Metrolinx staff make a young women’s final wish to operate a train come true

graphic community 3By Anne Marie Aikins

May 17th, 2021



Transit vehicles, especially big commuter trains, can inspire imagination and even a bit of awe. But for some, they become the thing of dreams and wishes.

If given the opportunity to ask for anything – anything in the world – what would be your last big wish?

For one determined young woman, it was to operate a train like the GO trains she often took rides in with her parents. It was always her dream, but now seemed like an impossible feat for someone on her last journey in palliative care.

metrolinx girl with her dad

Romina stands next to a GO Transit Safety officer and his K9 partner at the UP Express terminal at Union Station.

Born with Down syndrome, Romina Asrani is now 21 years old. The endearing and determined wisp of a young woman saw her wish come true at Union Station this past weekend (May 16) when Metrolinx and Alstom Canada staff worked together to create an incredible, joyful experience that no one will soon forget.

This past year has been filled with sadness and loss for everyone. There is a proverb, however that says sorrow is a requirement for finding moments of true joy. This story may seem terribly huge, but because a young woman believed her dream was possible, it also made us believe it too.

And we felt joyous even for a few minutes because of her.

I was first introduced to Romina Asrani and her family when Sick Kids reached out to tell us about her dream to “drive a big train like her grandfather”.

Hesitant at first because it seemed impossible under the circumstances, but I was willing to try and do what we could and agreed to meet with them by video. The Thornhill parents, Mansour and Soraya, told me about their daughter Romina, who was born with Down syndrome and has suffered with multiple illnesses since she was a little girl. She’s a fighter, Soraya said, but is now in palliative care.

metrolinx asrani h&s

Romina Asrani: She’s a fighter, Soraya, her Mother said, “but is now in palliative care.”

Romina told me about her wish to drive a train some day. They often, at least before she became gravely ill and the pandemic began, took the GO train for trips, and she would take the train in Europe too, she said. Her dad would tell her stories about her grandfather who was a train engineer and his stories always fascinated her.

Well, I fell in love with her immediately of course, so proposed we wait until we were out of lockdown and it was safer. She wouldn’t be able to exactly drive a train, I said, but I would see if our rail team could give her a fun trip, nonetheless.

Unfortunately, they were concerned that waiting wasn’t really an option, so we agreed on a Sunday afternoon with barely three days to plan. The parents also requested a reporter be there so they could have her story documented. Romina cheered as we ended the call saying: “Yes, I am going to drive a train!”

I hung up on our video call wondering: ‘What on earth am I going to do? I cannot disappoint her.’

For readers who don’t know, my little sister Jenny was one of the greatest sources of joy in my life. Like Romina, she was also born with Down syndrome and died the day before our first lockdown in March 2020. Jenny would have kicked my butt if I didn’t fulfill Romina’s dream.

So, I reached out across our organization – to senior leadership in rail, transit safety, operations, stations, and beyond – and told them about Romina’s last wish. I pressed send on the email and waited – within minutes everyone responded with the same message.

And then I sat back and watched our teams create some magic. Metrolinx staff worked with Alstom Canada to plan a special UP Express train and a crew to work personally with Romina. Stations staff ensured we were ready to escort the family around safely with a wheelchair for Romina to carry her oxygen and reduce the amount of walking. Transit safety arranged to be on site with Dougie from the K9 team. Souvenir gifts were planned. And a safety plan was meticulously prepared to ensure we remained COVID-safe and were prepared for any type of emergency.

Staff thought of everything and really reached out across our entire organization to prepare for Romina’s special train.

The day finally arrived. As the family pulled up in front of Union Station, I was taken aback just how frail and tiny Romina was as she approached and glad we thought about bringing a wheelchair.

After I greeted Romina and her parents, transit safety and stations staff met with the family as they arrived, took them to the UP Express station and provided her with special gifts including official transit safety badges, a GO bear and plenty of masks. She loved the UV cleaner in the station and made her parents clean their phones. 2

Once the regular scheduled train was loaded with customers and left for the airport, with Romina watching from the platform, the station grew quiet and over the loudspeaker came this soothing voice:

“Attention please, we have an extraordinary announcement. Please join me and all our staff at Metrolinx in welcoming Romina and her family to UP Express as our very special guests today. The next train arriving is Romina’s train.”

metrolinx girl with police dog

“This is the coolest thing, the best thing that has ever happened in my life. I will never forget it, ever.”

Romina’s joy was palpable, and she was giddy with excitement as the specially arranged train arrived and the doors opened. As we entered the train, staff and customers in the station spontaneously cheered loudly.

“This is the coolest thing, the best thing that has ever happened in my life. I will never forget it, ever.”

The crew met Romina and toured her through the train, explained their jobs and when they asked her if she wanted to sit in the conductor’s seat in the cab, she turned to me and said: “Really, you are making this happen for me?”

I’m not sure there was a dry eye at this point. Certainly not mine.

The Alstom crew, engineer Tony Borek and conductor Aaron Trude, took her into the cab, let her hold the key, which she held like it was the most precious treasure and then explained all the gadgets. The microphone was a huge hit; they showed her how to use it to make announcements and toot the horn.

Although she wasn’t technically operating the train, the crew made her feel like she was in control as the train moved the very short trip to platform 3 and back.

Once we were back at the station, Romina sat in the opposite end cab and showed off her skills on the microphone.

“I’m so excited,” she said.

While Romina learned the tricks of the trade, Soraya and I chatted like moms do. She told me just how hard the last year has been for her daughter, the loneliness, her worsening breathing and stays in the hospital. Worrying about contracting a potentially deadly virus added to their anxieties.

Soraya spoke with such fondness and gratitude for their amazing Sick Kids family – the same hospital Jenny was treated at for years.

Then the crew presented her with an official honorary locomotive engineer certificate.

metrolinx certificate

“I could not be happier than I am right this minute,”

“This is the coolest thing, the best thing that has ever happened in my life,” Romina said. “I will never forget it, ever.”

As the family wished, Global News (including Global National) was there to document her journey. When Mansour was asked to speak to the reporter, Romina tugged his sleeve to let him know she had this covered. And then she articulated much better than any of us could what this experience meant to her.

“I could not be happier than I am right this minute,” Romina said. “Thank you all for making my wish come true for me. I love you all. You are my angels.”

When I passed on her thanks to Savio D’Gamma Rose, a manager in the operations centre who helped bring all the details together behind the scenes, his response spoke for all of us: “This was my absolute pleasure. I was lucky to be a part, even in a small way, of bringing some happiness and joy to Romina today.”

Thank you, Romina from all of us.


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We have a Mayor who does not walk her talk - ducks the opportunity to support local news

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

May 17th, 2021



Tuesday afternoon, tomorrow,  Mayor Marianne Meed Ward will take her seat in Council Chambers as Chair of a meeting of city council.

Along with her is the City Clerk, the audio visual technician – who should be referred to as the magician given the way he manages to keep the video feed stable. It is no small matter.

Part of getting a Council meeting underway is to read a land acknowledgement and to read out any proclamations that are to be made.

The following are the proclamations that are to apply for this meeting of Council


Day of Action Against Anti-Asian Racism: May 10, 2021

Apraxia Awareness Day: May 14, 2021

National Public Works Week: May 16 – 22, 202

National AccessAbility Week: May 30 – June 5, 2021

World Sickle Cell Day: June 19, 2021

Senior Volunteer Appreciation Week: June 1-8, 2021

Hidradenitis Suppurative (HS) Awareness Week: June 7 – 13, 2021

Month of Play: June 2021

National Indigenous History Month: June 2021

National Deaf/blind Awareness Month: June 2021

Pride Month: June 2021

Her Worship speaks frequently about her 22 years as a journalist and when there were people in the council chamber the Mayor would acknowledge the presence of media.

One would have thought that the Mayor would have chosen to recognize the National News Media week and take up the opportunity to support local news media.

A web site organized by a group of senior journalists with the humorous name inkstainedwretches took on the task of asking municipalities across the country to support local news.  The “wretches” are asking Canadian municipalities to pass a journalism-support resolution between May 3, 2021 and Canada Day.

The petition read:

Given that the creation and distribution of reliable information is crucial for our individual and collective well-being, democracy and civil society;

Given the point to which digital platforms have evolved during the past decade has severely damaged an ecosystem that enables news outlets to provide reliable information (the damage is evident from the number of established news media outlets that closed or merged in Canada since 2008, and has become more critical due to the novel coronavirus pandemic).

We encourage our elected leaders to enact legislation to shape an ecosystem that supports one of the crucial foundations of a functioning democracy: reliable, local journalism.

The following is a lost of all the municipalities that passed a resolution of support to date – look as hard as you may – Burlington is not in the list.

    City of Winnipeg, Man. (April 29, 2021)

    City of Kamloops, BC (April 20, 2021)

    City of London, ON (April 13, 2021)

    Chatham-Kent, ON ( April 12, 2021)

    City of St. John’s, NL (April 5, 2021)

    City of Prince George, BC (March 22, 2021)

    City of Toronto, ON (March 10, 2021)

    Town of Saugeen Shores, ON (Nov. 23, 2020)

    District of Tofino, BC (Oct. 27, 2020)

    City of Kitchener, ON (Sept. 14, 2020)

    Town of Essex, ON (Sept. 8, 2020)

    Town of LaSalle, ON (Sept. 8, 2020)

    City of Cambridge, ON (Sept. 8, 2020)

    City of Kingston, ON (Sept. 1, 2020)

    City of Windsor, ON (Aug. 24, 2020)

    City of Hamilton, ON (July 17, 2020)

    Township of Wellesley, ON (June 30, 2020)

    Township of Woolwich, ON (June 23, 2020)

    Township of North Dumfries, ON (June 22, 2020)

    Township of Wilmot, ON (June 22, 2020)

    City of Waterloo, ON (June 22, 2020)

    Region of Waterloo, ON (June 3, 2020)

While quick to talk about the importance of the media Mayor Meed Ward has yet to hold a press conference since donning the Chain of Office.  Requests to her office for a comment on an issue results in someone from the communications department who ask what it is we want to know.  The Mayor has a full time communications operative working for her.

The Gazette has served the city for ten years. Before becoming Mayor there were numerous interviews with Marianne Meed Ward; nothing since taking the Oath of Office.

Her Worship might surprise us all and produce a resolution before Canada Day.

Salt with Pepper is the musings, reflections and opinions of the publisher of the Burlington Gazette, an online newspaper that was formed in 2010 and is a member of the National Newsmedia Council.

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Victoria Day: What’s open and closed at the City of Burlington

News 100 blueBy Staff

May 17th, 2021



City of Burlington administrative services will be closed for Victoria Day on Monday, May 24. For a list of which City services and facilities are available on the Victoria Day holiday, please see the summary below or visit

Queen Victoria

The event celebrates the birth of Queen Victoria – a women that reigned when the British Commonwealth was the biggest power in the world. Her reign’s impact is still being felt.

*Important information regarding COVID-19: The information provided below is accurate as of May 17, 2021. In the event of any changes made by the Province of Ontario to the current COVID-19 Stay-at-Home order, please visit for potential impacts to City services and programs.

Residents can also stay informed about city news on our social media channels: @cityburlington on Twitter and

City Service Holiday Closure Information
Animal Services
The Animal Shelter at 2424 Industrial St. remains closed to the public due to COVID-19.
To report an animal control-related emergency, call 905-335-3030 or visit

Burlington Transit Burlington Transit will operate a Sunday schedule on Victoria Day. For real-time bus information and schedules visit

The downtown terminal at 430 John St. and Specialized Dispatch will be closed on Monday, May 24.

City Hall The Service Burlington counter at City Hall (426 Brant St.), will be closed to all appointments and walk-in service on Monday, May 24.
Many service payments are available online at

Halton Court Services Provincial Offences Office Court administration counter services at 4085 Palladium Way will be closed on Monday May 24.

With the exception of the Victoria Day closure, telephone payments are available at 905-637-1274, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday. All in-person services are available from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday to Friday. Many services are also available by email at or online at Halton Court Services.

Parking Free parking is available downtown, on the street, in municipal lots and in the parking garage (414 Locust St.) on weekends and holidays, including Victoria Day.

• The Waterfront parking lots (east and west at 1286 Lakeshore Rd) do not provide free parking on statutory holidays.
• Paid parking, on weekends only, at Beachway Park (1100 Lakeshore Rd) begins Saturday, May 22, using HONK Mobile.
Parking exemptions are required to park overnight on city streets and for longer than five hours. Visit

Recreation Programs and Facilities Lending Library
Play Equipment
• Horseshoes, glow in the dark soccer balls, Kanjam, washer toss, tennis, Spikeball and more are available to borrow.

Pickleball Equipment

• Borrow pickleball equipment for free, including noise-reducing paddles, ball packs and portable nets that can be used in your backyard or driveway. Visit

kids running

Get out and have fun – just follow the rules and we will soon see the end of the pandemic

Outdoor Activities
If you need some fresh air and activity, it’s okay to walk, cycle or jog through your neighbourhood park, but please do not linger. Please stay two metres (six feet) away from everyone else in the park, or on a trail, and take your waste home with you to dispose of it.

Active at Home
Options to stay active at home are available online at, including a series of virtual activities from fitness to crafts for everyone to enjoy. All videos are free and new videos are added frequently.



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Is there a solution to what gets done with North Aldershot?

News 100 greenBy Tom Muir

May 16th, 2021


Part 1 of a series.

The North Aldershot/Eagle Heights issue is not only a Regional issue, but is a city-wide and neighborhood issue as well.

rural - urban - NA

North Aldershot has planning policies that are distinct and separate from rural and urban Burlington.

North Aldershot (NA) is a separate Planning Zone (like Urban and Rural) and has its own policies with very detailed zoning. The City has had a long history of Official Planning (OP) and by-law planning policies written specifically for North Aldershot.

My experience in this dates back to 1993/94.

It is the last remaining parcel of largely undeveloped land in Burlington, and if fully serviced, the last “greenfield”. But it’s not just any greenfield. It is a distinct mixed landscape, with deeply incised creeks and watercourses, and rolling slopes from the escarpment down to the flats of Plains Road.

If you know the area, you know that it is unique and very special, even idyllic I would say. Over many years, public efforts, including the many agencies of the North Aldershot Inter-agency Review (NAIR), have recognized this distinctiveness, and expressed the goal and principles to keep it distinct, while still trying to allow some development form designed to co-exist, but not replace.

North aldershot boundary

Waterdown Road, at the bottom is the eastern border. The 403, on the left, is the southern border. The property is a total of 1365  hectares

I’m writing here because I think that special place is in grave danger from ever increasing demands for more development than was  ever contemplated.

The crux issue in the development proposals for North Aldershot and specifically Eagle Heights, is density. As you can see, the wanted unit numbers in the applications have steadily increased as time went by, right up to 2019. There is a history in development proposals over 1962 to the present.

The number of units to be built on the property kept growing as appeals were made.

October/November 1995 resulted in  plan for 501 units in the Central Sector.  The Paletta (PIC) lands included 363 units with a park block and a school block, while the former “Taylor” lands included 46 units. The remaining 92 residential units were permitted on areas owned by other landowners in the Central Sector.

December 2010, PIC and Taylor submitted revised draft plans of subdivision to permit the development of 870 residential units (815 units on the PIC lands and 55 units on the Taylor lands).

In 1993/4 the Parkway Belt West Plan policies were in effect as the decision foundation. Under the umbrella of this Plan, at that time, the (NAIR) undertook a lengthy multi-agency and citizen group  Land Use Concept exercise for NA.

area + the players

There are a number of different agencies that have their own policies that apply to the 1,365 ha that make the North Aldershot property.

This Review was concurrent with an application for 1100 units from Paletta International Corporation (PIC). This application represented two landowners; PIC and Taylor.

With the NAIR multi-party conclusions and recommendations that 232 units were acceptable, the City of Burlington chose this number to take back to the developer. The PIC appealed to the OMB.

An eight week OMB hearing took place in the spring of 1995 and another eight (8) weeks in 1996. In subsequent meetings, with no citizens present, the city planning/legal and the PIC planning/legal, negotiated a settlement to take to OMB for a Hearing.

The settlement plan was approved by the OMB in October/December 1996.

These Settlement negotiations between the parties in October/November 1995 resulted in a plan for 501 units in the Central Sector.  The PIC lands included 363 units with a park block and a school block, while the former “Taylor” lands included 46 units. The remaining 92 residential units were permitted on areas owned by other landowners in the Central Sector.

This was a very controversial settlement and the citizens, including myself, were left feeling betrayed. The basis and facts as they appear in the Minutes of Settlement are covered in a follow up report.

The OMB approved this settlement in 1996. Then the never ending applications for revisions to increase the unit count began.

On July 19, 2002, PIC and Taylor submitted Official Plan Amendment, Zoning By-law Amendment draft plan of subdivision applications to the City of Burlington. An application was made for residential development for a total of up to 665 (596 PIC, 69 Taylor) residential units.

The owners appealed the applications to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) in October 2002 for lack of decision. This decision was appealed twice by City but both rulings went to the applicant.

In December 2010, PIC and Taylor submitted revised draft plans of subdivision to permit the development of 870 residential units (815 units on the PIC lands and 55 units on the Taylor lands).

This 2010 application revision included 4, four story apartment condominium buildings in the Paletta lands.

The 2010 proposal revision was subject to a public meeting, comment, and multi-agency staff refusal was seen as inadequate.

The present development application as of 2019 is the following, totaling 924 units.

  • The proposed development of the PIC property, a 97-hectare parcel on the north side of Flatt Road, is for 203 single-detached houses and 587 cluster houses (attached units) for a total of 790 units. The apartment buildings from 2010 are still part of this application.
  • The proposed development of a 9.6-hectare parcel on the south side of Flatt Road, is for 32 single-detached houses and 102 cluster houses for a total of 134 units.
  • The applications have been appealed to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal by the applicants.

This history is important for people to be aware of – most people don’t know and are  confused by the changing numbers.

Also, most important, only the 1996 unit counts are approved.

None of the other amendment applications submitted has been moved into a Hearing at LPAT (OMB), either contested or negotiated settlement.

What citizens want to see is a detailed, concrete, and replicable evidence trail that leads to the decision, or staff advice, about what density is defensible and can be recommended under current science and policy regimes. Agency and public concerns and comments number in the hundreds, and we want to see them answered explicitly.

I will be following the presentations on Tuesday and reporting on the public input and the discussions that take place.

Muir making a point

Tom Muir

Tom Muir is an Aldershot resident who is persistent and at times acerbic.  More often than not he has the facts and a knowledge of the development that exceeds what many, if not most of the people in the planning department.

For Muir this has been a long battle – he isn’t at all certain that the public interest will be served when this phase is over but he is certain there will be more appeals.






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A day filled with sunshine - Spencer Smith Park was busy but not packed

graphic community 3By Staff

May 16th, 2021



musician picolo

Facing the lake and tempting the waves on bright sunny day.

What a beautiful day it was!

bikes on the promendae

Not many of these people chose to wear masks.

Families were out enjoying the weather; the kids were playing and there was a gentleman tempting the waves with his flute.

Sunday is going to be just as big a blessing.

Enjoy what our staff photographer recorded.

City staff  are in a bit of a holding pattern, waiting for direction from the province as to what can be opened up and when.

We know that there won’t be a traditional Sound of Music event; they are working up a program – nothing yet on what they are going to be able to do.

soaking up the sunshine by Skyway

Soaking up the sunshine out by the Skyway with a breeze coming in off the Hamilton Harbour.

Ribfest might be able to open up – if the new infection numbers are low enough.

kids in turnstyle

Everyone wanted to be on the turnstile.


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Lakeside Plaza still has some life in it.

News 100 blueBy Staff

May 14th, 2021



Lakeside Plaza has not been sold, is not for sale but was put on hold while the owners met with both elected officials and members of the community.

The initial application proposed an overall redevelopment that included a mix of single storey, mid-rise and high-rise buildings that provided 900 new residential units, 2,700 square metres of office space and 11,955 square metres of service commercial and retail uses.

Lakeside Plaza May 14

There is too much upside for a developer to walk away from this opportunity.

A revised redevelopment plan that addresses technical and community comments is being prepared by the applicant’s project team.

Following a meeting with the community, staff, Ward Councillor and Mayor Meed Ward in December 2019, the project team commenced some additional work to update the concept plan based on the principles discussed with the group and based on additional technical studies that were ongoing at the time.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the project was put on hold. The project has recently been restarted (April 2021) following an update meeting with the owner’s representative and the consulting team.

In the next few months the project team will be revising the conceptual plans and technical studies with the goal of reconnecting with the community group and staff in late summer or early fall to present updated plans and eventually reaching out to the broader community following a re submission. Further updates will be provided as this work progresses.

Several questions have been raised about the sale of the site and a change to the consulting team. There has been no sale of the site and the consulting team remains as it was since the last update.

Related news story

Statutory meeting – developer wasn’t able to change a lot of minds – then a pandemic slowed everything down.

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Temporary Lane Restrictions - Glastonbury Road plus

notices100x100By Staff

May 14th, 2021


road closedTemporary Lane Restrictions – Glastonbury Road, Tintagel Lane, Cotswold Crescent, Montgomery Drive, Shropshire Place, Lynington Court, and Tweedsmuir Court

There will be temporary lane restrictions from May 17 to Sept. 3, 2021 on Glastonbury Road, Tintagel Lane, Cotswold Crescent, Montgomery Drive, Shropshire Place, Lynington Court, and Tweedsmuir Court.

One lane will remain open to traffic at all times.

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Ward Councillor talks to his constituents virtually - forgets to tell them he will seek re-election

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

May 14th, 2021



Being in a situation where every event that takes place to advise and inform people has to be virtual, ward Councillors have to struggle to get some attention.  Some Councillors seem to have given up.

Galbraith with two women in Tim

Galbraith meeting with constituents shortly after being elected. Councillor says he will be running for a second term.

Last night ward 1 Councillor Kelvin Galbraith put on what turned out to be a packed agenda.

I fully expected the event to be short – not more than an hour and not all that much in the way of new information.  I was wrong.

It went for two hours and there was no shortage of new information.

Earlier in the week we got a media notice from the city on some traffic limitations on Waterdown Road while hydro poles were moved on the east side of the road.

There is a lot more than hydro pole relocation work going on.

Tentative Timelines

Enbridge Gas Relocations: Complete

Minor Hydro/Bell Relocations

 Advanced Works: Ongoing – Summer 2021

(East side Retaining Walls & Tree Removals)

 Hydro Pole Relocations: Mid May 2021 to Summer

(Buried Hydro Duct at South Hydro One ROW) 2022

Halton Region Advanced Watermain Replacement: Summer to Fall 2021

(Regional Reservoir to Flatt Road – approx. 360m length)

 Road Construction Public Meeting : Q2 2022

 Main Construction Contract: Fall 2022 to 2024

The original budget for the work came in at $14.8 million – it has since ballooned to $30 Million.  The road on the west side will include a 2.5 – 3 metre multi user path that will allow bicycles.

The road will eventually become 4 lanes.

Waterdown - resevoir region

The reservoir that is being upgraded is shown bottom right.

The ongoing work comes at a time when the Regional government is holding a public meeting (virtually) on a review of the Region’s Official Plan that is to include a meeting focus on North Aldershot and the Eagle Heights development that has been in the works for decades.

Much of Aldershot doesn’t have the the tree canopy coverage other parts of Burlington has – but it does have the only recognized heritage tree in the city.  The oak tree is one of the markers for the original land grant given Joseph Brant.

During a Forestry meeting earlier in the week residents learned that each household will be given a free tree that will be planted on city property outside their homes.

Tyandaga sign

New business model to be approved by Council on Monday

Galbraith brought his constituents up to date on the plans for the  Tyandaga golf course but slipped up on any mention of the tax payer being asked to pick up part of the cost for a location that used to be completely supported by fees.  There are some capital costs that the current business model can’t handle. Galbraith was very good at taking questions at the close of the meeting – and the questions kept coming and coming.

It was when asked directly that The Councillor explained what the new financial outlook was going to be.

The North Aldershot meeting takes place on Monday the 17th in the evening.  There is a link to the event on the Regional website: halton@ropr

Tom Muir, a well-informed Aldershot resident on the North Aldershot lands, which are outside the Burlington urban boundary, points to the growth in the permitted level of development going from 400 in in 1996 to 665 in 2001, to 870 in 2010to a total of 100 in 2020 – without as much as a shovel in the ground.

Brant property tree on Allview in Aldershot

A White Oak tree in Burlington that is at least 300 years old has been given a heritage designation by the province. The city-owned, 30-metre (100-foot) high tree has a circumference of nearly 500 centimetres (16.7 ft.) and is quite likely one of the oldest and largest Quercus alba specimens in Canada, according to the Burlington Historical Society. Located at Allview Avenue, a short street on the north shore of Burlington Bay, the White Oak was part of an historic boundary line for nearly 250 years. Before 1957, it also marked the starting point of the border between Burlington and Aldershot. According to the historical society’s website, “In 1789, the Allview White Oak was a surveyor’s benchmark for a treaty arranging the purchase from the Mississauga First Nation, for the British Crown, of a block of land that soon afterwards became the 3,450-acre parcel of land known as Brant’s Block.

The lands border on Waterdown which is part of Hamilton which is why the city of Hamilton is paying 95% of the cost of the reservoir that is being upgraded.

Galbraith told his constituents that he had nothing he could add about the ownership of the LaSalle Park property other than to say that talks were still taking place.

The park is in Burlington but the land is owned by the city of Hamilton.  Complex.  The city owns the infrastructure and covers all the operating costs and pay Hamilton rent of $1 a year.

Links to related stories:

How Burlington got the deal of a lifetime – LaSalle Park rental for $1 a year.

New business model for Tyandaga Golf Course





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People of Burlington know how to follow the rules

graphic community 3By Staff

May 14th, 2021



When left to following the rules most Burlingtonians comply.

A Gazette reporter/photographer  got out into the parks and the waterfront – things were quieter, people were following the rules – getting the exercise and fresh air they needed,

The pictures tell the story.

Ships and fishing

Ships at anchor while a couple test the waters for fish. There were actually three ships at anchor – unusual for Hamilton.

little guy not sure LaSalle May 13

The little guy wasn’t exactly sure what he wanted to do despite a lot of coaxing from Dad; the other two new exactly what they wanted to do,

hanging from parl equipment

LaSalle man reading in sunshine shorts

Looks like this man is working on his tan and doing a crossword puzzle. Great social distancing.

LaSalle Mom with daughter picnic

Mom just wants to know why the camera is pointed at her.

Beachway - few people walking

Very few people on the Beach on a Thursday – it will be different on a weekend that is forecast to have great weather.

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Police marine patrol watching the Beachway on Thursday

News 100 redBy Staff

May 14th, 2021



police boat May 13

Boat from the Regional Police Marine unit were cruising the waters opposite the Beachway.

While Halton Regional Police Chief Tanner may have said his people would not be involved in crowd issues in Burlington there was one of the boats from the Marine fleet patrolling the waters off the Beachway on Thursday.

Those boats do not patrol on a regular basis – someone told them to be out there.  Watch for them on the weekend.  We might see a much needed shift in police involvement.

The boat didn’t come in very close – but the Officer was on deck with binoculars.

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Temporary Lane Restrictions - Waterdown Road north from Craven

notices100x100By Staff

May 12th, 2021



From May 12 to Nov. 26, 2021, there will be temporary lane closures as hydro pole relocation work is done along Waterdown Road from Craven Avenue to Mountain Brow Road.

waterdown road

Those telephone polls are going to be re-located. At some point there is gong to be major development further north along Waterdown Road.

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Long term growth plan for Burlington

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

May 12th, 2021


In an earlier version of this article we neglected to mention that ward 1 Councillor Galbraith did take part.

The bigger picture is often the one that gets missed.

Big picture - who does what

The Planning Hierarchy – each of these policy statements and plans have to be adhered to. The Region reviews each municipal plan to ensure that everything in the hierarchy is met. It is a very complex process.

Last night the Regional government took people through a two hour discussion on what population and job growth is going to have to look like in 2051

2051 is a long time out – the future however gets determined to a large degree by decisions we make today.

Burlington certainly learned that lesson when in 2016 a bus terminal got identified first as a transportation hub and then as an MTSA (Major Transportation Service Area) that allowed a developer to put up a 26 storyey building on the corner of Martha and Lakeshore Road. They are digging the hole in the ground now for what will be called the Nautique.

The Regional Planning department, which has to approve anything and everything in terms of the Official Plan for the municipalities of Burlington, Oakville, Milton and Halton Hills, is doing the required five year review of its Official Plan and figuring out how it will integrate the growth in the Region the province has called for.

The meeting last night was focused on how the Region thinks things should be approached for Burlington.

Growth concept

Regional Staff and their consultants working from data already collected developed four concepts – each of which would have a different outcome in terms of population growth, where it would take place and new ob potential. The objective is to take the best from each concept and come up with a preferred concept and present that to the public; ideally in June..

More than 80 people took part in the virtual meeting that included eight people from the Regional Planning staff and presented the current growth concepts.  There were just two elected representatives from Burlington; Mayor Meed Ward and Councillor Bentivegna. Perhaps those that chose not to take part have decided they won’t run for re-election

Former Mayor Rick Goldring and former Councillor Rick Craven took part. Is Goldring looking at the possibility of a comeback?

The meeting took on the task of getting the views of those taking part using several on-line polls and setting out what might be decided by setting out four possible concepts and explaining the impact each of those concepts would have on how the community evolved.

For Burlington, the over riding concern was development of the land north of the Hwy 407 – Dundas boundary. Urban to the south – rural to the north of that boundary.  Burlington’s identity as a city rests on two fundamental and foundations beliefs: never touch the Escarpment lands and keep your development fingers off Spencer Smith Park and the Beachway.  They are part of the city’s DNA.

population and growth for region to 2051

The planning that will get us to 2031 has for the most part been done. The focus now is what does Burlington want to build between 2031 and 2051 and where do they want to growth to be located.

circle graphic 1.1 million peoplecircle 500k jobsWhile much of the planning is a numbers game, there is room for community values and growth aspirations.

The Region is given a number by the province that has to be met.  The Region divides up the provincial number between the municipalities.

147,00 people and 69,000 jobs in next 10 years in current approved urban areas

334,000 people and 150,000 jobs between 2031 and 2051 which must be planned for now

How do we make that happen.  Later this week the Gazette will be dig into some of the data and the choices Burlington faces.  Do your homework or don’t complain when you learn five years from now that your Burlington is going to look a lot different.

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Mayor says the parks are open - some private community parks are not open

graphic community 5By Staff

May 12th, 2021



The parks were closed by the province; then they were opened when the province realized the closing was a dumb decision.

Georgian - closed playground

This boy just wants to play and that yellow tape is in the way.

But not all the parks are open and that is a concern for an Aldershot parent who lives in the Georgian Court community where the park put in place and maintained by the housing company is closed.

Mayor response

Mayors says: Go ahead and use the park. It wasn’t a public park.

Her unit looks right out over the park and her son just does not understand why he can’t be outside playing.

Nor does his Mom who is a stay at home parent and asked not to be personally identified.

She is part of a group of parents who are all stay-at-home mothers and do everything they can to keep their children active and outdoors as much as possible.

In Burlington when you have a problem – you call the Mayor, who explained to our parent that indeed the parks are open.

Georgian message

Georgian Court Management explains their position – which isn’t the same as that of the Mayor. Problem is they are talking about different kinds of parks.

Some miscommunication in there somewhere – the Office of the Mayor didn’t understand that the park that had been closed was not a city park.

Our parent didn’t know who her ward councillor was. We’ve put the two of them together to see if someone can explain to the community when the private community park can be opened.

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Halton municipalities asking province to safely open outdoor activities

News 100 blueBy Staff

May 11th, 2021



The Mayors of the four Region of  Halton and the Chair of the Region reiterate their call to safely reopen outdoor activities

Regional boundariesAs the Province of Ontario considers extending the Stay-at-Home emergency order beyond May 20, today, Halton’s Mayors and Regional Chair are reiterating our call to safely reopen outdoor activities.

Outdoor activities done safely with physical distancing and masking are a necessary support to physical and mental health, especially during this prolonged period of lockdown. Guidance provided by the COVID-19 Science Advisory Table for Ontario, that has also been endorsed by the Ontario Medical Association, encourages safe outdoor activities. •

Keeping people safely connected: Maintaining social connections and outdoor activity are important to our overall physical and mental health. This means allowing small groups of people from different households to meet outside with masking and two-metre distancing.

It means keeping playgrounds open and clearly encouraging safe outdoor activities. As noted by the Science Table: “Policies that discourage safe outdoor activity will not control COVID-19 and will disproportionately harm children and those who do not have access to their own greenspace, especially those living in crowded conditions.”

While the Halton Mayors and Regional Chair continue to discourage large gatherings in any setting, small groups can be at the same amenity at the same time as long as they are following the health guidelines. We also stand with our Halton students who are calling for a safe return to sports when health guidance and evidence suggests it is safe to do so.

The Halton District School Board’s (HDSB) Student Senate recently passed a motion declaring sports essential in students’ lives and created a Safe Sports subcommittee, co-chaired by two Halton students. The committee seeks to work with the Province to develop a plan for the safe return of sports, beginning with low-contact sports such as track and field, tennis, badminton, and swimming.

Given that many sporting activities occur in city facilities, the four Halton municipalities stand ready to partner with the Province, school boards and our local fitness providers in planning for a safe restart of sports.

In light of the evidence and advice from the Science Table, we renew our call to the Province to review and reconsider the list of currently prohibited outdoor activities. We further call on the provincial government to consult with school boards and our youth to design a safe return to sports plan, so that low-contact sports can resume as soon as it is safe to do so.

 Halton Regional Chair, Gary Carr;  Mayor Marianne Meed Ward, City of Burlington;  Mayor Rob Burton, Town of Oakville;  Mayor Gordon Krantz, Town of Milton;  Mayor Rick Bonnette, Town of Halton Hills

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Having police in place when they are really needed

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

May 11, 2021



There is a comment in the Gazette from a former police officer who served for 30 years – it deserves some comment.  The police officer wrote:

“My point is …. pay duty officers are requested and paid for by a private company (ie construction, movie shoots) NOT Halton Region, so the suggestion that the City of Burlington request and pay for pay duty officers (out of our tax dollars) is ridiculous. It’s sad to see how the media has contributed to the rise in tension and hate towards the police, of late. AND yes I am proud of my honourable career as a police officer. I worked for HRPS for 30 years!”

Our purpose is not to identify the officer but to respond to her assertion that the Gazette has contributed to the rise in” tension and hate towards the police”.

Rattlesnake 1 police car

Most of the time the police are where they need to be.

The intention is to hold the police accountable and ensure that they be transparent and protect the public that hires them to do just that.

The word hate was introduced by the police officer – not the Burlington Gazette.

Police are often seen on the street, riding bicycles and keeping an eye on things – a basic part of good police work; getting out of the cruiser and seeing what is going on.

In the ten years we have covered Burlington the Gazette has reported on a lot of outstanding police work. There are a lot of smart, dedicated men and women serving the public.

The only thing ridiculous about paying for pay duty police officers is that the taxpayer would be paying twice.

Police officer told us he was on "bikini patrol" and that he loved his job.

Police officer told us he was on “bikini patrol” and that he loved his job.

Times are tough for many people. Coping with the financial damage being done to the hospitality sector is seriously hurting families and some of that pain gets expressed publicly.

People are fearful, they expect, want, and need support.

Most people recognize that is why we have a police service.

Related news


Salt with Pepper is the musings, reflections and opinions of the publisher of the Burlington Gazette, an online newspaper that was formed in 2010 and is a member of the National Newsmedia Council.

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Taxpayer funds are expected to support the golf course going forward

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

May 10th, 2021


This is a little on the long side – important because it points to the way the current city council wants to spend.


Rob Axiak, Manager of Recreation Services was explaining to council that the business model being used to operate the Tyandaga golf course wasn’t working and at the current rate of spending the reserve funds would be depleted in a couple of years.

Rob Axiac

Rob Axiak, Manager of Recreation Services

A different business model was needed.

The Staff Direction the Parks, Recreation, Community and Culture (RCC) department wanted was:

Direct the Director of Recreation, Community and Culture to permanently phase in over 2022 – 2026, a change to the Tyandaga operating model, shifting from the current net zero model to a tax-supported model funded by both user fees and the general tax- base.

If approved this would mean a permanent adjustment to the current operating model and result in the golf course being paid for with a combination of fees and money from the tax payer instead of just fee revenue.

Tyandaga has been described as land developers would love to get their hands on. The 108 acre property could have development potential – however it has a number of streams that would hamper development.

Councillor Sharman told his council colleagues there was a time when some members of council and developers had drawings done up – but it never got past that point

In February Parks staff were tasked to further engage the community regarding both the golf service and public park opportunities. The community spoke clearly of the ongoing desire to maintain an 18 hole golf course, improve basic amenities like cart paths, and enhance the winter park play experience and use of the clubhouse.

tyandaga uses

Survey data

During the Spring, Summer and Fall, the grounds at Tyandaga are primarily used for a multitude of golf related programs which are open, affordable and accessible to all.

During the Winter months, the grounds are transformed into an active public park where people can enjoy the space for a variety of casual play opportunities including tobogganing and snow shoeing. This entire four-season operation is considered a net zero and expected to be funded solely by revenues earned through golf programs and services.

The common consensus amongst Council members as noted in a February 2020 report were:

 We value the greenspace at Tyandaga
 We value having a municipal golf course
 We value having a destination for the community year-round
 We look forward to hearing about additional uses for the Clubhouse
 We would welcome hearing about additional uses on the greenspace for the community to enjoy.

Tyandaga has always  operated under the current net zero operation; they receive nothing from the public purse. User-fee revenues generated from golf are expected to fully fund both the operating and capital cost requirements year-round, including all winter park opportunities.

Uncontrollable factors such as climate change and extreme weather patterns have also impacted golf revenues in recent years. Revenues earned have only been able to cover basic operational expenses with very limited and selected investment in capital.

Councillor Sharman told his colleagues that: “…we should have known about this all along.”

Ward 3 Councillor Rory Nissan said he was on board for the change in the funding model – he did say as well that he has never played the course.

City manager  Tim Commisso told council that the location and its problem have been studied for years.  There was a time when the pressure from developers was intense.

Mayor Meed Ward made the point that the existence of the golf course is a benefit to everyone – much like the Paletta operation in the east end of the city.

Sharman later added that “we know the cost of everything but not the value.”

Council was clearly prepared to change the business model. Sharman seemed to sum it up: “‘this is the only way to go”  Hopefully that argument will stand up when it appears in the budget in 2022.

Some ongoing course maintenance and major capital renewal expenses have been deferred .

The net zero operating model for a municipally owned and operated golf course is quite unique to the City of Burlington. Most, if not all other municipal golf courses in Ontario, have some degree of tax-base support. For example, both the City of Hamilton and the City of Mississauga both operate municipal golf courses and are supported by the tax-base.

There are three primary types of operating models that exists within the RCC department presently. They are shown below with some examples of what types of services/assets are associated with each of them.

op model 1op model 2
When comparing Tyandaga to the other net zero locations noted in the chart above, Tyandaga offers recreational activities that the city directly intended for broader community access including youth golf and league play and a multitude of winter park causal play opportunities. Tyandaga is far more aligned with a sport field and public park as opposed to the commercially based net zero operations in the department. The net zero food service locations are commercial tenant-based / for-profit businesses that provide commercial food and beverage services (e.g. banquets, concession, restaurant).

On-the-other-hand, pools, arenas, parks and community centres are all financially supported by the tax-base, with a portion of their costs offset through user fees where appropriate (e.g. rental permits, registration fees and drop-in fees).
The ongoing sustainability of this operation, service and asset, as well as meeting the evolving needs and interests of the community is the basis for why a change to the operating model is necessary.

COVID-19 Impact on 2020 Operations:
Interest in golf has been strong and steady for many years, especially during this past season (2020). With the province wide shut down imposed in late March 2020, the opening of the golf course was delayed by over 6 weeks. When permitted to open, several restrictions were mandated which subsequently limited program offerings. The delayed opening and the limited program opportunities had a significant impact on the course’s ability to generate revenues to its fullest potential.

Through a strategic re-design approach in 2020, dedicated staff, and decent weather, the course saw 28,993 rounds of golf (80% capacity utilization) which then translated into an annual profit of $179,000. Under the current net-zero operating model, $77,411 of the profit was transferred to the vehicle depreciation reserve fund (VDRF) while the balance of $101,705 was transferred to the general Tyandaga reserve fund. Golfers, new and returning flocked to Tyandaga with great interest in participating in one of the first recreational opportunities reopened to the public.

Proposed Operating Model:
Through discussions with senior staff, the proposed new operating model must be guided by a key set of principles. These include:

• Service and Financial Sustainability
• Adherence to Asset Management principles and practices
• Allow for adaptations and adjustment to service levels to meet the needs of the community
• Supported by the Framework for Community Recreation in the City of Burlington (e.g. affordability, play for all ages / abilities, variety, access, etc.) *
• Align with the operating model that is most suited
• Phased in over time to ease the financial burden
• Promote active green space opportunities

phased in RCC 2022-2027

*The proposed new operating model was vetted through the methodology of the Framework for Community Recreation for the City of Burlington. This alignment includes the broad use of the land for a variety of recreational activities, with a focus on the fundamentals of play, ensuring access and affordability is at the forefront of the services provided, meaningful engagement with the neighbourhood and stakeholders, and to maximize use of the property, year round.

The proposed operating model for Tyandaga will look to align the program/service and assets/amenities to a typical RCC model; drawing on both user fees and the tax-base to support. This recommendation will position Tyandaga to be equal to a city pool, arena, sports field, community centre or park.

Phased in Approach (2022-2027)
To support this proposed change, staff are recommending this shift occur over a five- year phased in approach (2022-2027). This approach is recommended to slowly ease the financial burden onto the tax-base over time, as opposed to all at once. This new operating model has three distinct advantages:

rcc spending 3 years

• Sustainability: Both financial and service levels will have a higher degree of certainty and sustainability into the future.
• Growth / Change: This model will allow for new and exciting opportunities to be considered and introduced both for the golf course and for the park without the sole and limited reliance on the revenue produced by golf.
• Asset Renewal: All asset renewal will be planned for using the same asset management principles and practices throughout the city.

The asset will get renewed at the right time and be embedded within the broader capital budget prioritization process when competing for funding.

The phased in approach will begin in 2022, and span over five years into 2027 (2022- 2027). As shown below, there will be three distinct phases, slowly moving expenses over to the tax-base to support. To note for this year (2021), will operate as previously planned and budgeted for, following all COVID regulatory requirements.

Each phase will capture two years of operation with an assessment completed after each phase. Council will be informed of the progress of this process as part of Tyandaga’s annual update. Each phase will introduce financial requirements into the general tax-base. For example, in phase 1, the Golf Operation (revenues) will support the overall operating budget, as well as all fleet requirements, while general capital requirements will be transferred over to the tax-base to support. As part of the annual budget process each year (operating and capital), changes as noted in each of the three phases will be highlighted.

By 2026, Tyandaga will begin to implement a 5% surcharge on user fees which will then fund the Tyandaga reserve fund. This reserve fund will be used to partially support capital renewal needs at the course. This surcharge approach is used presently at pools, arenas and community centres.

rebuilding the reserve

• Fleet is the required equipment needed to maintain the greens. Fleet also includes snow clearing equipment needed to clear the parking lot in the winter months.
• The above model removes the annual ‘Payment in Lieu’ of $25,000 that Tyandaga had traditionally paid the RCC department for management overhead and to simulate property taxes within a net zero operating model.

Programs and Service Delivery during the Phases
Based on feedback heard, staff will look to create new programs and services over the 5 years and look to support some needed capital upkeep and repair.

Climate Implications
Burlington has been experiencing many extreme weather events that have negatively affected the golf industry throughout southern Ontario. The climate crisis directly affects the overall operations, causing later openings and early closures to the golf season which has negatively impacted the overall financial performance.
It has been five years since the City of Burlington received 191 millimeters of rainfall in 8-hours causing significant flooding and damage throughout the City. Since that date, we have consistently received major climate challenges year after year. Flooding, ice storms and draughts to name a few. Most recently, between April 1 and May 13, 2019 Burlington experienced 226 millimeters of rain adversely affecting participation, revenues and expenses at the golf course, a recent trend impacting the golf operation.

The Standing Committee decision:

Direct the Director of Recreation, Community and Culture to permanently phased-in over 2022 – 2026, a change to the Tyandaga operating model, shifting from the current net zero model to a tax-supported model funded by both user fees and the general tax-base, as outlined in recreation, community and culture department report RCC-01-21.

The matter goes to Council where it can be approved on May 18th.

Gazette reader Chris Ariens, posted a comment in the Gazette saying: “Ultimately we’re going to have to scale back on something. As a kid of about 12, the only way I was going to be able to afford to play golf was to get a junior membership at a public course. The pandemic has spiked golf demand as people are looking for any activity which they can do outside safely. Unfortunately the Province has closed golf courses, not because of the danger they pose but because of the bad optics.

“I’d say if we’re going to subsidize recreation, we need to ensure it remains reasonably affordable, especially for young people to be able to learn the game and participate.”

Joe Gaetan adds: “Having lived in Tyandaga for over 20 years, I vividly recall the last time the city or certain councillors decided they needed to look into “what to do” about the golf course. The motive to me at the time and probably still is, was how could the city develop some or all of this land to unlock the financial potential of this lovely piece of green space.

“At that time, the city with involvement of Tyandaga residents, undertook a very in depth and detailed study of the options. Before anybody does anything, they need to resurrect that file and look at all the hard work that was done at the time. There will always be a councillor or two who wants to turn all or parts of Tyandaga into a multi million home development. Pay attention folks.”

In the staff report the Recreation, Community and Culture department noted that the city did use reserve funds to pump $4 million plus into the LaSalle Park Marina.


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Halton Region opening new COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic in Burlington

News 100 redBy Staff

May 10th, 2021



On Wednesday, May 12, Halton Region will open a new COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic at Gary Allan Learning Centre at 3250 New Street in Burlington.

Lots of parking space

Starting today, eligible residents can book to their vaccination appointments at the new location through Halton’s online booking system.To book an appointment CLICK HERE.

“Based on expected supply, Halton Region is pleased to offer more options for residents to get their COVID-19 vaccine,” said Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr. “We are making great progress on vaccinating our community, but our ability to open appointments to more eligible groups and expand vaccination options remains dependent on ongoing and predictable supplies from both the Provincial and Federal governments.

In addition to our new Burlington clinic, we also have capacity in our current clinics to significantly increase what we are doing now – we are ready to get more people vaccinated as we receive more vaccines from the Federal and Provincial governments.”

Halton Region now has seven COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics across the region, operating seven days a week. In addition to opening the new Burlington location, clinic hours will be extended into the evening at the FirstOntario Arts Centre location in Milton starting May 18. This will provide more options for residents to book their vaccination appointments at a time most convenient for their schedules. Residents are reminded that all appointments must be made through Halton’s online booking system and walk-ins will not be accepted.

“Getting more people vaccinated each and every day will help us get closer to achieving community protection,” said Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Halton Region Medical Officer of Health. “I encourage everyone to book their appointments when it’s their turn. The best vaccine for you is the first one you are offered and the more people we are able to vaccinate each and every day, the closer we can get to returning to normal.”

Halton Region Public Health is reminding all residents to continue to adhere to public health measures, regadless of vaccination status. This includes staying home as much possible, only going out for essential reasons and only gathering indoors or outdoors with their households. When out in public for essential reasons (getting groceries or medicine, attending medical appointments or work) or enjoying outdoor activities, residents are reminded to wear a mask and keep a two-metre distance from anyone outside their households.

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Aerial spraying of pesticides to curb gypsy moth infestations

News 100 greenBy Staff

May 10th, 2021



A gypsy-moth as a caterpillar


As part of its Integrated Pest Management program, the City of Burlington will be using a low-flying helicopter to aerial spray a bio-pesticide over four wooded areas to help control gypsy moth populations. The gypsy moths eat the leaves of trees, causing significant defoliation and potential long-term impact to the City’s urban forest.

The areas identified for spraying include:

City View Park
Kilbride Park
LaSalle Park
Zimmerman Park.

The spray program will occur over two days, between May 10 and June 10, 2021. The exact dates and time for the aerial spray are dependent on weather conditions, as well as the development of the insect.

Spray dates will be posted on the City’s Twitter and Facebook accounts @CityBurlington and online at at least 48-hours before the spraying.

Steve Robinson Forestry Manager

Steve Robinson, Manager of Urban Forestry

Manager of Urban Forestry explains what this is all about: “We need to take action to reduce the gypsy moth population in order to maintain the health of our valuable urban forest. Currently, populations are expected to be too high for their natural predators to keep them in check. By applying a biological pesticide with a measured approach, we will be able to reduce pest populations to manageable levels. Protecting our urban forests is a priority for the City as it greatly impacts our health, homes and recreation.”

Quick Facts

• The City’s contractor will be applying a Class 11 biopesticide, Foray 48B, REGISTRATION NO. 24977 PEST CONTROL PRODUCTS ACT, with active ingredient Bacillus thuringiensis ‘kurstaki’.

• Application of the pesticide with be completed between 5 and 7:30 a.m.

• Bacillus thuringiensis ‘kurstaki’ (Btk) is a soil-borne bacterium that is applied to the leaves of affected trees while caterpillars are in their early stages of development. Once ingested, the bacterium disrupts the caterpillars’ digestive system with cessation of eating within 24-48 hours. Within days, caterpillars that have ingested Btk will succumb to its effects.

aerial spraying gypsy moth

Low level helicopter spraying.

• Btk does not have any negative effects to humans, birds or bees. Btk will affect other caterpillar species (known as non-target species). Due to its low residual nature and the narrow spray window due to larval development, the non-target impact is expected to be low.

• Individuals who have concerns should take reasonable precautions to avoid exposure during a spray program in the same way they would avoid pollen or other airborne materials during days when air quality advisories are issued. Residents can also reduce exposure by staying indoors with windows and doors shut during the spray period if spraying is taking place in their area, although this is not required by health officials.

• European Gypsy moth, Lymantria dispar, is a non-native invasive pest that was introduced in the late 19th century. It was first discovered in Ontario in the 1960’s and has been a major defoliator of deciduous and coniferous trees across Southern Ontario.

gypsy moth

Gypsy moth once is has matured from a caterpillar

• As part of Burlington’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program, Forestry staff assess sites annually across the city and conduct egg mass surveys to determine areas that have exceeded an action threshold, whereby natural processes can no longer maintain pest population levels on their own. Although healthy trees can generally withstand defoliation several years in a row, trees which are already in distress from problems such as acute drought, compacted soils, diseases or other pests, may decline and die. Generally, healthy trees which are defoliated in spring, will leaf out again by mid-summer. Gypsy moth populations tend to be cyclical, with peaks every 8-12 years, followed by dramatic population decline of the pest.

• The City of Burlington last conducted a similar program in 2019. Program frequency is determined as part of the city’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program.

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The winning entry to name the Jane McKenna rubber chicken: The Dirty Plucker

graphic community 5By Staff

May 10th, 2021



The late Jane Irving once told city council that the city is now known as “Borington”.

Might be boring but it does have a sense of humour.

rubber chicken 1

The rubber chicken now has a name: The Dirty Plucker. We might donate the chicken to the Historical Society

Late in April the Gazette did a piece on the “chicken little” statements MPP Jane McKenna made in the provincial Legislature;we  added an illustration of a rubber chicken that was on life support.

We asked Burlington residents to suggest a name for the chicken.

There were many, not hundreds but a respectable response –  the one that was the best of the lot was: The Dirty Plucker.

There has been no response from MPP McKenna – that’s a fact.

Good contest.  All in fun.

We need some levity in these times.

Related news story

McKenna’s version of the facts.

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Positive Relationships with Police and Public Safety - are both possible during a pandemic

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

May 10TH, 2021


 Part two of a two part article.

Chief of Police Stephen Tanner met with city council virtually last week – covered the full spectrum of what they do for the municipalities in Halton .

Chief Tanner 2

Chief Tanner in conversation virtually with Council.

In 2020 there were 44,675 calls for service to the police; impaired driving charges increased by 100% during part of 2020 when bars and restaurants were closed.

Police officers now have much more in the way of personal devices that help get the job done.  He said he expects that in the not too distant future they will be able to finger print a person on the spot and be able to access RCMP and Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC)  data banks. Chief Tanner certainly liked it.

In the past the police used to transport 300 to 400 individuals who were in custody to court hearings.  The advent of virtual hearing via Zoom has basically ended the need for that service.

During the question and answer part of the meeting the Chief mentioned that there was going to be an additional court house operation somewhere on the South Service Road, he paused and wondered aloud if he was supposed to be making those plans public.

The comment that caught people by surprise was word that the police were not going to be involved in the public patrolling of parks and other places where large numbers of people gather.

A comment made at council meeting last week that a city staff member had been involved in an incident that put her personal safety at risk brought the approach the Chief had suggested into question.

If the police cannot be called upon when there are public safety issues who do municipal administrations turn to?

During the council meeting mention was made of the mounted patrol Toronto has and the appearances they make in parks.  Burlington doesn’t have mounted police officers but there are a lot of bicycles that could be used.

Chief Tanner hard look

Tickets handed out by police do not result in positive relationships.

Media were not able to learn who the staff person was and just what had happened; only that the Spencer Smith Park Ambassador program was on hold until the there is more information.

During the virtual session with the police Chief Tanner talked about the police relationship with the city. Mention was made of the number of tickets that were handed out by police – did not result in positive relationships.

Expect there to be discussions about the quality of the relationship with the police and the matter of public safety.

Part 1 of a two part article

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