Halton students heard one of the best speakers in the country talk to them about the Rights of Children

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

January 25th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

There are times when having to do something ‘virtually’ turns out to be a plus.

The Halton District School Board held their second Symposium on the Rights of the Child.  It came very close to being cancelled after more than a year of work that looked like it was going to be laid to rest by COVID.

They had a fabulous speaker lined up and were looking forward to a good turn out.

That was in March of last year – and of course things changed for everyone.

The Halton Director of Education, Stuart Miller said that it looked as if the event would have to be cancelled but senior staff and the Director took a closer look at what they were up against and realized that if they web cast the event through their Facebook page they would draw much more than the 250 + they got in 2019.

They certainly got much more than the 250 +  –  there were 3400 people logged into the Facebook page. Stewart points out that many of those log-ins were from a classroom that would have had 15 to 20 students taking part.  There could have been 5000 students listening.

Stephen Lewis

One of the strongest speakers in Canada, Stephen Lewis addressed thousands of Halton students virtually on Friday about the Right of the Child.

They were fortunate to have one of the great Canadian orators and a very passionate advocate for social justice in this country.  Stephen Lewis, a Companion of the Order of Canada, the holder of 42 honorary Doctorates, is a living legend.

Hearing Lewis speak when he is really passionate about his subject is something one never forgets.

Lewis led students and community partners in a day long program focused on children’s rights.  “I spent a large chunk of my life” said Lewis, “dealing with the Convention on the Rights of the Child.”

“When I worked with UNICEF, I was responsible for travelling around the world to persuade governments to ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child and take all of its clauses seriously. The Convention provides a tremendous range of rights for children, all of which I hope to be addressing before you.”

Lewis was joined by Michel Chikwanine, now a motivational speaker, author and human rights activist based in Toronto and originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Chikwanine is more than a child advocate. When he was not much more than a young boy he was kidnapped from the soccer field outside his school in the Democratic Republic of Congo; he and his childhood friends were “recruited” to be rebel soldiers.

Michel Chikwanine

Michel Chikwanine: Kidnapped as a young boy and forced to serve as a child warrior

Chikwanine is a compelling speaker. People find themselves riveted to their seats when he speaks.

At the end of what was a very full day the Students were to create a Call to Action, a document that would set out what they wanted to do about improving the Rights of the Child.

Superintendent Rob Eatough will be responsible for overseeing the development of these Calls to Action.

Tomorrow the Gazette will publish interviews with some of the students who took part in the event.

 

 

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Our Mad Premiers

 

“Ford threatened to shove an incendiary device into the “ying-yang” of any Pfizer executive if they did not give Ontario more coronavirus vaccines.” (CP24 – January 21, 2021).

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

January 24th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It would be funny if it wasn’t so deadly serious. Pfizer is reducing its shipments of COVID vaccine due to the need for a stoppage to upgrade its production facilities. So it is disappointing. But the company says it will still meet its commitment for total shipments by the end of March, and beyond.

That sounds reasonable given that its other customers will also suffer delays, including European nations where the our vaccine is actually being manufactured. And remember that hardly anyone had even heard of COVID last year at this time, so getting any kind and amount of vaccine here is a blessing.

Pfizer

The speed with which the vaccine was produced was impressive.

Ford scowl - cropped

Premier Doug Ford: not having a good day.

But that’s not good enough for Ontario’s fearsome premier who has called the Canadian president of Pfizer to complain, and is threatening to rent a truck and cross the land border to demand a million doses from newly installed US president Biden.

No doubt Ford’s demand would be well received, except that as bad as it is here with COVID, the US is worse. And does Ford really think Biden will give him a million doses when his biggest election promise was to inoculate 100 million Americans in his first 100 days in office.

Ford was largely responsible for the surge of COVID cases in Ontario. He loosened restrictions on social activity too rapidly in the late fall. But that he owns the surge hasn’t stopped him from casting about to lay the blame on someone else. In this case it is the Trudeau government and their contract with Pfizer. But it’s not the first time. He went after the Prime Minister over sloppy border control, though in that case rightfully so.

Not to be outdone in the crazy game is Ford’s BFF in Alberta, Jason Kenny, who has threatened to bypass the federal government and buy vaccine directly from…. somewhere. But his biggest headache today is that newly elected US president Biden has cancelled the Keystone oil pipeline, which Kenny was counting for extra cash on to help get Alberta out of its current hole.

Obama and Biden cancelled the pipeline back in 2015, but then Trump OK’d it again. Kenny must have thought Trump would win the US election because he poured $1.5 billion into the project and gave another $6 billion or so in loan guarantees. I guess he wasn’t reading the papers because everyone knew that Trump wouldn’t get re-elected, except Trump, of course.

Kenney + Trudeau

Not. the best of friends it would appear.

It was Biden’s election promise and Kenny went ballistic when the new president followed though on it. Kenny demanded Trudeau do everything but launch a nuclear missile on Washington to get him to change his mind But how could Canada apply trade sanctions over a pipeline permit that is entirely in the hands of the US president and over US territory? How does the PM ask Biden to compensate Alberta because its premier was betting that Biden wasn’t going to win.

There is a faint hope that some rules of the old NAFTA might still apply and help Kenny get some kind of compensation, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. There were a thousand jobs on the Canadian side building the pipeline to nowhere – the Jason Kenny line. Those jobs are gone and Albertans will likely eat the $1.5 billion and more.

Losing Keystone is not the end of the world. Oil production in Alberta will still continue unabated as will selling it to the US. Keystone was significant only because it would have allowed Alberta to export even more oil than it already does. So Alberta’s oil industry will continue to operate, it just won’t get bigger – at least not until the federally owned Trans Mountain pipeline twinning is operational.

Tesla 3

Tesla 3 – Take a ride in one – appreciate the near total silence.

But the reality is that fossil fuels are a dying proposition. Tesla sold almost a half million electric cars in the USA last year and now everybody is getting into the game. After all, gas powered vehicles cannot be sold in Norway after 2025, the UK by 2030 and Quebec and California after 2035. Does anyone other than Jason Kenny think the world needs another oil pipeline?

Jason Kenny might get some of his billions back by whining to Trudeau and Biden, and taking his case to NAFTA. But he won’t get Keystone back. There is no future for oil in Alberta, or anywhere, and the sooner Kenny comes to that realization the better for the people he serves.

Ontario should be glad that Doug Ford, as embarrassing as he can be, and not Jason Kenny is premier of this province. Now if only Ford could get our COVID numbers down.

 

Background links:

None of that Crap –    Trudeau Letter on Keystone –    How is it Going Jason

Keystone Options –    Raging Jason

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Burlington now has a Playing Equipment Lending program

News 100 yellowBy Staff

January 23, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Play equipment lending and other outdoor activities are available now.

There are plenty of opportunities for outdoor, active, and fun winter play with the City of Burlington. Dress appropriately, stay safe and enjoy a winter wonderland!

snow shoes

Snow shoeing – great winter fun.

Play Equipment Lending Library is available with winter-play equipment such as snowshoes, glow in the dark soccer, snow play kit, tug of war, and horseshoes and is intended for use by one family at a time. A list of play equipment is available HERE

• Equipment can be borrowed, starting Jan. 14.
• $50 deposit is required at the time of booking
• Play equipment is available for pick-up and drop-off only at the Brant Hills Community Centre, 2255 Brant St.
• Late and administration fees may be deducted from the $50 deposit

The outdoor ice at Burlington Rotary Centennial Pond is open. Located at the Waterfront at Downtown Burlington – the rink is open most days from 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. and skating is free; however, online, pre-registration is required and can be booked no more than 25-hours in advance.

To accommodate as many community members as possible we ask that they only book one skate per day. The rink is very popular and capacity is reduced for COVID-19 safety. If you cannot come to the rink at your reserved time, please cancel your time so the next group can have an opportunity for fun and activities.

Anyone having difficulties with registering or cancelling their reservation time, please email Customer Service at liveandplay@burlington.ca.

To pre-register, visit burlington.ca/skating.

For up-to-date information on ice conditions at Burlington Rotary Centennial Pond, please call 905-335-7600, ext. 8587. To learn more about the pond’s features and rules, visit, burlington.ca/pond.

 

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Shovels are not going in the ground, and I remain steadfastly opposed to this development.

opiniongreen 100x100By Adam van Koeverden

January 23, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

Milton MP Adam van Koeverden released the following to the public via a tweet.

Dear Neighbours,

Today, the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change released the over 325 conditions under which the CN Intermodal project may proceed. I am disappointed with this decision, and I’m writing this to make that clear, but I also want to let you know where we go from here. Something I want to be abundantly clear about this situation – is that this fight isn’t over.

graphic of site

Located on what is currently farmland – the site will become a very busy transfer hub where thousands of shipping containers will be transferred to trucks.

While I’m grateful that these additional measures, restrictions, and conditions are reflective of the many valid concerns we in Halton have with this project – I remain very concerned about the potential truck traffic and the resulting pollution, health and safety implications for all of my constituents, especially those who reside in south Milton.

I have worked extremely hard to articulate the individual concerns of my neighbours, the hard-working advocacy groups and those of my fellow elected officials – both prior to my election at the Joint Review Panel and since as the Member of Parliament for Milton. But never once did I compromise my strong position that this application should be rejected.

freight train

The freight train traffic will be running into the hub 24/7

The health, safety and wellbeing of Miltonians is my number one concern. The 325 legally binding conditions set out by the Minister today represent some reasonable progress. The result is that this Intermodal project cannot go forward as it was presented by CN. Those 325 conditions would make this facility the most stringently regulated in North America. They include measures to address effects on air quality, traffic, human health, groundwater and surface water, migratory birds, species at risk, fish and fish habitat, the use of lands and resources by Indigenous peoples, and physical and cultural heritage. Failure to comply with any of these conditions is a violation of Federal Law.

One of those 325 conditions is that CN will be required to establish a community liaison and communication process, in consultation with representatives of local and municipal governments, nearby residents, community and business organizations. This process will allow potentially affected parties to provide feedback about any adverse environmental effects of the project, including reports from an independent environmental monitor that would be engaged to verify compliance with conditions. CN will be required to document and respond to feedback from the community and demonstrate how it has been addressed, including through the implementation of any modified/additional mitigation measures or additional follow-up program requirements. This includes liaising with potentially affected parties to identify and address potential impacts on traffic and road safety.

Milton NO sign

The community doesn’t want the hub in the proposed location. The federal government approved the project with 325 Environment and Climate Change conditions

But that does not mean that it is an inevitability. We are not at the finish line, or even the start line for this project. Shovels are not going in the ground, and I remain steadfastly opposed to this development. There is a Canadian Transport Agency process, and the Minister is very aware of my objections to this project. There is a Provincial court case involving the Region of Halton, and many other hurdles for CN to attempt to clear before this is over.

Every elected official in our region and the vast majority of our neighbours are united in our opposition to the location of this industrial project. This fight is far from over. Our voices will continue to be heard, and you can continue to count on me to keep fighting for our community.

 

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Council gets draft Operations budget - along with a lot of detailed data in a graphic format

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

January 22, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Council heard just what the city is up against as they prepare to craft the Operations part of the 2021 Budget. The Capital Budget was approved last week.

The struggle to come to terms with the COVID pandemic has changed almost everything we do. The city Finance department has created two budgets; one that assumes normal circumstances and another that assumes an ongoing COVID scenario.

This was not a simple task.

The steps to develop the 2021 budget were as follows:

Base Budget -The budget was first built under traditional business as usual assumptions with all City services adjusting their ongoing base budgets to reflect service efficiencies and standard inflationary pressures offset with “normal” changes to revenues based on fee changes and volumes.

COVID Budget –All City services were asked to separately identify one-time budget adjustments required as a result of COVID. These adjustments include one-time reductions in budgeted revenues and changes in expenses to recognize temporary Service redesign plans required to protect the health and well-being of residents, businesses and staff.

Covid impacts

These are revenues that were not going to be realized. Department heads and Finance Department had to figure out how the city could be run with all the financial shortfalls.

Finally, services were asked to make a further one-time budget adjustments to expenditures reflecting continued travel restrictions and additional savings resulting from remote working such as decreases in professional development given virtual training opportunities, meeting expenses and mileage.

The net result of these one-time COVID-19 impacts have been shown separately from the ongoing base budget throughout the budget documents.

cobid mitigation measure

Mitigation measures – steps that were taken to cut costs

The ongoing 2021 budget results in a tax increase while the one-time 2021 COVID budget has been offset by temporary cost savings and a one-time funding plan.

The budget is again presented in a service-based format allowing Council and residents to see how our services meet the growing demands of our community.

The identification of revenues and expenditures by service ensure staff and Council is considering service adjustments when making budget decisions, as well as providing increased transparency and awareness to the public.

The policy and budget principles come out of a number of documents; the first being the 25 year Strategic Plan and the Vision to Focus (V2F) which is the four year terms of council portion of the Strategic Plan.

The Asset Management Plan and the Long Term Financial Plan guide the decision making process as each city department does its early first draft of the budget.

What is called the Base Budget is reviewed by the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and the Service Leads. The review done this year identified $2.34 million in savings.

The Corporate/Strategic Review then goes over the budget to ensure that risks have been thoroughly vetted.

Council will meet formally and virtually to debate the budget staff have prepared. There will be additional public engagement events as well.

During the briefing Finance department gave council there were some eye opening graphics. A selection is set our below.

Operating Investment

The city uses the word investment – it is really the tax money they are going to use. Spending is broken out into seven groups. The graphic shows how much of the money is spent and the portion that is funded by the tax payers.

 

Operating revenues

The tax payer provides the bulk of the revenue. There are other sources.

 

comparative tax burdens

Burlington taxes compared to other municipalities. A heck of a lot better than Markham.

 

tax as % of income

Incomes in Burlington are higher – making the tax bite a little easier to love with.

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Federal government approves CN Rail Hub for Milton

News 100 redBy Staff

January 22, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The federal government has decided to approve the CN Truck-Rail Hub

The Region of Halton had put a lot of effort into opposing the Rail Truck hub which they believe puts Halton residents at risk.

CN-site

Halton Region will determine the best path forward to protect Halton residents from significant adverse effects.

Halton Region, the Town of Milton, the Town of Oakville, the City of Burlington and the Town of Halton Hills (the “Halton Municipalities”) are extremely disappointed that the Federal Government has approved the proposed CN truck-rail hub in Milton.

“We have heard from members of our community, residents and local leaders about their collective concern regarding this project,” said Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr. “It is unconscionable that the Federal Government would approve this project despite findings from its own Federal Review Panel that the project will cause significant adverse effects on human and environmental health. There has never been a decision like this before.”

Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward agreed, saying “Halton residents deserve an explanation from the Federal Government about the project it has just approved, and the detrimental impact it will have on the health of residents.”

“How could the Federal Government disregard the concerns of the community and allow a project like this within one kilometer of approximately 34,000 current and future residents, including one hospital, 12 schools and two long-term care homes?” said Milton Mayor Gordon Krantz. “There are many unanswered questions that the federal government must address. This is not what residents of Milton deserve.”

The health and safety of Halton residents has always been the priority of Halton Region and we will continue to be the community’s voice on this important issue.

“It is shocking that the Federal Government has put CN’s convenience over the health of our residents,” Oakville Mayor Rob Burton said.

“Throughout this process, residents and elected officials have come together across party lines to voice their concerns, said Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward. “This has been a truly non-partisan effort on behalf of all our elected officials, and our Region has never been more united.”

“We thank the community for their engagement throughout this process and for support from our local representatives at the provincial and federal levels,” said Halton Hills Mayor Rick Bonnette. “It is for this reason we will continue our opposition to this ill-conceived proposal.”

There has been no public response from Milton Liberal MPP Adam van Koeverden.

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There are options for paying what you purchase on line

News 100 blueBy Alex Gramantin

January 21st, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

With the world coping with a pandemic and people in many countries in a lock down situation or restricted on which commercial operations are actually opening and operating, millions of people are shopping on-line.

Some method of paying for what you buy on-line is needed.

Let’s start with the obvious, using your credit/debit card to make transfers and online payments is pretty annoying. Constantly having to log in and typing your card information is a hassle, and it’s not that safe for various reasons. Thankfully, there are loads of online payment systems and e-wallets you can use in Canada.

There are a lot of them, so many in fact that it may be hard to choose which one is better and more convenient. I’ve set out below the most popular payment systems for Canadians and given you the pros and the cons based on my experience; you will then be able to determine which one suits you best.

Gamer PayPal logoPayPal Canada

Want a payment method that doesn’t use any of your information with the store you’re purchasing from? PayPal Canada is perfect for those wanting a secure banking option that will ensure that no one can get to your actual banking details even in PayPal casinos in Canada. Better yet, you don’t need to replenish your PayPal e-wallet, it automatically uses money from the bank account linked to it. There are over 6.4 million PayPal users in Canada, and yes – it does work with the CAD currency.

Pros:
-Extremely fast, and easy to use
-No transaction fees
-Downloadable e-wallet
-Plenty of discounts with various retails

Cons:
-Long withdrawal times (3-4 days)
-Business account use charges
-Accounts get frozen randomly

Gamer GooglePay logo

GooglePay is in the process of revising their logo

Google Pay Canada

Google really is dominating the world, and now you have an option to make payments via Google Pay. Canadian users can use this system on the website, or download a mobile app (Android Pay) that is beyond easy to use. Using Google Pay, you will have the opportunity to earn cash back, gain reward points, and have a secure experience with scam and fraud protection. A little over 12% of Canadian residents happily use this payment method for online shopping, quick transactions, and thousands of available retails in the region.

Pros:
-Lots of rewards and promotions
-Widely accepted online
-No transaction fees
-Charges in CAD

Cons:
-Not as widely accepted in physical retails as PayPal
-Only accepted on smartphones with NFC
-Isn’t compatible with mobile voice assistants

Gamer Instdebit logoInstadebit

If you want to feel the lightning speed power transactions, Instadebit CA is going to blow your socks off. This payment system is incredibly fast, and offers instant transactions, hence the name. The company serves thousands of Canadian users, as it quickly proved to be a highly convenient online financial system. It’s very similar in structure to most other online payment methods, and can be used for various digital payments except this one happens to be extremely popular in the online gambling world. Making an Instadebit account is as easy as ever, and depositing to online casinos couldn’t be speedier. There are currently over a hundred legal Instadebit online gambling sites for Canadians.

Pros:
-Incredibly fast transactions
-Fast online casino deposits
-Quick online casino withdrawals
-Quick registration process
-Accepted on many Canadian casino sites
-Secure payment system

Cons:
-Doesn’t work with some CA banks
-Can only be tethered to one bank
-Lack of anonymity

My take on what is available:

Whether you’re shopping online, depositing money to friends and family, or gambling online – there are plenty of options. You will find dozens of online payment systems in Canada, but make sure to always read reviews and weigh out the pros and cons before linking your bank details.

PayPal, Google Pay, and Instadebit are all reliable.  They have their differences but they are all  secure options with quick transactions, and no excessive fees.

Alex Gramantin is a consultant who is located in Europe. He consults for an international clientele on internet based payment services.

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Police Services Board releases fuller picture on what they relied upon in making their decision

background graphic redBy Staff

January 21st, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Halton Police Services Board is showing some very welcome leadership in terms of accountability and transparency. The Board has been prompt in getting out information on a sensitive matter and following up with good background information.

Kudos to them for that.

After announcing that the Board has “full and unequivocal confidence” in Chief Tanner, they released an Appendix with background information which we have set out below.

Resolution

WHEREAS:
Halton Region Police Chief Stephen Tanner requested the Halton Police Board Chair’s permission to travel to the state of Florida in the United States amid the COVID19 global pandemic on or about December 21, 2020;

Chief Tanner cited the essential need to travel to address extensive damage to a residential property for which he has a significant personal financial interest. He further needed to arrange the house’s sale as the significant damage and the pandemic delayed the ability to list the property for sale resulting in mounting financial losses and concern for him and his common-law partner;

The then Halton Police Board Chair permitted Chief Tanner to travel without seeking the Board’s authority or other Board Members’ knowledge;

Chief Tanner booked five weeks of time off for his planned trip to the United States, including three weeks away and two weeks in quarantine upon returning with all such time to be deducted from his vacation allocation under his employment contract;

As is customary, Chief Tanner advised his staff and Deputies of his planned travel, and he remained in constant contact at all times while out of the country. Since his return, he has worked from his home, notwithstanding being in quarantine and on his vacation time;

Chief Tanner departed Canada on December 26, 2020, and returned of his own volition on January 10, 2021, one week earlier than planned and as quickly as possible upon learning of the tragic on-duty passing of one of our members and upon securing the necessary COVID test required to fly home. He entered quarantine immediately upon his return and remains so at this time;

There are no air travel restrictions to the United States other than Canada’s Government declaring a Level 3 Warning to Avoid non-essential travel. The Government advises that “It is up to you to decide what “non- essential travel” means, based on family or business requirements, knowledge of or familiarity with a country, territory or region, and other factors”;

There are no policies within the Halton Regional Police Service barring travel outside of the country, providing staff follow quarantine requirements upon their return to Canada;

Chief Tanner violated no laws, orders, policies or contractual obligations that would constitute grounds for termination nor a penalty under his contract, the Police Services Act or any other relevant statute;

Mayor Rob Burton has apologized to the Board, members of the police service and the community for granting permission and has resigned as both a member and chair of the Board for his mistake in approving Chief Tanner’s travel in light of the public health emergency and the sacrifices Halton residents are making throughout the pandemic;

Chief Tanner has apologized to the Board, members of the police service and the community for his error in judgement in seeking permission and travelling despite public health recommendations;

Chief Tanner is a highly successful police professional with a 39-year exemplary career featuring multiple public safety achievements, and is also a leader in professional policing associations in Ontario and Canada;

The Board appreciates the feedback from members of the public and the Service, especially the Halton Regional Police Association.

Therefore, be it resolved that:

The Halton Police Board has full and unequivocal confidence in Chief Stephen Tanner to remain the
Halton Regional Police Service Chief;

The Board expresses its disappointment in both the former Chair, Mayor Rob Burton, for granting permission to Chief Tanner to travel to the United States, for not obtaining the consent of, nor notifying, the Board and in Chief Tanner for his decision to ask for permission and for travelling to the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic notwithstanding his property-related issues in Florida;

The Board accepts Chief Tanner’s apology for his decision to travel and will take no further action;

The Board accepts former Chair, Mayor Rob Burton’s apology and thanks him for his service to the Board and the Service;

The Board commits to reviewing its policies related to vacations, leave, continuity of leadership and the pandemic, especially international travel guidelines, and directs the CAO to subsequently develop and present amendment proposals for consideration at the earliest possible opportunity;

And to be transparent, the Board directs the Secretary to immediately release minutes of the special
meetings held on January 15, 16 and 21, 2021, to the public.

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Councillor hints at financial concerns at transit that are not being tabled

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

January 21st, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

Clarification:  The Gazette has learned that the losses Councillor Sharman mentioned at Council earlier this week have been known for some time and were discussed when James Ridge was city manager.  Quite why Councillor Sharman brought them up is something we don’t understand.

Minutes before the Standing Committee that was hearing what the Finance department had to say about the 2020-21 Operations budget Councillor Paul Sharman made a comment relating to financial problems at Burlington Transit.

He said “there is a serious concern about a million dollar loss at transit that we have not been told about and there is another one coming.”

Sharman b

Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman

Paul Sharman delights in throwing a spanner into the works from time to time. He dumps a piece of information on the table, doesn’t follow up – just leaves it there to fester.

Whatever Sharman knows, rest assured there are others who know;  Is the City Manager one of them?

Let’s ask some questions and see what comes to the surface.

Transit in the past few years has managed to do very well in terms of service and leadership in the use of technology.

The department has had a sterling reputation.

What was Sharman alluding to?

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The Chief is still the Chief. Police Services Board announces it has full confidence in Stephen Tanner

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

January 21st, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Chief catches a break.

The Halton Police Board Resolved that;

The Halton Police Board has full and unequivocal confidence in Chief Stephen Tanner to remain the Halton Regional Police Service Chief;

The Board expresses its disappointment in both the former Chair, Mayor Rob Burton, for granting permission to Chief Tanner to travel to the United States, for not obtaining the consent of, nor notifying, the Board and in Chief Tanner for his decision to ask for permission and for travelling to the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic notwithstanding his property-related issues in Florida;

The Board accepts Chief Tanner’s apology for his decision to travel and will take no further action;

The Board accepts former Chair, Mayor Rob Burton’s apology and thanks him for his service to the Board and the Service;

The Board commits to reviewing its policies related to vacations, leave, continuity of leadership and the pandemic, especially international travel guidelines, and directs the CAO to subsequently develop and present amendment proposals for consideration at the earliest possible opportunity;

And to be transparent, the Board directs the Secretary to immediately release minutes of the special meetings held on January 15, 16 and 21, 2021, to the public.

  • Halton Police Board and Halton Regional Police Services remain committed to Community Safety and Well-Being.
  • Halton has retained its distinction as Canada’s safest regional municipality with a population of 100,000 or more for the eighth straight year.
  • Halton has the lowest Crime Severity Index* (CSI), Violent Crime Severity Index, and Non-Violent Crime Severity Index when compared to Ontario’s “Big 12” police services;
  • Had the lowest overall crime rate, violent crime rate, and property crime rate among Ontario’s “Big 12” police services;
  • Had the highest weighted clearance rate (49.8 percent) of the same “Big 12.”

With a stronger and more transparent process in place, the Halton Police Board remains steadfast in our commitment to the safety and well-being of our community.

The Halton Police Board is a seven-member civilian Board that provides strategic oversight to the Halton Regional Police Service. Under the Police Services Act, the Board has legislated responsibility for the Police Service’s operating and capital budgets; strategic planning; policies, and priorities. The Police Board’s fundamental responsibility is to ensure that adequate and effective police services are provided to the citizens of Halton Region.

The Halton Police Service released the following Statement from Chief Tanner:

Chief of Police Steve Tanner explains that Social Media is not the same as a 911 call

Chief of Halton Regional Police Service Steve Tanner

I sincerely appreciate the full and unequivocal confidence the Halton Police Board has placed in me as Chief of Police. I will continue to lead our police service in the exemplary manner the Board has come to expect, and will always do my very best for our members, citizens and for the community that I am sworn to protect.

Regardless of the personal property related reasons for which I travelled recently, or the permission that I sought and obtained for that travel, I am remorseful for that decision. I have previously apologized openly to all of our members and to the public. I also regret the impact that this has had on Mayor (Chair) Burton who has stepped down from the Halton Police Board as a result of his decision to support my travel.

I look forward to continuing my service and to providing leadership to our community and to our police service members to the very best of my ability throughout the years to come.

 

 

 

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The Friday Food Drive - in ward 4 just leave your food donation on the porch; Councillor will pick it up

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

January 21st, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Politicians need people – not just as voters but as sources of information, for insights into what a community wants and needs.  They get that from meeting with people in a casual way.

Meeting people at all during a COVID lock down is impossible. There is email and members of Council can work the telephone but none of that does what a good chit-chat does.

stolte a

Ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte taking part in a virtual Standing Committee.

Ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte used to hold an open meeting at Derringers in their coffee shop area. People could just drop in to get caught up.

Stolte was fully aware of the ongoing, pressing needs of the Food Bank. The number of people they support is growing – 52 families were given food in just one day.

Stolte developed the practice of getting into her car and driving around her ward just to see how development projects were going, noticing where the potholes were, checking up on matters that were brought to her attention.

Her travels are a safe, contact-less drive around the ward to check in on the status of road construction, development projects and neighbourhood issues that have been brought to her attention.

ward 4 mapShe said, “This week I had one of those “ah-ha” moments when I realized that I’ve been missing a golden opportunity during these weekly drives around the Ward.

“The ah-ha moment morphed into the Ward 4 Friday Food Drive.

“Here is how it will work.

“Just email
Ward4@burlington.ca
by 4pm Thursdays.

“Place your donation on your front porch by 10am Friday labelled “Friday Food Drive” and during my weekly Friday drive around the ward I will drop by, collect the food from your porch in a safe and contact-free manner, and deliver it to the Food Bank every Friday afternoon.”

Neat eh!

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Mayor dominates virtual Town Hall on the budget

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

January 21st, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The number of people taking part in the Virtual Town Hall Wednesday night was better than any other virtual event the Mayor has hosted.

Dwyer

Michelle Dwyer – handled the questions coming in and kept the program going.

Despite not having access to the actual operating budget there were a number of very good questions: “awesome”, and The city communications people have come up with a format that works well. Someone from the Communications department handles the questions that come in – some live, others submitted beforehand – and determines who they should be handed off to. Michelle Dwyer was the Vanna White for the evening and she made it work quite well.

The problem to this observer was that I wasn’t sure the Mayor, who took part in literally every question that was asked, was really hearing what people were saying.

The concern over the spending was very real. Each time someone asked if a particular spend was necessary the Mayor and or the Staff member would come back with ‘we are providing the services that people tell us they need’.

A number of people – maybe 25% – were saying that perhaps some of the services weren’t needed all that much, especially given the tax increase will be 4.99% if the staff budget is adopted and 3.99% if the Mayor manages to push them enough to cut it another 1%.

Reporter Walter Byj wondered if the amount gained with a transit fare increase would offset the amount being given to the Performing Arts Centre?

Should the Performing Arts Centre and the Art Gallery be shuttered while the province is on lock down? Each get $1 million from the city to help out with operating costs.

One resident wanted to know if the city was going to close the Performing Arts Centre and the Art Gallery until things were back to normal. They were closed for a period of time explained the Mayor but they are back offering virtual programming. The city still has $2 million in the budget – $1 million each.

Additional staff are needed in the Building permit department because there has been a 10% increase in the number of building permits for decks and swimming pools.

Transit has taken a huge hit as a result of COVID – the exceptionally adroit management that Director Sue Connor provides has resulted in the department providing the service that is needed and slowly rebuilding.

Sue Connor at mike

Director of Transit Sue Connor has to deal with two big problems: limits on the number of people she can put on a bus and a traffic count that is on the low side.

COVID has Connor operating big buses with just 15 passengers – that is the COVID limit. Connor explained that she has to keep a bus on standby in Burlington and another in Hamilton. The technology she has tells her when a bus has 15 passengers – telling her that another bus is needed on the route.

Parks and Recreation is taking a big big hit on the revenue side while still trying to provide something in the way of service.  They are in a very difficult situation with not much in the way of wiggle room.

Two members of Council were on the line but did not participate.  One member of Council thought it might have been wiser to wait until the public had more access to information on just what the Operations budget was all about.  Another said she was unable to provide a response to the question asked.

Lisa Kearns pointed out that “From December 2 – January 15 questions could be submitted about the Budget to City Staff through GetInvolvedBurlington.ca   The Virtual Town Hall is the public opportunity to hear those answers and ask additional questions about the 2021 Budget.

The budget book is now available on line HERE

It is a 436 page document in a pdf format  and takes a little time to load.

The on-line Town Hall was recorded and will be posted to the city web site soon.

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Regional Chair will attend the Police Services Board Closed session meeting on Thursday.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

January 20th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

Clarification:

Mayor Burton resigned from the Halton Police Services Board on January 11, 2021. The Police
Services Act,  provides that the Head of Council is to be one of the members of
the Board unless he chooses not to serve. Regional Chair, Gary Carr has decided to assume the
vacant position. This is effective immediately upon swearing- in and does not require confirmation
by Council. The term is for the remainder of this term of Council, to expire November 14, 2022 or
when a successor is appointed.

There is probably going to be a change in the way the police services for the Region are going to be managed and led.

The Police Services Board has held 15 hours of meetings so far to determine what, if anything, they want to do with the current police chief who was out the country with the permission of Oakville Mayor Rob Burton who was the Chair of the Police Services Board.

Burton Rob - glancingf left

Oakville Mayor Rob Burton

Burton resigned as the Chair last week but is still a member of the Board.

There has been considerable public reaction to the decision the Chief made in asking for permission and then actually leaving the jurisdiction when the province was under a lock down.

Burton realized he was in a difficult position and had to resign as Chair.  His political future is something that we will look at later.

What to do with the Chief.  There are clearly some differences within the Board –  fire him? – how, when he had permission.

Halton Regional Police Chief Stephen Tanner talks with Sgt Davies, the man who heads up the accident reconstruction unit. The two of them would really like to see fewer accidents.

Halton Regional Police Chief Stephen Tanner talks with Sgt Davies, the man who heads up the accident reconstruction unit.

One of the options is to find a way to settle with the Chief – that will turn out to be an expensive option and one that will be hidden from the public.  There will be a statement about thanking the Chief for his service and wishing him well in the future.

If the Board decides to fire the Chief he will most certainly sue for wrongful dismissal.  That law suit will be public and that’s something the Region does not want.

The rank and file police are not happy people.  Their Chief was not there for them when they needed him.

Clayton Gillis, the president of the Halton Regional Police Association, said Saturday he has heard claims made by a whistle blower on Twitter. He said he doesn’t engage in the social media platform.

“From my conversation with the Chief and the statement he released yesterday, I know that he has described his travels as ‘personal business matters’ and a ‘property matter.’ I don’t know any other details or if the rumours … are accurate,” he said.

“We will be seeking a more transparent, fulsome answer to why he travelled beyond what’s been given as an answer thus far,” Gillis added.

The Police Services Board will be holding another meeting on Thursday (January 21st) that will like the previous two, in a CLOSED session.

What will be different is that Halton Region Chair Gary Carr will be attending.  His decision to become involved suggests that a decision will be made.

Don’t expect whatever decision is made to be made public on Thursday.

The decision made will be released to the public at a meeting that is open to the public on January 28th.  There will be a Special meeting on Thursday the 21st.  It will have one item on the agenda – electing a Chair and a Vice Chair for the 2101 term.  There may be other items discussed but they will be done in a Closed session.

There are two options before the Police Services Board.  Fire the chief or accept his resignation.  If the Board fires Tanner it will result in a legal claim for a lot of money.  Any claim would be made public and be messy  – the optics will not be good.

The best in the way of optics is to carve out a deal with Tanner to pay him to just go away.  The Board will not make whatever payment there might be public.  It will get buried somewhere in the Regional Budget.

Tanner was a good police Chief; he was one of the police officers who earned a degree in psychology at the University of Guelph.  He was a strong supporter of promoting women and putting them in positions where they could gain the experience to become leaders.

When he returned to Halton from Kingston where he was Chief it was a homecoming event.  He was given his old police badge, returning to a community that was both fond of and proud of the man,

He made the wrong decision and a series of circumstances may result in a career coming to an end.  This is the hard part of being transparent and accountable.

As for Burton – his future prospects are cloudy at best.  The result of the 2018 election for the office of Mayor are set out below.

The people who run election campaigns will tell you that Burton can be beaten.

The first column is the election day vote, the second is the advance vote, the third is the total and the fourth is the percentage

Rob Burton 19,236 3,682 22,918 49.64 %
Julia Hanna 16,565 2,866 19,431 42.09 %
John McLaughlin 3,345 471 3,816 8.27 %

Rob Burton could be toast as Mayor of Oakville as well.

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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Mayor will direct Staff to find savings that bring the proposed 4.99% tax increase down to 3.99%

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

January 20th 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Mayor Meed Ward doesn’t like the look of 4.99% tax increase and has advised her council colleagues that she will be bringing the following Staff Direction to Council tomorrow

1% imageDirect the Chief Financial Officer to provide a list of 2021 budget reduction items for Council’s consideration that could decrease the overall proposed tax impact (city, region, education) from 2.88% to 2.43% (representing a city tax increase of 3.99%) with the list being provided to members of Council by February 1, 2021 and included for public reporting as part of the February 23, 2021 Corporate Services, Strategy, Risk & Accountability Committee -Operating Budget Review and Approval.

Staff will have to squeeze every department in the city and maybe even look at some of the reserve funds that are a little on the fat side to get the 4.99% proposed tax increase down full percentage point.

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First view of the 2020-2021 budget calls for a 4.99% tax increase

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

January 20th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

A picture is worth 1000 words. What is a chart worth?

The chart below is from a report Council will receive on Thursday morning. It sets out what tax increases have been over a ten year period.

2021 tax picture

If averaged over 20 years they could have gotten the number even lower.

Council will begin work on a draft budget that proposes a tax increase of 4.99% for the 2020-2021 Operations budget.

There will be a Virtual Town Hall this evening at which participants can ask questions.  Unfortunately the public has, at this point very little in the way of information on which to base their questions.

The meeting this evening is putting the car before the horse.

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Changes in city council schedule. COVID is changing much of what happens at every level.

News 100 blueBy Staff

January 19, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

City Council meetings now take place on a Tuesday and they begin at 1:00 pm

This kind of schedule is acceptable while we are living and working under COVID conditions.

Council chamber - new look

Virtual meetings mean we don’t see the Council members in their seats.

Mayor Meed Ward talks in terms of these conditions being in place for some time – possibly to the end of the year.  No one knows of course.  We all just wait and see: will the vaccine prove to be the solution?

Delegations have been slim to none

All City meetings continue to be held virtually.

Amanda Fusco, Manager of Records and Information, argues that “Shifting Council meetings from Monday to Tuesday ensures better customer service. It not only improves the delegate experience and aligns delegate deadlines with standing committees, but also provides Council members time to receive information and prepare amendments.”

You want to take that statement with a large dose of salt.

All the heavy lifting gets done at Standing Committee which are held in the evenings when there are statutory meetings.  The wind has been taken out of the delegation sails; those who were frequent delegators in the past are not rising to the challenges the way they have in the past.

Related news story:

Muir on why delegations are not taking place.

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Councillor said the public trusts us - Muir points to her false logic

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

January 19th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

When the Corporate Services, Strategy, Risk and Accountability Committee was ready to adjourn last week after recommending that the Capital budget be approved, Ward 6 Councillor Angelo Bentivegna, who voted against the $80million Capital budget, said he was disappointed but that “he would get over it”.

Kearns direct smile

Lisa Kearns – before she was a member of city council.

Lisa Kearns, Councillor for Ward 2 said: This was a big exercise, a challenge for all of us noting that there wasn’t a single delegation adding that it was evident the public trusted council.

Tom Muir, a frequent Gazette commenter didn’t see it quite that way and said:  “I think that Lisa does not have the full sense of what she claimed about everyone being budget happy just because no one showed up.

“False logic indeed.

Muir making a point

Tom Muir brings decades of experience in municipal matters to his thinking.

“Has she completely forgotten that COVID has changed everything, including public engagement and delegations. There’s no real life left in these things.

“You don’t get to meet with all the people, see the body language all around, group conversations before and after, feel the sense of the room and so on. Now that’s fact as we all know, but it goes to the heart of Lisa’s thoughtless (in my view) remark.

“In my experience, I have no actionable desire to delegate to these virtual meetings, and especially, at this time, about the budget. This budget document is very large and takes a very long time to read, and even longer if you want to criticize. People more or less can’t really do this, and with COVID have indicated so.

“I have done so in the past and from the reaction I got it was a waste of time.

“I still see the percent increase expressed in terms of the overall Regional and Education budget amounts. This increase and the way it is expressed is a perennial complaint from people – the answer is always: we are looking into it. Doubling the tax take for Burlington is not a concern of City.

Muir with pen in hand

Tom Muir: Knows false logic when he sees it.

“Also, I still see $43 million budgeted for transit for buses (16 new and 52 replacements) that for many routes nobody rides. Good to go to Hamilton and back but that’s about all. What I have been told is that they are working on it and walking, busing and biking – the integrated mobility plan – is the future.

“Has anyone up there given any thought to COVID changing all of the basis of all of the planning that is based on getting back to “normal”? I see no signs of this anywhere, including, especially, the province, who wants to double down on the past, no change.

“But of course, COVID is busting budgets all over, and we have to pay. These holes are getting deeper and deeper and will have to be paid back and this will take a long time. Like it or not, COVID, being global, will be endemic and mutating, and is not going away.

“The economy and society we had is basically not compatible and sustainable without drastic changes, but I only see these changes being forced by the virus, and not in the plans and policies that I see that only try to support what exists.

“Reopening the economy, or trying to, will be another dangerous time in the not too distant future. I have said before that we cannot have an economy that works until we eliminate this virus.

“The only real cold comfort I get from the budget future is that I trust Joan Ford. Chief Financial Officer to figure it out.”

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Just how do they do it?

News 100 yellowBy Staff

January 18th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Last week the Burlington Food Bank reached a high point in the number of families that took delivery of food baskets – 58 delivered and 16 picked up in the evening,

Staff was stretched a bit but they came through,’

Food bank volunteers

Throughout the week – the volunteers show up and get the job done.

When the Food Bank says staff they mean a team of volunteers who come through day after day.

This week looks like it is going to be just as busy.

Robin Bailey, Executive Director, is taking part in a virtual meeting of the Feed Ontario Advocacy Committee meeting that is trying to have a voice and impact with the Ontario government and try to determine how we can support families better – especially those who are on social assistance – they really can’t survive on what they’re given right now.

Robin Food Bank with milk

From time to time the Food Bank gets a delivery of fresh milk.

60% of the Food Bank clients are women; this breakdown of clients is consistent across the province.

The Food Bank is a small yet powerful impact organization that works on several levels.

Sourcing food wherever they can, raising funds to buy the food at wholesale prices to bring in what they need and at the same time advocating for a change in the way those who need help are served by the community.

The organization doesn’t see a dime from any level of government. The Region, the people who are responsible for social services, don’t contribute to the Food Bank budget.

Food bank - three young men

This crew -no names – just showed up with the food they had collected in their neighbourhood.

This is one of those organizations that learns where the need is and finds a way to fill the need.

Every media event they send out end with:

If you are in need or know of someone who could use our help PLEASE have them email us at info@burlingtonfoodbank.ca or call 905-637-2273 to make arrangements to have food dropped at their door or make arrangements to pick it up through our curb-side pickup option. If you live in Burlington, we are here to help. Don’t struggle – give us a call.

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City Hall wants to know how you want to engage with them.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

January 18th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

City Hall wants to hear from residents about how they would like to participate in engagements lead by the City and what topics they are interested in engaging on.

Grpw Bold - community engagement

The city looks for every avenue available to let the taxpayers know that they want them to be involved in the decision making process. The screen shown was in a Tim Hortons

Since the pandemic started, the City has offered virtual engagement opportunities as well as telephone and online town halls. The City wants to know from residents what their virtual meeting comfort-ability level is – and how likely they are to attend in-person meetings once it is safe to do so.

The engagement survey is now open and will close on Feb. 5, 2021. Residents can fill out the short survey right HERE

We have been down this road before.

Engagement Quick Facts
• In 2013, the Burlington Community Engagement Charter was approved and represents a partnership between the city and its citizens. The Charter is an agreement between and among Burlington City Council and the citizens of Burlington concerning citizen engagement with city government that establishes the commitment, responsibilities, and fundamental concepts of this relationship.

• In 2018, the City launched the online engagement site called getinvolvedburlington.ca that allows people to contribute their ideas and feedback on municipal issues and projects important to them.

• Residents can subscribe to the GetInvolved Burlington calendar to receive the latest City meetings and event information. Residents can also submit a community calendar event that meets the criteria and can visit calendar.burlington.ca for submission information.

• Engagement is an important part of the City’s regular operations and is one of the four strategic directions of the City’s 25-year strategic plan. Part of focus area 4 in the City’s 2018-2022 Plan: From Vision to Focus is also building more citizen engagement.

 

 

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Housing Strategy will go to Council to approve a $300,000 spend that could be the rock that the next municipal election will rest on

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

January 18th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It is a bold proposal.

Create a housing strategy for a city that is one of the more expensive places in the province to live – save Toronto.

And get the policy in place before the end of the current term of this council.

The timeline suggests this is going to be THE platform the Mayor creates for her re-election in October of 2022. If she does it right the rest of Council might ride back into office on her coat tails.

The principal objective of the project is to develop an innovative Housing Strategy for the City of Burlington that sets out policies, tools and actions to address housing needs now and in the future.

Continuim graphic

The Housing Strategy will build on and support the Region’s Housing Strategy through the development of local solutions to housing issues in the City of Burlington.

The key outcomes of the City’s Housing Strategy include:

• Understanding the key players and their respective roles in housing;
• Understanding the current state of housing in Burlington and identifying current and future housing needs;
• Establishing a toolbox of best practices in housing, focusing on innovative practices and new, pioneering ideas;
• Developing of a set of action-oriented housing objectives and an associated implementation plan;
• Establishing where the City wants to focus or prioritize efforts to address housing issues in the City.

The creating of a strategy will provide an opportunity to look for creative and innovative solutions to address local housing issues through the consideration of a variety of planning policy and financial tools, partnership, collaboration and advocacy opportunities, strategies and initiatives.

The players

Big picture housing policies

The federal government has a finger in the pie – they create a national strategy, provide some funding and let the provinces work it out. Each province develops its plan, sometimes with funding. Burlington is part of the Halton Region – the Region creates the policy and for the most part, runs the plans. Burlington appears to want to break that pattern and do something unique on its own.

Just about everyone is in the housing game.

The federal government has been chipping away at a federal program with CMHC (Central Mortgage and Housing) playing an innovative leadership role.

The province’s Ministry of Housing has their fingers in the mix and, depending on the stripe and colour of the government, it can be developer-driven or something a little more liberal and progressive.

Toronto has always been a leader.

The Regional governments have played a role but in Halton’s case it was never very driven or creative.

The Region produces an annual report on what exists, what it costs and where the shortfall is.

That shortfall is always on the lower end of the economic scale.

Halton has a policy of buying units in high rise developments and renting those out. The co-op movement, including Habitat for Humanity, builds housing that puts homes in place.

During her first term as Councillor for Ward 2 Marianne Meed Ward was instrumental in convincing the Molinaro Group to work with the Region.  The result was 15 units being sold to the Region which became part of their inventory.

And then there is the individual investor who might own a small apartment complex or a couple of triplexes.

In Burlington the development community has found the high end condominium market to be their sweet spot.

Continuim with data

There is a clear division on what the governments will subsidize and what they leave to the private sector.

Burlington is a lower tier municipality within the Region of Halton; social housing is a Regional responsibility.

This current city council has decided they want to do better than the Regional policy partly for ideological reasons and partly to create housing for people in the local labour force.

Many people at the Fearman’s plant can’t afford to live in the city.  Same with the hospital – Burlington is an expensive city.

There really isn’t anyone committed to building housing for the lower, affordable market.  These are not houses for people on welfare; these are homes for people who want to get into the market and live in the city.

What exactly is this to phase of the project setting out to do within the next 18 months?

Project time line

The City of Burlington’s new Official Plan recognizes that housing is fundamental to the social, economic and physical well-being of the city’s residents, and promotes a land use pattern that supports a full range and mix of housing options across the city. The identification of an urban structure and the establishment of a growth framework in the new Official Plan identifies areas in the city where growth and transition is expected.

These areas identified as the most appropriate locations for intensification will support the provision of a wider range of housing options in addition to jobs and more mobility choices. Other housing policies within the new Official Plan relate to housing supply, including the use of surplus lands; housing tenure including rental conversion policies, as well as policies to support the development of affordable, assisted and special needs housing.

The new Official Plan also contains an updated policy framework for additional residential units and provides direction for the development of a city-wide housing strategy that will consider a number of elements, including strategies, financial incentives and tools such as an Inclusionary Zoning by-law program.

City policy baseBurlington works from the policies set out in the Strategic Plan, which is a document with a 25-year time frame.  Every term of Council (4 years) has a Vision to Focus (V2F) which sets out what city council hopes to achieve while they are in office.

Each year the city creates two budgets: One for Capital Expenses and a second for Operations expenses.

The Housing Strategy is something this council wants to have in place for the next municipal election.  They will pay for the work out of the current budget which is expected to be a whopper, due  in large measure to expenses due to Covid and revenue losses as a result of Covid.

The City’s Housing Strategy project has been divided into two phases.

Phase 1 time line - then ph 2 implementPhase 1 of the project will be consultant led and will deliver the necessary background information, data, analysis of needs and trends, and insight on best practices and more broadly new ideas to address local housing issues.

The Phase 1 deliverable will be the development of a made in Burlington innovative Housing Strategy, which will include a set of city-wide housing objectives supported by recommended action items, each with an associated implementation and monitoring plan.

The project consultant will also provide a recommended approach for phased implementation of the action items (short, medium and long term) for Council’s consideration.

Phase 2 of the project involves the implementation of the recommended actions contained within the Housing Strategy developed through the Phase 1 work and approved by Council.

Community engagement.
Council will always find time to talk about engaging the community.

The challenge is, when coming up with an engagement plan that actually engages, something falls between the cracks.

The Engagement Plan is a key deliverable to support the development of the Housing Strategy. The Plan is a strategic public document that will be developed and led by City staff and informed by feedback from Council, ChAT, the project Steering Committee, the Housing Strategy working group and other key stakeholders as outlined in the recommendation above. Additional resources may be required to deliver the Engagement Plan. Those additional resources will be identified at the time of the preparation of the Engagement Plan.

Engagement graphicA Housing Strategy working group will be established with a maximum membership of 20 people with volunteers from a variety of sectors including government, not for profit, co- op, the business community, as well as residents working together to support the development of the Housing Strategy.

Additionally, the working group will include the Mayor and at least one additional member of Council designated through an expression of interest brought forward by the City Clerk.

The working group will advise on local issues, be champions for the project, provide key insights given their diverse backgrounds, and will contribute to the refinement and implementation of the engagement plan.

An internal Housing Strategy Steering Committee comprised of city Staff will be established to give strategic advice on matters related to this project. The work of the Steering Committee will be guided by a Committee Terms of Reference to be developed at the time of the preparation of the Engagement Plan.

The Engagement Plan will identify opportunities for all interested parties to engage throughout the entirety of the process.
Although the details of the Engagement Plan will emerge in 2021, Staff have prepared a draft decision statement that guides engagement and communication strategies and tactics:

2022 objective statementIn 2022, Burlington City Council will vote to endorse a City of Burlington Housing Strategy to increase options for housing across the city.

The tab for this one will be $300,000 that will go to Council on Januaryclsua 19th, which is the day that the book with the Operational budget gets placed in the hands of council.

The day after the public will get a chance to take part in a virtual Town Hall on the Budget.

A housing Strategy is a good idea.  $300,000 is a lot of money to spend at a time when the budget the public will see later this week is going to have a lot of surprises.

Much more to learn about this latest idea from the mind of the Mayor and her Council.

 

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