Parents beginning to organize for crucial meetings on which, if any, high schools in Burlington should be closed.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

October 24, 2016


The meetings to explain the Program Accommodation Review to patents will take place on the dates and at the high schools set out below.

Date School Time
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


There is a lot of work to be done on the part of parents. Central High school parents set out the tasks as they saw them.

Once parents have an understanding of the process the Program Accommodation Review Committee (PARC) gets set up.

The members of the PARC (there will be just the one committee) will be:

A Trustee as an ad hoc member, and Superintendent, both from an area not under study;
From each affected school:

the school Principal or designate (resource only)
two parents/guardians from each school, one of whom will be nominated by the School Council Chair; the other will be selected by the Superintendent(s) through the submission by parents of an expression of interest.

The Superintendent will review all parent representation and endeavor to ensure that all affected geographic areas and programs are represented.

A municipal Councillor will be invited to the committee once the committee is formed.

This is not going to be a small committee”

1 trustee
1 Superintendent
14 parents
7 principals
1 municipal Councillor

Our count is 24 people.

Timeline for the complete process:
PAR Initiated
October 19, 2016 (Done)
J.W. Singleton Education Centre
2050 Guelph Line


Expect to see rooms full of parents for the next number of months. This was the first parents meeting for Central High school parents.

Formation and orientation of Program and Accommodation Review Committee (PARC)
December 1, 2016

Public Meeting #1
December 8, 2016

PARC Working Meeting #1
January 26, 2017

PARC Working Meeting #2
February 2, 2017

PARC Working Meeting #3
February 9, 2017

Public Meeting #2
March 2, 2017

PARC Working Meeting #4
March 23, 2017

Director’s Report to Committee of the Whole
March 29, 2017
J.W. Singleton Education Centre
2050 Guelph Line

Public Delegation Night
April 18, 2017
J.W. Singleton Education Centre
2050 Guelph Line

Presentation of Report to Board of Trustees for Decision
May 17, 2017
J.W. Singleton Education Centre
2050 Guelph Line

There is a lot of work to be done – and a considerable amount of disruption throughout the high school system in Burlington.

What the parents need to understand is that it is the trustees they elect who will make a final decision not the bureaucrats. Work with your elected officials.getting new - yellow

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The Nautique sets sail for the OMB - city might be paying for the ticket.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

October 24th, 2106



Last week city council voted to receive a report from the Planning department that had advised that the most recent ADI Development Group proposal for the property they want to develop at the intersection of Martha Street and Lakeshore Road should not be accepted. The controversial project is being marketed as an upscale development to be known as Nautique.

This development has an almost sordid history and, as the Mayor said during the debate, “it is not the way Burlington wants to do business”.

Back when ADI first presented their proposal it was for a 28 story structure on a very small lot.

Everyone was up in arms – the application was submitted to the city which had 180 days to render a decision on the application for the zoning and Official Plan changes ADI was asking for.

Oddly enough – and no one has ever explained why – the city failed to deliver a decision within the 180 day time frame – which allowed ADI to take their case to the OMB – which is exactly what they did.

When the case got to the OMB ADI again did something considerably different. They asked the OMB to adjourn the hearing while they re-submitted their application because they had purchased an abutting piece of land that allowed them to come back with something different.


The lot identified as 380 was added to the land assembled. Many thought this would make the development a little easier to accept – the developer added 48 units to their application.

Most people thought ADI would come back with a smaller development – something that would perhaps satisfy enough people to get council to accept the project.

That isn’t what ADI did – their revised project did lower the height by two floors but they added an additional 48 units.

That was a little like rubbing salt into a wound.

The revised proposal that included the small piece of property to the north of the site is as follows:


The project has gone through several design changes. This is believed to be the most recent.

– An increase in the area of the development site from 1,359 m2 to 1,701 m2
– An increase in the unit count from 192 residential units to 240 residential units
– An increase in Floor Area Ratio (FAR) from 11.1 to 11.26
– The elimination of above ground parking in favour of residential units
– An increase in underground parking from 4 levels to 6 levels
– An increase in indoor amenity area of 435 m2 from 428 m2 and an increase in outdoor amenity area of 693 m2 from 493 m2
– An increase in vehicle parking spaces to 241 spaces from 196 (300 spaces are required by the Zoning By-law); and
– An increase in ground floor retail space to 423.2 m2 from 327 m2.xx

This is what is going before the OMB this week – not to be argued but to figure out what the February 2017 full hearing is going to be over – recall that the reason this all went to the OMB is because ADI had claimed the city didn’t process their application within the prescribed 180 days.

The cheek of it all.

Now it was back before the OMB.

There is a hearing on Thursday and Friday of this week; it will be what they call a “pre-hearing” which is to settle just what the issues are and get some sense as to how much time is going to be needed to hear the case. Up to ten days is the estimate at this point. That full hearing is scheduled for February 2017, but that could change.
At this point whatever decision is going to be made is no longer in the hands of the city.

The Planning department has done everything they could be expected to do. Councillor Blair Lancaster told the public that the planning department tried to negotiate with the developer. They couldn’t reach an agreement.
During the delegations that took place last week five people spoke.

Gary Scobie

Gary Scobie

Gary Scobie said using the intensification argument has become a “race to the sky”. He suggested in his presentation that the developers approach has been to push the envelope as much as possible and then later settle for something less – which Scobie thought would come in at 18 storeys; which coincidently is what a prominent developer in the city has said was what ADI needed to make any money.

It is impossible to know how much ADI will make on this project – what is known to some degree is how much they are spending. The advertising and marketing expenses are considerable. At one point real estate brokers were being offered a commission of 4% on each unit sold.

Muir making a point

Tom Muir

Tom Muir, who has delegated at city council when Councillors Taylor and Dennison were newcomers, said there was a time when council would tell him that there were a lot of problems but that when the growth took place the money to fix the problems would be there and the work would get done but that could only happen if we grow.

The problem Muir pointed out is that the future never happens – we are in a bigger mess now than we were before. You make it all worse at a ridiculous cost.

Earlier in his presentation Muir pointed out that the city was designed around the car. The city isn’t going to build any more roads and so intensification is the route to go or that is what they keep telling us. Intensification, which has yet to be fully defined, is the story every developer brings to the city.

Whatever density is – this project will be the most dense in the city.

This city has a fundamental question to answer said Muir – do we want tall building and what is tall enough?

Muir pointed out that when ADI asked for time to submit a new design at the last OMB hearing many thought we would see a smaller project. Instead they added 48 more units which Muir calculated would add $20 million to the revenue side of the project,

Dee Dee Davies a part of a waterfront group said she thought the Bridgewater project that was approved decades ago was a bad precedent and went on to say that developers own the downtown.
She said what the public wants is a walkable city with a human scale where there is sunshine on the streets at times other than just the noon day.


Dana Anderson

Dana Anderson, a consultant for the owners of 395 Martha, known as Martha Terrace, a 12 story tower built by the Molinaro people for the Sun Life Insurance Company, said most of the changes increase the impact of the development on the community. She believed the site should be developed with something that fits into the community – she didn’t think the proposal fit.

James Taylor who was a “walk on” delegation who said the structure would be catastrophic. He told Council “you have the ball at your feet – keep these developers under control. He thought 10 to 12 storeys would be pleasing.

“Hopefully you will do the right thing”.


19 storey structure seems to be what Councillor Dennison is prepared to accept.

The problem was no one was able to say just what that “right thing” was. Then Councillor Dennison asked Mr. Taylor how high the building on Lakeshore at the foot of Torrance was – no one in the room had the answer. 19 storeys. You knew where Jack was coming from and he now had that height on the record.

Once can be certain that his comment, as a Councillor with 20 years + experience will be put forward at the OMB hearing.

Mayor Golding said Council was hopeful that discussions with the ADI people would produce a comprise the city could live with. “Clearly that has not been the case” he said then added – that “this is not the end.

It seems it is the end as far as your city council is concerned. Something will come out of the OMB hearing and the city will have to live with whatever that is.

Bridgewater from the west - higher elevation

Bridgewater project currently being built will consist of a 22 storey condominium and eight storey hotel and a smaller seven story condominium.

By the time there is a decision the Bridgewater development on the other side of Lakeshore road will be close to opening.

The public just might see what ADI wanted to do with a different set of eyes.

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Burlington Foundation does it up in style at the Performing Arts centre Saturday night.

eventspink 100x100By Pepper Parr

October 23rd, 2016



With a modified corporate name the Burlington Foundation held its annual gala, Share to Care, Saturday night at the Performing Arts Centre and took a “Marche” dining approach. No tables, there were what appeared to be organized collections of people in the Mezzanine/balcony areas.


The picture is worth the thousand words.

The gowns that were good were stunning. When the women in the city decide to show it off – they do a great job. It is no longer socially acceptable for men to comment on how stunning some women look – so we will leave it at that.

The Foundation uses the gala to raise their operating funds and manage the numerous endowments they have to do the fine work they have done and will undoubtedly continue to do.

They were responsible for raising the profile of mental health in the community and deserve credit for doing what no one else was prepared to take a chance on.

There are hundreds of not-for-profit groups in this city who are able to do their work to some degree because of the funding they have gotten from the Foundation in the past.

The Burlington Community Fund grants to the pressing needs in Burlington, with a current focus on poverty, youth and mental health. This unrestricted endowed fund responds to grant applications received from local charitable organizations.


The Sold Out crowd made a night of it.

During fiscal  2015-16 the Foundation made 14 grants that ranged from $1500 to $20,000.

When push comes to shove and there is a hard job, a really hard job that has to be done with no time to dither – it is the Foundation that gets the call. They in turn make the calls to the people they know will produce.

The response to that flood in 2014 is a sparking example as to just how effective a soundly run community organization can be. This newspaper still doesn’t understand why they took the word community out of their name – but with the track record they have – they can do whatever they like.


That is a Jean Belliveau sweater.

The Silent Auction tables were full enough – there was a Montreal Canadiens hockey sweater with the late Jean Belliveau’s number on it – worth whatever someone paid for it.

The sold out crowd appeared to enjoy themselves Saturday night.  The DJ providing the music had a great selection – but this reporter didn’t see anyone dancing – well – this is Burlington.

The opportunity to network, get caught up with people they may have lost touch with and then take in some first class entertainment when Allan Doyle and The Beautiful Gypsies performed in the Main Theatre made it a fine evening.

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Another Air Park appeal to be heard late in March, 2017

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

October 23, 2016


Here we go again.

The Burlington Air Park appeal of a Superior Court decision handed down June 30, 2016 that found in favour of the City of Burlington is scheduled to be heard by the Ontario Court of Appeal on March 28, 2017 at Osgoode Hall, in Toronto.

Air Park dump truck

Truck load after truck load was dumped on the air park property without site plan approval. What will the Appeal Court have to say and will that be the end of this story?

On June 30, 2016, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice ruled in favour of the City of Burlington’s application to compel Burlington Airpark Inc. to submit an application for a site alteration permit to comply with the city’s bylaw. With the court ruling, the Airpark was required to file an application for a site alteration permit for the fill deposited between 2008 and 2013 before Aug. 31, 2016 and was also ordered to pay the city’s court costs.

The Air Park has submitted a site plan that has yet to be approved.

The Ministry of environment has to decide if this kind of lanfil dumping is permitted under the provinces rules. They also have to decide if the consultants the city hired to advise on what was done by the Air Park have got the story right. The Air Park, understanably, does not agree with the city's consultant.

Dumped on the land illegally the neighbour wonders if the landfill will ever be removed.

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

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What happens when we don't trust the brand anymore? We stop buying

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

October 23, 2016



It’s been a year since Justin Trudeau was trusted by the Canadian public with an overwhelming majority. So what has he done? I was invited to attend a speech he delivered to an assembly of party faithful in Niagara Falls this past weekend. As expected he hit on some highlights from his achievements to date. It had been a hectic day in the PM’s schedule, including a visit to ‘Picone Fine Food in Dundas’ – a political pie tradition. And, along the way, a disgruntled former Green Party candidate, protesting pipelines, tossed some pumpkins seeds at him and got herself arrested. Power to the pumpkin people!


Protester confront Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – PM calms the man down.

The Liberals have dominated Canada’s national political history and the Liberal brand has worn well over much of that time. Liberals would like to think that is because they listen better to Canadians and mostly get it right on social and economic policy. Mr Harper’s naive belief that he could remake Canada into more of a redneck nation never really had a hope in hell. So despite a laundry list of political accomplishments, Trudeau knows his biggest job of leading this country is still ahead of him.

Just how popular the Liberal brand has become of late will be tested this Monday in an Alberta by-election. The Liberals are running small business owner and long-time resident Stan Sakamoto in an uphill battle to replace Jim Hillyer in the perennially safe Tory riding of Medicine Hat-Cardston-Warner. But while that Trudeau brand is pretty strong back east, even the candidate is unsure how well it will play out for him. So he’s promising to “…ensure their MP is their voice to Ottawa, not Ottawa’s voice in Medicine Hat.”

Ontario will be also going to the polls in two by-elections in November and it doesn’t look good for the governing Liberals and their leader. The provincial Liberal brand has plummeted and approval numbers are barely above single digits according to some polls – with disapprovals hitting over 70%. Elected to a strong majority in 2003, the government has been hit by bad press. And its inability to explain or defend, or perhaps even to show that it is listening to the public has almost irretrievably damaged the brand.


When the trust is gone – it is gone.

Despite a new leader who won a strong majority two years ago, public confidence has fallen to levels seen only with consumer products from Volkswagen and Samsung – though at least the Samsung phone is a fiery hot item. The Premier and her ministers are seen as stale, having lost their way and having failed tax payers on the economy and rate payers on the electricity file.

The party could identify a list of accomplishments for Ontario residents till the cows come home, but nobody is listening anymore. They could contrast their record with the disastrous performance of the Harris/Eves near decade in government, but nobody cares. That much of the blame for today’s electricity prices can be attributed to Mike Harris for dismantling Ontario Hydro, in the first place, is no excuse for a government which hasn’t been seen to have fixed that system after almost a decade and a half in power – and which hasn’t lowered electricity bills.

Some people point out that the Tories have only their right-wing-nut leader Tim Hudak to blame for Wynne’s big win in 2014. And Hudak has been shown the door and moved on to peddling real estate instead of politics. So his old riding is up for grabs next month as well as a Liberal seat in greater Ottawa. New PC leader Patrick Brown is still an unknown quantity, and folks appear to have forgiven his amateurish flip-flop on sex ed, first opposing then supporting the Liberal policy.

Earlier this year another by-election in the Liberal strong-hold of Scarborough-Rouge River went to the Tories, allowing them to finally get a foot hold in seat-rich Toronto. And despite popular policies in health care, climate change, education and even bringing down the deficit, the voters will not be satisfied with this government. They’ve made up their minds and Hell hath no fury like a disappointed voter, it seems. It’s why many folks wouldn’t even consider buying a Volkswagen or a Samsung phone – they don’t trust the brand anymore.

Ray Rivers

Ray Rivers writes weekly on both federal and provincial politics, applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking.  Rivers was a candidate for provincial office in Burlington in 1995.  He was the founder of the Burlington citizen committee on sustainability at a time when climate warming was a hotly debated subject.  Tweet @rayzrivers

Background links:

Trudeau’s Accomplishments –    Progress Report –    Picone

Pumpkin Protester

Ontario Elections –   More Ontario ByElection –   Even More –   And More –  

Premier Wynne –    More Premier

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School board now has a Code of conduct for its trustees - City Council has been avoiding creating a code for a number of years.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

October 22, 2016



The following is not something you are likely to see coming out of Burlington’s city council.

Trustees - fill board +

Halton District School Board trustees.

The Halton District School Board passed the following:

With the unanimous approval of Motion M16-0121 on June 15, 2016, the Halton District School Board authorized the posting of the Board’s Trustee Code of Conduct Policy on the Board’s website for public input, for a period of no less than 25 days.

Any feedback received was to return to the Board at the second meeting in September 2016.


Be it resolved that Halton District School Board approve the “Trustee Code of Conduct
” policy, as revised, and appended to Report 16127.

Burlington’s city council has been avoiding the creation of and agreement on a Code of Conduct for the members of Council – not the sign of a healthy organization.


Burlington’s city council

One has to wonder why such a state exists.

The task was left with the City Manager to get something worked out.  Don’t hold your breath waiting for that to happen.

This council does not want a Code of Conduct and the city manager isn’t going to work all that hard to bring anything to the table.

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Parents at Lester B. Pearson are worried - many don't like what M.M. Robinson offers - the Catholic school board might benefit.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

October 21, 2016



For the parents at Lester B. Pearson high school the thought of their school closing is a tough one.
Many parents wanted their children to attend a small school and moved into the neighbourhood for just that reason.

Some talk about actually moving out of the community or “we will send our kids to St. John”, which is the local Catholic school.

Another parents, who asked not to be identified said she did not want her kids “going to the pharmacy”, which was code for a school with a drug problem.

Richell Papin - finngers down

Trustee Richelle Papin

During the Board of Education discussion about Lester B. Pearson (LBP) trustee Richelle Papin talked about the Nursery Program in the school that has been in place for more than forty years that has become a model and a training ground for students from Mohawk who expect to work in the child care field.

The Halton District School Board is acutely aware that they face a serious situation where, as Director of Education Stuart Miller put it – “Students will begin voting with their feet and we will lose even more students”.
All the feelings and concerns don’t change the facts – Burlington has too much high school capacity. There are 1800 high school student seats that the Board can’t fill.

Yes, there is some intensification taking place but condominiums are being built and they tend not to house families with several children. Add to that – the population growth has been north of the QEW and the high school capacity is south of the QEW.

The Board of Education staff set out 19 possible options – and recommended what is referred to as option 19 – which proposes that:

• Close Lester B. Pearson HS, and redirect students to M.M. Robinson HS
• Close Burlington Central HS and redirect students to Aldershot HS and Nelson HS
• Change Dr. Frank J. Hayden SS boundary and programming.

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 already has portable classrooms and spotty WiFi service as well.

This recommendation is not a final decision of the Board of Trustees, but a starting point for consultation.

Stuart Miller, Director of Education said: “I want to stress that the recommended option is the starting point for the Program Accommodation Review (PAR) process.” “With feedback from the public, and the research and work of the PAR committee, a different solution could arise as a result of this process.”

Initial information sessions will be held to provide communities with further information about the PAR process and rationale for why the Board is undertaking a PAR for Burlington secondary schools. These sessions will be ‘information only’. There will be no question and answer opportunity at these initial sessions.

There is a massive amount of data and detail the public will need to think through the alternatives.


Parents looking over the agenda for a Board of Education meeting.

Parents are now in the process of setting up what will be called PARC (Program Accommodation Review Committees) that will work through everything and give the Board of Trustees their recommendations.

It is the Board of Trustees that will make the final decision – however, whatever decision they make has to comply with provincial government guidelines and the cold hard fact is that – there are too many spaces south of the QEW and not enough north of the QEW.

The Hayden High school that hasn’t been open for three years already has portables set up – and worse – the WiFI service is “spotty”.

Trustees - fill board +

The people you elected as trustees are going to have to work with parents groups to come up with solutions that satisfy as many people as possible. It is going to be a busy year for everyone.

The really positive upside is that the parents who have surfaced and are facing the challenge are a bright, energetic bunch of people –they are going to come forward with a solution.

It is the parents that are going to make the difference.

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School board trustees vote to form Program Accommodation Review Committees to review the staff recommendation to close two high schools - Central and Lester B. Pearson.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

October 20th, 2016


There will be a Program Accommodation Review (PAC) – and it is going to keep the parents hoping.

Board of Education trustees voted last night 10 – 1 to form Program Accommodation Review Committees.

The possible closure of both Burlington Central High school and Lester B. Pearson high school are now distinct possibilities.

There is a tremendous amount of work to get done and the learning curve is going to be very steep for the parents.

A Program Accommodation Review is something a board of education has to do when the enrollment in a school falls below 65%.


Central High school could handle an additional 275 students – but they just don’t live in the community.


Lester B. Pearson is a small school to start with and enrollment is projected to decline.

The recommendation the Board put on the table was to look at closing both Lester B. Pearson and Burlington Central High school.

Central High is a large school with a very strong connection to their community – they hit the ground running and have made strong arguments for not even holding a Program Accommodation review at this time.

The trustees didn’t see it that way and voted to take the next step which is to form a Program Accommodation Review Committee (PARC). (Note the school board people love acronyms – get used to them.)

The task now is to create the PARC’s.  Burlington Central is well prepared for this next step.
Lester B. Pearson (LBP), a much smaller high school and it doesn’t have the depth as a community school that Central has. We will return to the LBP situation.

Trustees - Papin - Oliver - Grebenc

Trustees Papin, Oliver and Grebenc

The Board of Trustees is responsible for deciding the most appropriate pupil accommodation arrangements for the delivery of its elementary and secondary programs. Decisions that are made by the Board of Trustees are in the context of carrying out its primary responsibilities of fostering student achievement and well-being, and ensuring effective stewardship of school board resources. The Board of Trustees may consider undertaking pupil accommodation reviews that may lead to school consolidations and closures in order to address declining and shifting student enrollment.

Trustees - Gray - Reynolds - Collard

Trustees Sams, Reynolds and Collard.

The PARC process has been revised and this is the first time the Halton Board has had to work under the new rules which shorten the amount of time to go through that process.

Here are the steps that are going to be taken:

● Director’s Preliminary Report to the Board of Trustees; DONE
● Preparation of the School Information Profile(s); these are ready to now be turned over to the PARC that is to be formed.
Each high school will have its own PARC
● Board of Trustee’s approval to undertake a Program and Accommodation review process; They did that on October 19th.
● Communication with all stakeholders about the process, opportunities for involvement, and identifying outcomes; The Board staff are going to have their work cut out for them on this level.
● Establishing the Program and Accommodation Review Committee; The jockeying for the spaces on this committee is going to be interesting to watch.
● Consultation with Local Municipal Governments/Community Partners;
● Public Meetings;
● Final Staff Report, including a Community Consultation section;
● Public Delegations to the Board of Trustees;
● Decision by the Board of Trustees; and,
● Implementation and Transition Planning.

A PARC will be formed following the consideration by the Board of Trustees of the Director’s Preliminary Report.


Parents getting the agenda explained to them by the Board o Education communications manager.

The PARC will consist of the following persons:

A Trustee as an ad hoc member, and Superintendent, both from an area not under study;

From each affected school:

the school Principal or designate (resource only)

two parents/guardians from each school, one of whom will be nominated by the School Council Chair; the other will be selected by the Superintendent(s) through the submission by parents of an expression of interest. The Superintendent will review all parent representations and endeavor to ensure that all affected geographic areas and programs are represented.

All Trustees are invited to attend PARC working meetings to observe the proceedings.


Dania Thurman on the left – one of the more active parents at Central High school.

The PARC is to be created within five business days of the motion to form the PARC was passed – which happened yesterday. Things begin to move very quickly at this point – and it is going to be difficult for the parents at Lester B. Pearson to keep up.

Once the PARC is constituted, it will invite a municipal Councillor or delegate to join the Committee. The Committee will be deemed to be properly constituted whether or not all of the listed members are willing and able to participate.


Matthew DiSouza – a Lester B. Pearson student

The Board will invite PARC members from the school(s) under review to an orientation session that will describe the mandate, roles and responsibilities, and procedures of the PARC.

That is what the community is going to immerse themselves in – the people selected for the PARC is important – getting the right people is important.

How did we get to this point? Well enrollment numbers were the first indicator that a change was needed. Burlington has seven high schools, Oakville has six. And Oakville has a larger high school population than Burlington.

Director of Education Stuart Miller explained that the preferred size of a high school is 1200 students. He added using that number Burlington has one and a half too many high schools.

That is the lens the board of education bureaucrat use – they have to look at the numbers – the province requires that they do just that.

However, it is the parents that are at the top of the food chain. It is their money that pays for everything and it is the education of their children that is at issue.

It is now up to the parents to come up with the ideas that will resolve the problem on the table.


Director of Education Stuart Miller getting a briefing.

Miller said a number of times that the option put on the table is rarely if ever the option that gets chosen. Which is fine but in order to be able to come up with the best option parents need to ensure that they do not lose control of the process.

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Halton Region Health Department confirms second case of raccoon rabies in Burlington

News 100 redBy Staff

October 20th, 2016



The Halton Region Health Department reports a second confirmed case rabies in a raccoon found in the City of Burlington.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency provided the data. The Health Department is reminding residents to avoid all contact with raccoons and other wild animals.

Rabies is a viral disease that causes severe damage to the brain and spinal cord, and if untreated before symptoms appear will lead to death. The virus is spread through the saliva of an infected animal, usually entering through a bite or scratch.


Cute – but not when they are infected with rabies.

“Anyone who comes in physical contact with a raccoon or other wild animal should see a physician immediately and contact the Health Department by dialing 311,” said Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Medical Officer of Health for Halton Region. “After someone is exposed to rabies, timely use of the rabies vaccine can prevent the rabies illness. The rabies vaccine is extremely effective if it is administered before any symptoms occur.”

While this is only the second confirmed case of raccoon rabies in Halton in 2016, the Health Department wants to remind residents that there have been a higher than average number of cases reported in areas neighbouring the region and that precautions should be taken when you see wild animals. There are a number of things you can do to protect your family and pets:

Make sure your pet’s rabies vaccinations are up to date.
• Warn your children to stay away from any wild, stray or aggressive animals.
• Do not touch dead or sick animals.
• Do not feed or keep wild animals as pets.
• Keep your pet on a leash when off your property.
• Seek medical attention immediately if you come in contact with a raccoon or other potentially rabid animals.
• Any pet that has come in contact with a raccoon or other wild animal should be seen by a veterinarian.
• Report all animal bites or scratches to the Halton Region Health Department.

For more information on rabies or to learn about positive raccoon rabies results in Halton, visit or call the Halton Region Health Department by dialing 311.

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City expects to be offering about 200 clippings from the Spencer Park willow trees.

News 100 greenBy Staff

October 20th, 2016



History lives and a couple of hundred people have the chance to become a clone of Spencer Smith. And if you don’t know who Spencer Smith is – search him in the Gazette. The Spencer Smith Park is what it is today due in no small measure to this man.

Trees that Spencer planted seventy years ago were cut down because the city arborist thought the degree of rot in the tree trunks made them a public safety matter.


Here’s a picture that is a keeper – the gazebo that is no more along with the willow tree that got cut down – city has saved 200 + clippings that will be given away in the spring.

The two 70-year-old weeping willow trees near the gazebo at the waterfront park were removed in June 2016 to ensure public safety. City of Burlington arborists had found significant rotting and areas of decay in the trees, originally transplanted by park founder Spencer Smith in the 1950s.

Arborwood Tree Service Inc. and Exotic Woods are at the city’s roads and parks maintenance building this week, planning, milling and then kiln-drying the wood from six large logs to make boards that can be used for whatever wood can be used for.

Willow - MMW hugging

Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward hugging a willow tree in Spencer Smith Park that is no more

Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward didn’t want to see the trees taken down and did give them a nice little send off.

The city then moved in and tore down the gazebo and began to upgrade the landscaping and put in pathways and level out the land; there was a bowl effect that collected water and made that part of the park less useful than it could be.

The city saved more than 200 clippings from the willow trees that are growing in a greenhouse. There are plans to distribute those seedlings to people who are interested in growing a piece of history on their own properties sometime in 2017. Expect more from city hall on this initiative in the spring.

Burlington and the Region of Halton have done a good job of preserving historically significant trees.


They call it the Brant Oak tree – it’s located on Allview Street in the west end of the city and is known as one of the markers setting out the boundary of the land grant given to Joseph Brant.

The tree that marks part of the boundary marking the lands that were given to Joseph Brant is still in place.

More information will be available in early 2017 about how people can get one of the willow clippings or to take a piece of wood home as a souvenir.

Related story:

Who was Spencer Smith?

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Looks like there is going to be a bit of a cat fight for the Tory nomination this time around.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

October 20th, 2016



There is a scramble going on in Burlington for the provincial  Progressive Conservative nomination.

Jane McKenna is seen as the nominee, in name only, because she was the candidate, and the MPP but she has to earn the nomination just like anyone else.

And she is out there running hard. She is reported to have Mike Wallace managing her campaign.


Candidate Jane Michael and Bishop Crosby.

There is another Jane in the race for the nomination – Jane Michael, who is the current chair of the Catholic school board.

And now for the wrinkle.

There is apparently a web site that reported Michael has pulled out of the race. We checked in with Michael and she says she hasn’t pulled out – she is getting the package of information that every candidate gets from the Progressive Conservative party and expects to be out knocking on doors and selling memberships.

There was a time when the Progressive Conservatives couldn’t find a candidate – that was back in 2011 when they almost drafted Jane McKenna after telling Rene Papin that he wasn’t quite what they had in mind and they weren’t ready to give Brian Heagle the embrace that he wanted.


Whoever posted this on the internet uses the initials that most of us understand to represent the school board – this didn’t come from the school board – so who put it up?

This race looks like it just might get nasty.  There is some pretty mean spirited stuff being thrown around.  This isn’t the way political nominations are earned.

Come 2018 – and it looks like there could actually be a horse race for that nomination – contested nominations usually result in better candidates.

McKenna has kept her hand in the political game and claims to have worked with Patrick Brown to “revitalize and refocus the PC Party. I still see so much work that needs to be done to get Ontario back on track.”
Two scrappy women fighting it out – it is going to be up to the Tory’s to figure out which one is best for the city. It shouldn’t be all that hard to do – just look at the track records.

The full story on that nomination meeting is interesting. You can read that in our July 2011 issue:  McKenna gets the Tory nomination.

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Good morning city hall – can anyone help this lady?

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

October 20th, 2016



With Waterdown Road now a nice short drive to Hwy 403 development in the immediate area is beginning to take place.

Getting information on how one particular project is working its way through the system appears to be a problem for at least one Aldershot resident who writes:


It’s an attractive enough building – interesting way they handled vehicles getting to the parking spaces.

“As someone who has been following the 35 Plains Road building proposal closely, and attended the first public meeting, I am now concerned to find that a statutory public meeting is shown on the City of Burlington website for November 8th.


The application is for an eight storey building with 55 residential units and commercial uses on the street level.


Our reader signed up – hasn’t heard a word since – what’s up?

“Part of my reason for contacting you is to see if you received notice of this meeting. I was told that if I signed up to receive information (which I did), I would receive notice of this meeting. There are little over 20 days until this meeting, and yet I have received no formal notice from the city about it. I would have expected at least 30 days notice so that people wanting to attend could plan around it.


An interesting use of the lot.

Good morning city hall – can anyone help this lady?

The project is an interesting one.  It appears to be a project being developed by Ruth Victor & Associates.  Ms Victor has in the past worked as a planner/consultant for the ADI Development Group when they were telling the public about their plans for what is now known as Station West –

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Burlington Junction Station in 1920 - a first person story of life around the Freeman station.

eventspink 100x100By Pepper Parr

October 20th, 2016



It is just under a month away but registration for this event is going to fill up very quickly – you will want to register now if you’d like to attend.

This struck the Gazette as one of the more interesting ways to promote the history of the city – and if anything is history in Burlington it is the Freeman Station.


Pauline Grondin – the year is 1920 and she is at the Burlington Junction station in Freeman.

On Saturday, November 19th, well-known professional storyteller Pauline Grondin will again work her magic as she relates, first-person, her story of life around Freeman Station.

The year is 1920, and the Burlington Junction Station in Freeman is a vibrant hub of community comings and goings.

Pauline will bring history to life for us as she relates what’s happening around the village. (A bit of gossip here and there?)

Pic 2 Freeman Station 1906

Waiting for the train.

The Friends of Freeman Station invite you to join them at the Burlington Seniors’ Centre for “Breakfast at the Bistro,” beginning at 8:30 AM for a delicious meal followed by Pauline’s enchanting presentation.

Reservations are required, seating is limited, breakfast is only $ 6.18 per person, tax included, it’s all for a great cause, and a good time will be had by all. Nostalgia guaranteed, tears optional.

Book early! Registration is required. Limited seating, and typically sells out well in advance.

To register, log onto:
and enter the code “345506” in the TTR Barcode Search field to pull up Breakfast at the Bistro – Pauline Grondin – 345506

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Crooks are using a trusted brand to steal your money - pay attention.

Crime 100By Staff

October 19th, 2106



Many of us use PayPal as a way to pay for items we bought or sold on the internet. It is a useful service – even though they do take their time about getting your money to you when you ask for it.

Other than that – decent value – people trust the service – and the trust the brand – which is why the crooks like to use it.

This came across our desk recently – don’t believe a word of it. Someone wants to steal your identity.

(NOTICE) Your PayPal account has been limited

In order to get back into your account, you will need to confirm your identity with us.

We have made the process easy for you:

Download and open the attachment file that we have sent, and proceed into filling in the form.

Our security team will review the information that you have provided, and immediately remove the limitations in your PayPal account.

We apologize for the inconvenience.

There will be no apology when they siphon money out of your bank accounts.


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The optics of the media release weren't very good were they?

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

October 19th, 2016




THAT is crass.

Less than an hour after sending out a media release announcing the holding of two by – elections on November the province sends out a second media release announcing significant infrastructure projects for one of the ridings – Niagara West Glanbrook.

The by-election release came out as 12:07 – the infrastructure release came out at 1:01.

It is stuff like this that give politics a bad smell.

Was it just a coincidence?

The province has hundreds of communications specialists working to grind out media releases – sometimes as many as ten in a single day.

These people are trained to get out positive messages – and they are expected to be politically aware – especially those who work in the office of Cabinet Ministers.

The media release on infrastructure work that I to “Improving Roads and Bridges in Niagara Region” said the following;

Ontario is supporting upgrades to roads, bridges and other local community infrastructure in Niagara Region, helping to connect communities and keep people moving while creating jobs and economic growth.
Municipalities benefiting from upgrades include:
• Grimsby
• Lincoln
• Pelham
• West Lincoln
• Niagara Falls
• Niagara-on-the-Lake
• Fort Erie
• Port Colborne
• Thorold
• Wainfleet
• Welland

The boundaries for the riding of are shown below:

niagara-west-glanbrook-boundariesThat detailed information is followed by the boiler plate stuff put at the end of every media release the province sends out – sort of like Burlington’s fetish for the news that it is the number one mid-sized city in Canada
Ontario is making the largest investment in public infrastructure in the province’s history – about $160 billion over 12 years, supporting 110,000 jobs every year across the province with projects such as hospitals, schools, roads, bridges and transit. Since 2015, the province has announced support for more than 475 projects that will keep people and goods moving, connect communities and improve quality of life. To learn more about infrastructure projects in your community, go to

Investing in municipal infrastructure is part of our plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.

They do all this with your tax money – don’t you just love them?

Related article:  By-election announcements.

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Provincial government gets to face the music on November 17th - two by-elections called.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

October 19th, 2016



November 17th could turn out to be a very difficult day for the provincial government.

Voters in the electoral districts of Ottawa-Vanier and Niagara West-Glanbrook will vote for new members of the provincial legislature in by elections.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne speaks at the hearings into the gas plant cancellations at Queen's Park in Toronto on December 3, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Blinch

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne

This is not a popular government; voters get an opportunity to say how unhappy they are in by-elections without actually changing the government. The current Liberal government can afford to lose the two seats – what they can’t afford is the continuing slide in popularity.

Word of the by- elections first came from former provincial Ombudsman Andre Marin, the Progressive Conservative candidate in Ottawa-Vanier, who posted the date in a tweet then quickly removed it before the official announcement by Elections Ontario.

The Niagara West-Glanbrook seat was held by Tim Hudak who won it in 2007 with 41% of the vote. The riding has a just under 100,000 voters – of which 59% turned out in the last election.

Hudak could not convince the province to make him the Premier and so he moved on and is now in the real estate sector.

The Ottawa-Vanier by-election will replace former attorney general Madeleine Meilleur, who quit the long-held Liberal seat last summer.

These two by-elections will tell the government just how bad their situation is.

The next provincial election will be in 2018 – crunch time.

Related article: Road and bridge construction announcements follow by-election call.

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‘You know this is pretty good stuff – we need to listen to these people.’

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

October 19th, 2016



Stuart Miller is the kind of man who enjoys a challenge.

There isn’t all that much bureaucrat in the man – he likes people and he loves the job he has been dropped into – even though at times it does almost overwhelm him.

Hammil + Miller

If there are a bunch of teachers and students doing something on a Saturday – chances are Stuart Miller be with them.

He is the kind of Director of Education who will slip over to Robert Bateman High school for lunch – one, because there is a great cooking class over there and two, he just likes being around students.

You will find him at some kind of student event on a Saturday when most of the senior board people are chilling at home.

He has some major administrative tasks in front of him but for Miller the administrative part isn’t the challenge that has him tossing and turning – it is the impact the change is going to have on the students he is responsible for – and make no mistake about it – he feel responsible for them and takes great pride when those students do well.

Six months ago he was struggling with how his board was going to handle the very significant increase in parents wanting to get their children into French Immersion almost from the day they walked into a school.

He faced several issues there – and he doesn’t have those issues resolved yet. He couldn’t find enough highly qualified teachers and he had a real concern for that small number of students who were not ready for French Immersion in the early years – if at all.

Stuart Miller

Always engaging – always listening. Stuart Miller, Director of Education for the Halton District School Board.

The best and the brightest in a student population always catch they eye of senior board administrators. Miller has an eye for the kid that is perhaps a little slower and needs a little more time or who doesn’t fit in all that well socially but is razor sharp.

Students aren’t the only concern for Stuart Miller. Wednesday evening he is going to hear delegations from half a dozen parents who are going to hand him a 12 page summary of the concerns they have over the thinking that is going to go into a PAR Review

In less than a week, a group of about ten parents – maybe less – pulled together loads of input from parents, did a thorough review of a long document the school board staff have had months to prepare and have come back with their thoughts on what the board thinks it should do.

That the senior bureaucrat could be as productive.

To be a fly on the wall of Miller’s office as he flips through the pages of the report the parent’s prepared.

Miller has an at times wry look on his face and my bet is that when he completes his reading of the document he is going to smile and say to his staff:

‘You know this is pretty good stuff – we need to listen to these people.’

That’s the kind of Director of Education we have in Halton.

Let’s see how he handles the situation on Wednesday evening.

Salt with Pepper is an opinion column written by the Publisher of the gazette.  we invite well thought out opinions from others in the city.

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Central High School parents are going to ask school board trustees to slow down the process that could result in the closing of the school - They want to get it right and need more time to complete their homework.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

October 18th, 2016



You knew before the meeting was over that this was a group of parents who were going to think through the situation they faced very thoroughly and present a case for keeping the community school.


They packed the room.

There were well over 80 people (some set the number at close to 100) packed into a room at Wellington Square United Church to figure out what they wanted to do about the Halton District school Board decision to hold a PAR.

A PAR is a Program Accommodation Review which is a look that the board has to take when the amount of available space in a school falls below 65%

A PAR – to address enrollment, empty/overfull space and programs offered – is needed for Burlington secondary schools claim the parent group – but the conditions needed to hold a PAR are not yet in place.
In its report Board of Education staff found a number of school that were below or very very close to that 65% number and they produced a report that set out 19 option. The options were related to various schools in Burlington.


There are just too many empty seats at Central High.


The utilization percentages are good – bu the sea available are in the wrong schools.


The parents group covered everything – and then some.

The parents did their homework – the looked at the facts and they came to the conclusion that while there might be a need for a PAR – this was not the time to proceed.

The Board for its part produced an exhaustive report – we are talking inches thick here and it takes time to go through the details and then measure them against what the parents know and experience.
The letter was signed off on by Michael Kukhta and Dania Thurman who were speaking on behalf of the Burlington Central Strong Community Group).

Michael had run for school board trustee before Dania is new to the game but keep an eye on this woman. She is a force to be reckoned with.

In a letter to the school board trustees this group of parents from Burlington central high school said:

At the Halton District Board of Education (HDSB) Board of Trustees meeting on 19 October 2016, you will be deciding on a motion to approve beginning the Program Accommodation Review (PAR) process.

In this letter, we will outline why we urge you delay the start of the process by tabling the motion until numerous issues are addressed. This request is made in order to ensure the integrity of the PAR process and to ensure that accurate and productive recommendations can be made to the Board of Trustees at the conclusion of the PAR process.

It appears to be clear that a PAR is needed, but also clear that the conditions to start it now, 19 October 2016, have not been met. It is crucial that many issues in the Halton District School Board’s (the “Board”) PAR process and Director’s Preliminary Report on the PAR (#16132) be clarified and clearly understood before proceeding with the PAR process. There are also many concerns with data and the Board’s new and untried PAR process that should be addressed.

Summary of Concerns:

1) A PAR is needed, but conditions to initiate the PAR at tomorrow’s (October 19th) meeting have not been met;

2) The Board’s new and untested PAR process has critical errors and confounding steps;

3) Significant segments of data are incomplete, missing or inaccurate;

4) The nineteen (19) Alternate solutions offered do not consistently compare conditions and issues creating unfair and confusing conclusions and inferences.

Very compelling details, supporting data and information about each of these Concerns are detailed below in Appendices. (They are voluminous and will be set out in detail on the web site when it is fully operational.

The Gazette will publish that data later in the week.

Our volunteer and dedicated community group has worked very hard to pull this letter and information together in a short time frame. There are, no doubt, challenges and questions with the conclusions we have made; however, we have only had a week to look at this.

Nevertheless, we have discovered and documented many issues that will jeopardize the PAR until they are understood and corrected. We look forward to continue working together with you and the board to be as informative, objective and accurate in providing productive discussion, analysis and recommendations to assist you in making the best decisions possible.

Decisions to close schools and realign boundaries will have long-lasting and profound effects on the community. Let’s get it right. Mistakes could be costly and cause delays in implementation. The Board’s process is fast: 5-7 months from approval and launch to recommendation to and ultimately approval by the Board of Trustees.

There is insufficient time once the process starts, to research, fix and present new data to the PAR Committee. A delay in the process will allow the constituencies affected – indeed, the students and entire community of Burlington – to catch up with the process and truly feel engaged and respected as valued stakeholders.

Trustees - Sams - Reynolds - Collard

From the right Burlington trustees Amy Collard and Leah Reynolds – two of the four.

We urge you to table the approval of the PAR process until all of the issues and concerns are clearly articulated, the data and information understood and the process robust and transparent.

Will the trustees listen? The four from Burlington can be expected to do so. But there are 11 trustees and they all get a vote on this.

It will be an interesting Board of Education meeting this evening.

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Twenty four year old male charged with trafficking in a human being; 25 other people charged with 67 offences.

Crime 100By Staff

October 18, 2016



It is a dirty business – despicable.

But it does happen

The Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) has charged a Hamilton man with three offences as part of an Ontario Provincial Police (O.P.P.) coordinated, national investigation to suppress human trafficking.
Dubbed Operation Northern Spotlight, members of 36 police services from across Ontario, including Halton Regional Police Service, directly engaged with people suspected of partaking in the sex trade, potentially against their will.

During coordinated investigations over a six-day period, police charged 25 people with 67 offences. Police were also able to ensure the safety of 16 people who had been working in the sex trade as a minor or against their will. A total of 207 police officers and support staff engaged with 199 people and offered them information and contacts with community-based support agencies.

Charges resulting from the operation include Trafficking in Persons under 18, Trafficking in Persons, Procure Sexual Services under 18, Procure Sexual Services, Receive Material Benefit under 18, Receive Material Benefit, Communication for the Purpose of Obtaining Consideration the Sexual Services of a Person, Exercise Control, Make Child Pornography, Distribute Child Pornography, Possess Child Pornography, Child Luring, Advertise Another Person’s Sexual Services, Assault, Obstruct Police, Resist Arrest, Weapons Dangerous, various Controlled Drug and Substances Act (CDSA) and Failure to Comply with Court Orders and Conditions including Breaches of Recognizance and Probation.

As part of their role in Operation Northern Spotlight, officers with HRPS’ Morality Unit engaged eight potential exploited victims working in the Halton area, rescuing one.

Twenty-four year-old Sean TRACEY has been charged with Procuring a Person to Offer or Provide Sexual Services for Consideration, Advertising Sexual Services, and Receive Material Benefit from Sexual Service as a result of the HRPS investigation.

“Like our counterparts, our Service is committed to fighting human trafficking by holding those engaged in it to account, while supporting its victims,” said Inspector Anthony Odoardi. “We are pleased to have contributed resources and expertise to this important joint operation.”

Given some of the stuff we are hearing while the Americans try to figure out who they want to lead them – it is little wonder that trafficking in human beings is a business. These guys are just a little lower down the food chain that a nominee for the President of the United States of America,

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Four bedromm bungalow that has undergone a significant renovation is part of the annual Junior League Home Tour.

eventspink 100x100By Pepper Parr

October 17, 2016



The Hamilton-Burlington Junior League Annual House tour will be taking place November 11 to 13th.

There are three homes on the tour this year: two in Burlington and one in Ancaster.


Designer creates a focal point in a home for the Holiday Season

Jackie Cracknell and her colleagues were given one of the Burlington homes to get ready for the event. The home, a 2400 sq. ft. 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom house that undergone a significant renovation. Located in the east end of Burlington the home will be open from 10:00 am to 9:00 pm on Friday,  10:00 to 4:00 pm on  Saturday and Sunday.

Jackie said the challenge in preparing a smaller home for a tour is keeping the flow of patrons moving smoothly so that they can view everything in their own time, but not have areas of congestion.

This home provided great opportunity in that the interior has been completely restyled and has some interesting design features that will allow the decorators to showcase the beautiful renovation that has taken place.

She added that “most of the decorators in this home have worked on the tour before and know exactly what is required to wow our patrons.

Those that are new are given information from previous tours so that they know what is expected. Our role as house reps is to ensure that the decorators follow the guidelines and also to liaise between the homeowners and decorators so that everything runs smoothly.

The most outstanding transformation in the renovation of this home is the kitchen – it really is the heart of the home and a wonderful light space to enjoy, with some very special design features. I think it highlights that fact that you can really incorporate some wonderful features in a home that may not be as large as some of the others on the tour – bigger is not always better!

The decorators of this home include House of Fraser Décor, Megan & Megan, Welcome Home Interiors, Details Interior Design, Hudson Interiors and Marquis Cavalier Dreamstore.

Tickets to this always popular event – this is the 34th Annual Tour the Junior League has done, are available at: CLICK HERE

Hours: 10:00 am to 9:00 pm on Friday, 10:00 to 4:00 pm on  Saturday and Sunday. The address for each of the homes is printed on the tickets you receive.


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

The Junior League is looking for people who would like to serve as volunteers 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. Diane Brown would love to hear from you.


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