Two of three stolen snow mobiles recovered - truck and one snow mobile still out there in the wrong hands.

Crime 100By Staff

January 17th, 2017



These thieves apparently thought there was going to be all kinds of snow.

On December 11th 2016 between 9:15 PM and 9:29 PM, an unknown culprit stole a pickup truck with an attached trailer that contained three snowmobiles from a business on Industrial Street in Burlington.

HRPS crestOn January 12th 2017, members of the Burlington Criminal Investigations Bureau – Commercial Crime Team executed a search warrant at an address on Twenty Road East in Hamilton where the stolen trailer and two of the snowmobiles were recovered and one male arrested for possession of property obtained by crime. The value of the recovered property is approximately $15,000.00.

Police are still looking for a dark blue 2002 GMC Sierra pick-up truck with Ontario licence plates 8608KY and a red 2007 Yamaha RST snowmobile with Ontario licence plate 985115

Scott David BOYD (48-yrs) of Hamilton was charged with possession of property obtained by crime over $5000. He was released on a Promise to Appear in Milton Court of February 15th 2017.

Investigators are seeking information that will lead them to the remaining stolen property and the persons responsible for the theft.

Anyone with information is asked to call D/Cst. Colin MacLeod of the Burlington Criminal Investigations Bureau at 905-825-4747 ext. 2357 or Crime Stoppers “See something, Hear something, Say something” at 1-800-222-8477(TIPS) or through the internet at or by texting “Tip201” with your message to 274637 (CRIMES)

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Part 2: How we got to the point where school closings were recommended and what the trustees can do.

backgrounder 100By Tom Muir

January 17th, 2017



Tom Muir, an Aldershot resident, has been an active participant in civic affairs. Our colleague, Joan Little described Muir 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.  There is a lot of material; it gets dense at times. Living in a democracy mans you have to accept the responsibility of citizenship and stay informed. This is a multi part story.

The Board keeps repeating the phrase – “we have too many empty seat” and that is true.

If you are asking the question “whodunnit” to us, the answer is, “the Board dunnit”. They created this awful mess and our trustees have just been sleepy collaborators in this doing.

And the Board just lets this pass by the trustees with no emphatic warning to parents, residents and city Council, of what was coming?

In my opinion, no one was in charge to see this coming and head it off, or at least give a lot of early warning, underlined and publicized.


A message that might have been a little on the late side.

Why you would build a new school, with projected enrollment of 1600, when the surplus of available places in the existing schools were projected to increase to 2500, and nobody says anything about this disconnection, is beyond me. Or anyone else I know who has talked about the problem, and how the Board operates.

Where is this problem going, and where might it go?
I can tell, more broadly from my study of this, that there is a lot more of this issue still underwater, and coming, but it’s understated there in the LTAP reports.

Burlington SRA 100 catchments (which can be changed, and were changed for Hayden) are in mature communities, and with the transfers to Hayden, are not projected to grow enough students to fill schools built in another era. This Burlington area is also not taking on the endless high growth of other parts of Halton.

There are new high, and elementary, schools in the pipe for this growth and the Board will be sooner or later coming for more closures to get the available place capacity down to some level to get grants for the new schools for the growth. But these new schools will be put somewhere else.

This will only cause more trouble in the future, and the suggested closures at present foretell more in the future. The elementary schools are linked, and next for PARs – stated in the current LTAP – and will be domino-ed if there are closures.

My general impression is that new schools are planned for, and built in the growth areas when grants are available. If there is too much excess students spaces elsewhere, the Board goes there, does a PAR, and takes back – closes – schools in areas with available spaces, which are in the elsewhere.

That’s like what’s being done here now, but parents and residents aren’t really being told about that part. But hints are in the LTAP reports.

Hayden high school

Was Hayden high school needed? Was there a business case for the construction of the school. When originally planned it grew from a high school – that had a public library and a Recreation Centre added to it. There came a point when it all looked just too good. And the growing Alton community needed a high school.

There seems to be no limit to this, just the timing. It’s outrageous, and a rip-off, as we paid for the schools in the first place, and now have to pay twice for new ones – the province funds new schools with our money, then takes back some old schools, so we pay again, but with an added insult.

This is what I fought back in 1998-2000. This time, it has been hidden. You see it coming in the LTAPs, but it’s subtle.

What can Trustees do?
The Trustees of course work within the provincial rule book, but they definitely DO NOT have to choose to close schools.

Option 19 recommendation

Of the 19 options – this is the one the Board of Education staff recommended. Why?

They have a tool kit that they can pick and choose from so as to spread the student numbers around, together with the dollars, and innovate to keep the schools open.

However, the Board staff has chosen to make pretty much all the options presented as mostly about closures. As far as I’m concerned this is the bureaucrat in them defending their past decisions that led to this messy situation.

The Trustees have the authority to change this, and to give the Board marching orders to come up with another plan that uses all of the tool kit.

Trustees - fill board +

Will the 11 school board trustees hang together as a group and really think the issue through or will they leave it to the Program Accommodation Review Committee to come up with an answer they can live with.

One problem that is foreseeable is that the Trustees are played off against each other depending on the part of Halton they represent. Milton is projected to grow a great deal in population, and Oakville is next in numbers.
Milton and Oakville each have 2 elementary schools in the planning pipe for 2018 to 2021, and these are not yet funded. Each also has a high school in the planning pipe for the 2019 to 2021 period and these are not yet funded either.

These proposed schools are all for students and parents that are not even born yet, but are projected from the future growth driven by provincial orders.

This is the rub. Will the Milton and Oakville Trustees put these possible future students that are not even here yet, before existing students, already living here but in schools somewhere else – in Burlington?
Will these trustees turn against their colleagues and neighbors and vote to close their schools, so they can have some new ones for people who aren’t here yet?

People who obviously do not vote here yet, and certainly didn’t elect any of the Trustees.

Boardroom Values Statement 2016

This large poster hangs on the wall of the school board meeting room

The Trustees don’t have to vote that way, but who knows? People are strange.

However, they do have the power to unite and stick together. They can put together better ideas, and order the Board staff to make another plan that keeps schools open.

This will be a testing time for these trustees.  Burlington Central high school is putting up quit a fight – they raised $14,000 at a Silent Auction.  These people are not going to go quietly into the night.

Such a plan may contain innovative elements – which just happens to be in the latest Board Multi Year Plan goal to use innovative approaches to using learning spaces.


Part 1 of a multiple part series

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Looking like a 4.23% tax increase for 2017 - 2018 might touch 5% - and that hospital levy is here forever.

Budget 2017 ICON aaBy Pepper Parr

January 17th, 2017



While city council works through the operational budget for 2017 – they will be doing the heavy lifting on Thursday and settle on what the taxes will be at a city council meeting on the 23rd.

The Finance department has done all its prep work – it is now in the hands of city council

Director of Finance Joan Ford did say that while the proposed tax increase is above the 4% level – they have managed to whittle away more than $1 million on the spending side.

Joan Ford, the city's Director of Finance knows where every dollar comes from and where every dollar gets spent.

Joan Ford, the city’s Director of Finance knows where every dollar comes from and where every dollar gets spent.

The struggle for the city is upgrading the infrastructure which needs millions more. This is the result of tax increases that were at the 0% level during the late 90’s. Ford pointed out that if tax increases had been as little as 1% a year for those ten years the city would not be in the uncomfortable situation it is in today.

When the province told the city that it was going to have to come up with $60 million to pay for part of the hospital renovation/redevelopment program and that the hospital foundation would also have to come up with an additional $60 million a special levy was placed on the tax bill.

That levy was supposed to end in 2019 but it has been “repositioned” infrastructure. City council, on the advice of the finance department decided that they would just change the original reason for a tax – give it a new name and continue to collect the money.

There was never an explanation. That one has election issue potential written all over it.

A decision made in November of 2012 approved Long Term Financial Plan which included the following key strategic objectives for the city:

1. Competitive Property Taxes
2. Responsible Debt Management
3. Improved Reserves and Reserve Funds
4. Predictable Infrastructure Investment
5. Recognized Value for Services

The Director of Finance presented a 2017–2036 operating forecast.  It is not a pretty picture through to 2019 – after that is gets digestible.

20 year drivers 2017 budget graph

The purple line is the one that matters. It represents spending the city does. The bar chart is the tax increase when you add in the school tax, which the city has no impact on and the Region budget which we are part of but we don’t make that decision – we do influence it.

The forecast is based on estimated budget drivers using the 2017 budget numbers as a starting point.

Ford pointed out that the simulation forecast has greatest precision in the first year and added that it is imperative that the results are simply used as an information tool regarding major budget drivers and future projected tax impacts.

Not only does it provide an analysis of what the future financial picture for the City of Burlington might look like, but it also helps assess financial risks and the affordability of existing and new services, existing and future capital investments, as well as provides an opportunity to analyze sensitivities to assumptions.
Looking into the future means considering:

• Changes in economic conditions and market demands
• Fluctuations in customer expectations
• Legislative changes
• Reassessment impacts
• Operating impacts from approved capital initiatives
• Joint venture and other business agreements
• Business process improvements

Assessment growth has been a bug bear for the finance department. Expecting assessment growth of 1.6% was projected for one year – it came in at 0.15%.

Staff have shown a realistic scenario where assessment growth is maintained at 0.6% per annum; no new legacy projects are forecasted; and infrastructure renewal funding is addressed over the 20-year time horizon, as per the Asset Management Financing Plan. These components provided the basis for estimating budget drivers and include the following assumptions within each item:

Maintaining Current Service Levels – Base Budget
Inflationary Impacts and User Fees
• With the exception of human resources and commodities (hydro, water, fuel etc.), 2.0% inflation per year has been applied to all other expense categories (materials and supplies, purchased services and contributions to local boards and committees)

% cubes

Taxpayers would prefer a different % in that tax increase.

• The increases to User Rates and Fees assumed a 2.0% increase per annum, which is dependent on the nature of the revenues and external market conditions

• An annual increase of 3% to the Vehicle Depreciation Reserve Fund to sustain the City’s fleet and equipment inventory

Corporate Expenditures/Revenues
• An annual increase to the provisions for Insurance and Contingency Reserves of $100,000 each.

• An increase in Investment Income of $100,000 per year in 2019 and beyond given the current low interest rate environment.

• Reversal of one-time revenue of $220,000 for assessment growth stabilization in 2018.

Other Expenditures
Infrastructure Renewal Funding and Joseph Brant Hospital

• An annual increase of 1.25% for Dedicated Infrastructure Renewal Funding from 2017-2022, reduced to 1.0% for 2023-2033 and 0.5% for 2034 and 2036. This provides funding for capital renewal, as per the Asset Management Financing Plan (approved 20-year scenario).

JBH renering July -15 with passageway to garage

That special tax levy for the hospital is apparently with us forever – money will go into infrastructure starting in 2019.

• An annual increase of $200,000 (2020-2024) in order to phase in required increase for debt charges.

• Includes the repositioning of the hospital levy to infrastructure renewal in 2019 ($1.5 million), 2026 ($800,000) and 2027 ($2.5 million)
Business Cases

• Details from the 2017 Capital Budget and Forecast as well as growth related operating impacts in the future
• In order to address Service enhancements, similar to the one included in the 2017 Proposed Budget for Tree Service ($254K), $600,000 have been included in the 2018 Forecast for Playfield Service levels, reducing to $400,000 annually from 2019 and beyond for other Service enhancements.

Allowance for Unknown Factors

As with all forecasts, it is imperative to recognize that there are a vast number of unknown factors that will likely occur in the future that could impact the model. In order to address these unpredictable factors, an amount of $100,000 has been included in the 2019 forecast, increasing by $50,000 per year until 2027, and maintained at $500,000 beyond that.

Assessment Growth
The weighted assessment growth for the 2017 budget is 0.15%. Assessment growth is estimated to be 0.6% in 2018 and maintained unchanged for the remainder of the 20- years. Over the last 5 years, weighted assessment growth has ranged from a low of 0.15% to 1.16%. The five year average is 0.75%.

The proposed 2017 Budget reflects a city tax impact of 4.23%.

Tax increases proposed 2017 - 2036

An increase for 2017, which is greater than the increase in 2016, which was greater – you’re getting the picture aren’t you?

The simulation forecasts the city tax impact from 2018 to 2036 to begin at 4.96% reducing to 2.90%.
While staff will look for ways to smooth out the timing of operating impact from prior approved capital projects, it is important for council to recognize the significant pressures in 2018. One way to stabilize significant spikes would be to partially advance a known 2018 budget pressure. While this would increase the 2017 budget, it could assist in mitigating the 2018 forecasted impact.

Keep in mind that 2018 is an election year; some of the members of council might want to get re-elected.
Councillors Taylor and Dennison were on council when those 0% tax increases were boasted about. They might choose to take their pensions and move on before the proverbial hits the fan.

There is a young candidate with significant potential looking closely at Taylor’s ward 3 seat.

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Part 1 - the high school capacity problem is one we created. Trustees failed their constituents and the Board of Education staff was either asleep at the switch or incompetent.

backgrounder 100By Tom Muir

January 16th, 2017



Tom Muir, an Aldershot resident, has been an active participant in civic affairs. Our colleague, Joan Little described Muir 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.

There is a lot of material; it gets  dense at times.  Living in a democracy mans you have to accept the responsibility of citizenship and stay informed.  This is a multi part story.

1. How was this problem created and why is it a mess?

Everyone needs to appreciate that there is a lot of Long Term Accommodation Plans (LTAP) and other reports and information on the Board website, but knowing how to find them, and have the time to read and comprehend it all, are daunting for people not used to this kind of analysis. And if they have both jobs along with their kids and home responsibilities, this just gets much worse.

The Board writes these long LTAP reports but the trustees I think seem to be snowed under by them, over time. There are plenty of warnings and facts presented about what is going on, but somehow it doesn’t fizz on them, and parents and residents are not given any warning of what lies ahead on the path the Board is on.  That’s the case I found here, and it’s not hard to find if you know how to look and take the time.

One 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 and a new SRA 101 was created..

SRA 101 as at 2015

This Secondary Review Area contains one school. Dr. Frank J. Hayden SS opened with grades 9 and 10 in September 2013, and grew one grade each year. Enrolment currently exceeds OTG capacity, resulting in the placement of 6 portables on site. A high percentage (30%+) of grade 8 students from Orchard Park PS and Alexander’s PS enrolled in a secondary school other than Dr. Frank Hayden SS in 2015. More than 90% of grade eight students from the following elementary schools attend Dr. Frank J. Hayden SS: Charles R. Beaudoin PS FI program, John William Boich PS FI program Alton Village PS Dr. Frank J. Hayden SS is projected to be over-utilized. Enrolment is approaching Total Capacity by 2016. Boundaries may need to be re-evaluated as part of a future Program and Accommodation Review. To Be Determined Area, students are projected in this area within the next five years. Consideration should be given to establishing school catchments for this area as development approvals move forward.

Data is avalable for as far back as 2010-2011 where toy can already see the troubles looming. But there is no hint of how Hayden was justified on pupil place needs – there weren’t any – when it was already known that building the school would drain all the students from the existing high schools and create large and growing surplus places there, while overfilling Hayden, even with Portables, right from the start.

SRA 100 as at 2015

Secondary Review area 100 shows the high schools south of the QEW where the population was concentrated. The creation of the Halton community when the 407 highway was built suggested the need for an additional high school.

For example, in 2010-2011 LTAP report, we see the following.

The Board data for 2010 indicates there were 495 actual empty seats, and 92% space utilization, in the 6 then existing schools in Burlington. There was obviously no problem with surplus places and the trends stayed in a 90 to 80% bracket to 2020.

With the projected opening of the Alton school, the transfer of students from the other schools to the Alton school began, and the steep increase in available places in the existing 6 Burlington schools began.

From the 2010-2011 LTAP commentary:

– New subdivision development in SRA 101 contributes to the high utilization of Lester B. Pearson H.S., M.M. Robinson H.S., Nelson H.S. and Robert Bateman HS

– Opening of the proposed Alton community high school (2011) will cause enrollment to drop in most schools.

– A boundary review for the proposed Alton community high school has been initiated.

– There is potential for a PARC (Program and Accommodation Review Committee) Process to be initiated.

The plans were to build another school in Alton – add 1200 seats plus about 280 in portables.

The Board set out to build the new high school and decided to make it both a public library, a recreation centre and a high school and opened it  in 2013 (at first it was 2011/2012), filled it with about 1400 students by 2017 from schools within the six existing high schools. These 1400 now become empty seats in the south Burlington six schools.

Together with the 495 cited above, this adds up to about the 1800-1900 empty seats now cited as unsustainable.

So this was basically already known before 2010, but the possible consequences were never made public or explained to anyone, from all appearances.

As well, in this 2010-2011 LTAP, there is no business case, or any other rationalization, based on a deficit in pupil places, for building a new school in Alton. This may have been done in earlier years, but there is no visible evidence of the need anywhere, and it is not available or provided for public information right now.

This rationale needs to be provided.

2. How did we stay on this path to problems?
The path Burlington was put on by these Board decisions continued unabated, but the consequences continued to be unexplained to the public, and seemingly were not appreciated or were ignored by Trustees.
I went back to the LTAP for 2012-2013. It quite clearly states that opening Hayden was going to cause problems.
Here’s something I copied out of that report (my underlining). SRA 100 contains the 6 Burlington High schools, besides Hayden the new one.

BURLINGTON – Secondary Review Areas
With the development of the new Secondary Review Areas (SRA)  101 Burlington NE High School (1200 pupil places) in the Alton Community, a school boundary review process was undertaken and completed in June 2012.

The opening of the new high school would result in students being redirected from SRA 100 to this new school.  The additional capacity meant a reduction in the number of students in classroom seats.  The Board appears to have convinced itself that Alton needed a high school and built one – at a time when the high school population wasn’t growing.

Secondary school enroll with Hayden includedEnrollment projections indicate the utilization of space in SRA 100 secondary schools is currently at 87% in 2012, which will decline to 60% in 2022. Moreover, given the capacity of the schools, it is projected once the new high school opens there will be 2503 secondary pupil places available in 2022 within SRA 100.

In reviewing SRA101, it is projected that the new school will continue to grow in enrollment to the point that by
2019, On the Ground (OTG) building and portable capacity could be exceeded, with a utilization rate of 131% by 2022.

Overall for Burlington, by 2022 the OTG utilization is projected to be 72%, with approximately 2129 empty
pupil places. It would appear that within the next few years, consideration should be given to undertaking a
PAR for all secondary schools in Burlington.

So you can see again, that the building of Hayden, the lack of a rationale, and the plan for filling it, was a root cause of the current problem.

Bateman - team on the street protesting

A number of years ago Bateman students demonstrated to keep their football team – parents may find themselves demonstrating to keep their high schools open.

Looking at another Table shows that the actual student numbers in SRA 100 was 5530 in 2012 and was projected, by opening Hayden in 2013, to decline down to 4913 in 2013.

So in that time period, the Board moved about 600 Grade 9 and 10 students from the SRA 100 to Hayden, and then in time would drain other grades and feeder students greatly to get to the overshoot of capacity that they are at now.

The student numbers in Hayden went to 860 in 2014; 1250 in 2015; 1350 in 2016; about 1400 in 2017; and is projected to grow to about 1600 in 2020.

The students could have remained in, and new ones put into, other schools of the 6 existing, and Hayden was not really needed given the pupil places already available at the time as indicated. Further, the school is already overfull, with portables, and this will continue with the present catchment and policy.

From another section of the LTAP 2012-2013 I copied this. I had to take the format from a Table, so that’s why it is what it is.

SRA 100, includes Aldershot, Burlington Central, Lester B. Pearson, MM Robinson, Nelson and Robert Bateman where school enrollments are below OTG capacity and will continue to decline from 87% in 2012 to 60% of OTG
capacity in 2022.

This is a result of the opening of the new school in the Alton High School.

By 2022 there will be approximately 2500 available pupil places in this review area and all schools will be operating below their OTG capacity.

Hayden is already overcapacity in 2016. This is just getting worse and will continue unless policy changes are made.

All these decisions and descriptions are made by the Board, and then rubber-stamped by the Trustees, who I think didn’t really comprehend what was happening.

The near total turn over of trustees in Burlington in the 2014 election didn’t help.

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.




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The Wallace game plan; the first part got put into place Saturday morning.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

July 15th, 2015



There were two meetings – both took place at the same time, in the same room.

Many people were not fully aware of the meeting that mattered to Mike Wallace.

The scheduled meeting was the Burlington provincial Progressive Conservative Annual General Meeting at which a new board was installed.  The other meeting, taking place at the same time was former Member of Parliament Mike Wallace creating the campaign team he will need in 2018.

Wallace is going to take a shot at getting the job as Mayor of Burlington.

Here is the time line he is working within.

The next provincial election is “scheduled” for June of 2018.

The next municipal election will take place in October of 2018.

At the Burlington Provincial Progressive Conservative riding association Saturday forenoon the new board was put in place.

McKenna at her AGM

Nominee Jane McKenna at the Progressive Conservative AGM last Saturday?

And it was announced that Mike Wallace as going to run Jane McKenna’s election campaign whenever the provincial election is called.

The municipal election date is cast in stone – the provincial election can take place whenever Kathleen Wynne decides to call it.  The Burlington provincial Progressive Conservatives believe they are ready.

They appear to have the money in the bank and they now have a Board and an Executive that will do what Wallace needs them to do.

McKenna’s chances of getting returned to Queen’s Park are slim unless the Premier really screws up – and that may well happen.

For Mike it doesn’t matter all that much. He will put together a campaign team and do the best he can with what he has. Running Jane McKenna against Liberal Eleanor McMahon is an uphill battle – too early to attempt to call that one – except for the fact that McMahon is the much better campaigner. She has a genuine touch for people that McKenna is never going to be able to match.

Wallace with blue maps

Can former MP Mike Wallace keep all those Tory blue votes when he runs for the office of Mayor in 2018?

That too doesn’t matter – Wallace will do the best he can with what he has. He will put together a superb team; there are some very accomplished Tory political operatives in Burlington and the party still believes that the heart of this city is still conservative.  I think Karina Gould has proven that may no longer be the case

This city has more than enough in the way of Tory party faithful who will heed the call and turn out and pull in the vote.

Mayor at Wallace election HQ Oct 2015

The night of the last federal election, which Mike Wallace lost to Karina Gould. Mayor Goldring went to the Wallace campaign offices first and then went to the Gould campaign offices later to congratulate the winner. Did Goldring misread the tea leaves?

What Mike Wallace gets out of this is  a well-oiled campaign machine that he will use to propel him into city hall where he will get to wear the chain of office.

Wallace served as a city Councillor for a number of years and was the Member of Parliament for Burlington until Gould defeated him.

The race for Mayor of Burlington in 2018 looks like it will be between Rick Goldring, Mike Wallace and Marianne Meed Ward.

Wallace will eat into the Goldring voters – the Meed Ward voters will remain firm.


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The provincial Tory's want to move into a war footing soon - they want to take the city back to its conservative roots in 2018.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

January 15th, 2017



There were no fireworks – but it was a bigger Annual General Meeting of the Burlington Progressive Conservative Association than they expected. Additional tables had to be set up to accommodate everyone.

McKenna at her AGM

Jane McKenna at the Progressive Conservative AGM last Saturday.

Jane McKenna, now the candidate, worked the room but studiously avoided the table at which Jane Michael and her colleagues were sitting. Michael was the candidate that lost the nomination to McKenna.

McKenna was the Member of the provincial legislature for one term, elected in YEAR and lost to Eleanor McMahon in 2014 – putting an end to 70 years of provincial Tory rule in Burlington.

While there were ten tables set up there were just two that mattered,

The one with the defeated candidate and the other that is best described as the “power” table. This is where the heavy weights in the PC party in Burlington sat. Keith Strong, Mike Wallace, Paul Sharman – others we were not able to identify but certainly people who have been part of the organization for some time.
The agenda was the standard AGM deal.

Burlington MP Mike Wallace - flipping burgers at a Chamber of Commerce event.

Mike Wallace – flipping burgers at a Chamber of Commerce event when he was the Member of Parliament for Burlington.

You need to be careful with this man: Once he has decided to do something - it is going to get done. Expect to see Jim Frizzle working with him

Keith Strong, one of the most powerful people in the room; doesn’t sit on the board but will have a lot to say about policy and strategy. Once he has decided to do something – it is going to get done.

Brook Dyson asked that we not take pictures – we complied. Quite why they wouldn’t want photographs of a very full room was beyond this reporter.

The members were told that in the past membership had been around 250 – and was always pretty steady at that number.

Because there was a contested nomination campaign membership had shot up to more than 900 – the trick is going to be to keep them all and to get them out on the streets knocking on doors.

Jane Michael is reported to have brought in 350 new members; with the hard feelings that came out of the way the vote count during the nomination was handled there is little chance that the bulk of those members will be active.

Mention was made a number of times that there were youth groups being set up – but there weren’t any young people at the tables – other than the daughter of the nominated candidate.

A couple of odd things – there was a sheet of paper with a list of the people whose names were being put forward to serve on the riding association board.

An executive of five and 14 directors. The past president sits on the board but he was reported to no longer be involved.

Colin Pye, the lawyer who wrote the appeal against the nomination vote count asking that the results of the nomination vote be set aside (that appeal was denied) chose not to run for the board again.

The Jane Michael crowd felt they were robbed and attended the meeting partly in protest and to sit by helplessly as a new organization was put in place.

The slate of candidates Mike Wallace put forward was not opposed and there were no nominations from the floor.

At the top of the list of names was the letterhead of Mike Wallace’s new real estate operation. When asked why his name was at the top of the page Wallace said “it was the only paper I had”

It became very clear that this was the Mike Wallace slate – they were the people he wanted to go forward with when the election is called

Wallace is going to run the McKenna campaign.

Colin Gray, the financial officer gave a short report on how much money there was in the bank and what the new political donations rules are – donations from corporations and unions are out; individual donations are limited to $3600 during an election year and $2400 in a non-election year.

Is Jane McKenna really prepared to vote the government out of office and go to the polls again? Maybe she has some election signs she didn't use last tine.

Expect to see signs like this when the provincial election is called.

The organization believes it has more than enough money in the bank now to fight a 28 day campaign – which they pointed out could take place at any time. They want to be on a war footing as soon as possible.

Expect to see a lot of Jane McKenna in the next six months but don’t expect to see her at fund raisers – the new funding rules say the candidate cannot attend. Who wrote that rule?

Many people at the Saturday AGM felt that in the past the riding had been directed and controlled by the Toronto headquarters of the provincial Progressive Conservative party – they wanted to see that end.
Of the 19 member board 12 were new. No one from the Jane Michael team are on the board,
The board is now made up of:

Brook Dyson, president; Rene Papin, vice president election organization; Mike Clouse, VP membership; Archie Jollymore, treasurer; Bill Brown,secretary; Hugh Loomans, Kris Kowalchuk, Taylor McKensie, Alice Sterling, Paul Scherer, Sukhdev Takher, Rajpal Sidhu, David Stabkiewicz, Ann Curran, John Krasevec, Riley Thompson, Brenda Stewart, Mike Wallace and Larry Pedlar.

Ruth Roberts, who has been an active Tory for longer than she might want to admit asked some very probing questions at the close of the meeting: What has happened to us she asked. “We have fences to mend she said and added that there is a tough fight in 2018 and we are going to need young people to help us win it.

The problem was there were very few young people in the room that Saturday morning.

Those that were there left on a high note. They have their candidate; they have the money they need to run a campaign – all they feel they need is the date on which the campaign will start – and they expect to be ready for it.

Ruth Roberts had the most positive words – but she isn’t on the board.

Related editorial comment.

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While the city figures out which lawyers will represent them at the OMB hearing on the Adi development in Alton, a citizen reflects on how we got into this mess.

opinionandcommentBy Pepper Parr

January 15th, 2017



The development that council voted not to go forward with in the Alton Village got punted to the Ontario Municipal Board faster than the lawyers could lick the envelope and get the postage on it.

The city now has to go looking for legal talent to represent them on what is going to be a difficult case.
The city planner did her job – she asked council for specific direction – got it and set out working with the developer.

The project gets brought back, the community delegates against the project and council votes it down

The developer says he is “shocked” and notes that he never did like the Mayor; we now have personalities introduced to a sticky legal case.


Planning department and council talked past each other on this project. Did the city manager not see the disconnection? Apparently not.

How did this mess happen?
A regular reader, who is not identified for good reasons, wrote some comments that are strong enough to be passed along.

The writer is well qualified to make the comments:

“It’s obvious the city has a monumental challenge at the OMB, having to hire outside planners against the staff recommendation.

“I found watching the meetings on video revealing and alarming at how decisions are made at city hall. What struck me is how the planning department and council talked past each other, not understanding what the other was saying and what they were agreeing to. The planning department was presenting a new approach to handle the application – yet no one seems to have a hand on the tiller, guiding the process so ensure good decision making and mitigate the city’s risk.


Director of Planning Mary Lou Tanner

“Back at the July 11, 2016 meeting, the Planning Director was clear what she was asking for. Her focus was on seven design principles she identified and pointed out that she did not yet have agreement with Adi because two of these principles were not yet met:

Principle 5 – Implement tall building best practices. The modified design recommendations from staff (below) achieve this principle.

Principle 6 – Provide appropriate transitions between buildings. This is achieved with the modified design recommendations.

“She was asking council members to endorse the design approach and recommendations and direct staff to prepare an official plan and zoning bylaw amendment subject to these design recommendations (i.e. the remaining two principles) being met.

“When the majority of council voted in favour of the Planning Director’s requests, she thought she had their support to negotiate with ADI to make these design changes and develop recommendations based on the outcome of these negotiations.

Lots of talking; not enough listening.

“Back at the July 11, 2016 meeting, a few council members, including the Ward 6 councillor, expressed concern about the tower height. However, the report they approved never committed to reviewing the number of storeys, only “to optimize building placement and ensure an appropriate fit and transition in scale.”


Is this city council so deeply into a group think that they no longer know ho to listen?

“People were talking around the horseshoe, but seems like there was not enough listening. With no amendments to the report, it’s surprising that council would be surprised that the December report contained no changes to the number of storeys.

“Most of council didn’t seem to know what they were voting for, given the comments that this was just “going forward for discussion”. It wasn’t – the planning director was asking for approval to negotiate several design changes – but nothing to do with height – and in fact she did just that and brought back the file for approval. Their approval set off the chain of events that directly lead to Adi appealing to the OMB. We’re now in the soup we’re in because of that ill-considered decision and poorly thought through process.

“The director of planning never corrected the statements that this report was “just to continue discussions:” She should have been very clear about what she was asking. That lulled everyone, including the public, into thinking substantive changes were coming when clearly they were not – only the two design tweaks staff mentioned in the report. So the public didn’t show up in force till the 11th hour, and then council flips because as Tom Muir said, “it’s politics stupid”.

“Meanwhile, the public was ignored for months – with many council members waking up to their firm opposition only at the December meeting.

The lesson here is to:

a) know what you’re voting on;

b) get the public involved EARLY not at the end. I suspect (hope) this is the first and last time this process will be followed on a planning file given the mess it has created.

Chasing the shiny new object:

“The Planning Director’s recommendations were based on the Tall Building Guidelines – not the Official Plan or public input.

“The influence of outside consultants like Brent Toderian are obvious. From a professional perspective, city planners are captivated by the Vancouverism urban form, which they regard as the exciting, fresh approach to planning. They’re keen to import his thinking to Burlington.

“The Planning Director rushed through these guidelines earlier in the year, with most of council supporting her request, with only an “interim” proviso slapped on it.

“However, no effort was expended to get public input. Planning staff calls them “best practices”, but the guidelines have never been evaluated or debated to determine if Vancouver’s urban form is right for Burlington neighborhoods.

“An honest discussion on intensification desperately needed. This slipshod decision-making process is in the context of never having a healthy public discussion and getting broader buy-in on the right kind of intensification for Burlington.


Consultant Brent Toderian – the chief evangelist for the tall narrow buildings on a podium-planning model.

“The mayor had a “rah-rah” presentation at his Inspire Series – leaning heavily on Brent Toderian – the chief evangelist for the tall narrow buildings on a podium-planning model.

“We should be asking if intensification is the city’s highest ambition, or is it simply a means to a higher goal. Instead all we get are the empty “Grow Bold” platitudes.

“The lack of clarity on the meaning and limits of intensification, the disregard for the Official Plan and the embrace of the Tall Building Guidelines, coupled with the public being bypassed raises concerns about the nature of the relationship between the city’s planning department and the development industry.

“These factors breed uncertainty in our community for who decides what gets developed where.

“Once again, I wonder whose city is it?”


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Jim Young is going to give it another go at council on Monday - he wants the city to properly fund transit.

News 100 redBy Staff

January 15th, 2017



Sometime Monday forenoon Jim Young will take to the podium at city hall and brief members of Council on the 28 page document he prepared on what the Senior’s Advisory Council would like to see done with transit.

Jim Young has been advocating for better transit for some time. He came close to getting a change during the budget debates in 2016 when he wanted the city to make transit free for seniors on Monday’s.

The ward four debate gave Rick Goldring a lot to think about - he was never challenged like this when he ran for the office of Mayor in 2010

Mayor Rick Goldring voted for the transit pilot program in the 2016 budget.

Ward 6 Councillor Blair Lancaster thinking through the answer to a question. Tends to be cautious.

Ward 6 Councillor Blair Lancaster voted for the pilot transit program in the 2016 budget


Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward voted for the transit pilot program during the 2016 budget.

The Mayor, Councillor Meed Ward and Councillor Lancaster voted for what was to be a pilot program. The Director of Transit at the time wasn’t for the idea. He has since left the city.

Councillor Craven is reported to have told an Aldershot resident that he liked the program – but he did not vote for it – that may have been because almost anything Councillor Meed Ward puts forward, Craven opposes. He didn’t speak at any length on the matter during the debate.

Councillor Paul Sharman voted no – he wanted more data. Councillor Sharman always wants more data before he makes a decision – there does come a point when a decision has to be made based on experience and wisdom. There was the sense that the asking for additional data was punting the ball off the field.

Councillor John Taylor voted no – saw free transit as social welfare which most people didn’t need. Councillor Taylor couldn’t help but see free transit as some form of social welfare; his mind is still stuck in that old style thinking.


Councillor Taylor saw free transit as part of the social welfare system – a Regional responsibility.

One wonders why Taylor does not label the $225,000 that is forgone in terms of parking fees for the free parking members of staff get every year. With that kind of money the city could make the transit service free to everyone.

Councillor Dennison voted against the proposal.

Young personifies persistence and so he will be at it again on Monday asking council to put more money into transit.

The paper he has presented was adopted by the Burlington Seniors’ Advisory Committee: November 14, 2016.

The chances that every member of council will actually read all 28 pages is slim.

Here is a short summary of what Jim Young wants your city council to do to improve transit.

Improving Transit for Seniors Improves Transit for All
Improved Frequency and Reliability of Transit Service
Synchronize Smaller Community Buses to Larger Bus Hub to Hub Routes
Routing community bus services through satellite Seniors Centres
Restoring Service Stops in Major Malls
A Return to 70/30 Division of Transit/Roads Gasoline Tax Funding
Filling the City’s Buses During Off-Peak Hours

At busy holiday shopping periods buses get trapped in Maple View Mall - killing schedules. City is in talks with the Mall management.

At busy holiday shopping periods buses get trapped in Maple View Mall – killing schedules.

The Major Objectives of the BSAC Paper are:

To improve service and increase ridership of Burlington Transit.
To get more people out of cars and on to transit.
To move the city towards achievement of its 25 year Strategic Plan.
Contribute to growth in our city.
Reduce traffic congestion and improve road safety in Burlington.
Reduce CO2 emissions and help limit global warming.
Provide a safe, dignified means of transport for many who suffer restricted mobility.
Address the paradox that those most in need of public transit are those least able to afford it.


“Public transit is one of the most complex issues facing cities and indeed nations today. It poses a series of problems that are complicated and difficult to solve. Every city, every politician wants successful transit systems.

They move people, contribute to growth, reduce congestion, improve road safety, reduce CO2 emissions, help limit global warming, provide a safe means of transport for many who would otherwise suffer restricted employment and social mobility.

The paradox is that those most in need of public transit are those least able to afford it. The elderly, the young, the working poor, students, single parents, physically and intellectually challenged citizens and, returning to the elderly, those who have had driver’s licenses rescinded due to age related health issues.

Putting aside any notion of “seniors entitlement”, Burlington Senior Advisory Committee (BSAC) wants to add the voice of seniors’ experience, knowledge and love of our city to the transit debate. Of course we recommend improvements in transit that benefit seniors, but we do so very firmly from the perspective that: “Whatever Improves Transit for Senior’s, Improves Transit for Everybody”. This philosophical principle improves transit for our children and grandchildren, improves transit for Burlington and improves Burlington as: A City that Grows, A City that Moves, A Healthy and Greener City, An Engaging City, achieving all of the elements of our city’s 25 year strategic plan.

Burlington Transit getting new buses - to deliver less service.

Burlington Transit getting new buses – to deliver less service.

Among politicians there is an almost universal love affair with the benefits of public transit. This is logically offset by concerns about how cities will finance the level of public transit required to achieve all of our lofty goals. The dichotomy has always been whether to wait for increased ridership to justify the cost of improving transit or, to invest in improved transit and trust that the ridership will follow.

This BSAC position paper hopes to point a way that allows Burlington to take some simple, relatively inexpensive actions that will increase ridership, contribute towards some of the social and environmental issues facing every city, and offer medium and longer term improvements that might make Burlington Transit a model for other medium sized city transit systems which becomes a showcase for the city worldwide.

A number of weeks ago Young upbraided city council for forgetting just why they were eleted. At that time he said:

When you deny constituents the reasonable opportunity to advise you during council term at meetings such as this, you leave them no other option but to voice their frustrations through the ballot box at election time.

Look at recent election results, where voters vented their frustration at the perception that politicians are not listening, do not provide the opportunity for citizens to be heard, a perception that has given voice to the Fords, the Trumps and the Brexiteers who, bereft of policy or vision or even civil discourse, at least pretend to listen, pretend they will be the voice of the people.

Then proceed to undo all the good that has been done, the community that has been built by that slow and frustrating democratic process.

I will finish by challenging each of you who wish to limit the participation of citizens in the affairs of our city:

Will you please explain to this gathering tonight how limiting delegations to 5 minutes is good for our democracy, good for our city?

Will you then publish that explanation in your Newsletter for all your constituents to see and to judge for themselves?

Will you stand at your regular town hall gatherings and tell the people of your wards why you want to silence their voice?

Because you will stand before them in 2018 and they will demand to know.

The motion to reduce delegation time at Standing Committee from ten minutes to five was defeated – in some measure due to the comments Young made.

Will he manage to convince council to re-think the way they fund transit?getting new - yellow


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What's happening NOW on the QEW - a way to see everything. Check it out.

News 100 redBy Staff

January 14th, 2017



There is a neat little service the city has – you can go to a map and see which streets have been plowed.

Looking at a map to learn which streets have been plowed is nice – I guess.

What this map has though is something else – that is really useful.

QEW signThere are small symbols along the line that is the QEW – each of those symbols is one of the cameras that broadcast what the traffic load is like in real time.

You might want to book mark this one – really useful.

Click to check it out.

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4,350 families benefited from the $248,810 raised during the Toys for Tots drive.

News 100 redBy Staff

January 13th, 2017



The Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) is pleased to announce that its annual Toys for Tots holiday fundraising campaign raised $248,810 in toys, gift cards, cash and food for local families in Halton. All told, more than 4,350 Christmases were made brighter because of the generosity of area citizens, businesses, schools and sports teams.

Police - Toys for Tots3

Not sure if that little girl returned the hat to the police officer.

In its sixteenth year, this latest drive ran from November 15 until December 24, 2016.
“Once again, the people of Halton have gone above and beyond,” said Stephen Tanner, Chief of Police. “Residents, businesses and groups not only exemplified the spirit of Christmas; they gave us all another reason to be proud to call our Region home.”

For the past eight years, the Service has partnered with the Burlington Lions Optimist Minor Hockey Association (BLOMHA). This year, the organization raised more than $60,000, bringing their grand total to over $275,000. Their efforts are spearheaded by parent representative, Shari Carruthers.

Meanwhile, a local corporation, that wished to remain anonymous, donated $21,000 worth of toys.
Other community partners who made significant contributions include Budds Subaru, Burlington Cougars, Canadian Tire, East Side’s Auto Group, Halton Catholic District School Board, Halton District School Board, Georgetown Raiders, G.E. Water, Halton Honda, Longo’s Fruit Market, Mandarin Restaurants, Rotherglen School, Royal Bank, TD Canada Trust, Tiger Jeet Singh Foundation, True Mentality, and Woodbine Entertainment Group.

Sworn (uniform), civilian, Auxiliary and other volunteer Service members donated their time to support collection efforts at Canadian Tire locations region-wide, at each city/town Santa Claus Parade, at three Cram-a-Cruiser challenges, and at numerous other community events.

HRPS members raised more than $6,400 of their own funds through individual initiatives and platoon challenges. Service volunteers were also responsible for packaging and delivering toys to area families in their homes and in hospital.

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Obervant police officer results in the arrest of four bank robbers - two are youths.

Crime 100By Staff

January 13th, 2017



Recall that piece we did on the men who were seen by police walking away from a dark coloured Mazda Protégé with a stolen licence plate in a parking lot near Appleby Line and Dundas Street in Burlington last on Thursday.

It was determined that the same vehicle and licence plate was involved in several armed robberies where a firearm was used and as a result, a perimeter was quickly established.

The two men were later found inside a nearby Starbucks.

Cst Mitchell with police dog Juno being trained. Another police dog, Storm, was used in the drug raid in east end Burlington.

Police dog was used in the apprehension of the first two suspects.

That two led to four males who were arrested. Charges being laid against all four individuals in relation to recent armed robberies in both Halton and Peel region.

Hassan ALI, 18 years of Mississauga
• Robbery with Firearm, Point Firearm, Disguise with Intent (Royal Bank – Oakville)
• Possession of Property Obtained by Crime (Burlington)
• Robbery with Firearm, Disguise with Intent (Macs Milk Store – Brampton)
• Robbery with Firearm, Disguise with Intent (Hasty Mart Variety Store – Brampton)
• Robbery with Firearm, Disguise with Intent (7-11 Convenience Store – Mississauga)
• Robbery with Firearm, Disguise with Intent (Macs Convenience Store – Mississauga)

Ibrahim MOHAMED, 18 years of Mississauga
• Possession of Property Obtained by Crime (Burlington)

Young person – 17 years of Mississauga
• Robbery with Intent, Point Firearm, Disguise with Intent (Royal Bank – Oakville)
• Possession of Property Obtained by Crime (Burlington)

Young Person – 16 years of Mississauga
• Possession of Property Obtained by Crime (Burlington)
• Robbery with Firearm, Disguise with Intent (Mac’s Milk Store – Brampton)
• Robbery with Firearm, Disguise with Intent (Hasty Mart Variety Store – Brampton)
• Robbery with Firearm, Disguise with Intent (711 Convenience Store – Mississauga)
• Robbery with Firearm, Disguise with Intent (Macs Convenience Store – Mississauga)

All four accused were held in custody pending a bail hearing in Milton Court on January 13th 2017.

A lot gets done when observant police officer are on the job.

Anyone who may have further information pertaining to these incidents is asked to contact the Oakville Criminal Investigations Bureau at 905-825 4747 ext. 2216, Crime Stoppers “See something, Hear something, Say something” at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS, through the web at or by texting “Tip 201” with your message to 274637 (crimes)

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Parents want an open mike meeting to ask their questions, Director of Education says he will be there if that is what they want.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

January 13th, 2016


That December 8th meeting that was held by the Halton District school board has come to be an experience the Board has learned something from.

Trustees were telling staff that many people didn’t feel they had had a real opportunity to ask questions or voice their concerns.


Director of Education Stuart Miller getting ready to address parents at Central high school.

Director of Education Stuart Miller admitted that there was something to be learned from that first experience and has said that the Board’s administrative committee will review what has taken place so far and decide if there should be another public meeting at which people can voice their concerns and grievances.

Miller didn’t sound all that happy with the idea of a meeting at which he has to stand up in front of a couple of hundred unhappy people who get quite emotional about the possibility that there local school might be closed.

But he did say that if the view was that another public meeting was necessary then he would take part and listen.

Miller isn’t sure what the public expects. He refers again and again to the facts he has to deal with – 1800 empty seats – something that just isn’t sustainable on a long term basis.

He argues that the data provided by the Boards Planning department has been accurate in the past and he believes that what he is getting from them now is also accurate.

That might not really be the case.

The board was caught by surprise when it found registration at the Alton public school to be much higher than projected – then realized that a significant number of the houses in the relatively new community was housing two and sometimes three families.

These elementary school students will move on to the high school in the community which is already well over its intended capacity.

Miller told staff that his planners work closely with the city of Burlington and share information.
One of the problems is that the city can only pass along what it has in hand in the way of new residential projects. There is a project well past the drawing board stage for the intersection of Brant and Ghent streets that will involve three of the four corner properties at that intersection.

Brant Ghent intersection

The properties within the black outline are part of a development that is well past the drawing board stage. The hold up is at city hall where the planners need more time to figure out how this will fit in with their mobility hub plans.

City hall has asked the developer to wait a little longer before talking about the development – which means that development is not real yet from the city’s point of view. The plan is for there to be a mobility hub at the Burlington GO station where a five tower project is currently under construction. The city to get its mobility hub thinking completed before looking at additional new projects.

The developers are way ahead of the city. They have measured the market, done their research and determined what the public wants and have put their money on the table and begun construction.

It is very real in the minds of the developer – several housing were recently demolished to clear the Brant Ghent site.

The board isn’t even aware of that development which is a couple of blocks from Central high school.
There also appears to be an assumption that there will be very few families living in the five condominiums that are going to be part of the Paradigm project on Fairview next to the GO station.


A five tower project currently under construction is less than a ten minute walk from Central high school.

To assume that a community of 2000 people is going to be made up of foot loose and fancy free singles or seniors that want to downsize may turn out to be a mistake equal to the problem that cropped up in the Alton village when the board got caught with close to hundreds of additional students.

The board of education needs to find a way to meet privately with the larger developers to get a sense of where they want to go long term. There is vital data that is being missed.

The sense one gets is that the Planning department isn’t all that sophisticated and appears to rely on the tried but not always true demographic tools when perhaps something that permits the planners to dig down a lot deeper is needed.

School notices

School boards know about the project – their signs warn parents that there may not be space in local schools for any children living in the project.

There is little argument that the role of the board is to educate our children – but the job doesn’t stop at that border – an education is vital – a community is the space within which the student is going to exist and make their mark in this world.

There is a lot more talking to be done and some parents at Central high school are not convinced that the board really wants to listen.

One parent sent in these comments: “I think the PAR process will be a sham. But the Ministry designed it so it would be. There are PAR committee members in Ontario quitting in disgust of the whole thing before it’s even over. I talked with our MPP Eleanor on my thoughts about all this from a provincial perspective a while ago. She actually said “there is nothing wrong with the funding formula” and “I have faith in the process.” Our meeting was over the phone so I couldn’t tell if she said it with a straight face or not, but really!

There are two public meetings scheduled as part of the PAR process – no word yet on the format of those meetings.

PARC full time line

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Bank staff spot a phony - call police who arrest male for using false identification.

Crime 100By Staff

January 12th, 2017



Identity theft is real – very real.

The Halton regional Police got to see it happening here in Burlington when they investigated a call from the Royal Bank located on Pearl Street in Burlington where branch staff had alerted police to a fraud in progress on January 11th 2017 shortly after 1:00 PM.

It was reported that a male was attempting to open a personal and business account using fraudulent identification.

HRPS crestPolice arrived and after some investigation, it was confirmed that the male was not who he claimed to be and was arrested for fraud. The male provided a name and date of birth which was also later determined to be false.
Upon arrest, the male was found to be in possession of fraudulent identification and various debit/credit cards in various names.

The male was properly identified as Jonathon William KELL (28 yrs-old) of No Fixed Address (formerly from Oakville). Kell was held for bail and charged with the following offences:

Personation with intent
• Identity fraud
• Possession of a counterfeit mark
• Unauthorized possession of credit card data
• Obstruct Peace Officer
• Fail to Comply with Recognizance

Anyone with information is asked to call the Halton Regional Police Service – Regional Fraud Unit at 905-825-4747 ext 8739 or Crime Stoppers “See something, Hear something, Say something” at 1-800-222-

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Would you like to sit on a public art jury? Sign up - they will pay you an honorarium to tell them what you think.

artsblue 100x100By Staff

January 13th, 2017



This is interesting.

Whenever there is some new art placed in the community there are the couple of dozen people who complain about public money being spent on “nice to have” and often questions about the credentials of the people making the decisions.

King Road

The grade separation on King Road had art painted on the bridge.

Cobalt Connects, an organization that manages things that get done in the arts community is recruiting people who will sit on juries that select what gets chosen. They handle most of the administrative side of the city’s public art program and consult for the city.

Participate in a Public Art Jury

They are looking for ordinary people who love art and their community and are asking people who want to make their mark on the city’s public art program by participating in a public art jury.

They are looking for local artists, creative professionals and residents to evaluate public art applications throughout the year.

No experience is necessary! Each jury is made up of a mix of arts professionals and residents to represent a broad cross-section of the community.

Freeman - public art

This pice of art work was painted on the side of the Freeman Station.

A small honorarium will be paid to all jury members as a thank you for participating. (That should pull in a significant response)

If you are interested in volunteering there is an application form to be placed on the jury roster.
Click on the link to access the form.

Kim Selman can answer any questions you might have. She can be reached at 905-548-0111 or at

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Real estate market was great for sellers in 2016 - tough for buyers. 2017 will see some stress for over-extended owners.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

January 13th, 2017



It is just an opinion but it is based on significant experience and many years in the real-estate business.

Having said that here is what the Rocca Sisters and Associates have to say about the Burlington real estate market.

When all was said and done, 2016 turned out to be a good year for sellers – prices up 16%, year over year, days on market down by 34.7% – and a not so great year for buyers.

Compared to our other trading areas, however, Burlington was somewhat moderate in terms of wild fluctuations. With the exception of the Orchard, the neighborhoods with the higher increases in prices paid were those that, it could be said, were somewhat undervalued to start with.

Palmer Drive - graphic

Palmer Drive – an older community (most built in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s) has lagged behind in terms of sale price growth.

Aldershot South, Central Burlington, Dynes, Longmoor, Tyandaga and Palmer all older communities (most built in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s) had lagged behind in terms of sale price growth while newer communities like the Orchard, Millcroft and Headon Forest increased exponentially.

These more mature areas, with the exception of Tyandaga offered smaller homes with bigger yards but the absence of modern conveniences such as a bathroom for every member of the household and closet space to accommodate bursting wardrobes made them less attractive to many buyers.

Tyendaga community

Tyandaga community saw a huge increase year over year – the biggest surprise is that it took so long.

When demand outstripped supply in the newer neighborhoods to the point that the purchase prices were swelling dangerously, these older communities became the next best thing. It’s no surprise that Tyandaga saw a huge increase year over year – the biggest surprise is that it took so long. Large gracious homes on huge mature lots with mature landscaping finally came on buyer’s radar when at the end of last year the average price of a house in Millcroft was over $900,000 and the average price of an equivalent sized house on a bigger lot was just over $800,000 in Tyandaga.

These properties, along with Roseland and Shoreacre properties still tend to take a little longer to sell – we chalk that up to a lot of non- Burlington sales reps not knowing the neighborhoods that well and just a general reticence to buying an older home. All in all, 2016 was not nearly as tumultuous in Burlington as in the rest of the world so Burlingtonians should be quite satisfied with the result.

Predictions for 2017 – many overextended homeowners are going to be re-evaluating their finances and for some, the choice will be obvious – downsize.

The result will quite possibly be a glut of move-up houses on the market later in the year, forcing a minor correction and a continued shortage of inventory in the $500-$700,000 price range.

Notwithstanding, we expect to see much of the same in early 2017 – a seller’s market for the foreseeable future.

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Stolen licence plate leads to arrests in relation to armed robberies - investigation is on-going. You can help.

Crime 100By Staff

January 12th, 2017


On January 12th 2016 at approximately 3:18 PM, a uniformed officer observed several males walking away from a dark coloured Mazda Protégé with a stolen licence plate in a parking lot near Appleby Line and Dundas Street in Burlington.

It was determined that the same vehicle and licence plate was involved in several armed robberies where a firearm was used and as a result, a perimeter was quickly established.

HRPS crestMembers of Tactical and Rescue Unit (TRU), Police Dog Services, Community Mobilization Bureau (CMB), Uniform Patrol and the Burlington Criminal Investigations Bureau (CIB) worked together and ultimately located and arrested four male suspects inside a Starbucks.

That’ a total of five different police units – much mote to come on this case.

The arrested males were taken to 20 Division in Oakville for further investigation which is being conducted jointly by members of Burlington & Oakville CIB’s and Peel Regional Police Central Robbery Bureau.

A further media release is anticipated with additional information on the outcome of the investigation.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Constable Mike Tidball of the Oakville Criminal Investigations Bureau at 905-825-4747 ext 2275, or Crime Stoppers “See something, Hear something, Say something” at 1-800-222-8477(TIPS) or through the internet at or by texting “Tip201” with your message to 274637 (CRIMES)

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A changing of the guard that includes Karina Gould, the youngest female Cabinet Ministry ever.

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

January 12, 2017



He should be remembered in history as one Canada’s Fathers of Confederation. But those in that part of the country we call English-speaking will only recall how, as Liberal leader, Stephane Dion mangled his presentation on why the three opposition parties had agreed to form a coalition to claim the minority 2008 government back from Stephen Harper.

Trudeay and Dion

Buddies forever? Prime Minister knew he had to remove Stephane Dion from Cabinet. Feelings are badly damaged.

An un-cooperative TV network, a personal panic attack and poor English all contributed to his misadventure. That incident plus Harper’s secret meeting with the governor-general allowed the Tories to stay in power, and the landmark agreement for the thee left-wing parties to unite became history.

Among Quebec separatists, Dion is hated for introducing the Clarity Act, which has driven enthusiasm for Quebec independence to record low levels, Following the second Quebec referendum, Jean Chretien needed an intellectual to deal with the sovereignty problem. He became so enamoured with Dion that he appointed him as Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs before he even had a seat in the House.

Dion - hands out

A minister with a strong academic streak that served the country well. Dion’s Clarity Act keeps the country together.

Then, based on advice Dion had sought from the Supreme Court, his Clarity Act ensured that Ottawa would need to approve all future referendum questions. In addition, a strong majority of voters would be required (greater than 50%) in order for the results to be deemed conclusive. And finally, any movement to sovereignty would have to be through negotiation rather than a declaration of independence, as the separatists had planned to do following the 1995 referendum.

Dion had been an academic before he became a politician, a man of principle who once campaigned for the separatists before realizing he truly believed in federalism. But the times have now changed and so must the make-up of the guard. So Justin Trudeau has offered him a diplomatic posting and given the job of Minister of Global Affairs to someone else. Sure Dion had not performed well on that armoured car deal with Saudi Arabia, but it’s the need to confront the changes in Washington which has convinced the PM that he needs a different kind of foreign minister.

Freeland in the House Quest period

Chrystia Freeland in the House of Common during Question Period.

So Chrystia Freeland, an Albertan of Ukrainian decent, has been named the new minister to help guide Canada internationally as we enter the era of Donald Trump. Trump, the business man, is expected to treat international issues largely from a transactional rather than principled perspective. It will be about the deal and everything and anything is up for grabs, a policy view shared by his friend Vladimir Putin, whom US security services are now convinced hacked political websites to help Trump win the last election.

Freeland Chrystia red dress - reat smile

Minister of Global Affairs Freeland will set policy and create a different Liberal party.

Freeland, a former student and author of Russian and slavic history is well positioned for her new role as Canada’s chief diplomat. That presumes that Putin lifts the sanctions he imposed on her in retaliation for the ones Canada placed on Russia following the seizure of Crimea. And beyond Europe, Freeland has spent considerable time in the US as a business journalist and panelist on talk shows. She is well positioned to engage with Trump and his Secretary of State whatever their philosophical differences. She once demonstrated her skills by walking out on free trade negotiations with the EU, a tactic which brought the deal home for Canada.

Prime Minister Trudeau has also made a couple of other changes to his Cabinet to coincide with the changing of the guard south of the border. Long-timer John McCallum is leaving the immigration post, which he served so well during the Syrian refugee crisis. He is being given a diplomatic posting as ambassador to China, a nation which has become a priority for Canada in regards to trade policy. There are also potential security issues at stake as tension continues to rise over China’s aggressive territorial claims, and the US response. This is particularly an issue since president-elect Trump has been baiting the Chinese, first on trade and more recently on relations with Taiwan.

And Burlington has made the big time with newly minted MP Karina Gould becoming the Minister of Democratic Institutions. It is a troubled file, formerly overseen by MP Maryam Monsef, who is being moved to the Status of Women. In the latter days of the 2015 election campaign, many Green and NDP-inclined voters switched their loyalty to the Liberals on the promise made by Justin Trudeau that 2015 would be the last federal election under first-past-the-post (FPP) rules. Those votes contributed to his majority victory and the PM will have to deliver on that promise.

Wallace and Gould

Karina Gould accepting congratulations from former Burlington MP Mike Wallace.

Monsef who had created a parliamentary committee to develop options to (FPP) was finessed by her own committee. They not only recommended implementation of a complicated mixed-member proportional system but also that the government hold a national referendum before making changes. Since this could not practically be completed prior to the next vote in 2019, the PM would have failed to deliver his promise. Gould has her work cut out to pull off a miracle such that the party retains its credibility.

It is a pretty normal routine to periodically shake up a Cabinet, bring in new blood and reward those who have performed well, as is the case for Freeland. That the shuffle wasn’t even greater must mean that the PM is relatively content with how the rest of his ministers are carrying out their responsibilities. And of course, with two vacancies, there will soon be new by-elections to test whether the public agrees with the PM.

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

Background links:

Cabinet Shuffle –    Chrystia Freeland –    More Freeland –
Freeland Sanctions – 

John McCallum –

Stephane Dion –      More Dion –

First Past Post –

Dion a Hero –getting new - yellow

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Burlington Pharmasave Break-in narcotics and cash stolen.

Crime 100By Staff

January 12th, 2017


The Halton Regional Police in Burlington are seeking assistance in identifying those responsible for a commercial break and enter.

Sometime between 7:00 PM on January 10th 2016 and 9:00 AM on January 11th 2016, unknown culprit(s) broke into the Pharmasave located 2501 Guelph Line in Burlington.

Row of bottles and pills on a chemists counter

Row of bottles and pills on a chemists counter

Once inside, unknown culprit(s) entered a safe and stole a quantity of narcotics. Culprit(s) also removed cash from the cash register and a quantity of Tylenol with codeine from a cabinet before leaving.

The exact type, quantity and value of narcotics stolen is still being determined.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Halton Regional Police Service – Criminal Investigations Bureau at 905-825-4747 ext 2216, or Crime Stoppers “See something, Hear something, Say something” at 1-800-222-8477(TIPS) or through the internet at or by texting “Tip201” with your message to 274637 (CRIMES)

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Are school board trustees getting all the information they need on possible high school closing in Burlington?

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

January 12th, 2017



The flow of information between the Program Accommodation Review Committee (PARC) and the Board of Education trustees is a concern that Leah Reynolds brought up at the school board meeting last night.

Trustees - Sams - Reynolds - Collard

Trustee Leah Reynolds, centre, wanted to know why she wasn’t getting copies of emails sent to the PARC members.

Reynolds, who represents Burlington wards 1 and 2, wanted to know when she would get copies of the emails that get sent to the PARC people.

Reynolds wanted to be fully aware of what the PARC members are hearing and said she “owed it to the community to fully understand what the feelings and concerns are”.

It wasn’t immediately clear just what was happening to the emails that citizens send to the PARC members. A concern was expressed about email that may not be at all appropriate and that doesn’t get through the system.

Reynolds wanted to know who was responsible for the distribution of email that goes to PARC members. The Board created email addresses for the PARC members the public can use to communicate. Reynolds feels that communication is important and she would like to know what is being said.


The Board of Education created special emails for members of the PAR committee. Citizens could use the one address to communicate with the PARC member representing their school

There was discussion about support for PARC members who might be finding the content of some of the email objectionable and inappropriate.


The PAR committees meeting immediately after the early December public meeting.

Scott Podrebarac, a Board of Education Superintendent and chair of the PARC said that the PARC people have had meetings and that minutes are being taken. However, the trustees have not seen these minutes.

Superintendent of Education, Gord Truffen, who oversees information technology for the board, expressed some concern over the confidentiality of email addresses and told the Board meeting that there hasn’t been all that much traffic to the members of the PARC at the email addresses created for them.

MMW + Leah Reynolds

Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward with ward 1 and 2 school board trustee Leah Reynolds. Meed Ward sits on the PAR committee which will produce a report for the Director of Education who will use the contents of the report in his recommendation to the trustees on which high schools, if any, to close.

What trustee Reynolds wants are the opinions people are expressing so that she can have a clearer sense as to just what the community wants. She doesn’t feel she is getting what she feels she needs.

There may be a communication problem. Reynolds was the only trustee to speak to that matter.getting new - yellow

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Who decides if the school buses are going to be running - the top dog who gets the first report at 5:30 in the morning.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

January 12th, 2017


The nightmare is” said Halton District School Board Director of Education Stuart Miller, “for me to decide that the school buses should not run and then see a significant change in the weather hours later.”

Miller was explaining to school board trustees last night how the decision to cancel school bus service when the weather is bad.

Stuart Miller

Stuart takes those 5:30 am weather report phone calls.

“I got a phone call at around 5:30 (my wife remembers exactly what time the call came in) telling me that the weather reports were not good.

Miller then makes a number of call to other school board’s in the area to see what they have planned. He has to make a decision by 6:30 am and prefers to have made up his mind by 6:00 am.

“There is freezing rain in Toronto but the local spotters report nothing in Oakville or Burlington – but the reports have the weather heading west.

“So I decide that the roads are not good enough for safe passage and I cancel the service.

“And sure enough – it is close to balmy sunshine weather in the southern part of the region and blizzard like weather in the rural areas.”

Miller explained that his decision is based on what he determines to be in the best interests of the students and the men and women who have to drive those school buses.

school bus in snow fall

Winter weather means slower bus service and at times a decision to cancel the service.

Many of the buses he explained have several runs – and if they are late completing one run the students are left standing in the cold for as much as half an hour while the bus drivers work with difficult roads.

So now you know – the decision gets made at the very top – and he gets that first call at about 5:30 in the morning.

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