Media event on New Year's Day - should have made it a levy and invited the whole city.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

December 29th, 2016



Something is up!

Gould Karina H&S

Burlington MP Karina Gould will be working New Year’s day.

Burlington MP Karina Gould has called a media conference for Sunday January 1st at Tansley woods to announce what Burlington is going to get in terms of the Canada 150 fund projects.

Sunday media conferences are rare in this city – the federal Liberal’s jut might be directing their members across the country to hold these New Year’s Day events.

Robert Steven AGB

Robert Stephen, President of the Art Gallery Burlington.

President and CEO of the Art Gallery of Burlington, Robert Steven, and Peter Martin, President of Sound of Music are going to be part of the media conference which suggests there are some goodies for them.

The event will take place at noon New Year’s Day – it will be interesting to see just how much media the event gets.


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It Will Be a Good Year for Canada - our 150th

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

December 29, 2016



2016 was an annus horribilis, what with stars (Leonard Cohen, David Bowie, Glen Frey, Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds) dropping like flies, the terrorist acts across Europe, American black lives which didn’t seem to matter, and the murderous Russian destruction of Aleppo.


To our everlasting shame – we let this happen.

It was also a bad year for prognosticators and pollsters of all stripes, what with Brexit and Trump being such unexpected outcomes. The knee jerk response is to blame those making the predictions. Were they reading bad tea leaves or were they just plain incompetents?

But to be fair, we know that polls are more than just descriptive instruments, they can actually influence outcomes – as seems to have been the case in the UK and US this past year. Some people look to a poll before voting, much like farmers do their weather vane before cutting hay. A poll one way or the other may influence their voting decisions. It may encourage folks to go out to just help get someone elected, or it might keep them at home grumbling that one more vote won’t make a difference.

And of those who do make it to the polling stations, some will jump onto a band wagon and some others will register their own little protest – the so-called contagion and strategic voting responses. The independent or rogue voters are typically non-conformist, anti-establishment or anti-elite (todays buzz word), and will support the underdog, maverick, and outsider.

Meanwhile sports-minded folks, who like to cheer for the winning team, almost regardless, will just go with the flow. And nobody should say that voters are either stupid or uninformed, even when they seem to be voting against their own best interests. They may not be able to articulate what each candidate or party really stands for and how that would affect them, but they know what they don’t like regardless how they got that impression. And typically they like change, especially if its back to the future.


Bernie Sanders: what if he had won the Democratic nomination?

So instead of blaming the voters and the pollsters when their dreams go sour, the party leaders should reflect on themselves. They weren’t doing the one thing you have to do to win in politics – listen. Michigan was a case in point – a deja vu. That traditionally democratic state had opted for the outsider Bernie Sanders despite front running Clinton’s lead in the primary polls. Why wouldn’t the party oligarchs have contemplated a repeat when running against the outsider Trump – as did happen?

And thanks to that election south of the border, Canada’s biggest challenge this coming year will be coordinating trade policy with its southern neighbours. Trump’s utterances on NAFTA , climate change and pipelines, if actualized, will present a mixed bag for us, economically and politically. For example, the Keystone XL will be approved but it may not actually move Alberta oil since one of Trump’s goals is energy self-sufficiency and reducing imports.

And if Trump follows though on tearing up the US commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement, our PM will face pressure to back off the carbon tax and possibly other environmental issues. And then there is the future of NATO. But Trump has to contend with his Republican Congress, whose members are currently closer to the other party than they are to their own leader. So expect to see some big league back-peddling – or a war within his own party.

OK - there's four votes. They are old enough to vote aren't they?

Justin Trudeau wowing them in Burlington during a campaign stop.

At least Trudeau is very much in charge here, but how does he meet his promise to change the first-past-the-post electoral system when his own Parliamentary committee has recommended a solution (proportional representation and referendum) which cannot realistically be implemented before E-day 2019?

Anybody wanna bet he’ll defer that decision to whoever wins the next election and implement a preferential ballot as an interim measure – hoping that ‘whoever’ is Trudeau?

And what of that Conservative nomination process? Is Kevin O’Leary really trying to re-create himself as the Canadian Donald Trump? That would be his third persona after posing alternately as a shark and a dragon. And it may be his to lose as the rank and file Tories will be looking for a Mr. Wonderful of their own. And what could be more wonderful than a dragon, as TV viewers anxiously await the restart of Game of Thrones?

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne speaks at the hearings into the gas plant cancellations at Queen's Park in Toronto on December 3, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Blinch

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne speaks at the hearings into the gas plant cancellations at Queen’s Park in Toronto on December 3, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Blinch

Ontario’s provincial government is so far down in the polls, and the provincial Liberals so tarnished with that electricity file, that even a minority government may be out of their reach come the 2018 election. So unless the Premier has something up her sleeves to excite the voters, or the provincial PC leader falls on his face again, she might as well pass the torch before the voters do her the favour.

Britain sure looks like it is going to negotiate a hard Brexit which has the same prognosticators, who said it would never happen, pronouncing the death of the great society there. But the EU may not fare any better unless it can get beyond second-guessing its very own existence, and get on with building the Union part of EU, including immigration, fiscal policy and defence. And a little help from Mr. Trump, when it comes to talking NATO, will go a long way towards that end.

Expect to see more tension and some dust-ups between China and the US, especially over the future status of Taiwan. Expect to see Iran tear-up its nuclear deal as the Trump administration renews sanctions, and this time to unabashedly build its bomb. That may mark the beginning of the end for anyone’s hopes for nuclear non-proliferation as Saudi Arabia, Japan, South Korea and even former nuclear power Ukraine jump back into the game.

That isn’t a very promising outlook, unless you like war, but that is how I see it. I also see me continuing with this column and the Burlington Gazette becoming the best read news source in Burlington next year, even if you can’t wrap your fish and chips in it.

And finally I will predict a heck of a year-long celebration, following on our Prime Minister’s wish for a wonderful birthday for this nation of ours, now come of age at 150.

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:

Polls and their Impacts –  Worst Political Predictions –  Message in Michigan –  Trudeau’s Reputation

Pipelines –  Trudeau’s New Year Resolution –  Physic Predictions –  O’Leary –   More O’Leary

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Three years ago - do you remember? The ice storm - that was in 2013 - the flood was in 2014

backgrounder 100By Staff

December 29th, 2016



Three years ago – do you remember?

The snow storm that turned into an ice storm hit the city a few days before Christmas 2013 and just wouldn’t stop.

ICE STORM Millar road closed

This was a public road. The ice storm closed Millar |Road along with driveways throughout North Burlington

The weather people at the time were predicting winds of 20 kmh – which in the world Gerry Smallegange, President of Burlington Hydro was not good news

The temperature hadn’t risen enough for enough of the ice on the trees in north Burlington to melt. If those tree branches start swaying in the wind they could come down on all those hydro lines he has had to re-build.

It was close to impossible to keep up with the demand for help Smallegange knew that he had thousands of homes in the city without power. Situations like this are not new to the people who supply homes with electricity – it was the sheer volume that came close to crippling the hydro people.

North Burlington wasn’t being ignored by any stretch – the scope and scale of the problem up there was brutal. Smallegange knew that he had a very significant problem on his hands and needed all the help he could get. He also needed a break in the weather – and that wasn’t happening.


A hydro wire down – waiting for crews to discover it and get it restrung. This was one of many that hydro had to deal with.

The ice that had built upon the hydro wires needed to melt – and the temperatures were staying at a stubborn six to ten degrees below zero.

The city’s Emergency Coordinating Committee was almost in constant session and doing their best to maintain a constant flow of information to city residents. The difficulty was that with no power radio and television were useless as was the internet and social media.

What worked best was neighbour telling neighbour and in the north – community meetings. The city held its first community meeting in Kilbride where hundreds showed up with questions. The city did its best – but at times that wasn’t good enough.

ICE storm 2 - room crowd

Hydro president Gerry Smallegange explaining to Kilbride residents where the crews were and when he hoped power could be returned to the community.

The lack of information was frustrating for the residents without power. Information, like energy, has to have lines it can flow through – and the available lines weren’t working all that well when it came to keeping people informed.

For reasons that are not clear at the time, the city’s communications department didn’t seem to have strong working relationships with the radio stations – which meant the people needing the information weren’t getting it from the radio stations – apparently because information wasn’t getting from the city to that media.

It all happened three years ago – we survived.

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Inclusionary zoning - will it be something Burlington decides it want to permit? Not with this city council.

News 100 redBy Staff

December 28, 2016



The province recently passed legislation that will over time create more affordable housing. The new legislation makes changes to four existing acts that will give municipalities the option to implement inclusionary zoning, which requires affordable housing units to be included in residential developments.

Note that this is an option and Burlington might not want to go this route. It will first have to be approved at the Regional level

inclusionary-cant-affordSecondary suites such as above-garage apartments or basement units in new homes will be less costly to build because they would be exempted from development charges. Secondary suites are a potential source of affordable rental housing and allow homeowners to earn additional income.

Giving local service managers (that would be the Region of Halton) more choice in how they deliver and administer social housing programs and services to reduce wait lists and make it easier for people in Ontario to access a range of housing options.

The legislation encourages inclusive communities and strengthening tenant rights by preventing unnecessary evictions from social housing and creating more mixed-income housing.

The Region will now have to gather data about homelessness and perform local enumeration of those who are homeless in their communities.

What is inclusionary zoning?


It is certainly dense when it comes to development – and it is one of the most popular places in Toronto for younger people. Minutes away from the downtown commercial core. There are affordable units in these developments.

The Torontoist describes it this way: “Typically regulated by municipalities, inclusionary zoning is one way to make sure affordable housing gets built in a way that promotes socio-economically diverse neighbourhoods. It works by requiring developers to include a set portion of below-market units, usually 10 to 30 per cent, either to buy or sell in every residential building of a certain size.

“Inclusionary zoning can be mandatory or incentive-based–also called discretionary or voluntary. The latter offers developers incentives to build units valued below typical market rent or sale prices. Some municipalities may offer density bonuses so developers can build and sell more units, or they may waive development fees or fast-track projects through the approval process. Volunteer programs are often more attractive to developers, and can be for municipalities as well, since they aren’t as likely to inspire opposition and legal challenges the way mandatory programs can. However, they tend to result in fewer affordable units being built.

“Mandatory programs, which were proposed by the Ontario government, don’t give developers a say in how and when to build affordable units–those regulations are set by local governments. Some municipalities that require inclusionary zoning, however, also offer developers breaks, such as density bonuses.

“One potential drawback of mandatory inclusionary zoning is that developers who don’t want to participate may take their project to a municipality where the legislation doesn’t apply. The Province, after all, is only giving municipalities the option to mandate inclusionary zoning, not the requirement to do so. And while Toronto is poised to take advantage of the opportunity, other municipalities may not be.”

When, if ever, will Burlington see inclusionary zoning? Can you imagine what the public debate on this one will sound like?

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City renews a matching funds program that worked well last year - up to $5000 available.

News 100 blueBy Staff

December 28th, 2016



Griffin Gervais, now a grade six student, made a city program work for him and his chums earlier this year. As a result there is now a well fitted baseball diamond at the park just behind Lakeshore Public school.

Lakeshore ball park - matching grant winners

In no specific order: Sawyer Cobham. Scott Rose, Griffen Gervais, Kayden Maslanyk discuss the problems with their ball diamond.

Griffen “drafted” three of his friends: Sawyer Cobham. Scott Rose, and Kayden Maslanyk to make it happen – and it did.  They used what was then a new city program that had city hall matching funds (up to $5000) for a community related project.

The city is running the project for a second year – called the Neighbourhood Community Matching Fund program.

Applications for the 2017 program are now being accepted – details at matchingfund.

Submissions due Wednesday, March 15, 2017.

Backstop Lakesh PS

It was a pretty rough looking ball diamond before Griffen Gervais found a way to get some funding from city hall to get it fixed up,

The program is designed to inspire residents to lead neighbourhood and community projects; the Community Matching Fund provides up to $5,000 to support projects led by local groups.

The Mayor residents to think of projects that showcase our Canadian pride and mark our Sesquicentennial – Canada is about to become 150 years old.

How the Fund works
The Community Matching Fund program provides up to $5,000 in city funding to support neighbourhood and community group-led projects in Burlington. Approved projects receive up to 50 per cent of the funding for the project from the city. The neighbourhood or community group will match this funding with an equal contribution made up through any combination of volunteer hours, donated services, donated materials and supplies or other funds raised, such as cash donations.

“Residents are the experts of our community and they have great ideas about ways to improve how we live and play here,” said Chris Glenn, the city’s director of Parks and Recreation. ““We want to inspire residents to work together to enhance our neighbourhoods and create a sense of belonging. That connection is just as important as the project itself.”

The city will be hosting two information and workshop sessions to assist community groups with any questions they have about their applications or the program. These will take place on:

Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017
7 to 9 p.m.
Burlington City Hall, 426 Brant St. – Room 247

Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017
7 to 9 p.m.
Haber Recreation Centre, 3040 Tim Dobbie Dr. – Community Room 1

For more information about the Community Matching Fund, visit or email

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The paths students heading for high school can take; which high schools will be open is a different question.

News 100 blueBy Staff

December 28th, 2016



While parents with students in high schools worry about just which high schools are going to be open in the years ahead – those parents with children getting ready to move on to high schools have to begin having the conversation with their children about which educational path they want to take.

The Halton District School Board is hosting several Pathways Planning Information Evenings in January that will allow parents and Grades 7-12 students to explore program opportunities that high schools have to offer in Halton.

hdsb-pathways-all_programsPathways is a collaborative program between the Halton District school Board and the Halton Catholic District School Board and was created by the Ministry of Education as one of the four pillars of the Student Success Initiative

Literacy, Numeracy and Community, Culture and Caring are the other pillars. The primary purpose of Pathways is to develop learning opportunities and programs and to re-culture our education system to value all learners, all choices, and all destinations.

The goal of Pathways K-12 is to provide learners with a variety of engaging learning opportunities (including Pathways Programs, contextualized learning experiences that incorporate real world situations, curriculum integration, and cross-curricular literacy and numeracy) and to facilitate the development of learners who know themselves (including the ability to identify strengths, accomplishments, and competencies) and are able to create a Pathways Plan to work towards their goals and future education and career opportunities.

Pathways Planning

Through Pathways we encourage students to take advantage of the opportunities provided in elementary and secondary school to know themselves, identify strengths, set educational and career goals and create a Pathways Plan to achieve them.

hdsb-oyap_programsThe Board offers more than 70 programs geared to meet individual needs, helping more students succeed in their chosen pathway after high school, whether they are pursuing apprenticeship, college, community, university or the workplace. The meetings provide information on how to better prepare students for a rapidly changing world, at the same time receiving a relevant and engaging education.

Registration to attend is not required and all are welcome.

The 6-8 p.m. meetings will be held at the following locations:

• Thursday January 12, 2017: Abbey Park High School, 1455 Glen Abbey Gate, Oakville
• Tuesday January 17, 2017: Georgetown District High School, 70 Guelph Street, Georgetown
• Thursday January 19, 2017: Milton District High School, 396 Williams Avenue, Milton
• Tuesday January 24, 2017: M.M. Robinson High School, 2425 Upper Middle Road, Burlington

Pathways programs include the

Specialist High Skills Major programs,

Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Programs,

Specialty School to Career programs,

the Employ-ability Skills Certificate program,

Dual Credit college programs,

Grade 8-9 Transition programs.

Agenda for each night:

6:00-6:30 p.m. – Pathways displays and meet the Pathways Program teachers
6:30-7:15 p.m. – Pathways presentation (Programs & planning for post-secondary)
7:15-8 p.m. – Pathways displays and specific workshops.


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Opening an email from a source you don't know can prove to be very costly to you. If you don't know the source - don't open the email.

Crime 100By Staff

December 28th, 2016



If there is a pdf file attached to an incoming email from a person or an organization that you do not know anything about – open that pdf at your peril.


This symbol is used to identify a pdf file

PDF stands for Portable Document Format.  It is a file format used to present and exchange documents reliably, independent of software, hardware, or operating system. Invented by Adobe, PDF is now an open standard which can be used by anyone.  What the crooks are doing now is burying code inside a pdf that can infect your computer.

We saw the following in our email this morning:


This is an email message telling me there are details about a bank transfer. The details are inside the pdf file. all I have to do is click on it. The moment I do that the process of stealing my identity begins. If in doubt – don’t.


We have no idea who the email is from – never heard of the organization – but we do know that banks do not communicate like this.

When you see something like this – don’t open it.

If you see something you aren’t certain about – better to be safe than sorry – take a pass on it.

If in doubt – don’t.

ID theft screen

Once a hacker has gotten you to respond to their phony message they can go through code that you aren’t really aware of and pick out pieces of data that will aid them in stealing funds from your bank account. it happens every day – don’t let it happen to you.

Along the same lines. We got an email card from a name that we know – but chose not to open it. We don’t know what is in that card and while we know the sender his name could have been pulled any number of sources.

If in doubt – don’t.

We didn’t

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Why are we in this mess – did the trustees not see this coming? Actually they didn’t; three of Burlington’s four trustees have only been in office for two years.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

December 27, 2016



For the parents of students at Central and Pearson high schools the question – Why are we in this mess? Is not unreasonable.


Ward 5 school board trustee Amy Collard

Where were the trustees and why didn’t we know about this several years ago? Another good question and the answer to that one is – the trustees for the most part weren’t there; of the 11 people who serve as trustees four represent Burlington and just one of those trustees has been in office for more than one term.   Amy Collard, trustee for ward 5 was acclaimed in 2010 and again in 2014.


This was the recommendation the Halton District school Board staff gave the trustees

We can’t find anything that Collard has written or said about the student population problem at the Burlington high schools.

The other three Burlington school board trustees, Grebenc, Papin and Reynolds, were all elected for the first time in October of 2014 – they’ve been in office a little more than two years. The smarter ones were aware of the problem but we could find nothing in the public record in the way of comments they may have made.


Milton school board trustee Donna Danielli who is the trustee sitting on the PARC – Program Accommodation Review Committee.

The two trustees who have been on the board for the longest time are Kathy Amos, the current chair who represents Oakville and Donna Danielli who represents Milton.

Both have been in office for more than 12 years and they certainly did know or should have known that there was a growing problem that was only going to get worse.

The current Director of Education Stuart Miller has been with the Halon District school board all of his career and had to have been aware – however he was made Director just over a year ago.

His predecessor, David Euale, did not have all that much to say on the subject other than when the LTAP (Long Term Accommodation Plan) was being discussed.

The HDSB web site is not exactly a fountain over flowing with information (it is better than it used to be) and what is there is not all that easy to dig through, especially if you want to go back a number of years.


Many parents are having a problem squaring the staff recommendation with the facts.

How did we get into this mess – demographics is a science – most of the data needed was known – has been known since the late 90’s Few of the trustees in place now were on the board then but they were given updates each year when the LTAP was reviewed.

Was is disturbing and disappointing is that those trustees with several terms of experience have not said a word publicly about how the mess Burlington is in came to pass.

They owe the public an explanation

There is much more to this story – stay tuned!

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The bike lane debate really can wait.

News 100 greenBy Staff

December 26th, 2016



It has come to this:

On Dec 24, 2016, at 11:06 AM, philip waggett wrote:
Mr. Goldring & Mr. Dennison,

Back in August, I commented that the data collection along New Street was a “sham”, this was not a “test” but a fait accompli in which the bike lanes were now permanent. In fact two comments from the recent minutes of the Cycling Committee support this view.

In October, the Cycling Committee minutes reported “…Phase Two will look at the possibility of physcial separation of the bike lanes and car lanes…”; in November, the minutes reported, “Report that New Street will be going next fall”. Both of these comments indicate that the Cycling Committee believe that the New Street Bike Lanes are a permanent fixture–despite the widespread opposition of thousands of residents!!!!!

Further, the October minutes of this special interest lobby group reveal that $1800 of valuable taxpayers money was approved to buy “free(?) giveaways” at the inspire burlington event in November. The giveaways apparently promoted that “cycling is delightful”.

Why are valuable taxpayers resources being used for this purpose?

At 7:14 am Christmas Day Ward 4 city Councillor |Jack Dennison wrote

We will get input from Dan Ozimkovic traffic engineering when he returns from Christmas break. He has the details.

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.

Phil, Merry Christmas and Happy New year to you and yours

Our hope is that Jack was up at that hour with those that matter in his life. The bike lanes on New Street can just wait until the New Year,

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For unto us ...

For unto us a child was born …




Santa For-unto-us-1024x473

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Lowville crowd celebrate the Winter Solstice

eventspink 100x100By Staff

December 24th, 2016



Before there can be a Christmas – there has to be a Winter Solstice; the day with the shortest number of daylight hours… or the longest number of darkness hours – totally your preference.

For the past four years Debra Pickfield’s Thinkspot in Lowville has celebrated both the Winter and Summer Solstice.


Getting ready to launch a sky lantern

On Wednesday, a surprisingly large crowd of 150+ gathered for a meal together, some activities for children, or simply decorating a sky lantern which they released at just after 8:30pm as a way of honouring what they were grateful for in 2016 and also what they wanted to release from 2016.


Launching the sky lanterns to celebrate the Winter Solstice

Watching those sky lanterns fill with warm air from a candle and they ascended majestically into the night sky was something to watch.


A sky lantern reaching for the winter sky.

People were asked to bring a donation of new socks and underwear that will be provided to individuals experiencing homelessness at shelters in our communities.

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Mainway ice pads will be ready for the Golden Horseshoe tournament

sportsgold 100x100By Staff

December 23, 2016




The ice pads at Mainway Arena have reopened following a temporary closure to complete unexpected repairs.

Two of the three compressors used at the arena to help maintain the ice surface stopped working and required replacement. The new compressors were installed this week and the ice pads are restored and ready for the Golden Horseshoe Tournament starting on Dec. 27 in Burlington.

The pressure to get those compressors in place was driven by the 100 AAA + major-age teams who are arriving in Burlington arenas for its traditional Dec. 27-30 slot in the schedule.

winning-feelingSeven of those teams are host Eagles teams (two in tyke, one in the remaining five major age groups) donning the colours of the Burlington City Rep Hockey Club.

Despite increased competition from other holiday tournaments over the past few years, the Horseshoe still thrives. Fratesi thinks the reason is simple.

“We run a great tournament,” he said matter-of-factly. “We have the core guys that have the format down now. There’s a lot of grunt work that has to be done when you have 236 games to schedule in four days.”

Perks that players and parents remember — spotlights on the player during the championship games introductions, for example — have become a mainstay. Others, such as the introduction of a the FFP Laser Systems show at the opening ceremonies and championship games last year, are adding to the event’s lustre.

golden-horseshoe-puck-sportsThe events concludes with the six championship games on Tuesday, Dec. 30. The site of the games prevents Cogeco from showing the games live (signal interference) so games are tape delayed.

getting new - yellow


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Eleven trustees will determine the fate of Central high school - what is the real issue behind such a decision?

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

December 22, 2016



The Halton District School Board has 11 trustees;

There are four that represent Burlington, four that represent Oakville, two that represent Milton and one that represents Halton Hills.

The four Burlington trustees are:

Amy Collard represents Burlington – Ward 5 amy-collard-hdsb-trusteeAndrea Grebenc
Andrea Grebenc represents Burlington – Wards 3, 6
Richelle Papin represents Burlington – Ward 4
Leah Reynolds represents Burlington – Wards 1, 2

Collard is serving her second term as a trustee and was acclaimed in both elections.  She served as chair of the board in the past.

Grebenc, Papin and Reynolds are all first time trustees in Burlington.  At least two of the four have aspirations for higher office.

Leah Reynolds

Leah Reynolds

Richelle Papin

Richelle Papin

The four that represent Oakville are:
Kelly Amos, chair of the board of trustees in 2016 and returned to that position for 2017. She represents Oakville – Ward 5 & 6

Tracey Ehl Harrison: Oakville – Wards 1, 2;

Ann Harvey Hope: Oakville – Ward 3

Joanna Oliver: Oakville – Ward 4

The two representing Milton are:
Kim Graves, Vice-Chair for 2016 and re-elected to that position for 2017. She represents Milton – Wards 1, 6, 7, 8

Donna Danielli

Donna Danielli a Milton school board trustee will sit on the PARC and bring a season trustee viewpoint to the discussions. She is probably the most direct and knowledgeable trustee the board has.

Donna Danielli represents Milton – Wards 2, 3, 4, 5  Danielli also sits on the PARC representing the trustees.

Jeanne Gray represents Halton – Wards 1, 2, 3, 4

Of the 11, just three have more than one term in office as a trustee. The other eight were all elected for the first time in 2014 – they have two years’ experience as school board trustees.

The Director of Education prepares a report for the trustees. In preparing that report he is advised by a Program Accommodation Review Committee that has representation from all seven Burlington high schools

That PARC will meet several times between publicly to deliberate. They group is chaired by Superintendent Scott Podabarac.  We understand he will be supported by the facilitator from Ipsos, the organization that handled the data capture and is expected to do an an analysis of the data. A link to the data collected so far is set out at the bottom of this report.

The Director of education will write report to the trustees with his recommendation that will include the PARC recommendations.

The trustees will vote on the Directors recommendation. It is the trustees who will make the final decision.

The two high schools that were recommended for closing are Central high school and the Lester B. Pearson high school.

The Director of Education has an accommodation problem. He has 1800 + seats that do not have students sitting in them. From a financial responsibility – he cannot justify allowing those seats to remain empty – and the province won’t allow him to continue to do that for very long.

Add to that the belief that he cannot offer the students the choices he believes they are entitled to with high schools that cannot offer the choices.

If there are no students in the schools – then there will be no teachers – put it slightly differently – fewer students – fewer teachers. Fewer teachers, fewer course offerings.


Miller’s solution to this problem is to close two high schools which solves his immediate 1800 empty seat problem and allows him to offer the courses he believes students are entitled to.

That is the job Miller has – to run a fiscally responsible school system and offer students the widest possible course offerings. He believes closing two high schools will do that.

Throughout the process so far Miller has maintained that the PARC may well come up with a recommendation or a set of ideas that will solve the overcapacity problem. In a presentation made to parents the board has said:

Staff is required to present a recommended option according to Ministry Guidelines and Board policy whenmore than one option is present
Option 19 is presented to initiate discussion for the PAR and will be used to start the PAR process
This option is not the final Board decision

The parents see things much differently.

They are opposed to losing their community school – they believe that having a high school within their community is what community is all about.


More than 350 parents at the first city wide public meeting. The vast majority of the parents were from Central high school. Few parents appear that there are several other high schools that could be at risk.

Further at this point they do not trust the process that is in place. Many parents don’t feel they are going to be able to communicate with the members of the PARC – the process that has been set up does not, from their point of view, create a situation that allows open dialogue and the free exchange of ideas.

All the PARC appears to be able to do is accept data, briefs written by parent groups.  The PARC doesn’t appear to have a hard and fast set of limitations – and with Meed Ward on that committee you can expect her to stretch the boundaries as far as they can be stretched,

With this task she isn’t going to get hi-jacked the way she has been in the past  at city council.

Will the city manager attempt to reign in Meed Ward – we don’t know what his agenda is – yet.

Everything eventually gets put in front of the trustees – who at this point have for the most part dummied up. You can’t get them to say a word.

The seats of the four Burlington trustees are on the line.

The PARC will begin their meetings in late January.

par-timelinesAssuming the decision to close Central and Pearson stands those schools would not open to students in September of2018.


The municipal election takes place in October 2018

When a group of people meet a chemistry takes place. The different styles of arriving at a conclusion become evident, leaders become evident.  There are some strong personalities on the PARC and people we know next to nothing about.

Are there any really creative thinkers in that PARC?  What will Meed Ward say if the evidence for closing the school is very very strong?  Her council seat might be at risk if the PARC recommends that Central be closed and her wish to become Mayo of the city might be dashed as well.

James Ridge - looking right

Burlington city manager James Ridge

City manager James Ridge serves at the pleasure of city city council – has the city given Ridge a set of marching orders he is expected to follow ?

How many agendas are there going to be in the room that the PARC meets in?

The PARC that was created to advise the Director of Education has some interesting people on it. There is very little in the way of biographical material on any of the 14 people (parents) representing the seven high schools.

The city has a representative on the PARC – Mayor Rick Golding chose city manager James Ridge to represent the city’s interests – Mayor Goldring said Ridge volunteered.

Meed Ward has said privately that she would like to run for the office of mayor. If there was ever an issue given to a potential candidate on a silver plate – the possible closing of two high schools in their city is about as good as it could get.

Will Meed Ward be able to show the leadership that many feel has been missing on city council?  Will she shine during the PARC meetings ?

This one is hers to lose.


Ward 2 city Councillor Marianne Meed Ward

Does it matter what the PARC says? It is the trustees that are going to decide and they are not bound by either what the PARC says or what the Director of Education recommends.

They have to be responsible – but each will have their own definition of responsibility.

This is a very significant decision for Burlington and few of the trustees have neither the background nor the experience to make this kind of decision. There are a few.

Is this a choice between

ensuring that every high school student has the best opportunity possible to obtain the education they desire

or maintaining complete neighbourhoods that have a local high school?

That’s the challenge faced by the PARC, the Director of Education and the 11 trustees.

Links to related articles:

The data gathered at the first PARC related meeting.


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Hours for city administrative, recreational and transit services.

News 100 redBy Staff

December 22, 2016



Most of us are rushing to get tasks done that just have to be done before we ease up for a few days away from what usually occupies us Monday to Friday,

City of Burlington administrative services will be closed from Monday, Dec. 26, 2016 until Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017.

Parks and Recreation Programs and Facilities: Activities and customer service hours at city pools, arenas and community centres vary over the holidays.

For a complete listing of program times visit

For a complete listing of  service hours and customer service locations visit

Burlington Transit and Handi-Van Service Hours:

The Downtown Transit Terminal will be closed Dec. 25 and 26, 2016 as well as Jan. 1, 2017. It will be closed early (2 p.m.) on Dec. 24 and 31.

Date Service schedule/hours

Dec. 24 Service ends early at approximately 8 p.m.

Dec. 25 No service

Dec. 26 Saturday service hours

Dec. 27 to Dec. 30 Regular service

Dec. 31 Saturday service extended until approximately 2 a.m.

Jan. 1 No service

Roads and Parks Maintenance: The administrative office will be closed on Monday, Dec. 26, 2016 and will reopen on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017. Only winter control and emergency services will be provided.
Halton Court Services: Provincial Offences Courts in Milton and Burlington will be closed Monday, Dec. 26, 2016 and will reopen on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017.

Parking: Free parking is available in the downtown core at all meters, municipal lots and the parking garage during the month of December and on Jan. 1, 2017.

NOTE: The Waterfront parking lots (east and west) do not provide free parking on statutory holidays.

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If we don't know our history - we are bound to repeat it. Just look at our city council

backgrounder 100By Pepper Parr

December 21st, 2016



Momentous days get remembered.

Sometimes they are great memories – VE day – we had won the war – the boys were coming home.

Sometimes they are dark and painful – December 6th, 1989 in Montreal where a lone gunman killed 14 woman at the École Polytechnique and then turned his rifle on himself.

Those are dates that do not get forgotten. One has to fish around a little to come up with memorable dates in this city.

December 18th, 2014 reverberates in the memory of this reporter. It was the night we got to see just how dysfunctional the freshly re-elected city council was going to be. Metaphorically speaking, there was blood all over the city council floor.

The evening started out well enough. Unbeknownst to him, John Taylor was to be given an award for his more than 20 years of public service.


John Taylor. He is what he is – and he has served on city council for well over twenty years.

Taylor is not known for his sartorial style. His wife was in the room with her camera to capture this significant moment. There were smiles all-round the horseshoe.

The award given, the members of council settled into their seats. One of the early items on the agenda was determining which board’s council members would sit on – the library Board, the hospital board, the Downtown Business Association and the Economic Development Corporation were some of the seats that were to be filled. Council members each had their favourites: Meed Ward just loved serving on the Hospital Board – she felt their governance model was something the city could emulate.

At the beginning of each term of a new Council the members of Council decide who will represent the city on the various local boards and committees. The established process includes the completion of a form indicating individual council members’ interests in specific boards and committees. Based on each member’s input, the Mayor presents recommendations to the Community and Corporate Services Committee appointing Council members to local boards and committees.


Mayor Goldring went int the meeting with a list of recommendations and thought he had his council members on side. Little did he know.

The Mayor talked to each of the members of Council and asked them where they wanted to serve – they each told the Mayor what they would like and that was the list the Mayor was prepared to put forward.

That’s when the really nasty tone of the city council we have had since the 2014 election appeared.

Three of his Council members did not like what they saw in the report and actually conspired to ensure that Meed Ward was removed from every possible committee.

Councillors Sharman and Lancaster: both part of the Shape Burlington committee who seem to have forgotten what the report was all about - civic engagement

Councillor Sharman tends to advise Councillor Lancaster frequently.

Councillors Craven and Sharman appeared to lead what Councillor Taylor called “the gang of four”; Councillor Lancaster went along for the ride; and Councillor Dennison got confused and cast a vote that cost his long-time colleague John Taylor a position he had wanted.

There was a hint at the Community Services Committee earlier in the week that something hard was coming when the chair for the next year was selected. This is the committee that handles the budget and the work load was seen as a little taxing for Taylor. Meed Ward was elected as vice-chair and Taylor made chair. Meed Ward had expected to serve as chair.

That Thursday in December of 2014 was not the Mayor’s best day – his council trashed some of his key recommendations and there was nothing he could do to stop them.

There were three amendments to the report that took everything away from Meed Ward. A surprise and somewhat intemperate move by Councillor Taylor had him withdrawing as the representative for city council on the Conservation Halton board which allowed Meed Ward to then take that appointment. Councillor Taylor then withdrew from the Art Gallery Board as well.

As the Councillor for Ward 2, the downtown part of the city she was the obvious choice for the Downtown Business Association. Council put Lancaster on the BDBA instead

Craven remained on the Police Services Board

Sharman was on the Seniors Advisory Board and appeared to like serving there. He wanted the hospital board which Meed Ward held. Council put Sharman on the hospital board and moved Meed Ward into the Seniors Advisory board.

Taylor served on the Conservation Halton Board and felt it was time to increase the city’s representation and wanted Meed Ward to serve there with him

Councillor Craven fought very hard against that – he argued that the city didn’t need two representatives even though all the other city’s had two council members on the Conservation Halton Board.

Usually an easy man to get along with - but grumpy, grumpy, grumpy when treports are not ready for him to read and review. John Taylor does nothing on the fly - legal department is going to have to smooth his ruffled feathers.

John Taylor, the dean of city council, got badly beaten up by two of his fellow council members in December of 2014. Council has been dysfunctional ever since.

Taylor took a very principled stand and chose to step aside and let Meed Ward take that task.

Councillor Taylor later described his fellow council member as a “gang of four” who used a rude, crude plan to strip ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward of all the committee and Board responsibilities she liked and was pretty good at.

In his report to Council Mayor Goldring said: “I am confident that the unique interests and talents of members of council are reflected in the recommended slate of council representatives to Boards and Committees. These representatives will ensure effective communication between the local boards and committees and council over the next four years.

Would that it were so. It ain’t.

What does it all boil down to?

What became clear was that the city now had a council with some significant splits. Councillors Craven and Sharman take a hard conservative approach to almost everything. Lancaster tends to go along with them.

Taylor and Meed Ward tend to be open and liberal.

The Mayor is described as a “green” but spent the night that the last federal election results came in with Conservative candidate Mike Wallace watching his losing numbers come in.

Councillor Dennison tends to be very pro-business but tries to be open and stand up for the little guy but won’t give the Brant Museum or the Performing Arts Centre a dime.

Mayor Goldring had said he was happy with the Council he had prior to the 2014 election – and they were all re-elected. His Worship is clearly not fully aware as to just how dysfunctional his Council is – there is now a very clear divide between the Mayor, Councillors Taylor and Meed Ward and what Councillor Taylor called the “gang of four”; made up of Councillors Craven, Sharman, Dennison and Lancaster. They meant to cut Meed Ward down a peg or two and on the surface at the time it sure looked like they succeeded.

The seniors were expected to just love Meed Ward; they didn’t take to Councillor Sharman all that well. It will be interesting to see how Sharman fits into the hospital board – some ego clashes were expected over there.

Meed Ward H&S profile

Councillor Marianne Meed Ward got stripped of all the board seats she had held – Councillor Taylor’s principled stand did get her on the Conservation Halton Board

Getting Meed Ward onto Conservation was a surprise move on the part of Councillor Taylor. She had her work cut out for her.

Booting Meed Ward off the Downtown BIA put a dent in her ego – but it won’t make any difference to what happens at that Board: Meed Ward can and did participate fully.

Before 2015 was out Lancaster had closed her Spa and decided to leave the Downtown Business Association board.

Taylor’s intemperate decision to withdraw from the Art Gallery is unfortunate but he got himself back in.

There weren’t any winners that Thursday evening in 2014. What there is however is a very clear divide on city council that is not in the best interests of the city.

Two years later – and how has I worked out? We hear very little from Sharman on what the hospital is doing.

Lancaster is no longer on the Downtown Business Association board.

Taylor got himself back on to the Art Gallery Board.

Meed Ward appears to have failed the senior’s with the rather pathetic support she provided when the city parks and recreation department moved in and took over almost everything. The senior’s non-profit corporation didn’t even have a room they could meet in.

Burlington City Council Group

This Council has never functioned all that well as a team. Is it a leadership problem? Have two council members been there too long? Are some council members divisive by nature?

Are the seven people elected to lead the city two years ago going to be able to use the holiday season to reflect and find a way to work as a team to grow the city in the direction the citizens want it to grow?

Will city manager James Ridge manage to create a team out of this bunch

Don’t bet everything on it.

Former city manager Jeff Fielding came to the conclusion that they were hopeless and when he got an opportunity to head west and run things as city manager in Calgary he couldn’t leave fast enough.

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Free contemporary dance workshop - January - mark it down.

artsblue 100x100By Pepper Parr

December 21, 2016



We need to get through Christmas – but when that is done – and if you have an appreciation for modern dance and would like to take part in a class – mark the date Tuesday, January 3 from 5:30pm – 7:00pm at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre

form-danceFORM Contemporary Dance is putting on a free workshop that will flow through various exercises to find avenues to access confidence, explore and express creative range and physicality.

Tuning awareness to the sensations, feelings, emotions and ideas that are naturally present and allowing them to blossom into breathtaking movement.

The people at FORM are remarkably creative – if dance is your thing they are as good as it gets.

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#HometownProud - tourism people want every former Burlingtonian they can find to come home in 2017

News 100 yellowBy Staff

December 20, 2016



Was it ET who mouthed the words “Home” in the 1982 American science fiction fantasy that put Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup confectionary product at the top of the list or millions of kids.


It was a movie that shaped the minds of at least one generation – and still leaves viewers warm and fuzzy.

Burlington won’t be giving our any candy but they are putting out a call for anyon who used to live in the city to come home and see just how much we have grown up.

And indeed – there is a lot to show off. The Pier, despite its price does make a difference to the waterfront and the new Gazebo will be in place for the festivities July 1st, 2017 – which is Canada’s Sesquicentennial – our 150th birthday.

Will it be anything like the Centennial? Probably not but we have a lot to celebrate as a country.

Burlington aerial

How much is there to show those former Burlingtonians should they take up the offer to “come home” in 2017?

Tourism Burlington has launched a new marketing campaign called Come Home 2 Burlington which encourages former Burlingtonians to rediscover the city’s fabulous events, restaurants, shopping and attractions. It also asks residents to be #HometownProud ambassadors by inviting family and friends to visit during 2017.

Not a bad idea – let’s see how they flesh it out.

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Electronically recording council votes gets off to a rocky start. At least they are trying.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

December 20, 2016



It almost worked.

It sort of worked but either the technology wasn’t quite right or the people pushing the buttons weren’t properly trained.

For those watching the live web cast of the last city council meeting for the year there was a peek at the way the decisions made by Council members are going to be recorded.


A partial screen shot of the first electronically recorded vote taken at city council on December 19th, 2016. The new software did not work as effectively as it was supposed to – they will try again next year.

In the past votes were by a show of hands with Councillors popping their hand up and down before there was a chance to see specifically who had voted which way.

The Mayor would glance left and the right – figuring there was a majority and declare the vote had carried.

The official minutes of a Council meeting would just say that the vote carried or failed – you had no way of knowing how your member of Council actually voted if you wanted to find out where they stood on something that took place several months or even a year previously.

Council decided some time ago to move from the raising of hands to record city council votes to an electronic process that called for council members to use a small keypad to cast their vote. Once that was done a screen would appear with the result.

The Gazette will publish these the day after each council meeting.

Unfortunately the men and women you elected to council don’t want you to see how they vote at the Standing Committee meetings – which is where, for the most part, the real debates take place. Votes at that level are still a “put your hand up in the air” process. Several Councillors seem to be a little shy about letting anyone one see how they votes – they put their arm up a couple of inches, wiggle their hand and feel they have done the right thing. Councillor Craven is the worst offender.

The rationale one gets from Council members is that they may well change their minds after a Standing Committee meeting. And the problem with that would be?

One would like to believe that the ability to change your mind after hearing from your constituents and reflecting on what took place would be seen as a sign of a mature politician; apparently not.

Burlington City Council Group

All their votes taken at city council meetings will be electronically recorded. The first attempt to do this failed – system was not fully tested before going live.

For the immediate future city council votes will be recorded, which council members will tell you are the ones that really count?

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Mainway Arena temporarily closed for unexpected repairs - staff don't expect to re-open until at least the 27th.

notices100x100By Staff

December 19th, 2016



The City has temporarily closed Mainway Arena as the result of unexpected repairs.

Two of the three compressors used at the arena to help maintain the ice surface have stopped working and require replacement. The new compressors are expected to arrive early this week with installation estimated for the Golden Horseshoe Tournament starting on Dec. 27 in Burlington.

Budget public parent on stairs at ice rink

Parents aren’t going to be able to take watch hockey games or skate free at the Mainway area until perhaps as late as the 27th.

“Ensuring Mainway Arena is open and available to ice users as soon as possible is a priority for the city,” said Chris Glenn, the city’s director of parks and recreation. “Plans are being made to accommodate ice users at other city arenas where possible.”

Residents with questions about their ice rentals scheduled at Mainway Arena can call 905-331-7465.

For information about public skating at other locations around the city, visit

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A Mobility Hub? Perhaps an Innovation District? Something soon that will result in jobs for the literally thousands of residential units that are going to get completed before the end of 2018.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

December 19th, 2016



There is a developer who has completed a land assembly and is now meeting with the planning department.

And the project isn’t going to go anywhere in the immediate future – because the concept of a mobility hub and an Innovation District are still being thought through within the Planning department.

At a recent council meeting Burlington Economic Development Corporation Executive Director, Frank McKeown pointed out that the city needs to understand innovation districts from a land use perspective.

First problem is that the city’s Official Plan does not recognize the concept of an Innovation District.

Something along these lines was planned for Burlington's downtown core - but McMaster stifed the city when a nicer deal came along.

Something along these lines was planned for Burlington’s downtown core – but McMaster stiffed the city when a nicer deal came along.

The Burlington Employment Lands Policy Recommendations and Conversion Analysis report describes the general features of an Innovation District and provides a series of case studies and research. In general, the research affirms that innovation districts are composed first of an economic development marketing strategy, and that land use policy interventions are used to:

• Implement the vision
• Address land use compatibility
• Provide incentives

There is a role for land use planning policy to support the initiative by enabling area specific planning and working closely with any given anchor institution.

The success of innovation districts requires a mix of attributes and features. The right institutional anchor in place, the unique features of the area (old waterfront, older industrial area, natural heritage/open space), and transit and active transportation options are all critical to the success of an innovation district.

Planning staff have considered the recommendations offered in the Burlington Employment Lands Policy Recommendations and Conversion Analysis report and have determined that there is an opportunity to identify one or more potential innovation districts in the city.

The first step in any innovation district process is the development of the economic development strategy and brand designed to leverage the economic, networking and physical assets of the area. Where a strategy is developed an area specific plan should be initiated in support of the strategy that considers critical elements in support of the district including connectivity and access to the District.

After reading that paragraph you know that there isn’t going to be a near future answer to any of the issues raised.

Station West A sign

Station West – the ADI Development Group project that is currently being marketed.

Station West

It’s an empty field today – expect to see it become an active construction site during 2017. The development will include both apartments and various forms of townhouses.

Burlington decided a few months ago that it was going to go back to square one with its official plan and give up on the mandated requirement to review the existing plan – and has decided to write a brand new plan. That new Official Plan has to fit in with the Go Bold, Go Smart and Go Beautiful mantra that is coming out of the Planning department.

No one is really sure just what the slogan means and there has yet to be a public meeting of any sort to explain it to the public at large.

The Official Plan, say staff, should identify a general framework for identifying an area with potential to function as an innovation district and the approach for supporting these areas through land use planning.

In the near term the identification of a special study area around the existing DeGroote School of Business should be included as a potential innovation district.

Getting something off the ground has always been a front burner issue for the Economic Development Corporation – that dream has been in the works for more than three years. It may well end up still born.

Through the work on the Mobility Hub Area Specific Plans, staff suggest some consideration of connectivity to the potential innovation district should be included. This special study area is located within an area of employment. As such no sensitive uses like residential should be permitted in this innovation district. There is potential for accommodating sensitive uses like residential in proximity to the potential innovation district such as along the Fairview Corridor or in association with the Appleby GO mobility hub.

The ADI Development group appear to have all the clearance they need for their Station West Development in Aldershot and at one stage during the Strategic Plan discussions Aldershot was the hot button choice for the first Mobility Hub – that seems to have cooled of somewhat,

A plan for the area such as a Mobility Hubs Area Specific Plan or considered through an area specific plan for the innovation district would assist in identifying opportunities to cross significant barriers in the area (rail line, creek) and to link the innovation district to the intensification area identified along Fairview Street.


All the essentials are in place – couple of huge outdoor parking lots and a several floor indoor parking lot. A GO station. Space for private cars, taxis and city buses all converge on the site. Is there the potential to create an innovation centre in the area that now has a garden centre and several automotive dealers along Fairview east of the GO station. Land use economists argue that land in this areas should be used for a more productive use.

There are a couple of monkey wrenches that mess this thinking up a bit.

The DeGroote School of business location on the South Service Road is not one of the Mobility hub ideas being looked at. The four in the thinking stage are at the Aldershot GO station, the bus transfer location on John Street, the Burlington GO station and the Appleby GO station.

The Bureaucrats have to do their work – and credit to the Planning department, there are some very competent people over there who, if we give them the time and the resources needed, they will get it right.

Meanwhile there is a developer with three large junks of land that have been bought and paid for waiting to have the concept meeting with the planners to see what they think. The planners told the developer to come back when they are ready.

Nice – maybe the city could give the developer a tax holiday on the property while they wait?

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