Outdoor Graduation ceremonies - maybe. School boards have heard nothing from the province. Several schools have planned virtual events

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

June 3rd, 2021



In a grand gesture yesterday the Premier announced that outdoor graduation events were going to be permitted.

That news came as a surprise to every high school principal in the province.

The Halton District School Board was taken by surprise when they heard the news.

Bateman graduation class 2017

Bateman high school graduation in 2017

“At this point we don’t even know if we will be able to do it. Many Boards have already said they will not be doing it” said a news source.

“The Ministry has not given any direction, we haven’t spoken to Public health about it yet. It was a total surprise to us he announced it.

“Many schools have already planned their virtual events, which weren’t easy. Also don’t forget he said a celebration for every grade not just graduation.

The school board “will be going over this next week” – what they need is clear direction from the Ministry of Education. “… we have also yet to receive any written confirmation or direction from the Ministry.

The Premier said that there would be graduation events for every grade – which has not been the custom for Ontario schools. The long standing practice has been for high school students to graduate. More recently there have been graduation events for those completing elementary school.

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BurlingtonGreen finds a way to make up for not holding their annual CleanUp-GreenUp event

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

June 3rd, 2021



BurlingtonGreen was not going to totally lose the chance to have an impact even if the province put a kibosh on their annual CleanUp/GreenUp event.

BG with a twist 11th yearThey had to announce on April 8th that the Community Clean Up has been temporarily postponed due to the stay-at-home order issued by the Province.

They did what everyone did – the pivoted and put together a program that helped people do things at home.

THE GREEN UP & TREE LOVING CARE (TLC)Ways that you can GREEN UP at home:

  1. Plant a native shrub, tree or pollinator perennial on your property.

Request a packet of FREE native plant seeds to support your Green Up activities at home, while quantities last.
You can find out more about native trees and which ones are best for Burlington using the Ontario Tree Atlas.
Consult the Tree Planting Guide to set your new tree up for success.

2. Remove invasive plant species from your property.
Learn more about Halton Invasive Species and Biodiversity from Conservation Halton.
Find out how you can tackle invasive species at home from the Ontario Invasive Plant Council.

3. Give some Tree Loving Care (TLC) to your trees
Maintaining and caring for them is important for their overall health and longevity.

4. Learn about the importance of trees, pollinators, native species and biodiversity

BG clean up adults

The annual clean up event is seen by some as something for the younger crowd. While these woman are certainly young at heart – and they are doing their bit.

Perks of Registering:
We have a limited supply of FREE NATIVE PLANT SEEDS available when you register for Green Up, while quantities last.

BG teree planting - kids

Thousands of trees have been planted by BurlingtonGreen volunteers.

When you register your Green Up participation, you will be entered into a draw for a chance to win a $50 gift card to the Burlington Centre. We are giving away 2 gift cards for those that register between now and October 31st.

We’ve got extra prizes for those that share their photos with us – so take photos of your Green Up and tag us on social media or e-mail them to us for EXTRA chances to win!

Note: Submission of photos provides permission to BurlingtonGreen to use your photos in print, or in digital materials including social media platforms with permission to edit, alter, copy, or distribute the photos for media advertising and marketing.

To take part in the program REGISTER


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Rivers: Is it Time to Phase out Natural Gas?

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

June 3rd, 2021



The previous provincial government closed all of the coal-fired power plants and permanently banned coal as a fuel for electricity production. That was one of the largest greenhouse gas reduction initiatives in North America. More than 30 mega-tonnes of greenhouse gases annually were eliminated.

That is the equivalent to taking seven-million petroleum powered vehicles off our roads. In addition, closing the coal plants helped reduce the number of smog days in Ontario from 53 in 2005 to zero in 2015.

In 2005 coal-fired electricity still accounted for 19% of the utility bill. By 2015 when coal was gone, wind and solar energy had come from nowhere to account for 9%, even as electricity use in the province increased by another 3%. And while the costs of getting there were not inconsequential, solar and wind are today’s lowest cost sources of electrical energy.

wind turbines

Wind turbines work exceptionally well if located in the right place.

Of course wind and solar are intermittent sources of energy by their very nature. And while awaiting the development of backup energy storage systems, natural gas had been included in the mix to allow for those times when the sun was down or the wind had stopped blowing. Still, by 2018, the year the government changed political parties, natural gas accounted for only 3% of the energy mix.

Renewable energy accounts for a third of the electricity produced in Ontario. And a third of that comes from Ontario’s fleet of solar and wind installations. But after the 2018 election the Ontario government stopped approving and started cancelling new solar and wind projects. Still, even in 2020 wind and solar still generated over 11% of the provincial energy mix.

As a result Ontario’s electricity system is currently about 94 percent carbon free. However that is down from 97 percent under the former government, though still very respectable when compared to other jurisdictions like the USA, or even Alberta.

so;ar energy

Solar panels have proven to be very cost effective.

Unfortunately the current provincial administration is allergic to naturally sourced renewable energy. In fact, the Premier has recently moved to de-prioritize renewable energy in an effort to allow increases in the carbon content of Ontario’s energy mix.

So it should not be surprising that this Ontario government, through its wholly owned Ontario Power Generation, has just spent three billion dollars purchasing three existing gas plants from TC Energy. It is easy to understand why TC Energy would want to unload these facilities which represent yesterday’s fossil fuel burning technology. But why would the Ontario government buy them?

The contrast with what we see happening in the US could not be clearer. US President Joe Biden is committed to eliminating natural gas electricity production within 15 years, replacing it with renewable energy. Canada has just announced new climate change targets for 2030 which would entail a 40-50% reduction in fossil fuel burning.

Recently 27 municipalities across Ontario, representing half of the province’s population, have demanded that Ontario phase-out natural gas electricity production. They are concerned about re-carbonizing Ontario’s energy mix and the potential smog pollution which would result. Converting Ontario’s vehicle fleet to electricity is hardly carbon free if recharging the cars’ batteries relies on carbon based electricity.

The province’s Independent Electrical System Operator (IESO),which manages Ontario’s power system, had begun a stakeholder engagement process to examine the feasibility of phasing-out natural gas. In response, the Ontario Energy Association (OEA,) which represents most large energy providers, quickly generated a report in defence of the gas plants.

gas fired energy plant

One of the three gas fired energy plants the province bought.

The OEA report delivers what they term a ‘rough estimate’ of $60 billion over the next decade as a consequence of eliminating natural gas from electricity production. Rough estimate is a generous term for this sketchy effort at producing a large enough number to get everyone’s attention. And unsurprisingly, the imaginary number, intended to impress the reader, is based on heroic and incomplete assumptions – in short, shoddy work.

But this is not just about climate change and the environmental consequences of burning more fossil fuel. There have been huge economic costs associated with the direction this government has been taking us from the get-go. They gave away $3 billion when they dismantled Ontario’s cap and trade emission reduction system. Another $231 million was spent compensating approved new renewable energy projects which were cancelled by the government.

Then there were the millions, (initially $30 million) which were poured into the pointless effort to kill the national carbon tax. And now the Province is spending $3 billion to buy gas power plants which will have to be decommissioned in as little as a decade.

Meanwhile the government is paying $6 billion a year to subsidize our monthly electricity bill, a practice estimated by the Ontario Energy Association to possibly end up costing $228Billion over the next 25 years. And even so, the cost of electricity has actually increased since this government came to power, peaking just prior to the onset of the pandemic and the Premier’s decision to offer work-at-home rate relief during the crisis.

By any measure, economic or environmental, this is a troubling roadmap. And it is taking Ontario tax payers into the most ideologically driven and wrong-headed misadventure since a former premier broke up Ontario Hydro.

Rivers hand to faceRay Rivers writes regularly on both federal and provincial politics, applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking.  Rivers was once a candidate for provincial office in Burlington.  He was the founder of the Burlington citizen committee on sustainability at a time when climate warming was a hotly debated subject.   Ray has a post graduate degree in economics that he earned at the University of Ottawa.  Tweet @rayzrivers



Background links:

Coal Power Plants –    Ontario Energy Mix –      Ontario Electricity Rates –

Municipal Pressure –      OEA Study –      TC Plants –

Today’s Energy Mix –     Ratepayer Subsidy – 

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Another parking fee - this time at LaSalle Park - you pay to park the vehicle you used to tow your boat to the public launch

News 100 blueBy Staff

June 2nd, 2021


Another parking fee – this time at LaSalle Park – you  pay to park the vehicle you used to tow your boat to the public launch.

The LaSalle Park Community Marina opened the public boat launch on June 1.

The same day the city began charging for parking.

truck towing boat

Trucks parked at LaSalle now have to pay for the parking.

New Parking Fees
Anyone parking their boat trailer at the LaSalle Park Community Marina or in the upper parking lot will now be required to pay a trailer parking fee. Trailer parking payments are required seven days a week, including holidays. It is a daily flat rate of $20 for trailer parking; there is no fee to use the public boat launch.

The parking lot has often had traffic flow problems caused by too many trailers and/or improper parking. The new paid parking requirements are intended to create more order in the lots, improve traffic flow and reduce frustrations.

Weather - LaSalle Park Marina

Public ramp – at a time when the water was high and the winter ice had done a lot of damage.

Residents and visitors can use the HonkMobile app or scan the QR code found on signage at the marina to search, pay for, and top-up parking payments directly from their smartphone, tablet or computer.

Dashboard tickets are not required as every payment is linked with a trailer licence plate number.

The Marina has 219 docking spaces and is protected by a floating wave break. The Burlington Sailing and Boating Club (BS&BC) and the Able Sail program offer sailing programs at the Marina. In addition, the City has a public boat launch at the Marina that is protected by the floating wave break.

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Monkey wrench stops our presses - problem solved

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

June 2nd, 2021




The web site was off line, or to use our language – the presses stopped running early this morning.  A monkey wrench got thrown into the works and we were responsible.

server room

Traffic increase to the Gazette had us moved to a different server.

The company that hosts our site advised us recently that they were moving us to a different server due to an increase in our traffic.

That required us to make a number of changes in the back end of the system – which I personally never did understand.

monkey wrench

Monkey wrench was in the wrong place.

One of the changes didn’t get made and something called a proxy server stopped serving.

We are back and apologize for the inconvenience.



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Sociasl Planning is more than handing out data - analysis and policy recommendations are vital

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

June 2nd, 2021



Where do the policy initiatives come from?

Where do the fresh ideas come from?

Are we to rely on those with vested interests or can we look to independent bodies that contribute initiatives and do the analysis needed to take what the data offers?

CDH logoWe recently published a piece on a report on the working poor in the Region put out by Community Development Halton (CDH).

Put bluntly it was a regurgitation of information from Statistics Canada Tax-filer data, which was interesting and informative.

So what – the taxpayers in the Region put up at least half of the annual CDH budget for which the public has a right to expect more in the way of quality analysis.

worling poor CDH

The numbers are useful – the analysis is vital and missing.

Why does Burlington have fewer working poor than Milton or Oakville? Is it because it costs so much to rent in Burlington, if rental space can be found?

Is the lower level of working poor people one of the forces that is driving the development of high rise towers? We are talking structures that are well above twenty floors in some cases.

Development in Burlington has tended to be for those who can pay the millions for a view of the lake.

There are reasons for the geographical distribution of the working poor. Knowing what those reasons are would be a useful contribution and part of what social planning is about.

Something is missing from the material coming out of Community Development Halton.

Related news article.

Working poor lower in Burlington

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Roadmap to reopening starts June 14th providing 60% of us are vaccinated

News 100 blueBy Staff

June 2nd, 2021



There is now a road map to get us from where we are to where we want to be in the battle to prevent the further spread of Covid19 and its variants.

The Roadmap to Reopen, a three-step plan to safely and cautiously reopen the province and gradually lift public health measures based on the provincewide vaccination rate and improvements in key public health and health care indicators.
Roadmap to Reopen outlines three steps to easing public health measures.  Each step lasts for 21 days providing the criteria for moving to the next step are met.

Easterbrook ;ined up

Burlingtonians understand social distancing

Step One An initial focus on resuming outdoor activities with smaller crowds where the risk of transmission is lower, and permitting retail with restrictions. This includes allowing outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people, outdoor dining with up to four people per table and non-essential retail at 15 per cent capacity.

bikes on the promendae

People got out and exercised.

Step Two Further expanding outdoor activities and resuming limited indoor services with small numbers of people where face coverings are worn. This includes outdoor gatherings of up to 25 people, outdoor sports and leagues, overnight camps, personal care services where face coverings can be worn and with capacity limits, as well as indoor religious services, rites or ceremony gatherings at 15 per cent capacity.

Step Three Expanding access to indoor settings, with restrictions, including where there are larger numbers of people and where face coverings can’t always be worn. This includes indoor sports and recreational fitness; indoor dining, museums, art galleries and libraries, and casinos and bingo halls, with capacity limits.

The province will remain in each step for at least 21 days to evaluate any impacts on key public health and health system indicators. If at the end of the 21 days, the following vaccination thresholds have been met, along with positive trends in other key public health and health system indicators, then the province will move to the next step:

Step 1: 60 per cent of adults vaccinated with one dose.

Step 2: 70 per cent of adults vaccinated with one dose and 20 per cent vaccinated with two doses.

Step 3: 70 to 80 per cent of adults vaccinated with one dose and 25 per cent vaccinated with two doses.

Ford getting vaccinated AZ type

As soon as 60% of the population is vaccinated we can move into Step One of the Roadmap to re-opening.

The government expects to enter Step One of the Roadmap the week of June 14, 2021.

What the public is permitted to do between June 2nd and the 14th is not at all clear – other than to get out and get vaccinated.

Step One will permit the resumption of more outdoor activities with smaller, well-managed crowds where risk of transmission is minimized and will permit retail, all with restrictions in place, including but not limited to :

Outdoor gatherings up to 10 people;
Outdoor dining up to 4 people per table;
Outdoor fitness classes, personal training and sports training up to 10 people;
Essential retail at 25 per cent capacity and can sell all goods (including discount and big box);
Non-essential retail at 15 per cent capacity;
Retail stores in malls closed unless the stores have a street facing entrance;
Outdoor religious services, rites and ceremonies with capacity limited to permit 2 metres’ physical distancing;
Horse racing and motor speedways without spectators;
Outdoor horse riding;
Outdoor pools and wading pools with capacity limited to permit 2 metres’ physical distancing;
Outdoor zoos, landmarks, historic sites, and botanical gardens with capacity limits;
Campsites, campgrounds and short-term rentals; and
Overnight camping at Ontario Parks.

The detail is dizzying.

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The number of working poor people in Burlington is lower than Milton and Halton

graphic community 5By Staff

June 1st, 2021



Work or employment is commonly understood as a means for individuals to have a decent living.

With the impact of COVID-19 over the past year, there were substantial changes in both employment and earnings, leading to precarious work for individuals and their families.1 Many of those individuals may become the working poor and how we as community ensure that all members of our community are included in the recovery process is critical.

worling poor CDH

As shown in the chart below, Oakville and Milton are above the Halton average, while Burlington and Halton Hills are below.

As with poverty, there are many ways to define working poor. Using Statistics Canada’s tax filer information set as the data source,2 working poor3 is defined as individuals with an after-tax income below the Low Income Measure (LIM-AT) and earning an annual working income4 of over $3,000.

The income threshold of $3,000 reflects the federal government’s Working Income Tax Benefit (WITB) refundable tax credit intended to provide tax relief for eligible working low-income individuals and families who are already in the workforce and to encourage other Canadians to enter the workforce.

Using the most currently available data, in 2018 a working poor person earned more than $3,000 but less than $24,654 (LIM-AT for a single adult).

working poor photoIn 2018, there were over 444,000 working poor individuals in Ontario. They represented about 6.6% of the population (18-64 years) excluding full-time students living on their own. By comparison, in Halton Region, the working poor population was over 12,000 accounting for 4.5% of the working age population.

The data was provided by Community Development Halton.

1 COVID Economic and Social Effects Study (CESES), McMaster University, 2021. https://labourstudies.mcmaster.ca/research/covid19- impact
2 Grouping of postal codes were provided to Statistics Canada and Statistics Canada makes no representation or warranty as to, or validation of, the accuracy of any Postal Code OM data

3 A similar definition is used in Metcalf Foundation, The Working Poor in the Toronto Region, mapping working poverty in Canada’s richest city by John Stapleton, April 2015
4 Working income is the total amount of an individual’s income for the year from employment and business, excluding losses.

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Stay at Home ends tomorrow - Roadmap to re-opening follows

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

June 1st, 2021



Tomorrow, June 2nd, we come out of the Stay at Home order the province put in place April 7, 2021.

Easterbrook ;ined up

Social distancing was observed in most places.

However, all the other public health and workplace measures remain in place provincewide until Ontario enters Step One of the Roadmap to Reopen, at which point some restrictions will ease with an initial focus on outdoor settings.

The Roadmap to re-opening is a complex document with specific changes that are linked to the number of people who have been vaccinated.

Details on that Roadmap will follow in a separate article.

“With the Stay-At-Home order set to expire, we need to provide people with certainty so that they can continue to follow public health guidance. Doing so will help us to meet our goal of starting to gradually lift some restrictions when we enter Step One of the Roadmap when it is safe to do so.”

In a concentrated effort to reduce mobility and opportunities for transmission, the Stay-At-Home order required Ontarians to remain at home except for the purposes set out in the order, such as exercise, going to the grocery store or pharmacy, or accessing health care services. Once the Stay-at-Home order expires on June 2, these restrictions will no longer be in effect.
However, all other existing measures will remain in place provincewide, including restrictions on gatherings, businesses, services and activities.

This includes limiting indoor gatherings to households only and outdoor gatherings of up to five people, subject to limited exceptions, maintaining a cap of 25 per cent capacity for essential retail where only certain goods are permitted to be sold, restricting non-essential retail to curbside pickup and delivery only, as well as limiting short-term rentals to individuals in need of housing and allowing Ontario parks and campgrounds on public lands to be used for day-use only, subject to limited exceptions.

Ontarians will be able to leave home to travel within the province to a secondary residence for any reason however, they are not be permitted to host members of another household indoors except for a person from another household who lives alone or with a caregiver.

A simple, easy-to-understand summary of restrictions can be found on the province’s “Reopening Ontario” webpage, which provides details on what public health measures are in place before the province enters Step One of the Roadmap to Reopen. As always, anyone who may have been exposed to COVID-19 or who may be exhibiting symptoms of the virus should use the province’s self-assessment tool to determine what they should do next, including getting a test and isolating if necessary.

bikes on the promendae

One has to wonder why a Stay at Home order was put in place.

With the expiry of the Stay-at-Home order, emergency order O. Reg 266/21 (Residential Evictions) will also expire on June 2, 2021.

Emergency orders currently in effect under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act have been extended until June 16, 2021.

No word yet on what the Premier wants to do with schools. He is looking for a consensus: should something go wrong the blame can be shared by everyone.

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Food Bank gardens are beginning to sprout - head gardener expects to see significant produce in a month

News 100 greenBy Staff

June 1, 2021



Robin Bailey, Executive Director of the Burlington Food Bank got to meet with new Garden Coordinator Samantha (Sam) LeGrand on site this week.

The seedlings are beginning to sprout – Sam expects them to begin to produce in about a month.

Sam pointing garden

Samantha (Sam) LeGrand on site this week.

There is some lettuce, sage and rhubarb to harvest today along with the garlic greens and garlic heads that were planted last season.

Canadian Tire gave Sam a collection of seeds (sunflowers among others) they could not sell and now we are sending some seeds (that we could not use in our own garden plots) along to our clients.

The Food Bank was allotted seven plots at the Maple Gardens, found Sam as the woman who would lead the operation and find the volunteers needed to make it all come together and produce fresh vegetables.

Sam full upper

Without the volunteers we wouldn’t have gotten this operation off the ground said LeGrand. There is someone on site everyday watering and making sure the plants are in good shape.

Please contact Sam at garden@burlingtonfoodbank.ca if you are interested in helping out over the summer.

If you are in need or know of someone who could use our help, PLEASE have them email us at info@burlingtonfoodbank.ca or call 905-637-2273 to make arrangements to have food dropped at their door or make arrangements to pick it up through our curb-side pickup option. If you are a resident in Burlington, we are all here to help. Don’t struggle – give us a call.

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Mariam Manaa: a young women with significant community experience in a political setting seeking the Liberal nomination

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

June 1st, 2021



Mariam Manaa said she knew the day she sat in on a House of Commons committee meeting that the world of politics was definitely for her.

Manaa Miriam H&S

Mariam Manaa

Manaa had worked as a summer intern with Oakville North Burlington MP Pam Damoff; it was a four month gig but it was enough at the time to learn just what a politician does.

Mariam returned to school, she had been attending high school in Oakville where the family lived. She continued her studies in community planning and keeping busy with the Muslim Association of Canada work she and her Mother did.

The family, Mom and Dad and two brothers came to Canada when Mariam was eight years old. They lived in the Gaza part of Palestine. While Mariam doesn’t remember all that much she does know that it was a trying time for the family.

The Israelis had occupied the country and then withdrawn but kept a very tight security ring around Gaza.

The parents wanted something better for their children and immigrated to Canada.
Her Mother worked in a bakery, her Dad worked as a handyman and the children went to school.

It was a huge emotional and psychological change for the family.

“Sitting in that House of Commons committee room with my notebook in hand listening intently to everything that was being said I couldn’t believe how fortunate I was” said Manaa.

A few years later Mariam applied for a job with Burlington MP Karina Gould who was also a Cabinet Minister. She was hired and spent more than three years with Minister Gould.

In her mind Mariam said she was in basic training to become a politician. She knew she was a Liberal – and she fully understood the different levels of responsibility that the federal politicians had and the role the provincial government played in the lives of ordinary people.

“I wanted to be doing things that made a difference in the lives of normal people.

“Education was really important to me; health and the environment mattered to me.” Manaa said she learned something new everyday she was on the job.

“I had gotten myself to the point where I knew I needed to pick up additional skill sets.
I was always involved with the Muslim community and got a chance to work for the Muslim Association doing public relations work.

Manaa with empower sign

A community advocate from an early age Mariam Manaa now wants to represent Burlington in the provincial legislature.

Mariam now wears the traditional Muslim hijab but didn’t wear it during her high school years.

“My cultural views and learning more about what it really meant to be Muslim were aspects of my life that I grew into when I had completed high school.

Respecting the cultural and religious part of her community led to Mariam, working with the Muslim Association, to holding a pop-up vaccination station where Muslim women could be vaccinated in private. Muslim women do not display their bodies the way western woman do.

Getting vaccinated meant lowering the burqa sleeve which is something that is just not done in a public setting.

“We got a great turnout from the women in the Muslim community” said Manaa.

She has come to learn that one of Canada’s strengths is its diversity.

“People respect those that are different in the way they dress and the lifestyle they live  – but they are accepted and invited to take part in the fostering and developing of the community.

“Giving back is such a fundamental part of who my family is – we see the news on television at night and know how terrible it is in the land that I came from – where I was raised as a child.” Mariam spends her days on the telephone talking to people one-on-one.  I try to get to between 30 and 40 people each day building support for my nomination.”

The Burlington Liberal Association will decide on June 26th who the Liberal candidate will be.  It is not certain yet if the event will be virtual.


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After a bit of kafuffle it comes down to two women seeking the Liberal nomination to be the candidate in the June 2022 provincial election

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

May 31st, 2021



So – what did happen?

We learn that ward 2  Councillor Lisa Kearns had decided to accept a suggestion that she seek the nomination for the Burlington seat in the Legislature.

We were never able to get that confirmed directly from the Burlington Liberal Association but we were able to get confirmation from a reliable party source.

Manaa Miriam H&S

Mariam Manaa – seeking the Liberal nomination.

We were unaware that there was a already a Miriam Manass, woman who had expressed an interest and was running a personal campaign to seek the nomination.

All we had was Lisa Kearns filling her social media with everything she had. Today it was pairs of children’s shoes at the foot of the flag poles outside city hall in support of the 200+ children who were buried on the grounds of a Residential School used to house Indigenous Children who had been taken from their parents.

Kearns with shoes

Lisa Kearns during a Facebook moment at the foot of the flag poles outside city hall

Kearns informed us that she wrote a university thesis on just that issue. We asked for a copy of the thesis thinking it would be interesting to read what a student had to say about the shameful past that had churches being responsible for the welfare of children and then abusing them. Not all the churches but far too many of them.  “Don’t have the document anymore” advised Kearns. Most people hang on to the work they do at the university level.

Then out of the blue we learn that Andrea Grebenc has decided to seek the nomination for the Burlington seat. We thought that she would be a very good candidate for the ward 3 council seat.  She has credibility.


Andrea Grebenc during a virtual school board meeting.

The faster than you can say “Jack Rabbit” Kearns announces that she likes the look of Grebenc and has decided to drop out of the race and support Grebenc.

What really happened?

And also – what happened to the woman who was being “groomed” to replace Kearns on city Council once she had won the provincial seat?

She appears to have been thrown under the bus.

Kearns and Grebenc were not close to each other. I doubt that they actually met – but could be wrong on that.

Our belief is that Kearns found there was a sudden need for a change of clothing when she learned of the Grebenc announcement and did what she could to give herself political coverage.

No need to take a look at the other candidate – Grebenc would fill the bill.

As much as we admire the work Grebenc has done at the school board she would have been better advised to solicit Kearns’ vote and take a pass on an endorsement.

The joint media release the two woman put out was pretty self-serving – no one came out of that looking very good.

The lingering question is – how much damage has Kearns done to her brand and image? She has made herself vulnerable. The mind of the policy wonk failed her – when there was a personal threat – back away.  There has always been a skittishness to Lisa Kearns.

Kearns said both personal and professional matters brought about the decision to withdraw. She should have said that and moved on

Courage of your convictions wouldn’t apply here.

What then does apply?  That is something the voters will get to decide in 2021. Does Kearns think time will wash this all away?

Salt with Pepper is the musings, reflections and opinions of the publisher of the Burlington Gazette, an online newspaper that was formed in 2010 and is a member of the National Newsmedia Council.

Related news stories

Lisa Kearns announces

Grebenc announces

Mariam Manaa announcement

Joint media release

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Lane Closures: North Shore Boulevard East, at QEW Toronto/Niagara on-ramps, June 1 - 4, 2021

notices100x100By Staff

May 31st, 2021



The Ministry of Transportation Ontario (MTO) is doing work on North Shore Boulevard East, between QEW Toronto and QEW Niagara on-ramps

All lanes will be closed except for one lane in this section of North Shore Boulevard

Tuesday, June 1 to Friday, June 4, 2021
9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

MTO Traffic Control personnel will maintain two-way traffic and provide priority right-of-way for emergency vehicles when needed.

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RoundTables held by MP should be more transparent

graphic community 3By Pepper Parr

May 31st, 2021




Earlier today Karina Gould, Burlington MP and member of the Trudeau Cabinet where she serves as Minister of International Development, sent out her May Newsletter in which she said:


MP Karina Gould talking to a citizen after one of the last public debates that took place during the last federal election.

“While the COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult for all of us, it has highlighted barriers that many individuals and sectors face disproportionately.

“This month, I hosted roundtables to discuss issues facing seniors and individuals living with disabilities.

“I heard from service providers and community advocates on how to continue building a community that is inclusive by design and that enables an environment of belonging for all Canadians. It was important to hear their perspectives as we work with the provinces and territories on improving supports for Canadians living with disabilities, create dignified employment opportunities, and support accessible spaces here in Burlington and across the country.’

First let us applaud the Member of Parliament for holding the RoundTables. These are important – the elected need to hear from the electors.

There is however a larger audience that hasn’t a clue what the various advocates think is important and how the MP responds to them.

These RoundTables, as important as they are, should be open to media. Not to participate but to observe and report and then to follow up with the voice of different community groups and the MP as well.

It’s known as transparency – a word used by the elected when it suits their purpose.

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Park Ambassadors on duty to answer questions

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

May 31st, 2021



A Gazette reader asked:

“Tell me why I see this all the time. Shouldn’t they be spread out so that those parking at any given time all along the Beachway can easily find one…or is it like when you go to a big box store and you can’t find an employee in the aisle ?”


Park Ambassadors on duty on the weekend – they are in place to answer questions and help people with parking issues.

Fair question. Unfortunately a number of weeks ago a city staff member (we are calling them Park Ambassadors) was accosted and felt their personal safety was at risk.

City Manager Tim Commisso had been adamant that he is not going to see his staff put at risk –  the Ambassador’s were to work in pairs.  (And yes the picture we got shows three people who appear to be working together).  This is the price we pay for those who feel they have a right to abuses civil servants.

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Zoom Zoom - candidate for the Liberal nomination holds a Town Hall

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

May 29th, 2021



That didn’t take her very long.

Grebenc frown

Andrea Grebenc seeking the Liberal nomination for the 2022 provincial election.

District School Board Chair Andrea Grebenc announced her intention to seek the Liberal nomination as the candidate for the 2022 provincial election

The Gazette did an interview, published it earlier today.

Then we get an announcement that Grebenc will be holding a Zoom Town Hall Sunday evening 7:00 pm.


Manaa Miriam H&S

Miriam Manaa – also seeking the Liberal nomination.

Glad she chose Sunday – watching the Habs take the Leafs in a critical game is my Saturday night priority.

The Gazette has been in touch with the other candidate for the nomination Miriam Manaa and will be interviewing her as soon as possible.

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Keeping it simple: a guide to simple blackjack strategies

sportsgold 100x100By Eugene Katrell

May 29th, 2021



Despite all the economic chaos of the last year, there are certain industries that are enjoying more success than ever.

This is particularly true of the online casino sector, which has posted industry records for the last year, including increases in revenue and the number of new users signing up to online gambling platforms.

blackjack table

The preferences for online casino gamers seems to be the more fast-paced games.

Online casinos have become particularly popular as many of us wait for society to open up again in the summer months.

As more and more individuals sign up to online casino platforms for the first time, a new generation of online casino goers is discovering the enjoyment of playing classic games in an online format.

What is interesting about the preferences of online casino gamers, however, is that it seems to be the more fast-paced games that are proving to be the games of choice for these new players.

Of the many games enthralling this new wave of online casino goers, blackjack is proving to be particularly popular. This is certainly true of SuperSeven Casino, where new players have been flocking to the many blackjack variations they have on offer.

Although one of the oldest casino games around – with roots stretching all the way back to the French casinos of the 1700s – blackjack has proved to be consistently popular among casino fans. Part of this popularity is to do with the pace of the gameplay. With shorter rounds and a higher rate of turnover between games, it is a popular choice for those players looking to hop in and out of a game.

But what really helps to make blackjack a popular choice among players is the fact that it has one of the lowest house edges out of all the most popular casino games. In most standard blackjack game types, players will benefit from a house edge of just 1%, which gives you a decent possibility of seeing a return on your stake over time.

With this in mind, what are the best strategies for players looking to increase their chances? Are there any concrete steps you can take or is it truly all in the hands of Lady Luck?

To answer this question, we first need to acknowledge the fact that there are not necessarily any strategies you can follow or adopt that will assure you of victory. Just like many other casino games, as a game of chance – where you have no control over what cards you or your tablemates get dealt – there is not a lot you can do to sway the odds in your favour.

Nevertheless, there are some tips, strategies and approaches you can take that might help nudge the odds in your favour over time. While not guaranteeing a victory, they might help you to see a return on your stake over the course of a few rounds.

Know the basic blackjack strategy

One of the most popular strategies is what is known as basic blackjack strategy. Adopting this approach allows you to chip away at the house edge and to reduce it to as low as 0.5%.

blackjack card values

Knowing the value of each card is vital – if you haven’t got these memorized – perhaps you shouldn’t be playing the game.

It entails sticking to a few basic rules:

• Stand when your hand is 12 to 16 or the dealer has a 2 to 6.
• Take a hit when your hand is 12 to 16 and the dealer has a 7 to Ace.
• Always ask to split Aces and 8s.
• Go double on 11 when the dealer has a 2 to 10.
• Ask for a hit or double on Aces to 6.

Pay attention to the dealer’s up card

Although it seems obvious, newer players tend to be too focused on their own hand and forget what the dealer is working with. Always pay attention to the dealer’s up card and try to gauge what sort of hand they might have. Bad hands for the dealer will generally fall between 2 and 6, while a decent hand will be a 7 card through to an Ace.

Ignore your tablemates

When you’re playing at a crowded table, you need to remember that the only two hands that matter are your own hand and that of the dealer. Anything else is superfluous.

Don’t get caught up worrying whether the person beside you has a more competitive hand – focus on what your hand is and what you think the dealer might have to work with.

Avoid progressive betting strategies

Unlike games like roulette where there is a decent statistical chance of them paying off in the long run, progressive betting strategies don’t tend to work in a blackjack setting.

Rather than ramping up your bets in response to a win or a loss, focus on intelligent bankroll management. Blackjack is a game that rewards over the long run, so try and stay at the table for as long as possible to increase the chances of a return on your stake.

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LaSalle Park Community Marina opening June 1 with paid parking for boat trailers

News 100 blueBy Staff

May 29th, 2031


The LaSalle Park Marina Association (LPMA) and the Burlington Sailing and Boating Club, the LaSalle Park Community Marina will be ready to open the public boat launch on June 1.

LaSalle Park MArina

Marina at sunset

Pay for parking sign cropped

The new normal – parking fees

New Parking Fees
Anyone parking their boat trailer at the LaSalle Park Community Marina or in the upper parking lot will now be required to pay a trailer parking fee. Trailer parking payments are required seven days a week, including holidays. It is a daily flat rate of $20 for trailer parking; there is no fee to use the public boat launch.

The parking lot has often had traffic flow problems caused by too many trailers and/or improper parking. The new paid parking requirements are intended to create more order in the lots, improve traffic flow and reduce frustrations.
Residents and visitors can use the HonkMobile app or scan the QR code found on signage at the marina to search, pay for, and top-up parking payments directly from their smartphone, tablet or computer

Users can scan the QR Code found on signage at the marina or download the HonkMobile app.

Dashboard tickets are not required as every payment is linked with a trailer licence plate number.

For more information about parking at LaSalle Park Community Marina or elsewhere, visit burlington.ca/parking.

About the LaSalle Park Community Marina
The Marina is a beautiful location for residents and tourists to launch their boats and enjoy the crisp waters of Lake Ontario and Burlington’s breathtaking lakefront views. The Marina has 219 docking spaces and is protected by a floating wave break. The Burlington Sailing and Boating Club (BS&BC) and the Able Sail program offer sailing programs at the Marina. In addition, the City has a public boat launch at the Marina that is protected by the floating wave break.

For more information about the marina, visit burlington.ca/marina.

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School Board Chair Andrea Grebenc wants to be a member of the provincial legislature

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

May 29th, 2021



She won handily in 2014 against three other candidates for a seat as a trustee with the Halton District School Board.  She used the first two years to get a feel for the job she eventually became exceptionally good at.  Her colleagues thought enough of her ability to make her chair of the Board during her first term.

Grebenc frown

Listening carefully

In her second term she was acclaimed and served as the Chair of the Board every year.

In her first term she made the difficult decision to vote for the closing of two of the seven Burlington high schools one of which was in her ward.  It was also the high school from which she graduated.

As the Trustee for 10 elementary schools and two high schools she busied herself with getting to know the schools, the student population and the problems.  Grebenc has an open,  engaging personality that says how can I help without using the words.

She is a problem solver who grew into an advocate with the strength of character to challenge the province and the way it was handling what Grebenc saw as serious flaws in the way education was being both delivered and funded.  School board trustees often seem to be a little timid, more into the fluffier parts of being an elected official. Timid is not a word that  gets used to describe Andrea Grebenc.

Trustees Grebencand Gray BEST

Andrea Grebenc on the right at a major public meeting with fellow trustee Jeanne Gray.

A life long Burlington resident, the child of parents who immigrated to Canada and chose Burlington as home. Grebenc was once in the Burlington Teen Tour Band and worked as a Sound of Music volunteer – both touch points for young people experiencing the city.

School started at St. Mark’s Catholic elementary school after which she went on to Lester B Pearson high school and then attended Wilfred Laurier University earning an Honours Bachelor Science degree.

The mother of three children she formed her own company offering communications and IT services.

As a trustee she took a year to get the understanding she needed to be effective.

When the province began to consult with the public on increasing class sizes and imposing mandatory e-learning courses Grebenc worked with her fellow trustees and spearheaded, the Halton Education Action team of HDSB Trustees to find out what Halton parents, guardians, and community members thought of these changes. The trustees organized, formed and ran in-person regional focus groups, surveyed the community, analyzed the data, and wrote a comprehensive report that was used as evidence against the changes.

The Halton community consultation proved to be a more robust consultation than that of the Ministry.  The Halton  submissions, almost 7,000 in-person and surveyed, amounted to more than the Ministry received from the rest of the province combined.

The trustees are currently advocating for evidence-based collaborative decision-making surrounding the issue of permanently expanding online and remote learning.

Grebenc - expressive hands

Andrea Grebenc: speaks directly and is usually on point. She seldom ducks a question.

She is forthright about her opinions on how Provincial decisions and directives affect students and Ontario’s education system.

As a trustee she has made the province her constituency and has  focused on improving education through her work as a school board trustee.

The Grebenc profile became one that was recognized beyond the Region.

In July of 2020 it was “Whereas” after “Whereas”  in the motion Grebenc put before her trustees.  They were followed by the resolution:

“Be it resolved that the Chair ask the Minister of Education for clarification about who the decision maker is for the September school year start up.”

Grebenc had the support of her trustees.  In comments made after the motion was tabled Grebenc said that “there are in excess of 36,000 elementary students within the Halton Board – where are those children going to be cared for should they have to distant learn ?”

“What will we get – quickly formed day care centre’s that are not regulated, not inspected with other children coming from who knows where ?  The bubbles that most families created to ensure their kids were safe would not be feasible.”

Grebenc had made her mark.

Miller in a huddle with Grebenc

Andrea Grebenc has a strong working relationship with the Director of Education Stuart Miller.

Grebenc tends to be a listener and problem solver; drama and grandstanding are tools she leaves behind.

The capacity to get things done spills over into her community work.  One of her most recent projects was forming “Masks for COVID -Burlington”. In April 2020, she recruited and organized 80+ people throughout Burlington into a living, caring and productive mask-making machine. Andrea organized material procurers, cutters, sewers, and distributors, making daily rounds to transport materials and masks to Long Term Care and Retirement Homes early in the pandemic when PPE was scarce.

The original mandate was 2,000 masks, but due to the dedication of the volunteers, 3,000 masks were completed and distributed and the group was able to expand their mandate to include some local food banks.

Andrea currently sits on the Mayor’s COVID task force and provides status updates on behalf of the Halton District School Board.

Grebenc is one of two women seeking the nomination to be the Liberal candidate in the provincial election set for June of 2022.  Given the current political climate in the province there are a number of reasons to believe the Premier will call a snap election if his support firms up once inoculation levels reach the 60 or 70% levels and new infection reports are consistently below 1000.




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Final gypsy moth pesticide spraying to take place June 1st and 2nd

News 100 greenBy Staff

May 29th, 2021



The Forestry department will be overseeing the application of the second and final application of  a bio-pesticide on Tuesday, June 1 and Wednesday, June 2

aerial spraying gypsy moth

Public risk is very very limited.

Low-flying helicopters will be used  to apply the pesticide over four wooded areas to control gypsy moth (lymantria dispar dispar, LDD) populations.

Gypsy moth caterpillars eat the leaves of trees, causing significant defoliation and potential long-term impact to the City’s urban forest.

The first application was successfully completed on May 25.
The final application of the pesticide will be completed between 5 and 9 a.m. and is expected to take 5-10 minutes for each park.

The areas identified for spraying include:
• City View Park
• Kilbride Park
• LaSalle Park
• Zimmerman Park

City staff will be temporarily preventing vehicles from using roads nearest the spray areas as the helicopter passes. The stoppage will take less than 15 minutes.

An interactive map is available on burlington.ca/gypsymoth that allows residents to enter an address so they can see where the address is in relation to the spray areas.


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