The politicians romance transit users - now to get them to put some real money into the service. Prospects don't look all that good at the city council level.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

April 3, 2017



It was the third annual Burlington for fast meeting – the audience was much the same, the issues were the same, there were fewer politicians on hand – The Mayor the MPP and one ward Councillor.

Staff from Planning, Director Mary Lou Tanner and Transportation Director Vito Tolone were on hand.

What was very different was – the transit people were in the room and they made a very positive presentation.

Vito Tolone

Director of Transportation Vito Tolone on the left with Transit supervisor Bob Mennell on the right. Mennell did a great job of telling transit users how good things were going to be in the future. Time will tell on that one. Mennell would make a very convincing member of Council.

A former transit driver and now a supervisor Bob Mennell gave a presentation that was sprinkled with shout outs to many of his former customers. He kept referring to those occasions when he “looked the other way” when someone didn’t have the full fare.

Acting Director of Transit Jeff Black did a fine job of bringing people up to date on the changes that have been made.

Aiding Doug Brown, who has carried this project on his shoulders for the past couple of years was Collin Gribbons who moved to Burlington from the Pape and Danforth part of Toronto where he could “catch a bus or a subway to anywhere. “Can’t do that in Burlington – the system just doesn’t work,” was the way he put it.

Mayor Goldring positioned himself as a transit supporter who proudly announced that he had taken the bus to the event and added that while waiting for the bus to arrive someone had pulled up and offered him a lift. The Mayor declined and then went on to tell the audience how much money the federal government was pumping into transportation. Tonnes of dollars going into the GO system.

Which was fine according to Doug Brown who added that the dollars the Mayor was talking about were for capital projects – new buses and major upgrades to the GO system.

What Burlington needs is an operational contribution to transit and that is something city council can do. They haven’t done it yet.”

Funding COB lagsFunding numbers by cityThe gas tax rebate the city gets was at one point split 30% for transit and the rest for roads maintenance is now at 20%.

The audience learned that the population of Burlington was now 183,000 souls – Regionally there are 548,000 of us – that is projected to grow to 1 million by 20141

The draft Official Plan just released talks of 15 minute service for transit.

There are even plans to upgrade the downtown bus terminal that was going to be torn down less than five years ago.

The gas tax the province pays out now total $2.1 million for the province – that’s scheduled to rise to $4.2 million.


More Handi-vans are to be part of the improvement in the fleet.

There are going to be more Handi-vans

There was just no end to the things that transit was going to get.

Mohamed had come to the mountain,

There were significant cuts to the transit budgets in 2012 and schedule changes that did serious damage to ridership.

Bfast polls the audience each year and produces a report card.

Here it is – not much to be proud about.

Transit report card

The first report card – funding, the critical element has budged.

Transit report card 2017

Some improvement. The data comes from the people who use the service.

Jeff Black said the transit people needed to hear this – true enough. Bfast has been telling them often enough – they just weren’t listening.
During an interactive voting process that allowed opinions to be put on a screen instantly we learned that just 26% of the audience took transit to the meeting – the other 74% used some other mode of transportation.

Ridership decline

The reason for the decline has been poor service, lousy funding and a change to the schedules that drove passengers away from the service.

The city own 53 buses and 10 Handi-vans that carried 1.9 million riders in 2016.

It was all mind-boggling. Almost too much to really believe.

At the meeting was coming to an end Joey Edwardh, president of Community Development Halton was given the microphone. She linked arms with the Mayor, a symbolic way to pull him into her comments about just how much more needed to be done for transit.

Transit - unhappy customer

Do you get the impression the two on the right are actually listening?

The Mayor didn’t say much – while he may have become a transit convert – he is part of a council that has yet to understand the direction the civic administration is taking.

Four of the seven Councillors just don’t have much of an appetite for transit: Craven, Dennison, Taylor and Lancaster probably have not taken a Burlington Transit bus this Council term. One wonders if they own Presto passes.

Jim Young

Jim Young

The Mayor talked about all the funding that had come in from both the federal and provincial governments – didn’t say a word about municipal funding

120 people attended the Bfast forum, a record attendance.

Jim Young, that irrepressible promoter for better transit service said: “I think we are winning, but I’ve felt that way before” and added that ”present City Staff and management are very good at absorbing and paying lip service to engagement while quietly ignoring external inputs.”

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Transit riders get a chance to be specific about their complaints over bus scheduling.

News 100 redBy Staff

April 2, 2017



After completing the report card on Burlington Transit service and listening to transit staff, the Mayor and some of the people involved in Bfast it was time for the breakout sessions where transit users got down to the specifics. What worked and what didn’t work?

Jim Young

Jim Young listening to the complaints about scheduling.

There were so many different breakout groups that they had to use additional rooms for these sub meeting.

Jim Young a passionate advocate for better use of the existing transit facilities handled the breakout table for schedules. He had a long line in front of him

Here is a summary of the scheduling comments he took in:

1. No East/West crosstown bus along the most logical Plains Fairview corridor. Old route now breaks at Maple, transfer is erratic, requires walk from stop to stop, is outdoors in winter and Mae to Appleby section winds all through lakeshore/downtown/ new street making a former 20 minute journey into a 45/50 minute trek.

2. Community Bus start/depart/arrival times at Seniors Centre are completely out of synch with program opening/start/stop and closing times. This issue also came up at the seniors breakout.

3. Saturday bus service has approx. 19 to 20 buses on the road at times and on routes where weekday service has 33 to 35 buses, how does the city expect increased ridership at half the service.

4. Driver adherence to schedules is erratic and not monitored. When questioned drivers suggest schedules are too tight and make no allowance for changing traffic conditions.

5. On many days the #5 route shuts down early with no service after suppertime. Complainant suspects there are many non-commuter, local services with the same issues making visiting family in the evening difficult if not impossible.

6. South east of the city the #50 does not go to Oakville at nights forcing a much longer journey via city bus to GO and same on return journey.

7. The #20 New Street to Burloak & Appleby GO does not service some of the residential areas that the #40B serves. The #40b only runs as a morning evening commuter service which covers much of the same route as the #20 but goes deeper into residential areas. Can something be done to look at combining these two routes with improved all day service on both?

8. There were several comment on synchronizing services at GO stations and from bus to bus when a journey requires 2 buses and transfer. Again this highlights the too tight scheduling that others mentioned previously.

Jeff Black

Acting Director of Transit Jeff Black

This is something the Gazette will return to in three or four months and learn how the transit people have responded.  It must be said that the transit people who did the presentation were keen and where there to tell their story and listen.

Transit is currently led by Jeff Black as Acting Director of Transit.  The city manager might want to think about taking th “Acting” off that title.

We heard a transit staff that was “stoked”, “pumped” and wanting to do a better job.  Perhaps all they needed was better leadership

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Failed schools: The challenge now is for citizens who’s neighbourhood schools face closure, to transition from protest to vision.

opinionandcommentBy James Smith

April 2, 2017



The next few months will be difficult for many Burlington parents and students as the Public Board decides the future of several schools. This issue is hardly new to Burlington or Halton, the phenomenon of is being played out throughout Ontario, Canada and North America. For example, Hamilton has closed 14 schools since 2003. Shifting demographics call for creative solutions. Some change is coming to Burlington Schools, what that change will look like is far from determined at this point.

Old school

While Burlington’s high schools are not quite this old – these old country schools have disappeared and been re-purposed.

In the past, boards have taken the relatively easy route (if closing a school and the ensuring protests they cause can be called easy) when a school is determined to be redundant; they have applied to municipality for re-zoning, then sell the land to the highest bidder. South East Burlington in 1987, when we moved there, had two separate schools, one high school and five public schools within walking distance. Soon both Elizabeth Gardens and Breckon Schools were closed and St Patrick School, the school our kids attended, hung on by its fingernails. At one point only having 75 students!

Having fought hard to keep our local school, I understand what parents are now going through in their attempt to keep a local school. In our case we had a little bit of luck on our side, many of the original empty-nester home owners were selling to families with a couple of kids, so more children were moving into the neighbourhood. More importantly, the former Shell refinery lands west of Burloak, north of New Street meant expanded enrollment significantly. Neither new development nor is intensification is likely going to be an answer to expand enrollment for the schools at risk. The challenge now is for citizens who’s neighbourhood schools face closure, to transition from protest to vision.

Once the decision to close a school has been made, the challenge is to question some deeply held preconceptions; no easy task. The first preconception parents especially need to rid themselves of is the myth of the local school, especially when it comes to a high schools. Local schools, the kind that parents will often define as those as “within walking distance” are more and more not places children walk to. Sure some kids walk, but a significant number of children of all ages are now chauffeured to and from school. One just has to look at the infrastructure put in place to accommodate the pick-up delivery of children in cars. Passing by a school at opening or dismissal, makes one pine to be at the Mall the last weekend before Christmas by contrast. How do local traffic jams add to a community?

Many will talk about the loss of so called open space. Schools often have rather than open space something more akin to a green deserts surrounding the school building. Rarely used manicured lawns, a landscape design element left over from the plan books of Victorian through post war planners that serves little or no purpose; we’re just used to having them. We are used to seeing these areas with nothing there, so we want to keep these green dead zones. The green deserts surrounding all schools, but especially those to be closed, are resources that presently goes wasted. Overcoming these and other preconceptions and understanding the opportunity in school closures is a big and difficult first step. I have no illusion this will be an easy process to undertake, but citizens need to be ready to embrace this change, even reluctantly.

Once the decision has been made to close a school; who best to plan and execute the redevelopment? As stated the old model was a quick rezoning to Single Family Residential, and sell twenty or 30 residential lots to the highest bidder. While the “take the money and run” approach has served the board in the past, times have changed. Given the time and effort of those who have participated in the PARC exercise have demonstrated, and the controversial nature of the decision to close schools, the Board owe the communities and the city a more inclusive re-visioning exercise.

The board of education, by ownership and necessity must be a partner in the process, and realize most of the financial return, but the lead should be taken by the city of Burlington as the city will have to manage the results of the process. I’m rarely a proponent of the 3P model, but in this case I feel a public private partnership is the best way to maximize the return to the board and the city in developing these assets.

Did I say the city? By the city I don’t mean the politicians nor the planning department. As professional and well meaning as city planners may be, this exercise should be taken up by an outside urban planning firm who doesn’t develop and plan track housing. Preclude those firms with a history of developing planning with, and for, the city of Burlington should also be a condition. In other words, an open competition rather than one from the usual suspects. One consideration would be to fund a competition where three semi finalist firms are paid to work-up general, order of magnitude proposals. This way citizens can wade in on what firm’s vision is in the best interest of the the city at large.

In such a process the city’s role should be limited to setting the general goals and parameters. These guidelines should be as loose as possible to allow the bidding firms as much creative leeway as possible. By awaiting proposals from the winning planning firm prior to changing the zoning of former school property, the city can avoid the mistake of regulation that limits development of a novel proposal. Interesting creative uses shouldn’t be precluded from the beginning due to zoning constraints. Plan, then zone. Part of any redevelopment should include re-purposing some or all of the existing school buildings wherever practical, and the development of the site of community amenity assets should be based on input from the neighbours and citizens in general

Many people find the idea of giving up on what they see as “their school” surrender. Many will feel at this point surrender is premature. Change is likely coming. The best way to prepare for change is to start considering and examine one’s prejudices and to start to imagine what the second best alternative might be. Burlington might be a better place as a result of this kind of exercise.

James Smith is a  is a former resident of Burlington and is a contract Designer, who includes Phillip H Carter Architect and Planning as one of his clients.


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Member of Parliament delivers $74,988 in funding to three local groups.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

April 1st, 2017



Having sprinkled federal dollars – close to half a million of them, earlier in the day around 14 projects in Burlington, our Member of Parliament and Minister of Democratic Institutions, Karina Gould and her staff headed for the Royal Canadian Legion where there were even more dollars to distribute.

The time the cheque was for $74,988.00 that was to be distributed between the Legion, St. Johns Anglican Church and St. Luke’s Anglican Church.

The Legion got $24,988 finding for a new stove in the kitchen and funds to upgrade the Legion Museum that has a treasure of historical memorabilia.

Gould in the Legion kitchen

Karina Gould with the cook for the evening in the kitchen of the Royal Canadian Legion

The Legion holds a Fish and Chips night on Friday which meant an occasion for the Member of Parliament to enjoy both a local tradition and some time in the kitchen. Had she arrived an hour earlier she would have been able to help with the cooking.

Gould spent more than an hour working the tables with the several hundred people who were enjoying dinner, playing pool or dancing to some genuine Canadian east coast “hurtin” music.

There was something quite incredible to watch this not yet 30 year old woman move from table to table to talk to people.

Sometime she sat with people for far more than the “howdya do”.

Gould with Gerry the senior

Gerry the senior giving Burlington’s MP Karina Gould a quizzical eye as they talk about the state of the Dominion at a Legion Friday night fish fry.

The Father and Son team of Gerry and Gerry were enjoying the Goodness of Guinness when the Minister sat down for a conversation.

Before Gould made herself comfortable Gerry, the senior, had opined that the first Trudeau had come close to “ruining the country” and Gerry the Senior, wasn’t all that sure the son wasn’t going to do the same thing.
When Karina got up to talk other people, Gerry the senior seemed to have gotten himself to the point where he was going to give the young fellow a chance.

When the cheque presentation was being performed mention was made of Matt MacPherson, President- Royal Canadian Legion Branch 60 Burlington, who, during the days when the first Trudeau was running the country, had served as the Prime Minister’s personal body guard.

“Each time he was in Burlington my job was to be beside him all the time. He was no problem at all” remarked McPherson “but it wasn’t the same with Diefenbaker” he added.

The funds handed out were part of a federal government’s New Horizons for Seniors Program that has distributed approximately $35 million in New Horizons for Seniors Program funding for close to 1,850 community-based projects approved through the NHSP 2016–2017 Call for Proposals.

Gould at the Legion

Delighted members of Burlington’s clergy and the Royal Canadian Legion pose for a presentation photograph. Tucked away in the back row, third from the right, is Legion president Matt MacPherson who did the same thing for former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau when he served as his personal body guard – stood in the background ensuring the man was always safe.

Since 2004, the NHSP has funded close to 19,700 projects in hundreds of communities across Canada, with a total Government of Canada investment of approximately $417 million.
Gould was filling in for the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development.

Investing in Canada’s communities is not only about creating good jobs and encouraging clean economic growth. It is also about building stronger communities. Partnerships with local governments, institutions and organizations are vital to deliver change and improve the lives of seniors.

St. John’s Anglican Church, and St. Luke’s Anglican Church each received $25,000 for fundamental renovations will take place to better support Burlington seniors in creating and serving healthy meals, providing inclusive and accessible social spaces and updating audio-visual systems with improved hearing and visual assistance.

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Sound of Music announces ticketed events. Marianas Trench will be on the stage.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

March 31st, 2017


June 10th to the 18th – Sound of Music Festival’s 38th year takes place.

Every year in June, Burlington comes alive with the largest music event of the year. Well over 200,000 people come to enjoy concerts spanning all genres. Through the generosity and support of sponsors and the dedication of volunteers, the event continues to be free on Father’s Day Weekend for music lovers of all ages. The sponsors this year include: Burlington Downtown Business Association, Burlington Hyundai, Cogeco, Investors Group Burlington, TD Canada Trust, Terrapure, Mill Street Brewery, Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation


Marianas Trench performing at the SoM this June.

The number of ticketed events is growing but the free part of the Festival is stable. Marianas Trench, Smash Mouth, Spin Doctors, and Sumo Cyco, will join The Offspring and Live on June 10, 2017, along with special guests, Randy and Mr. Lahey from Trailer Park Boys.

Details on the free part of the festival will be made available  – April 27th.

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A confirmed case of measles in our community make it imperative that residents protect themselves against the increasing risk of infection by ensuring their immunization are up to date.

element_healthservices-74x74By Staff

March 31st, 2017



The Halton Region Health Department is investigating a confirmed case of measles in an Oakville resident that has led to potential exposures in public and health-care settings in Oakville during the period of March 21-29, 2017.

Measles - male

Anyone who has not had two doses of a measles vaccine (MMR or MMRV) or who has not had measles in the past is at risk of infection.

People who have visited any of the following locations may have been exposed to measles:

• Tuesday, March 21, Sheridan College, 1430 Trafalgar Rd., Oakville, 6 –11:30p.m.

• Thursday, March 23, Sheridan College, including the gym and campus Tim Hortons,

1430 Trafalgar Rd., Oakville, 7:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

• Thursday, March 23, Walmart (Oakville), 234 Hays Blvd., Oakville, 3:30 – 10:30 p.m.

• Sunday, March 26, Tim Hortons, 2355 Trafalgar Rd., Oakville 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.

• Tuesday, March 28, Trafalgar Medical Clinic, including the main foyer, the food court and LifeLabs in the basement, 1235 Trafalgar Rd., Oakville, 1:30 – 5:00 p.m.

• Wednesday, March 29, Tim Hortons, 2355 Trafalgar Rd., Oakville, 3:30 – 6:30 p.m.

Visitors to these locations during the times noted should do the following:

A severe case of measles.

A severe case of measles.

• Check your immunization records to make sure you and your children have had two doses of the measles vaccine (MMR or MMRV). Your immunization record (yellow card) or your doctor can provide you with this information. Two doses of measles vaccine are recommended for anyone born after 1969.

• Infants under one year of age, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems can get very ill with measles and should contact Halton Region Health Department or their health care professional immediately for further assessment.

• Watch for symptoms of measles until 21 days after exposure. These include a high fever, cold-like symptoms (cough/runny nose); sore eyes or sensitivity to light; small spots with a white centre on the inside of the mouth; and a red rash lasting four to seven days.

• If you think you may have measles and need to see a doctor, you must call ahead to the doctor’s office, walk-in clinic or emergency department. This will allow health care staff to take the necessary precautions to reduce the risk of infection and protect others visiting the office, clinic or hospital.

“With a case of confirmed measles in our community, it’s imperative that residents protect themselves and their community against the increasing risk of infection by ensuring their measles immunization is up to date,” said Dr. Julie Emili, Acting Medical Officer of Health for Halton Region.

Measles is a highly contagious disease that spreads easily through the air. Anyone who has not had two doses of a measles vaccine (MMR or MMRV) or who has not had measles in the past is at risk of infection.

For more information, dial 311 or call the Halton Region Health Department at 905-825-6000, toll free 1-866-442-5866 or visit

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Budget was a bit of a snooze - but they did delivery it - deficit looks like it is going to become a permanent feature.

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

March 31st, 2017



The federal government brought down a budget last week. Did anybody notice? Well if you drink wine it’ll cost you a little more. The tax credit for taking public transit is gone and you’ll have to pay the HST on your next Uber ride. There is also supposed to be more money for infrastructure, innovation and child care but these benefits will not be as noticeable as the taxes, nor immediately applicable to many of us.

It was all a bit anti-climatic. Even the people’s broadcaster (CBC) muted the Finance Minister’s speech and plugged in one of their own reporters instead. Why hear it from the horse’s mouth (no offence intended) when there is some reporter, barely exhumed from the pre-budget ‘lock-up’, who can ramble-on quoting second-hand information from his notebook of cryptic scribblings?


Prime Minister Trudeau congratulating Finance Minister Morneau on the delivery of the 2017 budget

I recall watching Flaherty and Martin being allowed to wax on poetic, why not Morneau? Over a thousand journalists, independents from think-tanks, and other influential people spend budget day together locked in a big room and not released until the budget is read out. But since most of the budget has already been leaked by budget day, it might just be the expensive feeding and watering that has them coming back each year. Who says there is no such thing as a free lunch? Perhaps it’s time to get rid of the budget lock-up.

Pre-budget speculation had investors worried that Trudeau would impose a higher tax rate on income from capital gains. After all income is income, and that might help slow down the crazy inflation in the housing sector, particularly if homes selling for more than a million were included as taxable, which was one rumour.

It was Justin’s father who first introduced capital gains taxes and taxation had been applicable to 75% of that income in those days gone by. Anyway, that rumour was false, though that extra cash would come in useful for a government mired in red ink. That old saw, that you have to be crazy not to borrow at today’s ridiculously low interest rates, doesn’t sound so reasonable when one considers that even a balanced budget, let alone surplus, isn’t expected before the end of this decade, and well beyond the next election.

If this budget was designed to keep folks on-side with the Liberals it mostly failed. Despite its glossy front web page, it is long on minutia and mostly short on substance and vision, certainly compared to the last one. But then this is only a mid-term instrument, tailored to not steal the spotlight from the more important one coming in the election year. And perhaps we’re all too demanding and our expectations are too high – or maybe it’s the rumour mill that keeps whetting our appetite for more.

Liberal leader and prime minister-designate Justin Trudeau takes a selfie while greeting people at a subway station in Montreal, Quebec, October 20, 2015. Trudeau, having trounced his Conservative rivals, will face immediate pressure to deliver on a swathe of election promises, from tackling climate change to legalizing marijuana. REUTERS/Chris Wattie - RTS5CCS

Trudeau has been a media darling ?

Trudeau has been a media darling since coming to power, in fact even more admired abroad than at home. Though when it comes to that domestic audience, his boat is starting to leak and according to one poll is now listing and behind the leaderless Tories for the first time since his solid win in 2015. How could that be? That voters saying they’d prefer a party with no leader to the current government? Well as Diefenbaker used to say…”polls are for dogs”.

Halfway into an election term, the public usually gets antsy – that mid-term itch. And there are some reasons for the public to start to back-off from their leader. Trudeau has done himself no favour with this on-going cash-for-access thing. And his expensive Christmas holiday, at our expense, in the Bahamas has proven unpopular among those of us who never seem to make the Aga Khan’s guest list, no matter how hard we try. And, like Harper before him, those idealistic promises on transparency are getting harder to fulfill once in office. Small things but still….

Bombardier's CS100 assembly line is seen at the company's plant Friday, December 18, 2015 in Mirabel, Que. After years of delays and cost overruns, Bombardier's CSeries commercial aircraft has been certified by Canada's transportation regulator. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Bombardier’s CS100 assembly line is seen at the company’s plant Friday, December 18, 2015 in Mirabel, Que. After years of delays and cost overruns, Bombardier’s CSeries commercial aircraft has been certified by Canada’s transportation regulator. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

There was this Castro fiasco a little while ago, and then elbow-gate showed a lack of composure in a leader we’d assumed had it all together. Some folks resent his subsidy to giant Bombardier, particularly as the company’s management has just given themselves whacking big (millions of dollars) raises while simultaneously laying off a chunk of their the wage-earning labour force. Lately some folks are unhappy about the business dealings between the government and Trudeau’s close friend Tom Pitfield.

The government has just dropped one of those white papers on parliamentary reform, which would give MPs a four day work week in Ottawa and require the PM to only show up one day a week for question period. There is the carbon tax, though at least environmentalists will appreciate the government cutting a subsidy to the oil sector. After all, why carbon tax the public so they’ll use less oil, while simultaneously encouraging more oil development with an almost instantaneous rapid capital write-off.

Trudeau - real change

How are we liking this so far? Sunny ways?

Oh yes, and then for those who really care about electoral reform, there was that broken promise on ridding us of the unfair first-past-the-post system. While one can accommodate foot dragging while a government slogs through the mud of its agenda, this was a veritable ‘balls-up’ and a breach of faith.

It’s a long road in political life until the next election. And what really matters are the first and last budgets in the cycle. Tweeners, like this one don’t really count much. And whether this is a made-in-Canada budget or not, Trudeau had to be looking over his shoulder at what is happening south of the border. Trump is just beginning his own tax reform process so it may have been sensible for us to wait. After all our guy doesn’t want to get too far out of sync with our greatest trading partner and best friend.

Rivers-direct-into-camera1-173x300Ray Rivers writes weekly on both federal and provincial politics, applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking.  Rivers was a candidate for provincial office in Burlington in 1995.  He was the founder of the Burlington citizen committee on sustainability at a time when climate warming was a hotly debated subject.     Tweet @rayzrivers


Background links:

Budget –     Child Care Promises –     Lock-Up Lunches –

Trudeau Popularity –     Broken Promises – 

Parliament Reform –     More Parliament –     Even More Parliament – 

Transparency –      Oil Subsidy –      Bombardier –      Pitfield –

Deficits –

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Just show up, schmooze with hundreds of other business people. See how you get on

News 100 yellowBy Staff

March 31, 2017



Every sector of the community looks for a place where it can share its viewpoint and get its message out.

This community is not the Chamber of Commerce set – they are men and women with expertise and experience that is not “on staff” at many organizations but that is needed from time to time.

Quite a business card isn't it? James Burchill, the guiding force and the energy behind the Burlington Social Fusion Network is all business.

April 6th – from 4:00 to 8:00 pm., at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre.

It is a simple easy way to meet people who ply their trade – you never know who you are going to meet. And you usually come away knowing someone with a skill set that you will want to remember.

It's all about networking.

It’s all about networking.

James Burchill has been doing this for those independent practitioners who meet the needs of larger and medium sized businesses.

He calls it a Social Fusion Networking event that he holds at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre. The event this year is April 6th – from 4:00 to 8:00 pm.

If you’re interested in free b2b networking [with hundreds of businesses] then you should check out next week’s [April 6] Social Fusion Networking event at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre from 4-8pm.

Burchill described his event in the easy folksy manner he brings to what he does: “Just show up, schmooze with hundreds of other business people. See how you get on.”

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$20,000 will bring another community garden to the city; TD Bank writes the cheque.

News 100 greenBy Staff

March 30th, 2017



The Toronto-Dominion Friends of the Environment Foundation is sending the city a cheque for $20,000 to enhance the construction of a new community garden in Ireland Park. Construction of the new garden will begin this fall and will open in spring 2018. The garden will include 36 ground based plots and 3 raised accessible plots.

The city has come a long way since June of 2011 when Amy Schnurr of Burlington Green and Michelle Bennett stood as a tag team before city council trying to convince them to put up 15% of the cost of opening the first city based community garden.


Amy Schnurr at the opening of the first community  Garden. Former city general manager Scott Stewart on the left and Rob Peachy realizing that it was Schnurr and Burlington Green that got the city into community gardens.

Council wasn’t all that keen on the idea but they couldn’t get away from the two women; they were relentless.
They prevailed and the community garden opened to some fanfare and has grown to the point where there are now four such gardens.

Construction of the new garden will begin this fall and will open in spring 2018. The garden will include 36 ground based plots and 3 raised accessible plots.

Funding will be used to expand accessible garden plots and accessible pathways throughout half of the community garden. These pathways will use wild thyme—a drought-tolerant, pollinator-friendly ground-cover with reinforced turf mesh—rather than wood chips. This will result in an even, stable, accessible surface, allowing people with limited mobility equal opportunity to visit more areas of the community garden and interact with the other gardeners.

The grant will contribute to the cost of an accessible garden shed, an accessible picnic table and three raised, accessible garden plots.

A perennial garden will be planted around a one-metre border outside the garden fence to attract bees and add flowers to the area. TD FEF staff will be asked to help plant the perennial garden as part of TD’s staff volunteer program.


Michelle Bennett – talked the city out of $11,000 + and created a network of community gardens.

The city has four community gardens with 126 plots in total for 2017:

• Amherst Park
• Central Park
• Francis Road Bikeway
• Maple Park.

This year’s planting season will run from May 1 to Oct. 22, 2017. All plots have been assigned for this season.

The cost to rent a plot for the season is $50. Water, soil and compost are supplied and all plots have full sun.

Community garden applications are available online at, the Burlington Seniors’ Centre, or City Hall, 426 Brant St., at the Service Burlington counter. Completed applications are accepted until Nov. 30, 2017 for the 2018 planting season. Plots at all five gardens will be allocated by lottery at the close of the application period.

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The Board of Education has its lens; the parents who want their schools kept open have their lens - are these rose coloured glasses?

highschoolsBy Pepper Parr

March 29, 2017



What was originally planned as a two meeting consultation ended its seventh meeting with several of the 14 participants not certain they had finished the job they set out do – which for many was to ensure that their school did not close and for most to do everything they could to not close any schools.

There were some hard truths to be dealt with – there are 1800 plus secondary classroom seats empty and 3000 + elementary classroom seats that are not being filled.

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.

Empty classroom seats – 1800 + at the secondary level and 3000 + at the elementary level. Unsustainable.

The problem was twofold – too many empty seats and catchment area boundaries that did not match well enough with the student population

It was during those conversations that the gap between the thinking the Board of Education does and the thinking the parents do – most of whom had strong private sector backgrounds, became painfully evident.

In thanking the 14 PARC participants Director of Education Stuart Miller was both positive and effusive. He had learned far more than he expected to learn and was much more aware of where the school board was failing to communicate effectively with parents.

Miller prep at Central

Director of Education Stuart Miller

Miller mentioned how complex running an education system is and touched upon the acronyms that are used to describe the numerous programs that are offered to students. He added that the board knew the education side of the problem and the parents knew the community side of the problem and that the space between the two was much wider than he expected.

If anything comes out of this PARC exercise it is that there is a lot of work to be done by the board to get its story out to the community. Miller has to be given credit for that realization – now he has to find a way to improve that communication and accept that trustees cannot be expected to do all of it.

The options the Board has to deal with is to close one high school or two high schools or try really hard to find a way to not close any of the high schools.

The hard reality is that Burlington no longer has as many families as it once had – and there are nowhere near the number of young people being fed into the educational system

PARC crowd Dec 8-16

The Director of Education admits that the Board has not managed to communicate effectively with the parents – the PARC process taught him that much. How does he change that dynamic?

The problem is now in the hands of the Board staff who have to write reports that will go to the trustees who will then make the final decision – which will be on June 7th

The school year ends June 29th – there are a lot of educators who will want to get out of town real fast – the prospects for keeping all the schools open do not look that good.


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Family size condos in the downtown core - right across the street from city hall.

highschoolsBy Pepper Parr

March 29, 2017


Public gallery Feb 9

Parents who believe fervently that there are going to be family size condominiums in th downtown core attended every meeting of the Program Accommodation Review.

The Central high school parents have been trying to tell the Halton District School Board that they have the population projections all wrong – there are going to be more families in the downtown core and they are going to be able to live in two and three bedroom condos.

Not going to happen counter the Boards planning people. Look at the Paradigm – five towers with mostly one bedroom units.

From civic sq

Carriage Gate group wants to build – a 27 story tower with 183 units – most of which will be two and three bedroom units.

Last night at a public meeting where people got to see what Nick Carnacelli and his Carriage Gate group wants to build – a 27 story tower with 183 units – most of which will be two and three bedroom units.

School board staff have said that they keep in touch with the developments that are planned – they didn’t make any mention at any time about what Carriage Gate has planned

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How we interact in this city - at times it is very funny.

News 100 blueBy Staff

March 29th, 2017



Burlington is a city, Oakville and Milton are towns.

The way people interact with each other in Burlington is more like a Village.


The award given each Burlington BEST recipient was designed and crafted by Teresa Seaton.

The city released the names of the nominees for Burlington’s BEST awards. Two of the people nominated for the Arts Award cannot stand each other; they are like oil and water. It is going to be interesting to see how that plays out in May.

At a public meeting Tuesday evening the Carriage Gate people told their story about the 27 storey tower they want to build across the street from city hall.

Molinaro + Carnacelli

Robert Molinaro on the left – Nick Carnacelli on the right – their projects were compared at the public viewing of the Carriage Gate development Carnacelli wants to build opposite city hall.

Nick Carnacelli, top dog at Carriage Gate, was sitting beside Robert Molinaro while the Carriage Gate people were talking up their project.

The Molinaro’s are well into the construction of their five tower Paradigm development on Fairview next to the GO station and a decent jump away from Walmart.

The Molinaro’s are very proud of their project – it must have been dismaying for Robert Molinaro to hear the Carriage Gate people say that Paradigm is not a place where people are going to live – “they will just sleep there and take the GO train into work.”

The 183 unit Carriage Gate project will feature two and three bedroom units – a place where families will live – on Brant Street

We are a village.

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Meed Ward does most of the talking at city council meeting. Asks for two recorded votes.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

March 29th, 2017



It was a 37 minute city council meeting with just six of the seven Councillors in attendance – Paul Sharman had sent his regrets

Of that 37 minutes 18 were spent by the council members talking about what was happening in their wards. The new procedural bylaw limits Councillor comments to either three mentions or three minutes. Six Councillors present – 3 minutes each = 18 minutes.


Council members seem to have lost their tongues.

The Mayor had earlier eaten up about 12 minutes handing out certificates of appreciation to members of the Eagles and Barracuda hockey teams for their efforts in the annual Giving Back event that brings in food that gets passed along to the different food banks in the city.

During the regular business of the city – not one Councillor said a word other than Meed Ward who put her colleagues through two recorded votes – where they all had to stand up and be counted because the city hasn’t managed to make the electronic voting work for them. The Board of Education has figured out how to make electronic voting work for them.

They discussed passing a bylaw that will allow the building of 11 townhouses on what is now 2360, 2364, and 2368 New Street – close to the library. Three houses will be torn down to allow the 11 town houses to get built – that’s what intensification is all about – no back yards.

Council approved the appointment of Mr. Dave Kerr, Ms. Sherry Smith and Ms. Trish Volker by the City of Burlington to the Burlington Hydro Electric Board commencing at the Annual General Meeting of the corporation being held April 24, 2017.

Six by laws were passed.

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Seniors organization has loads of money but no mission, no direction and badly in need of some lessons on participatory democracy.

seniorsBy Jim Young

March 29th, 2017


I attended the “Getting to Know You” session for Burlington Seniors Community Incorporated (BSCInc.) on Tuesday at Central Library. For those of you who do not know, BSCInc was, until recently, the organization that helped run some parts of Burlington Seniors Centre. They and the city parted company last year.

The Bistro, the heart of the Seniors'entre and the focal point for many of the administrative problems. The new agreement with the city didn't resolve this problem but they have agreed to give it a year to come up with a solution that works for everyone.

The Bistro, the heart of the Seniors’ Centre and the focal point for many of the administrative problems.

Their separation from the city has left BSCInc with a lot of time on their hands, a lot of money, apparently, and in search of something to do with both. Their experience in running the Bistro and the Events Programs at Seniors Centre has given BSCInc lots of organising skills and some really good ideas but a lot of residual bad blood between Seniors Centre Members, former Seniors Centre Committee Members, City Recreation Staffs and the newly reincarnated BSCInc still exists as was obvious at the end of Monday’s meeting .

Essentially BSCInc is an incorporated company with a big bag of cash left over from their Seniors Centre days, some good ideas on promoting seniors issues but sadly with so much baggage from the fallout with the Seniors Centre it may be difficult for them to recover the trust of a large number of seniors in a way that will let them carry out their big plans.

The first half of Monday’s meeting went reasonably well as various BSCInc committee members outlined plans for their new seniors’ advocacy group. A more experience eye might have foreseen the coming debacle at the end over voting rights and the BSCInc balance sheet. The qualifications for voting suggest that only BSCInc committee and former committee get real votes. Some volunteers will be eligible for voting rights but only after a six month qualifying period which will be well beyond the next AGM.

There is nothing fancy about the place. It's simple, serves the purpose with a bus stop almost outside the door and plenty of parking. And the kitchen will rustle you up a sandwich if you're hungry. The Seniors like it the way it is.

There is nothing fancy about the place. It’s simple, serves the purpose with a bus stop almost outside the door and plenty of parking. The city abruptly took over running the Bistro and programming when there were staffing problems.

That left many questioning the openness or democratic nature of the organization. The subject of finances was only vaguely hinted at with a promise to reveal all at the AGM in the fall. The amount BSCInc inherited from their Seniors Centre departure is rumoured to be between $180,000.00 and $200,000.00 but we will not know how much or its purpose until the AGM. This vagueness did not sit well with many of the audience.

This was the elephant in the room that consumed almost all of the question and answer period. The fuzziness of BSCInc answers did nothing to ameliorate the anger felt by some Seniors Centre Members and former Seniors Committee Volunteers. The meeting ended in disarray when, unable to continue fielding questions with non-answers, the Chairman, Fred Hendriks abandoned question time and adjourned the meeting.

It is entirely possible that the money and the plans for its use are in good hands and intended for good works; but unless BSCInc can be more forthcoming about why the break-up with the city occurred, how much money there actually is, where it came from, how they intend to use it and how open and democratic they will be in electing the guardians of that money, I fear they will find it difficult to regain the trust of many seniors groups.

At the end of the day, BSCInc is an incorporated entity with no legal obligation to open their books or their membership and voting criteria to the public. But unless they do so, and do so soon, many Burlington Seniors will continue to have reservations about the group.

Meanwhile Burlington Seniors Centre continues to flourish, The Bistro still sells great lunches and the vast majority of seniors living in Burlington are blissfully unaware that BSCInc exists, why it does or who they are supposed to represent. The answers rest with them.

Jim YoungJim Young is an Aldershot resident who is passionate about the rights of the people being recognized and the man with some of the best ideas on better transit for seniors than most people in th city.  He is an occasional opinion writer for the Gazette.

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The lottery scam or the Inheritance scam - sometimes 100,000 people respond.

Crime 100By Staff

March 28th, 2017



– It’s cliché but if it sounds too good to be true it likely is –

It’s Fraud Prevention Month and the Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) announces its final scheduled Fraud of the Week: Inheritance and Lottery Scams.

The police have focused their public education on fraud and the damage it does to gullible people; usually older people who are not fully aware of what can be done to them via the internet.

Fraud prevention month logoInheritance and lottery scams typically target older individuals who do not use online banking services. This enables fraudsters to hijack victims’ bank accounts for money laundering with less likelihood of them noticing.

According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, scammers will send up to three million fraudulent letters or emails at a time. The notifications are sent to people around the world and, generally, close to 100,000 people respond. Many victims lose between $20 and $30, but some lose as much as $250,000.

In a typical inheritance scam, an older person receives an email or letter claiming that they are eligible to collect an inheritance. To receive the inheritance, they have a set period of time, usually about 14 days, to respond and provide their contact information by email. Those who reply go on to receive calls and emails from the fraudsters as well as a form requesting personal information.

Shortly thereafter, a cheque for more than a thousand dollars arrives in the mail. To receive the inheritance, victims are asked to cash the cheque and transfer a larger amount of money than the original cheque is worth to the holder of the inheritance. Days later the victim learns that the cheque is fraudulent and they are out the money they transferred.

lottery scamIn a lottery scam, potential victims are contacted by an email, phone call, text message or pop up screen on their computer. They are advised that they have won a lottery or sweepstakes. Prior to receiving the prize, however, victims are required to pay taxes, duties or other administrative fees. Once the funds are sent, the victim never receives the prize or is sent an alternate prize than they were promised.

To ensure their continued success, con artists create new twists on both inheritance and lottery scams in an attempt to stay one step ahead of potential victims.

The following protection tips have been provided courtesy of the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre and Competition Bureau:

• Remember: Legitimate lotteries do not require you to pay a fee or tax to collect winnings. Known lottery and sweepstakes companies such as Reader’s Digest and Publisher’s Clearinghouse will never request money upfront in order to receive a prize.

• Caution: Never send money to anyone you don’t know and trust.

• Think: Don’t give out any banking information over the phone, through email or via text message.

• Investigate: Carefully examine all terms and conditions of any offer received. Claims of free or very cheap offers often have hidden costs.

• Ask yourself: Did I enter this contest? Why would a stranger leave me money? You more than likely cannot win money unless you have entered a contest nor inherit from someone you do not know.

• Important: Never provide personal information over the phone, no matter who the caller claims to represent.

Anyone with information pertaining to a fraud or any other crime is asked to contact the Regional Fraud Bureau A safe, secure, confidential place to call with information that will keep our streets safe.Intake Office at 905-465-8741 or Tips can also be submitted anonymously to Crime Stoppers “See something, Hear something, Say something” at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), through the web at, or by texting “Tip201” with your message to 274637 (crimes).

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MPP brings home some bacon - can she help keep the high schools open as well?

News 100 yellowBy Staff

March 28th, 2017



McMahon - First public as Minister

MPP Eleanor McMahon includes Burlington in grant spree.

Burlington MPP and Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport Eleanor McMahon announced yesterday that 45 communities across the province would benefit from provincial funding.

The home town was included in that list.

Burlington's own - The Spoons - they were part of the opening of the Performing Arts Centre. Nice to see them back in town.

Burlington’s own – The Spoons – will be in town for part of the summer.

In June there will be a Citizenship Reaffirmation Ceremony & Concert Programming that will include: an indigenous smudging ceremony; a citizenship ceremony for new Canadian citizens followed by reaffirmation ceremony for previous new Canadian citizens and naturalized Canadians; and five musical acts including Freedom Train, Killin’ Time Band, The Spoons, Tebey, and the headliner, Walk off the Earth.
The city received a grant of $45,000

Brant Day - Food truck line -2

City council and the Downtown Business Association had difficulty with Food Trucks but the public loves the things. There will be 30 of them at Spencer Smith Park in June. This photo is of Food Trucks at a Joseph Brant day event.

In July the Canadian Food Truck Festival will line up 30 food trucks in Spencer Smith Park featuring a wide array of international cuisine; and a main stage for live music including Wanderlust and The Crooked Zebras
The Food Truck Festival was given a grant of $20,000

Anton - ceramist -

Ceramist Anton Reijnders wil be at the AGB in August

In August the Art Gallery of Burlington in collaboration with Craft Ontario, will host several events including a solo exhibit of recent work by ceramist Anton Reijnders; a master craft exhibition including the work of approximately 70 Canadian makers; “Nothing is Newer than Tradition”, an exhibition of emerging Ontario craft makers; “Once Upon a Time”, an exhibit exploring the evolution of the work of 22 Ontario ceramists; and a two-day conference.

The AGB will get a grant of $35,000 for this event.

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Police update information released to public on the murder - suicide and close the file.

Crime 100By Staff

March 28th, 2017



The Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) has confirmed the firearm used in the March 16, 2017 murder-suicide at the Mejilla Chiropractic Clinic in Burlington was a small caliber handgun legally owned by, and registered to, the accused David Williamson (deceased).

Prior to the shooting, Williamson did not have any criminal contact with the HRPS, nor were police aware of any reported occurrences of domestic violence / disputes.

The Halton Regional Police Service is sensitive to the victims in this incident and has no further information suitable for release at this time.

Previously the Regional Police Service confirmed that the suspect in the double shooting at the Mejilla Chiropractic Clinic, 44 year-old David Williamson of Burlington, had died in hospital of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

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Burlington's Best to be recognized and celebrated on May 11, at the Royal Botanical Gardens.

News 100 blueBy Staff

March 28th, 2017



The 2016 nominees for a Burlington’s Best Award were released by city hall this morning.

A total of 24 nominations were received in eight categories, including a new Accessibility Award. Nominations opened on December 1st and closed February 28, 2017.

Burlington’s Best Awards is an awards program that honours Burlington’s most outstanding citizens. The winners in all categories will be revealed at a gala celebration on Thursday, May 11, 2017 at the Royal Botanical Gardens.

Tickets to this event are $35 per person or $280 for a table of eight. The event includes a light buffet and cocktail reception. Tickets can be purchased at the Service Burlington counter at City Hall, 426 Brant St., or by contacting Wanda Tolone at 905-335-7600, ext. 7458 or

One winner will be selected in each of the eight award categories. This year’s nominees are:

Citizen of the Year
•Dorothy Borovich
•Don Crossley
•Fareen Samji

Junior Citizen of the Year
•Michelle Fornasier
•Mehr Mahmood
•Brianna Moore
•Alexandra Todd
•Leah Verral
•Michael Williams

Senior Person of the Year
•Dave Page
•Susan Stasiuk

Environmental Award
•Kale Black

Arts Person of the Year Award
•Margaret Lindsay Holton
•Jim Riley
•Erica Villabroza
•Henry Ward

Community Service Award
•Marion Goard
•David McKay
•David Vandenberg
•Matt Walker

Heritage Award
•Jim Clemens

Accessibility Award
•Learning Disabilities Association of Halton
•Sodexo Canada
•Tetra Society
Mary Kay Aird, Chair of Burlington’s Best Committee commented that ““There are so many people in Burlington doing great things. Each year, the committee looks forward to reviewing the nominations and meeting those who strive to make our community the best it can be.”

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Airport appeal to be heard today in Toronto; many hope the air park owner has reached the end of his rope.

airpark 100x100By Pepper Parr

March 28, 2017



In June of 2016 Justice Gibbons handed down his decision on the law suit between the Burlington Air Park and the city of Burlington. The decision rendered by Justice Gibson on the Air Park case is 50 pages in length.

Airpark aerial used by the city

The 200 acre Air Park property where 2,000,000 tonnes) of land fill was dumped without a site approval plan from the city.

An appeal of that decision is to be heard at the Ontario Court of Appeal at Osgoode Hall in Toronto. A small band of people from the northern part of the city are expected to attend and hear what the Appeal Court has to say.
The city has asked the Appeal Court to uphold Justice Gibbon’s decision.

At issue was an ongoing dispute between Airpark and the City with respect to fill operations conducted by Airpark at the Airport. Between January, 2008 and August 2013, Airpark allowed and profited from the deposit of over 500,000 m3 (approximately 2,000,000 tonnes) of land fill at the Airport.

On May 3, 2013 the City served Airpark with an Order to Comply with its By­Law. The Airpark did not accede to the order and asserted that it did not need to comply because its fill operation was under federal, not provincial, jurisdiction.

On November 13, 2013, Murray J. ruled against Airpark on the constitutional division of powers issue, and on June 11, 2014, the Court of Appeal for Ontario upheld this ruling.

Vince Rossi at a community meting held in a barn a couple of hundred yards from the end of one of the airport runways

Vince Rossi at a community meting held in a barn a couple of hundred yards from the end of one of the airport runways.

The Air Park and the city sued each other again when the Air Park failed to apply for a site plan approval.

The city was seeking two orders:

a) a mandatory order requiring the respondent Burlington Airpark Inc. to remove all fill deposited on the site between January 1, 2008 and August 2, 2013 except for soil underlying existing runways and hangars;

b) in the alternative, a mandatory order requiring Airport to file an application under By-law 64-2014 for the 2008-2013 work carried out before By-law 64-2014 had been passed and while the prior By-law 6- 2003 was in effect (the latter by-law having been since repealed in its entirety);

c) an order continuing the terns of an order made by Miller J. on August 2, 2013 respecting the deposit of fill at the Airport;

d) costs on a substantial indemnity basis; and,

e) further and other relief.

Justice Gibson granted the city its application in part.

Airpark, in contrast, seeks an order dismissing the City’s application,

It is the Appeal of the Justice Gibson decision that will be heard on Tuesday.



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Child behavourial experts doing a free parent presentation titled: Looking Beyond the Behaviour,

eventspink 100x100By Staff

March 28th, 2017



Two child behavourial experts will be providing a free parent presentation titled, Looking Beyond the Behaviour, on Tuesday, April 4, 2017 in Burlington to teach parents/guardians strategies to help children develop emotional strength.

The event is being presented by Community & Parent Partners for Kids (C.A.P.P. for KIDS), and will run from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. at New St. Education Centre (3250 New St., Burlington). There will be community displays from 6:45-7 p.m.

Sonia Holden and Charmaine Williams will be the presenters.

Holden has more than 19 years of experience working with children of all ages and developmental abilities; she coaches and teaches strategies to support emotional development in children.

Williams has more than more than 17 years of experience in social services as a consultant and parenting coach. She has worked with children of all ages and teaches best practices in child development and emotional regulation.
Admission is free but donations toward future speakers will be gratefully appreciated.

C.A.P.P. for Kids is a partnership between Halton Region, Halton District School Board, Halton Catholic District School Board, Reach Out Centre for Kids (ROCK), Our Kids Network, Halton Regional Police Service, Ontario Early Years, Burlington Public Library, City of Burlington, and the Halton Multicultural Council.

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