Correction: Miller to speak at Standing Committee on November 7th. Will get TEN minutes.

Newsflash 100

There was an error in the report on the delegation the Director of education is making to city council

The Stuart Miller delegation will be to the Corporate and Community Services Standing Committee were he will have ten minutes to tell his side of the story.

The corrected story is at:

This guy is going to get more than the standard ten minutes to delegate before a city Standing Committee.


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This guy is going to get more than the standard ten minutes to delegate before a city Standing Committee.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

November 3rd, 2016



School Board Director of Education Stuart Miller isn’t getting home for dinner very often this month.

par-presentation-ay-bateman-nov-2-hdsbHe is committed to being in front of high school parents and has added to that the desire to delegate before the Community and Corporate Services Standing Committee at council next Monday where he will delegate on the Halton District School Board’s Secondary School Program and Review (PAR) Process.

The delegation will outline the process for a program and accommodation review, including timelines and consultation.

Stuart MillerWhile the school board and city play the biggest roles in the daily life of citizens in the city (well maybe waste removal – a Regional responsibility  – fits in there somewhere) the city and the school board rarely meet in any formal fashion.

They are their own fiefdoms.

The school board is shaking up every household in the city with their requirement to go to the parents and talk about closing high schools.

The city gets this kind of feedback when it want to close an arena or a swimming pool – so they both have experience dealing with the public.

The public would say that neither are very good at communicating. For the record the school board is putting itself in front of people.

At city Standing Committee meetings delegations are limited to ten minutes – watch how quickly that gets waived.

The Board of Education isn’t allowing Q&A at its meetings with parents – but at city council meetings Councillors can ask questions.  Parents might want to lobby their member of council to get some answers.

The biggest issue we hear from parents is that the school board doesn’t appear to be thinking in terms of “community” – focusing instead on what they can do for the students.  Parents want to think in terms of  how community can be retained.

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John Street now open -gas line problem resolved.

Newsflash 100Union Gas has stopped the gas leak on John St.

The Burlington Fire Department and Halton Regional Police Service are opening streets and access to evacuees as of 2:30 p.m. today, Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016.


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City decides to take over much of the Seniors' Centre operations - will they raise membership fees?

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

November 2, 2016



With stories like this – the opening sentence is usually – Trouble in Paradise.

The Seniors are not happy – they have been stiffed by city hall.

Lamb JoeA

Joe Lamb thought the agreement he put together with the city was going to last forever.

A number of years ago there were some problems with the operation of the Seniors’ Centre which got resolved when then city manager Jeff Fielding and Joe Lamb met and worked out an arrangement that kept everyone happy.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the City and the Burlington Seniors’ Centre Inc. (BSCI) expired on December 15, 2015.

Fred Hendriks, president of the seniors’ centre organization explains that “Under this agreement BSCI, a not-for-profit volunteer Corporation had the responsibility, at the Burlington Seniors’ Centre, of running the Bistro Café, Day Trips and Events.

He adds that “On October 26th, 2016 the City notified BSCI that it would assume these responsibilities as of November 1st, 2016.

Lead negotiator for the seniors was Joe Lamb on the lrft talking to city manager Jeff Fielding on the right. The agreement they hammered out was approved unanimously by the seniors Centre membership. Lamb kind of liked being back in harness.

Lead negotiator for the seniors was Joe Lamb on the left talking to then city manager Jeff Fielding on the right. The agreement they hammered out was approved unanimously by the seniors Centre membership. Now the city has decided to take over what they walked away from a number of years ago.

Joe Lamb, the man who put the agreement together with the city said: “The key question is why they took this drastic step. Are they now in the food business again?

The kitchen was always a big thing to the city. They wanted out of the business at arenas because of liability, not a core competency. Seems to me they are back in the business. Didn’t the Board and the city just complete renovations in the kitchen and renew the Chef’s contract?

Are they not concerned about senior pushback? Is this Chris Glen (Director of Parks and Recreation) finally getting his way? How does the city communicate effectively with members now? Is the city now free to increase fees as they see fit? This whole issue is potentially a firestorm politically particularly if the right person steps forward to rally the Seniors in the City.

Fred Hendriks, BSCI President said in his statement that: “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 BSCI board will meet in November to discuss next steps. Their goal is to continue to be a vital organization supporting the well-being of Burlington’s diverse and growing community of seniors.

Mayor Rick Goldring has his membership application processed at the Seniors' Centre - filling another of his campaign promises.

Mayor Rick Goldring signing his Seniors’ Centre membership application. Is he going to put in a good word for the seniors with the city manager?

The current city manager runs the city through what he calls a leadership team that consists of all the Directors – perhaps a few other people. This matter will come before them for certain.

We haven’t seen the end of this story.

Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward chose not to make any comment until the BSCI had made its position known. The Councillor is the city’s representative on the Senior’s Advisory Council.

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The thing that is really bold is the decision the city made to Grow Bold without a mandate

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

November 1st, 2016



City Council voted to endorse a report that enables the Director of Planning and Building and Chief Planning Officer to close the city’s current Official Plan Review process and start the preparation of a new Official Plan for the City of Burlington.

“With very little green field left for development in Burlington, the city is undergoing a very important transition,” said Mayor Rick Goldring. “We are no longer a city that builds new suburban-type neighbourhoods but one that is building a greener and healthier urban community for our residents. A new Official Plan is recognition of this direction and will help us lead the way in the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area when it comes to managing urban sprawl.”

Upper Middle Road looking east towards Burloak - primer commercial. No takers?

Upper Middle Road looking east towards Burloak – defined as Employment lands by the city – developer has asked that it be re-classified to residential.

The Mayor’s comment appears to neglect the significant stretch of land along Upper Middle Road where it meets Burloak that the property owners wants to see converted from employment lands to residential.

Nor does he appear to be taking into account the sizable development going on now at the intersection of Dundas and Walkers line where more than 100 homes are going to be built in the North West quadrant.

And then there is Eaglesfield where the Paletta interests have plans for residential homes.

Strategic Plan Workbook

Early drafts of the Strategic Plan had it as a four year plan. Somewhere along the way the time frame got changed. How?

Burlington’s current Official Plan was endorsed by Burlington City Council in 1994. Every municipality in Ontario is required by the provincial government to review their Official Plan every five years. The current review of the city’s existing Official Plan was started in 2011.


The strategic Plan that city council approved is now a 25 year plan. The current city council seemed to feel they could bind any future city council to this plan – doesn’t work that way. A future council could scrap the plan.

“In the city’s new Strategic Plan, approved in April, Council has made the decision to protect Burlington’s rural boundary and grow in its urban areas over the next 25 years,” said the city’s director of planning and building and chief planning officer, Mary Lou Tanner. “As we reviewed the city’s current Official Plan, we realized a reset of the document was required to reflect and help guide the city’s new priorities.”

“All of the work that has been undertaken as part of the Official Plan Review process, including policy research, analysis, studies, staff reports and community feedback, will be considered within the development of the new Official Plan. The community will also have an opportunity to share its feedback on the draft policies of the new Official Plan early in 2017.”


Not quite this bold. City has rejected the ADI development Group Nautique project – 26 storeys was just a little too much for then.

“We are looking forward to getting input from the community about the policies that are being considered for the new Official Plan,” said Tanner. “Burlington is going to Grow Bold over the next 25 years, embracing density in our urban areas. Now is the time for residents to have a say and help shape their city into a dynamic 21st century urban community.”

These changes are significant – they mark an almost totally new direction for the city.

This kind of change is the type of thing a government needs to have a clear mandate from the people paying the bills – you the taxpayer.


Director of Planning – Mary Lou Tanner. Her vision is to Grow Bold, Smart and Beautiful.

We have a strong statement about the direction the city is going to take from our new Director of Planning – Grow Bold. They tested the name with the Insight panel.

There are a lot of people in the city who don’t want to grow bold.

Yes there is a Provincial Policy Statement in place that requires the city to take on more growth – but, given that the city has decided to put an end to the urban sprawl of the past – what do they want to do with the urban Sprawl that we do have?

Can’t just leave it there to rot.

And – how did this Council manage to create a Strategic Plan that has traditionally been a document that reflected what a council wants to do during its term of office.

This Council decided that they would create a Strategic Plan for the next 25 years. The problem with the document is that one elected council cannot bind a future council to a program or plan.

The Gazette doesn’t recall there being a meeting at which the decision to write a 25 year plan rather than a four year plan was debated.


This council has approved a Strategic Plan that covers the next 25 years.  The plan will not last that long. 

And given that the council in place now did not get itself elected on a promise to prepare a 25 year Strategic Plan or the statement that the city was going to grow Bold – it doesn’t’ have a mandate to do what it is doing.

That of course isn’t going to stop them – they are boring a head full blast.

The 2018 civic election should certainly be interesting.

There is a three minute video that hypes the GrowBold philosophy – the opening scene is of the pier – the one that cost us twice what it was supposed to cost?

Check it out HERE. – the video, not the Pier – we all know where that is.

Salt with Pepper is an opinion piece.


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Gas leak on construction site results in some building evacuations downtown.

notices100x100By Staff

November 2, 2016



Road closure for natural gas leak on John Street and Caroline Street

The City of Burlington Fire Department is at the scene of a natural gas leak at a construction site on John Street.

Several neighbouring buildings are being evacuated.

Roads are closed in the area of Caroline, John, Martha and James Street.

The Fire Department is recommending that all downtown buildings keep their windows closed until further notice.

carnacelli-carriage-gate-early-diggingThe beginning of construction for the Carriage Gate development that will fill the entire block of John Street, Caroline, Elizabeth and Pine has begun.

Looks like someone forgot to completely mark where the gas lines were located.

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Art in Action Tour - the 14th Annual - takes place November 5th and 6th.

Event 100By Staffbig-bird

November 2, 2016



They have been doing this for more than a decade – they are in their fourteenth year.

It’s a studio tour that takes place every November – this year on the 5th and the 6th.  Hours 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.  Bring your cheque book.


Studio locations – you will need a full day to cover them all – and have a lunch at the same time.

It is an opportunity to tour nine different studios in the city and on a few occasions just outside the borders.

studio-1studio-2studio-3studio-4studio-5studio-6studio-7studio-8studio-9The event is free – and it is an opportunity to look a superb work done by painters, photographers, potters, stained glass artists, jewellery makers and woodworkers.

The location of the studios are always well marked and you will find that you meet up with the same people and begin exchanging ideas, likes and dislikes.

There is every opportunity to buy some art. May art collectors made their first purchase at an Art in Action Tour.

It is an experience to be enjoyed.

The Art in Action Tour has set up a web site – there is more there than you will ever wants to know


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Art Gallery just might be getting into show business, opening up une petite Bistro perhaps ?

Event 100By Staff

November 1, 2016



A media release came in from Dennis Longchamps,  Artistic Director & Chief Curator at the Art Gallery of Burlington his agile mind to things other than art.

Do you wonder he asked, what happens behind the scenes at an art gallery? Do you have a sense of adventure?

after-hours-agb-logoThe Art Gallery of Burlington invites you to a night of discovery with After Hours.

Beer and wine tastings – unusual food pairings– experimental music and video art – dance performance – graffiti painting – and so much more!

Tickets are limited – $50 per person includes all of the above – Must be 19 years and older. Tickets available online only:

Food and drink provided by Collective Arts Brewing, Son of a Peach Pizzeria, Sunshine Doughnuts, Twist of Fate and the George Hamilton. Music and video presented by And All Was Bright.

Copp and Fox First_Dance

Trevor Copp and Jeff Fox doing their First Dance routine.

Liquid Lead Dancing presented by Trevor Copp and Jeff Fox.

This could be really interesting. The media release doesn’t say if this is a one off – or if Longchamps has an ongoing program in mind.

Thursday, November 17th – 7 pm to Midnight

Midnight to 7 am would have been more exciting.

Looks like it is worth checking out.

A revolution at the AGB – this is Burlington you know.


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Seneca street does it again

eventspink 100x100By Pepper Parr

November 1, 2016



No one was sure exactly when it started – 1984 was the date that was floating around.


The occasion is not just for the kids – wonder Mom got in the act as well.

And who started it – word we got was that there was a resident who lived on the street closer to Lakeshore than New Street and that he had once owned an entertainment park and had a huge plastic gorilla that you could fill with air – which he did and stuck it out on his lawn and that started the tradition that has people on Seneca decking out their lawns which imaginative Halloween decorations.


There is a dog somewhere that is now in therapy. The little mutt walked by this “cat” as it darted out of the leaves – th dog jumped a clear two feet into the air and fled – dragging his owner with him

Some of them are very impressive – and there are a couple that I guarantee scared the daylights out of your child. There is one resident whose dog is never going to be the same after its encounter with a mechanical cat that sit in a pile of leaves and jumps out with green eyes just glaring.

Seneca has become a mecca for the trick or treat crowd.

Last night was another success. Many of the parents got themselves gussied up and made a night of it.

Set out below are what some of the home owners chose to do on Hallowe’en.


Skull city – in the dark of the evening this must have been quite a site.


We didn’t hear any sound coming from this pumpkin – but we can imagine how it might have laughed.


It wasn’t all just for the kids – this household used the occasion to make the evening a small food drive as well.


The family collection of sombreros got put to good use. The small bags were empty – just some sand to hold them on place – we checked.


The wonder of it all for for the little people. These two were just fascinated with what they saw up and down their street.


What a good idea eh!

And,except for getting permission to block cars from coming on the street for a couple of hours, city hall had nothing to do with the event.  Power to the people!



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Learning Foundation holding their Benefit Bash on the 10th

Event 100By Pepper Parr

November 1, 2016



Teachers do a lot more than teach.

They are one of the sets of eyes that watch our children as they grow from that shy little girl who steps cautiously into a classroom with her Mom on that first day of school to seeing the change taking [;ace in a boy because the family he is part of is falling apart.

That teacher is the one who realizes when a student is ready for a bigger idea and knows just which book should be given to the child.

They see the student who comes to school in the winter weather with just a heavy sweater – there is no winter coat.

hlf-posterShe notes that the snow is deep and that boy is wearing just running shoes – there are no winter boots.
And she notes as well that on pizza days there are a couple of kids who don’t show up because they don’t have the money to pay for their pizza.

There is a group – the Halton Learning Foundation that is in place to provide some of the money needed to fill these gaps.

There are other organizations, Food4kids is one, that provides food for those that are going to go home to a house where there may not be a real square meal on the table.

Later this month the Learning Foundation will be holding their Benefit Bash. The event isn’t one of the fancier, splashy events where people get to wear that dress.

It isn’t a major event on the social calendar – but it is an important event. It raises some of the money that gets used to pay for some of the needs that students have that their parents can’t handle.

The business of taking care of these situations is always slim resources chasing growing needs.

On the 16th school day of this school year the request for funds was double what it had been the previous year at the same time. The social helpers in this city can see serious problems coming their way.

The Benefit Bash takes place November 10th at the Burlington Convention Centre.

This might be one of those places you could send a donation along to.

They will be announcing their No Student Left Behind campaign at the Benefit Bash – this is something we are looking forward to telling you a lot more about.getting new - yellow

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Application for plots in the four community gardens will be on-line November 14th - they go quickly.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

November 1, 2016



The winter snow isn’t even on the ground yet – but there are people at city hall planning for community garden usage next year.


Former General Manager Scott Stewart listen to Amy Schnurr at the opening of the community garden at Central Park. Rob Peachy who played a major role in making it happen is on the far right.

This is one of those programs that came out of a community initiative that took just a little arm twisting to get the city onside – but they made it work and now it is a program with four community gardens located in the city
“Next year will be our sixth growing season with the community gardens program,” said Rob Peachey, the city’s manager of parks and open spaces. “We are once again accepting the applications in November to give our gardeners more time over the winter months to plan and prepare their gardens for the spring.”

There are four community gardens residents can apply to:

• Amherst Park,
• Central Park,
• Francis Road Bikeway, or
• Maple Park

Next year’s planting season will run from May 1 to Oct. 22, 2017. There are a total of 125 plots available, which includes 10 raised, accessible plots suitable for persons with limited mobility. Applicants may indicate a preferred garden location and plot style on the application.

Michelle Bennett paces off the distance for the Community Garden Burlington Green hopes to be able to convince the city to go along with. The BG’s got 85% of the money through a provincial government grant, and now want 15% from the city. The site is also the second choice as a location for the Freeman station that a community group is determined to save.

Michelle Bennett paces off the distance for the Community Garden Burlington Green hopes to be able to convince the city to go along with. The BG’s got 85% of the money through a provincial government grant, and now want 15% from the city.

The cost to rent a plot for the season is $50. Water, soil and compost are supplied and all plots have full sun. Plots will be allocated by lottery at the close of the application period, and all applicants will be notified of their lottery result by early December 2016.

Community garden applications will be available online beginning Nov. 14 (online address is shown below) at the Seniors’ Centre, or City Hall, 426 Brant St., at the Service Burlington counter.

Completed applications must be received by the city no later than Nov. 30, 2016 for the 2017 planting season. Applications received after Nov. 30 will be entered into the draw for 2018 garden plots.

It was about six years ago when Michelle Bennett and Amy Schnurr of Burlington Green appeared before Council asking them to support their initiative to get a provincial government grant. The two woman were going over some literature about a provincial government program that was part solid idea and part pilot project. It fit the BurlingtonGreen mandate like a glove but there was a hitch. They had to have some real, cold hard cash participation from the city or from an organization that was on a par with the city.


Michelle Bennett inspected a number of community gardens as she researched what might be possible back in 2012. Here she looks over a garden in the east end of the city.

The two woman put together their application and got it off to Queen’s Park who got back to them saying they liked the idea but there was nothing about the city’s participation. Burlington Green people have no problem delegating to city hall. It didn’t go all that well during the first round. Both woman brought more enthusiasm than solid business case to the city council committee but they were on to something and that was enough for Council to ask staff to take a look at it and see if they could make something of it.

Three of the four people who made the Community Garden project happen: former General Manager Scott Stewart, BurlingtonGreen Executive Director Amy Schnurr and Rob Peachey, Manager Parks and Open Space for the city.

That put the BurlingtonGreen ladies into the hands of Rob Peachey, Manager Parks and Open Spaces, who found a way to come up with things the city could do that would amount to the 15% in cash or in kind the BurlingtonGreen people needed to get the provincial funding secured. A location was chosen that worked for everyone. It had a water line, it was steps away from the library where classes could be held, it was moments from the Seniors’ Centre where BurlingtonGreen hoped to entice some of the members.

From the left: Michelle Bennett Environment, Sam Kawazoye Community Service, Trevor Copp Arts , Mayor Goldring, Wendy Hager, Citizen of the Year, Dan Taylor Junior Citizen and Jim Frizzle, Senior of the year.

Michelle Bennett was given the Community Service award – Environment, for her efforts to make the hardens happen. From the left: Michelle Bennett Environment, Sam Kawazoye Community Service, Trevor Copp Arts , Mayor Goldring, Wendy Hager, Citizen of the Year, Dan Taylor Junior Citizen and Jim Frizzle, Senior of the year.

The provincial funding was for a “teaching Pilot”; a program that would figure out the nuts and bolts of how to get a community garden up and running; what you had to do, what you shouldn’t do and where you go for help – that kind of thing.

This is one of those projects that came out of a community initiative and caught the imaginations of city council and was put into the hands of a city staffer who knew exactly what had to be done and got it done,

That first community garden led to three more.

Citizens can apply for a community garden plot for the 2017 growing season in one of the city’s four locations between Nov. 14 and 30, 2016.

They can go online at:

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Public meetings to take place at all seven Burlington high schools on possible closing plans.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

November 1, 2016



It is going to be a busy month for the bureaucrats at the J. M. Singleton Education Centre.

HDSB sign with flagThe school board will be making presentations to parents at every high school in the city to explain what the Program Accommodation Review (PAR) is all about and what the Program Accommodation Review Committee (PARC) will be doing between December 1st and May of next year – when the school board expects to make a decision on which, if any, high schools are going to be closed.

The dates for the events at each high school are set out below.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016 Robert Bateman HS 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Tuesday, November 1, 2016 Nelson HS 7:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Thursday, November 3, 2016 Aldershot HS 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Thursday, November 3, 2016 Burlington Central HS 7:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Monday, November 14, 2016 Lester B. Pearson HS 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Monday, November 14, 2016 M.M. Robinson HS 7:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Tuesday, November 15, 2016 Dr. Frank J. Hayden SS 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm

The meetings are going to be brisk and to the point – and there will not, we are advised be a Q&A session during the meeting.

The Gazette will cover some of these meetings are report back on what takes place.

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It looks as if First Past the Post is here to stay for a while longer - another election promise being broken.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

October 31, 2016



Here is how a government gets out of an election promise>

Just say that you’ve come to the conclusion that what you promised isn’t something the people want – so let’s move on to the next promise.

On Thursday night, Minister of Democratic Institutions Maryam Monsef made some alarming statements to a packed house of Proportional Representation (PR) supporters at one of her final tour stops in Victoria:

Minister of Democratic Institutions and Peterborough-Kawartha MP Maryam Monsef addresses the crowd during a town hall meeting on electoral reform at the Mount Community Centre on Tuesday, September 6, 2016. Monsef is on a seven-week, cross-country tour gathering input on democratic reform. Jessica Nyznik/Peterborough Examiner/Postmedia Network

Minister of Democratic Institutions Maryam Monsef at a public meeting on election reform.

“So I can’t promise you that I’ll be advocating for PR because I haven’t heard that from an overwhelming majority across the country.”  The Minister added that: “People aren’t clamouring for change the way they were under the former government.”

“So I’m looking for that consensus – I haven’t seen it across the country and now I’m waiting on the committee. I can’t make you a promise. I’m very very sorry.”

Fair Vote Canada, an organization that is advocating for xxx said they have received reports from people who attended almost every single one of Minister Monsef’s tour stops from coast to coast. At most of the hundreds of town halls and events across Canada, Canadians calling for PR were the majority.

The vast majority of those who attended the Minister’s consultations this week in Victoria supported PR.

At the last electoral reform committee (ERRE) public mic in Ottawa this week, 84% of those with an opinion on voting systems spoke for PR. Of the minority who spoke in opposition, some were paid Conservative staffers.
Minister Monsef’s own report to ERRE on the 8 town halls she held in Peterborough-Kawartha stated:

“It is clear that there is an appetite for thoughtful change to the electoral system. While opinions on the various electoral systems did vary, most participants indicated their support for a more proportional electoral process that still respected the need for local representation and simplicity of the ballot.”

The Prime Minister and the Minister of Democratic Institutions have personally created a sense of hope in Canadians, building on their 2015 campaign promise of “Real Change”. Canadians believed them and believed that the government really did intend to keep its promises. They thought the political cynicism of the Harper years was behind us. Thousands of us participated in the government’s consultations in good faith.

But this week, the Minister is saying – while the ERRE MPs are in the process of negotiating a new electoral system – that we should not expect the government to keep it’s promise to make every vote count. This is serious. We must make ourselves heard now! This is our last chance to influence the 12 MPs whose report will guide the government.


The fear is that an election promise might have just taken a walk off the platform stage.

The Fair Vote organization is asking people to thank the members of ERRE for their work, ask them to deliver a recommendation for proportional representation and tell Justin Trudeau to keep his campaign promise!

They have set up a web site – more information there. Let’s see where this election promise goes.


The hope in the minds of many Canadians was that there would be a change in the way members of Parliament were elected – a shift from the First Past the Post approach to something that reflected a little more fairly the wishes of the electorate as shown by the ballots cast.

Back in June of 2015 when he was running for election as the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he wanted that “fall’s national vote to be the last federal election conducted under the first-past-the-post electoral system.

And, if the Liberal leader becomes prime minister, it may also be the last election in which Canadians can choose not to vote, as well as the last in which the only way to vote is by marking an X on a paper ballot.

Changing the way Canadians vote is just one element of a sweeping, 32-point plan to “restore democracy in Canada.

There will apparently be a number of changes on how people get to cast their ballot – Elections Canada, the organization that runs federal elections is working on a collection of ideas – but they may not be in place for the next federal election.

At this point who cares – all eyes are on what is happening south of us. What a mess they’ve gotten themselves into – makes us appreciate what we do have.


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How many male Members of Parliament will Burlington MP Karina Gould manage to slip a pink high heal on?

News 100 redBy Staff

October 21st, 2106



She once got a shout out from the President of the United States when he was addressing the House of Commons – now she wants to get the make members of that same House out wearing high heels – pink high heels.

A number of weeks ago Burlington MP Karina Gould challenged the Speaker of the House to hold such an event – and somehow the challenge got taken up and on November 3rd Gould MP for Burlington will be hosting Hope in High Heels on Parliament Hill


Men in Burlington have been doing their annual pink high heel thing to make a point – and they are getting that point across. Next Month Burlington’s MP hopes to get every male member of Parliament into a pair of high heels The Prime Minister will pull it off – watch for some wobbly ankles from some of the others.

After participating in the Hope in High Heels walk organized by Halton Women’s Place in Burlington on September 24, MP Gould was inspired to bring the walk to Parliament Hill.

“The message is simple – we will not end violence against women and children, if boys and men are not included in the conversation and part of the solution,” said MP Gould in a statement in the House of Commons. “Having this event in Ottawa, encourages all Members of Parliament, Senators and their staff to show Canadians that we are united in this fight.”

Halton Women’s Place has organized Hope in High Heels in Halton for the past seven years to help raise funds for their women’s shelter in the Halton region and to raise awareness of this ongoing issue. Halton Women’s Place will travel to Ottawa with their hot pink heels in tow, for all male parliamentarians looking to participate.


There is a strong message behind those pink high heels – “real men don’t hit woman” The Halton woman’s Place houses a number of women who have been hit by men.

“Halton Women’s Place is thrilled to bring Hope in High Heels to Ottawa,” said Diane Beaulieu, Executive Director, Halton Women’s Place. “We are proud of our relationship with MP Karina Gould who continues to advocate for women’s issues, especially women’s shelters. This initiative shows our clients that our community supports them in their decisions to start a new life free of violence. We look forward to working together with our local, provincial and federal government on making change for abused women and their children.”

As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said, “Together, we can create a Canada and a world where all citizens are respected, valued equally, and safe from violence.”

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Ten year old recently renovated Ancaster home part of the Junior League Holiday House Tour.

eventspink 100x100By Pepper Parr

October 31st, 2016



The 2016 Hamilton Burlington Junior League Annual Holiday House Tour has three location; two in Burlington and a third in Ancaster.

Every year, generous homeowners loan their homes to the Junior League of Hamilton-Burlington (JLHB) and talented design professionals transform them to showcase stunning holiday décor and entertainment ideas.

“Often it’s the little things. Everyone can find ideas for their own home, while on the tour.” says Dianne Brown, co-chair of the 2016 House Tour Committee.

The event is the JLHB’s signature fundraiser that generates the financial resources to help the charitable organisation, now in its 80th year, continue to make a lasting impact in the Hamilton-Burlington community.


The Ancaster home house rep team, from the left: Kathy, Karyn, Sarai and Roseanne.

The committee making this happen is made up of Diane Brown and Iris Hughes who are supported by teams of  House reps who oversee the coordination of the designers who are going to make the home look and feel festive.

The Ancaster home is a 3,200 sq. ft. – four bedroom, four bathrooms house that has undergone a significant renovation.

The biggest challenge in decorating the 10-year old Ancaster home was finding the right decorators. The house had just undergone an extensive renovation, and been completely redesigned.

It now has a very fresh and youthful, yet classic appearance.

This house has a stunning conservatory which hosts a beautiful grand piano. The room is majestic, elegant, and serene. Perfect for reading and relaxing while listening to lovely music.

The open concept plan across the back of the main floor boasts a beautiful kitchen and dining room with large two story high ceiling family room to the left.

Expansive windows across the back take full advantage of the spacious backyard views. The oversized dining table is a focal, point for large family gatherings.

House Reps, serve in an advisory role with the decorators, helping them to coordinate with each other.


The House Tour is a great way to pick up some ideas for holiday decorating – and those holiday aren’t that far off are they?

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

The Junior League is looking for people who would like to serve as volunteers for some of the three hours shifts at the different house tour locations. This is an opportunity to learn more about the Junior League – sort of a toe in the water approach.

If you think you can help please email Annette at

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Griffin Gervais gets his name read into the record in the House of Commons.

News 100 redBy Staff

October 29th, 2016



There is time during each day that Member of Parliament get to say something about their community.
Last week Karina Gould rose in the House to tell her 338 colleagues about a remarkable young man named Griffin Gervais. Gould said:

Madam Speaker, on October 15, I had the opportunity to celebrate one young boy’s determination in revitalizing an important space in his community.


Griffin Gervais with his parents

Eleven-year-old Griffin Gervais was disappointed that his baseball diamond at Lakeshore Public School was in rough shape and not scheduled for an update. Rather than just accept the fact, Griffin decided he would lead the effort to repair the diamond.

Starting last January, Griffin with the help of his family, classmates, his community, and the city of Burlington’s neighbourhood community matching fund, raised a total of $12,000. Today, with two updated benches, new chain-link fencing, and a freshly mowed field, the Lakeshore Public School baseball diamond now looks better than ever.


A smartly laid out baseball diamond behind Lakeshore Public school.

Griffin’s story is one that is truly inspiring and shows that individuals can make a impact on their community if they set their mind to it. I thank Griffin for all of his hard work. I was proud to attend the grand opening and to see him throw the first pitch on the field.

Bandits - Gould opening pitch

Burlington MP Karina Gould throwing the opening pitch at a Burlington Bandits baseball game.

Gould by the way is no slouch on the baseball diamond either. She got it right across the plate – which is more than can be said when the Mayor was asked to throw that opening pitch.

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Has the Finance Minister just told us to suck it up?

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

October 29th, 2016


“… we live in a world where we make our own future and the role of government is to facilitate each of us in being the best we can be.”


Former Prime Minister Kim Campbell – she chose to tell the public what the real issues were – and they booted her out of office.

Kim Campbell, shortly after becoming Canada’s first female PM in 1993, announced that it was unlikely the deficit or unemployment would be much reduced before the end of the century. That statement was the first shovel of dirt from the grave she was digging for herself and her party – taking it from its highest poll numbers in decades to a miserable two seats in Parliament. Eventually that election marked the sunset of the Progressive Conservative party.

Canada’s finance minister Bill Morneau, recently told an assembly of Liberal party faithful that high labour turnover and short-term employment contracts are here to stay, and the government should prepare for it. Of course the opposition parties have jumped on that statement as being out of touch with today’s youth, much as Campbell’s comment was out of touch with everyday Canadians hoping to make their lives better.


You chop here and you chop there – and before you know it that square peg will fit into that round hole.

It’s true that the big corporations and the broader public service (including health and education) are the historical providers of that proverbial job for life. Yet today big business makes up only 0.1 percent of all Canadian businesses and they employ only 10 percent of Canada’s non-government sector workforce. We are a nation of small and medium companies, counting some 10 million employees, by contrast. And indeed these enterprises are fraught with volatility, some closing down as quickly as others start up – literally in the thousands every year. So there should be nothing too shocking in what the Finance Minister had to say – it is reality.

Except that judging from the public reaction, we don’t think it is acceptable that today’s high school, college or university graduate should go on to live their lives under the shadow of job insecurity. That is unless they join the broader public service or are one of the lucky one million to land a career in banking, insurance, oil, and auto manufacturing. Otherwise one will have to find employment or create a business opportunity in a small to medium sized business. And that means minimal benefits, and even rarer, a company pension.

And when it comes to pensions, no one knows more than Mr. Morneau, who used to be part of the largest administrator of defined benefit plans (fixed pension) in Canada. And he is also, de facto, the author of the newly augmented Canada Pension Plan (CPP). Eligible benefits under the new plan will bring the CPP up to a third of one’s former salary. And Morneau understands that the day of company defined benefit pensions are numbered and that the CPP will be expected to play even a greater role in our lives.


And this is what might be left when all is said and done.

Morneau talked about the need for government to support training and retraining programs. But didn’t mention the need to reform the current EI program. If steady employment for most Canadians is a thing of the past, isn’t it time to send the old complicated EI into the dustbin of history, and to replace it with a national guaranteed annual income? An economy where people make their career choices based on maximizing their potential rather than economic desperation can only lead to greater productivity.

Kim Campbell was just trying to be honest and frank with Canadians when she told them to suck it up. But she underestimated Canadians ability to do better, looking into the distance using her reading glasses. Indeed the Chretien government slew both the deficit and high unemployment beyond her expectations. And she paid a big price and learned a big lesson for speaking her mind.

Kim Campbell has, in fact, lived the kind of career that Morneau could have been talking about. University lecturer, politician, diplomat, lawyer and writer, lawyer, diplomat and more. In addition to being Canada’s first female PM, she was the first from B.C., and the first baby boomer to take that office. And if we remember her for nothing else it should be how she effectively brought an end to the endless debate on abortion in this country, something our American neighbours must envy.

She has appeared on talk shows (Bill Maher), sounding more like a Liberal than from the party on the right which rose from the ashes of her failed election campaign. And indeed, the Trudeau government made her the chairperson for the new Supreme Court Advisory Board, leading the transparent process which has just seen our latest appointment to the highest bench in the land.

Not everybody will be fortunate enough to have that kind of resume when they hit 70, which Campbell will be doing next year. But we live in a world where we make our own future and the role of government is to facilitate each of us in being the best we can be.

So yes, Mr. Morneau, it’s federal support for training and education. But it’s also additional tax reform to favour the middle class. And if we are really serious, about this issue, it’s time to implement Canada’s first guaranteed annual income. Then those young people protesting their lot in life will have only themselves to blame.

Ray Rivers

Ray 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:

Kim Campbell –    Canadian Business – 

Chinese Investments – 

Morneau –

More Morneau – 

Morneau on Pensions –

Millenials – 

Trudeau Heckled –

Trudeau Protests – 

Guaranteed Annual Income – 

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Academic researchers question the PAR process and suggest smaller schools work better.

backgrounder 100By Pepper Parr

October 28, 2016



Burlington parents with students in Central high and Lester B. Pearson high school are scrambling. The Halton District School Board (HDSB) put a series of recommendations before the trustees earlier this month that could result in the closing of the two high schools.

The Board of education is driven by provincial funding rules that require them to do a Program Accommodation Review (PAR) if the percentage of the seats available in a school that are being used falls below 65%
Central high and Pearson are at that level.

Hayden High school, Burlington's newest built as part of a complex that includes a Recreational Centre and a public library with a skate park across the street.

Hayden High school, Burlington’s newest built as part of a complex that includes a Recreational Centre and a public library with a skate park across the street is at 115% capacity and already has portables in the parking lot.

The Board situation is complicated in that the three year old Hayden high school is at 115% capacity.

Director of Education Stuart Miller explained to the trustees that the city has one and a half too many high schools – and that they are south of the QEW where the student population is falling.

The process of closing a school requires that a Program Accommodation Review Committee (PARC) be formed and that the trustees listen to what that committee recommends before making a decision.

The PARC process is to be completed by May of 2017. That is a tight timeline.

There are people in the academic world who think the province is forcing the school boards to do this the wrong way – and that opting for larger school rather than smaller school is bad pedagogy.

Schools play a central role in their communities. They are essential to economic development and they make communities more attractive to new- comers. Businesses are more likely to move to communities with schools, and families will not move to communities without schools. When a community loses its school, it loses its viability.

Extensive research over the last decade shows that small schools make excellent learning environments for students, and that, despite economies of scale, they are often cost effective because of their higher graduation rates.

Creative and proactive strategies must be developed now to recognise the value of small schools and to ensure their viability and that of their communities.

Bill Irwin of Huron University College and Mark Seasons at the University of Waterloo school of Planning argue that the push to close school doors seems to be an economic exercise, overlooking educational and community needs. Irwin is a professor of Economics and Management and Organizational Studies at Huron.
Together they have launched a website: offering a research-based platform to guide discussion about school closures.

“We believe,” the website states, “that the theory and best practices of both urban planning and public participation are good foundations from which to ameliorate the school closure process, and ultimately lead to a more effective and equitable outcome for those involved.”

The website is one of the outcomes of a 2013-14 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Insight Development Grant.

“We’re looking at the whole issue surrounding school closures, in terms of several touchstones – as a public policy issue, and how policy is developed and delivered; as a public participation issue and the relationship between institutions and communities; and the implications of closures in terms of impacts on financial, social and human capital,” Irwin explained.

There are a number of factors driving this school closing trend.

• The last of the baby-boom generation’s children (who have created an enrollment swell since the 1970s) are now completing their secondary education.
• Ontario’s secondary school curriculum was reduced from five years to four years resulting in the loss of a whole grade of students.
• With the growing industrialization of agriculture, the loss of Ontario’s family farms has added to the exodus from rural areas.


Terry Ruff, a former Central his school principal explained to parents how a possible closure was avoided when he was principal in 2000.

“The research into the subject of school closures is grounded in developing and implementing a better decision making process with regards to accommodation review. To complement this, the researchers are concentrating on three areas of focus; public participation, urban planning, and the accommodation review process itself. We believe that the theory and best practices of both urban planning and public participation are good foundations from which to ameliorate the school closure process, and ultimately lead to a more effective and equitable outcome for those involved.


The Simms building, directly across the street from city hall is a number of city departments – Legal and Human Resources. Might they take up some of the spare space at Central ?

“One of the key components to realizing this objective is the ability to achieve an increased awareness of this issue, and to encourage an informed discussion between government officials, policy makers, school board administrators, and civic leaders alike. To support this, the researchers have provided material that they believe will enable a wide range of stakeholders to become better informed about the various guiding aspects of accommodation review and school closures.”

A major problem the closing of a school stumbles upon is that planning is a municipal function – and in Burlington the Board of Education and city hall tend not to work very closely together; the two don’t have an organizational structure they can meet on as equals.

The last time there was an educational issue that involved the city was when the Charles Beaudoin School wanted to add more portables – but in order to do so they had to get permits from the city.

The parents at the school didn’t want more in the way of portables so they pressured the city not to give the Board of Education what they said they needed.

The school board eventually got permission to install additional portables – just not as many as they needed.

“There is documentation that will enable others to become better informed about some of the more subtle elements and underlying causations that have led school closures to become such a highly contentious and polarizing experience.


The parents at Central high are well organized – Pearson is trying to catch up.

“School closure decision making process have been framed by policy makers in Ontario, through the accommodation review process (ARCs) (2006), as exercised in public participation. Critics of ARCs have decried the process being more of a subterfuge than a genuine attempt of joint institutional-community review. At its core, the research is a quest to better understand the relationship between institutions of education, in Ontario represented by the provincial Ministry of Education and local school boards, and the community.

“Furthering this understanding will require addressing the question: How do people view the concrete and practical application of school closure policy in their community? Critics of the current ARC process in Ontario have stated that the provincial government appears to ne be making use of school boards to regulate the citizenry to their own end, applying the version of the Foucauldain (a form of discourse analysis, focusing on power relationships in society as expressed through language and practices) notion of governmentality.

“The questions are: How does the community view the consequences of school closings, especially as the closing occur in local settings? How does (or do) the end results of school closings reflect what community members’ desire? or the process of review?

“The research starts with the premise that ‘true public participation’ in any policy decision rests not only with the institution listening to the community; the institution needs also to consciously include the community insights into the final outcome. Therefore institutional context and motive plays a pivotal role in determining a group or individual’s capacity to make informed choices, and then transform those choices into desired actions and outcomes. Capturing that institutional context and motivation as it relates to public participation, actual and perceived, is a major focus of the research.”

Bill Irwin explains: “When I started my research – my thesis (in 2012) was on school closures – no one else had looked at this issue since the policy had come forward in 2005,” he continued, adding if the province was closing smaller community schools as a fiscal savings measure, there was no tracking of those savings. More importantly, there was no review of community costs.

“How does a closure impact students as learners? We don’t know if this is impacting students’ ability to learn or their marks. This happens in young people’s lives at the same time they’re going through emotional, physical changes. There are so many unanswered questions in this,” Irwin continued.

“The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing is spending resources on rebuilding houses, while the Ministry of Education is supporting closures of community schools. We want to rebuild our inner cities, yet we want to shut down schools in their communities,” Irwin said.

“We’re taking schools from poor neighbourhoods and putting them in affluent neighbourhoods. It’s a reverse Robin Hood situation.”

“What’s more, current policies surrounding school closures ignore previous research that shows smaller schools have a great impact within their communities.

“In the 1960s, 70s and 80s, robust research literature was done on the benefits of small schools as learning environments, as having long term benefits to students. That literature has been totally ignored in this whole process,” Irwin said.

“All of us realize there will be a provincial election this year. This should be part of the discussion. How we treat our schools has a tremendous impact long-term on the social fabric of our communities,” Irwin said.

• The number of small elementary schools with full-time principals has dropped by 15%, twice the rate of the drop in all elementary schools in the province.
• The number of small elementary schools with a teacher-librarian (full- or part-time) has declined by 53% compared to a 30% decline in all elementary schools.
• Just 20% of small elementary schools have access to a physical educa- tion teacher, compared to 51% of larger elementary schools.*
• Only 25% of small elementary schools have access to specialist music teachers, compared to 61% of larger elementary schools.
• All larger secondary schools have libraries that are open full-time, but 21% of small secondary schools had libraries open only part-time.

Alton Village public school

The Alton public school is scheduled to have a second floor added – the school hasn’t been open three years.

Three quarters of Ontario’s small elementary schools and 83% of small high schools report that their schools are used by the community after school hours for everything from sporting events to ratepayers’ meetings.

Ontario’s drive to build larger schools is solely a response to an education funding formula geared to larger schools – it is an economic decision rather than a pedagogical one.

The HDSB recently approved taking on commercial enterprises that could use some of the space; meetings were held but nothing has come of this kind of opportunity so far.

The city of Burlington has been renting space in the Sims Building directly across from city hall for years. There is a consultant’s report in a filing cabinet gathering dust that sets out what the city is going to need in terms of office space and what is currently has – that report has not been released to the public yet.

After years of stopgap solutions, it is time to reverse the trend and recognize that closing a school is not simply an educational issue, it has major social and demographic repercussions as well.

The researchers declare that “we must recognize the reality of declining enrollment in Ontario, and come up with new and proactive solutions to maintain the viability of small schools and communities. It is time to develop creative ways to keep the school buildings vital and expand their role as the hub of their communities. We can take cues from other places: English small schools are inviting postal sub-stations to occupy a part of their buildings; Newfoundland has community schools that have on-site social service agencies, community radio stations, and seniors’ programs. It is possible to modify school buildings slightly so that they can function as community centres as well, and, if provided with adequate funding, day care centres enhance schools and act as a draw for young parents.”


Expect to see a lot more evening with rooms packed with parents as the |Board of Education begins a series of meeting to explain the PAR process. There will not be a Q&A session at any of these meetings.

Somewhere in the research there is mention of adjusting transportation guidelines and funding to ensure that no student spends more than 1½ hours per day on the school bus. That amount of time suggests students in Burlington are being prepped for commutes on the QEW,

The battle in front of the parents right now is the very real threat to two of the city’s high schools – there might be a higher level discussion these parents can put in front of the trustees and that is – what size of schools do we want and can we slow things down a bit and take the time needed to get this right the first time.

This article draws heavily on the work of Bill Irwin at Huron University College and Mark Seasons at the University of Waterloo.   getting new - yellow

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Regional Council to grow by three additional members: two more for Milton, one more for Oakville.

News 100 blueBy Staff

October 27, 2106



The Region of Halton council is going to grow by three members – none of those new members will come from Burlington.

Milton will get two more members and Oakville will get a single additional member.

Burlington and Halton Hills will remain as they are with 7 members from Burlington and xx members from Halton Hills.

Our Regional Councillors will do almost anything for a photo-op; this time they are showing you the new 2 gallon blue boxes.

Regional Council will grow by three additional members.

What this means is that Burlington’s influence at the Regional level will fade – not that it has ever been that strong at any point in the recent past.

Burlington’s representation seldom votes as a block – each Council member tends to go their own way with their own views as to what is best for Burlington.

Members of Burlington’s city council earn half of their approximately $125,000 (give or take a bit) from the Regional government and the other half from the city of Burlington.

On June 13, 2016 an Ontario Regulation (196/16) was enacted to permit Halton Region to increase the size and composition of Regional Council by adding two Councillors from the Town of Milton and one Councillor from the Town of Oakville.

In accordance with the Municipal Act, Halton held the required public meeting on September 7, 2016. No submissions or comments regarding the by-law were received. Regional Council passed the required by-law on September 14, 2016.

The by-law is not valid until the following conditions have been met:

• A majority of all votes on Regional Council must be cast in favour (achieved);
• A majority of the lower tier Councils must pass resolutions consenting to the by-law; and

• The total number of electors in the lower tier municipalities that have passed resolutions consenting to the by-law must form a majority of all electors in the Region.

This item didn’t get any discussion at the Burlington City Council meeting October 10th

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Adi reported to want an OMB led mediation to resolve the differences the city has with their Nautique project.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

October 28th, 2106



The developer of the application for the proposed 26-storey condominium at 374 and 380 Martha St., Adi Development Group, has requested, through its legal counsel, that the City of Burlington participate with Adi in an Ontario Municipal Board-led mediation process in an effort address the city’s issues with the revised development applications in advance of the scheduled hearing on Feb. 21, 2017.


Most recent architectural rendering of the Nautique development planned for the intersection of Martha Street and Lakeshore Road.

The city is prepared to engage with Adi in an OMB-led mediation. The mediation is not binding.

Mediation calls for an open, honest and respectful exchange of views – difficult to see that happening when Adi president Tariq Adi is reported to have said the Mayor’s comments were “laughable”.

Mediation is not normal in Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) hearings. Recall that these hearings were asked for by Adi when the city did not respond to their Official Plan and by law change request that were part of the application they made back in 2015.

When the city and Adi eventually got in front of an OMB officer ADI asked for an adjournment because they had acquired an additional piece of land which they argued at the time would allow them to come back with a revised plan.

Which they did – that revised plan added 48 units to the development proposal – it at the same time lopped two floors off the structure – from 28 down to 26.

Adi is spending a significant amount on advertising and marketing the development – one could venture a guess that they are so far extended on this development that they have to find a way to recover their losses.
Mediation would be interesting – unfortunately those sessions will be behind closed doors – will the city fold on this when the public can’t see what they are negotiating?

The city’s Planning department spend days “negotiating” with Adi – it went nowhere.
Should the OMB officer go along with mediation – what that does is give Adi another tool with which to beat down the city should the mediator find that some of the Adi suggestions had merit but the city found it was more than they wanted to go along with.

Better methinks to have everything done before the OMB hearing which is public.

Dennison announcing

Councillor Jack Dennison

We know where Councillor Dennis stands on this one. He likes the 19 storeys at Lakeshore and Torrance. The Mayor is prepared to mediate – with a guy that says his position is laughable.

“I support mediation because I believe it gives the city an opportunity to influence a positive outcome for this development. We do not know if mediation will be successful, but it is worth attempting before we proceed to the hearing. I continue to seek a development proposal for this site that is respectful of the surrounding area and streets, and integrates well with the existing and planned context of the area.”

Adi - Saud and Tarif

Adi brothers Saud and Tariq

Naïve would have been a more appropriate word.

Adi has been jerking the city around for the past couple of years. They took this to the OMB – let it get resolved at that level.

Salt with Pepper is an opinion column.

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