Songs by the likes of Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, Hoagy Carmichael, George Gershwin, Harold Arlen and Richard Rodgers on the playbill at Tansley United Church.

eventspink 100x100By Staff

February 23th, 2017



Lowville Festival and Tansley United Church present Romancing the Song

Three of Canada’s foremost entertainers are coming together for the first time in Romancing the Song, a tribute to the wealth of musical treasures from the Great American Songbook. Lorretta Bailey, James Gordon and David Warrack, all of whom have had lengthy and distinguished careers in concerts and theatres across Canada, will be choosing from the popular songs from musical theatre, films and Tin Pan Alley of the early to mid-20th century.

David Warrack pic 2

David Warrack is one of our country’s finest composers/conductors/performers who travelled extensively with the legendary Maureen Forrester and Michael Burgess.

Featured will be songs by the likes of Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, Hoagy Carmichael, George Gershwin, Harold Arlen, Richard Rodgers and others.

Bailey_headshot_flattened (819x1024)

Lorretta Bailey is one of Canada’s finest musical theatre performers came to prominence as Eponine in the Toronto production of Les Miserables,

Lorretta Bailey is one of Canada’s finest musical theatre performers. She came to prominence as Eponine in the epochal Toronto production of Les Miserables, and went on to perform with all of the major regional theatre companies across Canada. She is a Founding Co-Artistic Director of the Lowville Festival, the “festival of all the arts for the artist in all of us”, which is held annually in and around the historic hamlet of Lowville in north Burlington.


James Gordon, a native of Guelph, was a founder and long-time member of Tamarack, the acclaimed Canadian folk group.He has released twenty solo albums.

James Gordon, a native of Guelph, was a founder and long-time member of Tamarack, the acclaimed Canadian folk group, as well as Guelph’s Hillside Festival. The accomplished singer-songwriter has released twenty solo albums. Many of his songs have been covered by a variety of major Canadian artists. He also has a number of successful musicals to his credit.

Toronto-based David Warrack is one of our country’s finest composers/conductors/performers, equally at home in the classical, musical theatre and jazz worlds. Renowned for his extensive cross-Canada tours with the legendary Maureen Forrester and Michael Burgess, he recently served as Music Director for Some Enchanted Evening, a celebration of 150 years of musical theatre featuring Ben Heppner, Rebecca Caine, Jean Stilwell and Gary Relyea.

Romancing the Song, a musical valentine to the popular songs of the 20th century, is certain to romance its way into your heart.

The event is part entertainment offering and part fund raiser for the Lowville Festival that is entering its third year of operations.  The festival takes place in Lowville in July and features a series of events over a weekend.  Not to be missed.

 Romancing the Song

Tansley United Church, 2111 Walker’s Line, Burlington

Saturday February 25th, 7:30 pm

Tickets available at Different Drummer Books and 905-469-0338




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Burlington Transit makes changes to the schedule - effective March 5th.

News 100 redBy Staff

February 22, 2017



Burlington Transit has made the following changes to the schedule – effective March 5th.

One of the new buses added o the Burlington Transit fleet. There were busses that had more than 15 years on their tires - those old ones certainly rattled down Guelph Line when I was on one of them.

Route 1: weekend timing adjustments to improve schedule accuracy

Routes 2, 3, 10 and 20: weekend timing adjustments and an added morning trip to the Route 3 Saturday schedule

Route 25: weekend schedule adjustments in addition to a routing change which will travel in and out of the Burlington GO station using Queensway – Guelph Line – Prospect

Late night service Routes 50, 51, 52: last trip time adjustments Monday through Saturday

Route 80: weekday schedule adjustments

Routes 300, 301, 302: service will now run from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Not all that much detail – we will dig and bit and see what else we can provide.

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The Herd is in the Barn at the Farm - translation: The baseball team will be playing on the field at the Nelson Stadium.

sportsgold 100x100By Staff

February 22, 2017



Get used to the name The Herd – Burlington’s Inter-County Baseball League entrant. They were the Twins when they first came to town; were re-named the Bandits and are now The Herd.

The name has something to do with our agricultural roots. .

They will be playing in the Barn – what most of us know as the Nelson Stadium.

It’s all about creating a brand.

The new owners are setting out to make attending a baseball game a little more upscale than sitting on am aluminum bench.

herd-logoOver the course of the next four months, the Herd will unveil each part of their scheduled improvements and showcase the new experiences available to fans next season at the Farm (Nelson Park).

They’re going to roll out a series of enhancements and improvements to going to a ball game.

They have created a Home Plate Club, the first part of a plan to enhance various areas within the ballpark. The Home Plate Club will see the addition of five premium tables behind the backstop. Each table will include three patio chairs, an all-inclusive food and beverage package throughout the game with wait staff and a reserved parking spot.

Herd T-shirtProfessional baseball teams across the country are creating areas inside their stadiums that bring not only a unique viewing area, but increase the overall fan experience. The Herd are joining this growing trend with the addition of the Home Plate Club.

The Home Plate Club will provide THE best viewing and fan experience in the entire ballpark and will become the ideal destination for entertaining current and prospective clients along with rewarding employees and their families. Fans will be able to reserve an exclusive table for three every game for only $50.

Each table purchase comes with the best seat in the park and wait staff delivering unlimited food and beverages (non-alcoholic) throughout the entire game.

If you would like more information on the Home Plate Club, including booking and availability, please contact the Burlington Herd front office at 905-630-9036 or email us at

The Herd takes to the field for the first time 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,

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

Herd, Barn, Farm – get used to it!

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Hamilton Philharmonic members to perform at Central Library

eventspink 100x100By Staff

February 22, 2017



At the Burlington Public Library! Central Branch

Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra Composer-in-Residence, Abigail Richardson-Schulte will be giving an informative and engaging talk hosted from the piano.

This musical journey takes us through Germany, Russia and Spain from the Romantic period through to the early 20th century.

Tuesday, February 28 at 2pm

Monique HPO

Monique De Margerie

Principal Trumpet Michael Fedyshyn, accompanied by pianist Monique De Margerie will be part of the program.

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Two Males Arrested: Drugs, Cash & Car Seized

Crime 100By Staff

February 22, 2017



3 District Street Crime Unit concluded a three week investigation into a crack cocaine trafficker operating in Burlington and Hamilton.

Drug raid evidence

Evidence seized by police – included a 2002 Pontiac Grand Prix – a 15 year old vehicle!

Two CDSA search warrants were executed at residences in Stoney Creek & Hamilton and as a result, police seized the following:

• 12.2 grams of crack cocaine
• 45 Percocets
• 14 grams of marihuana
• $1140 Cash seized
• Indicia of drug trafficking
• 2002 Pontiac Grand Prix as offence related property

Estimated street value of seized drugs: $ 1,540.00

The following persons have been arrested and held for bail:

Jonathan HELLAM (28 years) of Stoney Creek

• Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking Crack Cocaine (two counts)
• Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking Percocets
• Possession of a Controlled Substance (Marihuana)

John MCKENNA (33 years) of Hamilton

• Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking Crack Cocaine
• Breach of Probation (two counts)

Investigators remind the public to utilize Crime Stoppers to report any illegal drug, gun or gang activity at 1-800-222-TIPS(8477), through the web at or by texting “Tip201” with your message to 274637(crimes) “See something, Hear something, Say something”

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Lieutenant Governor of Ontario to visit the city Friday - will be welcomed by the Town Crier.

News 100 blueBy Staff

February 22, 2017



It’s going to be the best photo op the Mayor is going to have this year – unless Joseph Brant is resurrected on Canada Day – than all bets are off.

The Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, the Hon. Elizabeth Dowdeswell, will head up a Round Table discussion on seniors’ housing needs in Burlington on Friday.

Lt Gov Ontario

Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, the Hon. Elizabeth Dowdeswell

The event is to take place at the Art Gallery of Burlington with the Town Crier leading the welcome to the Lakeshore entrance of the AB.

The Burlington Teen Tour Band will perform foe the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.

Burlington has of the largest seniors communities in the province from a percentage of the population aspect.

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Where is the structural change to make Burlington a truly inclusive city going to come from?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

February 22nd 2017



We recently published two articles that lead us to this third article.

In January we published the Mayor’s State of the City in full. The Gazette has done this for the past five years – it gives citizens the opportunity to review just how the Mayors sees the city he governs.

Earlier this month we did an article on the Friday Night Community event that takes place at Wellington Square United Church where some 300 people gather for an evening of fellowship and a meal that gets put together by one of the more ambitious bunch of volunteers from different faith communities in this city.

Pic 2 - ladies at a food table

Setting up a food table at Wellington Square United Church Friday Night Community event.

Lisa Lunski co-ordinates the event at Wellington Square. Glad Tiding Pentecostal church in the Guelph Line – Upper Middle Road part of the city also has a program where more than 300 people gather regularly.
St. Christopher’s Anglican Church also has a program.

These are not “soup kitchen” operations. These events are intended for people who, while perhaps marginalized, are active and have the same social interaction needs as any other group.

Some people meet regularly at the Legion, others go to one of the four Rotary clubs in Burlington – everyone needs to be part of something.

Spend half an hour at a Friday night community at Wellington Square United church and experience the caring, the sharing and the fun that goes on. I’ve never seen anyone at a Legion hand out a birthday card to a member.

Someone at Wellington Square seems to know when a birthday is taking place – and it gets remembered.

The crowd in the Wellington Square kitchen is a marvel – some arrive as early as 7:00 am to get the food preparation rolling. The menu has been worked out and most of the food has arrived – and it all gets done by people that show up regularly as volunteers.


Glad Tidings runs a community program twice a month. You want to hear this crowd when they sing.

Glad Tidings does this twice each month and it becomes a placed where a man named Luke makes a point of standing by a street crossing and pressing the button that will activate a change in the traffic lights so people can cross – that’s the contribution he can make. He also walks up and down |Palmer Drive and caries waste bins from the sidewalk to the door of many homes,

When Mayor Goldring gave his State of the city address he said:

Flood Goldring with chain of office

This interview was the first time Mayor Goldring wore his Chain of Office outside the Council chamber. He was getting used to the job.

“I want to take time today to talk about the whole issue of housing affordability. When I say affordable housing, I am not talking about subsidized or social housing; I am talking about housing that is affordable for the vast majority of people, from millennials to seniors, and everybody in between.”

One got the impression that the Mayor wasn’t interested in social housing – it doesn’t quite fit the image he likes to project of the city. He seemed prepared to leave them at the curb while he does something to make “housing that is affordable for the vast majority of people from millennials to seniors and everyone in between.”

Our Mayor at the same time tells his audience that “we are all in this together”.

And indeed we are all in this together.

Shortly after we published the article on Wellington Square a colleague wrote and pointed out where she felt the need was:

“We need a dialogue on the difference between charity and social development, one meets immediate needs (food banks and food cupboards) and the other changes the structural causes of poverty and marginalization;

“We need a dialogue on community building and inclusive neighbourhoods that create a space for human interaction and belonging, a lot of that interaction starts around food.”

Gift of Giving back logo - 10th

Now into its 12th year The Gift of Giving Back is Burlington at its best.

We are doing pretty well on the charity side – much of the food used at the three churches is raised by high school students as part of the marvelous 10 year Giving Back program.  These are great band aids – what we need are fishing rods so these people can take care of themselves by fishing for their own needs – that is what structural change is all about.

The space between the thinking that was heard at the Chamber of Commerce sponsored State of the City address and the comments made about inclusiveness is very wide.

We do not yet have a table at which all are welcome.

What do we have to change to make that happen?

Related articles:

State of the City 2011
State of the City 2012
State of the City 2013
State of the city 2015
State of the City 2016

Wellington Square United Church – Friday Night Community

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Muir wants the Board of Education to fess up and accept public responsibility for the decision to build Hayden high school and then revise boundaries to balance the population between the seven high schools.

opinionandcommentBy Tom Muir

February 22, 2017



I had a good hour long conversation with Stuart Miller, Director of Education for the Halton District School Board earlier this month.

He told me he saw this Program Accommodation Review Committee (PARC) process as being about students, about what is good for them. However, when I raised some questions about how these benefits to students were being measured, this goal was not supported with data.

I asked for several forms of data (see below) but have not heard back from him.

Hayden High, named after a Burlington leader in the development of sport for the disabled. Grades 9 and 10 show up on Tuesday.

Hayden High, named after a Burlington leader in the development of sport for the disabled. Grades 9 and 10 show up on Tuesday.

The building of Hayden he agrees is the main driver for the mess. That is something that everyone knows, but unfortunately, for the credibility of the Board and the process you are in, nobody is talking about this. This needs to be rectified as it is key to the legitimacy of what you are doing.

Director Miller said he doesn’t want to go into how Hayden was justified – too political for him, he said. I asked for the paper trail, saying there had to be one, and I want to see it. I intend to follow up on this, and I ask for the paper trail below, but my own inquiry of all the available LTAPs finds that it smells bad.

I have looked into this deeper and it’s not transparent and there is no accountability. There was no justification, except, as Mr. Miller opined, the Ministry was talked into a new school there because the students up there should have a school. There is no justification in New Pupil Places, and Growth Pupil Places, using ministry concepts, anywhere in the LTAPs or Capital Plans.

There is no mention of a need for new pupil places, as the long term enrollment trends were consistently flat to trending down.

In fact, there was scarcely a mention of a new NE Burlington Secondary School to be found anywhere in the LTAPs, just that something about getting one was afoot.

It was clearly a transfer of students from the six high schools to Hayden that was used to fill it. Changing feeders to add to Hayden from Pearson. This much is mentioned, but very little attention was brought to bear.

There was no explanation that I found of why the school was needed, despite stable to falling enrollments, and no rationale was offered.

Gerry Cullen

Gerry Cullen, Superintendent of Facilities and Services; The complex that is made up of the Public Library, the Haber Recreation Centre and Hayden high school was his baby.

The significant issue here is that the staff people who planned and delivered Hayden are not being held accountable, or even explaining, but they are the staff body that is doing the analysis and providing information to the PARC right now. I don’t think you are getting a real drill down and detailed set of options.

The evidence in the LTAPs shows that Board staff basically and covertly fabricated a false rationale, to build student spaces that are not needed, for the opening of Hayden.

So my deep concern now is, that it’s not unexpected that these people can also design and fabricate a false rationale and process to close student spaces – to close schools.

As far as I can see this is what is happening.

All this does is cover up their gross mistake that created the situation, and they are just evading it in order to escape accountability.

Unfortunately, Director Miller, the boss of all this, is too politically shy to bring this accountability forward to the table, and so he countenances and approves this evasion of responsibility.

This leads directly to the conclusion that the Board lacks credibility, which depends on coming clean and being contrite.

Everyone needs to see this, and understand why I persist in raising it as a key issue in the resolution of the PAR.

We discussed information needs and what I would like to see.

Stuart Miller

Halton District School Board Director of Education Stuart Miller.

1. I essentially demanded the accountability paper trail and business plan of how Hayden was approved.

2. I suggested that empty seats be divided between all seven schools, and then six schools. Analyze what is needed to do this (boundaries), and the relative or net money savings compared to the closure and other options.

3. Show how any money savings will be spent for the benefit of students. I asked for detailed data on; number of additional subject offerings, in what schools and how many students gain. I want to see the entire accounting balance.

4. What are the variable operating costs of the empty seats in Central and Pearson.

5. Revisit student number projections downtown. It is another error to discount families moving into condos as affordable.

These are all essential questions I think.

Beyond these outstanding issues and questions, I have a few things to say about the progress I read about in the Burlington Gazette in the first two PARC meetings.

I think the options outlined so far are directing the PARC to closures. The dot-mocracy process from the Gazette’s latest story suggests to me that the PARC is voting, not to the student benefits, but to save their own schools. I think this is due to the framework the Board is using, that frustrates people to exercise the only power that appears available to them.

Two options that close both Central and Pearson are essentially the same in the biggest and most important outcomes and consequences. People are essentially voting for the same thing.

Having these two options and giving them votes, is like rigging the candidate list so the same candidate can be voted for twice.

You can’t add these votes to get a legitimate result.

This is pretty obvious, but perhaps not to everyone.

These closure options are the worst possible results for students, residents and the city of Burlington.

Dot distribution for option 28

Muir argues that the PARC members are being herded into choices that are not in the best interests on the students and the city of Burlington.

Just look at the criteria met, and criteria not met. Those met by closures are most often expressed in general, vague non-specific terms – there are no details. For example, the “no closures” option; “Does not meet a range of outstanding issues, which prompted the PAR.”

Those criteria unmet by closing schools obviously impact the students directly, in concrete and definitely negative terms. This happens in many ways that you are aware of and I will not repeat here.

These options are definitely not about the student’s welfare.

Unfortunately for the people of Burlington, in my opinion, the Board staff seem to excel at providing rigged and manipulated information and choices to get what they want. They did it for Hayden for seats not needed, and now they are doing it again to get rid of schools.

They have boxed you in to a process that is narrowing and focusing you to vote for what you see as the interest of your school and keeping it open. Since the five schools not really named seriously for closure outnumber the two focused on, you can see how the potential votes are translating to actual results reported in the Gazette.

By way of this message I am asking Director Miller, the Board, and the PARC to request and/or provide answers to my questions, explanations, and requests for information.

If you people want this, you will very apparently have to go after it and demand this accountability.

How else can the Board ever be credible and able to be trusted?

Muir making a pointTom Muir is a resident of Aldershot who has been a persistent critic of decisions made by city council. He turns his attention to the current school board mess. He recently suggested to Burlington city council that “If you are so tired of and frustrated by, listening to the views of the people that elected you, then maybe you have been doing this job too long and should quit.”

Muir challenges the decision to build Hayden high school and asks that the Board of Education accept responsibility for the mistake.


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Our city and our unique cultural - could you describe it to a Tea!

artsblue 100x100By Staff

February 21st, 2017



Burlington’s public art program would like people to describe Burlington to a ‘tea’.

Beginning, Feb. 25, 2017, the city is launching an exciting new project designed to learn more about Burlington’s neighbourhoods and its unique culture. Over a six-month period, artist Lisa Hirmer will be conducting research into Burlington’s ‘cultural nodes’.

Cultural nodes are areas within the city where residents can experience and share culture.

Burlington TeaAs part of her work, Hirmer will be presenting a series of temporary art installations and performances.
The first event is Burlington Tea! This project will invite participants to warm up while they share their experiences of the city. Residents will be tasked with designing a tea flavour that reflects their experience of their neighbourhood. Participants will then get to enjoy a cup of the tea they designed.
This event is free and you do not need to register in advance! Please join us at the following locations:

Feb. 25, 2017
10 a.m. to noon Haber Recreation Centre and Norton Park

2 to 4 p.m. Brant Hills Community Centre and Park

Feb. 26, 2017
10 a.m. to noon Tansley Woods Community Centre and Park

2 to 4 p.m. Lowville Park

March 1, 2017

11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Civic Square, Burlington City Hall

Lisa Hirmer is an interdisciplinary artist who has created publicly engaged projects across the world and has worked with University of Lethbridge Gallery, Peninsula Arts (U.K.), Flux Factory (USA), Harbourfront Centre (Toronto), Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery, Nuit Blanche (Toronto), CAFKA (Kitchener-Waterloo) and Doris McCarthy Gallery (Toronto) amongst many others.

Lisa Hirmer

Lisa Hirmer is going to work with groups to describe Burlington to a tea!

Hirmer is a Guelph-based inter-disciplinary artist whose work combines visual art, design, social practice, performance and art-based forms of critical research. She is the director of DodoLab, an experimental project-based practice focused on exploring and responding to the complicated reality of public opinion. She was selected as the Artiss in Residence for rhe city of Guelph in 2016

She has a master’s degree from the University of Waterloo’s School of Architecture, and her work has been shown across North America, Europe, Australia and the UK. Locally, she has created projects with The Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation at the University of Guelph, the Musagetes Foundation and the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery.

For Burlington Tea! She is joined by award-winning environmental designer, Glynis Logue.

Angela Paparizo, Manager, Arts and Culture sees this initiative as something that will be “fun, intriguing, artistic and cultural. Tea is a drink that spans across so many cultures. A cup of tea can break down barriers, start conversations or more simply, warms you physically and emotionally.”


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Citizen is having difficulty with some of the numbers the Board of Education is putting out on the cost of closing schools.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

February 21, 2017



The bureaucrats use the words “transparency” and “accountable” when they talk about the work they do. It is the citizens that employ these bureaucrats that insist on both the transparency and for the bureaucrats to be accountable.

Dave Myers, a retired senior who gets away to ski a little from time to time has sat in on all of the Program and Accommodation Review (PARC) meeting and found himself wondering about some of the data the public was being given.

Myers was in sales and marketing and the costs of a product or service are things he can get his head around.
Burlington is currently undergoing a Program and Accommodation Review that may lead to the closure of one or more high schools in the city. A PARC with two parents from each of the seven high schools has been meeting to discuss closure options. The meetings are open to the public.

Myers, a parent, not on the PARC, who has attended these meetings and reviewed the information provided to the PARC believes there are several concerns about the renewal costs for Burlington High Schools.

Gerry Cullen

Gerry Cullen, Superintendent of Facilities and Services with the Halton District School Board. He apparently has funny numbers.

On Thursday February 17th at the Burlington Secondary High School PARC meeting, Halton District School Board Superintendent, Gerry Cullen explained how high schools are maintained and upgraded.

Myers believes Cullen clearly recognized that there was an error in the data presented in the November 6thSchool Information Package (SIP). SIP’s are documents that have more information than anyone could want on the condition of a high school. The data is available on the school board web site.

Adding to the confusion Myers says PARC members were told previously that the January 24th SIP renewal costs, that were hugely different than they were on November 6th, were incorrect and new data would be forthcoming.

At Thursday’s PARC working meeting #4, Cullen said, that actually the January 24th SIP renewal costs were correct and expressed 100% confidence in this information.

So, wonders Myers: “the data’s correct, sorry that data is incorrect and here’s the new data, no it’s incorrect, more new data coming, no, no, sorry the data is correct, and we’re 100% confident this time. Confused? Trusting?”

In the HDSB’s January 24th SIP both historical and projected renewal costs are presented, let’s look at those historical costs.

Are these in fact “actual real costs” or historical budgeted costs?

Myers took the HDSB’s historical costs and compared them annually by school.

Myers data AAA

Notice the exact same “costs” for MM Robinson in 2012 and 2013, these look like budget numbers vs. actual real historical costs.

When the information is presented this way, a few other observations and questions arise. Myers points out that:

This is a 10 year view (2004 – 2013), why is data included for 2015 for two of the schools only?

No renewal work was done for Pearson and Nelson in 2008, and for 2 consecutive years at Bateman and Pearson?

The total cost for Aldershot does not balance with the January 24th SIP data.

Almost $8M was spent on renewals in 2005, then only $821,000 in 2013, a ten-fold decrease?

Cullen explained that renewals were managed and planned to take out the yearly ups and downs.

There are more questions that can be raised, but scratching at the surface suggests a data quality/data integrity concern said Myers.

Some have already questioned the projected renewal costs for our high schools by. Myers looked at this information closely and has questions regarding its quality and accuracy.

First of all, according to the foot notes in the January 24th SIP the data for renewals is based on inspections completed in 2011, so the information is 6 years old as of today! I don’t recall Mr. Cullen communicating that to the PARC representatives.

The inspectors at the time were making predictions of renewal costs for 10 years into the future or to 2021 – how good was their crystal ball?

Why would the HDSB not complete a more recent series of inspections in, say 2016, knowing it was going to undertake a PAR?

But most interestingly, only Central shows work for 2020 and 2021. How is it possible that there is no identified renewal work for Aldershot after 2014; Pearson after 2018; MM Robinson 2015-2020; Nelson after 2015; Bateman after 2018?

Is data missing, or not being reported? Or has the HDSB completed work for other schools that were lower priority than renewal required work for Central?

Myers also looked closely at the actual renewal costs that  Cullen has put forward for Central:

$1.9M for a new roof at Central, Historical SIP and Google Earth shows that some roof sections are new – has this been accounted for in the estimate?.

The SIP data also shows that roof replacements (if accurate) had been completed at Nelson, Bateman, Pearson and Aldershot with Central being one of the last in the cycle. So are we making decisions for students based on scheduled roof repairs?

Why did the HDSB put a brand-new roof on portables at Pearson with enrollment at 392 students in a school with a student capacity of 642 students in the permanent building and 936 students when the portables are included. Would it have been more cost efficient to remove these portables as they were not needed, not to mention an eyesore and detract visually from the school?

Fittings Auditorium Seating – $159,000; the auditorium at Central was completely renovated five years ago for $120,000 and largely paid for by fundraising at the school. All the seats are new. Fittings for the seats are budgeted to cost more than the entire renovation?

$280,000 for roadway and parking lots and Pedestrian walkways at Central. Myers inspected the asphalt surfaces at Central and all other high schools and found Central to be typical in condition to the other schools, and in fact more than acceptable. Nelson and MM Robinson appear to require more pavement work yet Nelson shows $0 and MM Robinson only Shows $96,000?

It appears most if not all windows at Central have been replaced, yet $38,000 is called out for new windows.

$1.6M is required for various heating and ventilation system renewals at Central, a boiler was replaced and much work was done to the heating system historically.

Studies – $71,000 for Central, albeit a small item, approximately $30,000 is carried for studies for the other schools, so studies at Central are twice that at other schools?

So what, asks Myers, is the PARC supposed to do with this data? It is clear that the data is incomplete and inconsistent among schools at best, and potentially prejudicial to a few schools at worst, especially one of the schools named in the original closure recommendation (Central).

PARC with options on the walls

The 14 parents who serve on the PARC are being smothered with data that is correct one meeting, incorrect the next and difficult to comprehend.

As such, the PARC should be very careful about making any decisions based on these numbers. In fact, they have been advised by the PARC chair “not to focus on the numbers.”

That is all well and good, however, says Myers,  the “bell has been rung” already by providing these numbers, and it is very difficult to walk it back and for PARC members to un-hear or forget the costs they have been given for the five year renewal costs.

Protest outside board office

Cold, dark conditions don’t stop the parents from Central and Pearson high schools from demonstrating outside the School Board offices on Guelph line.

Further, the HDSB has not taken significant efforts to correct this data and provide a more complete, consistent set of numbers for the PARC to review. That remains a significant problem with this process, one of many already raised about the quality of the information being provided to the PARC on which they are to base their deliberations.

If the data cannot be trusted and if the Board of Education chooses not to respond or provide valid data is the PARC process Burlington is currently going through valid?

Is it transparent?

Are the bureaucrats accountable?

Doesn’t look that way does it.

All the data, the debate and the serious citizen concern are headed towards the trustees – one can only hope that they will be both transparent and accountable and put a stop to this farce.

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Two Males Arrested for Theft & Fraud Against Elderly Victim

Crime 100By Staff

February 21, 2017



The Halton Regional Police, 3 District Criminal Investigations Bureau – Vulnerable Persons Unit have identified and arrested two males who are alleged to have targeted an elderly female resident in the City of Burlington and subjecting her to prolonged financial abuse spanning between 2011 through to 2016.

The two accused have worked as high pressure door-to-door salesman, specializing in the installation of water and air filtration systems. The accused individuals rendered services to the elderly victim and subsequently gained access to her banking, credit card and other financial information. Presently, the financial loss to the victim exceeds $210 000.

Accused # 1: Derek CALVIN (38 years) of Hamilton is associated with a number of businesses: Pure Air Clean, Worldwide Industries, Eagle Water and Indoor Air Care Products. He has been charged with three counts of Theft Over $5000 and two counts of Theft Under $5000 contrary to the Criminal Code, in relation to the elderly female victim. He was released on a Promise to Appear in Milton Court on March 15th 2017.

Accused # 2: Edgordo CASTRO (41 yrs-old) of Brantford is associated to his company, Universal Water Technologies has been charged with Fraud Over $5000 and Unauthorized use of Credit Card Data, Contrary to the Criminal Code, in relation to the same elderly female victim in the City of Burlington. He was released on a Promise to Appear in Milton Court on March 8th 2017.

Citizens are reminded to be vigilant when engaging with any high pressure door-to-door salespeople. and to protect their financial data and identity information, especially when entering into contracts for products and services.

Citizens should ask questions, review and receive a written contract for products and services, control access to their financial information and only deal with contractors they have sought out to complete work in their home.

If citizens of Halton Region have concerns with these individuals and/or the identified businesses, you are encouraged to contact Detective Constable’s Nadine Clarke or Derek Gray – 3 District Criminal Investigations Bureau – Vulnerable Persons Unit – Elder Abuse and Frauds @905-825-4747, Ext 5345 or Ext 2344.

Tips can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers “See something, Hear something, Say something” at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), through the web at, or by texting “Tip201” with your message to 274637 (crimes).

For any other Fraud related matters please contact the Halton Police Fraud Intake Unit at: 1-905-465-8741 or on-line at:

For information about Contracts and Consumer Rights please contact, The Ontario Ministry of Government and Consumer Protection at 1-877-666-6545, or on-line at:

For more information about Consumer Protection and to search Ontario businesses complaints please contact, Consumer Protection Ontario at 1-800-889-9768, or on-line at:

For more information about Frauds, Scams and Counterfeit merchandise, please contact: The Canadian Anti-Fraud Center at 1-888-495-8501, or on-line at:

March is Fraud Prevention Month – Recognize It! Report It! Stop It!

March is National Fraud Prevention month and the Halton Regional Police, along with numerous government, law enforcement, consumer and volunteer groups and private sector firms will be sharing fraud prevention information to raise public awareness and educate the public to prevent them from becoming victims of this increasing crime.

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Ontario Municipal Board hearing on the Adi Development Group proposal to build 26 storeys at the Martha - Lakeshore Road intersection to begin on Wednesday. It might be a very short hearing.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

February 20th, 2017



Wednesday morning at 10:00 am the person chairing the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) hearing will call the meeting to order and the scheduled 10 day hearing will begin.

Those attending might see some rabbits pulled out of a hat as the Adi development Group begin their argument that they should be given approval to build their now 26 storey condominium on the comer of Martha and Lakeshore Road.


In terms of design the proposed building i several grades above what Burlington has seen in the past the level o intensification and the location are what have citizens upset.

The last OMB level event was a request the ADI Development Group made to have their argument go to mediation.

There has not been a report from the OMB on how the mediation process went – did it even take place?

If it did was the mediation successful and if it was successful what did the mediator conclude?

The OMB meeting on Wednesday might be to have the OMB officer hearing the arguments decide to accept the recommendation from the mediator.

There hasn’t been a word from either the city or the OMB.

This mess, and that is the only fair word to apply to the 23 month saga that began at the end of March in 2015, when the city failed to make a decision on the application the Adi Group made to build what was originally a 28 storey stricture at the intersection.

The rules call for the city to respond to an application to either approve or not approve an application to revise the Official Plan within 180 days. These are often site specific revisions to the Official Plan.

The city got their lines crossed and was not able to give the developer an answer – the Adi group went to the OMB very shortly after the 180 day period ended.

The Adi Development Group had every right to do what they did even though the practice has been to allow some leeway. It was evident that Adi was quite prepared to bulldoze their way through the process.

ADI Nautique detailed sketch

The site for the planed condominium was enlarged when Adi did a property swap with the Carnacelli group. The block between Martha and Pearl is now owned by the two developers – if the Adi development is approved – watch for a second building the same height to go up in that block. Is there no limit to what the Burlington market can absorb in the way of new residential units?

Adi, perhaps realizing that they had a problem, did a land swap with another developer that had a small property to the north of the site making it larger – they reduced the height by two storeys as well.

The city had every right to ask the OMB to not hear the application because it was now a new and different proposal. The city chose to not force that argument. Had they done so Adi would have had to reapply for whatever they wanted from the city.

The city in essence gave Adi a pass.

It has been a badly managed file on the part of the city from almost the day the proposal was made public at a public meeting at the Art Gallery of Burlington.

Wednesday morning we will see what direction the OMB takes.  This one could go in almost any direction.

The city solicitor, the city manager, members of city council know if there is a recommendation from a mediator.

If there is – the plot thickens.

Two sources, both close to this story are suggesting that the city has gone along with a structure that will be 18 storeys in height.

Adi - Saud and Tarif

The Adi brothers.

A developer working in the same general area has said that in order to make a profit the Adi people need approval for eighteen storeys.

The Mayor has asked several people what they thought of a ten storey structure.

Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward has stick to her guns and said that the Official Plan and zoning for that property allows eight storeys and that is what she wants to see approved.

The property along the north side of Lakeshore Road between Pearl and Martha is owned by two developers.

Should the OMB hearing decide that Adi is to be given the right to build 26 storeys expect to see some almost identical built on the western side of that block.


A 19 storey condominium plus a parking garage plus a medical building approved for this site. One block south and one block west the same developer is proposing a 26 storey tower opposite city hall.

Brant Street rendering

Partial view of a proposed development opposite city hall on Brant Street.

With the Carriage gate development now underway at Maria between Elizabeth and John Street going up 19 stories and another Carriage Gate development announced for James Street and Brant, opposite city hall the downtown core of Burlington will not resemble anything like the city many people seem to want – something quieter and small – and with less traffic.

Speaking of traffic – where do things stand on the road diet pilot study the city is struggling with on New Street between Guelph Line and Walkers Line?

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High school closing review gets down to six options that the public can debate and provide opinion through an online survey.

News 100 redBy Staff

February 17th, 2017



The Program Accommodation Review (PARC) committee has gotten to the point where they can put forward six options they will send to the Director of Education.

Meed WArd at PARC

Ward 2 city councillor MArianne Meed Ward is reprenting Cntral high school parents on the PARC. She has a son at Central. She told a meeting of Central high parents earlier in the week that it is “tough” going but that she was optimistic that Central high school could b kept open.

After four meetings at which these people worked hard at absorbing mountains of information and communicating with each other – there are 14 members of the PAR process – they are at the point where they can say : This is where we are – there is at this point no consensus on any one option but they have whittled down the 30 they had in front of them to the six the public will be asked to comment on

There will be two public meetings, one in the north another in the south on February 28th and March 7th.

Here are the options:

Option 23d ‐ Robert Bateman HS, Lester B Pearson HS closes, Dr. Frank J Hayden SS program change

No change to Aldershot HS boundary

Burlington Central HS catchment expands to include Tecumseh PS catchment

IB program added to Burlington Central HS from Robert Bateman

Nelson HS boundary expands east. SC‐SPED & Essential programming redirected to Nelson HS from Robert Bateman

MM Robinson HS ENG catchment expands to include Lester B Pearson HS

Frank J Hayden SS FI program redirected to M.M. Robinson HS. No change to the English catchment.

Option 19b – Burlington Central HS, Lester B Pearson closes HS, Dr Frank J Hayden SS & Robert Bateman HS program change

Aldershot HS catchment expands east to Brant St, ESL program relocated to Aldershot HS from Burlington Central HS. 10 rooms available from the Aldershot elementary facility to accommodate additional

Nelson HS expands west to Brant

Robert Bateman HS catchment include John William Boich PS catchment south of Upper Middle Rd, and the entire Frontenac PS catchment

FI program added to Robert Bateman HS with same boundaries as the English program

MM Robinson HS English boundary expands to include Lester B Pearson HS. FI boundary include Dr. Frank J Hayden SS with the exception of John William Boich PS catchment south of Upper Middle

Frank J Hayden becomes English only school, with a reduced English catchment area

Option 4b – Robert Bateman HS closes

No change to Aldershot HS

Burlington Central HS expands to include the entire Tecumseh PS

Nelson HS expands east to include Robert Bateman HS. Nelson HS receives the SC‐SPED and Essential programming from Robert Bateman

MM Robinson HS catchment expands to include Kilbride PS catchment

Lester B Pearson HS catchment expands to include Florence Meares PS catchment. IB program and Gifted Secondary Placement added to Lester B. Pearson HS from Robert Bateman HS and Nelson HS

Frank J Hayden SS English catchment area is reduced.

Option 7b – Dr. Frank J Hayden SS Boundary change

No changes to schools south of the

Lester B Pearson HS catchment expands to include Kilbride PS catchment area, John William Boich PS catchment area south of Upper Middle Road, and Alexander’s PS catchment

Frank J Hayden HS catchment reduced.

Option 28d – Burlington Central HS and Lester B Pearson HS closes, Program change for Dr Frank J Hayden SS

Aldershot HS catchment area expands easterly to railway tracks, ESL program added to Aldershot from Burlington Central

Nelson HS catchment area expands west to the railway

Robert Bateman HS catchment area expands to include John William Boich PS catchment area and Frontenac PS catchment

MM Robinson HS catchment area expands to include Lester B Pearson HS catchment area.

FI is removed from Dr. Frank J Hayden SS and redirected to MM Robinson HS

CH Norton PS area that is currently directed to Lester B Pearson HS, to be redirected to Dr Frank J Hayden

Option 3b – Nelson HS closes, Dr Frank J Hayden SS and Burlington Central HS have a program change

Aldershot FI expands to include Burlington Central HS FI catchment

Burlington Central HS English catchment area expands to Walkers Line

Robert Bateman HS expands west to Walkers

FI program added to Robert Bateman HS

Lester B Pearson HS catchment area expands to include John William Boich PS catchment area and Kilbride PS catchment area. The Secondary Gifted placement added to Lester B Pearson HS from Nelson

Frank J Hayden SS FI program redirected to M.M. Robinson HS.

Frank J Hayden HS catchment reduced.

Kirk Perris - Ipsos Reid

Kirk Perris, a facilitator from IPSOS Reid who will be putting together the survey that will be sent out to all parents by the school board and will be available to anyone else on line.

Option 19 was the one the Director of Education recommended to the trustees.

Option 7 – a decision not to close any of the high schools had a bit of a battle to remain on the list.  Some PARC members thought such an option voided the whole purpose of the PAR process while others felt very strongly that the public had the right to voice an opinion on whether or not they wanted any of their high schools closed.

One of the problems the people from Central and Pearson had was there being a lot of financial data available on the savings that would result from closing Central and Pearson but they didn’t have similar data for any of the other options.

Some PARC members felt they were being manipulated by the board to agree on option 19.

The PARC process brought a lot of information to the surface that the board didn’t readily supply.

The process also put members of the PARC in a position where they had to vote for the closing of some other school to ensure that their school remained open.

The Aldershot PARC members were very concerned what a closing of Central would do to their school.

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Rivers on cap and trade

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

February 17th, 2017



Patrick Brown has put the ‘Progressive’ back into the Ontario PC party, as he gears up to give Kathleen Wynne a run for her money in the next provincial election in 2018. His mission is to move his party back to where it was before Tim Hudak took it on a wild joy ride that ultimately alienated the voters.

patrick-brown smiling

Patrick Brown, leader of the Progressive Conservative opposition party at Queen’s Park.

He acknowledges that climate change is real, is caused by humans, and he is in favour of a provincial carbon tax to help mitigate it.

Brown sounds like he’d adopt the B.C. carbon tax model if he got a chance. B.C.’s carbon tax increases over time and is intended to be revenue-neutral since income taxes have already been correspondingly reduced. Not everyone in his own party agrees with him on the idea of a carbon tax though. Perhaps that has something to with it being federal Liberal policy.

Brown opposes Premier Kathleen Wynne’s more complicated ‘cap and trade’ approach to carbon pricing/taxation. Implemented this year, there is an annual provincial greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) cap, which declines every year in line with Canada’s strategy on climate change. All large emitters must buy GHG allowances annually to operate their businesses. As we’ve already seen at the gas pumps, the oil companies and utilities will pass much of the cost of the allowances onto their customers, much like the B.C. carbon tax does.

Smokestacks Hamilton

Air pollution coming out of Hamilton smoke stacks.

The big difference with Ontario’s system is that the price of carbon here eventually gets determined in the market place by the buyers and sellers of allowances. This will eventually take place through an auction, rather than arbitrarily by government decree. It is conceivable in Ontario, though perhaps unimaginable, that the price of carbon could be lower in some future year, because of lower demand for allowances relative to the annual cap – something that wouldn’t ever happen with a flat carbon tax.

A second difference is that Ontario’s system is not intended to be revenue-neutral. The provincial government actually intends to spend much of the proceeds from allowance sales on transit infrastructure and for subsidies to business and consumers to assist them to adopt low carbon technologies, like electric vehicles. The provincial folks feel that is a more effective way to help consumers reduce their carbon footprint, rather than simply lowering their income taxes.

Ontario’s cap and trade will also include provisions for smaller entities to create emission credits, also called offsets, and sell these in the market place alongside allowances. For example a hog farmer could convert methane emissions (~30 times more potent that CO2) into useable energy, thereby reducing those emissions and offsetting his/her normal electricity or heating requirements. Being able to sell carbon credits into the market will provide an additional incentive to spur innovation and help pay for the costs of the technology.

Electric car fill up

No air pollution here: an electric charging station in a city garage.

Finally since cap and trade is a market instrument it requires a large number of buyers and sellers of GHG allowances and credits to work efficiently. So initially Ontario’s program will be integrated with that of California and Quebec, though other provinces and states may join later. A common trading registry and on-line format will be available for all participants in the cap and trade system.

The whole Ontario approach is complex, but no more complex than what we already see with our security exchanges, trading derivatives, hedge funds, etc. And carbon emissions trading schemes do work, as New Zealand, Japan and Europe can attest, though not always without some warts or hiccups. Emissions trading was actually invented by a University of Toronto economist, John Dales in 1968, though the idea that pollution can be monetized goes back much further in economic history.

The US acid rain cap and trade program is perhaps one of the best examples of the effectiveness of that market-based approach. Even the Harris/Eves government ran a small trading program to reduce nitrogen and sulphur emissions from the former coal-fired electricity plants.

The B.C. carbon tax, Canada’s first, received glowing praise for seeming to reduce GHG emissions during Canada’s last recession. But it has failed to do so once the economy rebounded. Since there is no cap on emissions, those who complain that it is just another tax are right. And there is no guarantee that the federal GHG reduction targets, which the former Harper government established and which the Trudeau government has since adopted, will ever be met.

Another negative is that, like any other sales tax, carbon taxes are regressive. Revenue neutrality just means there is a re-distribution of income – a reverse Robin Hood effect – giving the extra money the poorer folks paid to fill their gas tanks to those better off through their income tax reductions. Ontario’s system will still hurt the poor but at least there should be tangible alternatives for them to access lower carbon technology, including, hopefully, less costly transit.

Mr. Brown is certainly on the right track in telling his party to get behind the climate change struggle. He just needs to put politics behind him, listen to the business community and think through on the advantages of the cap and trade program Ontario has just started to implement. And while taking the tarnish off the ‘P’ in his party’s name, he should recall that there is no shame in adopting somebody else’s good idea, but it would be a shame to change just for the sake of change.

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:

Patrick Brown –   B.C. Carbon Tax –    Federal Position

Climate Deniers –    GHG –   Canada’s Strategy –   What is Cap and Trade

An Opposing View

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Regional police review the 57 unfounded sexual assault occurrence reports filed in 2016.

Crime 100By Staff

February 17th, 2017



The manner in which police services across the country have handled sexual assault complaints from women has been the subject of reports in numerous newspapers. The Globe and Mail is currently running a series of articles on what are being described as “unfounded” decisions made by police officers.

An “unfounded” decision made by a police officer results in a complaint ending with no resolution for the person who took the complaint to the police.

The Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) has released results of an internal audit of its unfounded 2016 sexual assault occurrences.

The comprehensive review was undertaken in response to last week’s Globe and Mail feature article by Robyn Doolittle that examined the number of unfounded sexual assault occurrences reported by Canadian law enforcement agencies over a five-year period (2010-2014).

HRPS crestA total of 57 unfounded sexual assault occurrences from 2016 were examined. All were determined to have been properly and thoroughly investigated. Unfounded is a Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) term that is one way for a police service to close an occurrence.

Unfounded does not mean the police do not believe a victim or person reporting. All reported incidents are fully investigated.

Of the 57 incidents examined, 15 (or 8.3 per cent) did not occur or could not have occurred as reported. In the remaining 42 cases (representing 74 per cent of all unfounded sexual assault occurrences) it was determined through the completion of thorough investigations that a criminal offence had not been committed.

In all criminal investigations there are facts in issue that must be present and proven to meet the Criminal Code requirements. In the aforementioned 42 incidents, the required elements to meet the definition of a sexual assault were not met, and therefore even if the other involved person(s) was or were known, charges could not be laid.

As a result of the review and in accordance with the recent recommendation of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) that all police services review practices around sexual assault investigations, the HRPS undertook an additional examination of existing internal policy and procedure. While found to be fully compliant with provincial mandates ensuring that all sexual assault investigations are carried out in a professional manner and in a way that best meets the needs of victims, the Service has made one revision: effective immediately, all incidents reported as a sexual assault will be reviewed by the Detective Sergeant of the Child Abuse and Sexual Assault Unit (CASA).

“Our Service is committed to the thoroughness of all criminal investigations and we pride ourselves in our victim-centered approach to supporting those impacted by crime,” said Chief Tanner. “We were honoured to have been recognized for our efforts in this area with the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Award of Excellence in Victim Services in 2016.”

In addition to in-house victim support, the HRPS collaborates with, and seeks feedback from, several independent victim advocacy groups, including Sexual Assault & Violence Intervention Services (SAVIS).
“SAVIS and the Halton Regional Police Service work closely together to enhance working relationships by collaborating in training and in providing support to victims of sexual assault and sexual violence from a Survivor Approach Model,” said Alma Arguello, Executive Director of SAVIS. “The HRPS, with SAVIS’ input, plays an important role in investigating and supporting Survivors of sexual violence in our community. SAVIS provides the HRPS with critical training and timely information to assist them in their duties.”


Halton Regional Chief of police Stephen Tanner.

The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services (MCSCS) conducts regular audits of all municipal police services in Ontario on a rotational basis. MCSCS is about to embark on its next series of audits. Chief Tanner and the Halton Regional Police Service invite the Ministry to audit all aspects of its policies and procedures relating to the conduct of sexual assault investigations in Halton.

Chief Tanner said: “The Halton Regional Police Service is committed to the safety and well-being of each member of the community we serve. Our Service recognizes the severity of sexual assault crimes and investigates all reports thereof with the utmost respect for victims, and in accordance with provincial regulations and guidelines”.

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Is Burlington's rural-urban boundary at risk?

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

February 17th, 2017



The GTA benchmark price for various types of housing sold last month hit $705,900 up 22.6% from a year earlier and a 60.8% surge from five years earlier.

Wendell Cox, an Illinois based urban policy consultant who is a senior fellow at the Winnipeg based Frontier Centre for Public policy said that the provincial government “needs to relax restrictions on the Greenbelt – protected land on the fringes of the GTA”

Cox added: “When you have a boiling pot and you put a lid on it, the pressure only gets worse. Unless land use policies are reformed to allow for sufficient supply in the urban fringe prices will continue to go up”

These 600 people did not want a highway through the Escarpment - and the Minister of Transportation just might be hearing what we have to say.

These 600 people did not want a highway through the Escarpment.

The urban fringe supply they are talking about is our escarpment – and at some point there will be a tremendous amount of pressure on the Regional government to allow development north of the Dundas QEW border that is the current urban-rural Burlington boundary.

The province just might decide to tell the Region that the dividing line is going to move.

Recall the attempt to ram a highway through the escarpment a number of years ago.

NGTA No-highway-here1-285x300The province sprung that one on the city with little notice. A tremendous effort by the No Highway group brought it a halt – as much because the province began to question their own thinking – the drive was coming from the provincial Ministry of Transportation that saw serious traffic congestion with trucks needing to get to the American border.

President Donald Trump just might solve that problem for us. However the plans to construct a new bridge river the Detroit River ensure that there will be even more traffic heading out of Ontario. At the rate Trump is babbling away he might well be gone before any bridge is completed.

None of this of course changes what can happen to Burlington’s rural area.

The city needs to have a clear defined and well-presented public opinion which calls for some leadership at both the Regional and municipal levels.


It used to be public land – now it is privately owned and will remain that way for a long long time – probably forever. Mayor Goldring’s gift to the city.

City council had no problem selling off a chunk of waterfront land between Market and St. Paul streets along Lakeshore Road when the only pressure that existed was from a couple of property owners that saw an opportunity to make an offer for the land that existed in a city document. That small patch of land put an end to a really solid Waterfront Trail.

To add insult to injury – the city got very little in the way of cold hard cash – the bulk of the money went to the Ministry of Natural Resources that owned much of the land.

If the people of Burlington want to maintain what they have – they will have to be forever vigilant. And look for leadership that will be vigilant as well.

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Can we expect to see parents opposed to the closing of Central high school marching up Brant Street?

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

February 16, 2017



They don’t call it grass roots organizing for nothing.

It is when you go out into the streets and invite people to a meeting that you hear and learn what the issues really are.

Wednesday evening, Central Strong, the parent group at Central high school, invited people to a meeting to hear what they had to say about how the Program Accommodation Review (PAR) process was going.

Central Strong - Setting up for hundreds

Setting out chairs for a crowd that reached the 100 people level.

Not all that good at this point according to Ward 2 city Councillor Marianne Meed Ward who is one of the two Central high school community reps on the Program Accommodation Review Committee (PARC).

The people putting the meeting together had no idea how many people were going to show up – they set out 50 chairs and hoped for the best. They ended up setting up more than 100 chairs.

The meeting was orderly and a lot of useful and significant information came to the surface. There were people in the room who took part in preventing a closure of the school in 1978 and again in 1998. These were tested and proven community activists.

The mood was upbeat – Ian Farwell, the other Central high representative on the PARC told the audience that this is not a done deal.

Meed Ward said she felt that whatever the decision was it should be a better outcome for the students and added that closing Central where 92% of the students walk to school and bussing them to another school is not a better solution.

Some felt that forcing students to leave their community for an education is a Human Rights matter – that may be a bit of a stretch, but it does reflect the depth of feeling the patents have for the strength of their community and how they feel.

What came through very clearly was that the process is flawed and that the board is not being transparent. New information comes in and it doesn’t get the attention it deserves was a common complaint.

During the meeting at which PARC members were asked to set out which option met the PARC Framework criteria and which ones did not – the meeting was told that it was going to cost approximately $10 million to get the schools up to the AODA standard and how much would be saved if Central and Pearson were closed.

PARC with options on the walls

PARC members with the sheets of paper on the meeting room wall where they would indicate the option that they felt should be recommended to the Director of Education.

Shortly after being given this information, with no opportunity for debate, the PARC members were then asked to put dots on the option they favoured. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that if closing Central would save $3 million in AODA costs and several more million in operating costs – why the board recommendation – Option 19 – got more dots than any other option,

Several parents made much of the boards transportation policy – they built Hayden so students would not have to be bussed out of that community and now they want to close two schools in southern Burlington and bus those students out of their community.

“A dumb idea” called out one parent. Very few parents were calling out abusive comments – these were people who came to listen, to have their concerns heard and then to talk through options.

In 1998 when the board wanted to close Central the community held a parade up Brant Street. That was the tipping point in public opinion then said one parent. Look for another parade this third attempt to close Central high school.

Dania Thurman H&S Vg

Dania Thurman, one of the spokes people for Central Strong

Lynn Crosby

Lynne Crosby, one of the spokes people for Central strong.

Lynne Crosby and Dania Thurman, the two spokes people for the Central parents, did a 25 minute interview on CHML during which they were asked where the Mayor of the city stood on all this. “Ask him” the two responded. Burlington is represented in the PARC process by city manager James Ridge who the Mayor said had volunteered to take on the task. Ridge attends as an observer and does not get to vote on anything. So far he has spoken on one occasion when he said all development in Burlington is taking place above the QEW. There is much more current condo development taking place south of the QEW. Few are impressed with Ridge’s comment up to this point.

The Central crowd was even less than impressed with the facilitator working for the board from Ipsos Reid. Some felt the board should have asked for someone else to serve the boards need or cancel the contract.

Kirk Perris handled the December 8th meeting at which a lot of data was captured though a process that most saw as poorly design and badly executed. Perris did say later that it wasn’t one of his better days. No kidding!
Central parents point out that were the board to close Bateman high school and redistribute those students to Nelson and M.M. Robinson 1340 of the 1800 empty seat problem would be resolved.

Station West A sign

Several hundred families could well move into the townhouses being built at the Aldershot Go Station.

Were Central to be closed Aldershot high school would suddenly have a massive problem on its hands. The ADI Station West development is going to add a significant number of students to Aldershot.

Not so says the Board – those are condo’s and family’s don’t choose to live in condo’s. Much of the ADI product is townhouses reply the Aldershot parents who also point to the long delayed Eagles Heights development in the North West corner of the city where 1000 houses are expected to go up.

There is a bigger long term impact on the downtown core that Central parents feel most people aren’t getting.

Meed Ward put it front and center when she said that if Central is closed there will never be another high school in the downtown core – that land will be far too expensive. “If we let this go we will have lost a downtown high school forever.”

The audience was asked how many of them knew people who attended Central lived in condos or apartments – more than 20% of the hands in the room went up in the air. That surprised a lot of people.

One of the parents involved in the 1998 battle pointed out that the parents have a much more compelling argument this time around. The fear Central Strong has is that not enough people are fully aware of just how serious the problem is. “The board is worried” said one parent “they realize this is not going their way and they don’t know what to do about that”.

The two Central PARC members claim that on two occasions when they have raised an issue they were told they were out of order and their issue was dismissed. Ian Farrell is not the kind of person you want to attempt to dismiss lightly.

The process bothers many. Meed Ward complained that the PARC members have not been given a formal opportunity to dialogue – the moderation is terrible; it is a frustrating process; we are in a tough situation, she added.

Many of the PARC members from other schools are breathing a sigh of relief and saying to themselves “at least it is not us” when it is very clear that all, except for Hayden high school, are at risk.

Sharn Picken confering with a parentr at a PARC

Sharon Picken is one of the two Bateman high school PARC members. A very strong advocate for keeping that high school open.

The Bateman people certainly understand that and are putting up fierce arguments about even the idea of closing tat school.
“Rationality has left the room” was a comment heard.
The Ward 1 and 2 school board trustee arrived late – she was king part in one of the board’s regular meetings and left that event early to speak. Asked where do the trustees get their information as they prepare to vote, Leah Reynolds replied that they are waiting to see what comes out of the PARC process.

Reynolds added that the trustees do not see what he PARC members get sent to them or say to each other.

PARC Feb 9 Reynolds and Grebenc

Burlington trustees Grebenc and Reynolds attend every PARC meeting.

Reynolds and the other three Burlington trustee attend the PARC meetings as observers. Grebenc and Reynolds attend every meeting – the other two Collard and Papin are more sporadic in their attendance. Collard will be facing strong pressure to not back a Bateman closing.

Reynolds attended a meeting of Aldershot parents and learned that many did not know the school closing process was even taking place.

A shock to the people taking part in the Central strong meeting, which took place at the Lions community hall, was that 60% of the people in the room had children in school at the elementary level – these people were very concerned about where there children were going to spend their high school years

The meeting was told that the argument being put forward by the board is that larger high schools are able to offer a much larger choice of programs than small schools – yet the student survey made it clear that there are more course conflicts at Hayden, the largest high school, than at any other high school.

What parents are finding is that the information they are given just does not square with the on the ground reality they are facing.

Many just don’t have any confidence in the process and don’t believe the board staff are telling them the full story.

The PARC members for Central said that there are far too many walk on pieces of information. Meed Ward said some information is put in front of them without their being any opportunity to discuss or dialogue.

When the PARC is told just how much the AODA changes are going to save and then told a few minutes later how much is going to be saved if option 19 – close two high schools – is chosen and then they are asked to choose the options they like best, of course option 19 us chosen. Meed Ward and her colleague Ian Farwell felt the PARC members were being manipulated.

It was a successful grass roots community meeting – what comes out of it will be seen in the days and weeks ahead.

Meeting dates as of Feb 16The end of all this is May 17th, when the 11 trustees cast their votes. Meed Ward put it well when she said “we are in the valley” right now, “in a trough” that we need to get out of that trough.

Would a march up Brant Street make a difference?

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Regional government boast a triple a - Aaa - credit rating. Gets points for fiscal responsibility. Transparency and accountability are another matter.

News 100 redBy Staff

February 16th, 2017



Quite why the Regional government would assign one of their communications advisors the task of preparing a media release on their credit rating is WORD

However we can now tell you that Moody’s Investors Service has upheld Halton Region’s Aaa credit rating—the agency’s highest—for the 29th consecutive year.

Profiling Halton’s strong governance and prudent fiscal policies, as well as its forward-looking operating and capital plans, Moody’s credit opinion report demonstrates a high level of confidence in the Region’s continued success.


Regional administration offices are in Oakville.

“Halton’s Aaa rating ranks us at the top end of Canadian municipalities,” said Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr. “The Region is a transparent, accountable and fiscally responsible government that ensures value for taxpayers’ dollars. We are proud to consistently earn this distinction while providing high-quality services and keeping taxes low—our strong financial position helps keep Halton a great place to live.”

Halton Map small

Halton Region created, in 1974, is made up of four municipalities and is defined as an upper tier of municipal government.

Maintaining a Aaa credit rating allows Halton and its local municipalities to finance major investments at the lowest possible long-term costs by providing continued access to the best capital financing rates available. It helps the Region maximize investments in Halton’s future while minimizing costs for taxpayers.

All municipal borrowing is done through the Region and on the strength of their credit rating.

What back up a credit rating is what you have to back up the borrowing. In the Region’s case the strength is the revenue stream which is based on the taxes you pay. Thus that credit rating has more to do with the value of your home.

The Region is for the most part a fiscally responsible level of government. As for transparency and accountability – they don’t earn the same triple a.

Moody’s report on Halton’s financial position highlights the following credit strengths:

• strong operating budgetary results, supported by stable revenues and well-managed expenses;
• prudent fiscal management and a commitment to long-term planning, supporting the generation of strong financial outcomes;
• declining debt burden and high levels of liquidity; and
• diversified economy and strong population growth.

The report also praised the Region’s conservative debt and investment policies, as well as its comprehensive, transparent and timely financial reporting. The agency assigned a stable outlook for Halton, with an expectation that the Region’s financial performance will remain strong.

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A classic childrens' book - a true Canadian story to be told by the author at Central high school March 9th.

eventspink 100x100By Pepper Parr

February 16th, 2017



If high schools were ever supposed to be a place where the general public could add to their knowledge when the school wasn’t filled with full time students – March 9th is one of those days when that will happen.

Lindsay Mattick the author of Finding Winnie will be at Burlington Central High School March 9th,  to talk about her book, the true story of the world’s most famous bear. Starts at 6 p.m there is no admission fee.

Winnie the Pooh

A classic childrens’ book – a true Canadian story to be told at Central high school March 9th.

Winnie was a real bear, rescued and trained by Captain Harry Colebourn (Mattick’s great-grandfather) during World War 1. The bear cub went on to inspire author A.A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh character.
Mattick will autograph copies of her book, which will also be on sale – cash only.

These were the ships that fought the Battle of the Atlantic, the longest naval battle in history. Shown here is HMCS Haida, currently tied up in Hamilton.

These were the ships that fought the Battle of the Atlantic, the longest naval battle in history. Shown here is HMCS Haida, currently tied up in Hamilton.

The Ontario Genealogical Society, and three veterans from the Friends of HMCS Haida and Burl-Oak Naval Veterans and the Canadian War Museum Memorabilia Box will also be present.

getting new - yellow

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Raccoon strain of rabies on the up-rise in the Region - explain the danger to your children.

News 100 blueBy Staff

February 15th, 2017



There have been ten case of raccoon strain rabies in the Region.

The Halton Region Health Department received test results from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency on February 13 confirming a case of raccoon strain rabies in a skunk found in the City of Burlington. Residents are reminding to avoid all contact with raccoons, skunks and other wild animals.


Alive they are cute – dead they could be the death of you. They can be pretty stinky as well. Just leave them alone.

Rabies is a viral disease that causes severe damage to the brain and spinal cord, and if untreated before symptoms appear will lead to death. The virus is spread through the saliva of an infected animal, usually entering through a bite or scratch.

“Anyone who comes in physical contact with a raccoon or other wild animal should see a physician immediately and contact the Health Department by dialing 311,” said Dr. Daniela Kempkens, Acting Medical Officer of Health for Halton Region. “Halton Region, as well as neighbouring communities, are experiencing a higher than average number of rabies cases and we want residents to be aware of rabies and know how to protect themselves from wild and stray animals.“

After someone is exposed to rabies, timely use of the rabies vaccine can prevent the rabies illness. While the rabies vaccine is extremely effective if it is administered before any symptoms occur, there are a number of things you can do to protect your family and pets from the threat of rabies:

• Seek medical attention immediately if you come in contact with a raccoon, skunk or other potentially rabid animals.
• Report all animal bites or scratches to the Halton Region Health Department.

• Warn your children to stay away from any wild, stray or aggressive animals.

• Do not touch dead or sick animals.

• Do not feed or keep wild animals as pets.

• Make sure your pet’s rabies vaccinations are up to date.

• Keep your pet on a leash when off your property.

• Any pet that has come in contact with a raccoon or other wild animal should be seen by a veterinarian.

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