Interesting opportunity with the school board for an experienced bean counter.

News 100 greenBy Staff

November 16th, 2016


Now here is a volunteer opportunity for a retired bean counter.

The Halton District School Board is seeking a community member with financial expertise and business knowledge to serve on its audit committee for a three year term ending December 2019.


A retired bean counter at work – wants to know where the money went.

The audit committee is comprised of three trustees and two independent members drawn from the community at large. The Committee meets at least three times a year, plus ad hoc meetings as required, including day time meetings.

The primary role of the audit committee is to assist the Board of Trustees in fulfilling its duties related to governance and oversight. The duties of the audit committee fall under the following key areas: the financial reporting process, internal control framework, risk management practices, performance and function of the board’s internal and external auditors and the Board’s compliance with its obligations under legislation. Candidate eligibility includes:

Applicants must have sufficient accounting, senior financial management or other relevant business experience to understand public sector accounting and auditing standards.

The applicant must not be a current employee or Officer of the Board or of any other district school board or school authority.

The applicant must not have a parent, child or spouse currently employed by the Board.

Candidates must submit a letter of interest and resume by 4 p.m. on Friday, December 23, 2016 to:
Lucy Veerman, Superintendent of Business Services & Treasurer, Halton District School Board
PO Box 5005 STN LCD 1, Burlington, ON, Canada, L7R 3Z2

Candidates who are short-listed will be requested to attend an interview conducted by the Audit Committee’s selection committee.getting new - yellow

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Province just might provide the nudge city manager needs to get a code of conduct in place for members of city council.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

November 16th, 2016



Queen’s Park – that where your provincial government lives announced today that they were putting forward legislation that will “Help municipal rules work better for communities”. Let the public decide how much better things get.

The legislation is designed to help local governments be more open, flexible and accountable to the people they serve.

Visual - city council full

At some point this city council will get a Code of Conduct for Council in place. They haven’t managed to agree on one yet which does not mean their conduct is beyond reproach.

The Municipal Act, and the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act set out the roles, responsibilities and conflict of interest rules for Ontario’s municipalities. If passed, these changes would benefit local governments and residents by:

• Increasing fairness and reducing barriers for women and parents elected to municipal governments by allowing time off for pregnancy or parental leave
• Empowering municipalities to address climate change in their communities through by-laws related to green construction in certain circumstances
• Broadening municipal investment powers, which may help better finance repairs and replacements of local infrastructure
• Improving access to justice for the public and for municipal councillors by allowing integrity commissioners to investigate complaints
• Requiring municipalities to have a code of conduct for members of municipal councils and local boards.

More specifically, the province will:

Requiring municipalities to establish codes of conduct for members of municipal council and local boards.

James Ridge Day 1

City manager James Ridge – given the task of coming up with a Code of Conduct for city council – more than six months ago.

Burlington has been struggling with this one for more than a year.  At this point th creation of a code of Conduct for council members is in the hands of city manager James Ridge – he hasn’t said a word publicly since the task was put on his plate.

Providing the public and municipal Councillors with access to integrity commissioners with broadened powers to investigate complaints, provide advice and initiate investigations related to conflicts of interest and the municipality’s code of conduct.

Burlington has a contract with a group who serve as “ombudsmen” for the city.

Updating the definition of “meeting” in certain cases within the legislation to help ensure that rules would be clearer for municipal officials, local board members and the public

This should be interesting.  When there is a contentious decision to be made – they do like to hurry up the meeting and slip something through or go into closed session.

Enhancing justice by providing a broader range of penalties for contraventions to the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act.

Burlington is going to love this one – this city council can’t seem to recognize a conflict of interest on the part of one of its members when it is close to blatant.  One wonders why a member of council didn’t challenge the member of Council who took the city to the Ontario Municipal Board over a Committee of Adjustment matter,

These changes come as a result of public consultations as well as feedback from municipalities and stakeholders.

The government isn’t doing this out of the goodness in their hearts – current rules call for the province to review the Municipal Act every five years. The purpose is to address and incorporate broader themes of accountability and transparency into the review.

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Gould wants your input on the next federal budget - she puts a lot of effort into these events.

eventspink 100x100By Staff

November 16th, 2016



Our Member of Parliament, Karina Gould, is hosting a town hall discussion on Budget 2017, to provide residents of Burlington the opportunity to share their insights and suggestions for the 2017 federal budget.

Gould as a bandit

Right this way with your comments suggests MP Karina Gould who was masquerading as a Burlington Bandit.

The event is to take place at the Burlington Public Library, Centennial Hall, 2331 New St, Burlington, ON L7R 1J4 – Saturday, November 19, from 2:00pm – 4:00pm

Gould is asking for input from members of the community to identifying the opportunities that will help more families make ends meet, as well as ensure more prosperous communities, and foster long-term, sustainable economic growth.

Following the consultation, Gould will take these insights and suggestions back to Ottawa and present them to Finance Minister Bill Morneau.getting new - yellow

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Targeted Traffic Enforcement - the police like it - because it works.

News 100 redBy Staff

November 16th, 2016



It worked very well for them last time – so why not do it again?

The Regional police found a winner when they were able to issue 117 tickets by running a Targeted Traffic Enforcement program driven by complaints from the public.

HRPS crestThe Halton Regional Police continue to address the numerous traffic complaints provided from the residents of Burlington each day. The police continue to encourage residents to report traffic complaints by going to the Halton Regional Police Website and submitting the required information on-line.

A large number of traffic complaints received by police relate to drivers exceeding the posted speed limits. Officers will continue to target areas throughout the City of Burlington that have been identified as high traffic complaint locations.

Officers conducted a one day targeted blitz around Prospect Street in the City of Burlington on November 15th due to a number of complaints forwarded by residents of Burlington. As a result of police presence all along Prospect Street in the City of Burlington, 123 traffic stops were initiated for Highway Traffic Act violations and 90 Provincial Offence Notices were issued by police.

30 Division Officers will continue to conduct target enforcement throughout Burlington to ensure the safety of all residents using the roadways. “Drivers need to be mindful of their actions when behind the wheel. Speeding, distracted driving and stop sign violations were all observed by officers along Prospect Street. Our officers will continue to target areas throughout Burlington in order to deter these types of behaviours by drivers.” said Sgt. Jared McLeod of the District Response Unit.

The Halton Regional Police Service is committed to reducing dangerous and aggressive driving behaviors that put all road users at risk.

If any citizen would like to report a traffic concern they can do so by visiting our website and submitting an online traffic complaint,

Related articles:

More than 115 tickets issued by police that originated with citizen complaints.

Stories people tell police when they get pulled over – and the language they use.

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Halton Learning Foundation gets a $10,000 boost from Siemens Canada.

News 100 redBy Staff

November 15th, 2016



The Halton Learning Foundation (HLF) held their Benefit Bash last week and gratefully accepted a donation of $10,000 from Siemens Canada in support of students of the Halton District School Board.

The donation kicks off HLF’s “No Student Left Behind” holiday appeal which is raising funds to ensure the estimated 10% of students of the Halton District School Board who live at or below the poverty line can access emergency funding or student subsidies to help them stay in school and focused on learning.


Ann-Marie Koumettou, Sr. Communications Consultant, Siemens Canada; Lesley Mansfield, Executive Director, Halton Learning Foundation; Ann Adair, VP, Communications and Strategy, Siemens Canada; David Grant, Board Chair, Halton Learning Foundation.

A key component of the No Student Left Behind appeal is a gift catalogue that enables people to purchase gifts that students need, such as warm winter coats and boots, athletic equipment, healthy snacks and lunches, or fees to participate in field trips.

“If you’re searching for a holiday gift for your child’s favourite teacher, or that hard‐to‐buy for relative, consider giving a No Student Left Behind gift,” says Lesley Mansfield, Executive Director of the Halton Learning Foundation.

“For a society to grow and be sustainable we need to ensure children have a strong educational base,” said Robert Hardt, President & CEO, Siemens Canada. “I personally believe it is the duty of the private sector to add value to society by, among other things, supporting educational goals.”

This is the second year in a row that Siemens worked with HLF to ensure that no student in our community misses out on their education because they don’t have the money to fully participate in school,” Mansfield said.


Olympian Mark Oldershaw

An avid supporter of Halton Learning Foundation, in addition to supporting No Student Left Behind, Siemens Canada also provides mentoring for Halton District School Board high school students, field trips to Siemens facilities and donations of funds towards STEM programming at Halton schools.

Olympian Mark Oldershaw –sponsored by RBC — spoke about the importance of mental wellness to an athlete.

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City finance department will present what they are up against when determining the next tax hike. Will the seven people who have been elected to office twice manage to get even close to a 2% increase?

Budget 2017 ICON aaBy Pepper Parr

November 14th, 2106


The Gazette will be publishing a series of articles leading up to the first of the city council discussions and debates on the 2017 budget. This is the first of that series.

Back in July the Finance department gave city council a report setting out the parameters on which staff was preparing the 2017 budget.

In a report going to committee later this month staff outlines principles that have been recognized by Council as important policy decisions, as well as highlight budget drivers that will impact the 2017 budget.

In November 2012 Council approved the City of Burlington’s Long Term Financial Plan which outlined strategic objectives and policies to ensure financial sustainability and responsible financial management.

In March 2015, the BMA report provided recommendations that enhanced the existing financial policies to ensure fiscal sustainability and maintain flexibility to address changing conditions. BMA does a Municipal Study in which over 100 municipalities participate annually.  The study allows municipalities to compare their spending and there reserve positions with that of other comparative municipalities.

The 2017 budget will keep with the objectives and updated policies. In addition, in January 2016, Council received the 20-Year Simulation of Forecasted Budget Drivers which provided a high level overview of major budget drivers and expected future tax rate impacts. Inherent in the annual operating budget process are the normal pressures of inflation, growth, resources and fluctuating revenues, compounded by infrastructure renewal costs. This forecast as presented continues to recognize the anticipated drivers for the 2017 budget year.


The city’s budget for each fiscal year is divided into two parts: the capital budget which is more long term and the operational budget which covers what the city expects to spend during a given fiscal year. Added into this is the surplus from the previous year.

2017 Capital Budget: Continued changes to the capital budget bring focus to infrastructure renewal projects. The capital budget continues to remain a 10-year program, broken down by asset categories. Any projects outside the scope of infrastructure renewal or the Development Charge program (growth) will continue to require a business case for Council’s consideration during the budget review process.

2017 Operating Budget: The operating budget will continue to focus on maintaining service delivery. Changes to levels of service will require a business case.

The 2017 operating budget will once again be presented in a service-based format with two years history for comparison. As service business plans do not dramatically change year-over-year, for 2017, they will not be included in the Operating Budget book. However, business plans will updated for 2017 and made available for reference purposes.

In their place, will be a service summary form, enhanced to include additional commentary by service owners on significant changes to the base budget. In addition, all business cases, both capital and operating will include commentary as to how the requested change aligns to one or more of the following items: City’s Strategic Plan, City Manager’s Work Plan, Departmental Work plan, Service Business Plan and any legislative changes that may take place.

This is the first year the operating budget will be developed using a new budget software system.
The 2017 budget timelines are expected to be similar to last year with a January approval of the Operating Budget. In future years the Finance department will be targeting more aggressive timelines which would bring both the Capital and Operating Budgets forward together in advance of year-end.

The proposed timeline for the 2017 budget process.

Capital Budget Overview November 21, 2016
• Capital Council Information Session November 24, 2016
• Public Engagement July – November 2016
• Capital Budget Review December 8, 2016
• Operating Budget Overview December 8, 2016
• Operating Council Information Session December 15, 2016
• Council Capital Budget Approval December 19, 2016
• Operating Budget Review January 19, 2017
• Council Operating Budget Approval January 23, 2017

The chart set out below highlights the results of Council’s comprehensive budget deliberations at both the City and the Region.


Over the last three years the average city tax rate change is 3.43% (including the hospital)

On the same November 21st agenda is a report outlining the Phase 1 Financial Plan for the Strategic Plan.

Burlington has always had a small group of citizens who get out to public meetings to review budgets, policy proposals and share ideas. In that regard we are fortunate.

Burlington has always had a small group of citizens who get out to public meetings to review budgets and policy proposals.  Rarely however does a budget get changed as a result of ideas from these meetings.  The city uses the occasions to determine if there is at least some acceptance of a proposed budget.

Public Engagement Matters: The city will take a two pronged approach to getting input from the public. Phase 1 will include online engagement opportunities through the use of the city’s two main online engagement tools – Mindmixer and Insight Burlington. Phase 2 will include a face-to-face opportunity for the public to learn more about the proposed Capital and Operating Budgets and provide their feedback in advance of Committee’s budget review process. The results of all public engagement will be reported back to Council in advance of the budget review process.

Director of Finance Joan Ford does a great job of providing the data ad her department does a good job of collecting the taxes as well. It's the spending side that is causing the long term financial stress. Ms Ford doesn't do the spending.

Director of Finance Joan Ford does a great job of providing the data. Her department does a good job of collecting the taxes as well. It’s the spending side that is causing the long term financial stress. Ms Ford doesn’t do the spending.

Financial sustainability is said to be the key strategic priority. The budget will continue to face rising pressure from infrastructure renewal costs, limited revenue growth, and completion of strategic plan initiatives representing visions to meet community needs. These factors ultimately impact property taxes and reserve fund balances to maintain existing service levels and quality of life.

Hamilton city council set their 2017 budget increase target at 2% with one member of that Council asking that it not be higher than 1.8%


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Friends of Freeman taking another big step - creating a model railraod that will be like nothing you've ever seen before.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

November 14th, 2016



Do you know what a diorama is? We had to check the dictionary on this one – it describes “a model representing a scene with three-dimensional figures, either in miniature or as a large-scale museum exhibit.”

That is what the Friends of the Freeman Station want to put on the lower level of the building that is currently going through extensive refurbishing.

Sitting on some "cribbing" with a sign badl in need of several coats of paint, the Freeman Station gets ready for its big move.

There was a time when the city couldn’t give the station away.

Freeman - close to final

The Friends of Freeman Station convinced the city to give them the building – this was the day it got moved to its new home.

This is a crew that has yet to finish what is a massive under-taking – and here they are moving on to an even bigger task – that’s chutzpah – and a desire to turn a structure that the city was going to sell for kindling into what will become a premier destination for visitors for years to come.

The “diorama” is properly known as the Lower Level Railway Diorama; a unique and special historic model railway diorama on the Lower Level.

When finished, it will recapture the nostalgia of the times, depicting early Twentieth-century bucolic life in the hamlet of Freeman, now a part of the City of Burlington, Ontario.

The Burlington Junction Station was the hub of Freeman community life for almost 100 years. The personal and commercial comings and goings of the community were centered there — the crisscross of railway lines brought goods and people to the area, and they were the primary mode of shipping goods, especially produce, to world markets.

Pic 3 Freeman Station 1920 baskets on platform

When 40 trains ran through the city – produce was king. Maple Avenue was a prime road to the Burlington Junction; Burlington Mall was farm land and the Orchard was where the apples grew. And box cars took tonnes of produce around the world.

With more than 40 trains a day, the Station was a busy place, punctuated by the roar of the steam locomotives, the wail of their whistles, the clackety clack of the rail cars. Numerous first-hand accounts, first-person interviews, and meticulous record searches have thoroughly documented life in the village.

More than 18 months in research and planning will have gone into the Lower Level Railway Diorama project by 1 July 2017.

Their target (and the Friends of Freeman team reach their targets) is to have the model railway layout running by then, with the project continuing to expand and grow after that.

The model railway in the diorama will be quite unique, unlike anything seen in this part of North America. It will showcase a beautifully crafted 1/24th scale model of the Burlington Junction Station. Matched to the scale of the Station model, the railway rolling stock will feature era-specific Grand Trunk Railway steam locomotives, passenger and freight cars in 1/24th scale (“G” scale).


Just a hint at what the model railroad set up is going to look like.

If you would like to participate in the project, you’re invited to email them, detailing your particular interests and skills. We need painters, miniature modelers, computer and sound technicians, model railway enthusiasts, model railway display builders, and craftsperson’s.  Send them an email – they would love to hear from you.

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Junior League holiday house tour a success.

eventspink 100x100By Pepper Parr

November 14th, 2106



If the number of people who toured the houses the day the Gazette covered the event – then the 34th Annual Junior League Holiday House Tour was a success.

Three homes were on the tour this year with the Hampton Court House in Burlington drawing the biggest crowds.


Tucked near the end of a cul de sac in Roseland the extensively renovated home was the highlight of the 34th Annual Junior League Holiday Home Tour.

It is a very large house that had undergone a significant renovation with more than 1000 sq. ft. of space added to what was a house on a double lot.

As we watched the crowds of people waiting to enter the house we noticed that the age range of the visitors was pretty consistent – 25 to 45 – seemed to be the age of the bulk of the visitors.


Dining area was set between a kitchen with two islands and a living room – all the space blended in together very well.

There were 12 guides scattered through the house that had been opened up, especially on the main floor where a lot of walls were removed.

Keeping the flow of people moving smoothly fell to the crew that met you at the door. You first had to remove your shoes and put them in a bag that was provided. Then the guides pointed in the direct they expected you to go.


Master bedroom.  Rooms for the children were at the other end of the house.

Not always that easy but one of the guides, we won’t identify her, but her initials are EM, was superb at handing out the instructions. Polite, direct and efficient, so much so that we asked if she was perhaps a serving police officer. No she replied but I do love this job.

Traffic moved – efficiently

Then you moved from room to room taking it all in

On the main floor, in the kitchen that had two islands, small groups of woman would gather and debate the merits of the design and the placement of different pieces of furniture.


Storage space – everything behind the wall is storage space – you just pushed the wall and the doors opened up.

Much attention was paid to the colours used – “Thunder white” was used extensively apparently. Each house on the tour – there were three had a team of “reps” the people who made sure everything went smoothly during the months that led up to the event.

Dianne Brown and Iris Hughes, co-chairs of the Holiday House Tour spent endless hours over many months getting everything in place. Securing space for people to park their cars and putting the shuttle buses in place was not as simple as many people thought it should be. The bumps got ironed out – eventually.


A champagne cooler was set out on one of the kitchen islands. did the Junior League team get to pop the cork when the event was over? They certainly deserved it.

The members of the Junior League operation were enjoying themselves. They will be holding information evenings on January 14th and 28th – you might want to note the date and touch base with these people at

The Annual Holiday House tour raises funds for a number of projects.

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Region and Town of Milton do a joint emergency simulation exercise - what would happen if a tornado hit Milton?

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

November 11th, 2016



This story took place in Milton but it is relevant to Burlington – what do we do in the event of an emergency?

Who takes the lead and what does each different part of the civic administration do? And where does the public fit into all this?

In 2014 when Burlington experienced an unprecedented flood there were people who were up to their knees in water and people a couple of streets away who were grilling burgers totally unaware that there was a major catastrophe taking place.

Flood Fairview plaza

The 2014 flood saw 199 mm of water dumped on part of the city over a four hour period – but it was so local that many people were not aware of what had happened until it was over.

The different public services were not immediately fully aware as to just how bad the situation was. At the time every senior civic official save one was out of town.

The flooding was so local that few people knew what was going on.

In an effort to be better prepared the Region took on the task of doing annual exercises to practice what might happen and how the municipality would respond.


Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr and Halton CAO Jane MacCaskill review the tornado’s path.

On November 9, 2016, Halton Region and the Town of Milton staged a joint emergency exercise to evaluate their respective emergency response plans. The exercise included response and recovery activities related to a fictional tornado that damaged homes, businesses and community infrastructure in Milton.


Halton Region Paramedic Services Superintendent Tom Stirling oversees EMS support for affected residents.

“Testing our emergency preparedness strategies helps ensure that we are ready to respond,” said Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr. “We work with local partners to minimize the risks, coordinate response efforts and reduce the impact of emergency situations. By training, rehearsing and preparing together, we improve our ability to keep residents safe and increase the resilience of our entire community.”

The exercise engaged Town and Regional staff, as well as representatives from the Halton Regional Police Service, Halton Paramedic Services, Burlington Fire Department and Milton Fire Department. This collaboration provided a realistic image of how community agencies would work together in the event of a real emergency.

“We know the potential for weather-related emergencies is very real and it is important that we come together with local partners to practice our response,” said Milton Mayor Gord Krantz. “This emergency exercise serves as a reminder that we all need to be prepared for the unexpected.”


Town of Milton CAO Bill Mann and Fire Chief Brian Ellsworth assess the tornado’s impact.

Exercise “Vortex” activated a wide range of resources and procedures established by the Region and Town to address emergency situations. Participants coordinated search and rescue, evacuation, temporary shelter and service restoration, directing simulated response workers to support residents affected by the tornado. Staff from all agencies identified strengths, challenges and areas for improvement immediately following the simulation.

Halton’s annual exercises simulate severe weather events and significant crises that could occur based on the community’s environmental features and hazards. Emergencies can happen anytime, and emergency preparedness is a joint responsibility—the Region reminds residents to plan today so they are protected tomorrow.

What the really disturbs the Gazette is that, to the best of our knowledge there was no media involved in this exercise.


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Your Waterfront - What's Happening? A lot more than you might realize.

eventspink 100x100By Pepper Parr

November 11th, 2016



Burlington tends to get defined by its relationship to the lake and the Escarpment. Try tinkering with either in a major way and the citizens descend on city hall.

Everyone have their own relationship to Spencer Smith Park and the Pier and most people tend to feel they are aware of what’s going on.

Burlington Waterfront, a small volunteer group of citizens dedicating their efforts to promote the protection of and enhance access to our waterfront have planned a meeting on Monday December 5th at 7pm. to share with you what’s happening

And just what is happening?

Bridgewater from the west - higher elevation

Bridgewater development on Lakeshore – rendering of the project from the lake.


One of many Windows on the Lake.

Windows to the Lake
Burlington Beach Park
LPMA wave break
Burloak Park
Martha St Adi tower
Water pollution at Brant St beach
Blue Water Place townhouses
Willow tree pieces
Bridgewater development
Waterfront Hotel master plan
Cootes to Escarpment Eco-Park System

The group has members from Wards 2, 4, and 6 currently – so not just downtown or along the waterfront. They are interested in expanding their membership but that is no the purpose of the meeting.

The Gazette has reported on all of these developments; what we haven’t done, and what the Waterfront group is doing is holding an event at which all the developments are talked about and reviewed at the same time.

Done properly – it would be the first time anyone has done something publicly that looks at the bigger picture.  Kudos to Dee Dee Davies and the Burlington Waterfront committee.


The bigger picture is something that has never really been explained to the public – a citizens group has taken up that challenge.

This group came about when the city shut down the Waterfront advisory Group established by former Mayor Cam Jackson when the pier was the hot topic.  The group wasn’t able to get much done – they do deserve credit for putting the Pump House to some use – many had hoped for something a little more imaginative.

When the city created Advisory group was shut down both Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward and the Mayor said they were going to form a group to keep the public aware of what was taking place.

Meed Ward actually got an organization going – the Mayor either lost interest or gave up when Meed Ward filled the need.

This is a citizen’s event – we don’t know if city hall people are going to be at the meeting; they have been invited.

The meeting takes place at the Brant Hills Community Centre, Mountainside Room. 2255 Brant Street, between Upper Middle Rd and Dundas Street.

In addition to the group doing the presentation, there will be some community groups who will be present with a poster to advertise their relationship to the waterfront.getting new - yellow

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Knight of the French Legion of Honour part of Burlington Remembrance Day ceremony.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

November 11th, 2016



We gathered in the hundreds fifty yards or so north of Civic Square where more than a hundred wreaths were laid at the cenotaph that recently underwent a clean-up and some refurbishing.

Some of the men who were there last year were not with us this year.

We do know that William (Bill) Basil McConnell was there. Earlier this year McConnell was made a member of the French Legion of Honour. This is an award given by the President of France.

McConnell + Vandomm

Retired Chief Petty Officer William (Bill) Basil McConnell being congratulated by Colonel Roger Vandomm during the awarding of the French Legion of Honour medal.

This is no small measure – the recognition given by the President of France was presented to McConnell aboard HMCS Haida, a retired Tribal Class destroyer that is tied up at HMCS Star in Hamilton.

McConnell is a hero in the largest sense of that word.  He was what were called boy seamen – signed up at 16 and served in the Royal Navy until 1953 after 15 years of service.

He was aboard the battleship HMS Ramillies on D Day supporting the troops that were being rushed to the shores of France to begin the liberation of Europe.

Battleships were in a class of their own. The Ramillies had four 16 inch guns forward.

A sixteen inch gun means the bullet that comes roaring out of the barrel is 16 inches in diameter.

Ramillies was part of the D Day landing in June of 1944. She was to use her big guns to take out a German battery with six 6” guns at Beneville, France to the east end of Sword Beach. The Ramillies took out four of those gun batteries in 80 minutes. The British shells coming in meant the Germans had to do their best to return fire and were not able to train their guns on the troops landing on the beaches.

It was during this battle that Bill had to go aloft to the Aloft Director to repair some electrical equipment. The Aloft Director is the station high up on the ship that was used for observation.

With his electrical tool kit in one hand and the other reaching from one rung of the ladder to the next to get to the location where repairs were necessary the guns of the Ramillies roared deafening McConnell instantly.

McConnell was not able to put his hands over his ears because, as he put it, “you can’t cover both ears, hold the ladder and your tool kit at the same time”. He was deafened completely in on ear and seriously in the other.


Legion d’Honneur awarded by the President of the Republic of France to William (Bill) Basil McConnell.

In a small, dignified ceremony on a lovely sunny summer afternoon at HMCS Star aboard the retired Tribal Class destroyer HMCS Haida, the Legion d’Honneur awarded by the President of the republic of France was awarded to that William (Bill) Basil McConnell

Colonel Roger Vandomm, of the French Consulate pinned a medal on the chest of McConnell.  He read out a message from the government of France:  “By order of the President of the Republic of France, you have been awarded the rank of Knight of the French National Order of the Legion of Honour.

“This distinction, the highest national order of France, illustrates the profound gratitude France would like to express to you in recognition of your personal involvement of the liberation of our country during World War II.”

Had you been there you would have seen a retired naval hero look into the eyes of a serving French Colonel and exchange an understanding of what war is all about and the terrible price that is paid.

Today in Burlington – its citizens lined the street and recognized again those who fought.

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Citizens need to speak up on November 28 or have a limited voice in future.

opinionandcommentBy Jim Young

November 11th, 2106


Following the outrage over the New Street “road diet” and the introduction of bike lanes to the disadvantage of drivers, transit users and residents; one might have hoped that Burlington City Council would waken up to the fact that communication and consultation, before a decision, is preferable to acrimony and bitterness in its aftermath.

In the New Street aftermath every Councillor I heard from agreed that, no matter how well intentioned, the implementation was a communications disaster. They vowed the road diet will be monitored, measured and the data reviewed and debated by the public to gain their input before permanent adoption.

Jim Young

Jim Young delegating at city council. He had ten minutes on this occasion.

In their rush to calm outraged citizens, Councillors assured their constituents that next time around their actions will be more open, transparent and attentive to public input.  So far so good; ruffled feathers have been smoothed, angry voices calmed and all the proper civic engagement boxes ticked. A veneer of local democracy survives and maybe they will all get re-elected next year. Sighs of relief all round.

So how, mere weeks later, you may ask, can this same group of Councillors who have sworn transparency, openness and engagement now vote to limit public delegations to council on matters of community interest and concern?

Until last week any issue before council was open to public input via delegation to council when the issue was discussed and voted on. Interested advocacy groups or individual citizens were allowed ten minutes to present their thoughts, concerns or their support for the matter at hand. Now council’s Community and Corporate Services Committee, which comprises all of city council, have decided that citizens will be limited to five minutes for individual presentations while advocacy and special interest groups will still be allowed ten minutes.


Just how democratic are the city Councillors?

I am at a loss to understand how this promotes or advances engagement and community involvement. Indeed it is an affront to the whole notion of local democracy. Perhaps Councilors Craven, Sharman and Taylor who voted in favour of the new limit will grace their constituents with an explanation. Perhaps they were looking ahead to when the New Street issue comes back before council next year and trying to silence critics who will doubtless be lining up for their full ten minutes to vent on that subject.

"I don't want to hear anymore delegations" said Councillor Jack Dennison.

Councillor Dennison defended the ten minute time limit on delegations.

Goldring - Christmas picture

Mayor Goldring defended the ten minute time limit for delegations.

Kudos to Mayor Goldring, Councillors Dennison and Meed Ward who opposed the five minute limit; Defending our right as citizens to speak truth to power. (Councillor Lancaster was absent.)

The matter will come before the full council on November 28th for final ratification. Hopefully Councillor Lancaster will be in attendance and vote some sanity back into the issue or, perhaps, our three errant Councillors will regain their professed love of citizen engagement and vote more wisely on that date.

Members of the public who wish to make their feelings known about this issue at the Nov. 28 meeting can register to speak at the meeting on.

I urge my fellow Burlingtonians to do so. It may be your last chance to get a ten minute hearing with your council members.getting new - yellow

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Rivers renames the USA - now the The Divided States of America (The DSA)

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

November 11th, 2016



They’re red and blue, plastered across the map of America, the divided states representing the divided state of America. And it hasn’t changed much over the years – the reds and blues are pretty constant from election to election, except for a handful of battleground states.

donald-trumpYes I called the election result but that wasn’t my preferred outcome. Now it seems that the glass ceiling will have to wait. And if Hillary was doing this for womankind, it didn’t work since nearly half of all female voters chose Trump anyway. But then this contest should never have been about gender… or sex. It should have been about the next four years. There was this entitlement thing. Again, Clinton and her cronies believed it was her turn, that she deserved to be president because she got beaten out by an African-American in 2008.

Trump’s folks called her an elite though she, and not her opponent, had pulled themselves up from a humble beginning. But she acted the part, perhaps overconfident in the knowledge that she was the the only qualified candidate. So she went high when he went low and allowed herself to be branded as corrupt and crooked by someone much closer to that description.

For at least a couple of generations now we have been conditioned by the television set. And when we get bored watching a re-run we change the channel to a reality show – its easy to do. Perhaps Clinton didn’t understand that the people wanted change, and not that phoney ‘yes we can’ change they were handed back in 2008. Even if unemployment has fallen to historic lows under Obama, slinging burgers is not the pathway to becoming part of a dwindling middle-class. The American dream just wasn’t working out for all those angry white voters who ended up propelling Trump into the White House.

Trump fist upTrump went rogue. End free trade! Build a wall! Kick out illegals! Tear up the climate change deal! Ban Muslim immigrants! Drop out of NATO! Make love with Putin! Plain speak so nobody could accuse the real estate magnate of mincing words. And when the pollsters and the media prematurely pronounced his imminent defeat, the voters thought what the hell? What have we got to lose? It was a Brexit echo, and it sure looks like Trump played that card from the beginning.

It should have been Hillary. Not because of some sexist reason, but because she was qualified and had some very progressive policies, which she rarely even got to talk about. Baggage drags you down, and she had too much, the flip side of all that experience. And then there was how she got be the nominee. Yesterday’s candidate won her party’s nomination with a stacked hand.

Nobody can say that Bernie Sanders would have performed better, but he was at least liked and respected for his years of experience, his ideals and his ethics. Perhaps the millennial crowd would have come out for him, because they sure didn’t for Hillary. And Bernie and Trump would have at least been fun to watch in debate.

usa-electoral-mao-2016Still, had it not been for the FBI intervention at the eleventh hour, which reinforced doubts about her character, Clinton might have won. And the FBI will likely get off scot-free, since the Republicans are in control now. Isn’t that’s how politics works – the winners get it all?

America was a nation divided before this election, those perennial red and blue states. And it won’t get any less divided over the next four years. Because people don’t always vote in their own self-interest, and they keep voting like they always did. And there can only be two parties in that very imperfect democracy south of the border, where check and balance has transitioned to confrontation and obstruction.

hillary-clinton_3Hillary Clinton graciously wished Trump a successful presidency, whatever that means. One should expect he will be as divisive in governing as he was in campaigning – and big league. Some politicians focus on what unites us… ‘stronger together’. Others use racism and sexism to drive a wedge between the people, and pit one against another. It’s called divide and conquer. And it worked in the Divided States of America.

There were protests on the first two days following the election. Wouldn’t it have been more effective for those young people to simply have voted? After all, it won’t be long before governing America will be the responsibility of their generation.


Rivers-direct-into-camera1-173x300Ray Rivers is an economist and author who writes weekly on federal and provincial issues, applying his 25 years of involvement with federal and provincial ministries.  Rivers’ involvement in city matters led to his appointment as founding chair of Burlington’s Sustainable Development Committee.  He was also a candidate in a past provincial election.

Background links:

Hillary’s ConcessionTrump’s Lies –   Bernie and Donald –  What Happens Next

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Lest we forget

Lest we forget.

Remembrance reviewing stand

A veteran on the reviewing stand during a Remembrance Day parade

Let we forget. A veteran on the reviewing stand during a Remembrance Day parade.


Let we forget. A veteran on the reviewing stand during a Remembrance Day parade.


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Junior League Holiday Home Tour begins Friday at 10 am

eventspink 100x100By Pepper Parr

November 11th, 2016



It takes months of planning and dozens of meetings to put together the Annual Junior League Holiday House Tour – and the woman who do all the work get a small treat – touring the homes before they are opened to the public.

Dianne Brown, co-chair of this year’s tour sent along some early snapshots of the Burlington Hampton Court home and the home in Ancaster.

The Junior League looks for three to four homes each year that are decorated for the Holiday Season by decorators that are a combination of companies who have volunteered their services for a number of years while others are new to the event.


Peacock feathers on a Christmas tree fit in very well with a home that had a very open modem look that the Interior Design/Build people put together.

Marnie Warner and her team from the Interior Design House in Burlington did the Hampton Court house which her firm also renovated and added a large master bedroom above the garage.


Whimsical art provided by the Interior Design House was placed in a corner with lots of light changed the feel of the room.

Work was being done on the renovation, that was very extensive, while the Interior Design House people were bringing in furniture.  It go a little hectic the final day.


A more traditional approach taken to a Christmas tree in the Ancaster home.

The Ancaster home was decorated by a team of designer/decorators that included Holland Park, Alto Interiors, Toth Interior Design, Green with Envy and Images Staged with Flair – each are doing different parts of the four bedroom, four bathrooms home.

A third home in eastern Burlington is included in the tour.  That home was decorated by Hudson Interiors, Details Interior Design, Welcome Home Interiors, Megan and Megan, House of Fraser Décor and Marquis Cavalier Dream Store.


From left to right: Dianne Brown, Fonda Loft, Jackie Cracknell,Liz Vandenberg, Annette Hamm, Cate Banfield, Karyn Glibbery, Roseanne Grego-Venneri, Sarai Spzak, Barb Oliver, Jane Tynan-Byrd, Iris Hughes. Middle: Anne-Louise Watts, Kathy North-Ross, Wendy Powell Front: Rachel Griffiths, Emily Stewart

The group of woman who enjoyed a well-earned glass of wine before the set out on their pre-tour tour are set out below in their group photo.


A formal dinning room set up in the Ancaster home.

The Junior League Holiday Home Tour is the organization’s annual fund raiser.  The Tour takes place from Friday through to Sunday: The event hours for this the 34th Annual House Tour are: 10:00 am to 9:00 pm on Friday, 10:00 to 4:00 pm on Saturday and Sunday.

Tickets are available on-line – cost $25 for the three house tour; $30 if you are paying cash at the door

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Small business networking group comes back to life - trade show back by popular demand.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

November 11, 2016



James Burchill, the guy that beavers away creating a network for those commercial services operators and budding entrepreneurs who don’t fit in at the Chamber of Commerce and aren’t comfortable at the service club level but who nevertheless want to be part of a network, is back.

Burchill created the Social Fusion Network that went through several toothing experiences. He has put on two mini trade shows that out shone, significantly, what the Chamber of Commerce put on recently at the Holiday Inn.

Burchill is a shameless self-promoter – who understands social media and uses it to great effect for both his own interests and those of his clients.

He is also as up to date as anyone can be on the almost hourly changes in the high tech field.

He needed to take some time off for personal family matters – life tends to get in the way of business – and is now able to give his networking operation the time and attention it needs.

What do my people really want asked Burchill. So he did what anyone with the initiative would do – sent out a survey. He had to send it out several times (there were no repeats in the responders) to get a statistically valid return. Here is what he knows – and it was enough to decide there would be another trade show at the Performing Arts Centre – but that won’t be until April 6, 2017

Here is what Burchill knows – and what you now know: sfn-continue-y-n5-pm-starttwo-hours-y-nvenue-same
So it will be a 5 pm start – run for two hours and probably be at the same location each time. The Beaver and the Bulldog at the Waterfront was popular – but parking was a perennial complaint.presentation-formatpay-to-addvertise-to-membeshipchapterstrade-show-y-n

What did the repondes have to say? While they may have said maybe to several of the questions – they had comments.

Having to pay for parking sucks. They (the B&B) really should compensate for that I think. Sometimes you get the same people out every week….need new blood!

Speed dating like encounters with frenetic networker’s. Also, should have members take an oath to be honest in their engagement practices.

Location requires parking costs, just a minor annoyance. Tend to see the same people, however that makes it easier to spot and connect with the new ones.

Not long enough

Too many changes with this group. It’s not exciting like it used to be to attend. I used to look forward to this meetup in Burlington..

I get three copies of each message you send ­ and at times I feel a little badgered. paying for parking

People who throw their cards in your face before saying hello! Timing. Clear theme and goals.

They are always well­done! Thank you

Sometimes there are too many people that are just running around handing out business cards. A lot of members really push their products/services

Always in downtown Burlington. How about a location at the mall off Burloak or something closer for Oakville folks?

So many realtors, insurance people and investment people ­ many of which only want to pass out as many business cards as possible in the evening without making any real connections with others

No focus.

Start time should be 6pm­ 8pm

Perhaps that it may not be the best demographic for my particular service. Too many financial planners. Need new people to join.

People trying too hard to sell their services and not interested in your own

Always the same people from very small service businesses providing mostly consumer type products hanging out with each other ­ need more business to business members

It lost it’s local flavour long ago. It needs to be a Burlington group with Burlington business. Far too many people coming from way out of town for a “quick hit”. Successful networking is about building comfort & confidence in a relationship. These were previously quick encounters, like speed dating!

We have to give Burchill credit for letting it ll hang out. Those doing the objectionable stuff – take notice.  The Trade Show is  GO!getting new - yellowsfn-hash-tag-logo

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Your city council is about to limit how long you get to delegate to them. Recommendation is to cut the time by half.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

November 10th, 2106



We know a little bit more about how your city council got to the point where they could approve a Staff recommendation to reduce time for delegations to city Standing Committees to five minutes from ten.


Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward manged to delegate often enough to build a profile and get herself elected to Council where she is reported to be preparing to run for Mayor in 2018. Delegating does have its advantages.

According to Marianne Meed Ward, who was responding to a resident, the Community and Corporate Services committee was considering a staff report to “make changes to the procedural bylaw. The report was produced by staff and a subcommittee of council that included Taylor, Craven and Lancaster.

“One of those changes to the procedure bylaw included in the report was a recommendation to change delegation speaking time from the current 10 minutes to 5 minutes.

“Jack Dennison moved the staff report with a change to the report to keep delegation speaking time at 10 minutes.

“Votes were taken in parts.

“First we voted on this section, to keep speaking time at 10 minutes. That failed 3-3 with one member of council absent.

“Then a vote taken on the entire report, which included the recommendation that delegations be limited to 5 minutes. That passed 5-1 – I did not support” said Meed Ward.graphic04

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Junior League Holiday House Tour homes getting that last minute touch - worth every penny of the $25 tour fee.

eventspink 100x100By Pepper Parr

November 8th, 2016



Just days away from the Junior League Annual Holiday House tour when you will get to see what professional interior designers can do to give a home that festive look.

One of the Premier designers in the city, Marnie Warman, was given the task of decorating a home for the season that she renovated for her client.

Located in Roseland the 4 bedroom, 5 bathroom – 6000 sq. ft. house was gutted and rebuilt and is now getting a holiday season festive touch added.


The stairway to the second level doesn’t make a grand statement. The lower level is wide open – that;s the statement. You have to see it to appreciate it.

“When we were given the renovation assignment” said Warman “ we began to go over the house – there are always problems. This house still had live knob and tube electrical service and parts of the house were really not properly supported.”

“There was a lot of basic structural work to be done. The house was broken up into a bunch of small rooms with walls everywhere.”


What will a designer do with a sun room like this to make it festive?

“The client wanted a more open concept and we were able to do that. The result is a large area that could easily hold a party of sixty people who could mill around form the kitchen at one end to a nice sun room on the other end.”

In between there is a fire place that can be accessed from both the inside of the house and from the outdoor patio.

“We added a master bedroom above the garage that has as much privacy as anyone could want.”

The 76 year old house had a radiator along one wall that was so big it had to be cut into two pieces just to get it out of the building.

There are some situations said Warman, where it is probably better to tear down and re-build but this home was on a double lot and had good bones. The end result is certainly worth seeing.


A before picture of one of the two islands in the kitchen. Can you imagine what a designer will do with this space. You can get to see for yourself during the Holiday Tour that begins on Friday.

A new stairway to the upper floor was included in the renovation. There is nothing grand about the stairway – it doesn’t make a statement but it is a very attractive access point to the  upper level of the house.

Warman has been doing design work for more than 26 years. She studied design at Sheridan College and has done a number of total renovations in the Oakville Burlington market. She has watched the change in the way people want to use space.

“Most of the time people aren’t exactly certain as to what they want. Living rooms have become obsolete; family/recreation rooms have become media centers.”

“The kitchen has become the hub. The home, being decorated this year for the Junior League event, has two islands in the kitchen area that is close to the side entrance where the two car parking garage is located.

The houses in the more mature neighbourhoods in Burlington and Oakville were built at a different time explains Warman when the needs and desires for space were quite different.  People now want things to be open with lots of light.

The Hampton Court house was turned over to Warman and her crew in September of last year when they basically gutted the structure down to the studs. “This isn’t for the faint of heart” Warman will tell you.
Her operations is made up of two corporations. The Interior Design House is a retail operation with more than 9,000 item on the sales floor – this is eye candy for the furniture freaks.

The other side of her operation is the IDH Build Group – these are the people that renovate and rebuild. Warman will tell you that the only thing they don’t sell in the store is mattresses and appliances.

The homes that the Junior League includes in their annual tours usually involve several different designers with each doing a different part of the house.


A cozy corner TV space just beside the open kitchen. When the designers are done that lone Christmas tree will have company.

The other two homes in the tour, a second home in Burlington and a home in Ancaster are being decorated for the Holiday Season by a number of different firms.

In Ancaster Holland Park, Alto Interiors, Toth Interior Design. Green with Envy and Images Staged with Fair are doing different parts of the four bedroom, four bathrooms home.

The second home in the east end of Burlington is getting the touch from Hudson Interiors, Details Interior Design, Welcome Home Interiors, Megan and Megan, House of Fraser Décor and Marquis Cavalier Dream Store.

Warman who has all but lived in the Hampton Court house for the past week working feverishly with her team to get the house completed – she flies to Peru on Wednesday to take part in her son Trevor’s wedding. That was cutting it close.

The Junior League Tour take place from Friday through to Sunday:  The event hours for this the 34th Annual House Tour are: 10:00 am to 9:00 pm on Friday, 10:00 to 4:00 pm on Saturday and Sunday.

Tickets are available on-line – cost $25 for the three house tour; $30 if you are paying cash at the door

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Ouch! Court orders Air Park to pay city $118,327.53 in legal costs

airpark 100x100By Staff

November 8th, 2016



We now know what the City Solicitor told members of city council when they went into closed session yesterday afternoon.

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice has ordered Burlington Airpark Inc. to pay City of Burlington court costs in the amount of $118,327.53.

Airpark aerial used by the city

The Air Park corporation dumped tons of land fill on their property to level out the land and in the process earned thousands of dollars in fees collected for permitting the land fill on the property without an approved site plan, The black line indicates the boundary of the Air Park property.

The cost award is related to the June 30, 2016 decision of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in favour of the City of Burlington’s application to compel Burlington Airpark Inc. to submit an application for a site alteration permit to comply with the city’s bylaw.

With the court ruling, the Airpark was required to file an application for a site alteration permit for the fill deposited between 2008 and 2013 before Aug. 31, 2016 and has now been ordered to pay the city’s court costs on a substantial indemnity basis.

Heavy construction equipment parked on a 30 foot + hill 50 yards from the kitchen window of the Sheldon property on Appleby Line next door to the Air Park landfill operation. Many thought the overnight parking of the equipment overnight was intimidating

Heavy construction equipment parked on a 30 foot + hill 50 yards from the kitchen window of the Sheldon property on Appleby Line next door to the Air Park landfill operation. Many thought the overnight parking of the equipment overnight was intimidating

An appeal by Burlington Airpark Inc. to the June 30, 2016 judgement in favour of the City of Burlington is scheduled to be heard by the Ontario Court of Appeal on March 28, 2017 at Osgoode Hall, 130 Queen St. West in Toronto.

The City of Burlington site alteration bylaw 64-2014 regulates the placing, dumping, cutting and removal of fill or the alteration of grades or drainage on a piece of land. Individuals doing this type of work must first submit an application to the city for a site alteration permit.

This is getting to be a very expensive experience for the Air Park and almost a profit center for the city. This is not the first time a Court has ordered the Air Park to pay the city very substantial costs.graphic04

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Standing committee sends a tie vote to city council - on reducing delegation times to 5 minutes instead of 10.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

November 8th, 2016


City council spent a full four hours on Monday making changes to the way the public gets to interact with them.


Marianne Meed Ward delegating at city hall.

Vanessa Warren

Vanessa Warren delegating at city hall.

One of the biggest changes is the amount of time you will get to delegate. It used to be 10 minutes – on a tie vote the Standing Committee voted to cut that back to five.

Councillor Blair Lancaster was not present at the meeting – so when the recommendation gets to council it might be different.


Monte Dennis delegating before city council,

The Gazette was not in the Council chamber on Monday and cannot tell you who voted for the reduction in delegation time and who voted against it.

We have noticed that the cameras that record the web cast did not pan to the members of Council as they voted which means those viewing the city’s business on the web cast don’t get to see how members of council sitting as a Standing Committee.

This city council has in the past voted against their votes at Standing Committee being recorded.

It looked as if this was deliberate.  If it was that is a very unhealthy sign.

If you value the time you used to have delegating – get on the telephone and let your elected member of Council know that you aren’t too happy with the recommendation.

This is what citizen involvement is all about and they are about to take away half of the time you used to get.

To be fair – a Standing Committee can extend the time a speaker has or a member of Council can engage the delegation and give them the chance to complete their point.

Things are being tightened up at city hall – a better word might be squeezed.graphic04

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