Mayor: This community means everything to me. He wants to ensure the best quality of life for our residents.


Mayor Rick Goldring

Mayor Rick Goldring on the State of the City:
January 25th,2017

The Gazette has published the Mayor’s State of the City report for most of the last six years.  Links to previous addresses are at the bottom of this  address.

Today marks my seventh State of the City Address. Since the first time I stood before you, we have made significant progress, which I will share with you.

My colleagues from Burlington City Council are with us today. I am proud to work alongside these men and women who are deeply committed to our city.

Please welcome Councillors Rick Craven, Marianne Meed Ward, John Taylor, Jack Dennison, Paul Sharman and Blair Lancaster.

Our City Manager James Ridge is also here today. James is a key part of the leadership at the city along with the Burlington Leadership Team and our staff. I am proud of the dedicated staff working hard every day to make this city the best it can be.

We continue to work closely with all orders of government. Joining us this morning is Oakville North-Burlington Member of Parliament Pam Damoff, as well as Burlington Member of Provincial Parliament Eleanor McMahon, who last year was also named Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport.

I want to recognize Burlington Member of Parliament Karina Gould, who was not able to join us today, on her appointment as Minister of Democratic Institutions.

I am pleased to see Oakville Mayor Rob Burton, Halton Hills Mayor Rick Bonnette and Milton Mayor Gord Krantz. It is great working with you as we build strong communities and a prosperous region at Halton Regional Council.

It is a privilege and an honour to serve as Mayor of Burlington. This community means everything to me.

I grew up in Roseland. I attended Nelson High School, Tecumseh and Lawrie Smith. I opened a business on North Service Road. I raised my family in Burlington. In short, my roots in this community run deep.

My wife, Cheryl, is here today. She has supported me every step of the way on my path in municipal politics. They say behind every successful man is a surprised woman. Thank you for not showing your surprise, Cheryl.

Every day, I am thinking about how to make Burlington better. There’s nothing 9 to 5 about being mayor or councillor. Our minds are working 24/7 on ideas and finding solutions to concerns.

Today, I want to talk with you about:

What we are doing to create more local jobs and strengthen our economy.

How we are growing as a city, and what we are doing to keep people and goods moving.

And what investments we are making to ensure the best quality of life for our residents.

This morning, you will hear more about some of our successes, our challenges and the hard work yet to come.

We are all in this together.

What are we doing to create more local jobs and strengthen our economy?

It goes without saying, economic development is critically important for Burlington.

The good news is that we already have a solid foundation.

Last year, MoneySense Magazine ranked Burlington as the best mid-sized city in Canada for the fourth year in a row. Burlington also ascended to the second best city in the country in the 2016 rankings, after Ottawa.

In 2016, Canadian Business and PROFIT listed Burlington as Number 10 on its annual list of Canada’s Best Places for Business.

It cited the fact we have a low unemployment rate, strong connectivity to major markets and a well-educated population as driving economic factors. In fact, 65 per cent of Burlington’s adult population has some form of post secondary education.

This independent recognition reminds us that we already have a thriving economy.

Burlington Economic Development Corporation – known as the BEDC – is leveraging these assets every day.

As a member of the board of directors of the BEDC and someone who has been involved in business, I know first-hand the importance of adapting to a changing market.

In a 2016 report, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce identified a critical gap in Canada’s business growth strategy. Here in Canada we are starting many businesses, but they are not growing into large organizations.

We also know from Industry Canada that more than 40 per cent of new jobs in Canada come from companies less than five years old. This represents a significant opportunity for Burlington to strengthen the resources available, renew the entrepreneurial energy that exists locally and develop Burlington’s brand as a great place not only to start, but to grow a business.

Aligned with the City of Burlington’s Strategic vision of A City That Grows, the BEDC developed an innovation and entrepreneurship strategy in 2016. It is focused on strengthening local support for entrepreneurs across the region.

BEDC has invested significant time and resources to develop this strategy. Staff reviewed data, looked at comparable cities and their strategies, and connected with the business community. More than 50 stakeholders weighed in.

And this is what they said: the local ecosystem is alive and well. And they need a physical space in Burlington where entrepreneurs, mentors, investors and established businesses can connect to build new relationships and tap into shared resources.

As a result of this feedback, the BEDC is focused on three key areas for supporting innovation and entrepreneurship:

Building entrepreneurial energy. This is what happens when you bring like-minded people together who are focused on solving complex problems through innovation.
Providing the critical support that companies need to grow.
And helping provide access to capital.

As noted by the stakeholders, innovation and entrepreneurship is already thriving in Burlington.

Our city is home to one of Canada’s most active angel investing groups, Angel One Investor Network. Since incorporating in September 2011, Angel One members have closed 84 deals investing over $23 million.

Silicon Halton, a grassroots group started by local entrepreneurs eight years ago, hosts regular meetups and demo nights for technology entrepreneurs across the region. It provides peer support and mentorship.

Haltech, Halton’s Regional Innovation Centre, works with Halton technology companies to accelerate innovation for business growth. The City of Burlington is proud to be a community partner.

Burlington is ideally situated in the heart of the innovation corridor, which is the area between Kitchener-Waterloo and Toronto.

With these assets, Burlington has endless opportunity to strengthen innovation and renew entrepreneurship. This translates into new business in Burlington. And new jobs once those businesses succeed and grow.

The BEDC’s innovation and entrepreneurship strategy will take shape in 2017 through the development of an Innovation Centre right here in Burlington.

I am thrilled to announce that yesterday, the BEDC board approved the lease for this new Innovation Centre. It will be located across the road from us here at the Convention Centre in the Burloak business park at 5500 North Service Road.

A one-stop destination for new and growing technology companies, the space will be dedicated to connecting, developing and advancing entrepreneurs at all stages.

It will serve as a base camp for companies looking to access programming, support and mentorship to help them scale their business.

Leveraging the contributions and expertise of numerous partners, the centre will be home to more than 8,500 square feet of space dedicated to increasing the connectivity, visibility and vibrancy of innovation and entrepreneurship in Burlington.

This centre will help businesses looking to start up or grow in Burlington. It will also connect larger, more established companies to the start-up ecosystem.

The facility will provide event space, meeting areas, programming and incubation space to members of the start-up community.

The BEDC is proud to lead such an exciting new initiative for Burlington and hopes to open the doors in June 2017.

As the BEDC supports innovation and entrepreneurship helping new businesses, it remains committed to established companies.

For example, the BEDC helped Ippolito Produce with its recent expansion. The second generation farming company, which started from humble roots, has grown into North America’s largest supplier of fresh Brussels sprouts. Ippolito also has a full line of Queen Victoria and Coast King vegetables.

BEDC helped facilitate zoning and building permits for Ippolito’s 80,000 square foot reinvestment in a state-of-the-art food facility on Howard Road. The company also received a $1.7 million grant from the provincial government. This assists the company in bringing 40 new jobs to the area.

Partnerships are essential to strong economic development in Burlington.

The DeGroote School of Business is one of the leaders of academic innovation in our city, making it an ideal partner.

Last year, the school launched new programs based at Burlington’s Ron Joyce Centre, including the world’s first Executive MBA in Digital Transformation. It also established the Health Leadership Academy. This is an interdisciplinary venture created in partnership with the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine.

These two programs help attract the best and brightest students in the world to Burlington.

DeGroote will also continue to work with BEDC and the City of Burlington in developing an innovation ecosystem that sets the stage for Burlington’s economic future.

And the BEDC is working with universities and colleges like McMaster and Mohawk to keep these great minds in Burlington.

How are we growing as a city? What we are doing to keep people and goods moving?

We made major advances last year on the first of the four pillars of our Strategic Plan – A City that Grows.

Our Planning and Building Department is leading implementation with Grow Bold, which is the theme of our new Official Plan.

Why are we choosing to Grow Bold?

The City of Burlington is at a unique time in its history.

With very little greenfield left to be developed for traditional suburban-type neighbourhoods, the city is essentially built out.

Making the decision to grow within our urban boundary gives the City of Burlington the opportunity to define the type of development we want.

We have identified where we want to see growth over the next 25 years. We have identified our traditional neighbourhoods that will see modest changes going forward.

We are committed that half of Burlington remain urban and the other half rural. The vast majority of people I talk with want to keep it that way.

In my view, as population density increases in Greater Golden Horseshoe area, it is more important than ever to ensure people have connectivity to natural spaces through places like the Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System and our rural areas.

What does Grow Bold mean? Let’s take a look at the video.

Our mobility hubs – which are the areas around our three GO stations and downtown Burlington – offer significant opportunity for smart growth. Right now, staff is developing extensive plans that will show what our mobility hubs look like in the future. Along with that will be community engagement in the coming months.

Our new Official Plan will focus our growth at: our GO stations, in downtown Burlington, the Plains Road/Fairview corridor, Uptown area around Upper Middle Road and Appleby Line, at some aging retail plazas, and from an economic development perspective, our Prosperity Corridor along the QEW.

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.

As we all know, housing prices in Burlington and the whole GTHA have increased dramatically over the last number of years.

I have heard from many people, including my Mayor’s Millennial Advisory Committee and seniors, who are very concerned about the prospects of being able to afford to live in Burlington.

The most recent numbers from the Realtors Association of Hamilton-Burlington show that for December 2016, the average sale price for all housing units in Burlington was just over $700,000. This is a 29 per cent increase from December 2015.

The average for a freehold or detached home was up 35 per cent to $840,000. If I include the sales in Burlington by Toronto Real Estate Board Members, the averages are higher by 6 to 7 per cent.

Why are our prices escalating like this?

Low interest rates.
People from outside Canada are inundating the market with cash, which we are seeing to a minor extent in Burlington.
Job creation in the GTHA is strong.
Home-buying millennials are an extremely large population group.
Immigration from outside of Canada.
Migration from within Canada, as Canadians are flocking to Ontario at the highest rate in 29 years.
The Provincial Growth Plan restricts where new home building can take place.
And in Burlington, as I mentioned earlier, we have no more room for traditional, suburban-type development. This is putting upward pressure on the existing housing stock. If we do not grow, the prices will increase at an even steeper rate.

The most recent Halton State of Housing report for 2015 identifies the maximum affordable purchase price of $357,000 for a household income of $102,000.

What do we do about this?

The work our planners are doing around our mobility hubs, particularly around our GO stations, is critical. This work will create neighbourhoods that will foster and encourage an appropriate blend of housing units, including rentals, in such a way that will assist in facilitating some degree of relative affordability.

Recognizing that there is virtually no room left for traditional suburban development, staff, working with the community, need to find a way to make living in dense, multi-unit development more desirable for families.

We also want to build housing that appeals to aging baby boomers to downsize into this type of development. As a result, this helps turn over our single-family-home neighbourhoods to allow families who can afford these homes to move in. And this will help keep our schools viable.

There are some people in our community, myself included, who are concerned with over-intensification of various developments. In fact, Burlington City Council recently voted against two development proposals – one in downtown Burlington and one in Alton – that we felt were examples of over-intensification.

I am also concerned about the risk of under-intensification, as this can contribute to housing that is out of the reach financially for the vast majority of people.

Transportation and traffic congestion is an issue I hear about from the people of Burlington.

There are three key factors we need to take into account when we talk about transportation.

The first is Burlington’s location within a fast-growing area.

Currently, the population of the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area, which includes the regions of Halton, Peel, York and Durham, as well at the cities of Toronto and Hamilton, is approximately 7 million people. That number is expected to grow to 10 million by 2041.

Halton Region alone is expected to grow from 530,000 to 1 million people by 2041. A meaningful part of that growth will occur in Burlington.

That’s a lot of cars.

And our city, like so many other North American cities, was built for the automobile at a time when both land and oil were cheap. As a result, we rely on the automobile as the primary mode of transportation without even thinking about it.

A second factor that must be considered when we talk about transportation is that Burlington is located at a point where several major highways intersect.

These highways are an asset. But during evening rush hour, and especially during a full or partial closure, these highways can clog some of our city streets.

Every day, 200,000 vehicles use the QEW to travel through Burlington. During the peak hours, there are 20,000 vehicles per hour.

Naturally, when there is significant congestion on the QEW, drivers look for an alternative route to bypass the congestion. Much of the issue we have in Burlington is really the result of cut-through traffic, especially during the p.m. peak period.

We will continue to invest in our street network to facilitate the movement of vehicles. Our capital budget over the next 10 years forecasts an investment of $300 million in our roads, with such projects as resurfacing and reconstruction, new underpasses and intersection widening.

And this brings us to the third factor for Burlington when we talk about transportation planning.

More than 90 per cent of all trips made within the city on any day are made by the automobile.

The average weekday we see 260,000 trips that start and end in Burlington. Fifty per cent of those trips are five kilometres or less. These are ideal distances to take the bus, where available, or ride your bicycle. Destinations two kilometres or less are ideal for walking.

We want to provide people with more transportation options. We want to make it more appealing, especially for those short-distance trips.

Our new neighbourhoods around our GO stations and in downtown are going to be mixed-use, compact, walkable, bikable and transit-friendly.

We are working with Brent Toderian and Jarrett Walker, who are leading thinkers on planning and transportation, to find a made-in-Burlington approach to transportation as we grow.

We will be hard at work on a transit strategy in 2017 and making key decisions around where we focus our resources. Recognizing we will have more dense development in the key growth areas I have identified, it is logical to invest more money on public transit there.

This year will see a new cycling master plan.

I want to see us establish a network that will allow people to safely get to more places on their bicycle. My preference is off-road, protected bike lanes, where possible.

We are now trying some new ideas when it comes to planning when it comes to alternative transportation.

Last fall, for example, we decided to give a one-year road diet a try on New Street. This fall, staff will report back to council about the results of this initiative. It will be up to council to decide how to use what we learned going forward.

I want to emphasize that some of our new ideas might work, and some might not. And that’s OK. We must be innovative and unafraid to try new transportation approaches if we want to attain the goals of the second pillar of our strategic plan – A City That Moves.

What are we doing to ensure the best quality of life for people in Burlington?

Everything I have spoken about today contributes improving the quality of life in our city.

A lot of the planning that takes place at Burlington City Hall is done with one goal in mind: we are building a great city.

An important part of great city building is strengthening our sense of community.

As Burlington continues to grow, this sense of community remains a priority. Burlington has a small-town feel and we want to maintain that as we grow in a responsible and planned way.

I recently read a book called Blue Zones by Dan Buettner, a respected National Geographic Fellow.

Dan has discovered certain places in the world that have the highest percentage of centenarians. People in these areas live the longest and are the healthiest. The three major factors he identified were: social connectivity, a plant-based diet and physical activity.

With respect to social connectivity, these people chose social circles that support healthy behaviours, belong to a group and have a sense of purpose.

So, how do we build on our sense of community in Burlington?

One way is the City of Burlington’s Love My Hood initiative.

Love My Hood builds neighbourhood connections through community-led events and activities. People get together to plan an event and invite the neighbourhood to attend. The Love My Hood program makes this easy by providing toolkits and other resources.

We are asking residents to organize neighbourhood events to build on our sense of community in 2017. The City of Burlington’s goal is to help facilitate 150 Love My Hood events to mark Canada’s 150th birthday.

Of course, there are many other events held year-round that bring people together and boost citizen pride. In fact, Burlington was named the Municipality of the Year for 2016 by Festivals and Events Ontario. This award recognizes the best in municipal leadership and festival and event partnerships in the province.

Fostering community building and a sense of belonging is also achieved through age-specific initiatives.

The City of Burlington has worked hard to make our community more youth friendly. No Socks for Ivan offers safe spaces across the city for youth to interact. This program has been very successful. Last year alone, No Socks for Ivan saw more than 10,000 youth visits.

Last year, the City of Burlington was also acknowledged, for the first time, as a platinum-level Youth Friendly Community. This designation is awarded to communities that demonstrate a commitment to youth 13 to 19 years of age.

We know that if we want to create a well-designed city that is green and healthy, with a variety of housing and transportation options, we need everyone to be part of the planning – especially our young people.

To connect with residents aged 18 to 35, I created the Mayor’s Millennial Advisory Committee in spring 2016. We need millennials to be engaged now to help us create a community where they will want to live, work and raise their own families.

This new committee is developing initiatives focused on how to keep and attract millennial-aged residents. It also concentrates on creating opportunities to engage millennials with their community. I encourage you to read more about this group at

As with most communities across the country, we are experiencing significant growth in our older adult and seniors’ population. This demographic shift over the next 20 years means we must plan city services with a holistic approach.

As such, the city is working on a new Active Aging Plan to help keep older adults healthy, active and engaged in their community. Burlington’s Active Aging Plan will look at future needs and opportunities in a number of key areas, from transportation and outdoor spaces to social participation and making information easier to understand and more accessible.

Over the past year, city staff has conducted research and engaged the community. A citizens’ advisory committee was also formed to shape the direction of the plan.

We look forward to unveiling the Active Aging Plan later this year.

In order to invest in transportation improvements, increase services for our residents and develop more community-building initiatives, we need money. And we receive that money primarily from property taxes.

The operating budget for 2017 was approved this week.

When combined with the Halton Region and the school boards, the overall property tax increase is 2.56 per cent. That includes a 4.42 per cent increase in the city’s portion.

The increase means we can maintain and enhance existing services, add new services and help address our infrastructure deficit.

New investments in 2017 will allow us to add resources for managing our tree canopy, support the implementation of the strategic plan and improve the quality of our play fields.

Speaking about investing our tax dollars, the Joseph Brant Hospital expansion and redevelopment is progressing.

Burlington City Council, representing the people of our city, stepped up to invest $60 million. The province’s investment in this project is significant, as is the community’s investment, matching the city’s $60 million contribution.

Let’s take a look at the new update from the hospital.

Because we are creating more local jobs and strengthening our economy.

Because we are growing responsibly in alignment with our transportation network.

And because we are investing to ensure the people of this city have a high quality of life,

Burlington is ideally positioned for continued prosperity.

I ask each and every one of you to get involved in our community over the next year. There will be many opportunities for public engagement and community building.

Let us know if you have an idea you would like to develop at the Innovation Centre.

Tell us what amenities you envision at our new neighbourhoods around our GO stations and in our downtown.

And don’t forget to organize your Canada 150 Love My Hood event. Go to I want us to reach our goal of 150 events. I look forward to attending as many of these celebrations as I can.

We can make Burlington the best place it can be today and for the future.

We are all in this together.

Thank you.

Previous State of the City addresses:

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

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What your council members think of the $238 million dollar operating budget they passed last night.

Budget 2017 ICON aaBy Pepper Parr

January 24th, 2017



For Ward 2 city Councillor Marianne Meed Ward it was a good budget – bad budget. There were thing she liked and things she thought were a mistake.

For Meed Ward the $550,000 they gave the city manager to spend on “project management” was something she needed clarity on; she wasn’t clear on just what the deliverables were going to be.

When city manager James Ridge was explaining what he was going to do with the $550,000 he said he was “surprised” the city hadn’t put in something like this years ago.

Meed Ward H&S profile

Councillor Meed Ward saw the 2017 budget as both a “good” and a “bad” budget. |She chose not to vote for the budget. A principled statement.

What bothered Meed Ward was that the $550,000 was going into the base budget – which meant it was there until someone decides to take it out. And in Burlington city staff are not very quick at taking anything out of the budget. The Finance department did say however that they had cut $1 million out of spending from the 2017 as they were putting the plans together. There was no breakdown of where the savings were found.

Meed Ward liked the $200,000 that was put into upgrading the playing fields.

She was content with the 1.25 tax levy dedicated to infrastructure.

She was Ok with the $4.8 million that was given to the hospital as the city’s portion of the $120 million the province said the city had to come up with for the refurbishment/redevelopment of the Joseph Brant Hospital.

Meed Ward wanted something done on transit – but that football got kicked further down the field – they are waiting for the draft of the Master Transportation Plan to come in – due in Q2

Councillor Sharman (ward 5) was all for the budget. He loves the $550,00 the city manager wants to spend on project management and said, with some gusto, that the 1.25% levy dedicated to infrastructure was long overdue. On that one he is correct. Why this wasn’t done a number of years ago boggles the mind.

Sharman pointed out that Staff did not support the $200,000 spend on playing field improvement but he liked the idea of spending some of the money needed to upgrade the fields this year with more to follow next year.

Sharman July 2016

Councillor Sharman uses a unique mathematical equation to arrive at the rate of tax increase levied on the tax payers.

Every council member noted that the next budget is going to dig even deeper into the pockets of taxpayers.  Don’t expect those statements to be repeated in the October 2018 municipal election

Sharman explained, as he always does – that the tax increase is really not 4.42 but closer to 3%. He does this mathematical magic by including what the Board of Education spends along with what the Region spends – and if the city controlled the spending by those two bodies – Sharman would be correct.

The city has no impact whatsoever on Board of Education spending and little influence on what the Region spends. Oakville has the same number of Regional representatives as Burlington but that town has a lot more clout.

Councillor Taylor (ward 3) said he had decided to support the budget and recognized that city staff had dug deeper and pulled out very significant savings – he then added that the 20 year growth goal is not going to be met.

Budget 2015 Continuous improvement

Business process management – put in place in 2015 – Councillor Taylor wants to see some of the benefits of that process paying off – soon.

Taylor has been on city council longer than any other member of council – he knows where the bones are buried – and if his nose smells something – the chances are that there is something foul coming our way.

Budget 2015 Services at the centre of it all

It was all supposed to come together – and the payoff was going to make it all worth the cost. Project managers are apparently needed now to make this work.

Taylor mentioned the process improvement procedures that were put in place a few years ago which he supported. He said he felt it was “time we saw some benefits now”.

Councillor Craven did what was expected – took yet another shot at Councillor Meed Ward and upbraided her for the comments she had made on transit. Meed Ward had said she felt the free transit service on Monday’s for seniors from 10 am to 3 pm should be tried on a pilot basis. Council turned down that idea choosing instead to wait for the draft Master Transportation Plan to arrive.

Councillor Rick Craven, centre, with a copy of the 2013 budget on a memory stick. Craven did a superb job of chairing the budget committee last year. He will have no argument with candidate Henshell over the need for additional shopping facilities in Aldershot - getting themt there has been the challenge.

Councillor Rick Craven, centre, with a copy of the 2013 budget on a memory stick. Finance does a superb job of giving council members all the information they could possibly want.

Craven told his colleagues that their job as Council members was to listen to what was said to them and then he pointed to the Integrated Transit Advisory Committee that was very critical of what Jim Young produced on behalf of the Burlington Seniors Advisory Committee about the transit service.

Councillor Dennison noted that he had chosen not to comment on the budget during the Standing Committee discussions. He added a significant comment when he said he had a grand total of 3-4 people at his ward meeting to talk about the budget which was apparently less than the city had at the budget briefing event they held at the Haber Recreation Centre in December.

Dennison pointed out that the $340,000 being spent on a bus route intended to service the seniors community was set up as a pilot project that was still in the budget.

Dennison announcingHe wanted to know why city staff had assumed that the increase in $200,000 in parking fines during a six month period would not continue to grow.

Staff had said that they felt a saturation point has been reached.

The city spent a very pretty penny on the new parking meters – to have those machines bring in an additional $200,000 in revenue to the city suggests they just may have made a solid decision – not that those getting the parking tickets will see it quite that way.

Dennison did think the city should look for more in the way of a return on its investments. It also brought in $200,000 in revenue. He wanted to know where that income was applied.

Dennison is not a big fan of the cultural sector – he does like the Sound of Music festival but feels the cultural sector, which is costing much more than a million a year, is a little too steep.

Finally the leaves are an issue for the ward 4 Councillor. He, along with Councillor Lancaster, want to see better leaf collection. The change in the weather this year, had trucks out picking up leaves while they were still on the trees and then not being available when the leaves were on the ground.

Burlington is apparently one of the few cities that has a leaf collection program. Try taking that one away from them.

Councillor Lancaster noted that “budgets are always a challenge” but that she “believed the 2017 budget represents what our residents want”.

Lancaster as deputy mayor with her Mom

Councillor Blair |Lancaster the day she filled in for the Mayor and chaired a council meeting. She liked the seat so much she had her Mother pose with her. She didn’t get to wear the chain of office – probably never will.

Lancaster was very much onside for that $550,000 spend on “project management”. She pointed out that this is the first time that funds have been put in place to support the Strategic Plan initiatives. Other council members had pointed out that in the past the city had crafted a Strategic Plan and then not put any money behind it. The city manager was probably the major force for creating a 25 year Strategic Plan which, while nice in principle – is not binding on future city council’s.

Lancaster told her colleagues that “residents should be happy”

Mayor Goldring was enthusiastic – this was a good budget and he was happy with the “heft” the project spending would give the city manager.

What worried Mayor Goldring was the lack of any assessment growth. He said the growth needs to be six times what it was last year and explained that it does take time for the benefits of assessment increases to work their way to the city’s till.

There is a fiscal study coming sometime in the 2Q that may have some of the answers.

Mayor Goldring: Is there an event he won't attend? He doesn't have to get out to everything - but he usually does.

Mayor Goldring regrets the lack of assessment growth that would put more money into the city’s cash coffers. Hoping that there will be an increase next year.

Mayor Goldring said he was looking to the Economic Development Corporation to deliver on its mandate to bring new business to the city. There haven’t been many (any?) new business announcement lately.

The vinyl record company that finally got the record presses operating will tell you a very sad story about the hoops they had to go through to get their building permit in hand.

The last word on the budget and what it is expected to do goes to Joan Ford who said: “This budget clearly sets out initiatives to plan for the future. These initiatives became key priorities for new city investment when developing the budget this year. Connecting the strategic plan to the budget provides accountability between what is achieved and the cost to the taxpayer.”

Let’s see how that works out.

Tax billing
With the budget passed the Finance department can now begin to send out the tax bills – that is when the rubber will hit the road. The public doesn’t pay that much attention to the goings on at city hall but when that envelope with the tax bill arrives – the sticker shock take effect.

The city has to pass a levying by-law before they can send out both interim or final tax billing. They have done that.

Interim tax billings are produced in January based on the assessment as per the assessment roll provided by MPAC and ½ the appropriate tax rates.

The tax bill will clearly identify the City, property, owner, state the demand date, calculated taxes levied and any arrears owing against the property.

Final tax billings are produced subsequent to the passing of the annual city budget and are based on tax rates established by by-law from the budget requirements of the City, Region and Ministry of Education.

The billing will be calculated to produce a tax billing equal to the assessment times the appropriate rate, all local improvement charges and any special charges levied by the city.

Mail box

Tax bill will arrive soon enough – hold your breath for a moment before you open it.

The Municipal Act requires tax billings be sent to every taxpayer at least twenty-one calendar days before the first installment due date.

Due dates for the payment of taxes are traditionally as follows: Interim Bill: February and April. Final Bill: June and September.

Keep an eye on your mail box.

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School closing meeting agenda: not all that much time for the really important stuff.

News 100 redBy Staff

January 23rd, 2017


In a much anticipated meeting the Halton District School Board Program and Accommodation Review Committee (PARC) formed to let people representing residents an opportunity to make suggestions and present new ideas on the the recommendation to close two of Burlington’s seven high school has released the agenda for the first PARC meeting.

The meeting will be held at the Board room at the J. W. Singleton Board office on Guelph Line at 7:00 pm on Thursday January 26th

The agenda is as follows:

portrait of Scott Podrebarac

Scott Podrebarac will chair the first meeting of the PARC.

1. Welcome    5 minutes
i. Instructions for gallery
ii. Instructions for PARC members

2. Meeting and Group Norms    5 minutes

3. Brief Summary of PAR process     5 minutes
i. Terms of Reference PARC
ii. Work of the PARC

4. Public Meeting Report and PARC Framework     15 minutes

5. Student Survey Questions     10 minutes

6. Additions to School Information Profiles     5 minutes


Stuart Miller – Director of Education

7. Director’s Preliminary Report     15 minutes
i. Current Situation
ii. Review and discussion on Option 19

8. Examination of Existing Options of Interest or Present new options   45 minutes

9. Homework for February 2nd Working Meeting 5 minutes

10. Ongoing Communication with Communities    5 minutes

11. Additional Meetings   5 minutes
i. Determine after February 2nd…(hold Feb 16th)

There is no mention in the agenda of the questions that were asked at the  December 8th public meeting when an audience of close to 300 were asked 25 different questions.

Upcoming Meetings:

PARC Working Meeting #2: 7:00 pm on Thursday February 2, 2017
PARC Working Meeting #3: 7:00 pm on Thursday February 9, 2017
Public Meeting #2 (Dr. Frank J. Hayden SS): 7:00 pm on Tuesday February 28, 2017 Public Meeting #2 (New Street Education Centre): 7:00 pm on Thursday March 2, 2017 PARC Working Meeting #4: 7:00 pm on Thursday March 23, 2017

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Technology fails city council once again - program that records the votes wasn't working - it never has worked. What did it cost?

Budget 2017 ICON aaBy Staff

January 23, 2017


The budget of  $238 million for 2017  was approved Monday night – on a vote of 5-2 with Dennison and Meed Ward voting against the budget that was debated earlier in the month and came out o the Budget Committee of the Whole as recommended.

The Gazette has noticed that Ward 4 Councillor Jack Dennison tends to always vote against the budget – knowing there will be a majority and that the budget will pass.

The decision was made on a recorded vote – which meant that we would get to see members of Council pressing a button on a device that was in front of them – the vote would be cast and the results would appear on a screen and look like this:


This is what the screen is supposed to look like – it shows what the vote is about and how each member of council actually voted. But it doesn’t work.

Well, it didn’t work out that way. The years were asked to stand and give of them did that – the nays were asked to stand and two of them did that.

So where was the technology that was to record the votes for the public to see whenever they wished? Apparently it isn’t working – yet.

The Halton District School Board has a system that works flawlessly. And they record every vote – not just the city council votes the way the city does,

School board votes

School boards voting results – there for everyone to see.

Burlington city council does not record who voted how on matters that come out of the Standing Committees as recommendations.

The vote to approve the budget was passed on a 5-2 vote – with Councillors Meed Ward and Dennison voting against the budget.


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2641 names on a petition to kill the idea of bike lanes on New Street

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

January 23rd, 2017



The New Street road diet is one of those stories that just does not want to go away.

Each day we see new information dribble in while two woman continue to collect names for their on-line petition that now has 2141 names plus 500 signatures on a paper based petition.

The petition is at:

Ruth Langdon, one of the two retired teachers behind the online petition, said one of her concerns is that this road diet will be continued onto Burloak Drive.

Do you measure

The idea was to share the road – motorists were taught to respect the signals painted on the road.

“The plan seems to already be completed for bike lanes on New Street from Guelph Line to Burloak Drive.” She adds that she believes “the city has started working on a road diet for Maple Avenue from Lakeshore Road to just south of Mapleview Mall – pilot project for next spring.

“And that they have started working on a road diet for Lakeshore Road from water treatment plant to Eastport Drive. Are these really pilot projects or done deals?

One of the problems is the city hasn’t provided the level of information people need.

New Street bike lanes - long pic

The city did hold an information night at Robert Bateman high school with a number of impressive aerial photographs that set out what city staff thought was possible in terms of a road diet. There were almost as many photographs as there were people.

The city did hold a public meeting at Bateman high school where they had impressive drawings laid out showing some of the options that were being considered for New Street. The meeting was poorly attended.

This all began when the Regional government announced they were going to upgrade the water mains along New Street – which meant re-paving the road. The work between Martha and Guelph line was done last summer.

The balance of the water main work, from Guelph Line to Burloak was to be done at a later date. The city has a commitment to a better modal split between cars, transit, cycling and walking and saw this as an opportunity to put dedicated bike lanes in just a portion of New Street and measure data they would collect. Were cycling accidents reduced? Was traffic relay slowed down? What differences in the flow of traffic were observed?

The cycling lanes on that part of Lakeshore Road that begins at Maple and runs along the edge of the lake to Eastport is a part of the redevelopment of the Beachway Park.

Cycling lanes on Maple was not much more than a thought.

The city did a very poor job of getting the long range story out to a public that was concerned about traffic congestion.

New street north side at Bateman Hs

Many think that if there is going to be a cycle lane it could be on the median between the sidewalk and the road. One staff engineer told the Gazette one of the reasons for the medians was for possible bike lanes.

Members of council who voted for the New Street road diet (all did except for Councillor Sharman) didn’t do much better. There is a confused public out there – they want answers and they aren’t getting them.

The New Street plan was to be a one year pilot project that got off to a poor start and didn’t get any better as the public began to learn more about the plans.

The understanding is that in a Phase 2 the city will look at physical separation between the bike lanes and vehicle lane – cement barriers

Ruth Langdon wants to know if barriers are going to be put in to protect cyclists from traffic whizzing by at 60km – how much will barriers cost? Will they be removed in winter, if so how much will that cost? If not removed how will plows work around them? Where will the bus stop, how will handicap vans function? How do they sweep debris from the curb lanes, do they need to buy another machine for that?

All reasonable questions – just no answers.

Langdon has arrived at the conclusion that “intensification plus implementation of bike lanes = more congestion.”

Alternatives to putting bike lanes on main roads is to improve existing bike paths(multiuse) and , pavement beside sidewalk-boulevards.

Chris Ariens, an avid cyclist and a member of the city’s Cycling Advisory committee said he wonders how many people on the on-line petition are non-residents. He said he had heard in conversation that some of the petition comments were from non-residents, but can’t say how many. He said he did read the petition a couple of weeks ago. “No indication of how many were from neighbouring municipalities but I did see Philip Waggett’s name there 3 times.

Ariens added that: “I understand that many people are upset about the situation, and there is a feeling of there being nothing in it for the 1/3 of the public who have zero interest in cycling and focused on getting where they need to go quickly.

“The payoff for them is many years away, which explains some of the negative feeling towards the project. The road diet is mainly a scapegoat for the larger issue of congestion – particularly on the QEW / 403 that plagues our city’s commuting experience.

What's wrong with this picture?

Is the New Street road diet a scapegoat for the larger issue of congestion – particularly on the QEW / 403 that plagues our city’s commuting experience asks a Gazette reader.

“That congestion is the root cause, which providing more convenient multi-modal options should help address in the long run. That is why the data from this project is so important. But we can’t ignore the feelings either, because as we have seen, it is feelings that drive action at the ballot box, not data.

Ariens has said previously that he isn’t committed to bike lanes on New Street – he just wants to see data that supports any decision made.

The public does get bits and pieces of information from Dan Ozimkovic, Transportation Planning Technologist through his online communications. Nothing with any consistent detail from the city which is causing much of the angst. There is a sort of ‘if they aren’t telling us – then there is something wrong’ attitude prevailing.

Ozimkovic is pretty clear when he says: “The new street bike lanes are absolutely not a done deal, it will depend on if there is a reduction in accidents in that stretch and not a significant increase in travel times, all of which will be reported on.

Bike lanes - New street

Existing traffic lane set up on the left. Pattern during th road diet for New Street. The drawing suggests there is some form of barrier between the cars and the cyclists – there isn’t – at least not during the trial phase.

Ozimkovic is as strong with his words when he tells a resident that “I can guarantee you that New Street isn’t a done deal. This is a pilot project and staff will write a report to Council Fall 2017.

This report will include all of the feedback received regarding this pilot project as well as the traffic data that we collected prior to the start of this pilot project and during the pilot project.

In another email to a resident Ozimkovic reports that: “We have 3 months’ worth of data. You are absolutely correct, we aren’t able to collect any data now for the reasons you stated below (less sunlight to power the batteries that run the data collection equipment) but we will start collecting data once again as soon as the nice weather rolls around. From that point, we will collect data until the end of this pilot project.

“We recorded close to 53,000 travel time trips. This includes prior to pilot project and during the pilot project. We recorded these trips using the Bluetooth technology. The only other way to record travel time trips is by going out there with a stop watch and driving on New Street. We would never be able to get that sample size if we chose to record travel times that way.

Ozimkovic reports that all of this info is available on our project website –

Eva Amos, the other retired teacher who organized the on-line and the paper based petitions with Ruth Langdon asks: “Why not reverse this decision now based on 2141 signatures on an online petition opposing the New Street Diet, plus 500 signatures on a hard copy of the petition, add the many comments councillors have received directly from residents?

“Drivers do not feel safer, cyclists tell us repeatedly they will never ride their bikes in these bike lanes. They prefer Spruce Avenue, Lakeshore Rd or the Centennial Path. Residents on the feeder streets say traffic and speed have increased on these once quiet residential streets.

“The short merge lane is a major concern. Emissions from idling cars now sitting in the backlog at Walkers and New Street at peak times is also a concern. Trying to get onto New Street from Pinecove especially is a problem.

“At the beginning of this diet we were told data was being collected by the city transportation Dept and we could get updates there. Trouble is, this data has never been updated. The technology being used cannot collect data now in the winter months, the days are too short and the batteries are not charging properly. Data will again be collected once the nicer weather is upon us. So at best we will have data for a portion of this trial and none in winter?

“I also have trouble with the technology being used. It may be the best we have at capturing most cars but it does not capture every car. How many are missed. We have no way of knowing. As I understand it, a mobile device has to be turned on in the car in order for it to be captured and counted. I for one drive with my phone on. My husband turns his off when in the car, as does my neighbour.

New Street traffic data Jan 23-17

Time to travel between Guelph Line and Walkers Line with the road diet in place on New Street. A lot of people are going to experience heart burn when they see those times. Data comes from the city web site.

“I find it almost insulting to the many drivers and residents of south Burlington trying to get from the east end to downtown or simply get home after a day’s work in a timely, safe fashion to tell them it only takes 72 seconds longer now to travel the distance between Walkers Line and Guelph Line.

“Based on resident’s daily experience it should read, after waiting in gridlock at Walkers and New Street or after waiting several minutes to make a turn onto New Street, it now takes 72 seconds longer to travel the distance.

“I don’t think we would have so many signatures on the petitions if it simply took 72 seconds longer to travel the distance as reported on the city website.

“Burlington is a bedroom community. People out of necessity have to drive to work or to the GO station. Burlington was never built as a pedestrian or cycling friendly city. Distances are too far between, shopping, services, appointments, sports activities. When I go to Toronto I take the GO train, and subway or buses to get around or walk. There is no comparison between the ease of getting around Toronto to Burlington on public transit.”

Eva Amos and Ruth Langdon have each lived in Burlington for more than 40 years. They are the epitome of decent people who expect decent services from their municipal government and straight answers to their questions.

Both were school teachers who met each other at the curling rink and now play golf together.

“New Street was a functional east/west road for years. Now with the population growing, Councillors decide to narrow this major east/west roadway.  “I fail to see the logic. It seems I am not alone” – there are at least 2641 people who share that view.

This story isn’t over yet.

The online petition is still open and can be found at: new - yellow

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City gets told to put more money on the table if it wants to own LaSalle Park - and to find another Fire Chief as well.

News 100 redBy Staff

January 23rd, 2017



It was a tough week for city manager James Ridge: he lost his Fire Chief, one of the best the city has had in some time and he learned that Hamilton wasn’t going to sell him the land around LaSalle Park in the city’s west end.

For a number of historical reasons that defy simple explanation – Hamilton owns a chunk of land inside Burlington’s borders.

The city, Burlington has been trying to buy it back – they currently rent the land for $1 a year on a lease that end in 2022.

The waterfront park, just south of Plains Road, includes a marina, baseball diamonds, a splash pad, picnic areas, bocce courts and a pavilion operating as a banquet facility.

Despite painstaking efforts to end a long-standing oddity, Hamilton will be holding onto its green space in Burlington for years to come.

LaSalle Park - aerial

LaSalle Park – a 22 acre property inside city of Burlington borders and owned by the city of Hamilton who rent it to Burlington for $1 a year.

Following a closed-door meeting last week Hamilton Councillors voted 8-6 to reject transferring ownership of LaSalle Park to Burlington in exchange for a complicated cash and land swap.

Details of the proposal remain confidential, but, according to several Councillors, there simply wasn’t enough money on the table for such prime waterfront property.

Mayor Rick Goldring says he’s disappointed the “win-win” deal was rejected.  “I believe what we offered was very fair. This was really a negotiated proposal that came from their staff as well as our staff.”

Hamilton owns the 22-hectare (54 acre) Aldershot park on Burlington’s North Shore Boulevard for historical reasons, but since 1983 has leased it to Burlington, which maintains and operates it, for $1 a year.
The lease expires in 2022. Last year, both councils directed their city managers to come up with a proposal to permanently resolve the anomaly.

LaSalle Pacillion

Operated as a banquet hall and location for meetings the LaSalle Pavilion is popular.

A third party appraiser was jointly hired to assess the value of the land. Because the proposal was presented in camera, the details are not known but it’s believed Hamilton was offered a low-end six figure purchase price.
For reasons that remain unclear, the proposal also included a land swap with the Royal Botanical Gardens, whose lands straddle both cities.

For his part, Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger supported the deal as a “good neighbourly thing to do” based on market value.

“I thought it was fair and equitable, and I thought it was an opportunity to fix an historical anomaly that would create some value for everyone.”

Ridge and Chris Murray - city managers

Burlington city manager with Hamilton’s city manager Chris Murray at a Bay Area Economic Summit last year – they weren’t able to come to terms on a price for the LaSalle Park property which Hamilton owns.

Because Councillors also voted to take no further action, Eisenberger says the ball is in Burlington’s court if it wants to make another overture that might be more acceptable to the majority of Councillors.

Goldring says Burlington isn’t in any rush. “We’ve taken a shot at this. Our lease comes due in 2022. We have a pretty good deal right now. We lease the park for $1 a year so there wasn’t a whole bunch of sense of urgency to deal with this.”

Why does Hamilton own a piece of land inside Burlington’s borders? That goes back to when the Region of Halton was created. A Hamilton resident claims it was purchased in 1915 for $50,000 by Hamilton, the inflation adjusted value is $1,019,000 today.

The land cannot be developed into condos or apartments or housing – it is a park.

Burlington was originally to be part of Hamilton when regional governments were being set up. The province promised Hamilton the Aldershot community (including Hamilton’s RBG lands and LaSalle) if Hamilton would “shut up and go away” – accept regional government without Burlington. Instead, influenced by Burlington PC MPP G. Kerr, the governing PCs double-crossed Hamilton and instead included Aldershot with Burlington and making it part of the Halton Region.

Why does Hamilton own a piece of land inside Burlington’s borders? That goes back to when the Region of Halton was created A Hamilton resident believes it was purchased in 1915 for $50,000 by Hamilton, the inflation adjusted value is $1,019,000 today.

The land cannot be developed into condos or apartments or housing – it is a park.

Burlington was originally to be part of Hamilton when regional governments were being set up. 18

The Province promised Hamilton Aldershot (including Hamilton’s RBG lands and LaSalle) if Hamilton would “shut up and go away” (accept regional government without Burlington). Instead, influenced by Burlington PC MPP G. Kerr, the governing PCs double-crossed Hamilton and instead included Aldershot with Burlington (and Halton Region).

Tony Bavota - fire chief

Fire chief Tony Bavota quite and heads for a senior job with the Toronto Fire department.

As for the Fire Chief deciding there were better career goals for him in Toronto – we lost a good one. Tony Bavota tightened up operations at the Fire department and did the necessary work to ensure that Emergency measure matters were in the hands of the people who had had the experience needed to manage tough situations.

Bavota steps into his office in Toronto on February 6th.

getting new - yellow

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Ward 5 Councillor tells city resident he is still trying to figure out the 4.56% planned tax increase.

Budget 2017 ICON aaBy Pepper Parr

January 23, 2017



Sometime this evening, before 10:00 pm, city council will decide in a formal manner what the tax increase for 2017 is going to be.

Staff had originally put forward a budget that has an increase of 4.23% over last year which city council members, during a Committee of the Whole – Budget meeting, bumped up 4.56%.

The public has not taken to this very well.

Aldershot resident Tom Muir, in a communication to Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman set out his concerns and said that he: “appreciated that the tax details and requests are complex, but that misses a point that I made. You get lost in the details, as the arguments for and against any specific item are amplified greatly when the line item numbers get larger and larger.

“Each item can always be argued to be justified for some reason, and we apparently have limited or no means to assess what we actually got in return and concrete results benefiting the taxpayers who are paying for all of this.
“And like the hospital tab, these things just get built into the base budget in subsequent years, unless they are specified as one-off items.

“Of concern is the apparent continued absence of any Council expression of intent to work at reducing the endless increases projected over the years. This trend is telling us that the path we are on is not leading to a good place, and something must be wrong if we can’t even pay our way with the plan of the city.

James Ridge - looking right

City manager James Ridge asks Council to come up with $500,000 for staff to handle Project Management.

“The city can’t even deliver a management plan without an extra $500,000. What are we getting for that money?
City manager James Ridge asked for an amount of $500,000 each year to cover the cost of Project Management services. The Gazette will explain what it is Ridge wants the money for and the explanation he gave council members.

“There’s no indication that I see. What are the deliverables, and where and who is the accountability lead? This is an example of one of those soft money projects that are yet another head shrinking navel gazing exercise by managers who, in my opinion, have developed the plans that they now seem to need a half a million to figure out.

“Also, despite all I have heard for decades about the great growth plans of the city, these plans have not delivered, and while the assessment growth has fallen, the costs of running the city are not falling.
City treasurer did say that $1 million in costs were cut from the budget.

“The city is falling behind on infrastructure renewal, and this just continues unabated. And Development Charges have long been a source of ongoing costs of growth to taxpayers, taking, as you say, a chunk of the assessment revenue as a hidden cost offset.

Muir making a point

Aldershot resident Tom Muir making a point at a public meeting.

“I am unable, in a reasonable time, to coherently analyze and discuss the complex details of the budget. But as a general rule, my work experience with managers is they can always come up with a spending plan that yet again tries to figure out what they are doing and why.

“That’s why I say that the only way to deal with complex situations, with thin rationales, and opaque deliverables and defined results, that entail fiscal consequences of arguable sustainability, is by simplification.

“That was my suggestion. Just tell the managers and finance that they only get a no frills target percent increase and they have to figure out how to meet the target. That’s what I thought we paid them for – to manage, not just to build empires bigger than needed. If something doesn’t get gone, so what, the world will not end.

“I didn’t note my pension increase to cry poor, but to show you what the reality is for many people who are paying the taxes you are imposing, but seemingly without any recognition of the cumulative effects over longer time periods. Many people do not get any inflation increase, making it worse. And all people more or less have to pay the same kinds of bills that you cite as impacting the city operating costs.

Gayle Cruikshank, Executive Director, seated and Kelly Stronach, Manager of Program Development: two of the xx team that make Food for Thought work day in and day out as one of the United Way funded agencies in Burlington.

Gayle Cruikshank, seated, then Executive Director of Food for Thought, and Kelly Stronach, Manager of Program Development.

Gayle Kabbash, Community Relations Manager at Food4Kids and a former Fundraiser and Community Developer at Community Living Oakville and a former Food & Logistics Specialist at Student Nutrition and a former Executive Director at Halton Food for Thought, knows a little bit about food budgets. Said on her Facebook page – “Geez- just went to pick up a few groceries and it fit in 1 bag and the bill was $75. The only meat was chicken breasts and wings. The rest was eggs, peppers, a baguette, one brick of cheddar cheese, clementines, 2 small bags of nuts, and celery salt for caesars (a must). These were purchased at a low cost grocery store. Anyone else feeling the Pain?”

Muir continues: “As well, these tax increases also have to be paid for by businesses, and many have thin margins that these tax costs just nibble away at, and they have similar bills again.

“I see no plan, no mention in the portions of the budget debate I have watched that there is anything being done to get control of these inflation-inducing increases in the percent tax increases year after year. These increases often, as I said, come with no description of a project proposal, with work plans, deliverables, responsibilities, results, and accountability arrows.

“The discussion of fiscal sustainability is, like last year, now lost in the end of the budget-making process for the year. Where is the committee of staff and council to get a handle on this exponential climb of taxes?

“Finally, my lingering concern is that citizens are wasting their time trying to get you folks to see the error of your ways, and the path you are putting the city on, by not dealing with this in a serious and visible manner.”

Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman is usually very direct, tends to want to see data that is verifiable and expects to get his way.

Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman is usually very direct, tends to want to see data that is verifiable and expects to get his way.

In 2011 Councillor Sharman banged away at his fellow council members and got a 0% increase in taxes – so he did once know how to be fiscally responsible.

Councillor Sharman had earlier in the month written to Muir saying “we are aware that pension income does not increase at the same pace as either inflation or the overall architecture of city finances. ‎The city is driven by long term fiscal sustainability objectives.

“That discussion is not over yet, but we are trying to figure it out.”

Indeed it is not!

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What is the role of the City, and of City Council in the decision to possibly close two high schools ?

opinionandcommentBy Tom Muir

January 21st, 2017


Part 6 of a series

Tom Muir, an Aldershot resident, has been an active participant in civic affairs or more than 25 years. He has been described as “acerbic”, a fair term for Tom.
He has outlined, in considerable length, a large part of why the parents at Central and Pearson high schools are in the mess they are in as a result of the recommendation to close their schools. In this article, one of a series Muir suggest what he feels are obvious solutions to the problem the Board of Education believes it has. There is a lot of material; it gets dense at times. Living in a democracy means you have to accept the responsibility of citizenship and stay informed.

What does the city do?

This school closing issue and decision-making process is by definition political.

That makes it personal, so we are all involved, elected official or not.


Is saving a school the same as saving a community?

The City is involved regardless of opinions. Elected city officials and city staff are involved as our representatives. I want them to comment on what various options and issues mean for the city.

This is their job, and if they don’t want to do this for their own “political” motives then they have lost their way, and are not representing us.

And I have to wonder what the Mayor is thinking when he avoids involvement, saying it’s political, which is just a truism, and thus a disingenuous dodge, in my opinion. He’s playing politics himself.

City Manager Jim Ridge has been appointed to the PARC to represent the City, and I can only hope that he takes a full briefing to that table of the many City interests that are involved and at stake in this issue.

It’s not just Central and Pearson on the block – everything and every school, including elementary, are in there somehow, and in some way.

It is not just a school board issue, although they have the vote, and make the final decision.

I realize that the decision is for education trustees to make, but Councilors that claim they have no role whatsoever are abdicating their duty to politically represent residents and the city as a whole.

To say that the city has no interest in whether there are schools in the city or not is just out to lunch. The city has key interests, which are obvious.

James Ridge Day 1 - pic 2

City manager James Ridge will represent the city on the Program Accommodation Review Committee. What is his mandate and is it public?

These interests need to be outlined by the City and Council, and injected into the debate and dialogue.

Jim Ridge can take these to the table, but the Council and Mayor must take their public responsibilities in this matter seriously and not dodge the political reality they are elected and empowered to carry forward.

If the intensification development plan that the Mayor and city are pushing does not need a school in the downtown, where 70% of the new is supposed to go, then the plan is fundamentally flawed in its conception and contradiction with any closure plan.

There’s no “complete communities” in this plan, and never will be if it happens.

Mayor Goldring: Is there an event he won't attend? He doesn't have to get out to everything - but he usually does.

Mayor Goldring decided he would have the city manager represent the citizens on the Program Accommodation Review Committee. It was a controversial decision.

Let’s hear from the Mayor and Council on this. We need a motion to direct staff to provide a report on potential school closings and the strategies that can be developed to protect community assets for future generations.

I would start with the following investigation. I would like Jim Ridge to direct staff to examine what the City and communities will lose if schools close, considering at least the following.

We all know that schools have many uses and many values. They are not just for educating the young during the day. It shouldn’t matter that they are not completely full right now – the neighborhood needs them for the future, which will certainly change, and this change is evident now.

People come and go from our schools at many times of the day and week all year, and for many reasons. I ask that the City document all these comings and goings, all of the ways that people interact with the schools.

They belong to the residents that fully paid for them, and own them, and the school board holds them in trust, or is supposed to.

They are a bought and paid for part of the community fabric, the community capital stock, and an asset that has many uses and values, including recreation, sports, social clubs, adult education, clubs, green-space, heritage, school spirit, memories, diversity of city form and landscape, and the list can go on.

They contribute to property values and a sense of the familiar and well-being – the quality of life.


Pearson was a purpose built school -intended to serve both students and a wider community. Are the Catholics going to be able to come to terms with the Board of education and acquire the property?

Are not most schools considered to be community schools? These interactions are in fact part of the glue that ties neighborhoods and communities together.

This will include recreation, sports and athletics, adult education, day care, social and other clubs, public meetings, and any other activity that uses the school buildings and property.

Indeed, the Alton (Hayden) school construction and opening was delayed 2 years because of the partnership between the Board and the City of Burlington to augment the on-site facilities, with city funding, providing 8 gymnasiums, a library, and community meeting spaces.

So this city partnership shows there is a clear city interest in this matter and issues arising.

I also ask that you consider how the schools enter into the City parks and green-space plans, and into good municipal planning in general.

What about the loss of property values, since we all know that schools, and green-space in a neighborhood, add to the price of housing there.

Is the City prepared for assessment appeals and the loss of tax revenue, or is this something to be ignored, and denied when the time comes?

We need a certain irreducible level of schools capacity, and this includes an appropriately located capacity to have schools.

So my point is we need schools everywhere they were built. The extra capacity is money in the bank to buffer the changes that are certainly going to come from the growth and changes the city is facing, and that the province and Council are advocating.

I don’t think it can be said that we absolutely have too many schools, and especially too much and too many of the functions and products and factors that schools represent and deliver to people.

So the city has a big stake in this for all the things I listed, and Council has a responsibility to the residents they represent to pay attention to these things and account for them.

This is no time for silos, artificial divisions, and neglect of care and concern for these things.

Burlington City Council Group

Is a Board of Education matter likely to become an election issue for city council?

So let’s stop talking about closing schools right off the bat, as a starting opinion, and exhaust ourselves figuring out creative and adaptive ways to reconfigure how we make do and keep what we have.

We will surely need it sometime in the future.

Following this we need a City organized public debate on this threatened confiscation of community assets and the multi-faceted impacts on the city.

If Council can’t see their role in this important matter, that goes to the heart of everything the city is planning – strategic plan, growth, Official Plan, intensification, community, and so on – then, again I say, they have lost their way.

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 explains that the PARC will only get what people send in, what they come up with from their own efforts, and what they ask/demand from the board. They have to decide what they want and go after it ruthlessly. They will have to fight with tooth and claw and take no prisoners.

Previous articles in the series.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

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City web site getting a fix up - won't be accessible early early on Monday.

notices100x100By Staff

January 20, 2017



If your practice is to log into the city’s web site early in the morning – you might want to take a pass on that next Monday.

The IT people will be doing a scheduled maintenance on Monday, Jan. 23, 2017 from 5 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.

City Hall BEST aerial

Deep in the bowels of city hall the IT people will be doing maintenance work on the city’s web site. Those upgrades usually go smoothly.

• 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

Council meets Monday to put the stamp of approval on the 2017 budget – so get your delegation notice in before then.

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Get married at city hall - and be forced to make a right hand turn on Lakeshore - two goodies for you from your city council

Budget 2017 ICON aaBy Staff

January 20th, 2017



Some of the budget goodies that you get for your tax dollars.

You will be able to get married at city hall – sometime this year.

It wasn’t clear in the budget deliberations whether this service is being offered by the Parks and Recreation department or the Clerk’s department.

No word on what the costs are going to be and if there is going to be a room spiffed up for the weddings.

Flood Goldring with chain of office

The Mayor could, if he chose to, perform wedding ceremonies, now that city hall has decided to allow them to take place at city hall. some people just might like the “bling”: the Mayor gets to wear.

The Mayor is known as the Chief Magistrate of the city and would have the authority to perform a wedding ceremony – sort of like the Captain on a cruise ship. He will need to get a license from the province to make the ceremony legal.

Great photo op – and this Mayor did say sometime ago that he finally gets it – it is all about getting your picture taken.

Cam Jackson would have been all over this one.

A limited market but the sign of a progressive city; the LGBTQ community may find it convenient.

The other goody is one that will please many who use Lakeshore Road frequently.

Traffic barriers in place on LAkeshore for the Car Free Sunday last year were expensive and not really used. The event was poorly attended.

Traffic barriers in place on Lakeshore for a Car Free Sunday a number of years ago. Councillor Dennison wants all those right hand lanes to be forced to take a right hand turn. Wants to see the same thing done on Maple and Lakeshore Road as well. He is tired of watching cars rush up the right hand lane and then cut in to traffic.

Ward 4 Councillor Jack Dennison who lives on Lakeshore Road complained of the people who move into the right hand lane and speed up past all the cars on the left and then cut into the traffic later on.

Dennison wants all those right hand lanes to be right hand turn lanes – forcing drivers to make the right hand turn.

That should make for much fun. All part of an Operating budget that came in at more than $152 million plus – representing a 4.56% increase over the tax rate last year.

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Muir analyzes the data collected at a December public meeting and reports a lot of consistency in the responses.

opinionandcommentBy Tom Muir

January 20th, 2017


Part 5 of a series

Tom Muir, an Aldershot resident, has been an active participant in civic affairs or more than 25 years. He has been described as “acerbic”, a fair term for Tom.
He has outlined, in considerable length, a large part of why the parents at Central and Pearson high schools are in the mess they are in as a result of the recommendation to close their schools. In this article, one of a series Muir suggest what he feels are obvious solutions to the problem the Board of Education believes it has. There is a lot of material; it gets dense at times. Living in a democracy means you have to accept the responsibility of citizenship and stay informed.

The Gazette published the results of the 25 questions put to residents at the public meeting held by the Board on December 8.

There has been some concern expressed that the responses may be biased because of the representation by school is not even.

This is because all of the schools are not explicitly named as the primary option for closures, so there is a selection bias built right into the sampling frame itself, used by the Board consultant.

This sample of the resident/parent/student populations reflects the selection of schools that are directly named for closure or other changes – Central, Pearson, and Hayden. It is expected that the population of these schools would self-select to participate.

The low turnout from the other schools is also expected on similar grounds as not being in the selected schools directly affected.


These are the parents that answered the 25 questions put to them by the Ipsos facilitator the Board of education hired to collect and analyze the data. The vast majority of them were from Central high school.

In my opinion, the selection of schools is biased, so the turnout population sample reflects this bias – in effect the net bias balances out.

This is my summary of the details of the responses. The opposite views and votes are found by subtraction from 100%.

When you consider these closely, you can see what parents think about what they were asked, and what they want.

We have set out all 25 questions and the responses to each question – they are shown in red.

The Questions and the responses:

Question 1: Which high school are your representing tonight?  The number beside the school was the number people in the audience would key in.  The screen displayed a number that indicated how many devices had been handed out and another number showing how many people had responded.

7. Aldershot    7

6. Dr. Frank J. Hayden   43
5. Lester B. Pearson     43
4. Nelson Public           6
3. Robert Bateman       5
2. Burlington Central     150
1. M.M. Robinson     2

Question 2: How important is the availability of mandatory / core courses for your child(ren) within your home school?

3. Very Important              187
3. Somewhat Important      58
2. Not Very Important           12
1. Not at all Important          3

Question 3: How acceptable is it to attend a school outside of a home school for mandatory / core programming for your child(ren)?

4. Very Acceptable   22
3. Somewhat Acceptable   42
2. Not Very Acceptable   64
1. Not at all Acceptable   135

Question 4: How important is the availability of optional / elective courses within your home school for your child(ren)?

4. Very Important     94
3. Somewhat Important      117
2. Not Very Important         38
1. Not at all Important       14

Question 5: How acceptable is it for your child(ren) to attend a school outside of a home school for optional/elective courses?

4. Very Acceptable             37
3. Somewhat Acceptable    92
2. Not Very Acceptable       70
1. Not at all Acceptable     62

Question 6: How willing are you to have your child(ren) take a mandatory/core course in an alternative method (e.g., summer school, night school, e-learning or attend another school?

4. Very Willing  55
3. Somewhat Willing  54
2. Not Very Willing  57
1. Not at all Willing  96

Question 7: How willing are you to have your child(ren) take a optional/elective course in an alternative method (e.g., summer school, night school, e-learning or attend another school?

4. Very Willing  90
3. Somewhat Willing  74
2. Not Very Willing  46
1. Not at all Willing  49

Question 8: How important is it for you high school to offer a full range of pathway programming (e.g., workplace, college, university)?

4. Very Important   120
3. Somewhat Important   89
2. Not Very Important  33
1. Not at all Important   15

Question 9: How concerned are you that your child(ren) has access to appropriate learning facilities (e.g., kitchens, science labs, gyms, libraries)?

4. Very Concerned  165
3. Somewhat Concerned   58
2. Not Very Concerned  16
1. Not at all Concerned  19

Question 10: How concerned are you that some high schools have large amounts of specialized learning spaces that remain underutilized?

4. Very Concerned  18
3. Somewhat Concerned   56
2. Not Very Concerned  92
1. Not at all Concerned  92

Question 11: How important is it for your home school to have a full range of extracurricular activities (e.g., drama, arts, athletics, clubs) for your child(ren)?

4. Very Important   121
3. Somewhat Important  92
2. Not Very Important  35
1. Not at all Important   13

Question 12: How likely are you to support your child(ren) participating in extracurricular activities at another school?

4. Very Likely  72
3. Somewhat Likely  69
2. Not Very Likely  49
1. Not at all Likely  68

Question 13: How important is it for your child to have access to the highest level of competition in athletics?

4. Very Important   19
3. Somewhat Important   30
2. Not Very Important   170
1. Not at all Important   141

Question 14: How important is the physical condition of your existing school to you (e.g., environmental sustainability, energy consumption, safety)?

4. Very Important  75
3. Somewhat Important  37
2. Not Very Important  32
1. Not at all Important  95

Question 15: How important is it to you that the board ensures schools have an up-to-date, fully-accessible learning environment (e.g., elevators, air conditioning)?

4. Very Important   56
3. Somewhat Important   38
2. Not Very Important   32
1. Not at all Important   116

Question 16: How important is it you to preserve existing community partnerships at your child(ren)’s current school (e.g., swimming pool, library, community centre)?

4. Very Important   97
3. Somewhat Important   36
2. Not Very Important   49
1. Not at all Important   69

Question 17: How important is it you to minimize the use of portable classrooms?

4. Very Important   159  
3. Somewhat Important   27
2. Not Very Important    27
1. Not at all Important   39

 Question 18: The Board’s current walk distance is a maximum of 3.2 km. How important is it that your child(ren) are within the Board mandated walking distance to reach school?

4. Very Important     198
3. Somewhat Important   22
2. Not Very Important     21
1. Not at all Important    12

Question 19: Which of the following is your child(ren)’s most common form of travel to school currently? (list methods)

6. School Bus  37
5. Car (drive or drop off)  32
4. Public Transit  0
3. Walk  176
2. Bike   17
1. Other   4

Question 20: How important is it to you that the Board be fiscally responsible by reducing transportation to reach school?

4. Very Important   151
3. Somewhat Important   44
2. Not Very Important      22
1. Not at all Important    30

Question 21: How important is it for your child(ren) to spend their secondary school years in one school community?

4. Very Important   238
3. Somewhat Important  14
2. Not Very Important   6
1. Not at all Important   0

Question 22: The Ministry does not fund empty pupil places. To what extent do you agree that the Board should reallocate its limited budget to fund these spaces?

4. Strongly Agree   122
3. Somewhat Agree   50
2. Somewhat Disagree  32
1. Strongly Disagree   28

Question 23: The Board’s MYP states it will maintain a minimum overall average of 90% building capacity. To what extent to do you agree with this goal around future sustainability of Burlington secondary schools?

4. Strongly Agree   20
3. Somewhat Agree  34
2. Somewhat Disagree   53
1. Strongly Disagree   134

Question 24: The goal in the current MYP is to use innovative approaches to student learning spaces (e.g., classrooms, gymnasiums). To what extent do you feel the current situation of Burlington high schools is sustainable?

4. Very Sustainable   91
3. Somewhat Sustainable   55
2. Not very Sustainable   20
1. Not at all Sustainable   25

At this point people began walking out.  Answers for the 25th question were not collected.

Question 25: Of the four themes, which is most important to you?

4. Programming and enrollment   0
3. Physical state of existing schools   0
2. Geographical and transportation Issues   0
1. Fiscal responsibility and future planning   0


Very little is known about the parents who are members of the Program Accommodation Review Committee other than that they have a tremendous amount of work ahead of them. There is no remuneration for the members of the committee.

Tom Muir’s analysis of the answers that were given to the questions asked.

Readers are going to have to shift up and down the pages to read the question and all the responses Muir has analyzed.  Awkward – but it was the only way to set the data out for readers.

1) It is apparently important there be no school closures:

– the Board allocate the budget to fund empty spaces (Q22, 74%);

– present empty spaces are sustainable (Q24, 76%) – question also said MYP goal is to use innovative approaches to learning space use;

– response disagrees with Board 90% utilization goal (Q23, 78%);

– response not concerned about empty spaces being underutilized (Q10, 71%).

2. The importance of the home schools for core/mandatory subjects, and even optional/elective, is quite emphatic (Q2, 94%; Q3, 76%; Q4 80%; Q6, 58%; Q5, 51%), and consistent;

– Q7 indicates some support (63%, but only 35% are very willing), for optional/elective in alternatives like summer school, night school, e-learning, another school.

– do not agree with the Board 90% utilization goal (Q23,78%);
– and again, want the Board to allocate the budget to fund empty spaces (Q22, 74%);
– see being within 3.2 km, or 2 mile, Board mandated walking distance to home schools as important (Q18, 86%) – 69% already walk, 14.5% ride bus (Q19);
– see reduction in bus transportation to each school as important (Q20, 79%);
– see spending secondary years in one school as important (Q21, 98%);
– are concerned that appropriate learning facilities be accessible (Q9, 86%);
– want a full range of pathway programs (Q8, 81.3%);
– feel current situation is sustainable – as above in 1. (Q24, 76%);
– see it as important to minimize the use of portables (Q17, 74%).

4. Suggesting further support for retaining all schools are the following:

– a full range of extra-curricular activities (e.g., drama, arts, athletics, clubs) is important (Q11, 82%) – in my view, this implies more schools with more space for fewer students, means more opportunities;
– parental support to help students do extracurricular at another school is not at all likely, or not very likely, for 45% of respondents, compared to 55% at somewhat or very likely (Q12);
– the importance of the highest level of competition in athletics is not important (Q13, 81%) – in my view, this implies the larger top tier schools with large student populations are not important in this regard.

5. Other parent/resident views reflect a small majority percent expressing that:

– the physical condition of the school as not at all or very important (Q14, 53%);
– that the importance of the school as up-to-date and fully accessible, with elevators and air conditioning, is not at all or not very important (Q15, 61%);
– preserving existing community partnerships at current school (pools, libraries, community center) is very to somewhat important (Q16, 53%).

Again, the opposite views and percent support can be derived by subtraction with regard to response preference bracket.

I believe my analysis is accurate.  It is unbiased and done in good faith.

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 explains that the PARC will only get what people send in, what they come up with from their own efforts, and what they ask/demand from the board. They have to decide what they want and go after it ruthlessly. They will have to fight with tooth and claw and take no prisoners.

Previous articles in this multi part series

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

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What the heck is an Eponym, and what does it mean for your brand?

marketingmoneymojoBBy James Burchill

January 20th, 2017



Today I’ve decided to share with you a new word that recently made a special appearance in my daily life: eponym. It is pronounced (EP-uh-nim) and I have to be frank, but I was somewhat at a loss when I saw it.

James Burchill convinces the community to donate door prizes and seldom has less than 300 people showing up for an event. His mailing list has surpassed the 1500 mark. He might begin to sell insurance to a list like that.

James Burchill at one of his Social Fusion events congratulating a guest who won a bouquet donated by Brant Florist,

I mean, I write, communicate and persuade using words for a living…but this one had obviously been hiding somewhere far away because although I could pronounce it, I could not recall its meaning.

So I grabbed my dictionary… then I realized that I now reside in the 21st Century… so I put down the book and I went on to the ‘Net’ instead. I found the definition (actually I found a few versions) and then settled on the one I’ve included below.

In A Word

One way that we use the word “eponym” (EP-uh-nim) is in reference to a specific brand name that has come to mean a generic product. Examples:


Jacuzzi has become an eponym for a type of product – when it is really a well developed and valuable brand name.

Jacuzzi = whirlpool bath

Band-Aid = plastic bandage

Chapstick = lip balm

Jell-O = gelatine dessert

Kleenex = facial tissue

Q-Tips = cotton swabs

ear wax; Shutterstock ID 232489651; PO: Brandon for news

Bit of cotton on a plastic stick – with the brand name Q tips which made all the difference.

Scotch Tape = cellophane tape

Styrofoam = plastic foam

Teflon = non-stick coating

Vaseline = petroleum jelly

Walkman = portable cassette player

Xerox = photocopier/photocopy

Sounds fantastic doesn’t it. I mean, your own name or your product name being so popular that it has been absorbed in to the general vocabulary. Now that’s branding at work… that’s branding on ‘go-go’ juice!

But hold on a moment! You might think this is really great ‘branding’ however I’d like to offer an alternate viewpoint…

Too Much Of A Good Thing

If you were the lucky/unlucky manufacturer of ‘band-aids’ you’d now be in the unfortunate position of seeing your brand lose most of its value because it has passed into the vocabulary of the buying public as a GENERAL term.

Your product which you worked so hard to promote… has lost all its specificity. In other words, your product branding is now helping the competition sell there alternate ‘band-aid like’ products.

Brand Life Cycles

You’ve probably heard me say that for most of us (probably 80% or more) we need to focus on selling not brand building. Sure branding is a great add-on if you can do it, but you have got to have deep pockets to pull it off successfully. And you’ve have to be very, very, very patient.

Assuming that you create the next super brand, and your product takes on a life of its own, there will be that first glory phase when your products name will be uniquely linked to you, your product and the benefits and value it provides.

If you keep going strong your product will be synonymous with the brand name… and eventually the unthinkable will happen: One day, the buying public will use your product name – your brand name – to refer not to your specific product, but to the family or type of product!

The End Of An Ear… Or Is That Era?


You don’t have to turn your company into a brand name – but if you can create a brand name – you’ve added value to the company.

From that day forth, your product name, your brand name will now be an eponym. You’ll be the Kleenex of facial tissues, the band-aid of plasters, the Teflon of non-stick coatings. Life will be grim…

Of course, you’ll be filthy stinking rich at that point and whether you get another dime off the brand name is really neither here nor there.

But I’m sure you see my point. The brand is born, it develops over time, if you’re lucky it is welcomed by the masses and they embrace your brand product. It over stays its welcome and eventually becomes a mainstay of conversation – the end.

Do you think Good Year or Pirelli or Firestone or some of the other tire manufactures will suffer that ignominious fate?

They should be so lucky – until next time.

burchill-jamesJames 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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Brant Museum closed - has been closed for well over a month. No one at city hall knew.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

January 19th, 2017



It came as a surprise to the city.

An inquiry from a reporter, it wasn’t us, to the city manager, asking why the Museum revealed that the Brant Museum had been closed since the beginning of the year.


Museum Board has plans for a major upgrade to the Brant Museum - is this a place for you and your skill set?

Museum Board has plans for a major upgrade to the Brant Museum – they closed the museum until they know what is gong to happen to their grant application.

The Museum Board recently appeared before city council seeking assurances that the city would provide a letter that was needed to advance the application for significant federal grants that would cover the cost of the transformation the museum has planned.

A number of people from the Museum Board appeared and delegated but not one of them advised the city that they had closed the Brant Museum when Lakeshore Road was being rebuilt and that they just didn’t reopen it.

Barbara Teatero, Executive Director Museums Burlington

Barbara Teatero, Executive Director Museums Burlington

So much for transparency – and it kind of shakes the confidence the city has in both the Executive Director and the Museum Foundation. Councillor Lancaster represents the city on the Burlington Museum Board – surely she would have known – did she lose her tongue?

The city spends about $600,000 on the museums – it was suggested that the budget be reduced given that there is now just the one museum and not two.

The city manager pointed out that the biggest expense is the cost of Barbara Teatero, the Executive Director. Fine – she has just half the work to do now – reduce her salary. Ms Teatero is due for retirement soon.


New look for the Brant Museum – closed now – will it ever re-open?

There is no word on just how long the Museum is going to be closed. Nor has the city learned anything about what they plan to do if the federal funding does not come through – the due day for that announcement is January 25th – that would mean the decision has been made – they just aren’t saying anything yet.

The Mayor is scheduled to give his State of the City address on the 25th – that will be quite early in the day – and the MP for the city is not going to let the Mayor steal the thunder behind that announcement.

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Budget approved - taxes will increase by 4.42%

Budget 2017 ICON aaBy Pepper Parr

January 19th, 2017



City council passed a budget that reflects an increase over last year of 4.42%

The budget decision was not unanimous – passed on a vote of 5-2.

Mayor Goldring said in his comments on the budget that this was the first time he recalls a budget coming out with a higher amount than they had when they started; in other words they increased the spending beyond wat staff had asked for.

Friends of Freeman got the $50,000 they needed; the seniors lucked out – no free transit for them.

More details to follow

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Does this city council have the political will to reign in the spending. Operational budget to be debated on Thursday.

Budget 2017 ICON aaBy Pepper Parr

January 19th, 2017



City council will be meeting as a Committee of the While (COW) today to go through the Operating Budget; they have already decided on what the Capital budget is going to be.

The number floating around city hall at this point is an increase of 4.6% which is resulting in serious heart burn on the part of those who pay taxes and pay attention to this kind of stuff.

One of those people is Tom Muir, an Aldershot resident who has been tracking the goings on at city hall for more than 25 years.

In a recent note he sent to the members of council, the city manager and the city clerk Muir had this to say:

“I’m not going to repeat myself too much from last year, but the percent increases for the city are still on track to double in about 19 years or less.

“I wrote Council last year and the response I got was that they were concerned about it too, and were going to work on it over the coming year. Well, here we have the results. You still don’t get it.

“The city assumed inflation rate is 2%, but my pension increase, based on the CPI, only went up 1.4%, as did my wife’s’.

Muir making a point

Tom Muir, an Aldershot resident who has been delegating to city council for more than 25 years – he is relentless.

“In the Mayor’s December newsletter, he said that he thought the budget could be whittled down to something more like the 2%.

“I worked in government for 33 years, and went through a lot of budget cuts. The way it was done, if the guv was serious about it, was just to tell the managers and the finance people to cut the budget across the board to meet the target expenditure increase.

“No nonsense or sacred cows, except entitlements. Don’t get lost in every line item. Just do it at the high level.

“Then managers cut where you want, but just make the cuts.

“This is what is needed now. The idea that there is nothing left to cut is absurd.

“It’s all in the approach and the political will.”

Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman responded to Muir with the following:

Intense to the point of making delegations uncomfortable ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman does know how to drill down into the data and look for results.

Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman was once a hard driving member of Council. He all but man-handled his fellow council members into a 0% increase in 2010.

“You will appreciate that City operations and assets are quite complex. ‎ You also know from participating in DC (Development Charge) review committees that assessment growth has subsidized growth and Infrastructure renewal costs in the past, neither of which are reflected by inflation indicators.

“Of course Burlington assessment growth is quite low now, meanwhile we are trying to recover from decades of underfunding of future infrastructure repair and renewal, which is a substantial driver of cost.

Sharman MMW tangle

Councillor Sharman, with his back to the camera, going at it with Councillor Meed Ward at a 2011 Strategic Plan meeting. He was a different council member in those days.

“Certainly, we are aware that pension income does not increase at the same pace as either inflation or the overall architecture of city finances. ‎The city is driven by long term fiscal sustainability objectives. That discussion is not over yet, but we are trying to figure it out.

“I would suggest that we fully “get it”. I will be pleased to discuss the situation with you at any time.”

How much confidence do you want to take from those statements?

What is perplexing and at the same time interesting is that when Councillor Sharman was involved in budget deliberations in his first budget meeting during his first term of office he drove the budget increase down to 0%.

He was merciless. There were a couple of general managers at the time who were incensed with his approach – Sharman couldn’t have cared less. He wanted a 0% increase and he kept pushing until he go it.

That Councillor Sharman seems to have morphed into a different person.

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Part 4: Was the building of Hayden high school the beginning of the end for Central and Pearson?

backgrounder 100By Tom Muir

January 19th, 2017


Part 4 of a series:
Tom Muir, an Aldershot resident, has been an active participant in civic affairs or more than 25 years. He has been described as “acerbic”, a fair term for Tom.
He has outlined, in considerable length, a large part of why the parents at Central and Pearson high schools are in the mess they are in as a result of the recommendation to close their schools. In this article, one of a series Muir suggest what he feels are obvious solutions to the problem the Board of Education believes it has. There is a lot of material; it gets dense at times. Living in a democracy means you have to accept the responsibility of citizenship and stay informed.

I have set out what I think is the background reason for the situation Burlington parents and their high school level students face with the possible closing of two high schools in the city and I have suggeted that the mess we asre in is one we created for ourselves.

How do we get out of the mess?

Where does the Board staff appear to sit?
The Board seems to be into closing schools. Almost all the options close schools. Some seem nonsensical. I was surprised by this very limited plan.

They say 1800 empty seats is not sustainable long term.  And the Board staff data is said to be accurate now, and and has been accurate in the past.

Go back to the Board data for 2010 when there were 495 actual empty seats, and 92% space utilization, in the 6 then existing schools in Burlington.

They developed plans, with no evident justification, to build another school in Alton – add 1200 seats plus about 280 in portables.

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

Empty classroom seats. Burlington has 1800 of them. These seat are in Hayden high school which some feel should not have been built. The recreation centre and the library made sense – the facts suggest the building of a high school in Alton created the problem that exists now south of the QEW.

Build school, open in 2013, fill with about 1400 students by 2017, mostly from schools within the six existing high schools. These 1400 now become empty seats in the south Burlington six high schools.

This adds up to about the 1800-1900 now cited as unsustainable.

This is based on the past and forecast data that is said to be accurate.

So it can be said with accuracy that the Board created the 1800 empty seats that they now say are not sustainable. Why and how?

Building Hayden in Alton can be said with accuracy to be a blundered construction of most of the 1800 empty seats.

So they now want to close two schools of the original six that housed all these students, before Hayden, within the comfortable 90% utilization.

So the Board itself created this so-called unsustainable 1800 empty seats, and they did it with accuracy.

They have also gotten away with this unexplained blunder with no accountability for what is incompetent planning in my opinion, based on the face of the so-called accurate data.


Director of Education Stuart Miller during an on-line Q&A which some parents thought was rigged.

So how does this work that the Director isn’t sure now what the residents/public of the south Burlington six expect from him and the Board?

Well, what I expect is that the Director offer innovative and management solutions to clean up the mess you have created.

And don’t tell us that your forecast data are accurate. It’s seems to be a new age for housing costs and form, so families will likely have to more and more occupy higher density.

The historical pupil yield curves used may be too low in this new age. That’s what happened in the Alton community, and the Board data didn’t catch it.

Don’t make more mistakes and cost the community dearly by closing schools based on methods and attitudes that actually created the mess.

It is possible to use the toolbox to keep all the schools open. Go to that toolbox and show us how we can make the empty spaces of use.

Don’t impatiently make irreversible quick decisions that we will all have to live with in regret.
That’s what people expect, among other things, I think.

What about the efficiency and sustainability of 1800 empty seats?

But if we accept that 1800 empty seats are not sustainable, at face value, what does it imply about the strictly business end of producing student spaces?

In 2012 the utilization of SRA 100 Burlington spaces was 87%, so there was a minimal excess over the Board target of 90%. It was also projected to fall and is now at about 75%. But it only fell because Hayden was opened and students were transferred there, and this continues to date, filling up portables and a projected student surplus of about 600.

What the hell is going on here may I ask, with the Board sense of planning? And this just looks to continue in this PAR.


Was Hayden high school needed? Depends on what you wanted. The high school seats may not have been needed but the Board of Education, the Library and the city’s recreation department had skin in the game. The idea was to create a structure that would become a community centre and when that was decided upon – an excess of students seats got forgotten – the bureaucrats were building and if that meant the death of two high schools so be it. Where were the trustees at the time? Did they not see this coming and did they not ask questions?

The point being for our business model, is that there is no apparent rationale, no business case, to build Hayden, as there was no shortage of supply of student places. There was already some identifiable surplus.

With such an excess supply identified, and projected to worsen, on the basis of this issue definition, what reason existed to build additional supply of students spaces at Hayden? In fact, we still don’t need Hayden on this basis.

If most people made this kind of business decision, they would be in deep doo-doo, and in deeper when there are serious consequences, which there are, but not for those who made the decisions.

This decision by the Board had no justifying business case in terms of student spaces, but created an excess which is now being used to justify closing schools to make up for their mistake.

Everyone knows this has just made things much worse and created a divisive mess for which no one is being held accountable.

Regarding the provision of student opportunities as a reason for the PAR, there was never any evidence provided to show that Hayden provided any opportunities that didn’t already exist. And there is still no evidence provided that closing other schools will provide any additional opportunities that also don’t already exist.

In fact, closing schools will require that 500 to 600 additional students are provided, rather “necessitated”, the “opportunity” to ride the bus to school instead of walk, which most of the would be displaced do at present. Some opportunity this is.

Hopefully, you can see the thinness of putting the issue as just about excess student spaces. The Board itself created the excess. It didn’t exist before Hayden.

Why was Hayden built? Where’s the cost-benefit analysis of what has been created?

The only thing I have even remotely heard, is that the people in the north of Burlington, in Alton, were entitled to, or “needed” schools in their neighborhood.

Which begs the question, what about the rest of Burlington, now under the gun because of the Board building a Hayden not needed for student spaces.

And here is where the real issue mess lies, the part left out of your issue definition.

Because the students were transferred in ever greater numbers, even overflowing into portables, exceeding the Hayden built supply of places, from the existing schools, and then their feeders, thus creating the excess in those schools.

Trustees - fill board +

It is the trustees that are accountable. But the trustees who made the decision to build the Hayden high school aren’t there anymore. Of the 11 in office now eight are serving their first term of office. Burlington’s ward 5 trustee Amy Collard is serving her second term – both by acclamation, Trustees Kelly Amos from Burlington and trustee Donna Danielli from Milton were on the board at the time the Hayden high school decision was made.

So that’s where this logic of this issue definition takes us. Based on this definition, Hayden should not have been built.  Is anyone going to be held accountable for this?

If Hayden neighborhood residents and parents and students “needed” their own school, whatever happened to the rest of us down here in the south? Do we not count in this?

This is the real mess that this issue definition is too thin to manage. It is much more than excess student places, which is a red herring.

What have parents, residents and students to say about their concerns and what they want?

A perusal of the Gazette archive will get at least some sense of what some people are saying and/or want.  As I noted earlier, one key thing that is missing on the accessible website are enough years of the LTAPs and reports to go back to the time that Hayden SS in Alton was being rationalized and justified. I described this situation in detail above.

So if the Trustees know that set of facts, and others do as well, what do they think resident feelings and concerns are?

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 explains that the PARC will only get what people send in, what they come up with from their own efforts, and what they ask/demand from the board. They have to decide what they want and go after it ruthlessly. They will have to fight with tooth and claw and take no prisoners.

Previous articles:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3


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Burlington Foundation announces a record $120,000 in community fund grants to be invested in 14 local projects.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

January 18th, 2017



Building community happens when groups partner and create a situation when the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

The Burlington Foundation has partnered with the Community Fund for Canada’s 150th to help make a major investment in Burlington.

Gazette-ad-2cyanThe Foundation announced a record $120,000 in Community Fund grants to be invested in 14 local projects. This represents the largest amount of Community Fund grants the Foundation has distributed in a single year since its inception in 1999.

In 2017, the Foundation’s community funds and field of interest funds are granting $60,000 and the Community Fund for Canada’s 150th is providing $60,000 in matching dollars. This initiative is made possible by the Community Fund for Canada’s 150th, a collaboration between Burlington Foundation, Community Foundations of Canada, the Government of Canada, and extraordinary leaders from coast to coast to coast.

Foxcroft chasing ball

Ron Foxcroft, Chair of the Burlington Foundation; he gets most of them into the hoop.

Foundation Board Chair and legendary community supporter Ron Foxcroft notes, “Burlington Foundation has a long history of making change happen. Our annual Community Fund grants help address Burlington’s highest priority needs, as outlined in our Vital Signs reports, as well as several field of interest focus areas. In just 18 short years, Burlington Foundation has provided more than $4.1 million in grants to charities.”

“We’re thrilled to partner with Community Foundations of Canada and the Community Fund for Canada’s 150th to help make a major investment in Burlington. Thanks to this historic collaboration, we’re bringing Burlingtonians together, fostering a greater sense of belonging and creating a lasting legacy of 2017 community initiatives for future generations,” says Colleen Mulholland, president of the Foundation. “We’re proud to help unite the generous gifts of local community members with federal funds to create a positive and lasting ripple effect across our great city.”

Burlington Foundation’s 2016-17 Community Fund Larger Grant Program is providing 14 grants ranging from $5,000 to $13,000. For example, Burlington Public Library will use the grant to support Honouring the Truth, an initiative that builds upon the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.

Maureen Barry, CEO of the Burlington Public Library and a consummate professional has overseen the move deeper into electronic media yet keeping real books on shelves.

Maureen Barry, CEO of the Burlington Public Library

Maureen Barry, Library Chief Executive Officer notes, “Honouring the Truth celebrates Indigenous historical legacy and ceremony within Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities. Public initiatives that pay tribute to the native lands and stories of First Nations peoples will help build a deeper understanding and awareness of reconciliation as a collective, ongoing process.”

ArtHouse will use the grant to support Mending Fences, a collaborative public arts project for vulnerable youth. More than 650 local youth will help transform 40 designated sites across Halton Region into ”creative spaces”, all in vibrant celebration of Canada’s 150th. Don Pangman, ArtHouse Founder and Executive Director explains, “Mending fences will allow us to hear the voices of our youth through the arts by providing a safe place for them to express themselves and to unleash their creativity.”

Food4kids - bag + apple

Grant to provide Ontario farm fresh food through the summer months.

As well, Food4Kids Hamilton Halton, Foodland Ontario, Feeding Halton and Food for Life will collaborate and use the grant to supply 100 children living in low-income homes with Ontario farm fresh food through the summer months, ensuring access while also engaging them to grow, cook and enjoy healthy food.

Additionally, the Foundation awarded 12 grants of $500 to $2,000 in November 2016. The Foundation’s local Seed Grant Program features a simplified application process and supports smaller-scale initiatives.

About Burlington Foundation
Since 1999, individuals, agencies and corporate donors have partnered with us to make change happen. We understand the difference we make is greater when people work together. Burlington Foundation collaborates with donors to build endowments, give grants and connect leadership. We help people give brilliantly, build legacies, address vital community needs and support areas of personal interest.

About Community Fund for Canada’s 150th
The Community Fund for Canada’s 150th (CFC150) is a collaborative effort, seeded by the Government of Canada and extraordinary leaders from coast-to-coast-to-coast. The Fund is matched and delivered locally by Canada’s 191 community foundations.
CFC150 projects are building community and inspiring a deeper understanding of Canada throughout the sesquicentennial

2016-2017 Larger & Seed Community Fund Grants

Copp - air - cropped

Trevor Copp of the Tottering Bipeod Theatre

Acclaim Health – $2,000 (Seed Grant)
Art Gallery of Burlington – $6,500 (Larger Grant)
ArtHouse for Children and Youth – $10,000 (Larger Grant)
Burlington Baptist Church – $12,462 (Larger Grant)
Burlington Public Library – $5,000 (Larger Grant)
Calvary Baptist Church Burlington – $5,480 (Larger Grant)
CameronHelps (2006) Inc. – $6,575 (Larger Grant)
Carpenter Hospice – $2,000 (Seed Grant)
Community Living Burlington – $2,000 (Seed Grant)
Food4Kids Hamilton Halton – $13,000 (Larger Grant)
Halton Catholic Children’s Education Foundation (HCCEF) – $1,400 (Seed Grant)
Halton District School Board (Aldershot School) – $2,000 (Seed Grant)
Halton District School Board (Burlington Central High School) – $1,000 (Seed Grant)
Halton Learning Foundation – $6,000 (Larger Grant)
Holy Rosary School – $2,000 (Seed Grant)
Literacy South Halton – $1,100 (Seed Grant)
Muscular Dystrophy Canada – $2,000 (Seed Grant)
Shakespearience Performing Arts – $500 (Seed Grant)
Shifra Homes Inc. – $8,183 (Larger Grant)
St. Christopher’s Anglican Church – $13,000 (Larger Grant)
Summit Housing and Outreach Programs – $8,500 (Larger Grant)
Support & Housing – Halton – $2,000 (Seed Grant)
Symphony on the Bay (Greater Hamilton Symphony Association) – $12,500 (Larger Grant)
Tetra Society of North America – $4,800 (Larger Grant)
The Bridge From Prison to Community (Hamilton) – $2,000 (Seed Grant)
Tottering Biped Theatre – $8,000 (Larger Grant)

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Regional police continue with program to apprehend and manage violent offenders.

Crime 100By Staff

January 18th, 2017



The Halton Regional Police report that from October 1st to December 31st 2016, the Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) arrested 185 people for violent behavior. The focus on the Provincial Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy (PAVIS) is a multi-agency program run through the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services.


Halton Regional Police Chief Tanner

This year HRPS applied principles of Community Safety and Well-Being Planning as part of PAVIS efforts. This was achieved through enforcement of violent offenders, risk intervention, crime prevention and collaboration with community partners in social development.

HRPS partnered with stakeholders to increase organizational and community capacity to prevent and address recidivism through risk-based interventions. Strategies included increasing resources during weekends and evenings, compliance checks of individuals who failed to abide by court-imposed conditions; collaboration with external partners on sentencing matters of offenders and dedicating resources to pursue arrest warrants.

As a result of the PAVIS initiative from October 1st to December 1st 2016, a total of 185 arrests were made and 243 criminal charges were laid across the Region. Emphasis was placed on proactive collaboration between the Police, Probation and Parole, the Crown Attorney’s Office and other community partners.

Deputy Chief Nishan Duraiappah pleads his innocence to the charge of Grand Theft Donuts, looking on is Halton Regional Police Detective Constable Paul Proteau.

As part of a Crime Stoppers event Deputy Chief Nishan Duraiappah pleads his innocence to the charge of Grand Theft Donuts, looking on is Halton Regional Police Detective Constable Paul Proteau.

Deputy Chief Nishan Duraiappah takes a positive view: “Repeat offenders, high risk individuals and those bound by court orders have an opportunity to change their behaviour and lives. Unfortunately, in some instances these individuals pose a continued risk to community safety. Police enforcement in conjunction with emergency response, risk intervention, prevention and social development has made this unique initiative a success.”
PAVIS initiatives in the area of Emergency Response included officers responding to calls for service involving known violent offenders in our community. PAVIS related patrols were strategically deployed throughout the Region. Officers were able to safely engage and diffuse potentially violent situations. Numerous offenders were arrested prior to or during the commission of a criminal offence.

PAVIS initiatives in the area of Risk Intervention involved specific follow-up with recidivists who were actively breaching court imposed conditions. In many cases this resulted in arrests and charges being laid, but also the recovery of stolen property, weapons, illegal drugs and other prohibited items. Halton Police also collaborated with other police agencies to arrest recidivists who were breaching their probation outside of Halton Region.

Individuals were apprehended at Pearson International Airport as well as in other jurisdictions. Criminal Code search warrants were executed in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, with the accused being returned to Ontario. An exchange program between the Montreal Police and the HRPS was developed, which facilitated in locating 19 offenders (10 in Ontario and 9 in Montreal).

Police chasing

Police trying to apprehend a violent offender.

Prevention and Social Development initiatives focused heavily on the collaboration between Probation and Parole and the Crown Attorney’s Office to review new offenders in the Region and develop strategies to address recidivism from the time an offender is released into the community. Proactive checks were conducted to ensure compliance with court imposed conditions.

A Post-Conviction Sentencing Committee was formed between HRPS, Probation and the Crown to improve communication in regards to conditions placed on offenders during sentencing. A community services guide was provided to every prisoner in HRPS custody prior to their release.

A database has been created to identify wanted individuals and those on street enforceable conditions, to be made available to officers after the PAVIS funding has concluded. Officers also developed a resource guide to be distributed to parents or guardians of young persons in conflict with the law.

The Project was been made possible by a grant from the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services.

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Part 3: Muir suggests a closer look at the options will produce a solution and that none of the high schools need to be closed.

opinionandcommentBy Tom Muir

January 18th, 2017


Part 3 of a series:

Tom Muir, an Aldershot resident, has been an active participant in civic affairs or more than 25 years. He has been described as “acerbic”, a fair term for Tom.
He has outlined, in considerable length, a large part of why the parents at Central and Pearson high schools are in the mess they are in as a result of the recommendation to close their schools. In this article, one of a series Muir suggest what he feels are obvious solutions to the problem the Board of Education believes it has. There is a lot of material; it gets dense at times. Living in a democracy means you have to accept the responsibility of citizenship and stay informed.

The Board of Education advised its trustees that there were 1800 empty seats in Burlington’s seven high schools. The Director of Education, Stuart Miller, brought forward a number of recommendations. The trustees decided to create a Program Accommodation Review Committee (PARC). That committee will begin its meeting later this month.

Miller engaging a prent at Central - ugly

Director of Education Stuart Miller, on the right engaging a parent at Central high school.

The PARC will review the data – there is tonnes of it, and send a recommendation to the Director of Education who will then make his recommendation to the trustees who will make a final decision as to whether or not any high schools should be closed. The schedule calls for this to be done by May of this year.

Other ideas are suggested by residents in the on-line conversations in the Gazette. There are other more inclusive lists of such ideas elsewhere. Surely, the Board staff and consultants, and education researchers, have a cornucopia of ideas that just need to be unleashed. As Rudyard Kipling said, “there are 99 and 9 ways to make tribal lays.”

This, I think, is a way to go to get to a plan fitting with the times, changing demographics and adaptability to such changes, fairness, and the patterns of the Growth Plan for Halton.

Even in their wildest imaginations - the Alton family would never have thought those farm fields would look like this - imagine the increase in value.

A new community was created when Hwy 407 was built. The Alton Village underwent significant growth requiring public and high schools. Some are not sure the high school was such a good idea..

It is just not right that existing residents are required to give up their schools, in order to build new schools in areas where the high growth in population is being directed under the force of the provinces’ orders in the Growth Plan.

Why should this be a forced confiscation in service of the province’s growth orders? Why should we pay for another part of the growth with our schools?

As I said, things are being taken too far in this insensitive and unlimited logic of efficiency, narrowly defined, leading to fewer and fewer schools in existing neighborhoods.

Once these school sites are gone, they are gone – there are no other places to site new schools. What kind of municipal and community planning is that?

And for those seeming to be okay with the closure of two high schools, as inefficient, and needing to be eliminated, I have to ask if they have ever considered what might be the limits of their criterion or their logic?


Burlington Central high school – the oldest in the city located in a neighborhood with intense loyalty to the place. There are some fourth generation students at the high school.

Do they propose to applaud this process year after year until “most efficient” and “biggest” become synonymous with “only”?

Do these schools have any value not subsumed under the heading of “efficiency”? And who benefits by their closure?

Is “any” degree of “efficiency” worth any cost in our schools?

Can progressively closing more and more schools be treated with such regardlessness, by merely asserting a justification that leaves out all the cultural and community values that they embody?

The point being that there must be limits imposed to this process before our cultural institutions of education have been corrupted to calamity.

This process is leading to no good, and is rotten politics.


Halton District School Board trustees sit at the back of the room during a December public meeting. From the left: Papin, Reynolds, Ehl Harrinson and Grebenc.

Some things the Trustees can do.
Hayden has 500 to 600 pupils too many in the LTAP forecast. The Board moved 600 to 900 from the area of concern, such as Pearson, Nelson, Bateman, and Robinson.  You can see this in the capacity utilization rates in the Board reports and reproduced in the Gazette.

They can simply move some number like the 600 back, as they have the power to do that, just like before, when they moved them out. We need to know what the numbers by school were that were moved to Hayden.

They can even shuffle students from Hayden around the Board SRA 100, which is also in the plan but only at a low scale. Shifting students and programs around all of Burlington, including SRA 100, can be considered.

SRA 100 as at 2015

Secondary Review Area where all the high school are concentrated.

Closing portables and using the bricks and mortar OTG capacity for students fits into using excess spaces, and is something that parents and students have expressed the desire to see. It will certainly be better for students.

Closing the 2 schools mentioned is reported to mean almost 600 more students from them need to be bused, increasing the number from 1000 to 1600.

So no closures, and moving students from Hayden back to the other schools – some of which is in the Option 19 for French Immersion at least – is a perfectly logical thing to do.

It will also save significant busing dollars (not specified in the reports I saw), that won’t need to be added to the already $15 million transportation bill of the Board as a whole, and will avoid big disruptions to students lives.

At least one or two SRA 100 schools are close enough that busing of students is not needed.

Again, shuffling the excess around, and changing the catchments accordingly are all possible and will facilitate the adjustments.


The Lester B. Pearson high school was “purpose built” with an extra gymnasium and a Day Care Centre.

The Halton Board has many programs scattered around, and these can be expanded perhaps by shifting some to schools with surplus space.

The Community Partnerships and Hubs outreach, partly funded and touted by the Province on their website as involving schools, can be tapped to expand uses of space.

The existing daycare at Pearson is exactly what the province mentions as one of the possibilities. What happens to that with a closure of Pearson and Central?

Where are these options in the plan? These things are obvious solutions.

I’m confident that the PARC members also have a great number of ideas, and they are much more intimate with the schools and what they want than I am.

Muir making a point

Tom Muir; an acerbic community advocate.

Tom 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 explains that the PARC will only get what people send in, what they come up with from their own efforts, and what they ask/demand from the board. They have to decide what they want and go after it ruthlessly. They will have to fight with tooth and claw and take no prisoners.

Previous articles in this series:

Part 1

Part 2

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Summer festival creates a winter program - starts with a rendition of some of the works of Robbie Burns.

artsblue 100x100By Pepper Parr

January 17th, 2017



You may be one of those people who knows all about the Lowville Festival – an event that takes place every July in Lowville.

Last season there was a rendition of Northwest Passage delivered by the widow of Stan Rodgers, the man who wrote it and performed it for tens of thousands of Canadians.

Paul Bass

Paul Novotny playing the double bass at the 2016 Lowville Festival.

There was a performance on a base fiddle that was the best I have ever heard.  Paul doing the Porter’s Hymn on his double bass was the star of the evening. Seldom does one hear this quality. You could have heard a pin drop while the sound was being plucked from the strings of the bass.

The team that puts together the Lowville Festival each summer has put together a winter program that begins with Robert Priest, Canada’s finest spoken word poet and singer who will delight the audience with some of his poems and compositions along with a salute to Robbie Burns. Schoolhouse Series


Lowville School House – Locale for the Lowville Festival winter series.

That event takes place Saturday January 21, 2017. Titled “Words to Warm a Winter’s Night” it will beheld in the Lowville Schoolhouse

Saturday March 4, 2017:
Racy Artists from the Renaissance to the Rococo.
Real lives of the artists will be revealed by Barbara Anderson-Huget in this multi-media presentation. Murder, adultery, fanaticism, broken vows and fashion.


Sports concussions are the topic for the final evening of the Lowville Festival Winter series.

Saturday April 1, 2017:
Head Games: the Global Concussion Crisis
After viewing the movie, Concussion, Lorretta Bailey and guest will lead a discussion about how to prevent concussions in our youth, the warning signs and possible treatments.

$20 /person for each event to defray costs.
RSVP to to reserve a seat

6207 Lowville Park Road, Burlington

Presented by ThinkSpot and the Lowville Festival

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