Some of the finest stained glass art in the country is on display at the Seaton gallery.

artsorange 100x100By Staff

December 3rd, 2016



There are all kinds of events taking place during December which you somehow have to fit into the shopping frenzy.

agog-logoHalf an hour to just relax is something that is appreciated and, if you happen to be doing some of your shopping at the Royal Botanical Garden there is a place just across the road where you can see some of the very best stained glass art work on display.

AGOG, Artistic Group of Glass is holding a holding a Glass Show & Sale that will run all December at the Teresa Seaton Studio & Gallery, 654 Spring Gardens Rd. Burlington ON L7T 1J2 – Thurs – Sun, 11am-5pmSeaton


John Storey’s Dylan


John Storey’s The Rose

Included in the group showing are: John Highley / Mosaic Glass
Siobhan Lynch / Copper Foil
Joe Speck / Fused Glass
Teresa Seaton / Copper Foil
John Storey / Leaded Glass


Teresa Seaton’s Lower Dashwood

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Burlington Taxi Driver robbed - two suspects fled on foot.

Crime 100By Staff

December 2, 2016


The Halton Regional Police are seeking the public’s assistance identifying two males that robbed a Burlington Taxi driver.

On Saturday November 26th, 2016 at approximately 8:00pm, two males were picked up by a Burlington Taxi in the area of Mountainside Drive and Industrial Street in Burlington. The males were driven to the area of Mount Forest Road and Nottingham Avenue. Upon arriving to this location, the males physically assaulted the taxi driver and stole a quantity of money. Both males fled on foot.

The two male suspects are described as follows:


Suspect 1- Taxi driver robbery

Suspect 1: Male, white, between 25-30 years of age, approximately 6’0″ tall, with a thin build. He was wearing toque and had a bit of facial hair.


Suspect 2 – Taxi driver robbery

Suspect 2: Male, white, between 26-32 years of age, approximately 6’0″ tall, with an athletic build. He was wearing a toque and had a bit of facial hair.

Anyone who may have information that would assist the investigation is asked to call the Burlington Criminal Investigations Bureau at 905-825-4747 Ext 2316 or Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), through the web at or by texting “Tip201” with your message to 274637 (crimes).

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Mayor gives what Councillor Meed Ward calls a political responsibility to the city manager.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

December 2, 2016



Halton District school Board Director of Education Stuart Miller delegated to city council a while ago and explained why his organization was recommending that two high schools in the city be closed.

It was a polite delegation – none of the council members asked much in the way of questions. He had made his point and that was that.

Miller did explain the process that is used when a school is going to be closed. At the time he didn’t mention that the city is asked to provide a representative on the PAR committee.

Once the PARC was formed the city was then asked to select a representative.

A PARC is a committee to Program Accommodation Review.

In a report to council earlier this week the Mayor recommended that city manager James Ridge be appointed as the representative to participate on the PARC, in an advisory role, to be a conduit of information, and to provide meaningful input and feedback concerning the proposed solutions.

The Board of Education initial preferred option includes closing both Burlington Central and Lester B. Pearson secondary schools.

The Mayor said that James Ridge has been consulted and is supportive of fulfilling the appointment to the Halton District School Board PARC.  The fact is that Ridge volunteered for the task.

In a report that was submitted under Mayor Goldring’s signature it said:

Flood Goldring with chain of office

Mayor Goldring speaking to media wearing his Chain of Office which identifies him as Mayor – a political role.

“There is obviously a great deal of concern in our community, especially with teachers, parents and students and within the areas located in close proximity to both Central and Pearson. It is only natural that many residents would want Burlington City Council to get involved in this issue.

“Recognizing that it is the Halton District School Board that makes the final decision, it would be inappropriate for council to take any sort of official position on this issue. I do understand, however, the interest in members of council wanting to get involved simply as residents.

“I am of the opinion that James Ridges will be an excellent representative of the City as a community partner on the Halton District School Board PARC. In this advisory role, I am confident that he will effectively communicate a clear and objective perspective concerning the proposed solutions that will be part of the PARC discussions.

During the council meeting the Mayor said he had received a note from a citizen saying they thought the Mayor should represent the city because he was unbiased, fair, thoughtful and objective.  The Mayor then said that those words applied to city manager James Ridge but that in his case these words were squared, a mathematical term, and that Ridge had the “big picture” as well.

James Ridge - looking right

City manager James Ridge will represent the city on the Board of Education Program Accommodation Review Committee – a group that many see as very political in that it speaks to the interests of parents who want to keep their school open.

Apparently the Mayor was having some difficulty deciding what to do and Ridge volunteered to sit on the PARC.

It is doubtful that the city manager has ever been in one of the city’s high schools – if he has – it was part of a tour.  He would not know the character of the different high schools – what makes Nelson the school that it is and what makes M. M. Robinson the high school that it is.  Ridge has been in Burlington for about 18 months and while he may see himself as a quick study understanding a city and and its character takes years.

Rick Goldring attended both elementary and high school in Burlington  – he is a product of Nelson and know the rivalries that exist between the high schools and having raised children in this city he understands fully what the high schools in this city mean to the parents.

Ridge has children that he and his wife saw through high school – but those schools were not in this city.   What Ridge will bring to the PARC is the view of a bureaucrat not a citizen with a deep understanding of the city and its needs.

Meed Ward responded to the Mayor’s decision with the comment that she had approached the Mayor privately and asked that he represent the city and that she was disappointed in his decision to recommend Ridge.

Meed Ward believes the closing of a high school is a political issue. She pointed out that one of the pillars of the Strategic Plan focuses on healthy communities and the walk-ability of the community centres was important.

The Mayor doesn’t appear to share that view – but he didn’t explicitly say so. He did say “we are all very interested observers of the process” and he felt the city manager could do the job that was to be done.


The body language tells it all – Councilors Meed ward and Craven sit beside each other at Council meetings because they represent wards 2 and 1 respectively and council members are seated in numerical order with the Mayor in the chair. The two don’t like each other and share very few viewpoints.

Ward 1 Councillor Rick Craven had no such hesitation in saying what he thought. He said he totally disagrees with Meed Ward and the position she has taken. “We need to stay out of the work the school board trustees have to do. I am quite uncomfortable with this”… “but it is not something I have control over.”

Meed Ward explained that she has a son who attends Central high school and a daughter who attends Aldershot high school and it is her belief that what happens to a high school impacts the community and that is the business of a city council.

Of note is that there is not a structure for the Board of Education and the city to meet to discuss shared concerns.

The Chief of police has in the past delegated to city council to discuss public safety matters; the hospital boat will send their president to city hall to provide updates. The Dean at the McMaster DeGroote School of Business attends council to delegate.

Politics is doing the business of the people and the school board close to the largest employer and the recipient of a very large slice of the tax revenue pie. They need to work together on issues of shared concern – and if this city council doesn’t understand or appreciate that the closing of a high school is not a major political concern we are indeed in serious trouble with the city council we have.

The Gazette hears the phrase “this is a dysfunctional council” from far too many people who are admired, respected and the recipients of Burlington’s Best awards.

For a Mayor to avoid sitting on a committee that will prepare a report that goes to the Director of Education which he uses to prepare his report to the trustees who will make the eventual decision, this is almost a dereliction of duty, which is defined as “the shameful failure to fulfill one’s obligations.”  That pretty well sums it up – doesn’t it?

central-strongThe parents committee at Central are delighted that Meed Ward accepted the request that she sit on the PARC. Dania Thurman, spokesperson for the parents group said: “Marianne was the right choice for our School’s council representative because she has a son at Central AND a daughter at Aldershot.

“This gives her a unique perspective that most of us do not have. She also has extensive experience sitting on different committees and is used to working with others to find solutions to complicated issues.

“As a group we wanted to choose the person who was best qualified and could work well under the pressure of being on a committee like this. Marianne is very well spoken and more than capable of sharing our concerns clearly and thoughtfully. As a parent of a student at our school she qualifies to be a member on the PAR just like any other Central parent.

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The gift that brings a smile to your face because someone else got the benefit.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

December 2, 2016



It happens every year.

What do you get the person who teaches your children?

How much do you spend – what is appropriate and are you going to buy them another cute coffee mug they don’t want or need?

Gifting a classroom teacher is a good thing; the parents get a chance to say thank you; the student, especially if they are very young, just love the idea of giving a gift to someone who is a very important person in their life.
Teachers appreciate the recognition.

25-dollar-participation-packBut what to buy? It can’t be too expensive – can it be relevant? Some teachers have little collections, we knew one who collected elephant figurines – her student’s loved adding to the collection.

Teachers know where the help is needed in their classrooms – they see the kid wearing sneakers when the streets and wet and slushy; they see the threadbare coat and they are often able to call the Halton Learning Foundation and ask if there is some help available.

The Foundation has come up with a way for helping to be made easier and quite direct.
They have created on-line catalogue that people can browse through and choose the level of gift they would like to give.

A backpack full of school supplies seems simple and attainable, but is out-of-reach for many Halton families. Your $25 gift can ensure students have the basic tools they need to participate in learning

Many children and teens have no choice but to brave cold, wet temperatures in ill-fitting or poorly insulated coats and boots. Worse, some kids miss school days because they do not have appropriate gear for the weather. Your $75 gift can help a student stay warm and dry on the trip to and from school.

Many students miss out on the experience of field trips that enhance classroom learning because their families simply cannot afford to send them. Your Growth and Confidence gift can allow at least 10-15 students to be included in hands-on, experiential learning provided by field trips. An education isn’t limited to text books; the social skills learned while mixing socially with other students is vital.

250-ability-booster-lunchThe person buying the gift gets to have a card sent along to the person who the gift is being bought on behalf of.
A household can go on-line and decide they want to pay for the Fresh Start gift and have it given on behalf of a classroom teacher. The teacher gets the card saying a gift as given on their behalf by a specific student.

There are people who get gift they forget about in a month. This special kind of gift tends to be remembered for a long time. Isn’t that part of the purpose of a gift?

The catalogue is on-line – have a look.

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Rivers: Tolls may not be fair but they appear to be necessary.

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

December 2, 2016



One day electrically powered vehicles will grace our streets and roadways and the gas pump will be an historical artifact. And as go the gas pumps so too go the gas taxes, which together with license and other road fees currently more than pay for the road infrastructure in the GTA and Hamilton.

EVs (electric vehicles) are still in their infancy in Canada but the automakers have got the memo, thanks to Tesla. And it’s not too early to consider how we should be paying for roads after the gas tax money is gone. As a result, some jurisdictions in the USA have resorted to penalizing EV and hybrid car owners with surcharges on their vehicles – in effect a tax on efficient transportation and thus a tax on the environment.


Will electric vehicles result in less gasoline sales and less in the way of taxes on that gasoline? Is that the real reason behind tolls on highways?

While Ontario subsidizes the purchase of EV’s by up to $14,000, some US states are planning to charge an annual registration fee of up to $200 on these quiet, smokeless vehicles. It’s about fairness they say. Over the years public policy has swung from financing roads through property and income taxes towards user pay. And relying as much as we do on gas taxes, how can it be fair for the F-150 crowd to have to pay for the roads while Tesla owners ride for free.

Already, Oregon is experimenting with a per mile road tax in lieu of the gas tax. An electronic device like your hydro meter would measure your driving and send you a bill. Those west coast states have typically been ahead of the curve in North America – and not co-incidentally they’ve also legalized marijuana there. But the inherent complexities of this proposal make it sound like Cheech and Chong on a bad trip.

So Toronto mayor John Tory is timely in proposing a $2 toll for the Gardiner and Don Valley highways running through the city, that may bring in up to $300 million a year. At that rate it would take twelve years to pay for rehabilitating the Gardiner, but it is a start. And If approved it would still take at least a couple of years before they would have the electronic toll booths in place to start charging.

$2 may be a low ball figure for a city that charges $2 just for an hour of parking on the street, something which causes far more damage to one’s wallet than to the street. And since it can take an hour to crawl along the DVP from one end to the other, sadly the toll would be just like a parking charge.


John Tory arguing then that tolls were nothing but highway robbery.

John Tory has had a change of heart on this matter since he ran for mayor in 2003 – arguing then that tolls were nothing but highway robbery. Of course he has blundered a few times before. There was that negative billing thing when he was with Rogers. Wasn’t he responsible for those disgusting Kim Campbell’s personal attack ads on Mr. Chretien?, And who doesn’t remember the promise to fully fund all private schools.

But he’s got this one figured out now. Though, had he supported David Miller’s road tolls back then, the Gardiner might already have been re-built. Tory used to argue that imposing tolls was unwise since that would drive cars off the Gardiner. He was probably right. But isn’t driving some cars off our congested highways exactly what we really need to do?  Just ask one of those weary commuters stuck in perpetual daily grid-lock.

It’s a tragedy of the common highway. All those drivers trying to get their car on the road spoil it for all those other drivers. The rational economic solution is rationing through the price system. In fact this concept of rationing to avoid congestion is one of the pillars of the highway 407 pricing policy. Or at least, that is the rationale they use to allow them to charge the highest rates – the expensive highway – in North America.


Isn’t driving some cars off our congested highways exactly what we really need to do?

There is no perfect solution. Road tolls involve equity issues related to ability to pay, which can be brutal if you need that highway to get to work – so you can eventually pay the tolls. But flat fees and gas taxes inherently involve somebody subsidizing somebody else’s share of the cost of road building and maintenance. And that’s not fair either.

rivers-on-guitarRay Z Rivers is a songwriter, playwright, author and columnist. Tweet @rayzrivers    He will be performing on Sunday, December 18 at The Pearl Company Arts Centre, 16 Steven St., in Hamilton. The hour-long show of selected Christmas music starts at 2 p.m. Net proceeds will be donated to Mission Services in Hamilton.

Tickets are available on-line ( or at the door. Admission is $20, $15 for students, seniors and the under-waged. Reserve your seat today, call 905-524-0606.

 Background links:

Tory Tolls –   Tory No Tolls –   Tory Blunders –   Road Tolls Everywhere

407 Policy –      Who Pays for Roads –   Oregon Experiment –   Tragedy of the Commons

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Detours for the Santa Claus Parade, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016

notices100x100By Staff

December 2, 2016

This Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016 is the Burlington Santa Claus parade. Due to multiple road closures, several routes and stops are impacted from approximately 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will require detours on Routes 3, 4, 10, 21, and 25. Stops will be bagged in road closure areas.

Visit Burlington’s parade information page to view a map and get more information.

Delays are expected due to increased crowds and traffic. Please adjust your travel plans accordingly and use Trip Planner or call 905-639-0550 for next bus information.51st-santa-clause-parade-2016

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800 and counting - Central high school parents group is papering their community with lawn signs.

News 100 greenBy Staff

December 2, 2016




The #centralstrong crowd took the GO train to Toronto, got themselves to Queen’s Park and let the provincial government know they wanted their school saved.

The kind of problem every community organizer just loves to have.

“We are currently out of signs – again. We will order more in mid-December.

#centralstrong the community based group that is fighting the battle to keep Central high school open had a couple of hundred lawn signs made up.

They ran out of the first batch – had a second batch made up – ran out of the second batch.
They are at 800 signs and counting.

The easiest way for our amazing volunteers to keep track of your requests is when they are received via the website; this sends them directly to a master list.


#Centralstrong has sold more than 800 signs. That figure will get to 2000 before the end of this battle.

If your sign was stolen or you need more than one then please email or call because you cannot order more than one sign through our web page.

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Politicians kick off the holiday Season.

eventspink 100x100By Pepper Parr

December 1st, 2016



It’s kick off time for the holiday season!

indoora-skating-partyExpect politicians of every stripe to invite you to share the Season with them. First out of the gate is Indira Naidoo-Harris who has asked her constituents to join her for an afternoon of fun and excitement at her third Annual Holiday Skating Party on Saturday, December 10th.

The party starts at 12:30pm and runs until 2:20pm, at Milton Memorial Arena (77 Thompson Road South, Milton ON). Those who live in the northern part of the city get represented provincially by the Member for the Milton riding; they are sort of a political orphan.

While not related to the holiday season – it is interesting to note that both the Milton and the Burlington members of the provincial legislature are both members of the provincial cabinet.

No word yet on what the other federal and provincial politicians have planned for us.

Burlington will hold its holiday event starting at Civic Square where the Christmas tree will be lit – hopefully the Hydro crew will be able to make it work this year – something went wrong with the switch last year.

The Downtown Business Association used to support this effort financially - they had to cut back - Burlington Hydro took up the slack. So what is is that BDBA does for their members?

The holiday season decorations in Spence Smith Park are close to a must – Hydro does a superb job and seem to come up with new features every year.

Burgers galore from The Works will be handed out – hot chocolate and then the traditional tour through the city with participants will singing Carols.

We got a light sprinkle of rain last year – might have the same thing this year – but the event is a good way to spend an evening. A delightful number of people show up for the event

You won’t want to miss this great event!

Stroll - large view - packed - a bit

A light drizzle of rain last year didn’t deter several hundred people showing up for the lighting of the Christmas tree at Civic Square and the Carol stroll through the streets of the city.

The Carol Stroll Friday night is followed by the Santa Claus parade on Sunday.

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Regional police arrest photographer known to attend Candance sponsored events where he would record various competitions throughout the GTA.

Crime 100By Staff

December 2, 2016



Halton Regional Police have arrested and charged David KRON, 24yrs of Thornhill on Thursday the 01 December 2016, with voyeurism and child pornography offences.

HRPS crestDavid Kron is the owner / operator of Graviti Media and was known to attend Candance sponsored events where he would record various competitions throughout the GTA.

Anyone with information about this case is encouraged to contact Detective Todd Martin of the Halton Regional Police Service Internet Child Exploitation Unit (ICE). He can be reached at (905)825-4747 extension 8983.

Voyeurism X4
Make Child Pornography
Possession of Child Pornography
Distribute Child Pornography X2
Non-consensual distribution of intimate images
Luring a child X3

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Secret Formula For Making Money Online - Really? But you did look - just in case I do have a secret.


marketingmoneymojoBBy James Burchill

December 1, 2016



Make a fortune on-line.

I know, you figure “What a load of BS…Like he has the secret…” but you still had to look didn’t you – just in case I do have the secret. After all, how painful would it be to think that the answer to all your problems was offered to you at no cost and you were too stubborn, too closed minded to even give it a chance?

What’s the harm in looking? It’s not like I want anything for the information ☺

So let’s begin before you change your mind. Here goes…

Small But Mighty
In any statistical population, there is always a percentage that will accept your offer. In other words, if you keep asking you’ll get a “yes.”

yesKids do it all the time. As adults, we ‘learn’ to stop asking very quickly in our lives because we don’t like rejection. It hurts.

But surely how you ask has something to do with it? Yes and no.

The Sad Young Man
I once heard a tale of a sad young man who had limited social skills. His idea of getting a girl involved hanging out in bars where he’d approach a young lady and simply ask her if she wanted sex!

Can you imagine the rejection rate…and the number of times he got slapped or had a drink thrown in his face? Now that’s rejection. But there’s an upside to this story…this guy always got a girl…in the end. He kept asking.

And the moral of that tale? Asking is the key, and we know that asking the right way is even better, but we know that trying different approaches makes us vulnerable to rejection. It’s quite the conundrum!


That would be a No – but he asked.

Hold that thought for a moment while we get back to the secret.

So if we simply ask enough times we will eventually get a yes, and if we improve how we asking we’ll get more yeses. Ok, now we’re getting somewhere.

Walking into Traffic
On the Internet, a large population is simply called TRAFFIC. And if you have enough traffic you can afford to ask badly and still be successful. Of course, if you ask in more effective ways you’ll do even better – but we’ve got to start somewhere.

So the secret to making money on the Internet is simply getting enough traffic and asking people if they’re interested. So if you can get enough people marching past your website (where your offer is made automatically and without personal rejection, I might add) you will eventually make sales.

Nuts and the Blind Squirrel
Granted if your offer is bad and your website is worse, you’ll make very few sales – but you will make some. As the old saying goes, “Even a blind squirrel eventually finds a nut!”

This ‘secret’ holds true in the real world as well because the secret to making money in a retail store is still all about having a steady stream of prospects (traffic) walking around your store.


Even a blind squirrel eventually finds a nut.

Now making your traffic (prospects) stay long enough to see your offers, and improving the conversion rates so you sell more stuff, well that’s the subject of another article.

An Example
And rather than leave you hanging without a practical way to implement the “more traffic” solution – here’s a clue. It’s free, it’s easy and it’s been under your nose from the very beginning: provide meaningful, appropriate content and the search engines will love you for it.

In other words, support the Internet at the fundamental level – it was built to share information… so write and share!

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

getting new - yellow

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Internet is in for the 2018 municipal election; ranked balloting is out.

News 100 redBy Staff

December 1st, 2016



In what was the longest city council meeting the Gazette can remember – just short of three hours, council decided that internet voting is in and ranked ballots will be looked at after the 2018 municipal election.

The Gazette has watched city council meeting start and end in less than 20 minutes – and these were not council meetings with just the one item on the agenda.

There was quite a bit of “informed” opinion put before council on the possible security problems with using the internet to cast a ballot.


Gareth Williams, a delegator to city council where it became evident that he knew a lot more than anyone on city council about internet security. They decided that convenience was more important than the safety of the vote.

The city of Toronto is having serious considerations about continuing to use the internet – the city of Waterloo has decided this isn’t something they want to do. Given that Kitchener- Waterloo is tech central for this country – there may be some wisdom we are not availing ourselves of in Burlington.

During the debate, at which delegator Gareth Williams gave as good as he got from members of Council who wanted this question to just go away. Councillor Sharman wanted the motion that was to be voted on deferred to the next Council meeting.  He was supported by Councillor Taylor but that vote lost 5-2.

Sharman July 2016

Councillor Sharman was the only Councillor who wanted to know more about what the real problems were with the security of the internet.

City Clerk Angela Morgan explained that she had some contracts that needed to be signed for tabulating equipment and time was running out. Sharman pushed it to a vote – lost that vote but did get a Staff Direction in place asking that they fully research the matter for the next election – that is the one after 2018.

Williams did point out that sometimes the hacking of a site is done by smart students more as a prank.  He failed to remind city council that the web site students were to use to write exams on was hacked and the testing had to be cancelled.  There was no back up in place.

Ranked balloting also got punted. No one on this council wants to have to face a ranked ballot. In the 2011 election thee was just the one candidate that was at any risk had the ballots cast been ranked to choose a winner.

Ranking the ballots means that if a candidate does not have more than 50% of the vote cast then the bottom ballots get distributed amongst the other candidates.

Voters would have listed their first choice, second choice and perhaps even third choice. The first person to get a pure 50% become the person elected.

Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward was at one point a strong advocate for ranked balloting – she appears to have lost her appetite for that approach.  She had very little to say on the subject at the council meeting.

The system we use now – known as first past the post – means that the person with the most votes wins – even if the total of all the other voters is the higher number.getting new - yellow

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Committe that will provide recommendations to the Director of Education on how he resolves his high school capacity problem is announced.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

November 30th, 2016



Thursday morning a relatively large group of people will gather under the direction of Scott Podrebarac, who is the Halton District School Board Superintendent of Education selected to chair the Program Accommodation Committee that was formed by the school board trustees to study the recommendation that came from the Director of Education Stuart Miller to close two of Burlington’s seven high schools.

portrait of Scott Podrebarac

Scott Podrebarac, a Halton District School Board Superintendent who will chair the PARC that holds its orientation meeting on Thursday.

The Thursday meeting will be an orientation meeting that will be facilitated by a representative from Ipsos Reid, a company that described itself as “committed to working with clients to identify the right solutions for their specific challenges.” The Halton District School Board and the parents who have children in the seven high schools certainly have a challenge.

When the planners at the HDSB realized they had more than 1800 empty seats in the high schools they knew and were required to take some form of action. The province just doesn’t let a school board continue to operate that much excessive high school capacity.

It is fair to ask why the HDSB has waited until this late date to come forward with a recommendation – the data available to them has made it pretty clear that there was going to be a problem. But that is another issue – the HDSB appointed a new Director of Education and that problem has fallen in his lap. That Stuart Miller has spent all of his academic career with the Halton Board does raise the question: How did this happen?

The school board trustees – at least those who have been there for the past six years – have to share the responsibility for this situation – which is now spilt milk.

The problem is now on the table and it has to be dealt with – which is why the PARC was created


Director of Education Stuart Miller

What is this committee, known as a PARC going to do? The PARC does not write a “public” report; they will make suggestions or recommendations that are forwarded to the Director of Education for his consideration in his Final Director’s Report which will be a public document.

The work of the PARC is captured in the Community Consultation part of the Final Director’s report.
Podrebarac points out that “There is no document or procedure that speaks directly to the reporting of the PARC to the Director other than those outlined in our Program and Accommodation Review procedure.”


portrait of Donna Danielli

Donna Danielli – Halton District School Board trustee for Milton

They have their work cut out for them. Along with Burlington City Manager James Ridge and Milton school board trustee Donna Danielli the following people will serve on the committee that will meet frequently between now and May of 2017.

Each of the seven high schools in Burlington gets to have two representatives on the PARC; one of the two is chosen by the parent council for the school, the other is selected from a list of people who expressed an interest in serving on the PARC.


Marianne Meed Ward, member of city council for ward 2 where Central high school is located.

Steve Cussons, Aldershot High School
Eric Szyiko, Aldershot High School
Ian Farwell, Burlington Central High School
Marianne Meed Ward, Burlington Central High School
Tricia Hammill, Dr. Frank J. Hayden Secondary School
Nawaz Noormohamed, Dr. Frank J. Hayden Secondary School
Steve Armstrong. L. B. Pearson High School
Cheryl De Lugt, L. B. Pearson High School
Dianna Bower, M. M. Robinson High School
Marie Madenzides, M. M. Robinson High School
Rebecca Collier, Nelson High School
Kate Nazar, Nelson High School
Lisa Bull, Robert Bateman High School
Sharon Picken, Robert Bateman High School

Included in the PARC are the principals from each high school.

FIRE Bateman principal at siren

Mark Dudley, principal at Robert Bateman high school

Maria McLellan, Aldershot High School
Kelli Pfeiffer, Burlington Central High School
Nick Varricchio, Dr. Frank J. Hayden Secondary School
Loraine Fedurco, L. B. Pearson High School
Andrea Taylor, M. M. Robinson High School
Karen Hartmann, Nelson High School
Mark Duley, Robert Bateman High School

There is no remuneration for those participating on the PARC.

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In Praise of Council Members:

News 100 blueBy Jim Young

November 30th, 2016



It is always easy to lift the pen or get on the keyboard to complain about and criticize council members. I’m often thoughtful of how thick their skins must become or how difficult it must be not to internalize or personalize the criticism. So it is with some pleasure that I write to congratulate them for a thoughtful and well considered reversal on Monday night.

City Staff and a Council Subcommittee had voted 3 to 3 (with one member absent) to change a bylaw and limit delegations to council to 5 minutes from the existing 10.

On Monday council members, listened, questioned and debated several citizen delegations who came to ask that council reverse that part of the bylaw change.

At the end of the debate, Councilors Sharman and Taylor courageously and very graciously reversed their positions on the issue and Councilor Lancaster (who had missed the original vote but sat on the recommending subcommittee) sided with the delegates to support an amendment by councilors Meed-Ward and Dennison to revert to the 10 minute allotment. Mayor Goldring had always supported maintaining the 10 minute allotment.
The amendment carried 6 votes to 1 proving two things:

Contrary to popular opinion, some councilors do listen and act accordingly.

Burlington City Council GroupThe delegation system proved its worth and earned the support of the majority of council by virtue of the respectful and informed delegates who argued the case intelligently and succinctly.

A victory for common sense, civic engagement and a democratic principle; Well done City Council and thank you to the delegates who gave their time and voice in support of Burlington citizens.


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Citizens get to keep a right they have had for more than 25 years.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

November 29th, 2016



It wasn’t a hill worth dying on was the way Councillor John Taylor put it as city council debated a staff report that suggested delegation time be reduced from 10 minutes to five minutes.

The vote to not reduce the time allocation was a 6-1 with Councillor Craven voting against.

It wasn’t the hill these seven people were focused on – it was the ballot box.

The debate, which was one of the lengthiest this council has experienced – actual city council meetings have been as short as 15 minutes, was also an occasion when citizens made their voices heard in some of the best language this reporter has ever heard at city hall.

Jim Young, John Searle, Gareth Williams and Tom Muir did the city proud when they spoke up for your rights.


Councillors Dennison, Sharman and Lancaster during the time allocation for delegations debate.

There are some serious time management concerns that were brought to the attention of council. There are 26 different development proposals on their way to city council and planning staff are concerned there may be problems getting the reports through Standing Committee in time to ensure the city doesn’t run into that hard 180 day wall that allows a developer to scoot over to the Ontario Municipal Board if their request isn’t dealt with within that time frame. The city currently has such a situation on hand – and it is costing a pretty penny.

Much of the debate was focused on how this council manages its time. Councillor Meed Ward made one of the more important points: the problem is not with how long the citizens take to speak – it is the amount of time council members take up as they shilly shally all over the place and tend to work at making debating points rather than ask well thought out questions.

During the debate one Councillor made a little Burlington history when he uttered one of those “fuddle duddle” phrases.

Councillor Lancaster said that if citizens could think through what it is they want to say and discipline themselves they should be able to keep their delegations down to five minutes – the Mayor had to bring the Council member to order pointing out that Lancaster had gone over her five minute allocation.

For a period of time it looked as if council was going to set the length of time at five minutes and give people ten if they asked for additional time.

Lancaster said this council would never refuse a citizen the additional time if they needed it.

What a bunch of hypocrites. Anne Marsden, a long time delegator to city council, asked for additional time and was denied – and she had information council should have heard.


City Clerk Angela Morgan

It was suggested that people approach the Clerk requesting additional time when they filed their notice of wanting to delegate. Was the thought that the Clerk would be seen as fair and favourable to citizens? There are more than a handful of fine people who have delegated to city council and have few kind words about this Clerk and how she treats citizens.

John Searle, who is a citizen representative on a group called CHAT – something you have probably not heard much about; partly because while they exist you don’t hear much from them pointed out to Council that what they proposed to do was contrary to the purpose of the charter.

Searle, a lawyer by profession made a very important point when he said: “it is not about you” to the council members, it is about a principle and those principles are set out in the city’s charter.

The Burlington Community Engagement Charter is an agreement between and among Burlington City Council and the citizens of Burlington concerning citizen engagement with city government that establishes the commitments, responsibilities, and fundamental concepts of this relationship.

At the core of democratic government are two pillars that also form the basis of effective citizen engagement:

• That government belongs to the citizens within its political boundaries, and

• That the inhabitants of a city are “citizens” with the rights and responsibilities of citizenship based on justice, human rights, fundamental freedoms and rule of law.

Engaging people on issues that affect their lives and their city is a key component of democratic society. Public involvement encourages participation, actions and personal responsibility. The goal of community engagement is to lead to more informed and, therefore, better decision-making.

People are going to want to get their point across and five minutes is just not long enough. Searle went on to point out that what council was proposing to do was against the very charter they had approved. “What you are doing here today flies in the face of the charter.”


The body language kind of says it all – doesn’t it. Councillors Craven, Meed Ward and Taylor during the time allocation for delegations debate.

The Charter Searle referred to makes it pretty clear what is expected:

Citizen: For the purposes of this Charter, the word citizen refers to a resident of the City, entitled to its rights and services and with a responsibility to take an active part in community decision-making. The words citizen and resident can be used interchangeably.

Citizen engagement: The right and responsibility of citizens to have an informed say in the decisions that affect their lives though a dialogue of mutual respect between government and citizen.
Community engagement: The process by which citizens, organizations, and government work collaboratively. It includes information sharing, consultation, and active involvement in decision- making.

Decision-making: The process followed by the City of Burlington‟s City Council to reach decisions on those items that are presented in staff reports.

Meaningful engagement: Citizens and stakeholders have the opportunity to access information on the engagement topic that is timely, relevant, constructive and substantive. Their resulting input to decision-makers is expected to meet similar standards and is intended to ensure that a balance and range of public perspectives is available for consideration in the decision-making process.

Tom Muir made, as he inevitably does, points worth remembering.


Tom Muir, a citizen who has been delegating for more than 25 years.

“I would hope that Council votes in favor of the 10 minutes unanimously, as a show of good faith. I will say that a vote to reduce to 5 minutes is something I see as an insult to citizens and their possible contribution to what we do as a city – our city.”

“Further, if Councillors still want to vote down the 10 minutes, I say this. 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. I mean that, and will not forget how this vote goes tonight. “

“This Council is not your Council; it is the people’s Council.

“And these Council Chambers are not your Chambers, but are equally, the people’s Chambers. All the Councillors and Councils hold these offices and chambers in trust.

“So to vote to reduce the people’s time to speak in these chambers is to fail in that trust, in my opinion.
I ask therefore; herein fail not.”

The vote went 6-1 with Councillor Craven voting against ten minutes for Standing Committee delegations.

It was a good day for the citizens of the city.

Jim Young laid it out for them.

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Too good to be true?

Crime 100By Staff

November 29th, 2106



There are hundreds of thousands of them out there – people looking for a way to separate you from your money without giving you anything in return.

And the more gullible amongst us fall for the alluring offer.
The following came across our screen today.


This was really an invitation to begin a process that would track all your identity information.

For someone who thought that just perhaps an error had been made and that a device was being sent to you – and you were going to take advantage of that opportunity.

You would have been in for a rude awakening.

If it looks too good to be true – it is probably not true.

Be vigilant.

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There is a trend taking place on how city council plans to report to its citizens.

News 100 blackBy Pepper Parr

November 28th, 2016



There was a time when the city had three General Managers and three Standing Committees.

That has been slimmed down to one Standing Committee with everything else being stuffed into the Committee of the Whole

Development & Infrastructure will now become Planning and Development Committee.

Reporting to this committee will be Planning & Building department, Transportation department and at the discretion of the City Solicitor the Legal department.

Visual - city council full

The picture, taken from a webcast seems to be out of focus. The slimming down of how city council reports to its citizens would also appear to be out of focus.

The city communications people explain that City solicitor Nancy Shea Nicol Legal reports generally go to the city’s Committee of the Whole meetings but has the discretion to take reports to the Development and Infrastructure Committee meetings, as required.

Planning & Building generate a number of reports annually as a result of several development applications that require statutory public meetings.

As a result the number of departments has been limited and the proposed schedule includes one additional evening meeting in the week following regular committee meetings to allow for statutory public meetings only.

This additional evening will allow for increased engagement and will provide efficiencies for agenda management. It will only be utilized if the regular Planning & Development meeting is full.

Community & Corporate Services will become Committee of the Whole, all other departments will report to Committee of the Whole. The Committee of the Whole that currently exists for workshops will continue to be scheduled for the purpose of workshops when required but should there be additional time required for addressing items this time can be used for effective meeting management.

Budget meetings – additional meeting times have been scheduled into the calendar for the budget approval process. These are scheduled into the regular non-meeting weeks to ensure there is adequate time to address all of the material. If these meetings are not required for the budget they will be cancelled.

There was a time when the Committee of the Whole was used for more open wide ranging meetings where there was much more interaction and less formality.  Some of the best information came out of those meetings

James Ridge - looking rightThat doesn’t appear to be the way James Ridge wants to run the city.

Lessening the occasions when citizens get to see what city hall is doing and then limiting the time for a citizen to delegate to five minutes from ten is not a step in the direction that produces accountability and transparency.

The Chair and vice chair of each of these committees will become significant as this city council begins the second half of this term of office.  The opportunity to shine as a chair will be limited to just two people.  Will this city council shut Meed Ward out again?  Does Meed Ward have any interest in chairing either of the Standing committees?

Pay attention to what they are doing to you – there is a trend here.

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Jim Young declares: Because you will stand before them in 2018 and they will demand to know.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

November 28th, 2016



City council and the few that attend city council meetings along with the even fewer who watch what council does on the Cogeco live broadcast are in for a treat this evening.

Hearing a true democrat (note the small D) explain the rudiments of what it means to live in a democracy.

Jim Young will explain to members of city council (hopefully the staff will have their ears open as well) when he explains that:

Sometimes democracy frustrates us. Sometimes it completely fails us. Democracy is messy and unpredictable. But its inherent frustrations are still preferable to its failure.

Yes, it grinds ever so slowly through elections; committees; consultations, delegations, votes, amendments then back through the whole messy, frustrating process again.

Jim Young

Jim Young delegating.

And yes, those slow, tangled procedures can tempt us to short circuit the process in the name of speed in the name of efficiency to get the good works we have in mind into action.

The democratic processes of our city demand that qualified, talented professionals like the city staffs and managers, we are fortunate to have in Burlington, apply themselves to a certain vision of the city.

That they nurse that vision through the often tortuous process to council for approval and implementation, only to have someone like me, a citizens delegate, put a flea in council’s ear, a spoke in staff’s well-oiled wheel and force a review all of their efforts and the inevitable delay that brings.

Democracy is indeed frustrating and the temptation to limit those small interferences, those small interruptions is great.

Sometimes it may seem as if we delegates are the enemy of the process. That we somehow stand in the way of the great works and plans you all have in mind for the city.


Marianne Meed Ward delegating.

But that begs the question, for whom are these great works and plans intended? Are they for the benefit of council? I prefer to believe council is bigger, nobler and above that self-interest. Are they for the benefit of Staff, I think not, indeed with all due respect many very dedicated staff members are citizens of other municipalities and even then their professionalism puts them above that.

No, the big plans and great works are for the citizens, those very same people who come here to delegate to advise council, to say please consider me, my family and my neighbours when you contemplate these great plans and great works for the future of my city, the future of our city.

We live in a time when even the best efforts and endeavors of all levels of government are looked upon as “elitist”; are perceived to serve special interest groups and appear to ignore Jane/Joe Public until election time rolls around.

Vanessa Warren

Vanessa Warren delegating.

Limiting the input of citizens only feeds that perception, gives voice to the unreasonable because the reasonable voices feel stifled, limited, ignored.

We live in a time when the Rob Fords and Donald Trumps of this world lend false voice to the anger and frustration of those ignored and overlooked voters. Those brash populist voices, who defying common sense and reason somehow hold sway over electorates.

Not with wisdom, not with policy, not with vision but with the false promise that they will listen while whispering that the “Elitist, Mainstream Incumbents will not”.

When those voices hold sway, democracy fails us.

I urge council: Do not open that door to those small minds and loud voices.

We live in a city rated the best place to live in Canada, the best country in the world. That makes Burlington truly special. That enviable place in the world has been was achieved not just by the excellence of our city staffs, the guidance of dedicated councilors, of every political stripe, but also by a citizenry who love their city and who have participated in its plans and success over many years.

Our 25 year strategic plan very boldly calls for a city that engages its people, I urge council not to let that ambitious goal be tripped up at this, its first hurdle.

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.


Monte Dennis delegating.

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.

So far this delegation has taken about 5 minutes, and with more to say, I hope you can understand how limiting 5 minutes can be.

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.

If you cannot, in conscience, address your constituents on this issue, then you have accept an amendment to rescind that decision and restore the full 10 minute allotment for citizen delegations, or better still do the right thing and propose such an amendment yourself.

Your constituents will thank you for it. Burlington will thank you for it.

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Architect Society hands out awards - and raised funds for United Way as well. One rather stunning design.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

November 28th, 2016


The Hamilton Burlington Society of Architects held their awards event last Thursday – some decent work – just not enough of it in Burlington.

The work that architects do is what determines how the communities we live in work. Are they pleasant places do be? Does the building relate to the street? Does the feel of the street make you want to return?


It was an evening for conversation and celebration.

If any of these feelings speak to you – an architect has done his or her job.  The design of the MTO building makes people want to go into the building.  What a great place to go to work in.

The architect has to work very hard on several fronts to get a good design to the point where construction crews are on the site.  They have to deal with planners that aren’t always open to bold design, they have to work within building codes and they have to work within the budgets given to them.

Burlington has some incredibly boring buildings as well as some monster structures on lots that were not intended for something that big.

It is quite amazing to see some of the plans that get trotted out at city council meetings with some really ridiculous justifications given by planners pleading on behalf of a property owner or a developer.

Mistakes made at a council meeting hang around for decades – there is a condominium development on New Street that was a conversion from an apartment for rent dwelling that should have never been allowed to happen.

The architects have to battle developers who want to keep their costs down and at the same time have a structure that is attractive and something people want to live in


It was a younger crowd – there were a couple of “old lions” in the room.

Burlington has seen a few designs that break out of the boring mold. The ADI Development Group did a very nice job with the Moder’n on Guelph line and their Lynx on Dundas in the morth west part of the city is very different – quite a risk on the part of the developer.

The Paradigm going up on Fairview is a lot different from the condominiums they put up along Lakeshore Road.

The building on the city’s main thoroughfare are important – they give the roadway a sense of scale and if done properly last a long time.

Ten awards were given out on Thursday evening. There was one that was stunning; the MTO building in St. Catharines.  When will Burlington see something like this?

The HBSA raised what looked like $7500 that was handed over to the United Way of Burlington and Greater Hamilton. The event is held on a bi-annual basis to honour projects presented in a range of categories.

A five member jury consisted of:

Toon Dreessen, President, Ontario Architect Association
Mitchell Hall, Principal, KPMB Architects
Alex Lukachko, Principal, Sr. Building Science Specialist, RDH Building Science Inc.
Mary Lou Tanner, Director of Planning and Building, City of Burlington
Gerarda (Geri) Tino, Associate Architect, ATA Architects Inc.
Ken Coit, Program manager, public arts and projects City of Hamilton

Burlington Director of Planning, Mary Lou Tanner made a few remarks – she missed an opportunity to make some tough comments – like “I was expecting something better” but she chose to be polite.  Tanner recently convinced city council to go along with a slogan for her department: GO BOLD; GO SMART; GO BEAUTIFUL!  One had to squint to see much of any of these last Thursday.

To be fair, the jury members were architects and if architects aren’t going to take care of their own – who will?
The jurors independently selected the recipients of the Awards of Excellence in four categories:

The HBSA Board also handed out two special awards as part of a program that was established in 2014, and are given every two years to projects that set new standards of excellence in architecture, with consideration for form, function, innovation and sustainability.

Award of Excellence – Templar Flats


Architect firm: Lintack Architects Inc. Client: Core Urban Inc.

The Jury recognizes the significant clever decisions that are evident in melding the new construction with two existing and very different buildings. There are extensive challenges of the site conditions and connecting the new building to the existing heritage buildings. The architect has worked with the fabric of the street and, rather than simply preserve the facades, has integrated the buildings with the street and the community.

Award of Merit – The Cotton Factory


Architect firm: mcCallumSather   Client: The Cotton Factory

The Jury recognizes the achievement of solving the difficult architectural problem of dividing a large space into smaller workable spaces. The budget for this project was extremely limited and the design choices respect the history of the building and site. Specific choices include sensitivity to the patina of the finishes and the use of the building in a non-traditional office area in Hamilton.



Award of Excellence – Hambly House


Architect firms: DPAI  Architecture Inc. with Toms + McNally Design Inc.   Client: Tina Fetner & Lane Dunlop


The Jury recognizes this project for its excellence in expanding this small Art Deco cottage. The addition is sensitive and modern, detailed to fit in with the existing house design, and acts as a lantern on the roof of the existing house. The juxtaposition of the lantern to the solid base of the house marries the two elements that highlight the original house in an elegant way.


Award of Merit (Small Project) Waterdown Skate Park


Architect firm: Toms + McNally Design Client: City of Hamilton

The Jury recognizes the project for its context and opportunity in what was previously a traditional edge city park. The building is light filled and maximizes use by patrons of the building. The placement of the building program achieves access to the skate loop with functionality of the mechanical works. The overall skate loop recognizes historical skating patterns and brings activity and focus to the park. The project signifies ambitious place making that is needed for this community.

Award of Merit (Large Project) – Boris Clinic


Architect firm: mcCallumSather Client: McMaster University Medical Centre

The Jury recognizes the introduction of strategic glazing to connect light and nature to the hospital, linking nature to healing. The original building design anticipated modular change and future modifications based on its modular grid; the architects capitalized on this opportunity. The views to the Niagara Escarpment are of particular note in recognizing this project.



Award of Merit (Large Project) – Hamilton District Christian High School


Architect firm: mcCallumSather Client: Hamilton District Christian High School

The Jury recognizes the interior of this addition to the high school. The architect has maximized access to light and views, connecting interior spaces to the landscape. There is an honesty of expression in the materials which is bold in its use in a high school. The design provides a variety of opportunities for students to study in comfortable light filled space.




Award of Excellence – Rudy Hulst Commons


Architect Firm: Invizij Architects Client: Indwell

The Jury recognizes this project for setting the tone as a prominent and significant precedent for redevelopment for this area of Hamilton. The ground floor plane with commercial at the front and the offices at the rear helps reinforce the streetscape and connection to a vibrant active street life. The views to the Niagara Escarpment from the upper floors are very well done. The composition of the east elevation as it faces the existing neighbourhood is particularly noteworthy. The use of light and interior finishes is skillfully addressed by the architect. The use of windows to bring light to the basement level is a well-crafted refinement that reflects a high quality of design language.

Award of Merit – Milton Traffic Operations Centre


Architect Firm: KNYMH Inc. Client: Indwell

The Jury recognizes this project for design excellence; the utilitarian nature of the building is dignified with skillful detailing of the placement of windows and functions, linking the building design to its function. The building must perform in a utilitarian way given its operational function yet there is good composition of planes and forms that is well handled. Without the skill of the architect, this building could have been monotonous. Instead it creates tranquil and soothing spaces.

Award of Excellence– MTO Traffic Operations Centre


Architect Firm: mcCallumSather Client: Infrastructure Ontario

The Jury recognizes that what could have been a potentially utilitarian architectural solution was transformed into a simple and elegant composition of volumes. The linear box speaks to the nature of movement along the highway. Specific design highlights include the proportions and use of fenestrations which are elegant and the large box on the front which is a bold move at an appropriate scale. The use of the building and the interior design establish the sense of purpose for those who work in the building and those who visit the building.




Special Award of Merit.
North End Free Library & Public Bench


Architect Firm: TCA/Thier + Curran Architects Inc. Client: Maryanne Scime & William J. E. Curran

The Jury was pleased to receive this unique submission. We note that there is a proliferation of small free libraries in many cities. This project receives a Special Award of Merit for contributions to the North End community through design excellence for the library and the bench and contributing to the love of reading. The architect is commended for community building for a community whose library has been closed.

Except for the stunning design and the risk taken by the architect on the Ministry of Transportation there was nothing in the awards handed out that will be remembered for very long.

That lovely little Free Library was a very nice touch and suggests there is hope yet.

What is needed are tougher juries – they set the bar and need to try raising it.

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The look of the Burloak Park has been released - public can comment at a November 30th meeting.

News 100 greenBy Staff

November 28, 2016



The long, long, long term plans for the Beachway Park in the west end of the city are still on the drawing boards – the park planned for the east end of the city is much closer to reality.

Halton Region, the City of Burlington, the Town of Oakville and Conservation Halton are starting work on Burloak Regional Waterfront Park. This is the first phase of the park’s master plan, approved in 2014.


Architects conceptual drawing of where the pathways in the Burloak Park will be located.

The park improve-ments for phase one, include:

• a new accessible pathway along the waterfront,
• a shade structure (gazebo),
• a small performance area with seating and
• a guard rail.

Rob Peachey

Rob Peachey, manager of parks and open spaces with the City of Burlington.

“One of the first steps in achieving these improvements is to restore the natural ecosystem along the shoreline by removing invasive trees and shrubs, which are mostly Siberian elms and Norway Maples,” said Rob Peachey, manager of parks and open spaces with the City of Burlington. “Invasive trees have a harmful effect on the ability of native tree species to take hold. Removing these invasive trees is critical for the ecological restoration of the shoreline, including the function the area plays as a resting area for many migratory birds.”

City arborists and environmental experts are involved in identifying which trees and shrubs need to be removed. They will also help choose native replacement trees to be planted in the spring of 2017.


A rendering of the gazebo that will be part of the park.

Residents are invited to join the City of Burlington, Councillor Paul Sharman and Halton Region for an informal information session on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Hearthstone by the Lake, Pig and Whistle building, 100 Burloak Dr., Burlington, at the northwest corner of Burloak Drive and Lakeshore Road.

The park is just one significant change planned for the east end. The Skyway Plaza renovation – they are calling it the Skyway Village.

Cynthia Zahorak, the architect on the project has put all kinds of trees in what was a parking lot.

Linking the parks

The light yellow portion is where the current plaza is locate. To the north of that is the Skyway arena. The arrows show the flow of traffic from the arena to the Burloak Park that will see the light of day in 2017.

No dates yet on when this project might get to the point where shovels are in the ground – it was planned to tie into a serious upgrade to the Skyway arena – that is in the 2017 capital budget – yet to be approved.getting new - yellow


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Gareth Williams feels vindicated by US decision to audit internet votes.

News 100 redBy Gareth Williams

November 27, 2016



It has certainly been an interesting month in politics, especially south of the border. Many were surprised by the victory of the Republican candidate despite polling results showing his opponent with a strong lead. Mrs. Clinton conceded once it was clear to most that her path to victory was closed, something Mr. Trump long refused to say he would do.

Voters going in door

Burlington does allow on-line voting – a small proportion of citizens used that service. The voting machines the city uses are not on-line.

This past week however, a few media outlets published an alarming story based on comments attributed to computer scientists from some of the nation’s leading academic institutions. They urged candidates to request audits of the election in a handful of states. Their reason being that it appeared results in counties which rely solely on computerized voting machines demonstrated a statistically different result as compared to counties where paper ballots alone were used. Had the election been ‘hacked’?

Further analysis of the data revealed that there were other explanations for the statistical differences. Those computer scientists – cautious as most scientists are – clarified their position. There was no proof the election machines had been tampered with, but they maintained their push to have an audit performed to ensure the integrity of the voting process.

Thanks to an 11th hour fundraising effort by US Green Party Candidate Jill Stein, a recount is now underway in Wisconsin. However, major concerns have been raised based on the fact that in those counties where computerized voting machines were used, there is nothing to count. The only recourse is a computer forensics audit of the equipment.

Internationally renowned computer security expert Bruce Schneier commented on the situation this week. He pointed out that “computer forensics investigations are not easy, and they’re not quick. And in the end, we might not even get a definitive answer.”

On Thursday CBC Radio’s As It Happens featured an interview on the subject with former IBM researcher Dr. Barbara Simons, an expert on election security. Dr. Simons recently testified before the Special Committee on Electoral Reform (ERRE) in Ottawa. In her interview Dr. Simons warned “if you want to have the elections hacked in Canada, the best thing to do is have internet voting.” Internet voting is basically computerized voting machines on steroids.

A few weeks ago I wrote an opinion piece on an upcoming decision by Burlington City Council on the use of internet voting. The comments in the Gazette confirmed I was not alone in my concern. At Standing Committee, the recommendation was put forward (with a 6-0 vote) to accept the staff recommendation and continue to offer internet voting in Burlington in the 2018 Municipal Election. Staff defended their position based partly on the specious argument that “everyone else is doing it.” Convenience had won the day over concerns surrounding ballot secrecy and security.

Last week two other Ontario municipalities considered this issue. The City of Waterloo, home to one of the country’s leading University computer science programs, decided (once again) that internet voting was not worth the risk. Their decision was guided by advice from one of the University’s computer science professors, as well as an engineer with a leading technology security company based in the region. On Twitter Regional Councillor Jane Mitchell thanked Waterloo Council for “showing that you are really tech savvy”. Which is to say, rejecting Internet voting doesn’t show that you are backward-looking, it shows that you actually understand the technology, and the risks.

The Clerk for the City of Toronto also put forward a damning report on internet voting, and recommended not to proceed. The report cited among a myriad of issues a lack of liability on the part of third-party internet voting system vendors. They highlighted the fact that “the internet was designed to share information, not to secure it”. They rightly observed that voting is a unique service, very unlike other services offered by a municipality. It is not the same thing as paying a parking ticket and should not be looked at from the same perspective. This recommendation will be considered by Council there in the coming weeks.


If these voting machines were connected to the internet the belief among many experts is that the results they give could be tampered with.

Back to that US contest for a moment; the result of the election has been called into question, thanks in part to electronic voting machines. Mr. Trump has decried the audit process now underway a ‘scam’, despite months of claiming the system was ‘rigged’ – when it looked like he would lose. To quote Mr. Schneir again, “Elections serve two purposes. First, and most obvious, they are how we choose a winner. But second, and equally important, they convince the loser ­- and all the supporters ­- that he or she lost. If the election system fails to do the second, we risk undermining the legitimacy of our democratic process.”

This situation is likely only to further deepen divisions and polarize the electorate. Do we really want the potential for a situation like this here in Burlington, or in Canada for that matter?

Hopefully our Council will reconsider their earlier decision and give this direction some sober second thought.

gareth-williamsGareth Williams is a graduate of the Political Science program at McMaster University. He works in Information Technology in Hamilton with 18 years in the field.  Gareth lives in Brant Hills with his wife and their dog Misty.’


Background links:
Simons, an expert on election security

Experts urge Clinton to challenge the us presidential race results

Williams told Council he thought they were making a mistake – they went ahead and made it anyway.


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