Steel beams from the first attempt to build a pier in Burlington finally find a home - over a creek in Ancaster.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

December 29, 2015


Can one get through a year in Burlington without some mention of the pier – the project that managed to grow from a $6.5 million price to cost more than $14 million?

For those who were perhaps snoozing while this exercise in municipal efficiency too place a quick briefing will help.


It was a grand opening – the Burlington Teen Tour Band marched out to the end of the pier and back to shore with the flags fluttering in the breeze.

The Pier was the dream of a Mayor who left office before the project was completed. The next Mayor hated the thing and everything imaginable happened, including the collapse of a crane, and the first version had to be taken apart before it was completed.

Pier crane down

The day the crane toppled over on the pier construction site – the city began to get a $5 million headache.

The second version did get completed – for a hefty price and a court case where everyone managed to say they had won. Neither the Mayor that came up with the idea or the Mayor that wanted to see it torn down was able to attend the grand opening ceremonies.

The current Mayor, the man who had to take all the flack, managed to get himself re-elected along with the members of his council that approved the pier project in the first place. During their first term they also managed to take a pass on a proposal to build the pier that was first constructed with sub standard steel

The current contractor isn't the first company to have problems with steel not passing tests. Original contract HSS has

Steel beams that were deemed no up to specifications for Burlington’s pier lay waiting for a new home in a contractors yard.

The first builder was able to clear his reputation, get most of the money he was owed and get left with a number of massive steel beams that he kept in a field.

All the city employees who managed the project are no longer with the city of Burlington.

Henrys pier #1

Steel beams that once had a home at the foot of Brant Street in Burlington got torn out and now serve as the trusses for a smaller bridge.

Henry Schilthuis, president of Harm Schilthuis and Sons Ltd., the company hired to build the pier the first time around, is, a practical man who found an opportunity recently to put some of that steel that wasn’t up to spec for the Burlington pier but suited the needs of the Hamilton District Christian High School that needed a small bride to go across a creek.

Schilthuis provided the steel beams, which he admits are much heaver than needed, and is working with the students who will add a wooden floor to the bridge in the Spring.

The bridge will allow the students to get from school property to a sports field.

There are still a number of those steel beams left – so expect a few more stories about that now infamously expensive pier at the foot of Brant Street in Burlington, Ontario.

Background links:

Meed Ward says city paid $5 million more than it should have for the pier.

City didn’t get what it went to court to get – but the award they did get wasn’t that shabby. However, we did pay for the pier twice.

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First winter storm waves - captured by Donna Zaffino

News 100 blueBy Staff

December 29, 2015


One of the real pleasures of living downtown is being close to Spencer Smith Park and being able to watch the storm waves roll in off the lake,

Donna Zaffino managed to get out and take a handful of pictures which she shared on her Facebook page – and we are sharing them with you.

Donna’s husband has suggested she not go out on the Naval Promenade again.

Storm waves Flemming #3


Storm waves -Flemming Dec 29 #1

The waves just kept on rolling in.

Her comment: 1st storm of the season earlier today when things were still calm.

Now the wind is REALLY ripping and the breakers are 7 to 9 rows deep now. Rob says I have to stay home. bummer

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2015 – Year in review – top story second quarter – Flood victims get financial support.

News 100 redBy Staff

December 29, 2015


What happened to our city during the 2Q (April, May, June) of 2015?  Click on the link for the full story.

April 2015
Population shifts suggest there might be some consolidation, especially at the public elementary school level

Mayor assures audience that intensification will not impact traditional communities – Tyendaga golf course seems to be safe.


THE Ice Storm

Province gives the Region the balance of the $2.8 million promised to cover part of the cost of recovering from the ice storm December of 2013.

Community Foundation distributes $897,000 to groups in the city – highest level ever for the organization.

Strategic Plan deliberations begin – intensification and where people are going to live appears to be the question that will shape the conversation.

City and region give Transport Canada their views on how the regulations regarding public input on air park development can be changed. Progress – finally.

11,970 people take part in the 2015 CleanUp GreenUp of the city.

Transit advocates issue a short report with recommendations – will city council react?

Who are these people? They have been nominated as amongst Burlington’s Best.

Aldershot residents feel they aren’t being told the whole story – It’s not right and regrettable as well.

Councillor Dennison’s OMB hearing to overturn a Committee of Adjustment decision begins Tuesday.

Air Park entrance uly 2013

Air Park berm – built without a site plan

City and the air park are back in court – city manager proving to be a man of few words when it comes to explaining what the city is doing.

Public gets a look and a listen to the plans for upgrading Brant Square – developers hope to have it done by 2018.

Early designs for the Windows on the Lake appear to get public support – local residents don’t seem to be as impressed.

Burlington’s former Miss Canada has her sights set on the House of Commons – bye bye city hall.

Public gets first look at the design for Beachway Park: it is almost five character parks strung together

Head of the culture and heritage in Grande Prairie coming to Burlington to lead the AGB – wait till he sees the cost of a house in this city.

Foxcroft in London

Ron Foxcroft – on hi way to met the Queen.

Royalty is the next stop for Burlington’s most famous high school drop out.

Plans for rebuild of Lakeshore Road are shown lots of discussion to take place on this one: road to be raised a metre in some locations.

Province to publish graduation rates: Halton Board released numbers yesterday.

May 2015
It is going to cost $686 million to educate 62,000 students in the public school system – they might have to get by with fewer French language teachers.

Province reviewing Municipal Elections Act to give municipalities more choice in municipal elections; ranked ballot under consideration.

Ontario plans to increasing protections for Condo Owners; little late for the $4 million that was taken from a number of Burlington condo corporations.

Council vote Dec 18-14 Water Street

Council during a recorded vote.

Vote on Code of Conduct deferred – Dennison wasn’t able to attend the meeting.

Does the Ghent house on Brant Street at Ghent matter historically? Should it be saved and if it should how can a city do that?

Beachway Park will cost $51 million includes everything – even the cost of removing the hydro towers.

Public will be able to take city council behavior complaints to an Integrity Commissioner once the Code of Conduct has been passed.

Test kitchen - Pop Up from the store side

The Test Kitchen Pop Up seating on Brant Street.

Pop Up Patio on Brant opens – 21 tables where two cars normally park – interesting menu and a fun place.

Mayor returns after week long trip representing Burlington in Holland during historic 70th anniversary celebrating the end of WW II

There just might be some life in the Skyway Plaza in the east end of the city – proposals and ideas are being kicked around.

Community Foundation is ready to close the file on flood relief claims $2.97 million will eventually be distributed.

June 2015
Community Foundation brings their Disaster Relief Fund drive to a close – 38 of the 310 claims were denied; $2.7 million distributed.

Residential re-sale prices brisk; up 17.7 % year over year.

Aldershot residents get an up close look at Masonry Court project “not very imaginative” was one comment.

Director of Education has failed twice at retirement; thinks he can get it right on this his third attempt – expects to leave in August.

Windows St Paul concept 2

Design for a Window on the Lake the public can actually get to.

More than respectable Windows-to-theLake designs approved by a Council Standing Committee.

Art Gallery of Burlington raises $60,000 at its Parisian themed Art Auction

Board of education does a quickie and approves spending for both capital ($62.6 million) and operating ($685.7) spending in minutes – also says it will be going along with the new sex ed curriculum .

Conservatives in new Oakville North Burlington federal riding choose Effie Triantafilipoulos over Blair Lancaster.

New Burlington riding chooses Oakville Councillor as their candidate: Pam Damoff will run for the federal Liberals in Oakville North Burlington.

What Burlingtonians told market researchers they liked and did not like about living here – what’s not to like?

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Snow Update: December 29, 2015 9 a.m.

notices100x100By Staff

December 29, 2015


Snow Update: Dec. 29, 2015 9 a.m.

Approximately 5 to 7 cm of snow accumulated in the city overnight.

Plowing of primary and secondary roads has been completed.

Plowing of primary and secondary sidewalks and pathways is ongoing.

Clean up continues to ensure catch basins are clear to prevent flooding.

Staff continue to monitor road and weather conditions.

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2015 - A Year of promise hope and challenges: Rivers on what we got and what we didn't get.

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

December 29, 2015


Columnist Ray Rivers looks at 2015 and comments on where we got it right and where we could have done better.  Before taking a month off to travel, refresh and get caught up on his reading Rivers will suggest where 2016 might take us.

Justin Trudeau’s decisive victory at the polls has ushered in a new sense of hope and promise. He is just one person but he has ignited a sense of optimism in the land, and the refugee resettlement issue has been an effective policy instrument. A promise is a promise, but does it really matter whether it’s 10,000 people by the end of the year, unless you happen to be one of those refugees, that is.

Having decided to open our doors to those in need has changed the nature of the debate. No longer just an international obligation, immigration is now cast as an investment in our future. Fear of terrorists among the masses has been replaced with a reflection on the benefits previous refugee settling programs have brought us, going back to the early Irish migrations.

Female researcher taking notes

Federal scientists in Canada can now talk about their work.

Barely two months into office this new leadership has already shaken up our public service. Scientists are once again allowed to speak openly about their findings, and the long-form census is back, fulfilling vital information needs. The promised middle-income tax cut has already been effected, and a non-partisan process for appointing senators is being developed.

But sooner than later Mr. Trudeau will need to beef up the foot soldiers who carry out his wishes. He’ll need a fully responsive, enthusiastic and capable bureaucracy to implement the government’s political will. Over the previous decade the federal public service had atrophied and in some areas, like environmental management, been decimated. Disillusioned and depreciated, many of the smartest people chose to leave rather than suffer the indignation of serving a government which resented them as burdensome, redundant and a drain on the public purse.

Canada is a federation and it works best when the central and provincial governments are working together, something we’ve seen in spades even in the brief time that the Liberals have been in office, and something that had been missing over the last decade. It may help that most of the provinces are also Liberal, or Liberal friendly, except for Saskatchewan. But a common political stripe doesn’t guarantee harmony, as we saw with the earlier PC government in Newfoundland.

There is a new sense of mutual respect for the positions of others. For example, even though the PM has enough support to revise the Canada Pension Plan, he’s waiting for B.C. and Saskatchewan to climb on board. Climate change is a priority, but since the provinces will be doing much of the heavy lifting they will be a big part of the process, thereby ensuring greenhouse gas reduction plans and targets are truly national – for the first time.

Rising tides lift all boatsIt is said that a rising tide lifts us all. Well at least Trudeau’s election victory did for the popularity of the newly elected premiers in the Atlantic provinces. But it didn’t do much for the Liberal leaders in Ontario and Quebec. Voter fatigue is a natural phenomena for a government in power as long as the Liberals have been in Ontario. And the polls also reflect the public’s impatience with what it sees as less than satisfactory performance.

The debt and deficits are a problem. But it’s all the other screw-ups which leave one with the sense of lack of competence. And each screw-up makes it harder for a government to recover lost confidence and credibility. Recently the provincial auditor general (AG) claimed that $37 billion was wasted on the electricity file over the last decade. If accurate, that is a powerful lot of money wasted on that file. Is it any wonder most Ontario householders didn’t trust the government to effect the sell-off of Hydro One?

Poor political direction or failed administrative execution? It’s pretty clear that the gas plant fiasco, including the alleged attempted cover-up was almost entirely political. But that only accounts for one-thirty-seventh of the AG’s allegations. If the role of the civil service is to keep the government that is in power, to stay in power, then they are doing a pretty inadequate job on that file. And part of the reason may be that the organization is stale-dated and long overdue for renewal.

water unsafeOntario’s government hasn’t seen much re-organization over the years, certainly not compared to the federal government. One of the boldest attempts at renewal was prescribed in Mike Harris’s common sense revolution. And of course smaller government was always better, in his mind. Well it may have looked good on paper and it won him the election. But as former Harris education minister Snobelen found, creating crises as an approach to organizational re-engineering just leaves you with… chaos.

And whatever good was accomplished by Harris’ red-tape cutting gestapo was soon lost following the Walkerton scandal, in which seven people died after drinking improperly treated water That tragic incident probably had more to do with downsizing than red-tape, but the baby got thrown out with the polluted bathwater anyway. And the result, ironically, was even more rules and more civil servants to enforce them.

Beer in supermarkets

Beer is no sold in supermarkets – but not yet in Burlington.

Like most Ontario residents I cheered to the news that beer would now be available in grocery stores. But then I learned of all the rules surrounding what should be a simple transaction for a mildly alcoholic beverage – rules that didn’t seem to apply equally at many of the existing in-grocery wine stores, nor at the many rural LCBO franchise outlets. Was this a case of too many provincial lawyers with too much ink in their quills and too little else to write about – or just more of that nanny-state we’ve grown to love?

One of the provincial Liberals’ campaign promises was to enhance our pensions through a provincial plan. Reducing the inequality between those with an institutional or private pension plan and those without is a liberal ideal. But with E-health and ORNGE in mind it is understandable that there is some lack of confidence in this government’s ability to effectively deliver that program. So, it is no surprise that Ontario residents would prefer the new federal government to do it for us as part of our Canada Pension Plan.

Rivers-direct-into-camera1-173x300Ray Rivers writes weekly on both federal and provincial politics, applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking. Rivers was a candidate for provincial office in Burlington where he ran as a Liberal against Cam Jackson in 1995, the year Mike Harris and the Common Sense Revolution swept the province. Rivers is no longer active with any political party.

Background links:

Rebooting the Public Service        Premier’s Positive Outlook        A Rising Tide

Creating a Crisis       Walkerton

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Making 2016 work: Trevor Copp wants to see the Performing Arts Centre deliver on the promise.

artsblue 100x100By Trevor Copp

December 29, 2015


Trevor Copp is the dancer who brazenly told city council in 2012 that there really was a cultural community in Burlington and Council needed to wake up and pay attention.  That fresh start resulted in the creation of the Arts and Cultural Community in Burlington, a significant report on the state of culture in the city and the development of a Culture Action Plan plus the appointment of a Manager of culture at city hall.  Copp sees that as just a start.

Last year the star of the cultural community was how many indy ‘up and coming’ local artists/orgs ‘up and came.’

NV Sophia wishing forest

Kune Hua’s Wish Garden at the No Vacancy event held on Lakeshore Road this year.

Selina Eckersall’s No Vacancy – a pop up Art event which was an unthinkable in Burlington five years ago – held its Supernova event this year on Lakeshore.

The Burlington Performing Arts Centre saw its full local professional Series bloom with Tottering Biped Theatre, Nortsur, and Koogle Theatre all presenting works. The AGB’s new Executive Director Robert Stevens has for the first time acquired a piece by an internationally famous public art specialist from Lowville, Walt Rickli.

FORM two dancers - one masked

The FORM brought some of the most progressive dance the city has seen – great performance poorly attended though.

And an all-out first: FORM Contemporary Dance presented the first Burlington original contemporary dance event ever this past Fall.

Add in the Art in Action studio tour, the Burlington Slam Poets competing at the world championship, Symphony by the Bay rocking, and Burly Calling all holding their own beautifully.

This is what will finally get us to come into our own: artists doing it for themselves. We’ve been meeting up a storm at the City and progress is slow. The city is a big boat and takes a long time to turn, with several Councillors still needing convincing that the Arts have a place in our budget, not just our hearts.

Getting the City’s first manager of Culture Angela Paparizo into an office was a highlight – but we need a lot more of that going on so the City hall types can catch up to its people.

In 2016 I’d like to see even more independent artists making things happen. The Burlington Shebang – a multi-year collaboration of many local artists – will culminate at BPAC in May.

Suzanne Haines

The performance community really wants to see continued growth in for them in 2016 – they are hoping Susan Haines can deliver. She does need some time to put a program together.

We’ll see if the new Executive Director at the Performing Arts Centre holds up Brian McCurdy’s vision of supporting local theatres. There’s a lot of possibility out there and we can have it all if we become impossible to ignore.

The City needs to kick in more real money and energy for the local artists: no more plans, we need money on the table. We are putting the ‘url’ back in Borington and this is our time.

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2015 - Year in review - top story first quarter - city sells waterfront property staff advised it to keep.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

December 28, 2015


Does the past give any hint on what the future will bring? What happened in 2015 – a review of 2015 quarter by quarter.

January 2015 – Not necessarily in chronological order.

Taxes, taxes, taxes – how much and what are they going to spend it on. The city has in the past worked to engage the public by holding workshops that are usually quite well attended – that didn’t prove to be the case in 2015 – a pathetic turnout for public meeting on the budget at the Mainway Recreation centre – drew less than three people. The weather wasn’t good but the weather couldn’t be blamed – hockey games being played at the rink next door drew hundreds of people. There was a message in there somewhere.

Bridgewater from lake on the east

Bridgewater stalls.

The construction of a “legacy” project approved in 1995 on Lakeshore Road took a bit of a hit when the company brought in to build the three towers declared bankruptcy. It slowed down what eventually gets built on the southern side of Lakeshore Road

Property values rise 8.6% in Millcroft and the Orchard year over year; sales down 4%

Public got to hear that the city wanted to set the tax rate at – something upwards of 3.5% more than last year.

City provides an update on city manager recruitment. Burlington had just the one General manager, Scott Stewart and he is one of the people applying for the job of city manager.  Pat Moyle was serving as interim city manager and Scott Stewart has been carrying the ball as the sole general manager.  Council had not interviewed all the candidates.

Stewart Scott blue sweater - more face

Scott Stewart

Pat Moyle resigned to move into full retirement someone had to hold the job of city manager. City council appointed the city solicitor Nancy Shea Nicol as the interim city manager. Normally she reports to the General manager – Scott Stewart.  Nancy Shea Nicol reports to Scott Stewart but because Stewart is one of the finalists for the job of city manager Shea Nicol has been made the boss of the man who she reports to.

Scott Stewart was not appointed city manager – he quit and moved to Guelph

Mayor thinks a pilot private property tree bylaw restricted to Roseland community might work – but that idea didn’t get any traction either.

Flooding BSBVC effects in water

Flood damage.

First of the flood victims got to see some financial support. Of the 310 claims made for short term immediate help just three were turned down.

Call has gone out for possible mural locations around the city. Drop in a sample of the results.

City wanted to use photographs to animate the new website which raised hackles in the arts community – they wanted the city to pay for the pictures they used or at least give the photographer a photo credit. City decided to use stock pictures it could pick up free. Look for reader comments
Jan 20th

ADI project - rendering from LAkeshore

ADI project

The ADI development for lower Martha at Lakeshore Road was shown to the public for the first time. Public was close to outraged. It was pretty clear that Burlington wasn’t going for the ADI development proposal to put a 28 storey tower on the corner of Martha and Lakeshore Road.

Council gets a pay raise: Recommendation was to: Maintain the compensation for Councillors at $53,095 per year and the Mayor at $121,676 per year (in 2014) and adjust annually on April 1 by a percentage equal to the average annual change in the all Ontario consumer price index (CPI) for the twelve month period October to September with the provision that the increase is to have the following banding:

Report on the office space needs for the city  never gets made public.

Beachway 1011 sold for $600k

Beachway house sold.

First of the Beachway homes sold for $600,000

The ADI group argues at a city council meeting that the design of their 28 storey tower will serve as an excellent gateway on the eastern side of the city into the downtown core. Residents argue it will loom over the neighbourhood. The 22 storey Bridgewater project a couple of hundred yards away will reach 22 storeys into the air.

Flood relief cheques will begin to go out next week; just 50% of approved claims being paid now – balance to follow.

City council voted 6-1 to sell off pieces of city owned waterfront property. Public did not get to see a confidential report from the city solicitor.

Hospital main emtrance which will face the lake

Hospital redevelopment

February 2015
Hospital foundation raised $2 million in four months – 40 of the 60 million needed is in the bank.

Council committee “miraculously” approves a budget in 3.5 hrs – now it goes to council for the rubber stamp

Flood relief money making its way to victims; partial payments averaging $9000 +

Mayor delivers his fifth State of the City address – promises to never mention the Pier again.

Municipal bureaucrat from west coast, former armed services officer and currently an academic administrator appointed Burlington city manager.

Waterfront Hotel to be demolished at some future date – three structures will go on the site – planners excited about the potential.

Target logo

Low liquidation discounts.

Target liquidation sale discounts seldom top 10%.

March 2015
The ADI development groups gets to the OMB before the city even gets to vote.

Premier meets with Mayors – Mayor Goldring has yet to tell us what they talked about.

Giving back - loaded bins

Giving back

Mayor gives certificates of appreciation to boys and girls who raised a record 281,878 pounds of food in the Giving Back project.

Pop up Patios to appear on Brant Street May 1st.

Public got its first look at what Beachway Park could look like – it was a noisy meeting.

City planner Bruce Krushelnicki retires joins the Ontario Municipal Board.


City council voted 6 – 1 to sell a stretch of waterfront property between |Market and st Paul street south of Lakeshore Road – staff had recommended the property be leased.

Top story: Selling of waterfront property:


Each of these stories can be read in full – all you have to do is plug the words into the search engine at the top of the home page.

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In six years time there will be a community of 2000 people settled into the Paradigm project on Fairview in between the GO station and Walmart.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

December 28, 2015


Roger Park stands on the observation platform at the back of the construction office that is in behind the sales office of the Paradigm project on Fairview Street east of the Walmart, south of the GO Station, watching a crew complete the concrete pour of the second level of the garage.

Paradigm - Roger Park at the site level 2 being poured

Roger Park is one of those rough, tough guys that people don’t mess around with. Described as having a bark that is worse than his bite – you don’t want to test that statement. He is the man managing the building of the five structure Paradigm site on Fairview that can’t be seen yet but is rising floor by floor.

Roger tends not to look at people when he is talking – his eyes are constantly moving over the site where different crews of men and doing different tasks. The weather has been exceptional and work is slightly ahead, which suits Roger, because construction projects tend to fall behind.

He is overseeing the construction of tower A – it will rise to 22 storeys. The first of five towers that will be built by the Molinaro Group on the 1.75 hectare site they acquired.


Tower A under construction with the second level of parking being poured. GO station crossing from the North parking lot to the tracks is shown. Tower A is expected to be completed in 2017

The scale of the project was determined by a 2008 Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) ruling and permits a mix of retail/commercial and multi-storey residential uses.

The OMB decision sets out specific requirements and development rights for the property, such as height, access, road improvements, public safety and noise mitigation measures, among other things.

The public involvement in the project was unique for Burlington; the Molinaro’s decided to involve the public. They decided to work with the community and listen to what the public thought. It was a novel approach for a Burlington developer and involved the ward Councillor who believed this was the best way to build community.

The Molinaro’s presented their plans to local residents first, ironing out any issues before submitting their plans to the City.


Layout of the five structure site on Fairview just south of the GO station – Tower A in the upper left corner is now under construction. The complete project is expected to take six years to complete.

“The workshops were great,” Sam Di Santo, General Manager and Vice-President of the Molinaro Group, said. “We were skeptical at first, because you never know what the outcome is going to be, but we informed the public, we gave the ability to give feedback and went through every single point and made a list of changes.”

The process has been phenomenal and it is exactly what we want to see going forward,” added city Councillor Marianne Meed Ward.

The Gazette intends to follow the development of the project that will create 929 units in the five buildings.

The Paradigm is going to change significantly a part of the city that was an empty field with places that had traffic going in and out all the time. No one lives at the GO station or Walmart.

The Paradigm will be home to more than 2000 people when it is completed – that is more than a neighbourhood in itself. That many people will want services closer to them which bodes well for the Brant/Fairview intersection.

All this however is sometime into the future – right now Roger Park wants to get the concrete slabs poured one by one.

He has been doing construction work for the Molinaro family for more than 30 years. His son is now part of the team that puts up the buildings that have made a big difference to the look of Lakeshore Road where they built most of the condominiums.


Architects rendering of the Paradigm project as it will be seen from Fairview.

Tower A is scheduled to be completed in 2017 with the complete project expected to take six years. The three towers at the back of the property will be completed first – the front two towers will then be added.

Real estate market forecasters do their research and project as much as they can – but it is individuals who make buying choices. The proximity of the GO station and the long term plan to make the GO station the centre of a mobility hub with the hope that land along Fairview will shift from current usage – automotive and gardening at this point, to something that is more in tune with the changes the added population will bring about.

Home for Roger is in Sarnia. “The Molinaro’s are very good to me – I can stay wherever I want when I stay over” he says.

“They give me the plans and I put the buildings up – they don’t micro- manage me – they know that I deliver and if there is going to be a problem they hear it from me first.”


Amenities galore suggesting a life style for the younger set.

At some point down the road Roger will get to the building of the party room, the party terrace, the Porte Cochere, the indoor pool and Spa, the Theatre Room, Sky Lounge, Activity Terrace and Guest Suites along with the Indoor Basketball Court for Tower A

For now he has one eye watching the skyline for changes in the weather and the other scanning the work site to make sure everything is going the way it was intended to go.

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Fiorito: I wish I could end this story on environmental issues on a positive note, but I can’t. A Year in Review: The Top Environmental Stories of 2015.

News 100 greenBy Vince Fiorito

December 27, 29015


2015 was a big year for the environmental movement. It was a year of historic agreements, milestones, diversions, sensible policy making and oversights.

Justin at climatechange-summit

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the Climate Change talks in Paris.

Internationally, the biggest environmental story was the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris which will be remembered both for its achievements and failures. Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna as well as the rest of the Canadian delegation deserve recognition for their efforts to negotiate the historic Paris Agreement. As the Paris delegates were debating, atmospheric CO2 levels passed the 400ppm milestone, which is a 42% increase since the start of the industrial age only 150 years ago. The last time the earth’s atmosphere had this much CO2 was two million years ago. Back then, the earth’s climate was 6C warmer, the arctic was ice free and sea levels were about 30M higher than they are today.

If all Paris Agreement signatories respect their voluntary self imposed, non-binding limitations, CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere should stabilize near the same level they were 45 million years ago, when Greenland had crocodiles and palm trees. While the Paris agreement is most likely too little, too late to prevent extreme weather events and catastrophic environmental disasters over the long term, at least most of the world now agrees that climate change is a serious problem requiring action.

Most of the world has now pledged to reduce CO2 emissions to zero by 2070. Since this pledge is non-binding and voluntary, its achievement is highly unlikely. Paris Agreement signatories have agreed to meet every 5 years to review their progress (or lack of progress) and hopefully sign new agreements which may actually include mandatory limits and punitive measures for non-compliance. The Paris Agreement also includes a mechanism for countries hardest hit by climate change associated disasters to receive international aid and calls on developed countries to voluntarily share green technologies with less developed countries. The Paris Agreement isn’t much, but it is progress in the right direction.

Nationally, the biggest environmental story was the election of a new Liberal majority government, which appears to be far more aware and concerned about environmental issues than the previous Conservative majority government. As the Green Party candidate for Burlington in the last election, I must admit that I was dismayed that environmental issues which threaten to make our planet uninhabitable took a back seat to trivial debates over the clothing choices of some ethnic minorities. For most environmentalists, the words of the Justin Trudeau government are like a breath of fresh air. Hopefully the new government’s actions will prove to be equally refreshing.

Provincially, the Ontario Government finally passed three important laws to help protect the environment and environmental advocates. First, the Great Lakes Protection Act is intended to protect and restore the ecological health of the Great lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin and create opportunities for stakeholder participation in efforts to protect, preserve, restore and create habitat. Second, the Ontario Invasive Species Act creates a framework to criminalize the possession, trafficking and release of problematic alien species which threaten Ontario’s native ecosystems.

Great Lakes System Profile Map

Great Lakes Protection Act is intended to protect and restore the ecological health of the Great lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin.

Finally the Ontario government passed the Protection of Public Participation Act, which will help protect free speech from Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP). Unfortunately this new law is not retroactive and comes too late to protect local residents Pepper Parr, Vanessa Warren, and Monte Dennis from a $100,000 Burlington Airpark libel lawsuit.

Municipally, the biggest environment story of 2015 in Burlington remains the Cootes to the Escarpment EcoPark System. In June 2013, local government and non-profit organizations in the Burlington-Hamilton area agreed to cooperatively manage nearly 1,900 hectares (4700 acres) of natural lands in Burlington and Hamilton to protect and restore what is arguably Canada’s most biologically rich and diverse ecosystem. This globally significant, environmental award winning urban park stretches from Hamilton Harbour, through Cootes Paradise to a 10-kilometre section of the Niagara Escarpment. The Cootes to the Escarpment EcoPark is the only part of escarpment not separated from Lake Ontario by a 400-series highway. The Cootes to the Escarpment EcoPark system is home to nearly a quarter of the country’s wild plants and more than 50 species at risk.

15 hectares (37.2 acres) of land in North Aldershot that was donated by Mr. John Holland and will become part of the Cootes to Escarpment park system.

Part of the Cootes to Escarpment park system.

The park’s scientists and technicians are an important source of local environmental knowledge and expertise. I highly recommend participating in their educational and stewardship events. On May 30, 2014, Mr. John V. Holland generously donated a 15 hectare (37-acre) natural area in the Cootes to the Escarpment EcoPark system to the City of Burlington in honour of his wife Eileen to be managed as the new Eileen and John Holland Nature Sanctuary. On December 15, 2015, partners of the Cootes to Escarpment Ecopark System were able to finance the purchase of nearly 40 hectares (100 acres) of natural lands situated in the Greenbelt in Hamilton. Hopefully the Cootes to the Escarpment Ecopark system will continue to grow and inspire local landowners near the park to be responsible stewards of this biodiversity hotspot.


Has Burlington found a way for wildlife and we humans to share the apace we both occupy?

A second important local story is the City of Burlington’s new and improved approach to managing urban wildlife. The issue of urban coyotes especially has been emotional with many strong feelings on all sides of the issues. Councillor Jack Dennison and City of Burlington staff deserves credit and recognition for their successful effort to create wise and sensible city policies and by-laws to manage Burlington’s urban wildlife. They took the time to listen to all points of view, consulted the Ministry of Natural Resources experts, local environmental and citizens groups to develop a rational and sensible approach to managing Burlington’s urban wildlife in a way that reduces conflict, promotes greater understand and also stewardship. Burlington’s new by-laws and policies will reduce the risk to people from urban wildlife and at the same time reduce the risk to urban wildlife from people. Other municipalities would be wise to adopt Burlington’s rational and reasonable “Coyote Response Strategy.”

Holocene extinction event

As roads penetrate into the Amazon Rainforest, fires and deforestation follow. This image from August 5, 2007, shows scores of fires burning along roads and at the edges of already cleared areas of the Amazon in southern Para and northern Mato Grosso states in Brazil. The image and fire detections (marked in red) were captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite.

The biggest environmental story of 2015 remains the relatively unknown Holocene Mass Extinction Event. Five times in the past, something has happened which killed off most of the life on earth. These events are known as Mass Extinctions. Each past mass extinction event required millions of years before new species evolved and the earth recovered to its former level of biodiversity. The last mass extinction event happened 65 million years ago, wiped out the dinosaurs, gave rise to the dominance of mammals and eventually the appearance of modern humans.

While most biologists have been warning that a mass extinction event was likely underway, they lacked empirical evidence that could quantify the current mass extinction’s scale and timeline. In 2015, a new study by a group of scientists including Paul Ehrlich, the Bing Professor of Population Studies in biology and a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, published in the journal Science Advances, based on empirical peer reviewed evidence which proves that species are disappearing much faster than the historical background rate. The study’s best case scenario is that 75% of all species on the planet will become extinct within 2000 years, with most of the rest ceasing to play a significant role in the natural services which scrub CO2 and pollutants from the air, clean the water and rejuvenate the soil. The study’s worst case scenario predicts that 75% species will become extinct in less than 200 years. Exponential human population growth with increased per capita consumption has altered or destroyed natural habitats and ecosystems. The main human impacts were caused by

• Land clearing for farming, logging and settlement
• Introduction of invasive species
• Carbon emissions that drive climate change and ocean acidification
• Toxins that alter and poison ecosystems

Mapleview Mall parking - south west side

A parking lot today – it was once part of some of the very best farmland in the province from which produce was shipped around the world.

Residents of Burlington need not travel far to see the evidence of the Holocene mass extinction event. All of Burlington used to be as richly biologically diverse as the Cootes to the Escarpment EcoPark System. Today in Burlington, most of the Carolinian forests have been cut down and most of the prairies have been paved over. Nearly every tree, shrub, flower and grass in that people in Burlington deliberately cultivate is an alien species. Nearly every ornamental garden in Burlington has at least invasive species that will soon be banned by Ontario’s new invasive species law.

Our urban natural areas are mostly overrun with alien invasive species which have escaped our ornamental gardens and our urban creek floodplains filled with hundreds of tons of trash in the form of tires, couches, car batteries, television monitors, plastic, broken glass… I know because I have literally removed a few tons of trash myself. Our local habitat loss problem is part of the global habitat loss problem and can’t be blamed on anyone else but ourselves.

I wish I could end this story on environmental stories of 2015 on a positive note. But I can’t. We are obviously ruining the planet and most people don’t care. I am certain that in the future, our grandchildren and their grandchildren will look back to this point in time and wonder how we could be so irresponsibly destructive and uncaring about the future of the earth’s biosphere. I wonder too. If anyone is reading this article 100 years from now, I’d like to apologize to you. We could have and should have done much better, but we were too distracted by a few people’s clothing choices and too busy in our daily lives to give the future of the earth any serious thought or consideration.


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Are we satiated beyond our needs, and can dispose of food we don’t want, without a care?

opinionandcommentBy Carol Gottlob

December 27, 2015



It was Boxing Day, a day traditionally reserved for ultra-consumerism. Stores were being ransacked for “unbelievable deals”, and mall parking lots were over-flowing. If the retailers didn’t show a profit by this time, we’d likely not see their store fronts next year at Christmas.

I was walking my dog along the Centennial Multi-use Pathway, when I observed a bright coral-coloured mass in the grasses adjacent to the pathway.

Shrimp - Gottlob

How did these shrimp land on municipal parkland here in Burlington?

On closer observation, I came across approximately 20 partially frozen shrimp, the kind you buy ready to serve at supermarkets. There was no packaging. Just dead shrimp. I stood puzzled by this (as was my dog). I took a picture and asked myself, “What is wrong with this picture”? I continued to walk along the path, and on my way back, upon seeing the shrimp still there, I realized, there was so much so very wrong with this.

To begin, the practice of cultivating shrimp in faraway places such as Thailand is ecologically unsound and unsustainable. Furthermore, the labour used to harvest these massive quantities of shrimp is akin to slave labour. Not to mention the toll on the environment by distributing these shrimp all over the world by the plane load, so that they are readily available before their Best Before Date, not only on special occasions, but on any given day of the year.

We don’t necessarily think about it when these delicacies are offered to us at 30% off the regular price, and guests are coming to the house, and we want to make sure we have something to offer them. The holidays bring out all kinds of justification for excessive spending, eating and drinking.

So how did these shrimp land on municipal parkland here in Burlington? My guess is that someone felt bad about simply throwing them in the garbage or the compost, and setting them free in a natural setting somehow made them feel better about it.

Maybe they were sharing Christmas with the creatures of the neighbourhood. Perhaps they simply didn’t like shrimp, or the shrimp had gone bad, and they hoped someone would take pity, rescue them and protect them in a good home. Who knows?

What I do know is that in order to do such a thing, we must be living in a pretty affluent community. Shrimp, even shrimp on sale, is expensive. But to throw them out, uneaten, tells me we are satiated beyond our needs, and can dispose of food we don’t want, without a care.

For whatever reason this came about, the problem then extends even further. Leaving organic matter in parkland attracts urban wildlife (coyotes, racoons, rats). I’ve seen bread, cookies, meat bones and various fruit and vegetables spewn alongside the path at intervals, but never shrimp.

Each time I open the local paper, I read about people feeling uncomfortable, even threatened, having these critters in their neighbourhoods, and beseeching the authorities to remove or cull them. Does this even make sense? “There are too many of them”, they will say.

“Well who invited them?” is the question I would ask.

If we allow ourselves to ignore the excessivness we are responsible for, how are we to establish balance in our existence?

I continued home, my little dog looking back and licking his lips at the thought of what a delightful treat it would have been to savour such tender morsels. Alas.

Gottlob smile tighter cropping

Carol Gottlob


Carol Gottlob is a ward 4 resident who ran for municipal office in the last election.  She teaches English as a Second Language and walks her dog daily – when she isn’t riding her motorcycle.

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The reason for the season ...

By Staff
December 25th, 2015

The kids have been up for hours, the gift are unwrapped and you are settling in for a comfortable day or perhaps visiting with family, or food for family that will arrive soon.

Santa For-unto-us-1024x473You are enjoying the holiday.

Remember, if you will, what we are celebrating – and the why of it all.

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My Grown Up Christmas Wish - Let There be Peace - Ray Rivers

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

December 24, 2015



Sorry folks, there’ll be no postcard winter wonderland for us this year. And this is not what we ever meant by the phrase ‘going green’. If there still are climate change doubters/deniers unconvinced by this weather we’re experiencing, the latest scientific research coming out of the Paris climate change conference should give them pause.

Robins and snow

This robin is both cold and confused – for those of us in Burlington we are just confused over the weather we are getting.

I saw a robin the other day and our trees are starting to bud – Mother Nature is obviously convinced we are having an early spring. Hey, looks like we missed winter altogether. And I decided to buy new snow tires this year. Hopefully the ranks of climate deniers have crumbled to a few grumpy old men (and women). These are the folks who wish we could go back to the good old days.

But it was how we lived in the good old days that has rewarded us with this new reality. A consequence of global warming is weather volatility, so we may still see snow and cold later this winter, despite the forecasters. I feel sorry for those robins though. Despite the feathers, I’ll bet they’ll feel the chill, when it finally gets cold.

What really is giving me the chills these days is the way every country seems to be beefing up its armaments. It is scary and, though I wasn’t around prior to WWII, it sure looks like history repeating itself. This is not supposed to be happening. Over the last quarter century we’d got used to relative peace, but the doomsday clock now sits at three minutes to midnight. That is only one minute more than it was in 1953, when the US was contemplating nuking China during the Korean war.

It’s Russia and its macho leader, Vladimir Putin, who has challenged the world order and unrepentantly set the planet on this dangerous course. Vlad may seem rational but he is an extreme egotist who openly regrets having seen the demise of the USSR, calling it the worst tragedy of the 20th century. It’s about protecting Russian values from western decadence, and especially the permissiveness of homosexuality, he says, that turns him on it seems.

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech at the opening of the Army-2015 international military forum in Kubinka, outside Moscow, on June 16, 2015. AFP PHOTO / VASILY MAXIMOV

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech at the opening of the Army-2015 international military forum in Kubinka, outside Moscow. 

But it’s really about power, as it always has been with old Russia. They have arguably the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons and Putin has no hesitation to remind people that he could use them at will. And indeed he could since, unlike previous Soviet leaders constrained by the communist party, he is a law unto himself with a compliant Duma to rubber stamp his every wish.

And he hasn’t finished with Ukraine yet, having re-supplied his troops there recently and positioned them for a new assault when they think the time is right. But perhaps most worrisome are Putin’s flirtations in Syria, supporting Syria’s ruthless Dictator Assad under the guise of fighting ISIS. His attacks on western supported Syrian rebels contributed to NATO member Turkey’s shooting down one of his war planes. And a hurt and embarrassed Putin is just waiting for an opportunity for revenge.

And that part of the world is getting a lot of air traffic these days. The Brits, French, Americans, Jordanians and Canadians (still) are bombing ISIS in Iraq and Syria. The Russians are hitting the Syrian rebels and the Turks are focusing their bombing for the Kurdish populations in Syria and Turkey. And ironically Turkey’s NATO allies, including Canada, are arming and training the Kurds.

The Iranians and Hezbollah are fighting with Assad’s forces. And Israel, is taking opportunistic shots at Hezbollah leaders when it can. One has to wonder how long will it be before the next incident among all these players brings us to a brink. With only six planes in play, compared to the US with 150, Canada’s contribution to the military conflict is insignificant.


It was former Prime Minister who convinced the United Nations to create a peacekeeping force that is still in place in some parts of the world. Is the world now beyond peace keeping?

Lester Pearson won a nobel prize for his efforts at resolving international conflict. And we could play a much more significant role as honest brokers to help bridge the gap between the parties making war there. Of course we’d have to bring our planes back first. It is hard to negotiate between warring parties when you are one of them.

And it’s not just eastern Europe and the Middle East where military tension is building. Asia has seen a massive buying spree of weapons, including ships, planes, anti-ship and anti-plane systems. Populous India and China are each buying the same sophisticated Russia weapons systems to potentially use against each other. And little Vietnam, with a history of fighting the Chinese, is trying desperately to keep up with them, when those resources could be better spent on economic development and its people.

Japan rearming

The Japanese are now rearming to a level we have no seen since the end of the second world war. These are not cruise ships.

Japan, wary of its more assertive neighbour, China, has embarked on a massive re-armament program unseen since the great war. And Germany is considering revising its pacifist constitution. The US and China are playing tag in the South China Sea, along with the Philippines, Vietnam and the Koreas. And speaking of Korea, that Kim clown in the north is doing his best to make Putin look almost reasonable.

I apologize that this is not a very cheery outlook given the time of year and the season of peace we are entering. But ignorance won’t make us any safer. So it’s a big ask. But maybe if we all join our voices this Christmas they’ll get heard. Stop the arms race everywhere. Stop the aggression. Let there be peace. It’s better than the alternative.

Rivers-direct-into-camera1-173x300Ray Rivers writes weekly on both federal and provincial politics, applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking. Rivers was a candidate for provincial office in Burlington where he ran as a Liberal against Cam Jackson in 1995, the year Mike Harris and the Common Sense Revolution swept the province. Rivers is no longer active with any political party but he still has a membership card.

Backgrounds links:

Russian Aggression     Putin’s New Year      Russian Society        Doomsday Clock

Optimistic Public Service

India Arming

What’s with the weather? 

How the Russians are arming themselves.

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The first of the new Canadians from the Middle East arrive at a resettlement centre in Hamilton; some may start their new lives in Burlington.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

December 24, 2105



How many will there be? We have no idea, said Gillian Kearns, interim director at the Wesley Urban Ministries in Hamilton, one of the re-settlement points for those people who have been sponsored by the federal government.

We are gearing up to get ourselves to the point where we have 150 places we can house people – which we figure will allow us to handle up to 450 of these newly minted Canadians who have come to us from the war torn Middle East.

There are currently 17 people at the Wesley office in Hamilton where there are 36 rooms in what was once a senior’s home.

Wesley Urban Ministry

Once a Seniors’ residence this Catherine street building in Hamilton is where the bus with new Canadians stops and where the process of re-settling people from the Middle East begins.

This is the first intake point and where we begin the process of orienting them to life in Canada, said Kearns who has been working with Wesley Urban Ministries (WUM),  for three years, an organization that has been around for more than 60 years. We help them open up their bank accounts, get them used to transit in Hamilton and walk through Jackson Square with them.

Graffitti parking lot Hamilton

A parking lot with graffiti all over the walls of a building across the street from the Wesley Urban Ministry offices is what greets the new Canadians who arrived last week – no grass and not a tree in sight – but the rooms are warm and the food is good.

Wesley Urban Ministries is right in the middle of that part of town where there aren’t’ a lot of trees and the closest park is a couple of blocks away. One has to look hard to see any grass. An abandoned bus terminal is steps away from the entrance to the WUM door and a parking lot across the street with some very impressive graffiti. You’ll never see anything like that in Burlington – over here we call it public art and pay artists a pretty penny to put it in place.

Wesley is now in the throes of hiring intake case workers – there were four and now there are ten; just about everything else has scaled up at the same rate explains Kearns.

Kearn’s doesn’t know if any of the government supported new Canadians will get to Burlington. “The biggest issue is the cost of housing – the funds these resettled people get can barely pay for housing in Hamilton and as everyone knows housing in Burlington is much higher.

Immigration poster

Canada has grown to a significant degree from immigration – there was a time when the railways and steamship companies advertised for immigrants. This poster is part of the story told when times were very different.

Those that get to live in Burlington will be part of the group that came into the country as private sponsorships – there is no link between the government sponsorships and those that are privately sponsored.

There are about 20 groups in Burlington that are working on private sponsorships.

Individuals and faith groups have banded together to support families – to do so the group has to show that is has $30,000 committed to supporting the family for a year. We don’t know at this point what kind of oversight there is for these private sponsorships.

We do know that the rest of the world marvels that Canadians pull together and help these people financially, emotionally – they almost adopt them.

Canada has brought in around 7,000 immigrants each year with about 300 of them starting their lives in Hamilton, so we have quite a bit of experience explains Kearns – this wave however is made up of people who had to make decisions very quickly and they left conditions that were pretty miserable.

Of the 25,000 the federal government has said will come to Canada about 10,000 will be private sponsorships.

Wesley has an offsite kitchen that prepares meals for several of the Wesley operations. Their chefs know how to prepare the diet Middle Eastern people want.

Each day begins with breakfast which the immigrants prepare for themselves in the small kitchen in the building, the other meals are brought in.

The first group haven’t been here a week yet and we don’t know when the next group is going to arrive. The general public know about as much as we do. When the aircraft land in Toronto or Montreal decisions are made at that end as to where people are going to be sent. We get a call telling us that a bus is on the way with a certain number of people and we take it from there.

Dec 1 audience 400 +

Hundreds of Burlingtonians gathered at a public meeting early in December to learn what they could do to support immigrants who were about to arrive in Canada.

We have no idea what is coming our way and the people on the bus know very little about where they are going – just that they are now safe, that the sheets on the bed are clean and they have a future to look forward to in a country that has welcomed them.

The hardest part of the task for the people doing the day to day work is always being “brain tired”. The problems just keep rolling in. Our case workers explained Kearns hear stories that are horrifying every day – we have to ensure that both our case workers and the people they are helping get the support they need as they do what is difficult work.

We create a profile for each immigrant so that we can figure out what they need to learn in terms of life skills; what they have in terms of work experience and education. They are in our care for as much as a year. The objective is to get them started and let them figure out what they want to do – they can basically go anywhere they want. They are permanent residents of Canada and in five years they can become citizens.

Helping hands exchanging information Gillian Kearns

Gillian Kearns, on the right, exchanges information with Burlingtonians at a public meeting early in December. She works with a team of people at the Wesley Urban Ministries helping the immigrants that have arrived re-settle themselves.

Our job is to know as much as possible about each person so we can help them resettle themselves.  We bring in people to do a full medical checkup – we look for signs of serious emotional stress and guide people who have come from half way around the world to a place they knew very little about adjust. The work is exciting Kearns added but there is just so much to do.

Clothing for everyone; answering the questions they have and helping them keep in touch with those they left behind. Getting the children into school and ensuring they can adapt.

At a time of year when the rest of us are celebrating a major cultural and religious event, at a time when we usually have snow, we too have to adapt to a change and at the same time help those in our care adapt to the massive change in their lives.

It is exhilarating and at the same time it is tiring, adds Kearns  – but if we get it right we will have brought to this country people who will add to what we are – a caring, giving people who made a place for them in this world.

There is a small reception office on the ground floor of the Wesley Urban Ministry on Catherine Street where a cheerful well informed woman answers the phone and keeps in touch with staff. From time to time someone will quietly walk in and place an envelope on the counter. The receptionist smiles and asks – “would you like a receipt?” No – you can mail it, thank you.

That’s the way it works in this country.

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The Christmas weather report - no snow.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

December 23rd, 2015


There isn’t going to be any snow – is there?

This time last year we were looking at more than a foot of it on top of cars that were parked outside.

Skyline from Bridgewater at night

Is the turbine tower – minus the turbine – our modern day light house.

Lots of fog, and a lot of really stupid drivers out there as well. Death on the highways is tragic at any time; death at a time when family and friends want to be with each other is soul crushing.

Downtown traffic in the city core gets thick but eases up pretty quickly – the malls are packed – Mapleview with those huge parking lots where space is available in there somewhere – sort of like a maze driving around and around to find one.

That device near the end of the pier which was built to house a small turbine serves as a sort of modern day light house.

The Mrs. get to put her vehicle in the garage.

This time last year!

The turbine got scrubbed – the Mayor didn’t think turbines were all that relevant anymore, but they still spent the money on the tower that now glows with different coloured lights at night.

The city will save some money on snow removal – not as much as one might think – we still have to pay the owners of those trucks a standby fee – it would be interesting to learn just how much is paid in the way of standby fees.

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Joseph Brant hospital rebuild is changing the city skyline; scheduled to open in 2018

jbhhealthBy Staff

December 23, 2015



Each day the re-developed Joseph Brant Hospital takes its final shape.

The last pouring of concrete for the Level 7 slab is almost complete and the vertical from Levels 7 to 8 continues to progress until the New Year.

Pouring for Level 8 has begun and there will be 5 pours in total for this Level. The last pour will be done in early January.

Hospital cranes

A long distance view of the cranes in the sky on the hospital construction site with the Festival of Lights in Spencer Smith Park in the foreground.

The vertical from Level 8 to 9 has started and will continue from now until early January.

The first pour for Level 9 will happen by the end of December. There will be 5 pours in total for this floor and the work will continue throughout January.

The construction of 6 elevator shafts and 3 main stairways from Levels 7 to 8 and 8 to 9 is underway.

Mechanical work, plumbing, electrical and duct work continues on the Main Level, Level 1 and Level 2 throughout the rest of December and the first couple of weeks in January.

Installation of drywall has begun on the Main Level and Level 1

The Building Envelope (also known as curtain wall) has started on the Main Level.

If you would like to be a sidewalk superintendent CLICK HERE and watch a live feed of the construction site.

Demolition of the second section of the loading dock is complete. The construction of micro piles is also complete and excavation for footings will happen at the end of December/Early January.

The new Engineering department is in the final stages of completion with equipment set-up and painting almost complete. The department will be open in early January.

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City hall closes on Wednesday for an 11 day break.

notices100x100By Staff

December 23, 2015


They head for the hills at around 4:30 tomorrow and for the most part we will not see the 700 plus people who work full time for the city until they return eleven days later.

The essential services will either be in place or on call – set out below is a detailed listing of who is doing what for the eleven day break.

City Hall BEST aerial

City hall closed

City Hall: City Hall is closed on Thursday, Dec. 24, 2015, reopening on Monday, Jan. 4, 2016.

FreeP December FNL ParkingParks and Recreation Programs and Facilities: Activities and customer service hours at parks and recreation facilities including city pools, arenas and community centres vary over the holidays. Please visit for a complete listing of drop-in program times including swimming and skating and for customer service counter hours.

Roads and Parks Maintenance: The administrative office will be closed Thursday, Dec. 24, 2015, reopening Monday, Jan. 4, 2016. Basic and emergency service only will be provided Dec. 24, 25, 28 and Jan. 1, 2016.

Burlington Court House

Court House closed

Halton Court Services: Provincial Offences Courts in Milton and Burlington will be closed Dec. 24, 25, 28, 2015, and Jan. 1, 2016.

Parking: Free parking is available in the downtown core at all meters, municipal lots and the parking garage during the month of December 2015 and on Jan. 1, 2016.

NOTE: The Waterfront parking lots (east and west) do not provide free parking on statutory holidays.

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Burlington skyline to see more construction cranes on the 2016 horizon.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

December 22, 2015


As 2015 comes to a close the look of the city during 2016 begins to become visible.

There are construction cranes are in the air where Lakeshore dips south at the Brant Museum and runs along the edge of the lake as the new hospital rises floor by floor.

Brant hospital - part of 4th floor

The Joseph Brant Hospital redevelopment is well underway – scheduled to open in 2018

Early in January Jeff Paikin, the president of the company that is going to build the three structure Bridgewater project, will take part in a ground breaking event that will signal the start of a project that will change the look and feel of the city’s downtown.

Bridgewater from the west - higher elevation

The Bridgewater development that is scheduled to break ground early in the New Year will change the look and the feel of the waterfront forever. It was defined as a “legacy” project when it was approved in 1995.

The Molinaro’s have their cranes up as they begin the development of the five structure Paradigm project.

The Bentley is getting close to the point where it too will break ground at the Caroline and John intersection.

The ADI Group has plans for what started out as a 28 story structure on a small lot. The city of Burlington managed to mangle the file – they couldn’t make a decision within the 180 days the Planning Act gives the city to approve or not approve a development application.

ADI site with new sign Dec 21-15

The ADI Group is seeking Ontario Municipal Board approval to put up a 26 story structure on thus piece of property. The design of the proposed structure is on the sign.

That file is a major mess – with not much credit going to the city – ADI took advantage of the right they had to take their development to the Ontario Municipal Board after the 180 day time frame.

The project has since been downgraded to 26 storeys – the OMB hearing is due to take place in March.

Not sure if we will ever see cranes and construction crews on this site. While not approved ADI is nevertheless selling units – a piece of property is not being sold – the right to purchase a piece of property at a given price is being sold – a common practice in the development business. What bothers many people is that the development is subject to a hearings at which the city intends to vigorously oppose the application

Some are convinced that the project will get OMB approval – others in the real estate industry will tell you that it will not get approved. The zoning on the site allows four storeys with a possible eight storeys which is a heck of a leap to a 26 storey application.

The Bridgewater project is going to soar to 22 storeys – the lawyers and the Planners will argue that one out. The project first got serious mention in 1985 and was approved by city council in 1995.

Councillor Lancaster made mention of the 26 projects in ward 6; there are a number of developments taking place in ward 1 where the ADI people are proposing a two stage project that will create a whole new community that has been named Station West.


The city got it right with this meeting – they held a community meeting and asked the residents what they wanted to see on the Lakeside Village Plaza site that today is a pretty run-down piece of property.

The really run down plaza on Lakeshore close to NAME might get new life if the views of the 300 residents who met to tell city planners what they wanted to see, in what has been named Lakeside Villa Plaza, match with what the developer and his architect have in mind.

Some developers have learned to meet with a community and hear what they would like to see – and if what the community wants is viable the developer will go forward with a plan knowing that the community is on side.


The yellow portion of this graphic is the plaza property – and yes those round green circles are there to represent trees – imagine a shopping plaza with trees.

Ken Greenberg, who was one of the speakers Mayor Goldring brought to the city in his first term, told an audience that the smarter developers have learned to work with a community and develop projects that meet the needs of the community. Add community input to intelligent architecture and an appreciation for the environment and a city planning department that will see itself as part of a collaborative team and you get developments that add to a city and are not seen as mistakes.

Watching and reporting on the public reaction to major changes that are about to take place in the city is something the Gazette looks forward to doing. The upcoming OMB hearing on the ADI development will be interesting to watch as well.

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Showtimes at Ciné-Starz : Week of Friday, December 25, 2015 through Thursday, December 31, 2015

Cinestarz logo
Ciné-Starz Upper Canada Place, Burlington, ON


Week of Friday, December 25, 2015 through Thursday, December 31, 2015

In the Heart of the Sea (PG)
Fri – Thu: 11:00 AM, 12:45, 3:00, 5:30, 7:35, 9:40

Creed (14A)
Fri – Thu: 1:00, 2:50, 4:50, 7:10, 9:40

The Good Dinosaur (G)
Fri – Thu: 11:00 AM, 1:00, 3:00, 5:20, 7:40, 9:30

Love the Coopers (PG)
Fri – Thu: 11:00 AM, 5:10

The Peanuts Movie (G)
Fri – Thu: 11:10 AM, 1:00, 3:20

Spectre ()
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The Fire Chief wants you to make sure you have both a fire alarm and a Co2 detector in your residence.

News 100 redBy Staff

December 22, 2105


The sound of a fire engine is something we recognize instantly and we look towards the sound that dulls the heart and brings prayers to the lips of those who hear the sound.

This little girl got out of the house - the tragedies are when people don't make it out during a fire. Plan an escape on FAmily Day

This little girl got out of the house – the tragedies are when people don’t make it out during a fire.

The sound of a fire engine on Christmas Day terrifies.

Many fires are preventable – simple care and sensible precautions PLUS the use of both fire alarms and Co2 alarms, which are now required – you can b fined for not having a Co2 alarm in your residence.

Families are together during the holidays, children and pets are in the house – when a fire starts people scramble to get out of the house and stand in the yard or the street while fire fighters haul in their equipment.

Bavota and Wendy - fire station C02 fire alarm

The Fire Chief doesn’t sell these devices but he sure want you to make sure you buy one.

Fire Chief Tony Bavota spends hour after hour telling people – make sure your fire alarm has fresh batteries (change them once a year) and install a Co2 detector.  “Combined” said the Fire Chief, “both can be had for less than $50.” He adds that it is one of the best personal safety investments you will ever make.

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Burlington Transit Holiday Schedule: No service on either Christmas or New Year's Day.

notices100x100By Staff

December 22, 2015


The city that spends a fortune on the repairing and upgrading of its roads so that all the cars don’t have to deal with pot holes released the transit schedule for the holiday season.

There was a time when a much larger bus termial existed 25 yards to the left of this small terminal onm John Street - it was where people met. There were fewer cars, Burlington didn't have the wealth then that it has now. We were a smaller city, as much rural as suburban. The times have changed and transit now needs to change as well.

John Street terminal will close at 6:00 pm on Christmas Eve. Bus service will end at approximately 8:00 pm

The Downtown Transit Terminal on John Street will close at 6 p.m. on Thursday Dec. 24, 2015.

Both the Terminal and Handi-van dispatch will be closed on Friday Dec. 25, 2015 and Friday Jan. 1, 2016.

The administration offices will be closed beginning Thursday, Dec. 24, 2015 to Jan. 4, 2016.

Transit and Handi-van Hours of Operation:

The Last Trip schedule information is available online or on-board all buses.

Service ends at approximately 8:00 pm on December 24th

There is no service whatsoever on December 25th

December 26th the service works on the normal Saturday schedule.

December 27th to the 30th – Regular schedule

December 31st – service will be extended until approximately 2:00 a.m.

January 1st there will be no service.

January 2nd – the transit service resumes its normal schedule.

Handi van

Handi-van service is a life line for many – will not be available Christmas or New Year’s Day

During 2015 there was considerable discussion on how transit would have to become a much larger part of the way people get around. The city emphasized that transit service would have to be increased and more spent on the quality of transit service.  We aren’t there yet – are we?

For those who are confined to wheel chairs Christmas Day and New Year’s Day they will have to be content with being shut-ins. Shutting down the service on Christmas and New Year’s days will mean that the transit drivers will get to stay home all day.

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