With all the players selected - the school closing PAR committee begins its work.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

February 1, 2017



They don’t get to make a decision – they are asked to advise, the decision lies with Board of Trustees

The (PARC) Program Accommodation Review Committee is to act as the official conduit for information shared between Trustees and school communities

They are expected to provide feedback on the option considered in Director’s Preliminary Report They can seek clarification on Director’s Preliminary Report and provide new accommodation options and supporting rationale.

PARC Jan 27 full group

The members of the PARC getting introduced to the rules they are going to work within.

The end result is a big one for Burlington and people in the communities that will experience the change. Both Central and Pearson high schools believe they have strong arguments for being kept open – both arguments seem to rest on the way the board has changed boundaries.

The committee that is going to produce a report is made up of representatives from the seven high schools as well as advisors.  They are expected to stick to a framework that has been given to them.  Will they do that?

PARC framework

Criteria the PARC is expected to adhere to.

Set out below are the names of the representatives for each school as well as the email address you can reach them at – a single email address gets your comments to both representatives for a school;

HDSB Parents at PARC 1 Jan 26-17

Parents who want to ensure that the school in their neighborhood is not closed.

Aldershot HS: Email: aldershotparc@hdsb.ca
Steve Cussons and Eric Szyiko

Burlington Central HS: Email: centralparc@hdsb.ca
Ian Farwell and Marianne Meed Ward

Dr. Frank J. Hayden SS: Email: dfhaydenparc@hdsb.ca
Matthew Hall and Tricia Hammill

Lester B. Pearson HS: Email: lbpearsonparc@hdsb.ca
Steve Armstrong and Cheryl De Lugt

M.M. Robinson HS: Email: mmrobinsonparc@hdsb.ca
Marie Madenzides and Dianna Bower

Nelson HS: Email: nelsonparc@hdsb.ca
Kate Nazar and Rebecca Collier

PARC Jan 27 - school reps

School parent association representatives worked at a different table for part of the meeting.

Robert Bateman HS” Email: rbatemanparc@hdsb.ca
Lisa Bull and Sharon Picken

They meet for their next meeting as a group on Thursday evening.

It is too early to tell if the report they come out with will be a unanimous document or if some people will want to issue a minority report.

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Trevor Copp directs Receiver of the Wreck at the Performing arts Centre - organizationally the place is said to be a bit of a mess.

News 100 redBy Staff

February 1st, 2017



The Tottering Biped Theatre and Pat the Dog Theatre Creation are bringing a different production to the stage of the Performing arts Centre. It is a love story about climate change.

Trevor Copp is directing ‘Receiver of Wreck’.

A shoe salesman chops off his foot with an axe. An esthetician has hers amputated by an outboard motor. At opposite ends of the same country, staring out at two different oceans, two people each lose something on the same day and are sent crashing together toward the dark heart of Canada.

Trevor Copp - Reciever of the wreck

Three day, four performance run starting February 9th.

Inspired by the Salish Sea human foot discoveries, Receiver of Wreck is a grotesque comedy about human waste and the mystic potential of change, produced by Tottering Biped Theatre and Pat the Dog Playwright Creation.

The production takes to the stage for a three day, four performance run under circumstances at the Performing Arts Centre that are somewhat strained.

There is a program for local professional companies and the Tottering Biped Theatre is theoretically one of the resident companies right now. But it’s under threat, once again, by the changing of administrations.

Brian McCurdy, the current Executive Director, filling the gap because the theatre board asked abruptly asked Suzanne Haines to empty her desk and turn in her keys, has been a strong advocate for local performance groups, but the future, according to people who work closely with the Performing Arts Centre, is unclear as to when another candidate will take over and who knows what their stance will be on local companies.

“The frequent changing of Executive Directors has been very difficult for us. We are now in the process of trying to secure a clear, long term relationship with BPAC” is the way the situation was explained to the Gazette.

McCurdy - Ex Dirs + Chair

Brian McCurdy has done a very good job of running the Performing Arts Centre – then he took retirement only to be brought back in to hold the fort while a replacement for Suzanne Haines, far right, was found. Brenda Heatherington, second from the left, was the first Executive Director who did a good job on the artistic side. The Board apparently expected her to handle the financial side as well. Ilene Elkaim, far left, is the current Chair of the theatre board.

Getting the kind of leadership needed has been an ongoing challenge. Brian McCurdy does a sterling job and is appreciated by all those who work with him. But McCurdy apparently wants to move into the at least semi-retirement phase of his life.

There hasn’t been a word from the Centre – the most recent media item on their website is dated September of 2016.

Not a healthy situation.

Almost everything Trevor Copp does on a stage is worth seeing.

Administratively, the place may be a bit of a mess – and that is no reflection on Brian McCurdy – the guy is solid gold. It is the people who direct him that are the problem.

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Curling club and Brant museum get provincial grant money - museum might send theirs back.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

January 31st, 2017



A provincial government is showering dollars all over the place. Two sums are being given to organizations in Burlington.

Curling Club Burlington

Curling club to get provincial grant to upgrade ice maintenance equipment.

The Curling Club is getting $32,700 they have to spend over an 11 month time frame to maintain the club’s ice surface by purchasing a new ammonia/brine chiller.

The Ontario150 Community Capital Program helps not-for-profit organizations, municipalities and Indigenous communities renovate, repair and retrofit existing community and cultural infrastructure.

In celebration of Ontario’s 150th anniversary, the province has also released a new recording of A Place to Stand (Ontario Song), the province’s unofficial anthem. The 50-year-old song has been refreshed to instill a sense of pride and belonging for all.

Brant Museum

The museum organization might take a pas on the provincial grant of $500,000 hoping they will get a federal grant of $5 million.

The Joseph Brant Museum has access to $500,000 to improve the infrastructure and refurbish the Joseph Brant Museum to current AODA/museum standards.

The grant to the museum is bumping up against a federal grant of $5 million the museum hopes comes their way.

It is all taxpayers’ money – you gave it to them to spend and they are certainly doing that.

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First meeting of citizens who will produce a report on high school closing options gets off to a good start - begins with a parent demonstration.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

January 31, 2017



The community got to get a bit of a sense as to where the Halton District School Board is going with the Program Accommodation Review that is now underway.

The Board recommendation to the trustees is to close two of the seven high schools in the city.

The parents at Central high school oppose this and are providing the board and the public with data to support their argument that there is no need to close Central high school.

PARC Jan 27 - school reps

Parent representatives from the seven Burlington high schools discussing the high school closing options that were being considered. Some of the words used were less than respectful.

The parents at Lester B. Pearson argue that their school was fine until the Board of Education changed boundaries and had students taken away from Pearson and sent to Hayden which is now at 125% + capacity.

The procedure is a multi-level process. The Board of Education staff see a problem with accommodation levels – a report is given to the trustees,

The trustees decide that there should be a Program Accommodation Review.

A PARC (Program Accommodation Review Committee) is formed and begins to hold their meetings.

The first public meeting of the PARC was held last week.

The PARC will produce a report which they will give to the Director of Education who will then prepare a report to the elected trustees who will make a decision as to whether or not any of the high schools should be closed.

The Gazette has reported extensively on the various meeting. Those news reports can be found elsewhere.

The process of reviewing the available information and going through the mountains of data given to the PARC has begun.

PARC anxious parent

Central high school parent had a front row seat.

For the next several months a group that includes two parents from each high school along with a number of advisors will review, discuss, debate and finally produce a report for the Director of Education on what they feel are his options.

The Director of Education will then give the trustees his final recommendation and they will decide what should be done. They can do whatever they think is in the public interest.

What was taking place last Thursday was a meeting where between 40 and 50 people watched what 30 people were doing on the other side of the room – with no microphones to pick up the sound.

The public got to hear Chair Scott Podrebarac, a Board of Education Superintendent tasked with shepherding the PARC process, outline the procedures.  He is supported by Kirk Perris, a senior vice president with Ipsos, a leading public opinion research firm who is serving as a facilitator  and data analyst on contract with the Board of Education. Perris  has a doctorate.

One could pick up some of the conversation at the tables. It was obvious that the PARC people were heavily engaged in discussion working from 3 inch loose leaf binds containing all kinds of data.

The PARC had the framework they are expected to work from presented to them with some explanation

There were comments on the December 8th public meeting where it became evident that there were competing interests. The data collected indicated parents wanted their children to be able to walk to school; less use of any form of transportation.

Parents wanted more information on the fiscal issues and wanted to hear a lot more about boundaries that are created.

The public wanted to know more about what there was going to be in the way of future public meetings.  Kirk Perris admitted that they lost the debate on how the December 8th public meeting went and asked rhetorically what a public meeting would/should look like? The old chestnuts transparent, robust and clearer got tossed into the discussion.

While Director of Education Stuart Miller is not part of the PARC process he did say in his short remarks that the data the public and the PAR Committee have been working from is based on the LTAP – Long Term Accommodation Plans; a document that is revised every year by the Board’s Planning department.

The Board has surveyed anyone that moved. The students were surveyed; the school board staff were surveyed and the parents were surveyed.

As the 30 some odd people settled in to begin their work Miller again commented that the recommendation that was put forward was “the one that fit”: he didn’t say what it was being fitted to.

Alton has a spanking new high school with air conditioned classrooms; the envy of every high school student in the city. The school is part of a complex that includes a library and a recreational centre.

Hayden high school – opened in 2012 took in students who used to attend Pearson. That reduced the Pearson enrollment to the point where the school was recommended for closure. Meanwhile Hayden is now at close to 120% capacity.

The parents at Pearson high school are saying that if the board gave that school back the students that were transferred to Hayden – a school that is over capacity now and has 12 portables with WiFi that could be a lot better, Pearson would not be at the 65% accommodation level that requires a PAR.

When the PAR process started there were 19 options – there are now 23.

The first task now is to begin eliminating some of those 23 options.

With the introductions and the overview explanations done with – the PAR Committee members were broken into two groups.

One group had the parents who were chosen by the parents group of each high school plus Milton school board trustee Donna Danielli who served as an advisor.

The other table had the people chosen by the Board of Education from people who had “expressed an interest” in serving on the PARC. The Board asked people who wanted to serve to apply and the board vetted that group. They were looking for balance in age, gender, diversity and geography.

Podrebarac and Ridge

PARC chair Scott Podrebararc, on the left with city manager James Ridge who is representing the city.

City manager James Ridge was put in with the Expression of Interest group. He didn’t appear to be saying all that much. What isn’t clear to many is what does Ridge have as a mandate? Is he there to serve as an information resource? Has he been given a clear mandate from city council? All we know is that the Mayor thought he would be a great choice to represent the city. Nothing was heard at a city council meeting on what he supposed to do – other than “represent” the city which was invited to be at the table.

The seven representatives from the high school parent groups and the seven representatives from the Expression of Interest groups are the people who will decide what the report that goes to the Director of Education will contain.

Scott Podrebarac who chaired the “Expression of Interest” group started by going through the 19 options staff had identified and getting a sense as to what his group felt about each option. While it was very difficult to hear what was being said at the tables Podrebarac seemed to be leading the conversation and working at whittling down the list that kept getting longer.

Principals from each high school were on hand to answer questions; the Manager of Planning Dom Renzelli was prowling from table to table answering questions.

The evening got off to an interesting start when about 50 parents from Pearson high school put on a boisterous demonstration outside the Board offices on Guelph Line where the meetings were taking place.


While very difficult to hear what was being said it was evident that Podrebarac was leading his group while Kirk Perris was letting his group work out where they wanted to go. Hearing a PARC participant say “Oh come on” suggested that the conversation was animated

Podrebarac later said that he and Perris would compare and compile notes and get the agenda ready for the February 2 meeting.

The PARC is scheduled to hold four working meetings.

There will be tours of the high schools set up for February 7th and 8th.

What came out of the first working meeting? Difficult to tell at this stage.

HDSB Parents at PARC 1 Jan 26-17

Parents paying close attention to the PARC proceedings last Thursday.

It was a full meeting – but very much in the early stages. The members of the PARC are getting a feel for each other – where each school representative is. Sharon Picken, a parent representing Bateman high school was very direct with her comments which members of the audience found a little offensive.

Picken was overhead saying to former trustee Dianna Bower, who is representing M.M. Robinson, that she, Picken, thought “whoever wrote this isn’t even human”. Picken was commenting on the submission from Central high school parents.  The PARC has meeting norms about respectful comments that the Central people want to see put firmly in her place.

Meed Ward who is participating as a parent with a son at Central high school – she also has a daughter at Aldershot high school, was her usual self – asking questions and pressing for answers.

Bateman school rep - confirm

Bateman high school parent and PARC member Sharon Picken.

Three of the four Burlington school board trustees attended.  Trustee Richelle Papin was ill.  The trustees play no role in this part of the process – all they can do is observe.

What was interesting was that none of the trustees from Milton or Oakville attended – Burlington has four of the 11 votes that will decide what gets done with the high schools in the city.  How the other seven trustees vote is critical.  Burlington needs to ensure that it has the support of at least two of the other seven trustees.

If the issues becomes one of how does the Board of Education pay to keep high schools that are nowhere near their capacity open – and there are trustees who see fiscal prudence as their primary role – then Burlington might have a problem.

These meetings are going to be drenched in data – keeping on top of it all is going to be a challenge.

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Public meeting dates set for high school closings - committee considering the options.

News 100 redBy Staff

January 31, 2017



The Halton District School Board has set two dates for public meetings related to the Program Accommodation Review that is has residents reviewing the recommendation to close two of Burlington’s seven high schools..
The content of both meetings will be the same – just offered in two different locations in the city on different dates

PARC - engaged onservers

Parent paying close attention to the Program Accommodation Review Committee proceedings.

Meetings will be held on February 28, 2017 at Dr. Frank J. Hayden Secondary School, 3040 Tim Dobbie Drive at 7:00 pm

On March 7, 2017 at the New Street Education Centre, 3250 New St. at 7:00 pm The New Street location date is a change from what was previously announced.

NOTE: This date has changed from a previously scheduled date.

The purpose of the meetings is to share the work of the PAR Committee to date and to explain the process for gathering further community input.

PARC Jan 27 full group

Members of the Program Accommodation Review Committee meet to discuss the options while the public look on.

The Program and Accommodation Review (PAR) has been is reviewing and providing feedback on the Director’s Preliminary Report.

Through the problem solving process of the PAR Committee, it is expected that further options will likely come forward, which may involve the closure of other schools than those that have currently been recommended.

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Police implement the security and public safety protocol for situations where a heightened awareness is needed.

News 100 redBy Staff

January 30th, 2017



The tragedy may have been a province away but the murder of six Muslims in their temple Saturday had Hamilton Regional Police cruisers paying more attention to the mosques in the city and calls to the religious community to assure them that the police had implemented the protocol they have for situations like this.

police in cruiser

Increased police patrols around the mosques in the city; a heightened awareness throughout the city.

In response to yesterday’s hate-motivated violence in Quebec City, the Halton Regional Police Service assured the public that it stands united with those impacted by the tragedy and is committed to ensuring the safety of all community members.

To achieve this, the Service has a number of protocols in place to respond to a range of events that impact the security and well-being of those who live, work and visit Halton.

When the Quebec attack occurred, the response of the Halton Regional Police Service was immediate and far-reaching. Measures implemented at that time and which are ongoing include enhanced patrols of places of worship and personal outreach to members of the Region’s numerous faith communities.


Chief Tanner invoked the protocol that was created for situations like this – increased patrols and a higher level of communication.

Chief Tanner explained: “We continuously monitor serious events around the world such as the Quebec attack/shooting. We also review situations of elevated risk when notified of any change to Provincial or National threat assessments. At this time there is no reason to believe there is an elevated public safety risk in Halton.

That said, we will continue to monitor events locally and abroad and should a risk be identified, our response will be coordinated, scalable and meet the needs of those we serve.”

The community is showing its support through a vigil at city hall this evening beginning at 6:00 pm at Civic Square.Vigil for those killed in quebec

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That Code of Conduct city council has been avoiding is now in the hands of the city Clerk. You might want to pass along some of your ideas to her.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

January 30th, 2017



At the Committee of the Whole Standing committee meeting this afternoon city council members will be asked to recommend the following Staff Direction:


City Clerk Angela Morgan

Direct the City Clerk to draft a Code of Conduct for members of Council which addresses, donations, fundraising, sponsorship, entertainment and the acceptance of gifts by members of Council as well as other standards clauses included in Codes across the Province. The Code of Conduct for members of Council should not be less stringent than the Code of Conduct established for City of Burlington staff.

This is close to unbelievable. Most of the members of this council have bobbed and weaved and done everything they can to not have a Code of Conduct.

The Mayor found a way to shuffle this hot potato to the city Manager who has now handed it down to the Clerk.

City hall - older pic

Creating a Code of Conduct for members of city council has taken some time – more than five years. There was some resistance amongst the members of council – not all of them.

Let’s see what Angela Morgan can achieve.

It might be a useful exercise to pass along any ideas you have on what should be included in the code of conduct to the city clerk. She can be reached by email at: angela.morgan@burlington.ca

If you have words of wisdom for our Clerk and choose to pass them along to her – the Gazette would be interested in what you have to say.  You could copy us at newsdesk@bgzt.ca

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Vigil this evening at Civic Square for those murdered in a Quebec mosque.

News 100 redBy Staff

January 30th, 2017


A vigil is being organized for the victims of the terrorist attacks in Quebec City.

A candle-lighting will occur at 6pm, followed by a minute of silence. There will also be a book of condolences.

All are welcome.

Vigil for those killed in quebec

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City web site getting its oil changed - some services will not be available on the 31st for a couple from 6 - 7 am.

notices100x100By Staff

January 30th, 2017


Possible Website Disruption Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017

The City of Burlington’s I.T. Services will be doing scheduled maintenance on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017 from 6 a.m. until 7 a.m.

During that time, there may be temporary service disruptions.

As a result, we recommend you not use these forms during that time.

• Parking Exemption
• Parking Ticket payment
• Dog License
• Accessible Document Request
• Advertising Request
• Event Application
• Rec Express Information Changes to my Account
• Rental Request Form
• Corporate Complaint Form
• Request to Appear as a Delegate

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The jobs offered aren't going to put any money in your pocket - if you apply it will put your money in the pocket of someone else.

ID theft screenBy Staff

January 30th, 2017



They don’t stop – usually a couple a day. Some are so far-fetched that they get totally ignored. Others are a little more imaginative and inventive and for the unwary you could get caught.

Google ad a scam

If it sounds to good to be true – it probably isn’t true.

The most recent one that was different was the offer of a job by either Google or Facebook.

Maybe it could be true, wouldn’t hurt to check it out would it?

And should you decide to “check it out” you have begun the process of letting the hook get set in your mouth while someone tries to reel you in.
And if they reel you in – it will prove to be very painful financially.


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Is the city about to become a collection of high rise towers? Citizens get the Tall Building Guidelines rationale on a tour and a workshop.

News 100 redBy Staff

January 30th, 2017


Back in October of last year Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward told her following, that the city was “poised to endorse “interim” tall building guidelines and then send them out for public consultation. “You need to make your voice heard, because Burlington’s future will be shaped by these guidelines. I didn’t endorse the guidelines at committee and won’t at council.”

“The guidelines are more than an endorsement of good design. They’re an endorsement of tall buildings. They could lead to approvals for tall buildings on lots not intended for them, so long as they conform to the guidelines.

Tall buildiong design - material use

Just Guidelines – do they represent the city you want to live in? In order to have a specific number of metres space between two buildings – you have to have two buildings.

“Do we want a future which protects the livability, diversity and small town feel of our city, or something akin to Vancouver without the mountains?”

How did we get here?

“The guidelines were developed by outside consultants (BrookMcIlroy) at the request of city staff to deal with tall building applications already coming in.

Tall building design - set backs and spacing“They draw heavily on a style of planning called “Vancouverism” – narrow towers on podiums, setbacks to allow public activity on the street. Vancouver’s former city planner, Brent Toderian, is advising the city on planning, transportation and transit.”

City council did pass the Guidelines and developers took to them with great gusto. The city’s Official Plan (OP) is in a sort of limbo while the planning department works at crafting a brand new OP. The old plan is still the rule but no one is doing all that much to support the document.

South elevation

Less than six months after the Guidelines were approved a developer who had been assembling property on the east side of Brant street north side of James walks into city hall with an application that appears to conform with the Tall Building Guidelines.

Meed Ward points out that “Council had one week to review the guidelines. There was no prior public consultation. The development community was consulted before the report was prepared. Members of the city’s Housing & Development Liaison Committee received an electronic copy, with an invitation for tall building developers to attend one-on-one meetings with staff. But even developers said there wasn’t enough public consultation.

“Given the lack of public input, I had proposed the guidelines be considered “draft,” then sent out for community input. We need a “Made in Burlington” solution, not a model designed for a different city.”
However, the rest of council voted to put the Guidelines on the books.

The planning department committed to following up with the development community to hear their concerns.
The way the Tall Building Guidelines got put in place reminded Meed Ward of what was being done back in 2008 when planning changes to Old Lakeshore Road gave height along the waterfront without meaningful city-wide public input. That process created the Save Our Waterfront movement where 2,000 residents across the city sought better public consultation on changes like this, and eventually led to the creation of Burlington’s Community Engagement Charter.

SOW images for fottball

The fear back in 2010 was that tall buildings would get built along Old Lakeshore Road with heights in the eight to fifteen storey range – that didn’t go anywhere. What was proposed was 28 storeys (reduced later to 26) just a block away.

Save Our Waterfront also propelled Meed Ward into public office. She had previously run against Ward 1 Councillor Rick Craven and took a beating. She moved to ward 2, set up shop there as a persistent city council delegator and beat then ward Councillor Peter Thoem handily.

Meed Ward fears “We’re heading back to that era at council, where public input is bypassed, minimal or after the fact.”

All this led to a community meeting on Saturday that had about 60 people touring parts of the downtown core with comment from planners and a consultant on the look of specific buildings and what worked and what didn’t work all that well.

This after the Guide lines are already on the books and have been used by the ADI Development Group to justify their wish to put up two tall buildings (19 storey’s each) in Alton Village, a community with two story houses and townhouses where traffic congestion is horrendous.


The ADI Development Group project for the Alton Village was negotiated with the Planning department – but got killed at city Council after significant community opposition – it is no at the OMB appeal stage.  It appears to meet the Tall Building Guidelines.

The Alton Village community organized and convinced council to not go with the Planning department recommendation – this after negotiating at considerable length with a developer that is not easy to negotiate with. It was a tough day for city planner Mary Lou Tanner – and it will be a tough OMB hearing which the developer has asked for on an expedited basis.

It will be tough on the taxpayer when the legal bills on this one come in.

Meed Ward points out that endorsing the guidelines now before we have finished our Official Plan and Zoning reviews may end up superceding our planning vision.

The risk she said is that the city will “get development applications that conform to the guidelines on setbacks or podiums, but are in places we don’t envision tall buildings. It will be very difficult to hold our ground and direct height to where we want it if the building meets our design guidelines, especially with the ever present threat of an appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board.

Tall buildings lead to more tall buildings; and sure enough along comes a development for 26 storey’s right across the street from city hall.

Site location

The space marked “subject site” is where a 26 storey tower that meets all the Tall Building Guidelines is proposed – right across the street from city hall.

The guidelines help pave the way, claims Meed Ward who adds that “pretty soon we will have lost meaningful control over planning and implementing a community vision for our city.”

Meed Ward wonders if “we’re headed toward intensification coupled now with a focus on tall buildings.

Is the city past the tipping point; is the die cast?

Making the Tall Building Guidelines part of the rule book.

26 storey tower across the street from city hall

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A parent's persistence results in a solution for finding children and older people who wander away from home.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

January 27, 2017



The notices come in regularly – a person is missing – the police send out a media briefing. Usually the person is found – sometimes it takes a couple of days.

In 2015 the Halton Regional Police had 15,000 calls for what they refer to as people who wander. In 2016 that number rose to 40,000

Lifesaver - chief and technician

Halton Regional Police Chief Stephen Tanner holding one of the wrist bands while a technicians holds the aerial that will pick up a signal from the wrist band. The service – called Project Lifesaver was launched in Halton yesterday.

One of the people who wandered away from hone was  Helen Robertson,a 79 year-old Alzheimer’s patient  – she was never found. Losing someone is terrible for the family, a difficult job for the police and takes its toll on the community.

Kelly Oliveira, the mother of a nine year old autistic child had two close encounters when the boy who is audible deficient went missing. When I could not find my child “my heart stopped” she said as she described her search to find a better way to locate people who go missing.

Oliveira said her house has locks on all the doors, on all the windows – “we do everything we are supposed to do – 0ne day with a lot of guests at the house – the front door was left unlocked and that terrible, terrible fear took over – where was my son. We had people running up and down the street – some calling his name – but he doesn’t hear. I found him about ten minutes later near the water’s edge getting ready to walk in the water. He has this strange fascination with water.”

Oliveira didn’t want that experience again – she went looking for a solution and when she found it she dogged every police source she could get to take her calls and was as determined with the politicians.

Oakville Mayo Rob Burton explained to the audience that the Police Services Board moved with amazing speed. “We got the idea in August of 2016; approved it in principle in October of that year and have launched it today” he said.

Shows that the politicians can move quickly when they have a clear direction and are motivated.

Oliveira believed there had to be some way to track where her child was and began to research what was available in the way of technology.

Lifesaver - wrist band

The Project Lifesaver wrist band – it can be placed on an ankle.

A lot of people think GPS is the solution – that technology won’t work inside a building.

Oliveira found Project Life Saver, a proactive life protection program for individuals living with cognitive disorders. The program enhances the probability of the individual’s rescue and makes it possible to reduce the search effort from days and hours to minutes. This program combines radio technology with a coordinated police response to assist in locating wandering and disorientated loved ones.

People who subscribe to the service are given a personalized wristband that emits a tracking signal. The wristband is a one ounce, battery-operated wrist transmitter emitting an FM radio frequency based signal that emits a signal every second, 24 hours a day. It has been proven that these transmitters are able to track through obstacles, such as concrete walls and heavy forest.

When the police are called they respond and use an odd looking device that is an aerial – the kind of thing we used to put on the roof to pick up a TV signal.

It can be hand held by a police officer who walks through an area. It can be mounted on the roof of a police cruiser or attached to a small drone and flown over an area. The device can pick up a signal from the wrist band transmitter within a 2 km radius.

Lifesaver - Belleville - tracking device

The OPP in Belleville use the Lifesaver.

“We could be operating from Maple View Mall and locate someone in a crowd at Spencer Smith Park” explained police Chief Stephen Tanner during the launch of the program.

The program is not cheap – there is an initial one time cost of $400 plus an annual fee of $60. Police meet with the family of the person who is going to wear the bracelet and ensure that everyone understands the service and what is involved.

An entry is created in a data base that includes a picture of the person who will be wearing the bracelet.

The police exchange the bracelet for a new one every six months

To help make the program more accessible, financial assistance will be available for eligible low income participants through Halton Region’s Employment and Social Services department.

For more information, or to register for Project Lifesaver Halton, contact: Halton Regional Police, Victim Services Unit – 905-825-4810 or by email at – projectlifesaver@haltonpolice.ca There is additional information on the police web site – www.haltonpolice.ca/projectlifesaver


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A tough road ahead for the electoral reform committee

backgrounder 100

By Jay Fallis

January 27th, 2017



For those of you that have been following the electoral reform debate over the last few months, you may be a little disoriented. Initially we saw the appointment of an electoral reform committee that showed great promise. This committee was designed to be representative of the parties in the House of Commons which meant practicing consensual politics could help to bring about a new political mantra in Ottawa.

When the committee hosted its first witness, it was clear that this political cleanse so many had been hoping for would be difficult to achieve. That witness, then Minister of Democratic Institutions Maryam Monsef, while responsive to the committee, did not confirm that the recommendations of the committee would be taken seriously by the Canadian Government.

As the committee continued to meet and witnesses came and went, it seemed that while progress was being made and MPs were interested in the information being presented, there continued to be partisan overtones. This made it difficult to have a neutral educated discussion on the matter as each side tried to convey their own points.

Now, as our Prime Minister wavers on his promise to bring in a new electoral system by 2019, there is concern both on and off of Parliament Hill, that the committee may not have accomplished its objective.

Although there are many good arguments coming from both sides of this debate, the real discussion should come down to one thing: voters should have a greater capacity to influence the results of elections.

Gouild with Gov Gen and PM on swearing in

Karina Gould with the Governor General and the Prime Minister after being sworn in as the Minister for Democratic Institutions.

In the 2015 federal election, Burlington and Oakville elected three candidates: Liberals John Oliver, Pam Damoff, and newly minted Minister of Democratic Institutions Karina Gould. Together they gained support from 92,611 voters across both cities. However, that meant 102,989 votes, roughly 52.7% of voters from the Burlington and Oakville area, did not influence the final results. How is this fair for those that do not vote Liberal in these two cities?

What would electoral reform mean for residents of Burlington and Oakville? Should anyone here really care?
There have been many different proposals put before the committee, but generally speaking the favoured concept is a family of systems referred to as “Proportional Representation”. This type of system ensures that no matter where a person lives, their ballot will more often than not go toward electing a candidate of their choice.

That might mean that instead of an MP for Burlington, an MP for Oakville North—Burlington, and an MP for Oakville, there would be one MP for Burlington, one MP for Oakville and a third MP representing the entirety of both cities. The advantage of this would be having representatives from at least two parties in the area, ensuring that local interests on multiple sides of the political spectrum are represented. This would also allow residents the opportunity to seek assistance from representatives they feel most comfortable dealing with, and with whom they are politically aligned.

However, the affects to local political practices will not be the only thing that changes under a new electoral system. A proportional electoral system would mean a different form of government. Majority governments, dominated by one political party would become a thing of the past, and coalition governments would likely become the norm.

A coalition government, whereby multiple parties help to form government, are proven to be difficult for the winning party to control. However, there are many advantages that come with these forms of government as well.

Elections - FPP vs Proportional

What the current government would have looked like had members of the House of Commons been chosen on a proportional representation model.

Experience on the international stage suggests that parties in coalition governments are much more likely to negotiate, meaning that more segments of the Canadian population would be considered during the creation and passing of legislation. Furthermore, the tendencies of coalition governments are to spend more on infrastructure and services while also proving to be more capable of balancing a budget.

While the effects of implementing a proportionally representative electoral system may not be cut and dry, it would seem that many benefits could flow from its implementation for both the country of Canada and the cities of Burlington and Oakville.

However, the government will need to defy both partisan logic and political history to say yes to a system from which many Canadians would likely benefit.

Jay Fallis Bio PicJay Fallis writes on politics for several newspapers in Canada. His preference for “proportional representation” is one of several choices available.

Burlington’s MP, Karina Gould, now the Minister of Democratic Institutions, is tasked with bring a recommendation the Cabinet on how, if and when any changes will be made to the way Canadians choose the form of government representation they want.

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Love your neighbourhood - city hall will help you celebrate.

News 100 redBy Staff

January 27th, 2017



The federal government is putting significant amount of the money they have to borrow into the Canada 150 program – that events that lets all of us celebrate the 150 anniversary of the formal creation of this country we call Canada,

Levee - McMahon at loom - I did that

Burlington MPP Eleanor McMahon sitting at a loom at the Art Gallery of Burlington

The province has announced its program – support for 367 exciting local initiatives — including multicultural events, art exhibitions, sporting events and local food festivals — that will bring people together to commemorate the qualities and values that define Ontario and revel in this historic milestone.

Eleanor McMahon, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, was at Yonge-Dundas Square in Toronto today to announce the recipients of the Community Celebration Program, which supports communities in hosting their own celebrations for Ontario’s anniversary.

Love my hood logoBurlington’s Mayor has let us know last night that he too has his hopes.

He wants the city’s Love My Hood program to come up with 150 events in the city that get celebrated in this sesquicentennial year.

He has said he will try to attend as many of the hoped for 150 events as he can. Bless him for that.
Love My Hood is a program designed to build a healthier Burlington by engaging and empowering residents to come together and provide events celebrating their Burlington neighbourhoods.

The city run program helps residents bring events to all neighbourhoods throughout the city by supporting and encouraging Burlington residents to hold their own neighbourhood gatherings, activities or parties where neighbours can get to know each other. Love My Hood provides resources, support, funding up to $300 and eliminates some common barriers in event hosting.

Events can be as small or as big as you like. There is more detail in the Planning Ideas and Resources section of the city web site. Link to: https://www.burlington.ca/en/your-city/love-my-hood.aspgetting new - yellow

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Just the facts please - which ones - the real ones or the alternate facts?

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

January 27, 2017



Eric Arthur Blair, better known by his adopted non-de-plume, George Orwell, would be in his element were he alive to witness America’s latest president in action. Like Big Brother out of the Orwellian novel ‘1984’, the Trump presidency has been transitioning the English language towards Newspeak. Among the various intricacies of Newspeak was the construct of ‘Blackwhite’ – “impudently claiming that black is white, in contradiction of the plain facts…and to forget that one has ever believed the contrary”.

Orwell George

George Orwell – his “1984” was ahead of its time. Is it’s time today?

‘Alternative Fact’ is today’s version of Orwell’s Blackwhite. Trump’s lieutenant Kelly Anne Conway, was being questioned on a US talk show over why the Trump administration was so ridiculously insistent that more people attended the inauguration than actually did. She responded their’s were just ‘alternative facts’. But as any reasonable person knows, ‘alternative facts’ are not facts. They are falsehoods – or worse – out and out lies.

Former dragon, and most recent applicant for the job of leader of the federal Conservative Party, Kevin O’Leary has his own version of alternative facts. He recently complained that Ontario trails Michigan in auto investment because “business there enjoys “30% less in tax, no regulations and no carbon tax.”

First of Ontario doesn’t trail. The two jurisdiction have been alternating closely for first place in auto production in North America, though Ontario actually has a stronger five year record. And according to the Premier, Ontario also outpaced Michigan with a recent $2 billion investment in the auto sector.

Kevin olearly - shouting

Kevin O’Leary – he will be heard from – will Canadians listen. His candidacy will tell us more about ourselves than about him.

To claim that an historic industrial state, like Michigan, lacks regulations comparable to those in Ontario, governing everything from the industrial workplace to the environment is just plain nonsense. It’ is true that Michigan hasn’t, nor is likely to have a carbon tax in the near future. Still the combined federal-state corporate taxes there run at close to 40% (38.9%) compared to the combined rate of only 28.5% in Ontario – Ontario’s tax regime is almost 30% lower.

That O’Leary, the investor, lacks a handle on something as basic as corporate tax rates, or was too lazy to look it up, is inexcusable for someone vying to be our future PM. But then maybe he was just making up stuff, hoping nobody would fact-check – or that no one would care. This is Canada so we should hope he is wrong on that account.

O’Leary has also jumped on the Ontario electricity rate bandwagon. It is true that Ontario’s rates have risen to become among the highest in the country but they are close to those in Detroit and far lower than many other jurisdictions south of the border including New York and Boston, where Mr. Wonderful has a second home and must pays the bills – so should know better.

Kevin O'Leary, aka Mr. Wonderful, in New York. (Photograph by Stephanie Noritz)

Kevin O’Leary, aka Mr. Wonderful, in New York. (Photograph by Stephanie Noritz)

Trump may have spun some big whoppers and got away with it, but O’Leary is not Donald Trump, charisma notwithstanding, So when he finds himself onto the next debate platform, it will be his lack of knowledge of the issues, and his willingness to build his campaign on falsehoods, which will cost him the nomination. For if there is anything Canadian voters expect more of their federal leaders than being able to also speak reasonably fluent French, it is intellectual honesty and competence.

After all, running the country is not a game shown, like the Den or the Tank. But if it were, most Conservative voters should say ‘I’m out’ to O’Leary’s pitch. Perhaps it would be best for Mr. O’Leary to stick to the business he understands and where he has been successful, leaving politics to those who can tell the difference between the facts as they are and the alternative facts as he’d like them to be.

kevin o'leary mouth open

Seldom at a loss for words and never shy about getting an opinion out – Keven O’Leary will make the campaign trail interesting.

O’Leary has been supported by the Toronto Sun and has assembled a team, including former premier Mike Harris. His entry into the race will be an interesting diversion for as long as it lasts. In at least one of his open letters to the Premier he raises some legitimate criticisms. Unfortunately those points will be lost in the dust of the bigger picture – the world of his alternative facts.

In the end, if this is the worst damage our Mr. Wonderful can inflict on Kathleen Wynne, she is doing a far better job than her poll numbers would indicate. And ironically by giving her government new credibility, he may have just thrown the Premier a lifeline and another term in office.

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:

Orwell –    Newspeak –    Alternative Facts – 

Wynne-O’Leary –    O’Leary – A Gift –     O’Leary Not Trump –    Ontario Responds –

O’Leary Letter –    O’Leary Letter 2 –   Electricity Prices –

Autos –    Sun Support –

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Your face is better than Facebook - together they can make a difference when selling.

marketingmoneymojoBBy James Burchill

January 26th, 2017



Social media tools like Facebook and Twitter can be powerful allies in the sales person’s arsenal. The trouble here is context. Many over- or under-emphasize the importance and usefulness of social media in sales today.


Sometimes those 143 characters are all you need.

Not using them is worse than using them badly, some say, while others argue that using them is just a waste of time that should be spent doing other things.


Facebook can be a tool – but it is never going to replace a face to face sales call. People buy from people.

The reality is somewhere in between that. Facebook has shown itself to be a useful tool for keeping contacts alive and pushing information to already-interested or active customers and clients. It is not such a great way to recruit new ones, however, despite all the hype. Twitter is basically the same, though generally more accessible due to its easier use via mobile devices. Every sales person should have both accounts and keep them active.

But how active?

The other problem is time. These tools can really use up a lot of a person’s time and for anyone in business, especially sales, time is money. So the payoff must be balanced with the effort spent for the gain. Facebook is not a replacement for face-to-face meetings and interaction. In nearly all industries, especially more personal ones like insurance, that personal, face-to-face connection is always going to be the top way to sell. Digital revolution or not.

social media - digital trends

The scope of the sales relationships are critical – understand the kind of sales network you have and how social media can be made tot work for you is worth spending some time on.

Your sales people should be versed in using Facebook and Twitter as tools to enhance the personal, one-on-one connection, not as substitutes for it. Yes, they can decrease the amount of time or number of times you’ll need to see the client in person, but they won’t replace it. The important thing here is to use these tools as if the interaction were actually taking place in person.

Respond personally, with a name if you can, and answer questions or queries quickly and with more than just a link or a “yes” or “no.” The sales person should visualize the person in front of them asking the question, rather than just staring at their iPad or their computer screen and seeing anonymously typed messages. Respond as if you were talking to the person right there. This bleeds through the connection and shows the person you’re interacting on a personal level. Even virtually, online, people respond to that.

social media - people with cell phones

Using social media to connect directly with your prospects – makes sense – just get the message right every time.

Social media should be a tool to get or maintain live connections, so treating it as another face-to-face (but not the only F2F) connection will enhance those personal interactions. This leads to better retention, better sales, and more confidence on the part of the client. In insurance, those things are all good things and are what drive repeat sales and continued value.

Finally, sales people should understand what kind of commitment their Facebook and Twitter accounts are going to require and realize that this means something is likely to be sacrificed. Most of the time, though, that sacrifice can be in the travel and personal one-on-one time spent. Many customers will ask questions or submit queries via instant or direct messages (or email) rather than make a phone call. In terms of time, that’s a good thing.

Training and understanding how social media can benefit your sales force is very important and should be a top priority for every business.

James BurchillJames Burchill is the founder of Social Fusion Network – an organization that helps local business connect and network.  He also writes about digital marketing, entrepreneurship and technology and when he’s not consulting, he teaches people to start their own ‘side hustle.’


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A fascinating exchange of opinions and views on the way we are taxed. Sharman and Muir go at it.

opinionandcommentThe exchange of opinions between an informed citizen and an elected member of city council can at times be fascinating.  This is the kind of conversation that can and should take place at delegations at council

The conversation that follows is between Councillor Paul Sharman (ward 5) and Aldershot resident Tom Muir.

The remarks in black are Muir writing.  The response from Sharman are in upper case blue letters.  Muir’s rebuttal’s  are in red.

Muir: I have had some opportunity over the last year or two to hear about the economic plan, strategic plan, and BEDC vision, but have not studied them in any detail.


I’m away for a while so it will have to wait till I return.

Muir making a point

Aldershot resident Tom Muir

Muir: You indicate there is an aligned new OP, but I must disagree, as we do not have a new OP as of yet, at least one that has gone through the required public consultation, debate, and Council approval processes under the Planning Act.


That’s part of the problem I think. The strategic plan is more about vision, is vague about specifics, and is less concrete and quantitative, which is where the OP enters. Residents are concerned about what the OP will entail with height, density, and intensification. That’s where the concern of disconnection with what residents will buy into, and the push-back is as you know.

Muir: Frankly, I have found it disturbing that the planning department seems to be making up an OP on the run, with developers, into something they would like it to be. The public and affected residents have been disconnected, and have not been given any opportunity for buy-in. Thus you have seen them giving Council push-back, so that way of getting a new aligned OP isn’t working and won’t work until the public processes are completed.

Paul Sharman served on the Shape Burlington Committee along with Lancaster. He was a bit of a "bull in a china shop" with that organization and brought the trait along with him when he got electd to Council.

Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman


Any generalization I may make is based on several recent years of engaging with INSPIRE talks, several OP related meetings, and development proposals, where it was apparent to residents that the planners were doing just what I described. The recent ADI example is this kind of planning thought in action. The development applications that have been in alignment are, to my experience, those that follow the OP by right height and densities with perhaps some acceptable tweaks.

Muir: Anyways this issue is an aside, and I only said this because you cited it as a part of some grand plan, which is my main point here.


I think you misunderstand my meaning here. I was only lumping the plans and documents you referred to – strategic, economic, BEDC, – into one grand plan frame. No offense or thoughts that these are not fully proper in the records of process. I did this to fit it into my main points of comment.

Muir: All the plans and so on that you list as being tied into the budget, are high level, visionary, and abstract – they are sort of wish lists, suggesting various paths to follow, and targets to meet. At least this is a summary of what I see these as, for present purposes.


I’m not disputing what you say. I’ve been involved in many plans myself. The fact they are all approved doesn’t matter in my comment points. Your last point about the quality of life is directly affected by my point raised and further described below. I have been hearing this about improving the lot of citizens for decades, and I see not much that describes how this has actually happened and is manifested. It’s easy to say, hard to deliver, and it needs to be confirmed by the citizens themselves. The budget and financial situation that I am talking about here are very direct measures of this quality of life.

Muir: My comments can be linked to these documents if you consider everything in them as contributing over time to a downstream integrated results endpoint. In my example here, I see this integrated results endpoint as the budget revenue-expenditure level, or gap, whether it be deficit or surplus. In other words, what is the bottom line of the business of the City? You should be concerned about this, but don’t appear to be in an active involved and publicly visible way.


OK, you say there are activities underway to consider this concern. I want to be clear that I am using the conception I describe as a heuristic device to illustrate how all the plans eventually integrate their complexity into the budget, and financial performance, indicated by tax rate changes and revenue-expenditure numbers reflected in deficits and ever increasing taxes or the opposite.

Muir: This gap can be seen as the overall key performance indicator that is the integration of all the upstream planning, vision, and implementation aspects you mention. OK, NOT SURE WHAT YOU MEAN. I mean how the tax rates and increases, or decreases, reflect the gap – deficit or surplus – between revenue and expenditure is a performance indicator of how the upstream planning etc are working out.

Simply putting my point, are we digging the tax hole deeper for residents and business with our plans, or are we gradually building a prosperity fund – an accumulating surplus – and getting a source of leverage for some grander plans for all to enjoy? THE LATTER.I don’t see this in the 10 year forecast that I saw.

My concern, as I described it previously, is that in the 10 year budget forecast the integrated performance indicator of the accumulated revenue-expenditure gap remains in deficit the entire projected time horizon.


As previous point, I saw a 10 year forecast of tax increases in the Gazette, and that’s all I have right now. I imagine Pepper grabbed it from somewhere city official.

Muir: I have to assume that the budget-makers are using forecast of future growth and development, revenue and expenditure, and how these might be affected by the several plans and vision documents you mentioned. So the tax hole is getting deeper the entire budget timeline of 10 years.


The tax hole is the ever-increasing tax take that just keeps increasing exponentially, produced by continuing deficits. I’m afraid the last sentence in this point should have been at the end of the previous paragraph. This is what I see for the 10 year forecast, and is the basis of the concern about doubling due to exponential increases.

Muir: So, in keeping to my point, the budget does not reflect a favorable performance of these high level, visionary, grand plans, as they appear when integrated, to continue to dig the tax hole deeper and the deficit gap continues.


This may all be true, but it is irrelevant to the concerns raised last year, and this year again, about the 10 year forecast of exponentially increasing city tax take. We are talking City and it doesn’t help with credibility to hide some concern behind the education and region increases that average the tax rate increase down.Your comment about education and region rates is double-edged, as I think they form a risk moving ahead and part of my concern. What happens if this changes negatively and what is the city going to do. And by the way, don’t forget the region charges for water and sewer separately from the taxes, and that always seems to increase substantially. So taking this into account is needed for a fair representation of the region’s tax or tax-like take.

Muir: This never-ending deficit will not help with development and growth in the city, but will in fact as as a damper on the ability of small and large business to thrive and survive.


But that is not the point I made. For the next 10 years the city is in deficit, with increasing taxes, from what I saw, however remarkably well they have done as you say. I should have said something about homeowners and residential taxes, also not helping with citizen quality of life. It also feeds right into the inflationary cost of housing that we are experiencing.

Muir: This summarizes, and provides a basis for, my concerns.


Your statement seems to take my point too lightly. The complexity all channels downstream to a financial and budget performance integrated endpoint. This is not just simplified, as there are complicated flows that are integrated from your picture of complex analysis. The end result of all the complexity is the gap – deficit or surplus – and is it increasing or decreasing, positive or negative. I do not see anything but deficit for the entire 10 years of the city plans and strategy, according to the financial and budget info on the table right now. The annual budget increase is being driven by the complexity and the plans and strategies that are not delivering performance measured financially as not in deficit.

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Major, 26 storey, development proposed for opposite city hall.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

January 25th, 2017



The proverbial just hit the fan.

It is going to be messy and it is going to create a real stink.


Ward 2 city Councillor Marianne Meed Ward.

Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward broke this story in her ward newsletter.

The city has just received an application from Carriage Gate Homes to amend the Official Plan and Zoning By-law to permit a 26 storey mixed-use building at Brant and James streets across from City Hall.

Seven properties at Brant and James, right across from city hall, have been assembled; the developer wants to build a mixed use building with retail on the ground floor, office on the second floor and residential above. Features include: 183 residential units, 1,327 square metres of office space, 966 square metres of commercial retail space, 4 levels of underground parking.

The proposed height is 26 storeys, with a three floor podium consisting of 1st floor retail, 2nd floor office, 3rd floor condo. The sidewalks will be widened all around the building, with a public art opportunity at the corner.

Brant Street rendering

This is what Brant Street, opposite city hall, would look like if and when the development gets built.

This development will settle the argument over just what downtown Burlington is going to look like.

The city is in the process of writing a new Official Plan – there will be considerable pressure to make very significant changes to that document. The current zoning for Brant Street is 4 storeys, with allowance to go back to 8 storeys with provision of negotiated “community benefits.”

There isn’t a developer in the city paying any attention to those requirement.

Burlington is headed for sky high development.

Site location

The building to the immediate left, on the other side of James Street, was a high end furniture store. It was recently sold. On the other side of John Street, the lower left hand corner is an empty parking lot the city has been waiting for someone to develop.

Meed Ward will fight this. She is working with city planning staff to set a date for a neighbourhood meeting. We have currently set aside Wed. March 8, 7pm, at the Art Gallery of Burlington.

In her Newsletter Meed Ward gives us her take on this one.

“First the good news: Retail at grade is good, as is office space (much needed downtown) and underground parking. Some condos above make good use of space and bring more residents downtown. Wider sidewalks to allow patios, street furniture, art and trees – all good.

South elevation

26 storeys – across the street from city hall. This is the southern elevation.

“But the proposal is too tall and will overwhelm City Hall and the area. It represents over intensification.

“The proposed development is the same height as the Martha/Lakeshore development the city is fighting at the Ontario Municipal Board? That one gets argued before the OMB late in February.”

Meed Ward doesn’t want a forest of high-rises in the downtown core.

This application is, maintains Meed Ward, the inevitable fruit of the city’s tall building guidelines, endorsed in draft by city council last fall, which Meed Ward did not support. My concern then and now is that it encourages applications to come forward that conform to the tall building guidelines but not the Official Plan and Zoning, in the wrong place on the wrong lot.

The guidelines say they are not intended to encourage tall buildings where not permitted by the OP and Zoning – but that is exactly what has happened, twice, in less than six months. The guidelines now make it harder to defend our OP and Zoning if a proposal conforms to the guidelines.

If this proposal is approved it will launch a fundamental change in our downtown. Meed Ward adds it will negatively impact the quality of life, add congestion, diminish heritage and take away from the small town feel. It would also overwhelm a public space, city hall.

It is beginning to look if that train has left the station. Far too much property has been assembled by other developers who have plans for developments that will reach 40 storeys into the sky.

Burlington lost this fight a couple of decades ago.

As for Civic Square and city hall – there are plans in a filing cabinet at city hall that set out what the city needs in the way of office space.  What they currently have – isn’t what they need.  It looks as if the city manager has some suggestions for members of Council on that subject.

The writing is on the wall – and it isn’t graffiti!

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Artists planning on creating their own organization - look for the announcement in March

artsblue 100x100By Pepper Parr

January 25th, 2017



It began as a mild protest about the way parts of the arts community was being ignored by the city. It grew into an organization that had more than 500 members communicating with each other through Facebook and then meeting regularly at a local watering hole to exchange ideas and support each other.

Trevor Copp, the Burlington actor who mobilized trhe arts into a Collective makes a point on leadership while Executive Director of the Burlington Museum's operation listens.

Trevor Copp, the Burlington actor who mobilized the arts into a Collective makes a point on leadership while Barb Teatero, Executive Director of the Burlington Museum’s operation listens.

The group was able to get a better level of support from the Performing Arts Centre; some, albeit pitifully small support from the city.

They grew from a Facebook based organization into what they might be calling an Arts Council that is being organized as a not for profit corporation that will have membership fees and direct services for its members.

Sometime in March an announcement is planned.

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

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

What is the next step?

The city has a Manager of Arts and Culture who works under the supervision of the Director of Planning. Angela Paparizo works with a half time assistant and a budget that wold fit into a very small envelope.

City hall has always had a problem with the cultural file. It used to be run out of the Parks and Recreation department where the fit was awkward. The artists had no time for the gymnasts and the gymnasts didn’t understand the artists. It was a very poor working arrangement.

The city did in the past have well qualified people handling arts matters – but none of them lasted very long.
The arts needed their own organization.

And the city needs to give it the same level of support it gives for splash pads and sports team.

Both the Art Gallery of Burlington and the Performing Arts Centre operate without significant, local, professionally recognized artists from the community.

Art, like sports grows from small groups that are not “business” people. The kid who turns out to be a fine baseball player or a hockey player learned the sport through hours and hours of practice.

A musician, an artist, a weaver or a dancer honed their craft through hours and hours of practice.

There seems to be a disconnect between those striving to improve and grow their talent and those who hold the purse strings or they keys to the doors where art is performed for the public.

The creation of an Arts Council is a good first step. Properly organized the group will be able to go after grants from the Canada Council for the arts as well as the provincial government and the Trillium Foundation.

Several annual events in this city take place with very little support from city hall; the Lowville Festival is one example.

Ribfest and the Sound of Music get major dollars from the city. The smaller groups have to struggle.

With an organization of their own they should be able to approach city council and argue for the same level of support the sports groups get.  They might want to think in terms of a joint venture with the city – other groups do that quite successfully.

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Fibre art exhibition hosted at the AGB to tour three Ontario communities.

artsorange 100x100By Staff

January 25th, 2017



One of the success signs of an art show is when parts of the show are sent on a tour to other galleries.


Fibre art

Last September the Art Gallery of Burlington hosted an exhibition of “quilted art” that was very well received.

For the first time since its inception in 2012, the third biennial Fibre Content Show of fibre art has been condensed into a collection of 38 pieces, travelling to three locations in Ontario:

OMAH, Orillia January 21-April 23
Gibson Gallery, Amherstburg May 18-June 18
Simcoe County Museum, Minesing September 19-November 11


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