canada do not use email to advise you of any problems with your account.

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Trustee Papin gets a rough ride at Parent School Council

highschoolsBy Pepper Parr

April 12th, 2017



It was a regular Parent School Council meeting at Lester B, Pearson high school where principal Loraine Fedurco was taking the audience through what had been happening at the Board of Education where Staff had put forward a recommendation that, if voted for by the trustees, could result in the closing of the school in June of 2018.

Lester B. Pearson high school, named after a former Prime Minister, is the newest of the four high schools that are named in the five options on closure choices that will go before the trustees later this month.  It is also the smallest high school in Burlington.  One of the five options is to not close any of the high schools in the city.

LBP Rachelle Papin 2

Ward 4 trustee Richelle Papin

The School Board trustee Richelle Papin was in attendance – they gave her a rough ride.

LBP George Ward

George Ward

George Ward, a resident was blunt and direct – are you going to vote to keep this school open – Yes or No.

Papin didn’t give a yes or a no answer – she said she wanted to wait until she had all the evidence.

Ward asked again – he asked a total of five times but never got a direct answer

Papin said she wanted to hear what the delegations had to say and she wanted to read what the Director of Education had to say in his report that will be released April 21st.

Unfortunately for Papin she didn’t have an answer ready for the audience. Their question – are you going to support us – was one that had to be expected.

The difficulty for Papin is that she is also the trustee for Nelson high school and there is amongst the five options now before the Director of Education a recommendation that Nelson be closed.

Richelle Papin

Trustee Papin in a tough spot – two of the four schools that have been named for possible closure are in her ward.

Papin is in the very uncomfortable position of having two schools in her ward that could be closed. Tough spot to be in.

This is Papin’s first term as a trustee – it may well be her last. It all depends on what the Director of Education puts forward.

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Waterfront Parking Garage - Elevator out of service

notices100x100By Staff

April 11th, 2017


The elevator at the Waterfront Parking Garage at 414 Locust St. is out of service until further notice.


Parking lot - Locust street

Until further notice doesn’t sound very promising. The picture is dated – there is a new graphic on the building.


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New surface for the promenade to get put in place during the summer - a shade structure will be added in the west end of what is formally called the Naval Promenade.

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

April 11th, 2017



Work begins on Spencer Smith Park Promenade improvements

The Gazebo we knew and loved is gone – replaced by something that looks like it came out of an assemble-it-yourself kit. I suppose we will get used to it.

Willow - gazebo to the left

It was small, in-accessible but it had character. The tree trunk stumps that were once magnificent willow tress that were planted by the man for whom the park was named after. Even the trunks were removed.

The willow trees went with it. All part of improvements being made to Spencer Smith Park and the beginning of the implementation of the Burlington Beach Regional Waterfront Park Master Plan, which includes both Spencer Smith and Beachway Parks,

Gazebo - new location

The new gazebo – bigger – hard to say it is better.

The work is being done in two phases – the first was the upgraded gazebo at a new location; hard-surfaced walkway, pedestrian lighting and benches, tree and perennial planting then grading and drainage improvements.
The location of the old Gazebo was in a bit of a bowl of land that did have poor drainage.

Phase 2 will see a re-surfacing on the promenade, a new shade structure at the cobble beach and concrete surfacing at the seating nodes.

The promenade surface replacement with new asphalt will upgrade the surface to an accessible pathway that is smooth, durable and suitable for walking, cycling and use by mobility devices, such as wheelchairs.

A dashed centre line will be painted down the centre, which is the current industry standard for a multi-use path, to provide separation based on the direction of travel. This is the same principle as driving on the road where you keep to the right and allow faster traffic to pass on the left.

So much for a pleasant stroll.

Beachway Shaded area Pebble Beach

The new shade structure is at that point where Spencer Smith Park becomes the Beachway; once a community of more than 200 homes, many of which would not meet the building code today.

Spencer Smith Park will stay open during the construction, with sections of the promenade closed from April to December 2017. The closures will happen in phases to allow annual major festivals and events, such as the Sound of Music Festival and Canada’s Largest Ribfest, to use the park to host their events.

The Regional government is part of the planning and design work for a project that was very controversial because it eventually leads to the destruction of all the homes currently in the Beachway Park.


The first public showing of the plans for the Beachway that will change the way the public uses the park.

While the long term plan to re-develop the Beachway Park is grand and involves many stages it brings to an end a part of the city that once defined a large part of the Burlington character. There are no plans to keep any of the housing or to leave any sense of the city’s heritage.

The price of progress!

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The city and the way it uses its flag poles - sending important messages.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

April 11th, 2017



There are six flag poles outside city hall. We aware of them, especially when they are at half-staff – we wonder who died.

The city frequently uses the lead pole – the one closest to city hall, when it wants to raise a “special Interest” flag. The Rainbow flag is an example.

city hall with flag poles

City hall with its six flag poles.

Last week the Mayor raised the autism flag. People tend to either shrug or think “that’s nice” and move on if they happen to see a special interest flag.

For the families that have children whose health is somewhere on the autism spectrum the raising of that flag is much more than a passing event.

It is the community’s acceptance that an acknowledgement has been made and that there is some level of acceptance and understanding.

autism flag raisingCoincidentally, last week – maybe a little longer than that – Sesame Street introduce “Julia” a child with autism to the program. The creation of this character and her introduction to the program was five years in the making.
But there she is – very real in the minds of young children. It is hard to explain how the parents of autistic children feel about this change in a social norm.

A year or so ago, a group of parents with older – more than 18 years of age – family members met in a day long workshop at ThinkSpot in Lowville to think through an approach they wanted to make to the provincial government about the care and welfare of their children.

For these parents there is a terrible, dreadful fear over who will care for their autistic children. They worry about who will take care of their children when they are no longer able to do so. They have special needs that are not provided once they are past the age of 18.

“They just get dumped” was the way one parent put it. Out of that workshop came an application for a Trillium grant that allowed the creation of a plan for a different approach to the care of older autistic people.

That flag going up a pole at city hall in Burlington was more than a simple flag raising occasion – it was a sign and an acceptance that change was needed and that change was taking place.

Who would have thought that Julia, an autistic child, would become a main character on a hugely popular children’s television program.

Raise more than a flag to that step forward.

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Proposals for the September Doors Open event due May 12th.

artsblue 100x100By Staff

April 10th, 2017



Burlington artists and cultural groups from all disciplines that would like to perform at one of the Doors Open Burlington sites on Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. are invited to submit a proposal for consideration by May 12, 2017.

The events may include, but are not limited to: craft, dance, literary arts-spoken word, media arts-film, music, theatre, visual arts and performance art.

Doors Open sites.

Artists and performers must be Burlington-based. An honorarium will be provided for each selected proposal.
Doors Open Burlington is part of the eighth annual Culture Days weekend which will take place Sept. 29 to Doors Open is a program of Ontario Heritage Trust.

The event will promote free, hands-on, interactive activities that invite the public to participate behind the scenes to discover the world of artists, performers, historians, architects, curators, designers and other creative individuals in Burlington.

For more information about Doors Open Burlington, Culture Days and the proposal, please visit contact Adam Belovari at 905-335-7600, ext. 7335.

Previous Doors Open events have disappointed. The Historical Society mounted a sad looking collection of four large photographs put up on stands outside the Tourism office.

The Friends of Freeman Station fully understood what Doors Open was all about and they had both a display and people who would talk your ear off if you let them.

A list of the events taking place at various locations will get released later on in the season. We’ve not yet gotten used to the idea that winter is over and that Spring is here.

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Art council to take its first bow on the 18th - Mayor is not expected to arrive with a cheque.

artsorange 100x100By Pepper Parr

April 10th, 2017



The public gets to see what the newly formed Arts and Cultural Council of Burlington (ACCOB) wants to look like and what they would like to achieve.

The Board of the organization announced that the organization will be formally launched at a free public event at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre on Tuesday April 18th, 2017 at 5:30pm.

The Arts and Culture Council is a private initiative formed by the arts community; it has been a long time in development. In 2013 Trevor Copp appeared before city council saying he wanted to be able to work in the city he lived in. Council agreed with him – and that was when the ball began to roll.

The cultural community wanted to be in on the ground floor of any decision making - they made their voices heard - now they wait to see of council will fund culture in a meaningful way.

The cultural community wanted to be in on the ground floor of any decision making – they made their voices heard – then waited to see if city council will fund culture in a meaningful way. That was in 2013.

Sometime after that a number of Burlington artists came together to form the Arts and Culture Collective of Burlington (ACCOB), in an effort to provide support for the many artists and artistic organizations that call Burlington home. This first ACCOB grew to include over 600 members on its Facebook page.

It became clear to the group that a more formal organization should be created; that resulted in the creation of a not-for-profit corporation.

Missen - Haines - Elkaim

Robert Missen with his Hall of Fame award, Former Performing Arts Centre president Suzanne Haines on the left and PAC chair Ilene Elkaim on the right.

Robert Missen, the 2016 recipient of the Performing Arts Centre Hall of Fame award, said ACCOB joins the community of arts councils that has existed across Canada for many years. “The fact that it has taken some time to make this happen has meant that our Council is unique in Canada in representing the concerns of the various multicultural communities in our city.”

“ACCOB invites all artists and all Burlingtonians that are passionate about arts and culture to gather in the Lobby of the Burlington Performing Arts Centre on Tuesday April 18. Representatives of the ACCOB Board of Directors will provide a brief introduction to the organization and it’s Board. They will outline some of the initiatives they plan to undertake over the next few years, services they plan to provide to the city’s artists and artistic and cultural organizations, and benefits that will accrue to members of the organization. Attendees will be encouraged to become members of the organization.” No mention was made of any membership fee.

The occasion will include brief performances featuring several city performers. These include singer-songwriter Andy Griffiths, violin prodigy Yoanna Jang and the children’s choir Enchorus, conducted by Catherine Richardson. Hors d-oeuvres will be served, catered by Ampersand, and there will be a cash bar.


With decent wine swilled to augment the swallowing of those hors d-oeuvres – then what?

The city's cultural planner is all the arts community has at this point. There is some cultural mapping being done - which is useful in itself but won't do all that much to build the tremendous potential culture has in this city. Angela Papariza will use her well developed culture background and training to work with people like Trevor Copp - not likely to see much more in 2014.

City Culture manager Angela Papariza chats up Trevor Copp during the unveiling of the Spiral Stella outside the Performing Arts Centre.

Part of the mandate will be to influence city council and where it puts the several million dollars that go into the operation of the Art Gallery, the Performing Arts Centre and the museums along with the money being pumped into public art.

Chances of getting new money into the city’s budget might be a bit of a stretch – but there is an election in 2018 and that usually tends to loosen the purse strings.

The Artists Collective was very clear - they want the Patks and Recreation people out of the culture business. They want people with training on something other than a trampoline, preferably with degrees in the arts and practical experience as well.

The Artists Collective was very clear – they wanted the Parks. It has taken more than four years to get to the point where the arts community has its own formal organization – now they have to fund it.

Arts and culture have always had a hard time finding place where real roots can be put down. Thy were always stuffed into Parks and Recreation where things just didn’t work out. Splash pads and swimming pools dominated.

Former city manager Jeff Fielding found a way to keep the cultural manager on staff and former General Manager Scott Stewart had that role reporting to a General Manager.

When Mary Lou Tanner was made the Director of Planning she brought Culture into her department where it has at least been kept alive.

Quite how the Manager of Culture will fit into ACCOB is something that only time will tell – they will want funding the Culture manager will want to keep.

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Mobility hubs the latest buzz word to come out of city hall - might replace intensification which seems to have become a non issue.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

April 10th, 2017



City council has decided that growth and development is, to a large degree, going to be centered around Mobility hubs and they want you to help them do that work.

Mobility hubs

Four mobility hubs – expected to be the preferred locations for future commercial growth and development.

There are two meetings taking place.

The city has invited the public into their new Locust Street Grow Bold offices on April 12th. “Individuals interested in learning more about the Mobility Hubs studies are welcome to drop by to meet the city staff working on the Mobility Hubs studies and to ask questions. Refreshments will be provided along with fun activities and games.”

Takes place on Wednesday, April 12 – 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Mobility Hubs Office, 1455 Lakeshore Rd., Unit 7 (across the street from the ESSO gas station)


Mary Lou Tanner, Director of Planning and Building for the city.

Mary Lou Tanner, Chief Planner and Director of Planning and Building explains the purpose of the meeting: “The city needs to hear from the entire community about what they love and value in their downtown so that we can create a long-term vision that continues to make downtown Burlington a great place to live, work, shop and play.

“There is a lot of interest in our downtown from developers. As our city grows, we will receive more and more requests for new buildings of all sizes. With input from the community, the land-use policies created through the Downtown Mobility Hub study will help ensure we have the type of growth in our downtown that we want.”

Once approved, the policies created through Burlington’s Downtown Mobility Hub study will be adopted as part of the city’s new Official Plan.

The offices on Locust Street are not that large – if the weather is good the overflow can spill out onto the side walk cafes on Lakeshore.

Grow bold - front door

Home to the people who are going to focus on our growth.

On April 20th, city Councillor Marianne Meed Ward will return to her Downtown Visioning project and focus on mobility hubs and the role they play. This meeting takes place at Burlington Lions Club Hall, 471 Pearl St., from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Halton Region is anticipated to grow from 530,000 to one million people by 2041. The Province of Ontario’s provincial growth plan, Places to Grow, mandates the City of Burlington plan for a population of 193,000 by 2031.

Just what are mobility hubs? There is a general idea but specifics and details are far from being worked out. The prime objective will be to find ways to move all these people around efficiently.

To get this worked out in the next 18 months is a challenge and include it in the Official Plan

A number of years ago Burlington Transit decided they would shut down the small terminal office on John Street where people were able to buy bus tickets and update their Presto cards. That idea didn’t last very long – what was stunning to many who know something about transit was that the idea actually got to a city council meeting.


John Street transit station was at one point thought to be past its Best Before date. Clearer minds looked at the property again and decided it could get an upgrade to the status of a mobility hub.

What the city has done is set out where the mobility hubs are to be located and have produced a draft Official Plan that focuses on the four locations.

Mobility Hubs locations are around the city’s three GO stations, Aldershot, Appleby and Burlington, and the downtown bus terminal; this is where new growth and development over the next 20 years is to take place.

The city plans to hoist a number of engagement opportunities over the next 18 months to gather input from residents and businesses about how they’d like to see these areas grow and change in the future.

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