Vaccination roll out plan in place -now waiting for the vaccine to actually arrive - then needles can be jabbed into arms - it doesn't hurt

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

March 4th, 2021



With the vaccination registration system created by the Regional Public Health Unit up and running very efficiently -many have registered and know when they are going to get their first dose AND their second dose; every one now waits for the vaccine to actually arrive.

covid virus

This is what we are being protected against – a virus that has challenged the scientists.

A tremendous amount of work has gone into getting us to where we are – and this is just the beginning.

Burlington released data yesterday on how the roll out is expected to take place.

The graph below is small and not that easy to read – we pass along what we get – you can now determine what the plan is and where you fit in.

Following the simple rules and exercising some patience will get us all to the point where we are vaccinated and moving along to some state of normalcy.

Pandemics are a little like the Maple Leafs winning the Stanley Cup – these things don’t happen very often and you don’t fully appreciate what has taken place until it is over.


vaccine roll out

This is the status of the vaccination roll out for Burlington as of March 3rd.

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Official: tax increase over 2020 budget will be 4.14% - 18.99 per $100,000 of assessment.

budget 2021By Pepper Parr

March 3rd 2021



It is now official.

Council voted for a tax levy of $182,276,388 which will mean a 4.14% increase in the 2020 city portion of the tax bill.

Angelo watching RoruWard 6 Councillor Angelo Bentivegna votes against the budget.

That budget will mean an additional $18.99 per 100,000 of assessment value/

It was a tough budget; the toughest this council has had to deal with.

The COVID issues muddied up almost everything.

Mayor Mead Ward was gracious in her comments about the role each member of Council played in landing the budget.

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Tax rate for 2021 to be determined today: data on what Councillors are paid released this morning.

News 100 blueBy Staff

March 3rd, 2021



What city Councillors get paid has been the topic of some discussion.

For the record what they are paid by the City is set out below. Council members also get a paycheck from the Region.

(a) each member of council in respect of his or her services as a member of the council or any other body, including a local board,to which the member has been appointed by council or on which the member holds office by virtue of being a member of council;(b) each member of council in respect of his or her services as an officer or employee of the municipality or other body described in clause (a); and(c) each person, other than a member of council, appointed by the municipality to serve as a member of any body, including a local board, in respect of his or her services as a member of the body. 2001, c.25, s.284(1). As required by Section 284 (2), City of Burlington By-law 129-2006 was passed authorizing the attached remuneration and expenses (Appendix A). In 2020, each Councilor had a budget of $10,000 to cover expenditures such as meetings, printing, mileage, newsletters, postage, professional development, telephones and advertising. In 2020, the Mayor had a budget of $31,087 to cover similar expenditures to those listed above, excluding the costs of leasing a vehicle for business use.

Council remuneration

This is the city portion of the pay check. Sharman and Bentivegna have different circumstances

When this item was put before council it was treated as a consent item. Not one word from members of Council.

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They got it right - COVID19 vaccination registration for Halton residents works

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

March 3rd, 2021



It is easy to complain. However, when the job is well done the people who did the job have to be recognized.

And this morning the Gazette wants to recognize the superb job the Public Health unit in Halton has done with the COVID vaccine registration procedure they put in place and opened up this morning.

Region MoH Meghani

Dr Hamidah Meghani decided no to rely on the province and went ahead and created a vaccination registration program for Halton. She made the right decision. It works.

It works. It is a little complex and some people may need some help if they are not computer literate.

Make sure you have your OHIP card – they need that number.

You get to choose the date you want – if that date is full they will give you the closest date they have. You get to choose the time you want.

You can choose any one of the four locations in the Region.

Read the questions they ask carefully. If you get something wrong – they point out where you made the mistake and you get to correct it.

When you’re done – you print it out. The document you print gives you the date you are to attend and the date for the second shot.

It works.

Thank the people at the Region for a job well done. The province is still working on a registration system. Halton decided that the province might be late so went ahead and created their own.

I’ll let you know how my jab in the arm goes when it is my turn.

Again, a job well done folks.

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City hall staff - overwhelmed

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

March 3rd, 2021



After a marathon Statutory meeting that had 58 plus delegations who wanted to be heard, Council will be back at the table for a meeting that will include the setting of the tax rate for 2021.

Health, Safety and Well Being are on the agenda.  Staff at city hall were surveyed.

One graph tells just how things are going.

graph feelings


covid response

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If you are over 80 you can register for your Covid19 virus shot today

News 100 redBy Staff

March 3rd, 2021



The online booking system for residents over 80 to book an appointment for a vaccine shot launches today.

To make your appointment click HERE.  Read the instructions they give you carefully. Read the balance of this article before you go to register.  The link to register is also at the bottom of this article.

Starting Wednesday March 3, Halton residents who are 80 years of age and older can book their appointment to receive their COVID-19 vaccine at a Halton Region COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic.

To support residents 80 years of age and older who require transportation, Halton Region has been working with Specialized Local Municipal Transit service providers and Private Transportation (taxi) services to ensure residents can conveniently request and arrange free transportation to and from Regional clinics if required.

“Vaccinating those most at risk of complications from COVID-19 is critical,” said Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Halton Region’s Medical Officer of Health. “If you know someone who is 80 years of age or older and may need assistance accessing information or booking their online appointment, please reach out to them to assist. While we continue to vaccinate priority groups, I am urging everyone to keep staying home except for essential purposes, avoiding social gatherings and preparing to be vaccinated when it is your turn.”

Residents who are not currently 80 years of age and older, please do not call 311 or visit the online booking system to ensure eligible residents have access.

Appointments will be available for clinic sites in the City of Burlington, Town of Oakville, Town of Milton and Town of Halton Hills. Free transportation options will be available for all eligible residents if required. Halton’s Vaccination Clinics are not open to the public and are available by appointment only.

There will be no walk-in appointments.

To make your appointment click HERE.  Follow the instructions



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Tag days will no longer need permission from city hall.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

March 2nd, 2021



Burlington is joining the rest of the Region and communities in close proximity – they are getting rid of the need to get permission to hold a tag day.

sea cadets taggingOrganizations will still be able to hold tag days – they just won’t need permission from the city to do so.

They will have to get permission from the property owners –ie, LCBO and Supermarket locations, which tend to have the kind of traffic that makes the tag day successful

The volume of Tag Day requests has significantly declined over the last few years.

In 2020, the City of Burlington issued 15 letters of permission; compared to 33 letters of permission in 2019 and 33 in 2018. Historically the numbers have been higher:

2017: 39
2014: 49

Tag day data 1In 2013, a similar report recommending discontinuation of the tag day program was provided to Council and they chose not to discontinue the program at that time. If a decision is made to discontinue, the Licensing section would advise charities that moving forward in 2021, Tag Days would now be managed strictly by the property and business owners.

This goes to City Council where it will be approved – from that day forward (allow 20 days for people to file objections) and all the taggers have to do is get permission from the locations.

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Burlington Together and the Food Bank working as a team to put more than food on the table.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

March 1st, 2021



Beth Martin oversees the Burlington Together Facebook page.

That organization has been a significant supporter of the Burlington Food Bank – they call her their secret treasure.

Beth Martin

Beth Martin – recipient of Rotary Paul Harris Award and founder of |Burlington Together

She is a recent recipient of Rotary’s Paul Harris Fellow award.

Burlington Together is currently assembling Activity Kits that will be distributed through the Burlington Food Bank, Wellington Square and Community Living Burlington.

Martin wanted to add tooth brushes and tooth paste to the package. She is currently looking for donations of toothbrushes and toothpaste, if anyone is able to donate.

The Activity Kits contain art supplies, books, activities for different age groups.

This round the kits will also contain hygiene items: body wash, shampoo and deodorant.

The activity kits are sponsored through a grant with TD Bank allowing them to create 500 kits to share in the community.

activity kit 1activity kit 2



While Food is critical to a household – so is finding things for the kids to do when they are not able to get out as much as they would like.

Burlington Together is also planning to kick off GROW A ROW again this Spring. Starting April/May, they are looking to build on the great success this program had last year in sharing fresh produce with the Burlington Food Bank.

We are looking for a volunteer Garden Coordinator for the Burlington Food Bank if you are interested in helping us out, send an email to

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Halton’s online booking system for residents 80 years of age and older set to launch Wednesday

News 100 redBy Staff

March 1st, 2021


Some good news

The online  booking system for residents over 80 to book an appointment for a vaccine shot is set to launch on Wednesday.

Starting Wednesday March 3, Halton residents who are 80 years of age and older can book their appointment to receive their COVID-19 vaccine at a Halton Region COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic.

“Getting our most vulnerable residents vaccinated as quickly as possible is our top priority”, said Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr. “Our clinics are ready and our online booking system is set to open for appointment bookings on March 3.

Our ability to vaccinate our community is dependent on supply from the Federal Government and direction from the Province on who to prioritize for vaccination.

To support residents 80 years of age and older who require transportation, Halton Region has been working with Specialized Local Municipal Transit service providers and Private Transportation (taxi) services to ensure residents can conveniently request and arrange free transportation to and from Regional clinics if required.

“Vaccinating those most at risk of complications from COVID-19 is critical,” said Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Halton Region’s Medical Officer of Health. “If you know someone who is 80 years of age or older and may need assistance accessing information or booking their online appointment, please reach out to them to assist. While we continue to vaccinate priority groups, I am urging everyone to keep staying home except for essential purposes, avoiding social gatherings and preparing to be vaccinated when it is your turn.”

Quick Facts:

  • On Wednesday March 3, eligible Halton residents, who are 80 years of age or older, or someone on their behalf, will be able to go online to book an appointment via or Halton’s COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic webpage.
  • Halton residents can call 311 if they require booking support. Please only call 311 if you are unable to book online to ensure those residents requiring support can be assisted.
  • There will be appointments available to book for every resident who is 80 years of age and older during March and April. All appointments are contingent on the availability of vaccine supply.
  • Residents who are not currently 80 years of age and older, please do not call 311 or visit the online booking system to ensure eligible residents have access.
  • Appointments will be available for clinic sites in the City of Burlington, Town of Oakville, Town of Milton and Town of Halton Hills. Free transportation options will be available for all eligible residents if required. Halton’s Vaccination Clinics are not open to the public and are available by appointment. There will be no walk-in appointments.

Halton continues to vaccinate priority populations as identified by the Province and with vaccine supplies currently available. As of Friday, February 26, 28,622 doses have been administered in Halton to priority populations. Mobile teams of Public Health and Paramedic Services staff continue to administer vaccinations to long-term care and retirement home residents.

Halton Healthcare continues to operate the COVID-19 Vaccination Centre at Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital for prioritized health care workers, essential caregivers and staff of long-term care and retirement homes and adults receiving chronic home care.

To get the latest information on Halton Region’s COVID-19 Vaccine Program including who is currently eligible, transportation options and how to book an appointment, please visit Halton Region’s website is being updated as the program progresses, and residents are asked to check this page regularly for the latest information.

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Are there erosion concerns over parts of the south side of Old Lakeshore Road?

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

March 2, 2021



Does anyone know why this is happening?

Emmas - next door - east

The site once had a gas station on it; it is believed that the Tim Horton’s people were looking at the site as a head office – that didn’t fly. Are there plans for something on the property – other than expanding Emma’s – what else could they do with it?


In the lot to the immediate east of Emma’s, which is still closed and available if you want to rent the space, there is a bulldozer pushing huge boulders over the edge.

It would appear that the shore line is being protected from any erosion.

The Conservation authority has jurisdiction over this site.

Does anyone know why the concern over possible erosion?

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It will be the place to be and the place to be seen - final opening date yet to be announced. The Bridgewater

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

March 2, 2021



I think many people have been so focused on what was proposed in the way of tall towers in the downtown core that we may not have been able to see what has been built and where the advantages are for the average person.

Took a walking tour to see how the three major developments were coming along.

Gallery MAr 1 2021

The Gallery – opposite city hall will begin to appear above the street level soon.

The Gallery, that’s the one being built across the street from city hall, is still not much more than a hole in the ground. Four levels of parking – so they have some distance to go.

ADI MAr 1-2021

The Nautique – the ADI development on LAkeshore at Martha is still a hole in the ground.

The ADI development on Lakeshore at Martha is also a hole in the ground – not as deep as the one opposite city hall. ADI is said to be going down seven levels.

The interesting one is Bridgewater – that still isn’t complete but there are people living in some of the units. There weren’t a lot of hurrahs for this development and it had its share of problems getting to the point where construction could begin.

Something that will be called The Pearle will hold an opening event in the not too distant future. More on that in a future story.

The plus for the people of Burlington is the space.

There is a large public area; some of which will be a restaurant but much of the space from Lakeshore Road right through to the edge of the water will be public. And it will be splendiferous when it is complete and open.

The pictures tell the story.

Bridgewater at Lakeshore

The south side of Lakeshore is no longer a construction site. Some work still underway and there are people living in some of the units. The sidewalk has a certain spaciousness to it.

Bridgewater - frpm lakeshore to lake public

There is an opening that becomes a plaza that runs clear through to the lake – with stairs that take people to the water’s edge. This is all public space

Deeper into public space

Walking through the public space – you get to an outdoor area that will be commercial area – where the reflecting pool exists. All kinds of room – it will become the place to be and the place to be seen.

Public space - pool reflecting

The picture was taken from close to the top of the stairs that will lead down to the edge of the lake. All the space between the two buildings will be public.


Stairs to water edge -three levels

There are three levels of steps leading to the edge of the lake. They are steep – several sets of rails will have to be put in place. The stairs will be a great place for people to just sit and enjoy the view.

Ramps making the site completely accesible

Ramps have been placed on the east side making thee location totally accessible and safe. Emma’s can be seen to the east.


When open and operational it will be a wonderful place; despite all the troubles with an idea that was first put before the public more than 20 years ago, while Walter Mulkewhich was Mayor. At that time the condo on the east side was going to be 30 storeys – it was to be a legacy site.

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There is some data that points to how much trouble we could be in if we do not follow those simple rules

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

March 2, 2021



Last week we did a piece on some research the MoH for Halton Region mentioned to members of Regional Council which she said at the time she found very startling and concerned that if the data was correct and the situation we are in was mis-handled a third wave was a possibility.

And that that third wave would not be like the first and second wave; it would spread more quickly and more people would succumb to the virus.

We did a short piece with a graph that set out what Dr Hamidah Meghani was talking about. In this article we are able to show you some of the supporting evidence . It is chilling.

The data does not mean anything is going to happen, it does, we believe, point to what could happen if we are not very careful.

Fortino signs

The supermarkets are doing everything they can to educate the public. Wear the mask – keep your distance. It does make a difference.

Reference is made to three COVID-19 VOC have been identified, including:

PANGO lineage B.1.1.7: first detected in the United Kingdom in September, 2020;
PANGO lineage B.1.351: first detected in South Africa in October, 2020; and
PANGO lineage P.1: first detected in Brazil in January, 2021.

As of February 15, 2021, Ontario has confirmed a total of 319 COVID-19 variant of concern (VOC) cases; the vast majority (96.9%; 309/319) are PANGO lineage B.1.1.7.

COVID-19 VOC cases have been confirmed in 15/34 (44.1%) public health units across 6/7 (85.7%) geographic regions (i.e., no VOC cases have been identified in the North West region).

The Central East region accounts for 80.3% (256/319) of COVID-19 VOC cases in the province, in part due to a large outbreak in a long-term care home in Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.

The majority (81.2%; 259/319) of confirmed VOC cases are linked to outbreaks or close contact with a confirmed case.

A total of 38 fatalities have been reported (case fatality: 11.9%); all have occurred among those 60 years of age or older.

acquired where

Where did the person with the new virus pick it up? Close contacts and an outbreak. How do we combat that?



Number of confirmed COVID-19 VOC cases by PANGO lineage, severity, and outcome: Ontario, December 1, 2020 to February 15, 2021(We believe the word EVER should have been Never)


age when they die

Number of fatalities among confirmed COVID-19 VOC cases by PANGO lineage and age group: Ontario, December 1, 2020 to February 15, 2021. It is the older people who are dying.


acquired where

Number of confirmed COVID-19 VOC cases by PANGO lineage and likely source of acquisition: Ontario, December 1, 2020 to February 15, 2021

This data has determined what the province decided to do and what is continuing to do.  Take care of the elderly and when the vaccine arrive inoculate the older people and hope that we can get enough people inoculated before the variants work themselves into the general population.

It is truly a race against time.

We may have wasted much of what we had.

Related article
The MoH was startled.

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Hope springs eternal: 'With just a little bit more work and discussion' Mayor thinks she can deliver a better budget

News 100 blueBy Staff

February 26th, 2021



Meed Ward hands out frnt city hall

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward – budget needs more work

In her most recent newsletter Mayor Marianne Meed Ward  reported that “Council is in the final stages of 2021 budget discussions and is currently sitting at a proposed increase of 4.14%.

“City of Burlington staff and Council all worked very hard to find ways to reduce the impact while still delivering on direct services to residents.

“We shaved approximately $1.49 million off the initial proposed operating budget while adding resources for tree preservation, extending the seniors free transit pilot, additional planning staff and more.

“That said, delivering the highest tax increase of our Council term thus far is not my goal for our community, particularly amidst a pandemic where people are still struggling. We received millions in funding from our upper levels of government over the past year and have been presented with reasonable and thoughtful options for reductions that were brought forward by our City staff. The divided vote yesterday at committee was 4 members of Council in support, and 3 opposed, myself included.

“The recommendations for the proposed 2021 operating budget head to a virtual special council meeting on March 3 for a final vote. With just a little bit more work and discussion, I’m hoping Council can come together to close the gap for a lower tax increase closer to 3.99% and deliver a budget that most, if not all, of us on Council and in the community can support.

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Is this the beginning of normality - Brant Museum to re-open

News 100 yellowBy Staff

February 26th, 2021



That light at the end of the tunnel may not be a train rushing towards us.

Brant Inn reopen graphicThe good folks at the Joseph Brant Museum announced they are re-opening with a limited schedule (Tuesday – Friday from 10:00am – 3:00pm) beginning Tuesday, March 2.

Currently on view are the Burlington Gallery and the Costume Gallery.

Admission rates are 50% off the regular rate until April 9. You’ll also enjoy 20% off all items in the gift shop. Masks are mandatory.

The Children’s Discovery Gallery remains closed due to COVID-19. Our next special exhibition in the Showcase Gallery will open later this spring, details to be announced.

Brant Inn virtual graphic

That cigarette wouldn’t be at a gathering these days.

The Brant Inn virtual event that takes place March 12th still has room for anyone interested in what looks like a great event.  The Gazette is seeing impressive interest in this event on its comments section.  One reader wrote in to tell us about his experiences as a young man.

Another reader said: “One individual I know paid his way through university back in the 1950’s by selling “mickey bottles” out of the trunk of his car–just imagine, the Brant Inn didn’t have a liquor license!

Elizabeth Hamidbasha recounts her experience writing: “I remember it well! It was a great place. The 1950 Miss Canada pageant was held there. Interviews from CHML were part of every Saturday night programming. When summer came along and you couldn’t afford a ticket, you sat on the railroad tracks and just listened.

“For lots of people it was free Saturday night entertainment and just as good as being a paying guest. One time Audrey Hepburn had lunch there without being recognized. She had just made Roman Holiday and was visiting here with her fiance’, James Hanson- now Sir James Hanson. Hanson owned Hanson Transport, based in London, England, and he had established a company in Hamilton. He was visiting Harold White, manager of the Canadian office, and had brought along his fiance. While the men were having a business meeting Elsie White- Harold’s wife- took Audrey for lunch at the Brant Inn.

“Imagine – nobody recognized her! But, it was early in her career and who would have expected Audrey Hepburn to be in Burlington, Ontario!!”

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The COVID19 virus variants that startled the MoH are very real

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

February 26th, 2021



Just over a week ago when Dr. Hamidah Meghani was speaking to the Regional Council she mentioned data she had seen very recently that she found startling and under the wrong situation could lead to a third wave of infections.

We touched base with the Region’s media support people where Julia Le is usually very good at digging out material for us.

Dr Hamidah Meghani  was talking about what are referred to as VOC – Variants of Concern – these are COVID19 mutations that appear to spread very quickly and impact those pov60 and over – for the 80 and over they have a very high morbidity rate.

The 20 page report has numerous graphs – the one sums it all up, and we suspect the one that keeps Dr Meghani awake at night is below.

Maghani concern VOC

If the mutation were to get out and into a population – no one has been able to even guess at the damage that would be done and the lives lost.  This information is one of the reasons the Mayor of the City of Toronto has said – no large public events until after Canada Day.  No Pride Parade – nothing where large numbers of people would be gathered in an outdoor setting.

The graphics that accompanied the Epidemiological Summary spell out the real concern and what has the health community rushing to get people vaccinated.  It is a race against time – and we are not ready.

This Epidemiological Summary covers Variants of Concern in Ontario: December 1, 2020 to February 15, 2021

The Gazette will do a follow up piece on this.



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What would a provincial election produce if it took place late summer when most of the vaccinations are done? Is the government preparing for such a day?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

February 26th, 2021



Is there a provincial election in the wind?

The province released a media background piece on some forthcoming legislation called Ontario Taking Steps to Make it Easier and Safer to Participate in Provincial Elections.

The media release explains that new legislation would help modernize the voting process in a COVID-19 environment by taking steps to make it easier and safer for people to vote, become a candidate, and protect provincial elections against outside influence and interference.

The Protecting Ontario Elections Act, 2021, would, if passed, help guard against threats such as the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, under-regulated third-party advertising, irregular campaign spending, and collusion.


Doug Ford – can he be re-elected?

“We strongly believe that Ontario voters should determine the outcome of elections, not big corporations or unions, American-style political action groups or other outside influences,” said Attorney General Doug Downey. “That’s why we are proposing legislative action to protect Ontarians’ essential voice in campaigns and to make it easier to cast a vote safely in an advance poll or on election day. These amendments would help modernize Ontario’s electoral process and ensure it is updated to meet urgent challenges, including COVID-19.”

The proposed reforms build on the Ontario legislature’s 2016 decision to ban corporate and union donations to political parties and help ensure individuals remain at the centre of the electoral process.

To protect Ontario elections, 19 legislative amendments have been proposed to:

• Make it more convenient and safer for people to vote in a COVID-19 environment by increasing advance polling days from five to ten, changes first proposed by Ontario’s Chief Electoral Officer;

• Double the amount individuals can donate to a candidate, constituency association, leadership contestant or party from $1,650 to $3,300 per year, protecting the essential voice of Ontarians in campaigns;

• Extend third-party advertising spending limits from six to 12 months before an election period and introduce a definition of collusion to help protect Ontario’s elections from outside influence and interference; and

• Clarify the rules that allow Members of Provincial Parliament to maintain individual social media accounts before, during and after a writ period, as well as pave the way for the legislature to set other social media rules.

Elections Ontario has reported that the scale of third-party advertising in Ontario is greater than at the federal level, and Ontario is the only province in Canada where third-party spending is counted in the millions of dollars, rather than in the thousands. In 2018, third parties spent over $5 million during the election period and the six months prior to the election.

“Each and every Ontarian is a driving force of our democracy – from casting their votes to volunteering on campaigns or putting one’s name on a ballot,” said Attorney General Downey. “We want to ensure that the electoral system continues to evolve to protect their central role as individuals and promote fairness in the electoral process for everyone.”

Andrea finger on cheek

She can draw the crows but hasn’t been able to translate those faces into voters.

Nice to know that they are keeping themselves busy at Queen’s Park.  One wonders how the current Progressive Conservative  government would fare if they had to face the electorate.  Lots to complain about  – but have you looked at the other two choices.  Andrea Horwath does not seem to be able to win an election.  A new leader could make a difference – is there anyone with real strength and profile on the NDP benches?  Look hard and let me know what you find.

As for the Liberals – their leader has yet to run for a seat in the Legislature.  Other taking a few cheap shots at the province for goofs on the Covid19 file, Del Duca hasn’t made much of a mark.

There is a group planning a policy convention – something the Liberals badly need if they are going to learn anything from the Kathryn Wynne disaster.  A good stiff broom is needed if the Liberals are going to be competitive.  If they can find a way to tap into and reflect what the people of Ontario really want they could form a government.

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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Standing committee settles on a tax levy for the operations budget - not the 3.99% the Mayor vowed to deliver.

budget 2021By Pepper Parr

February 25th, 2021



They wrapped it up.

We now know what the tax levy is going to be for the fiscal year: they are going to tax the public a total of $182,276,388.

We don’t know yet what that will translate into in terms of a percentage and what it will mean in terms of how much taxation for every $100,000 of property assessment.

Those details were not presented to the public during the meeting. It does not appear that the Mayor is going to be able to deliver on the promise of a tax increase over last year of not more than 3.99%

It looks like it will come in at about 4.05%

Before the lunch break the percentage over last year was 4.14%.  Members of Council decided they would dive back into the budget and see if they could change their minds on some of the decisions they had made.

That’s when things got sticky.  The rules of the game on a reconsideration of a vote call for a person who voted for the original motion to bring a motion that needs a 2/3rds majority to pass.

Rory H&S 2

Ward 3 Councillor Rory Nisan chaired the committee that handled the budget review. He is said to have his eyes on the Office of the Mayor once Meed Ward has moved on to greener pastures.

Chair of the meeting, Rory Nisan, did everything he could to get around that problem.

They went for lunch before they had a solution.

There is a contingency Reserve fund that had $1.8 million put into it – which was an increase over last year.  Mayor Meed Ward wanted to decrease the increase by about 10% which would have allowed them to get to her much desired 3.99% tax increase.

Her colleagues were having none of it and went after the Mayor for raiding the Reserve Funds piggy bank.  The account had something in the order of $9 million it.

Galbraith with two women in Tim

Ward 1 Councillor Kelvin Galbraith listening to what his constituents have to say.

Councillor Galbraith said he got far too many negative comments from his ward about the way reserve funds were being raised.  He wasn’t on for more of that.

Councillor Bentivegna said raiding reserves was not what he wanted to do.  If the increase was higher than the 3.99% – so be it.

City Manager Tim Commisso said that while there was some risk chipping away on what was going to be salted away the one before Council didn’t bother him that much.

Something had changed.  Members of Council appeared to have stopped buying into the Mayor’s 3.99%.  It took a bit for that change to sink in and while the Mayor never did say she would go with the will of her colleagues – it appears that she is going to have to find words to get her out of this one.

Council with clerk

This is city council, Lisa Kearns is missing. City Manager, top left and Committee Clerk bottom right.

Later this week there will be a carefully worded media release giving this budget that rosy red glow that the apple polishers can do to fruit that may have gone past its best before date.

It all goes to Council on March 3rd.  Several Council members chose to withhold their comments on the budget until it gets to Council on the third.

This may not be over yet.

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Council disgraces itself again on its use of CLOSED meetings- they don't understand the rules and public gets left in the dark

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

February 25th, 2021



ombudsan manual logoWhile waiting for City Council to come out of yet another CLOSED meeting, I was able to spend a few minutes on the Ombudsman’s web site where they set out the Top 10 tips for municipal officials

Know and follow the Municipal Act, 2001 and your procedure by-law’s open meeting requirements.

Make sure you have a procedure by-law that complies with the Municipal Act – every municipality and local board is required to have one.

Give adequate advance public notice of all meetings, including the time and location of all meetings.

Keep meetings open to the public unless closure is specifically authorized under the Municipal Act and there is a real need to exclude the public.

Pick the right s. 239 exception before closing a meeting.

Pass a resolution in public that includes meaningful information about the issue to be considered (not just the exception) – before closing the doors.

Record the meeting, including all decisions, by taking minutes, and preferably also by recording audio or video.

Stay on topic – don’t stray from the subject stated in the resolution.

Do not hold a vote in closed session unless it is for a procedural matter or to give directions to staff or officials.

To the extent possible, report back publicly in open session about what occurred in closed session.

The spirit of the law can be summed up in six words: When in doubt, open the meeting.

Rory H&S 2

Committee chair Rory Nisan – didn’t appear to remember what he read in the Procedural bylaw.

The Spirit of being open, public and transparent didn’t get beyond lip service with this council as they toiled with a budget that was difficult.

The behaviour of this Council was well below disappointing and needs to be brought to the attention of the Ombudsman for some corrective action.

Bad enough that Rory Nisan, Chair of the Standing Committee, let things run wild, worse that we have a Clerk who clearly does not fully understand the purpose of the Section 239 exceptions.  Clerk Kevin Arjoon needs to be sent out for some training.

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City provides detail on the status of the Official Plan and the outstanding appeals.

News 100 blueBy Staff

February 25th, 2021



OP cover NEWBurlington has what they call an interim working version of its Official Plan that is being appealed by a number of people. A list of the appeals is part of what can be found at:

The City’s new Official Plan was approved by Halton Region on Nov. 30, 2020. This was followed by a 20-day appeal period, during which 48 appeals were filed.

The appeals have been made available online, along with an interim working version of the new Burlington Official Plan. More information is available under “Latest News” at

1. OSSGA – Ontario Stone, Sand & Gravel Association
2. United Burlington Retail Portfolio Inc.
3. Crystal Homes
4. Landform Development Group Inc. and 2413350 Ontario Inc.
5. 1085 Clearview Limited Partnership
6. WE HBA – West End Home Builders Association
7. 440 Elizabeth Street Holdings Ltd
8. 2084 Lakeshore Holdings Ltd
9. Emshih (800 Burloak Drive)
10. Emshih 895-901 Brant and 2250 Fairview Street
11. Emshih 372-380 and 433-439 Brant Street
12. Carriage Gate Homes Inc., Lakeshore (Burlington) Inc. and Old Lakeshore (Burlington) Inc.
13. Molinaro Group of Companies and 1820473 Ontario Inc.
14. Victoria-Brant
15. Renimmob Properties Ltd.
16. Penta Properties Inc., Paletta International Corporation and P&L Livestock Ltd.
17. Fairview Limited Partnership
18. Ann Marsden
19. New Horizon Development Group
20. Brad Wilson
21. Wal-Mart Canada Corp.
22. Millcroft Greens
23. RK Burlington Mall
24. FEHD Holdings Inc., Hodero Holdings Ltd., Branthaven Development Corp., M. DeLuca, W. DeLuca, Burlington Tree Farms, and The Central Canadian District of the Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada.
25. Pine Street Burlington Corp.
26. Adi Developments – Masonry
27. 1246235 Ontario Inc. (789 Brant Street)
28. Khai Tuyen Ly and Donna Yuk Lee (795 Brant Street)
29. RioCan Holdings Inc.
30. 335 Plains Holdings and 355 Plains Holdings
31. Camarro Developments 789-795 Brant Street
32. Camarro Developments 519-527 Brant Street
33. Camarro Developments 1062 and 1074 Cooke Blvd
34. Infinity Developments
35. Spruce Partners and Amico Properties
36. Branthaven Developments
37. S&G Consulting
38. 735 Oval Inc
39. William R Love
40. Nelson Aggregate
41. Mac’s Convenience
42. Core FSC Lakeshore GP
43. Vrancor Group
44. Reserve Properties
45. 2584979 Ontario Inc
46. Medica
47. Emshih 901 Guelph Line
48. Mattamy James Street Limited Partnership

# 44, Reserve Properties is believed to have abandoned their appeal.


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Council returns to budget deliberations and immediately goes into a CLOSED session

budget 2021By Pepper Parr

February 25th, 2021


Updated on February 25th: 11:07 am

A day off doesn’t seem to have changed a thing.

No sooner had Rory Nisan, Chair of the Corporate Services, Strategy, Risk and Accountability (CSSRA) committee, gotten through the Declarations of a Pecuniary Interest (there were none) and noting that there was nothing on the consent agenda – the meeting slid over to John Ford who said Tuesday had been a long day and then passed things along to Laurie Jivan who said that the tax rate for the city spending would amount to 4.18 % (that would be the increase over the 2020 budget) and that if they wanted to get it to 3.99% they would have to find $343,000 in savings.

The meeting returned to Nisan who said the Committee was going to look at items #4 and #24 on the Budget Action Requests (BAR) forms and in order to do that the Committee would have to go into CLOSED session.

Nisan asked Galbraith to so move, Galbraith did, everyone voted yes let’s do that and the screen went to the CLOSED image.
Not one member of Council asked for detail on why they were going into a CLOSED session.

CLOSED screen shot

Those who watch Council meeting webcasts would have seen this image often – too often?

Item #4 on the BAR form was a provision to reduce the amount that was to go into the Contingency Reserve. Staff was recommending anything between $100,000 and $338,445. The Mayor wanted that amount to be $400,000 while Councillors Bentivegna, Kearns, Galbraith, Nisan, and Sharman wanted the amount to be $100,000

Item 24 on the Bar forms was to remove $154,470 from the spending – remove 1 legal staff who worked on Community Planning matter. Bentivegna, Galbraith and Sharman proposed this.

A former councillor at a Halton municipality pointed out to us in an email that:

A meeting or part of a meeting may be closed to the public if the subject matter being considered is:

the security of the property of the municipality or local board

• personal matters about an identifiable individual, including municipal or local board employees

• a proposed or pending acquisition or disposition of land by the municipality or local board

• labour relations or employee negotiations

• litigation or potential litigation, including matters before administrative tribunals, affecting the municipality or local board

• advice that is subject to solicitor-client privilege, including communications necessary for that purpose

• a matter in respect of which a council, board, committee or other body may hold a closed meeting under another Act

• information explicitly supplied in confidence to the municipality or local board by Canada, a province or territory or a Crown agency of any of them

• a trade secret or scientific, technical, commercial, financial or labour relations information, supplied in confidence to the municipality or local board, which, if disclosed, could reasonably be expected to prejudice significantly the competitive position or interfere significantly with the contractual or other negotiations of a person, group of persons, or organization

• a trade secret or scientific, technical, commercial or financial information that belongs to the municipality or local board and has monetary value or potential monetary value

• a position, plan, procedure, criteria or instruction to be applied to any negotiations carried on or to be carried on by or on behalf of the municipality or local board.

In a memo to Council the Finance department provided the following comment on the Provision to Contingency Reserve – As stated in the budget reduction list provided to you on February 1st, the list included a $100,000 reduction to the provision that would flatline the amount to the 2020 budget. The note included that the uncommitted balance was approximately $9.5 million. A question was asked as to whether the amount of the provision could be reduced further given this balance. Legal staff are reviewing outstanding and potential future litigation matters. At this time, a range could be considered for Committee’s discussion. This range would be from $100,000 (results in a budget provision of $2,038,445) to $338,445 (results in a budget provision of $1,800,000).

Would item #4 and # 24 meet these conditions?  At some point the provincial Ombudsman will be asked to investigate and determine if these two, along with the other multiple occasion Council went into CLOSED on this budget – which at this moment has yet to be agreed upon before it goes to Council on March 3rd – and when you will know how much of your money is going to slide out of your pocket.

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