The Prince wasn't buying it - will the country buy the plan Trudeau is hatching to get oil and gas moving across the country?

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

September 30th, 2016



Mr. Trudeau went to the Big Apple, to the UN that is, and made another speech and made another splash. Come on, even those who didn’t vote for him have to be proud of Canada’s new PM capturing the hearts of the international crowd. But the Canadian media are getting a little bored with this international walk of fame.


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ban Ki Moon, Secretary of the United Nations, showing the world the way.

Platitudes – that was the best they’d say about his speech. Canada promised something like 600 peacekeepers for Africa? But where in Africa? And did he seriously adapt Ronald Reagan’s sarcastic quip – I’m from Canada and I’m here to help? But the UN crowd soaked it up. After all with Canada being MIA at the UN for most of the last decade, a PM just showing up and offering support for the organization is worthy of their applause.

During last year’s campaign he made a habit of dropping bombshells. Legalizing weed, taxing the rich, transparent government, running a deficit, lifting the lot of First Nations, (finally) doing something about climate change and re-engaging with the global community. All of this has just whet the appetite of the media for even more sexy stuff, not platitudes. So Trudeau has only himself to blame.


Try as he might Prime Minister Justin Trudeau just wasn’t able to bring Prince George around to a hand shake or a high five.

Honeymoons don’t last forever. It hasn’t been a year since the election, but everybody wants their piece of the action in its entirety now, thank you very much. Grand Chief Stewart Philip, the leader of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, refused to participate in a ceremony with the PM and the visiting royal family in a not-so-subtle protest. Undoubtedly, he has a point, and his are genuine grievances, including a concern that the federal government would approve a new natural gas pipeline to transport BC gas to Asian markets.

And sure enough that is exactly what has happened. Despite Mr. Trudeau’s public position on global climate change; despite his advocacy for Canada’s First Nations’ rights; and despite placing a moratorium on oil tanker traffic to help kill the highly controversial Northern Gateway oil sands pipeline, he has rubber-stamped a new natural gas pipeline, the Pacific Northwest LNG project.


BC Premier Christy Clark just might prove to be the ally the Prime Minister needs and at the same time deliver real economic benefits to her people. damage to the environment – that’s a different issue – isn’t it?

Oil is bad but gas is good? Well at least this gas project causes no heartburn to B.C. Premier Clark, as she anticipates the economic benefit from the scores of jobs it is promising. They used to call it clean energy. didn’t they? Some would argue that gas is a less damaging alternative, if used to replace coal for electricity generation. But it is a fossil fuel and therefore a greenhouse gas in either its raw state or during combustion.

So is Trudeau trying to have his cake and eat it as well? More than likely this is one of these grand compromises he sees in the general national interest. To get the energy-rich western part of this country onside with climate change plans he needs to give as well as take. He knows that inflexibility leads to deadlock. That is realpolitik.


Former Prime Minister Stephen Harper was never able to get a pipeline into the ground – it just wasn’t the right time or was it a political inability to bring the right people together?

And the pipeline, which is slated to be on-line by 2020, may never get built anyway, given the glut of gas on the markets, cheaper alternative sources, and the hoops and hurdles the government has placed on this project. One item on that list includes a limit on greenhouse gases, intended to force the most environmentally efficient delivery of the gas.

It’s a win-win for Trudeau. If the pipeline doesn’t get built, it won’t be his fault. And not having to account for all those greenhouse gases will give him great bragging rights the next time he goes before the UN crowd. He’ll be able to claim global leadership without any critics crying… platitudes.

Unlike Mr. Harper’s oil pipeline, there was substantial sign-on among many indigenous folks, though as noted above, not all. And the irony of it all is that, if the pipeline actually goes into action, Trudeau, the environmentalist, will have built more pipeline in his first year than Mr. Harper did in his entire nine years in office.

Rivers-direct-into-camera1-173x300Ray Rivers is an economist and author who writes weekly on federal and provincial issues, applying his 25 years of involvement with federal and provincial ministries.  Rivers’ involvement in city matters led to his appointment as founding chair of Burlington’s Sustainable Development Committee.  He was also a candidate in the 1995 provincial election

Background links:

When You Say Nothing at All –     Trudeau at the UN –
More UN – 

BC Chief and the Royals –

Trudeau Answers –

Transparent Supreme Court –

Pacific Northwest LNG – 

Northern Gateway – 

LNG Pipeline in Doubt –

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Who is counting the cyclists on New Street - where will the evidence for the pilot study come from?

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

September 29th, 2016



The New Street bike lanes and the impact they are having on traffic.

Drove west on New Street Wednesday evening at just after 5:00 pm.

Had to come to a full stop at Dynes and Woodview – the stop didn’t last more than 15 seconds, not long enough for the blood pressure to rise.

Did not see a single cyclist on either side of the street on the trip west.

I doubled back and saw one cyclist on the south side of the street as I drove east.


Device that counts the number of cars that pass by – same thing can be used for bicycles.

What I didn’t see at all was those little boxes with a thick wire coming out of it to count the number of cars and or cyclists that pass and wondered ….

How is the city going to know if the pilot is a success or not if they don’t do constant counts?

Wasn’t the success of the pilot going to be based on evidence and not just the rants and raves of those who think the pilot was a travesty?

The pilot project was a decent idea – bu if data isn’t collected regularly – then it is just plain dumb.

Our poor Mayor at times feels he is being accosted by his peers at the Y where he exercises – they, according to the Mayor, gang up on him asking why the bike lanes were installed.

The time to gang up on the man is when ballots get cast in 2018.

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Windows on the Lake at foot of Market and St. Paul street finally under construction.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

September 29th, 2016



Finally, work has begun on the two Windows on the Lake – one at the foot of Market Street and the other at the foot of St. Paul.


St. Paul window – workers putting in posts that will be part of the barrier system.

These two delightful little locations were an opportunity for people to sit at the edge of the like and enjoy some peace and quiet.


View if the Market Street window seen from the foot of the street.

The two pieces of land were always city property but for the longest period of time they weren’t all that accessible and there was no seating.


St. Paul Window seen from the foot of the Street.


View of the Market street Window – it is the smaller of the two but will be a really pleasant place to sit quietly and talk with friends.

Getting them set up as Windows on the Lake was a long arduous process that stretches back more than four years when a now disbanded Waterfront Advisory Committee did a survey of just how many windows to the lake existed.


Location of the Market Street and St. Paul Street windows on the Lake. The property in between the two was sold the abutting land owners.

At least they are under construction – not much opportunity to make use of them this year – next spring people can sit on property that the city neglected for the longest time.

There is an additional window to the lake at the bottom of Green Street that has yet to be given some attention.

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Haines no longer the Executive Director of the Performing Arts Centre - leaves the post after just one year in the job.

News 100 redBy Staff

September 29th, 2016



Well, that didn’t last very long did it.

She started September 1, 2015 and was on her way out the door September 26th, 2016.

Suzanne Haines

Suzanne Haines

Suzanne Haines is no longer the Executive Director of the Burlington Performing Arts Centre.

The Board of the theatre has not released a statement on the departure of Ms Haines who came to Burlington via Richmond British Columbia.

She is the third Executive Director of the organization that will celebrate its fifth year of operation on October 5th when Royal Wood will take to the stage just the way he did five years ago when he was the first act to perform to a paying public.

It is not clear at this point exactly who is running the operation on a day to day basis.

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Karina Gould challenges Speaker of the House of Commons to hold a Hope in High Heels event on Parliament Hill.

News 100 redBy Staff

September 28, 2016



Member of Parliament Karina Gould, suggested to the Speaker of the House of Commons yesterday that Parliament Hill follow the practice our city has of men wearing high heels as part of a statement to end violence against women.

pink-high-heels-men“Mr. Speaker, this past Saturday, Halton Women’s Place held its seventh annual Hope in High Heels event in my riding of Burlington. Boys and men of all ages from 8 to 82, including our mayor, fire chief, Halton police, labour, business, and sports leaders, and my husband and my brother all slipped into a pair of hot-pink heels and strutted in solidarity with Halton Women’s Place to fight to end violence against women.

“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. I thank all the boys and men for their leadership and their positive role modelling to help raise awareness and funds for a heroic organization in my community that provides vital support for our most vulnerable in their time of need.

“I was thinking that the event was such a success this weekend in Burlington that maybe we should organize a Hope in High Heels on the Hill.

“Are you up for it, Mr. Speaker?”

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They were making hay when the sun was shining - other farmers were bringing in good crops.

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

September 27, 2016


Correction:  There are no dairy operations in Burlington – there are two in Milton and 10 in Halton Hills!  We thank Milton Councillor Colin Best for the correction.

There isn’t a single dairy herd in Burlington – but there are some very interesting agricultural organization north of Highway 5 in Burlington and elsewhere in the Region.

Each year the Halton Agriculture; Advisory Committee (HAAC) organizes a tour to showcase just what is being done agriculturally in the Region – the tour this year highlighted three operations and gave us a peek at a development at the Country Heritage Museum that could be very significant.


Not a very pretty piece of equipment but it get the broccoli into crates ready for delivery.

One of the farm operations we visited had just two customers – but they employ more than 25 seasonal workers who harvest cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli and have a piece of equipment that gets broccoli out of the ground and into packing crates. It is the most ungainly thing you can imagine but it works.


Councillor John Taylor on an agricultural tour sampling lavender flavoured ice cream – it was pretty good.

Another operation is part farming and part agri-tourism that has been so successful with social media that Facebook executives visited the operation to get a closer look at just how they make it work.

The operation, a lavender farm pulls in 20,000 visitors a year at an entrance fee ranging between $5 and $20. And sells them high end products that have lavender in them.

A third farm operation is run by a couple that are into everything: pigs, chickens, lambs, beef cattle and a curiosity that has them experimenting with all kinds of grasses they think can be effectively marketed.


Red Angus beef cattle on the Mabel May Farm – fresh meats available at the farm gate.

This couple, Norman and Meaghan Richardson are close to being pioneers.
While it may not be all that big – there is a rich and interesting agricultural heritage in the Region that is productive, profitable and doing some incredibly interesting things.

Over the next few days we will tell you more about just what the farmers are doing in the fields

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Keith Hoey and the Burlington Chamber of Commerce: He says it is the best networking deal in town - and he might be right.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

September 27, 2016



So – you’ve been in business for a reasonable period of time and you now need to expand your reach into your market. Or you are climbing the corporate ladder and you want to grow your personal network.

Keith Hoey, president of the Burlington Chamber of Commerce told an audience of new members that people buy things from people they know” and added – “so get to know people – network, that is what the Chamber of Commerce can help you do.”


If you had a question: Keith Hooey had an answer for you. All part of his regular new member orientation sessions.

You know that networking is the key to it all – but where do you go to begin creating that all important personal network?  Ask that question of Hooey, and he will whip out an application form faster than you can pull out a business card.

Hoey is passionate about the work he does. He is unrelenting and is also a very funny guy.

Last week, the Gazette sat in on an orientation session for new Chamber of Commerce members – there were about 35 people gathered at the Burlington Golf and Country Club.


As interesting as Keith Hooey, president of the Chamber of Commerce was – there was business to be done.

Hoey wasn’t selling memberships – the people in the room were already members – what Hooey was doing was explaining just how good a deal they had gotten themselves into.

The benefits were impressive – Hoey almost made it sound as if you could end up making money on a Chamber of Commerce membership. The 3.5% discount on gas purchases will certainly get you started on the savings side.

If you are a small business operator there is the opportunity to sign your staff up to a health benefits plan.  The opportunities to meet people are abundant. There is he Before 9 crowd and the Business After 5 crowd that were described by Hooey as the best networking opportunities in the city.

The selling features that Hoey focused on were the Chamber’s three prime purposes: Networking,  Education and Advocacy.  The organization has over 1,000 corporate members, ran 103 events last year and has eight committees advocating on behalf of their membership.

How effective is the Burlington Chamber of Commerce in advocating or its members? Hoey gives on sterling example. There was a time when Burlington was short 22 doctors which was hurting companies that wanted to attract talent to the city. A committee was put together and after a period of time – these things do take time –  a program was put in place that attracted doctors to the city – Burlington is now just two doctors short of what it should have the size of its population.

Hoey had one word of caution for the new members he was orienting – “I hope you joined because you are interested”. An uninterested member was a person Hooey would chat up and give them reasons to become interested.

One critical comment: Hoey will tell people to “get out there and make money”. One doesn’t hear him say – and “give back to your community”. Other than that he does a great job.

He gave the new members all the time they needed and answered all the questions they asked – and kept looking at the clock – checking the time.

Hoey was leaving for a Chamber trip to India – a part of the world he had not been to before. And he had yet to pack for his afternoon flight.

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Lakeshore Road south of Maple expected to re-open October 16 - Detour maps shown.

notices100x100By Staff

September 27, 2016


The Phase II Road Closure is expected to remain in effect until October 16, 2016.

For access to the Joseph Brant Museum, Joseph Brant Hospitalloading dock and hospital construction site trailer, use North Shore Blvd/Maple Avenue.

For access to the following locations, use the Eastport Drive detour route:

• Skyway Wastewater Treatment Plant
• Ministry of Transportation – Maintenance
• Halton McMaster Family Health Centre
• Joseph Brant Hospital Parking Garage
• Joseph Brant Hospital Construction Site
• Burlington Beach


Map with detours that will be in place until October 16th, 2016

On October 17, 2016 Lakeshore Road, south of the Maple Avenue / North Shore Boulevard
intersection, is scheduled to be fully opened to traffic, weather permitting.

Lakeshore Road will be open to traffic, but will remain a construction site, with the following works scheduled to take place:

• Completion of traffic signal and street light installation
• Tree planting
• Site restoration

2016 Construction works are scheduled to be completed by mid November 2016 with toplift asphalt
and final landscaping works planned for the spring of 2017.

Changes to Hamilton Street Railway Company (HSR)

During Construction HSR service will be returning to Lakeshore Road. The date is yet to be finalized. For more
information please visit

Lakeshore Road was raised about one metre to align with the hospital.  The raised portion of the road extends to the water treatment plant.

Henshell house Beachway

The Region purchased this property for a reported $550,000 – and then tore it down.

Longer term, the road is expected to take a sharp turn to the right to accommodate the Regional Plans for a much larger Beachway recreation area,  The longer term plan includes buying up the more than 25 homes still in he area on a willing seller – willing buyer basis.  The Regional government is the willing buyer and has been offering good prices and a number of sweetheart deal initiatives.


Longer term the Beachway we know now will be a much different place – all that green in the photograph will be parkland with different themes for different sections of the property – and all the home will eventually be gone – IF the current plan comes to full fruition.

If you have any questions about this project, please call Jeff Thompson at 905 335-7600, ext. 7669 or
Janine Yaromich at 905 335-7600, ext. 7421.

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What did the consultant say to city council? Here it is - word for word. Pay attention - it is your city they want to change.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

September 26th, 2106



The debate on the installing of dedicated bike lanes on New Street was the thin edge of the wedge that is leading the city into a full blown review of both the way land is used in the city and how we transport ourselves.

Sometime ago the city hired Brent Toderian to consult with the planning and transportation departments. Set out below is the “reporting letter” Toderian sent the city before the Committee of the While meeting last week that set out what Toderian described as a bold new move.

Toderian UrbanWORKS (TUW), the corporate name this consultant uses explains that the reporting letter is what is behind the support for Council consideration of a proposed launch of a public engagement exercise for a new City of Burlington Transportation Plan.

Burlington aerial

Burlington as it was in 2013 – before the pier was completed. Council has decided it needs to grow up rther than out. How are they going to do that?

TUW has been providing city planning, transportation and general operational and culture change advisory services to the City of Burlington since November, 2015. The engagement with the City has been strategically and deliberately broad/flexible, including advice on the City’s proposed new official plan, various transit – oriented development considerations, and more general city planning, urban design, communications, cultural, and capacity – building aspirations. The most specific and “deep” example of TUW’s consulting services to the City has been in the creation of a new Transportation Plan, the subject of this RL.

The following is what Toderian wrote in his “reporting letter”

Intended transportation plan, nature and structure:

Informed by extensive discussions with city staff, the intention for the Transportation Plan work program is to prepare a plan document organized around a new central transportation vision, eight powerful “new directions,” and a series of new implementing policies and actions under each new direction. Actions will include, among other things, new work programs that will extend from the transportation plan, and be guided by it.

The intention is NOT to make any detailed transportation alignment or design decisions as part of the Transportation Plan that would require processes such as environmental assessment – these would come later. Before any such detailed work is undertaken, and indeed before it CAN be properly undertaken, it is critically important for the City to consider and decide on a significant new direction for the city’s transportation.

Our working title for the Transportation Plan, which should have a dynamic and engaging brand, is
“GO BOLD in a City Growing Up: City of Burlington Transportation Plan.”
This working title reflects the critical relationship between the Transportation Plan and the Official Plan, which has already been branded “GROW BOLD.”

How we got here:

The City of Burlington is at a turning point. We would say that we’ve reached a “fork in the road,” but frankly that is left – over language from a car – first transportation era.

Building on decades of evolution in transportation thinking over many plans, policies & initiatives, two

significant recent events have sparked a game – changing new conversation about mobility in Burlington.

The first is the April 11, 2016 Council adoption of Burlington’s Strategic Plan 2015–2040. The bold new Strategic Plan contains unprecedented aspiration and commitments regarding both “A City That Grows” and “A City That Moves” — and to be more specific, a city that will move in a fundamentally different way in the future than it has in the past, as it grows in a different way than it has in the past.

The Village isn't completely built out yet - there are still pockets of construction taking place. Still room for new people.

Alton Village was a prime example of urban sprawl – the type of construction the city wants to see less of – the last of the new development in Alton is currently underway at the intersection of Walkers Line and Dundas.

The second is the significant declaration by Mayor Goldring and City Council in 2015 that Burlington is the first Greater Toronto Hamilton Area (GTHA) municipality to “stop urban sprawl” and become a city that is “growing up rather than out.”  City leaders realize that for such a transformation to be successful, with resulting greater livability, quality of life, sustainability, equity, & healthy living, our city’s mobility and accessibility will need to be fundamentally rethought and rebuilt. The way we’ve been visioning, planning and designing our transportation networks as the city has grown outward has fundamentally focused on moving cars to such an extent that other mobility options are either not present, or at best are not practical.

This approach will not succeed if we are to be a city growing upward and inward.

Following these two big events, Council made two related critical decisions on July 7th of this year:

1. Council supported a new urban structure for the City with growth focused in downtown.

Mobility hubs

The city created four mobility hubs. Aldershot once appeared to be the one the city planned on starting with – that idea may have changed. The hub at the Burlington GO station linked to the hub in the downtown core may become the first to be developed.

Burlington, at our GO Stations (Mobility Hubs), and along the connecting corridors of Brant Street (between hubs) and the Plains Fairview Corridor (connecting all three GO hubs).

This smart, strategic land use facilitates, and is facilitated by, a different approach to mobility than Burlington has focused on in the past.

2.  Council approved strategic and unprecedented funding for the detailed planning and implementation of growth in the planned Mobility Hubs.  To further facilitate this turning point, and to begin the process of creating a new Transportation Plan for the City, we have prepared a DRAFT vision statement for Burlington’s new era of transportation. This Draft Vision draws from, and is inspired and directed by, existing policy, the new Strategic Plan, and recent community conversations about the future of our city. This Draft is not intended to be finished, but rather to start a conversation about what an ultimate new vision should include.

Since beginning this work, the City has released a new communications strategy relative to the preparation to a new Official Plan and Transportation Plan for Burlington. The key message in this strategy is the need for us to “Grow Bold.”

This message – this NEED – is in keeping with and is further inspiring our changing thinking around transportation. We will indeed need to grow bold in our thinking and building, and we will need to GO BOLDLY toward a better, more successful city as we grow.


Citizens meting with planners and developers to talk about how they want to see development taking place. The two meetings were held by ward 2 Councillor Marie Anne Med Ward. Her final report has yet to be released. The meetings were classic public engagement.

A plan with almost perfect vision, aspiration and policy can still fail in the “buy-in,” implementation and follow through. Indeed, disconnects between vision and implementation are the most common reason for failure of plan achievement. Failure can occur when plans aren’t given significant weight and value by Council, staff, and/or the community, and thus “sit on a shelf collecting dust.” Plans also often frequently fail when there are disconnects between plan vision/aspiration and actual budget decisions.

The goal of this Direction is to dedicate significant corporate energy and attention to ensuring that every level of follow-through, from culture change and capacity – building, to detailed levels of implementation & budgeting; is considered, and has been strategically positioned for success. This Plan will be a powerful catalyst for real change, and will not sit on a shelf collecting dust.

Next steps.

After the Council Workshop in September, the intention is to share this draft vision and 8 draft new directions with the public as a public “launch” for the new Transportation Plan. City transportation staff have coordinated closely with staff from other departments so that public engagement opportunities and efforts between the new transportation plan and the new official plan can be “piggy-backed” as much as possible.


Citizens talking amongst themselves about the kind of development they would like to see take place in their ward.

It continues to be TUW’s advice to the city that all opportunities for less formal/”traditional” engagement contact with the public should be taken advantage of. The bedrock of this way of thinking is to “go where the people already are, rather than expecting the public to come to you.” Shopping centres, schools, events, fairs & festivals, markets, “pop-up” street installations and churches should all be considered to ensure that engagement reaches the broadest possible community, including those who would not normally engage with city participation processes.

In addition to face-to -face connections, TUW recommends that individual transportation plan – related social media accounts be created (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc) ASAP , bolstered by the existing citywide accounts, to help create a new brand and specialized on – line conversation for the Transportation Plan.

These will continue to be an asset after the Plan is approved, over years of implementation and review.

Our intention is to take a very proactive approach to explaining to the public the “origin story” of this draft Vision and these 8 draft New Directions. In particular, it needs to be clearly explained how they seek to “make real” the commitments in the already Council – approved Strategic Plan. In that sense, it is not our intention to ask the public for comment on whether we are generally “on the right general track.” The truth is that Council’s existing approvals have already put us on that general track. We would be honest and transparent about that.

A rapt audience listened to an overview of the 2014 budget. What they have yet to have explained to them is the desperate situation the city will be in ten years from now if something isn't done in the next few years to figure out how we are going to pay for the maintenance of the roads we have.

Can the city learn how real citizen engagement is done – or will they continue with the practice of showing the citizens what they plan to do and asking for approval?

Having said that, we WOULD be communicating to the public that the draft text is considered far from finished, and for that matter far from perfect, and thus we invite comment on whether we’ve taken the right approaches & have the right language, with the intention of using such input to produce a final version of the Vision and eight New Directions. Based on this input , New Directions may be added, removed, revised or consolidated. Further, and very importantly, we would be inviting the public to comment on/recommend specific policies, actions or changes that the city should undertake in order to realize this vision and facilitate these New Directions.


We eagerly await our opportunity to workshop these challenging and dynamic New Directions for Burlington transportation. They are inspired by, and hope to further inspire, the ambitious and bold thinking that Council has already been showing.

This is a critical and significant step for the city. While city hall feels it has done a good job of explaining its Strategic Plan to the population – we would be hard pressed to find more than 2 out of every 100 people in the city who knows what the document says and what its implications really are.

That inability to communicate is not just the fault of the city – communication is a two way street – speakers and listeners – most of Burlington hasn’t been listening – and the city doesn’t really know how to communicate with its citizens.  Many suggest that the majority of this city council don’t want to communicate – they just want to decide what should be done and then go ahead and do it.

bridgewater-cement-trucks-5-of-themThere is a construction crew working diligently on the south side of Lakeshore Road pouring concrete at an incredible rate to put up a 22 storey condominium along with a seven storey condominium and an eight story hotel. Getting that project to the point where there is a hole in the ground began back in 1985. It was approved when Walter Mulkewich was Mayor of the city.

One wonders if such a project would be approved today.getting new - yellow


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15 people set out to pull a 200,000 pound A300 airplane. And they actually did just that.

News 100 redBy Staff

September 26, 2016



It was a perfect fall day – sunshine and fresh breezes with a glimpse of fall colour appearing in the trees.  Several hundred people showed up at the tarmac at the John C. Munro airport in Hamilton to pull a 200,000 pound A300 airplane a distance of 50 yards.


An Airbus A300 was pulled 50 yards by teams of 15 people. This is the same model of airplane that Chesley Burnett “Sully” Sullenberger ditched in the Hudson river several years ago – that story is now a feature movie. “Sully”

It was the kick-off event for the Burlington Hamilton United Way fund raising campaign.
Over 200 community partners joined UPS and United Way to rally around this fall’s fundraising campaign for the community impact organization. Hundreds of observers watched as teams of 15 pulled with all their strength to move the 200,000 plane across the finish line.


United Way CEO, Jeff Vallentin

“We are so grateful for the support and dedication of partners like UPS and so many of you who continue to stay committed to making our community great for everyone”, said United Way CEO, Jeff Vallentin during his opening remarks at the Hamilton Airport. “This year we are asking the community and all of you here today to strive for five. That could be a five percent increase over last year’s investment, or it could be an investment of $500 more. United Way is committed to doing 5% better overall in many of our initiatives and, most importantly, we are striving for 5 new initiatives of community impact”, said Vallentin.


They actually moved that air plane 50 yards.

The organization is putting a call out to all community members to get involved in a way that is meaningful for them. The ultimate goal is to increase revenue for the organization that does so much to support social service programs and initiatives in the Burlington and Hamilton community. Campaign Cabinet Co-Chair Shirley Thomas-Weir said “this means that everyone can get involved. We are asking all of our donors to give 5 more of whatever they can. For those that cannot give dollars, we are asking for them to consider giving 5 hours of community service, or to have 5 conversations with friends and family about the important work of United Way”. During her remarks, Thomas-Weir spoke of people like Don and Barbara, a couple in their eighties who are able to live safely in their home in Burlington thanks to United Way.

Joe Vanderbeck, Vice-president of Operations at UPS Canada spoke about the importance of giving back to our neighbours, family and friends and their over three-decade long partnership with the community organization. “Last year, UPS Canada donated $1.2 million to the United Way…but we didn’t stop there. Our employees also gave over 84,000 volunteer hours to various charities; investing their time in communities across the country”, said Vanderbeck.

This year UPS hosted 4 plane pulls across Canada, in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Hamilton to raise awareness and funds for the national organization.

In addition to UPS, organizations that registered teams for the pull were RBC, State Farm Insurance, Canada Bread, CUMIS, Community Living Hamilton and Canada Revenue Agency.


Burlington’s Blair Lancaster, on the left, representing Mayor Goldring at the pull for the United Way with former Hamilton Mayor Bob Bratina.

Burlington city Councillor Blair Lancaster spoke on behalf of the Mayor’s office. “The City of Burlington is proud to be a long-time supporter of United Way with a relationship that dates back to the 1960s’s. Social needs in a community like Burlington are sometimes hard to see but there are residents in our community who need a helping hand. According to the 2011 census, almost 8% of the population in Burlington lives in poverty. United Way is committed to building a strong and resilient community, but they cannot do it alone” said Lancaster.


Little people – little plane.

The United Way is stepping away from setting a hard target they want to reach each year. Jeff Vallentin said “We have historically raised around six and a half million from our generous community and we are looking to accomplish that, if not more, this year. We can always use more money than what we set out to achieve at the beginning of our campaign as the need is great. We are dealing with pervasive social issues that are resistant to change, but if we work together, I believe we can create a community that’s great for everyone.”

Last year, United Way helped 19,195 kids get school ready, 15,989 individuals and families access safe and nutritious food, and 39,328 people access community mental health initiatives.getting new - yellow

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Police get a bomb threat aimed at Joseph Brant hospital - Hamilton institutions get similar calls.

News 100 redBy Staff

September 25th, 2016



A little before 10 pm Sunday evening Halton Regional Police responded to the area of Joseph Brant Hospital for a bomb threat that had been received from an anonymous person. While police were investigating, information was received that similar threats had been made to two institutions in Hamilton as well.

Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital is a little like the provinces economy: a little the worse for wear and tear and in need of a fix up. Problem is the economy has to get much better before the hospital refurbishment can go forward,

Police received a threat of a bomb placed at the Joseph Brant Hospital – nothing was found.

Hospital staff were immediately notified, and nothing suspicious was found. Members of the Criminal Investigation Bureau will be continuing the investigation.

Similar threats have recently been received in P.E.I., Nova Scotia, Manitoba and Nunavut.

Anyone with information pertaining to this incident is asked to contact the Burlington Criminal Investigation Bureau at 905-825-4747 ext. 2316, Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (Tips) through the web at or by texting your message to 274637 (crimes)

We live in different times – it would be a mistake to sluff these threats off as coming from cranks. No need to get warped by the threats – but we now need to be much more vigilant.

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Eight new directions on transportation and land use put before city council.

opinionandcommentBy Pepper Parr

September 26th, 2016



if-you-planThe following is a summary of the “New Directions” city council debated last week. The document in front of them was a draft that was received and filed. It will come back to city council in November, once the team putting the new transportation plan together has had a chance to absorb what council had to say during the three hour meeting.

We have added comments to each of the following eight new directions.

1 – Align Land Use & Transportation
Land – use decisions including density, mix of uses and quality of urban design contribute to a fabric that supports walking, biking and public transit. Fully integrate land – use and transportation decision-making at every level including policy-making and budgeting to ensure that future decisions facilitate a transportation network that supports intensification.

Two issues with this direction: wasn’t transportation considered when land use decisions were being made? This city council assumes the citizens have bought into the decision to intensify – don’t think that is the case.

complete-streets-graphic2 – Rethink Streets
Abandon the “old” way of thinking, replace the term “road” with “street” and recognize that streets do more than just move automobiles, they are “people places” and have the potential to be key assets in the civic life of our city.

Very true – we are stuck in some old way thinking but changing road to street is not going to do it. If Road is out of tune with the times what are Lines – Guelph Line, Walkers Line – they are part of the city’s genealogy.
Streets are people places but there has to be a reason for people to be on the street

3 – Reprioritize Mobility Choices
Reprioritize decision – making in order to support intensification and allow active and sustainable mobility choices to “catch – up” to the auto and reach an ambitious level of attractiveness in order to realize a true multi-modal city.

This council has committed itself to upgrading its infrastructure and had a ten year + plan to do just that – it will be like pulling teeth from a hen to get the majority to change.


The image was lifted from a presentation given to city council last week

4 – No New Car Capacity
Intensification with further car – oriented design will only result in continued auto-dependency, expensive infrastructure and an overall failure. Confirm that through the intensification strategy, mobility will be facilitated not through increased auto capacity, but by allocating existing space and budget for walking, biking and public transit. Strategic reallocation of existing car capacity for active and sustainable mobility choices.

This is what city council did back in the days when the Orchard was being developed. Not much was made in the way of allowances for parking because people were not going to use cars – there would be a realistic transit system. Council now spends hours discussing with irate citizens whether and where they should be able to park their cars – all three or four of them.

There is a large housing development being built on the North West corner of Walkers Line and Dundas – is anyone suggesting that there be no car capacity in that community? No at the price point they are asking for a single detached home.

5 – Make Walking Delightful
Change the culture, decision-making, policy and budget to make the city rapidly more walkable – achieve the strategic goal of becoming a leader in walkability.

A city council doesn’t have the right to change the culture of a city unless they have a mandate to do so. The culture change is something that is being sprung on people with little of any input from the public so far. There are plans for public input in November – nothing concrete yet.


Brent Toderian, planning consultant hired by the city to guide the planning and transportation departments on new directions. He told Council they were going in the right direction.

6 – Make Biking Delightful
Move in a timely way to create a minimum network of safe, connected bike infrastructure with continued network expansion over time. Emphasis on initiatives to build an urban biking culture and achieve the “Gold Standard” for cycling.

Good luck on this one – cycling to work is something a few will do regularly. I suspect cycling is a recreational event for most people in Burlington.

7 – Make Transit Delightful
Support significant and strategic improvement of transit coverage, service and experience in order improve the branding of public transit as an attractive mobility option.

Develop policy to support levels of density that will translate to increased ridership.

There are literally hundreds that would settle for a decent transit schedule – they would scoff at the idea of rising a bus as being delightful.

8 – “Walk the Talk”
Dedicate energy and attention to ensuring that the plan is followed – through. Strategically position the city for successful implementation of the Plan and align budget allocations to the new mode hierarchy.

Great idea – just make sure that there is real public input – not a plan that is put out with the public expected to accept something that has already been decided.
Genuine public education and genuine public involvement.

There is a lot more public discussion needed on this subject – my colleague Joan Little suggests there won’t be a single safe seat on city council if this goes much further. It is going to go a lot further – the city manager and the planner are intellectually committed to this. Council – wait until they get a sense of what the backlash is likely to be before deciding on what they will do.

In the past they have changed bus routes when as little as three people complained.

Related article

Spectator columnist suggests every council seat could be at risk with some of these ideas.

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Spectator columnits suggests every Burlington Council seat could be at risk if they mismanage the transportation challenge.

opinionandcommentBy Joan Little

September 23, 2016



The following piece was lifted from the Hamilton Spectator where my colleague Joan Little writes a semi-weekly column.

If Burlington doesn’t handle this file very, very carefully, there won’t be a safe seat on council in 2018.


Spectator columnist Joan Little argues that every seat on council is at risk if the transportation file is mismanaged.  Is it possible to lose all of them in one fell swoop?

The issue is transportation planning. Sounds like a nothing issue, but if it isn’t carefully presented, look for a wholesale change in the 2018 election.

On Tuesday, Brent Toderian, a Vancouver urban planner, presented his “New Directions” transportation plan recommendations. The committee voted to receive and file the report. He will edit it for more clarity in preparation for public consultation in January.

The report stated that as Burlington intensifies, growing up instead of out, it has to de-emphasize vehicle use, and stress other modes of travel to “Grow Bold.”

Discussion centred mainly on modes of transportation. Toderian’s report emphasized walking and biking, followed by public transit, then car-sharing. Said he, “Burlington can be the first city to grow up successfully,” stressing the high dollar cost, time and congestion of continuing as we are.

One recommendation was to stop providing new street capacity for cars, and to make walking, biking and public transit delightful. Mayor Rick Goldring agreed that we don’t want the Region dictating Burlington arterial road widenings, and we need a strong local policy. Rick Craven pointed out that we did not need Waterdown Road widened. It is necessitated by Waterdown’s high growth.

Toderian said the aim is to use cars less frequently. Few will dispose of them. Throughout his presentation he repeatedly warned councillors to expect strong public push-back. Funny, I thought councils were supposed to listen to public feedback.

John Taylor asked about the transition from today to full implementation, because it will take decades to get there, and was told the actual plan would address that. He was skeptical about big spending on transit, noting that in spite of investments, ridership has been static for 20 years.

Meed Ward H&S profile

Councillor Meed Ward argued that people drive because they gave to.

The most astute comments came from Marianne Meed Ward. She said the big issue is why people drive. One reason is to get to work. Many commute to Toronto and elsewhere where Go Transit isn’t handy. And how could a Ford worker get to Ford without a car?

She recalled a transit group’s challenge to councillors to take transit for a week, and noted that her 15-minute drive to the Region took over two hours by transit, and required two transfers (not to mention the cost). We need more jobs where people live.

She said people drive kids to school because they don’t want them biking, and school busing is often inconvenient. Shopping? Downtown, there are probably 20 spas, but only one grocery store, and if she needed a hammer, her nearest store is Canadian Tire.

Our planning is wrong, she said. Why, for instance is a huge store like Walmart allowed to build one-storey stores? Immediately adjacent on Fairview are the six multi-storey Paradigm condos. Wouldn’t it be better to allow one above Walmart? She also commented that a supermarket could not go downtown because of zoning.

During the session, councillors commented on the outrage they are fielding about the “road diet” pilot project for bike lanes on New Street, eliminating a driving lane. Few cyclists use them, but Toderian explained that until bike lanes form part of a network, they won’t. He stated that when Vancouver’s first lanes appeared, few used them, but now that there’s a network, they’re popular. (Vancouver doesn’t have winter!) Jack Dennison cycled along New, thoroughly enjoyed it, and felt safe. City manager James Ridge said a network would have to be planned shortly.

Craven claimed this idea isn’t new. The revamped Plains Road has bike lanes, intercity transit, and is pedestrian-friendly. Further, he said, underground parking costs developers about $40,000 per space, which buyers pay for.

There were budgetary questions, to which Toderian responded that you have to prioritize spending.

It sounds logical, but show me the timing, costs and public acceptance of this big change.

With Burlington having such high incomes and per capita car ownership, expect questions.

little-joanJoan Little is a member of the Niagara Escarpment Commission. Previous to her current appointment she was a  commissioner from 1986 to 1993, and chair from 1993 to1996. She was a member of Burlington Council and Halton Regional Council between 1974 and 1988, and an active board member of Conservation Halton from 1976 to 1995. Following her council retirement she served on the Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital Board, which she left in 1993 to assume the Chair of the NEC. She is a regular freelance columnist on Burlington/Halton issues in the Hamilton Spectator.


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Culture weekend and Doors Open Burlington take place next weekend - plan for it, there is a lot to see.

eventspink 100x100By Staff

September 23, 2106



The 7th annual Culture Days weekend kicks off next Friday, September 30 and runs through Saturday, October 1st and Sunday, October 2nd. Burlington is getting more involved than ever by making arts and culture accessible to the community.

This year’s Culture Days will feature many different types of artists, activities and events, including Doors Open Burlington us for the 5th year in a row.

Here is a breakdown of some of the events taking place:

Art Gallery of Burlington,

Burlington Libraries,

Burlington Performing Arts Centre,

Burlington Student Theatre,

Burlington Teen Tour Band,

On October 1st, Civic Square is transformed into Art in the Square, an event that runs from 2 to 5 p.m. Artists and artisans will showcase their artwork in a marketplace and provide interactive activities for the community. The event will feature live music and dance performances and provide the opportunity to be a part of the audience, explore various art techniques and try something new.

Doors Open Burlington
open-doors-2016-listThe 7th annual Doors Open Burlington takes place on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is an occasion to see your city from a different perspective and celebrate the cultural importance of the sites throughout the community. The event will highlight important buildings, organizations and landmarks that make Burlington a culturally vibrant place to live, work and visit. Admission is free!


The city is a collection of doors – next weekend you get a chance to open many of them and take a peek inside.

The Burlington Cycling Committee will lead a bicycle tour of the Burlington sites for the Doors Open event. Meet at City Hall, Civic Square at 10 a.m. and begin our journey to explore the sites. All ages are welcome and we will keep a leisurely pace using all available bike paths and bike lanes. There will be an opportunity to stop and visit each site. We estimate the cycle tour will take about two hours.

The looming question about this event is – will they drive along New Street and take advantage of those new bike lanes – and will that traffic count in the data the city is collecting.

Registration is required at the start of the tour.

Visit to plan your weekend.

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McMahon gets her marching ordrs from the Premier - it's a long list.

News 100 redBy Staff

September 23, 2016



Premier Kathleen Wynne did something early in her term of office that had not been done before – she let the public know what the marching orders were for each of her Ministers. Those marching orders were updated today. Here is what Burlington’s MPP, Eleanor McMahon who is the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport for the province. is expected to do. she is going to be a busy lady.

September 23, 2016

The Honourable Eleanor McMahon
Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport
900 Bay Street
9th Floor, Hearst Block
Toronto, Ontario
M7A 2E1

Dear Minister McMahon:

Welcome to your role as Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. As we mark the mid-point of our mandate, we have a strong and new Cabinet, and are poised to redouble our efforts to deliver on our top priority — creating jobs and growth. Guided by our balanced plan to build Ontario up for everyone, we will continue to work together to deliver real benefits and more inclusive growth that will help people in their everyday lives.

McMahon - First public as Minister

MPP Eleanor McMahon at her first public even after being made a member of the Wynne cabinet.

We embark on this important part of our mandate knowing that our four-part economic plan is working — we are making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario’s history, making postsecondary education more affordable and accessible, leading the transition to a low-carbon economy and the fight against climate change, and building retirement security for workers.

Building on our ambitious and activist agenda, and with a focus on implementing our economic plan, we will continue to forge partnerships with businesses, educators, labour, communities, the not-for-profit sector and with all Ontarians to foster economic growth and to make a genuine, positive difference in people’s lives. Collaboration and active listening remain at the heart of the work we undertake on behalf of the people of Ontario — these are values that ensure a common purpose, stimulate positive change and help achieve desired outcomes. With this in mind, I ask that you work closely with your Cabinet colleagues to deliver positive results on initiatives that cut across several ministries, such as our Climate Change Action Plan, Business Growth Initiative, and the Highly Skilled Workforce Strategy. I also ask you to collaborate with the Minister Responsible for Digital Government to drive digital transformation across government and modernize public service delivery.

We have made tangible progress and we have achieved the following key results:

Delivered the largest, most successful Pan Am/Parapan Am Games ever, leaving a legacy of best in class infrastructure initiatives, inspiring civic engagement and boosting Ontario’s real GDP by up to $3.7 billion between 2009 and 2017.

Building on the success of the Toronto 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games, the province released Game ON – the Ontario government’s Sport Plan.

Launched Ontario’s first Culture Strategy to guide the government’s support for culture over the next five years. The strategy aims to promote participation in arts and culture, build on the sector’s economic impact in communities across the province and help Ontarians tell their stories and express themselves.
Supported 200 festivals and events across the province through the 2016 Celebrate Ontario program, drawing tourists, creating jobs and growing local economies.

In 2016-17 the Ontario Sport and Recreation Communities Fund will support 129 projects, allowing participation in community sport, recreation and physical activity.

Established a permanent Ontario Music Fund with a $15 million annual investment to increase music production activity in the province.

Enhanced the Community Aboriginal Recreation Activator program from 20 to 27 communities, to support physical activity, sport and recreation in Indigenous communities.

Launched the Ontario Libraries Capacity Fund to improve Information Technology resources at libraries.

Renewed the Ontario Games program, with an increase in hosting grants for municipalities, and supported the successful delivery of the 2016 Ontario Summer Games and 2016 Ontario 55+ Games.

AGB presentation McMahon

Even before being made a Minister MPP McMahon was working closely with the Art Gallery of Burlington.

Your mandate is to work on delivering top tourism and recreation experiences to Ontarians and visitors, and promoting the tourism sector to drive economic growth. Your specific priorities include:

Supporting Arts and Culture in Ontario to Bring Us Together and Make Our Communities and Economy Stronger

Implementing the Ontario Culture Strategy and work with partners and communities, including Indigenous partners, to:

Promote cultural engagement and inclusion.

Strengthen culture in communities.

Fuel the creative economy.

Promote the value of the arts throughout the government.

During winter 2016-17, develop the Arts Policy Framework as a key action under the Culture Strategy, to promote the contributions of artists and the broader arts sector throughout the Ontario government.

Building on the best year on record for film and TV, market our talented film crews, world-class facilities, and stable tax credit infrastructure to the world.

Celebrating 150 years of Ontario and the Federation

Co-ordinating cross-government efforts and work with community organizations to celebrate Ontario 150, our sesquicentennial in 2017, as well as the 150th anniversary of Canada. This celebratory year will create a strong economic, social and cultural legacy for Ontarians, with a particular focus on youth.

Preserving Our History and Stories and Support the Climate Change Action Plan

Working in 2017 with the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change to establish a program under the Climate Change Action Plan to fund energy retrofits of heritage buildings. The program should showcase the benefits of reducing energy consumption and preserving these important and historic buildings for the enjoyment of future generations.

Supporting a Dynamic Tourism Industry

Developing and releasing in fall 2016 the Strategic Framework for Tourism as a tool for industry and government to maximize the growth and competitiveness of Ontario’s tourism sector. The framework will build on enhanced partnerships to drive greater investment, workforce development, marketing activities and product development, and include the implementation of commitments outlined in the June 2016 Action Plan for Tourism.

Fulfilling the Vision for a Revitalized Ontario Place

Creating economic opportunities for tourism and investment through the revitalization of Ontario Place into a year-round, vibrant, waterfront destination while building on the site’s legacy of innovation, fun and live music.
Completing the construction and opening of the new Urban Park and William G. Davis Waterfront Trail to the public in 2017.

Continuing to transform Ontario Place through key public and private sector partners and deliver on a plan that integrates the West Island as a cultural hub and transforms the East Island as a celebration common. The process for selecting partners for this transformation should start this year and the results should be announced in 2017.

Supporting Opportunities for All Ontarians to be Physically Active in Sport and Recreation

Implementing Game ON – the Ontario government’s Sport Plan and enhance opportunities for Ontarians to participate in sport, recreation and physical activity, with a special emphasis on advancing opportunities for women and girls.

Supporting the Rowan’s Law Advisory Committee as it develops recommendations to prevent and mitigate head injuries in sports and to create awareness about head injuries in sports by fall 2017.

Implementing the refreshed Ontario Trails Strategy and Supporting Ontario Trails Act to manage and promote the use of trails in Ontario, and develop a world-class system of diversified trails.

Working with the Minister of Transportation and others, support cycling and walking as part of a healthy, active lifestyle, including supporting work across government to make commuter cycling easier and safer. As well, develop cycling as a tourism and environmental heritage draw in Ontario communities.

Strengthening Agencies and Enhancing Accountability

Continuing to support agency initiatives that enhance their sustainability and maximize their economic contributions to the province.

Continuing to work with agencies to provide oversight and support their efforts to meet best practices for good governance, fiscal management and public accountability.

Building Partnerships and Engaging with Indigenous Communities

Collaborating across government and with industry partners to identify opportunities and advance Indigenous tourism in Ontario, including support of the next phase of the Aboriginal Tourism 2020 strategy.

As part of Ontario’s response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission launching, in 2017, the Indigenous Cultural Revitalization Fund. The fund will support cultural activities with the goals of revitalizing cultural practices, raising awareness of the vitality of Indigenous cultures in Ontario and promoting reconciliation.
Supporting the successful hosting of the North American Indigenous Games in summer 2017.

In addition to the priority activities above, I ask that you also deliver results for Ontarians by driving progress in the following areas:

Work with the Minister of Children and Youth Services on Ontario’s Youth Action Plan to expand youth development programs, and focus government funding on those youth and communities most in need of support.
Work with the Minister of Education on Ontario’s Well Being Strategy to enhance mental and physical health of students and contribute to healthy child development today to ensure a strong future tomorrow.

Continue to develop opportunities for Indigenous community recreation.

As you know, taking action on the recommendations contained in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report is a priority for our government. That is why we released The Journey Together, a document that serves as a blueprint for making our government’s commitment to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples a reality. As we move forward with the implementation of the report, I ask you and your fellow Cabinet members to work together, in co-operation with our Indigenous partners, to help achieve real and measurable change for Indigenous communities.

Having made significant progress over the past year in implementing our community hubs strategy, I encourage you and your Cabinet colleagues to ensure that the Premier’s Special Advisor on Community Hubs and the Community Hubs Secretariat, at the Ministry of Infrastructure, are given the support they need to continue their vital cross-government work aimed at making better use of public properties, encouraging multi-use spaces and helping communities create financially sustainable hub models.

Responsible fiscal management remains an overarching priority for our government — a priority echoed strongly in our 2016 Budget. Thanks to our disciplined approach to the province’s finances over the past two years, we are on track to balance the budget next year, in 2017–18, which will also lower the province’s debt-to-GDP ratio. Yet this is not the moment to rest on our past accomplishments: it is essential that we work collaboratively across every sector of government to support evidence-based decision-making to ensure programs and services are effective, efficient and sustainable, in order to balance the budget by 2017–18, maintain balance in 2018–19, and position the province for longer-term fiscal sustainability.

McMahon with a bike

McMahon is a bicycle rider who understands how to manage her energy – she will have to manage her energy and her time to meet the mandate she has been given.

Marathon runners will tell you that an event’s halfway mark is an opportunity to reflect on progress made — but they will also tell you that it is the ideal moment to concentrate more intently and to move decisively forward. At this halfway mark of this government’s mandate, I encourage you to build on the momentum that we have successfully achieved over the past two years, to work in tandem with your fellow ministers to advance our economic plan and to ensure that Ontario remains a great place to live, work and raise a family.

I look forward to working together with you to build opportunity and prosperity for all Ontarians.


Kathleen Wynne
Updated: September 23, 2016

Giving each minister of a government a mandate letter is an accepted practice – making then public is something new.  After reading this one – can one wonder if this is a new twist to telling the public what you think they want to hear.  Not a word about the challenges involved for Ms McMahon nor is there any assurance given that the funds she needs to pull all this off are going to be available.

The upside is – we now have a yardstick with which to measure just how well the Minister and the Member of the Legislature for Burlington does on delivering.

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Gazebo in Spencer Smith Park gone - new structure to appear in the spring - part of a much larger plan for the waterfront.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

September 23, 2016



It’s gone

Two willow trees went first followed by the destruction of the gazebo that once sat in a small bowl of land at the east end of Spencer Smith Park.

The Gazette first reported on this last May when a city staffer quietly mentioned the plans during a Jane’s Walk put on by the Sustainability Advisory Committee,

There are some good reasons for the changes that are being made.

Gazebo Spencer Smith Park

The old gazebo and the willow trees that used to keep it company are gone. No new Willow trees but there will be a new gazebo and a pathway carved into the park leading to it.

The bowl of land tended to collect water – and when we get rain we get a lot of it.

The Gazebo that will go up on the spring will be a little bit bigger and it will be accessible and it will be located a little to the west of where it was and set back further from the water’s edge.

There will be a new pathway leading to the gazebo.


The new gazebo – slightly larger and accessible will get put up in the Spring in that area in this photograph, upper left.


A new pathway is being cut into the park that will lead to the gazebo’s new location.

You would not know any of this had you not been a regular Gazette reader.

But there is a bigger story developing around the changes to the gazebo.

The Waterfront Hotel to the immediate east of Spencer Smith Park, currently an eight story structure will undergo a significant change if the talks underway between the city and the hotel ownership come to a positive conclusion.

The plan it to tear down the hotel and put two – perhaps three structures in place. A new hotel would be something in the order of 20 storeys – similar to what the Bridgewater condominium that is east of the Waterfront Hotel.

The thinking the Gazette last heard was for the hotel property to be re-oriented so that it looked west right down the Naval Promenade at the edge of Spence smith Park.

If all this comes about – the downtown core of Burlington will have a totally different look.

Waterfront hotel with pier at foot

If the talks taking place come to fruition – this structure will come down and be replaced by two – perhaps three – buildings that will be south of the current Waterfront Hotel.

Add to that a dream a developer has to put two – perhaps as high as 40 storey structures – on the north side of Lakeshore Road between Brant and John Street.
For the immediate future – look for a considerably different look to the eastern end of Spencer Smith Park in the spring.

The one thing you will probably not see next Spring is any work being done on those two Windows to the Lake that were supposed to get built between Market and St. Paul.

The issue is the portion shown as parkette. The city had three options: keep the land and develop it as a parkette, lease the land to adjoining property owners until the city decides on its long term use or sell the land. The want to sell it.

The Market Street Window on the Lake and the St. Paul Street Window on the Lake haven’t even been started yet. What’s taking so long?

The money for those is in the bank – that came from the sale of an incredibly precious stretch of edge of lake land the city sold to property owners whose land abutted what was once public land – a dream opportunity that got away on us.



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Rivers on the changes in pension plans- he doesn't like the look of where this is going.

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

September 23, 2016



Imagine a Canada where after a lifetime of working everyone could look forward to receiving  a guaranteed two percent of the average salary for every year they worked in the form of a pension.

Working for 30 years would earn a pensioner 60% of that old salary or wage. That is what government workers, educators and those who still have defined-benefit company pensions receive. But that last category, those with a defined-benefit private company pension, is getting smaller.

“A stake in the heart of company pensions.” That is how one news outlet labelled the agreement reached between General Motors and its employees’ union Unifor. In exchange for a commitment to expand auto jobs in Ontario, GM will discontinue it’s old lifetime defined-benefit pension for new workers. Low interest rates, which have handicapped earnings for pension plans, is only part of the reason GM made getting rid of pension plans its priority.


Modern automotive production lines call for a highly skilled labour force – who should be entitled to fair pension plans.

In our modern globalized world corporate entities come and go, and can be gone long before all their former employees have departed, for heaven or that other place, and are still claiming the lifetime pension obligations they are entitled to. Just look at Hamilton’s US Steel company, formerly Stelco, which had to be bailed out by Ontario taxpayers. The US corporate giant, snubbed its legal commitment to keep jobs in Hamilton smack in Mr. Harper’s face. And then it walked away from its responsibilities to its pensioners, expecting the Ontario government to pick up the pieces.


Canada Pension Plan enhancement was a Trudeau election promise – Premier Wynne made sure he stuck to it and that the other provinces came around as well.

It is no wonder Premier Wynne was so keen on expanding public pensions for the average working person. And she takes some credit for catalyzing Canada’s leaders into enhancing the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). The CPP payments will move up to one third of a person’s former working income (from a quarter) under the recent federal/provincial agreement. Of course CPP enhancement was a Trudeau election promise as well, so it is questionable whether the province really needed to expend the $70 million it did, mainly promoting a program it expected/hoped would never see the light of day.

A national universal pension program is the ultimate in pension evolution, particularly in a more globalized work economy. The days of the paternalistic company, managing pension plans and other aspects of their employees lives, are so yesterday. In this vein the former Harper government may have been uncharacteristically progressive, mulling a shift of federal pensions to the defined-contribution model. However, his reluctance to even budge the CPP upwards at the same time argues that he was just being mean-hearted, again.

These so-called defined contribution plans are not anything like a substitute for a guaranteed pension, as one heads into the down-days of one’s life. For one thing people become more risk adverse as the the sands of time trickle down that hour-glass. And there is nothing like knowing you’ll be able to budget for that next trip to see the grandkids in Calgary when you are seventy-five years old. It’s the pensioner’s money except that the financial institution contracted to prepare and hold the plan is not doing this out of the goodness of its heart – like everyone who touches gold expect some of it to rub off on its hands.


Figuring out what you are going to actually have when retire isn’t supposed to be as difficult as it appears to be.

These defined-contribution plans gobble up retirement tax-credit space. And since they are employee contributory, in most case, they use up money they might use to buy other investments.

Defined-contribution is an awkward and unfortunate name since these financial instruments are nothing more than an RRSP bought on your behalf by your company.

And the truth is that RRSPs can turn out to be a curse, as many pensioners with respectable incomes post-retirement are finding. Those forced to cash in their RRIFs seem to paying more taxes now than when they were actually employed.

Someone in the Department of Finance should run the numbers. I’ll bet that eliminating RRSPs and raising the CPP to an even more respectable level might just net-out financially. But that would mean making our tax system less complicated. And what about the pensionable earnings of tax accountants and lawyers who helped create this morass?

Rivers looking to his leftRay 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 has been a candidate in a past provincial election.

Background links:getting new - yellow

GM/Unifor –

More GM –    Even More GM –

Defined Contribution –   Stelco Bailout –

Defined Benefit Plans –


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United Way fund raising teams are going to try and pull a 200,000 lb A300 UPS cargo plane 50 yards - really?

eventspink 100x100By Staff

September 22, 2016


It will be the photo op of photo ops.


Tips the scales at 200,000 lbs – and they want to pull it at least 50 – by hand.

A team of people trying to move an Airbus A300 – 50 feet across the tarmac at the John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport.

The occasion is the official kick off of the Burlington and Greater Hamilton United Way fall fund raising drive.

The Gazette plans on being there to see if this can actually be done.


Former, now retired Burlington General Manager Kim Phillips giving it her best as she works with other staff on a United Way fund raising drive.

In past United Way drives we have seen staff at city hall tug away on a rope to move a heavy duty truck

The theme for 2016-17 is: Help us change 164,000 lives. In the past the United Way has created a fund raising target and found that they were losing sight of the real reason for being – people.

They have helped 164,000 people change their lives by being there to help when help was needed.
The United Way serves as a safety net – with that organization in place dozen of agencies through the two communities would not have the funds to give the help that is needed


Shelves in a food bank – not exactly a supermarket is it.

That help covers the gamut from providing lunches for children on the weekend when there just isn’t a meal for them.

It includes financially supporting organizations that are on the ground, in the field delivering the support for the disadvantaged, the infirm – those down on their luck – often through no fault of their own.

Plane pulls are one way of getting some attention.
The Plane pull takes place on Saturday at the airport – make a day of it and takes the kids to the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum.

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Grade six math scores low across the province - slightly above the provincial average in Halton.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

September 21, 2016



The province released the results from the Ontario Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) which show Halton District School Board students continue to perform above the provincial average, with significant gains experienced in Grade 3 Reading and Grade 6 Writing levels.

These results were based on assessments completed in the 2015-2016 school year for primary and junior students in Reading, Writing and Mathematics.

The results in 2015-16 are being compared to results in 2013-14, as EQAO was not administered in public school boards last year.


These scores are nothing to shout about – surely this isn’t the best our teachers can do?

In Grade 3:

• Reading: Results show a three-percentage point gain in Reading from 76% to 79% of students achieving at or above the provincial standard, while the provincial average was 72%.

• Writing: 78% of students attained the provincial standard, a decrease from 81%. The provincial average was 74%, decreasing from 78%.

• Math: Overall, provincial results declined from the previous EQAO assessment. In Halton, 70% of students – compared to 74% – exceeded the provincial standard. The provincial average was 63%, a four-percentage point drop. The decrease in Halton and Ontario was the same.

In Grade 6:

• Reading: Results remained at 85% of all students achieving at or above the provincial standard, while the provincial average was 81%. The past five years have seen growth of 6% overall in Junior Reading.

• Writing: Results showed an increase to 85% from 82% of all students achieving at or above the provincial standard, while the provincial average was 80%. The past five years have seen an increase of 8% overall in Junior Writing.


We hope no one sees the reading and writing scores as acceptable – 90+ should be the goal that is reached. Math is terrible – expect the province to create a task force to up those numbers. Expect the Halon District school Board to move faster than the province.

• Math: Results decreased by five percentage points to 56% of students achieving at or above the provincial standard. The province saw a decrease of four percentage points in Grade 6 Mathematics with 50% of students achieving at or above the provincial standard.

While the Board is pleased with the overall EQAO results, having achieved higher than the provincial results in all six categories of the primary and junior assessments, HDSB recognizes the need to improve particularly in the area of math.

David Boag

David Boag, Associate Director of Education

“The Board continues to focus on its robust early literacy plan in all schools and is proudly making continuous gains in Grade 3 Reading,” said David Boag, Associate Director of Education for the Halton District School Board. “The Board’s Junior Reading and Writing scores improved as well, with the highest results ever in Grade 6 Writing.”

Junior Math results continue to decline for the Halton District School Board as well as for the province. While Halton continues to achieve above the provincial average in this category, the Board recognizes Junior Mathematics is an important area of focus.

“To improve math results, the province announced a revised math strategy this past spring. Halton is revising its Math Plan to reflect that strategy by developing goals to close the student achievement gap,” Boag said.

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Openings - and a full time paid job to be filed - Sound of Music needs to fill a key position.

som3 100By Staff

September 21, 2016



Openings, openings, openings – the Sound of Music is looking for people who can chair strong committees made up of hard working and very capable volunteers.

These are leadership opportunities.
Open Committee Chair positions include VIP, Sponsorship and Special Projects.

Join the team! See for information on volunteering.

Hiring, hiring, hiring!
We’re also hiring a Sponsorship Manager (full time staff position).

See the job description for more details and apply by September 26.

Does this sound like you?

The competencies and qualifications needed:

Hundreds of volunteers make the Sound of Music Festival work - two of them mark the location for a vendor.

Hundreds of volunteers make the Sound of Music Festival work – two of them mark the location for a vendor.

University degree or college certificate and 3 to 5 years of sponsorship experience or equivalent combination of education and experience.
Previous experience in the not for profit environment with Committee, volunteer workforce and event management required.
Proficiency at Microsoft Office programs
Superior interpersonal and communication skills are pivotal to establishing and maintaining harmonious internal & external relationships
Demonstrated experience creating and implementing sponsorship and public relations strategies
Strong organization skills and the ability to prioritize are essential to aid working to tight deadlines and multi-tasking
Can work independently with ease and be a contributing member of a team
Highly motivated individual with collaborative approach to work and proven problem solving skill especially when under pressure.
Send a cover letter and resume to, referencing the position title in the subject line. Application deadline is on or before Monday, September 26, 2016.

getting new - yellow

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