Victims Sought after Quick Change Fraud Suspect Arrested in Burlington

Crime 100By Staff

November 8th, 2016



The police would like to know if you got stung by this one.

A male was at the cash register of a Shoppers Drug Mart store and purchased a package of Halls cough candy. Total cost was $1.46

The suspect handed the cashier a Canadian $20.00 bill. While the cashier was making change the male said he would pay with coins instead.

HRPS crestThrough distraction and the exchange of money the cashier did not realize that the male received an extra $20.00. The male exited the store and entered a newer model black Infinti Q5S.

A similar incident occurred at a variety store in Burlington involving the same male.

Through investigation the male was identified, arrested and charged with two counts of fraud. Police believe there are additional victims who are either unaware they have been scammed or who declined to report the incident at the time. The police would like to hear from them

Anyone with information is asked to contact Constable Michael Garvey at 30 Division in Burlington at 905-825-4747 ext. 2305, or CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), through the web at or by texting “Tip201” with your message to 274637 (crimes).graphic04


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City solicitor gives council an update on the Air Park legal matter in a closed session

airpark 100x100By Staff

November 8th, 2106



Something is up with the Air Park and its legal battle with the city.

City Council went into a 22 minute closed session for an update from city solicitor Nancy Shea Nicol on what was described as an Air Park matter.

The Air Park has filed a site plan with the city’s planning department but that plan has not come before council yet.

Vince Rossi, president of the Burlington Executive Air PArk and beleived to be the sole shareholder of the private company, met with north Burlington residents. He took all the comments made "under advisement"..

Vince Rossi, president of the Burlington Executive Air Park and believed to be the sole shareholder of the private company.

The Air Park is in a very delicate situation. They have to file a site plan and the city gets to approve that plan. The city is believed to want quite a bit of the land fill that was dumped on the property removed – that would prove to be very expensive for the Air Park

The Air Park was sued by the city for not filing a site plan – they lost that court case but have appealed the decision.

The appeal is to be heard in March of 2017

Somehow the owners of the Burlington Executive Airpark convinced everyone that his plans came under federal jurisdiction and that the city had no say in what they chose to do. This location was to be the site of a helicopter operation. The owner of the adjacent property is standing on her property line.

This is not the view the Appleby Line property owner had when she bought the property. She doesn’t believe the Air Park had the right to dump all that landfill next to her property line.

While all this legal arm wrestling takes place there is a property owner on Appleby Line who has to look at piles of landfill in excess of 30 feet high on either side of her property.

No one at city hall is doing anything for this taxpayer.

This is an ongoing saga not only for the residents who live in the rural part of Burlington but for two residents who were sued for libel by the Air Park. The Burlington Gazette was also sued – but that court case doesn’t appear to be going anywhere.

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Parent gets no response from council members after her delegation.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

November 7th, 2016



Dania Thurman made her first delegation to city council yesterday. It was not that pleasant an experience for her – even though she gave a strong, informed presentation.

Council didn’t ask her a single question about what is perhaps one of the most important issues about the kind of downtown the city is going to have in the future.

Thurman argued that closing the Central High school would damage the downtown core community.


Dania Thurman – vice chair of the Central High School parent group.

Thurman is the Vice-Chair of the parent group opposing the closing of the high school. She was delegating along with another parents the same time that Halton District School Board, Director of Education Stuart Miller was explaining to council the why behind why high schools had to be closed.


The T-shirt tells it all – for the parents – it is about the community.

Central Strong, the working name of the parent committee, was formed to organize and inform the downtown core residents, parents, alumni and business owners who will be impacted by the Halton District School Board’s proposal to close Burlington Central High School explained Thurman.

They have 2000 people a week going to their Facebook page and the 500 lawn sighs printed have been snapped up

Thurman said: “Burlington Central High School is the heart and soul of our downtown community and generations of students have attended and excelled there. Our Central Strong team is committed to keeping our school open so the students can benefit from the true community spirit of our school. This includes everything from dedicated staff (many of whom are also alumni), unique programs (like robotics, theatre and theatre tech), and the joy of walking or biking to school every day (which has also been proven to increase student focus and overall success).

“We truly hope that the recommendation to close the Central and Pearson schools is indeed only a starting point for discussion as was indicated by the Director of Education and the Chair of the Board of Trustees.


Central High school corridor – the place reeks of local history.

“Our group’s mission is to provide as much accurate information as we can to aid in finding alternative solutions. Our opinion is that Burlington Central is not the right choice to close and we will work as a community to find creative alternatives to the issues the board may face that don’t involve the closure of Burlington Central High School. We believe that alternatives exist and would be healthier for the students, families and the community than a school closure.

“In addition to this, the Central Strong Community group has officially aligned itself with the growing uproar from the Ontario Alliance Against School Closures, who are calling on the government for an immediate moratorium on school closures. The Ontario Alliance Against School Closures represents 27 school groups across the province. It also has the support of “The Community Schools Alliance” which represents 33 municipalities and approximately 350,000 residents.

Thurman argues that the Ministry’s Pupil Accommodation Review Guideline, as it is currently written, is both damaging and undemocratic. It fails to take into consideration, the value of a school to its community, municipality and local economy. Close to the entire student population at Burlington central can currently walk to school. The physical and mental health of our students impacted by these closures and consolidations is completely disregarded. The municipality should also be concerned as this will ultimately result in increased busing.

“Our environment and an already congested infrastructure will only further deteriorate. You should also be deeply concerned about the narrow vision of the Pupil Accommodation Review process and how it will affect our city and Burlington’s Strategic Plan.”

Thurman was direct, brought up strong arguments but didn’t get a single question from city council.

Michael Kukhta, also a member of the parent group delegated. He was asked a lot of questions which we will cover in a seperate story.

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Burlington's senior sector appears to be in need of a shake up.

News 100 redBy Staff

November 7, 2016



The Province of Ontario announced the Ontario Senior Achievement Awards that recognize men and women who have made outstanding contributions to their communities through voluntary or professional activities after the age of 65.

There were 20 Ontarians who were recognized – none from Burlington.

Not a healthy sign for a city that is reputed to have the fastest growing senior’s population.

Transit - seniors with Gould

The Seniors table at a Bfast transit meeting. These people know how to mobilize themselves.

A comment from a reader suggests the may be a change in priorities at city hall.  Phillip Wooster wrote “I really believe that this mayor and council, including Meed Ward, have made seniors a very low priority. Not only is the Seniors Centre symptomatic of this, but seniors should note how the City Hall elites have put public transit on the back-burner. Most telling is the email I received from the Mayor publicizing the Todarian PR Event on November the 14–all kinds of committees were listed–except……you guessed it–SENIORS.”




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Do you want to work to change behaviors to reduce emissions and combat climate change?

News 100 redBy Staff

November 7, 2107



There is a group in Toronto that have done something really smart – and there is an opportunity for you to get involved if climate change means anything to you.

The Centre for Social Innovation (CSI) and Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) have launched an accelerator program for social enterprises tackling greenhouse gas emissions.

climate-agents-of-changeDo you want to work to change behaviors to reduce emissions and combat climate change? If this kind of stuff matters to you – and it should or we will all be wearing breathing masks in a decade – there is a group you can touch base with.

Applications are now open until December 11th, 2016!  Log in at

for the application form.

Over the course of one year, Agents of Change: Climate Solutions will provide social enterprises with workspace, training, mentorship, access to capital, advisory services, impact measurement support, and membership in CSI’s community of over 1,000 organizations, with the goal of accelerating and scaling promising products, campaigns, services, and technologies that lead to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Benefits of Being an Agent of Change:

Workspace: Hot Desk 100 package for one year, providing you with free workspace for up to two people in your organization and member rates on meeting rooms. For organizations outside of the GTHA, linkages to regional incubators and social enterprise supports will be provided.
Training and support: Take part in an enterprise bootcamp, project reviews & peer circles and get one-to-one coaching and support. Impact measurement: Get personalized support to help you develop and track impact metrics including GHG reductions.
Expert advisors: Tap into our amazing advisory committee for advice and monthly one-on-one coaching for 12 months.
Consultations: Access free consultations through CSI Hookup with experts in law, design, accounting, fundraising and financing.
Networking: Expand your personal network by connecting to Toronto’s most dynamic social innovation community.
Funding: Access microloans to scale your enterprise.
Visibility: Leverage our promotional channels, including our newsletter, intranet, email listservs, social media, magazine, website and events to increase reach.

Their past experience:
The Centre for Social Innovation (CSI) is a non-profit social enterprise, a global pioneer in co-working, and a community and catalyst for people and organizations that are changing the world. The CSI community is home to 1,000 non-profits, charities and social ventures in Toronto alone, and employs 2,500 people and generates combined annual revenues of $250 million. CSI members are turning social, environmental, economic and cultural challenges into opportunities to make the world a better place.

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Have Meed Ward's political instincts deserted her?

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

November 7th, 2016



Everyone appears to still be in the dark as to just what is going on at the Seniors’ Centre.

One source said “I went on the Centre web site there was only a notice of what has happened and the Board would be meeting in November and the results of that meeting would be posted on that site, so like everyone else I am in the dark.

“There is a general notice at the Centre of what has happened issued by the city you could call and pick one up they are on the front counter.”

The Board seems to be hiding behind their web site.

The city has just moved in and taken over – so much for citizen participation.

The Seniors will get angry and at some point elect a new board.


Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward serves as the city representative on the Seniors Advisory Council.

The city council representative on the Seniors Advisory Board, Marianne Meed Ward has said she “was hoping the discussions the city and board were having over the past year would lead toward a new MOU that would benefit both parties.”

At the same time she said: “The BSCI now has an opportunity to chart a new role for itself serving seniors in Burlington, and I have committed to stay on the board to assist them in this transition for as long as they would like.”

This is very unlike Meed Ward. Every battle she has taken on – the Pier, the different developments during her six years as a city councillor, the sale of waterfront property – you name it – she has been at the front of the parade.

The Beachway was not in her ward and it drives Councillor Craven crazy when she involves herself in that issue. There has never been anything shy about Marianne Meed Ward in the past – so why the backing away now?

This was the organization with the potential to be a large part of what was going to propel her into the Office of the Mayor.

To say that the BSCI “now has an opportunity to chart a new role for itself” is so completely disingenuous.

It would appear that she too has left them to their own devices and with the leadership the BCSI has at the moment it is going to be slim pickings for the over 55 set.

For the first time in a very long time Meed Ward’s political instincts appear to have deserted her.

Everyone loses.graphic02

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That new Gazebo is beginning to take shape.

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

November 6th, 2016



What would Spencer Smith think if he could see what they have done to the park he created?

The willow trees that he planted 70 years ago are gone.


This is the Gazebo that was.

The Gazebo that used to be on the waterfront is gone too.

Come the Spring the eastern end of the park will have a much different look. There will be a new concrete pathway that will wind from the beginning of the Naval Promenade to the back of the new Gazebo and loop back to the Promenade


This is the |Gazebo your city i in the process of constructing for you.

New trees have been planted. In a couple of years we will have forgotten what it used to look like and the trunks of those willow will have been turned into table tops. Maybe some of the wood carvers at the Art Gallery will fashion a desk that will sit in the office of the Mayor.


This is where the new Gazebo is gong to be built – it looks like it will be quite a bit bigger.

Spencer Smith would probably approve of that.

There are a couple of hundreds clippings taken from the willow trees that were cut down – they will be handed out to people in the Spring.

All good stuff – but where was the public input in all this. Remember – this government was going to be transparent – they were going to include you the tax payer.

We didn’t see any drawings for the new east end of the park with different ideas the public could comment on.

The landscape architects just went ahead and did it because they could.


This is one of the scenes you get to enjoy from the park. while Burlington isn’t a port city – Hamilton is a large inland port and everything that sails into Hamilton sails by Burlington.

That is not healthy civic government.

Related articles:

Who was Spencer Smith?

graphic04Where will the willows go?

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Why is gas always a couple of pennies higher in Burlington than it is in Hamilton?

News 100 redBy Staff

November 6th, 2016



There is someone else out there who asks the question the Gazette has been asking for some time.

kabbash-on-gas-pricesWhy is gas always a couple of pennies higher in Burlington than it is in Hamilton?

The best I can come up with is – the owners of the gas stations know they can get away with it. They see Burlington as a wealthy community that they can suck extra dollars out of.

If you want it to change – walk with your wallets.

A couple of years ago we did a piece on this.  Nothing has changed.

The prices were higher but the differences we basically the same – you pay more in Burlington.  Why – because we have a better civic government?


Burlington Esso on Guelph Line $1.249


Regular gas at the Hamilton Esso station $1.226


Shell station on Guelph line $1.249 per litre


At the Shell station on Main West in Hamilton – $1.219 per litre of regular gas












Related article:

It has always been this way.graphic02

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Windows on the Lake almost ready for their opening - the chance for something more majestic was lost by this city council.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

November 5th, 2016



It is almost done – close to being ready for a ribbon cutting ceremony if the Mayor is foolish enough to do any such thing on the site of where he went along with giving away a significant part of the city’s heritage. The Mayor didn’t do this all by himself – every member of Council except for Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward, voted to sell the land next to the lake to the people whose property abutted land that was owned by the city and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources.


The potential was for a lovely little parkette that would have been a nice quiet place to enjoy the lake. The city sold a critical part of land that was owned by both the city and the provincial Ministry of Natural Resources. The patch of land to the west on Market Street was made into a Window onto the Lake – the patch of land to the east on St. Paul was also made into a Window on the Lake.

They sold the family jewels for a pittance – and put an end to a true Waterfront Trail.


It is an absolutely superb site that was sold because the city council didn’t have the foresight to keep the land and let it become a part of the Waterfront Trail.

We did get two Windows to the Lake out of it – and they are close to being ready for public use.


The Window at the foot of St. Paul is a little austere but it is better than nothing. What a great place to sit down and read a good book. Plenty of space to set out a blanket and just enjoy the view.


Resident makes the best of late afternoon sunshine in new chairs placed in one of the city’s newest Windows on the Lake.

There are two Windows, one on Market Street and the other at the foot of St. Paul.


The Window at th foot of Market street is a nice, quiet secluded area tucked in behind a small grove of trees. Great place for a quiet conversation.


Looking north to the foot of Market street the red leaves and the blue chairs are a lovely contrast.

Of the two the one at west on Market is the nicest. It is tucked into a nice small grove of trees and is a little more intimate than the one on the east side.graphic02

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Director of Transit to turn in his keys later this month.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

November 5th, 2016



They come and they go.

The people who run the city are people we rely upon to come up with the solutions to solve the problems.

In the five years the Gazette has been reporting on this city we have seen four city managers. Currently James Ridge, a former Canadian army veteran who served in the Military Police.

James Ridge - looking right

City manager James Ridge

There was a point when the city had three General Managers who reported to the city manager. That level of management no longer exists and the city manager has a team of Directors who meet with Ridge as part of what he calls his Leadership Team.

And as long as you do things the way Ridge wants you to do them – you get to stay on the team.

Spicer + Ridge

Retiring Director of Transit Mike Spicer on the left attends a community meeting with city manager James Ridge. One of these two is not a happy camper.

Mike Spicer, Director of Transit will be leaving the tram November 18th.

The Gazette got a note from a reader who brought Spicer’s resignation to our attention. It took a few days to get comment from Spicer who we found to be usually available for comment.

We asked Spicer if there was any truth to the rumour we received.

Here is the flow of the conversation:

Gazette: Got a note from someone saying you had been shown the door.

Spicer: I was not shown the door. I resigned. Last day is November 18th.

Gazette: Where are you going and what are you going to do next?

Spicer: Seeking new opportunities, don’t have anything concrete at this moment but am looking at a few opportunities.

Transit wkshp = Edwardth = Mayor with cell

Mayor Goldring reading a transit app on his cell phone. To his left is Joey Edwardth of Community Development Halton and Doug Brown – the guy who knows more about transit in the city than anyone else. He seldom gets a call.

Good luck to Mike. He had a difficult job – he was expected to provide a transit service without the funds he needed and the full support of city council.

He did slip up on a number of occasions – failing to attend meetings that were put on by transit service advocates was a killer.getting new - yellow

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Watching the American election

News 100 redBy Staff

November 5th, 2016



It is the best show in town for the political junkies – and it seems that tens of thousands of Canadians are fixated on what our southern neighbours are putting themselves through.


A graph that updates almost every 10 minutes. One of the best data site on the American election.

There is a web site that provides exceptionally current data.

Link to the site:


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Hit and run vehicle accident has 13 year old boy airlifted to hospital.

Crime 100By Staff

November 5th, 2016



A 13 year old boy was struck by a vehicle on Friday at the intersection of Appleby Line and Taywood Drive in the City of Burlington.

The boy was on the bicycle heading northon Appleby Line within the crosswalk when a northbound white Volkswagen attempted to turn left onto Taywood Drive. The vehicle hit the male and fled from the scene.

HRPS crestThe bicycle driver was initially taken to Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital before being airlifted to a children’s trauma centre in critical but non-life threatening condition.

A coordinated search of the area resulted in the suspect vehicle being located at a residence close to the collision scene. The driver of the vehicle returned to the scene of the collision and was arrested for failure to stop at scene of an accident causing bodily harm.

The driver was identified as 23-year-old Stephen BALON of Burlington. Mr. BALON will appear in court on December 7th at the Ontario Court of Justice, 491 Steeles Road, Milton Ontario.

The status of the bicycle rider has been upgraded to stable condition.

Any witnesses to the collision are asked to contact the Collision Reconstruction Unit at 905-825-4747 extension 5065, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), or through the web at, or by texting “Tip201” with your message to 274637 (crimes).

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After the dust settles Tuesday night where will our biggest trading partner be?

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

November 4th, 2016



So the election is Tuesday and like so many others, I am not crazy about either of the main candidates Americans have to choose between. For a while it sure looked like Hillary had it in the bag, but the FBI staged something as close to a coup as one can in a liberal democracy. And now it’s too close to call. Except I’m calling it for Trump. He has the momentum and sometimes stuff just happens – look at Brexit.


The leader of the Western world?

And what would we expect from a President Trump? It will depend on whether he has a Republican Congress or whether he is at the mercy of a Democrat-dominated House and/or Senate. And even if the Republicans keep Congress, it is not a given that they will simply rubber stamp all his nutty notions. Many have distanced themselves since learning of his roving small hands and filthy mind.

But if they managed to bury that hatchet we might see some big changes in American foreign policy given what Trump, the candidate, has said to date. NATO would be in for a shake-up at a minimum, and this might get the EU nations off their butts and taking their own security seriously. The US will break its Paris commitment on climate change, as Trump mimics one of GWB’s earliest actions, and that will have some spill-over here in the great ‘still-white’ north.

We are America’s largest traditional trading partner, after all. And who knows whether Trump will really tear up NAFTA or just tinker with it the way Chretien did with the Canada-US trade deal he inherited?

And would Mexico still pay for the wall?


If it ever gets built – how would Donald Trump make the Mexican government actually pay for it?

Some kind of wall will likely get built along the US/Mexican border, but with much of the border comprised of shared rivers (Rio Grande and Colorado), it won’t be nearly as formidable as the one in his imagination. His promises of mass deportation of illegal migrants will also pale in light of the fact that more Mexicans are now leaving than coming to America. But tough love for criminals will make a comeback, including stop and frisk for minorities, and maybe some new punishment for women who have abortions once he gets his hands on Roe v Wade.

Trump hints that he would make the US insular or isolated, though that was also what “Dubya” said as he was plotting to invade Iraq. The result of which led to ISIS, Trump’s number one target. Though his talk of cooperation with Russia makes one wonder if he’d just abandon all of that Syrian mess for Russia to deal with.

Despite that, it is unlikely that Putin and Trump would be soul mates for very long – there is too much distance between them for that. And with Trump promising an even larger military machine, Putin may very well regret losing Obama as his primary punching bag.


Will this man ever address the Canadian House of Commons?

Trump is wealthy so it is no surprise he is a fan of trickle down economics – give to the rich and it’ll trickle down to the poor. But just about every economist in America says he is wrong, and that his massive tax cuts would result in massive deficits, a falling exchange rate, recession and/or crazy inflation. And with Obamacare gone it’ll be back to getting health insurance the old way – if you can and if you can afford it in the Trumped down economy.

The problem with Trump bringing these few wild promises with him to the White House is that nobody is sure how serious he is about them. The rest of what he is offering is short on detail and full of bravado. And the reason for that is simply that he has such scant knowledge of the issues that would be before him. Even worse he is his own chief advisor and one with zero experience in government.

It could be an ugly election and I feel sorry for Americans. Friends in the US are expecting riots in the streets almost immediately should Clinton win. This election is better, or worse, than anything else on TV these days, with the possible exception of the ABC/CTV series Designated Survivor. And the late night talk shows are almost as much fun to watch.

Except it isn’t funny. Americans are faced with two markedly different visions of their future for the next four years, and if I’m right they’re about to make a huge mistake. It was never supposed to end up like this. Sure we all knew Hillary was going to model for the Democrats but nobody expected this buffoon to to even get the GOP nomination, let alone be readying himself for the role of most powerful leader in the world.


What will she be Wednesday morning – some think it could be just Mrs. Clinton

If  Hillary loses, she’ll have no one to blame but herself. Her flawed judgement calls as Senator and Secretary of State have come back to take their revenge. And while she is a powerful speaker with a solid presence she has failed to connect with so many Americans, like the millennial crowd. But Trump has promised to put her in jail after the election is over, anyway.

One could argue that her time in the foreign office wasn’t her own, that aside from the email flap she was only carrying out Obama’s largely unsuccessful foreign policy. Even the former chief of NATO has come to that conclusion, calling out the US president for his weakness as a leader. One wonders when the Nobel prize folks will be knocking on Obama’s door, asking for their peace prize back. They could have given it to Bob Dylan, but then they’ couldn’t find him.

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:

Mexico-US BorderCanada-US TradeNATOEconomists on TrumpRepublicans and TrumpDesignated Survivor

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Spring forward - Fall back - an extra hour of sleep - and wonderful fall colours to appreciate.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

November 5, 2106



fal-back-2Spring forward – fall back. That was how I was taught to remember the change in the way we record time.

It is fall – the leaves are turning and it is time to turn the dial on the clock back one hour before you tuck in Saturday night and enjoy that extra hour of sleep.

fall-back-1Or get up at the same time and have an additional hour to get some work done.

Whichever, make a point of enjoying the changes in the colours of the leaves on the trees – might be time for a nice drive out into the country. Escarpment is great at this time of year.

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Councillor Meed Ward weighs in on the problems at the Seniors' Centre - says they now have an opportunity to chart a new role for themselves.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

November 5, 2016



In response to the question: What happened? Ward 2 city councillor Marianne Meed Ward said she “ was hoping the discussions the city and board were having over the past year would lead toward a new MOU that would benefit both parties.

Meed Ward was talking about the significant change that has taken place in the way programs and services are being delivered at the Seniors’ Centre which is a piece of city property that the seniors use.

The Bistro, the heart of the Seniors'entre and the focal point for many of the administrative problems. The new agreement with the city didn't resolve this problem but they have agreed to give it a year to come up with a solution that works for everyone.

The Bistro, the heart of the Seniors’ Centre and the focal point for many of the administrative problems.

The Seniors organized themselves as a not for profit –  Burlington Senior’s Centre Inc. (BSCI). They elect a board which serves for a two-year period. It is that Board that has been “negotiating” with the city

There was a Memorandum of Understanding that set out who was to do what and who was going to pay what that had been put in place a number of years ago after considerable disruption and happiness on the part of the seniors.

There was a meeting a number of years ago that drew 300 seniors and they were not happy. The MOU seemed to settle things down.

Now things have flared up again.

Lamb JoeA

Joe Lamb wonders why someone didn’t call him.

Joe Lamb, the person who negotiated a very fat deal for the seniors wonders why no one called him when things were going wrong.

The current president of the BSCI, a non-profit organization, hasn’t been able to make himself available for any kind of interview. Fred Hendriks issues media releases and doesn’t allow for any follow up.

Some of those with past board experience complain that Hendriks isn’t much of a communicator – they got that right.

Meed Ward adds that “With the recent change, members of the Seniors Centre should not notice any difference to services or programming.”

Councillor Meed Ward has always been good at listening - is the LAkeshore Road cycling issue an opportunity to lead?

Councillor Marianne Meed Ward listening to a senior.

She continues: “The BSCI now has an opportunity to chart a new role for itself serving seniors in Burlington, and I have committed to stay on the board to assist them in this transition for as long as they would like.”

Meed Ward is the city representative on the Seniors Advisory committee.

There is indeed trouble in paradise. Don’t think this story has come to an end.

The seniors are one of the few really well defined groups in the city with a lot of time on their hands. They have in the past badgered city councillors with telephone calls when they weren’t happy.

The French have a phrase for it – some things never change – Et certaines choses ne changent pas.

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Casting your ballot via the internet: Not safe enough according to Gareth Williams.

opinionandcommentBy Gareth Williams

November 4th, 2016



What is the value of convenience? Is it worth sacrificing some of our democratic institutions, like the secret ballot and the knowledge that our election results accurately reflect the intent of voters?

This Monday Burlington City Council (sitting as the Community & Corporate Services) will consider a staff report which recommends Burlington continue its experiment with remote Internet voting. I call it an experiment because Internet voters made up a relatively small overall percentage of ballots cast in the 2010 & 2014 elections in which it was offered.

I do not believe that as a City we should continue to embrace this flawed method of electing our leaders, and I believe most citizens would agree if they better understood the significant challenges involved.

Here is a brief summary of the issues with online/Internet voting:

Voting ballot box

This is a secret ballot

• Internet voting eliminates the protection of the secret ballot and could enable coercion of voters by family members and others. With the large population of seniors in Burlington, and the very real issue of elder abuse this is a significant concern. At the public polling station election staff are there to ensure you can vote in privacy, free from interference; at home or work just about anyone can be standing behind you as you cast your ballot.

• It also facilitates vote buying and/or individuals casting ballots on behalf of others, with or without their knowledge. This has already happened back in 2010 when an Eastern Ontario man was charged and fined with voting on behalf of his family members. It is probably safe to assume there have been other cases (perhaps even here in Burlington) which went unnoticed as it is not uncommon for several family members to share a computer or Internet connection. A mother or father might, for example, decide to vote on behalf of their kids who are away at University or College.

• Evidence indicates that Internet voting does not increase turnout, even among youth. The most recent example of this is Halifax’s 2016 municipal election where the number of online voters dropped by over 10,000. Leading researchers in the field have analyzed 15 years of data and concluded that Internet voting is unlikely to solve the low turnout crisis faced by Western democracies. Perhaps surprisingly, they also found Ontario voters age 18-34 were more likely to prefer paper ballots.

ID theft screen

The level of sophistication the ID thieves have is close to beyond belief – if they want the information – they can get it.

• Most computer security experts warn that Internet voting is not secure. A large number of multinational firms as well as Canadian government departments have been successfully cyberattacked in recent years. There have been many stories in the news recently of high profile attacks like the ones that affected the Ontario EQAO exam and attempts to influence the US election through the release of emails obtained through hacking or phishing attempts. Third party IT security consultants hired by the City of Toronto to study proposals for Internet voting in that city recommended against moving forward with any of the options.

Many other jurisdictions that considered or experimented with online voting have dropped support for Internet voting. These include Toronto, Mississauga, Kitchener, and Huntsville Ontario, the provinces B.C. & Alberta as well as the country of Norway.

A City of Kitchener 2012 staff report was the impetus for that city rejecting Internet voting; it recommended strongly against implementation for their 2014 election. Most of the aforementioned issues were cited. According to this report and other academic studies the highest user of Internet voting is the 45-55 demographic and the vast majority of Internet voters would likely have voted anyway.

Problems with Internet voting were in the news again as recently as this past week in P.E.I. where they are using it for a non-binding plebiscite on electoral reform. An unknown number of voter information packages with personal identification numbers (PINs) were sent to the wrong addresses. These codes could potentially be used to cast a ballot on behalf of another voter. If the vote is cast from a public location like a library, there would be little that could be done to track down the offender.

Many advocates point to the opportunity Internet voting provides to make it easier for disabled voters to cast their ballot. However, as Dr. Barbara Simons a former researcher with IBM pointed it out during her recent testimony to the Electoral Reform panel in Ottawa, it does a disservice to voters with disabilities, to anybody, to provide them with a tool that is fundamentally insecure. We owe it to them when we provide them with alternatives to make sure those alternatives are secure.

Despite the issues we continue to hear that, based on opinion polls, there is a demand and support from the public for Internet voting. To quote Dr. Simons again, if this were a medical hearing to determine whether to approve a new drug for human consumption, safety would be paramount. A drug that is likely to result in serious injury to patients would be rejected, no matter how many people wanted to use it. Internet voting is like a drug we are considering for our democracy.

If this scares you as much as it scares me be sure to contact your Councillor before Monday.

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


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Resident wants to know why the contractors working on the Carriage Gate development didn't know where the pipe lines are located.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

November 3, 2016



Gas leaks are dangerous.

Yesterday there was a gas leak on a construction site.

The fire department and the gas company were able to get on site very quickly and shut the gas off.

A resident who was walking in the area wants to know why things like this happen.

When construction permits are issued do the contractors not know where the telephone lines are; where the gas lines are and where the water pipes are?

Carriage Gate - three buidings

The project has been a long time getting to te point where the shovels were in the ground. within a week something struck a gas pipe line shutting down the immediate area for several hours. Fast work on the part of the fire department and the gas company averted a disaster.

Our resident wants to know: What is the procedure at The City of Burlington going forward with the developer who put Downtown Core residents and businesses in jeopardy yesterday when a gas pipe was ruptured during construction at Caroline and Elizabeth Streets?

She was walking by the site when the gas pipe was hit and the concentration of gas permeating the air was dense and made it difficult to breath. She didn’t know how gas pipes and pressure work when there is a rupture, but there was gas filling businesses on Brant Street. Wardell Insurance had all of their doors open as their building filled with gas; this building is directly across from City Hall. I observed firemen taking gas readings as far south as James Street.

How is it possible that a builder can still rupture a gas line in the middle of a City with all of the technology available in 2016 for pinpointing exact location? This site is bordered by an apartment building, town homes and businesses in a highly populated and travelled part of our downtown community.

Medica One or the Carriage Gate project - pick the name you like best - will go up at the top of John Street and consist of a medical offices building, an above ground garage and an apartment/condo complex. It will bring significant change to the intersection and drive redevelopment of the plaza to the immediate north, A transit hub a couple of blocks to the south then makes a lot of sense.

Medica One or the Carriage Gate project – pick the name you like best – will go up at the top of John Street and consist of a medical offices building, an above ground garage and an apartment/condo complex. It will bring significant change to the intersection and drive redevelopment of the plaza to the immediate north, A transit hub a couple of blocks to the south then makes a lot of sense.

Is this developer capable of safely building a safe building in our midst? What are this developer’s credentials? Has this developer ever worked on a project of this scale? This is a disturbing start in the early stages of a multi-year construction at this site.

Does the developer pay the thousands of dollars for the emergency response personnel that were on site for the many hours that it took to secure the area and stop the gas leak? Is there any consideration for the businesses that either had to be evacuated or suffered loss of business?

It is absolutely terrifying to consider the consequences to our downtown community had the gas ignited.

All good questions. Watching for the answers.

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The facts - just the facts - and they aren't pretty. High school capacity seriously out of whack with student population.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

November 3rd, 2016



The first two of seven meetings that will take place at each of the high schools in the city were held at Bateman and Nelson.

The Director of Education, Stuart Miller and a number of his staff gave an hour long presentation to six people at the Robert Bateman high school, zipped up their briefcases where they did the presentation a second time to 12 people at Nelson high school.

These meetings were not a required part of the Program Accommodation Review the Board of Education is going through. “It is not an easy time” said Miller

Joey Edwardh + Stuart Miller

Joey Edwardth, President of Community Development Halton with Director of Education Stuart Miller – she has the data he needs.

Director Miller and the General manager of the Board shared the delivery of the presentation – they were laying out the facts as they understood them.

And the facts are critical.

There are far too many seats in high school classroom that are empty and that just isn’t sustainable.

Miller said the city has one and a half too many high schools – and to make matters worse the capacity the board has it at times in the wrong place.

Unfortunately the Board has known about this for some time. This problem first appeared on their radar screens back in 2013


The city of Burlington doesn’t have a demographer on staff and apparently the Board of Education doesn’t have any of that capacity as well. Community Development Halton (CDH)  has a solid team that has the data at its finger tips – but the city and the board don’t seem to know what CDH can do for them. If the problem of falling enrollment was identified in 2012 – it was in the data long before then.

Of more interest to parents is the depth of the problem. Except for Hayden and Nelson high school there is not a high school in the city that is not at some risk.

Set out below is the critical data for every high school – the numbers are not nice and they certainly are not comfortable.

At the first meeting of the Board and the parents at Bateman there were six parents. Bateman is at rick – look at the numbers.

The doted line is the On the Ground capacity of the school.

The critical number is 65% of that OTG.  When a school falls below that the Board of education is required to do a Program Accommodation Review.

Each year the Board does an LTAP – Long Term Accommodation study – the quality of those studies may not have been as good as they should have been.


Central has a problem but it is not as bad as Bateman.


How did the demographers miss this one? Add to the problem is the development of a housing project in the north east quadrant of the city.


The sense seems to be that closing Pearson and sending them to Robinson will solve the Robinson problem.


At some point in time the Eaglesfield project will get developed – it looks like that is going to be a family community – will children attend Aldershot?


Bateman would appear to be more at risk than Central.



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Some parents don't like the way the school board is handling the closing of some high schools.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

November 3rd 2016



The closing of a school is no small matter – and when it happens there is disruption at many levels – especially for the parents who have children in one of the schools that was recommended for closure.

In the Program Accommodation Review the Halton district School Board is undergoing, the Director of Education put a recommendation before the trustees that two specific schools be closed. Central and Pearson.

There are parents who wish the Director had not done so.


Blue indicates a small school; green indicates a large school.

Lynne Crosby, a parent with children at Central high school said yesterday that “They did NOT have to make a recommendation that named two schools. This shows a complete disregard for the students and staff at those two schools, plus the students in grade 7/8 and the feeder schools. The high school students at these schools have been greatly negatively affected, and in many cases their school year is tainted if not ruined.

They (the Board of Education) could have chosen option 7 which is to close no schools to begin the PAR. Or they could have made an Option 20 to close one school or two schools, particular ones to be determined through the process, and not naming specific ones.

Crosby is bothered by the rule that does not allow any questions during the presentations that are being made to each high school. “We can’t ask him this question because they don’t allow questions. What a farce. I doubt they are taking questions from the media either, but this is a point that should be raised, since they keep giving us this line about how they had no choice.”

“One thing that really bothers me” said Crosby, “is them saying how they had to make a recommendation, as if their hands were tied by the Ministry rules. All the board had to do was ask the trustees to decide if they wanted to do a Program Accommodation Review to begin the process.

The Board did produce a report that had a recommendation – which is all it is at this point in time.


Doesn’t take a rocket scientists to figure out that there is a problem.

The enrollment numbers to show that there are far too many seats in the high schools that have not been filled.

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The Seniors thought they were going to work the problems out with the city - instead the city pulled the rug out from under them.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

November 3rd, 2016



The city manager now has a Senior Manager, Government Relations & Strategic Communications to help him get through a day.

Mr. Kwab Ako-Adjei advised us earlier in the week that: “Following a lengthy internal review we have decided not to renew our partnership agreement with the Burlington Senior’s Centre Inc. (BSCI) which will therefore conclude our relationship.

“Through the review we were able to determine that we have the capacity to deliver all the services directly, including those delivered by BSCI. This conclusion in our relationship will have no operational impact on service to the 3800 members of the Seniors Centre. All the programming members have come to enjoy will remain the same including the operation of the Bistro and organization of the day trips. In short it will be business as usual at the Seniors Centre with no changes.”

It is clear now that the internal review was done at city hall with next to no input from the seniors or its board. Fred Hendriks thought they were getting ready to “begin” talking about changes.

In his statement said: “The City and BSCI have been in discussion for many months about BEGINNING negotiations to renew the MOU. BSCI is disappointed that the City chose to end the relationship in this premature and disappointing manner without any BSCI consultation.”

The city decided to just pull the rug from underneath the BSCI board and just tell them that there had been a change in command.

They were given six days’ notice before the locks were changed as it were. Hendriks reports that “On October 26th, 2016 the City notified BSCI that it would assume these responsibilities as of November 1st, 2016.

Chris Glenn

Chris Glenn, Director of Parks and Recreation was reported to have never been happy with the Memorandum of Agreement the city signed.

The Parks and Recreation people that are part of the city managers leadership team should have explained that the seniors have to be handled just a little differently – and we might add – with a little more respect.
Are there some of the old arbitrary ways creeping back into city hall?

Mr. Ako-Adjei added that the BSCI Board has not dissolved, the Board is an independent not-for-profit so the City has no authority to dissolve them.

While the board itself may not have been dissolved – the use of the Board Room has been taken from then. The only thing they are able to do is complain.

It was the very loud complaining six years ago that led to the signing of a Memorandum that turned over the running of the operation to the seniors.

There were people within the Parks and Recreation that didn’t like that arrangement which led to the review.

The biggest problem area at the time was the kitchen. In many ways it is the heart of the Centre. They call it the Bistro and is run jointly with the city. The one employee is on the city payroll, mostly because the Centre doesn’t have anyone who can process a payroll and ensure all the proper deductions are made.

With the kitchen manager on the city payroll – the city wanted to ensure they had the required oversight and that was the problem – the seniors didn’t want the city getting involved in the running of the kitchen and the city didn’t want to be in the kitchen either. When there is any food handling involved the city out sources the work.

The Bistro, the heart of the Seniors'entre and the focal point for many of the administrative problems. The new agreement with the city didn't resolve this problem but they have agreed to give it a year to come up with a solution that works for everyone.

The Bistro, the heart of the Seniors’ Centre and the focal point for many of the administrative problems. The 2012 agreement with the city didn’t resolve this problem but they have agreed to give it a year to come up with a solution that works for everyone.

They had a neat little kitchen operation and they wanted to keep it that way. Fine said the city but if the employee is on our payroll there is some liability that lands on the city’s desk and if there was going to be liability – the city wanted control, or at least enough control to be able to manage the problems when they crop up.

City manager Jeff Fielding doesn't win every time. Joe Lamb, negotiating for the Seniors' Centre basically took Fielding to the cleaners with the deal he talked the city into.

Former City manager Jeff Fielding didn’t win this time. Joe Lamb, negotiating for the Seniors’ Centre basically took Fielding to the cleaners with the deal he talked the city into.

And that is where the working relationship between Lamb and Fielding, the city manager came into play. They agreed that an agreement was necessary but they didn’t have one – so they would agree to work together with the revised MOU for a year and during that time let experience and time get put to use to find something that works for everyone.

The reality of this is that the employee is on the city payroll in a building the city owns – that boils down to the city having the final word. That is something the seniors are going to have to accept. Fielding just has to find language that keeps the seniors happy. The seniors all recognise the phrase “a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down” and they have a year to figure out just how much sugar is going to be needed. The city doesn’t appear to have too many problems spending money on seniors.

Five thousand for incorporation, $9,000, give or take a couple of hundred for insurance – tasting pretty sweet at this point.

The BOM (Board of Management) owns some of the equipment in the kitchen, the city owns the rest. BOM reimburses the City for Maria’s costs and any profit or loss for the kitchen goes to the BOM

The kitchen is rented out many times in the evening and weekends by the city. Both parties share keeping the place clean and for the most part the city is responsible for bigger maintenance and capital items. It is a unique arrangement which seems to work.

BOM doesn’t want to take over the operation of the kitchen; to do so would mean taking on the same contingent liability. The Board turns over quickly with only 2 year terms, and although have some kitchen knowledge there are no assurances that this will continue in the future.

More than 150 members showed up to learn about the new agreement with the city and to vote for it unanimously. quite a difference between this meeting and the 300 members who were angry at a February meeting.

More than 150 members showed up to learn about the new agreement with the city in 2012. The first meeting to explain the problems drew 300 +. City hall just might hear from these folks again.

That’s where things were left five years ago – something went wrong – was it with the city or were there problems with the board that was running the place – there were some personality conflicts with one particular member of that board – was that enough to scrap the relationship and begin to treat the seniors like children that can’t run their own affairs?

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