There is a Gazette reader with just too much spare time on his hands

background graphic redBy Staff

February 8th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

Being in lock-down mode and being asked to “stay at home” leads to some interesting results.

One Burlington resident, known for catching our typos, decided to learn what Wikipedia had to say about his home town.

The author of the following has asked to remain anonymous; could it be that he is not authorized to speak on behalf of the city?

Do read on.

Many school age Burlington students are forced by this prolonged pandemic to get their information online; their Go-To source for instant information is Wikipedia.

The best mid-size city in Canada is Burlington (as everyone already knows) and researchers will Google us to find: Wikipedia. Burlington Ontario.

Let us examine what Wikipedia says about Burlington. Our: History, Elected officials, Economy, Media, Shopping.

Burlington, Ontario
Burlington is a city in the Regional Municipality of Halton at the northwestern end of Lake Ontario in Ontario, Canada. Along with Milton to the north, Burlington forms the west end of the Greater Toronto Area, and is also part of the Hamilton metropolitan census area. Burlington lies between Lake Ontario’s north shore and the Niagara Escarpment.

That truly boring descriptive tells readers we are “at the west end of Toronto alongside Milton”.

What else can we learn?

History. By 1906, the town boasted its own newspaper—the Burlington Gazette—as well as a town library and a local rail line that connected Burlington to nearby Hamilton.

Allow us to update – The Original Burlington Gazette ran 1899-1956 and by 1906 – Burlington was already on its third railway station at Freeman. The “local Rail Line” was an integral part of the Grand Trunk Railway of Canada, at that time the LONGEST railway in the world.

Who are we?

Wikipedia says people who live here are either: Burlingtonians or Burlingtonites.
Only the first name sounds familiar, maybe it’s for day use?

Then Wikipedia shows us this image of our flag:

Flag 1 NOT…but wait, that’s NOT our flag.

flag 2 YESThis is our flag – with a full three masted schooner – not some puny rowboat.

Burly, our beautiful moo-cow, should grace the upper left corner of the shield not a My Little Pony Bridled Unicorn. Nay I say. Wikipedia must fix this immediately.

Let us keep going to “print media”,

The following publications are either published in or around Burlington, or have Burlington as one of their main subjects:
• Burlington Post
• Snap Burlington
• Burlington News
• View Magazine
• Burlington Gazette

A closer inspection of these five:

This is what the original Burlington Gazette office on Brant Street used to look like.

This is what the original Burlington Gazette office on Brant Street used to look like.

• Burlington Post – we know (and love)

• Snap Burlington – Is that Snap’d Burlington – (let’s let Snap’d fix their own listing)

• What is this “Burlington News”??? Clicking on Wiki’s link reveals “nothing found”there

• View Magazine. This paper is out of Hamilton and what does VIEW Magazine’s search engine say about Burlington…?
View’s latest article dated Feb 1 2020 tells us:

Burlington’s Shane Wright lives up to ‘exceptional’ status in OHL and is averaging over a point per game in first year with Kingston in the Ontario Hockey League.

Shane’s a good Burlington boy – he’s a beauty – and a pretty good hockey player up there in Kingston, eh?

• Last but not least – it is good to see our own Burlington Gazette listed. Perhaps they could add a link.

• Remove “Burlington News” and add Hamilton Spectator instead.

• Also add “The Bay Observer”

Elected officials
Moving on to Wikipedia’s section on our elected officials and most of this public record is right – well, except…

• Oakville North-Burlington (the area bounded by Highway 407 to the north, Dundas Street to the south, Guelph Line to the west and Oakville to the east): Pam Damoff (Liberal).

Damoff with big wide open smiles

The MP for Oakville North Burlington would be very surprised to what Wikipedia thinks her constituency boundaries are.

What kind of crazy is this?

Wikipedia has removed 90% of Pam Damoff’s riding constituents, including everyone living between Dundas and the QEW? Certainly this needs to be fixed even if just for the integrity of our elections.

Shopping

COVID’s impact notwithstanding, according to Wikipedia, there are only two shopping areas in town: Mapleview Mall and Burlington Mall.

Breaking news: Burlington Mall’s name was changed to Burlington Centre years ago.

Their picture  shows a jam-packed frenzy of shoppers doing their Xmas shopping at the Old Mall. Methinks it is time for a new photo.

And by the way, there are plenty of other shopping areas in town. Big box stores, strip plazas, power marts, and so on. Wikipedia could mention those.

Economy
How about the economy? Who are Burlington’s main employers – the “big-name heavy hitters” according to Wikipedia?

The top five private sector employers in Burlington are Fearmans Pork Inc, Cogeco Cable, Evertz Microsystems, Boehringer Ingelheim and EMC2.

Yes – those are some of the biggies? Who are the other notable businesses??

Other notable businesses include The EBF Group, ARGO Land Development, and The Sunshine Doughnut Company.

Donut - sunshineWait – what? Hold the phone. The Sunshine Doughnut Company makes top 10?

Voortman Cookies didn’t make the cut?

Nor did Samuel Steel, Pinty’s Foods, Thermo-Fisher, Pollard Windows?

This donut photo is NOT on Wikipedia – instead they have posted these drab glamour shots of Burlington doing its best impression of Tombstone Arizona.

Let’s look in greater detail next week – and not just bring problems but bring solutions.

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Several of Canada’s finest instrumental jazz musicians, will be on-line February 10th - 7 pm via Zoom - not to be missed

eventsred 100x100By Staff

February 7th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

Several of Canada’s finest instrumental jazz musicians, will be on-line February 10th  – 7pm via Zoom  – not to be missed.

Thanks to a generous grant from the City of Burlington’s Community Support Fund, a special program created to support Burlington artists during the pandemic, One Burlington has commissioned Joe Sealy and his colleague Paul Novotny to create a special 25-minute video version of Africville Stories to be launched in Burlington at 7 pm on Wednesday February 10th , 2021.

Joe Sealy and Paul Novotny will be available for a Q&A immediately after the showing. The video will subsequently be provided to both Burlington school boards for telecasts during the week of February 15th.

Africville

Africville was seen as a slum – but it was home to a small but very robust black community that was forgotten until the city of Halifax wanted to develop the land.

Joe Sealy is one of Canada’s premier jazz pianists and composers. His Africville Suite won a Juno Award as Best Jazz Recording of 1996. Joe Sealy subsequently created an attraction called Africville Stories, which relates the stories behind the various musical selections in the Suite. He wrote several additional songs for the great Canadian jazz/gospel/blues singer Jackie Richardson, who serves as Narrator for the 75-minute work. Africville Stories also features several of Canada’s finest instrumental jazz musicians, including saxophonist Alison Young, bassist Paul Novotny and percussionist Daniel Barnes.

Africville is a community on the outskirts of Halifax that had little, if anything, in the way of municipal services. The residents of that community were treated terribly.

One Burlington, Burlington’s organization dedicated to the celebration of faith and culture in the City of Burlington, is planning an event in commemoration of Black History Month.

Africville Stories is Joe Sealy’s musical tribute to the Halifax community of Africville, a neighbourhood built by generations of Black immigrants to Nova Scotia subsequent to their arrival from post-Revolutionary America. The community was razed to the ground in 1960 as part of a Halifax urban renewal project. Joe Sealy’s mother was born and raised there.

 

Paul Novotny

Paul Novotny

Africville Stories fit well into One Burlington’s mandate to celebrate the cultural diversity of its citizenry, and especially those communities that are under-served, and to provide insights into the often difficult histories of these multicultural communities. We stand proud in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

Joe Sealy’s Africville Stories, featuring Jackie Richardson and Paul Novotny.
Wednesday February 10th, 2021 at 7 pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.usj8507806860?pwd=MFVlKzZsTnBEbWZCNCt5MkkyWGd1UT09

Meeting ID: 885 0780 6860
Passcode: 231098

If that link doesn’t work, please go to zoom.us and enter the Meeting ID and Passcode to get in that way!

For more information contact Robert Missen at 905-632-6047 or rmissen@sympatico.ca

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Week long food drive - the need is still there

News 100 yellowBy Staff

February 6th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Shadi Salehian, Chair of One Burlington, and Dan Fraser, organizer for the upcoming Share the Love, are the driving force behind the city-wide Food Drive from Feb 6 to 13th.

Share 1

Share 2

Dan and his wife Merrilee Fraser have been spearheading this Food drive by contacting grocery stores and faith groups in Burlington: they are very surprised how welcoming and generous their fellow neighbours have been. A diverse, integrated Burlington is a stronger, kinder and more interesting community to live in.

One Burlington was founded by several faith groups after the Quebec mosque shooting in 2017, One Burlington celebrates the multi-faith, multicultural foundation of our community. They believe the contributions of our diverse faith and cultural groups continue to strengthen Burlington and make it one of the best places to reside. It’s an organization of over 40 faith and non-faith groups who hope to create opportunities for people of different backgrounds to come together in a peaceful and cordial manner; to learn about and experience aspects of each others’ faith and culture.

Share the love One Burlington

 

If you are in need or know of someone who could use their help PLEASE have them send an email to  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 the curb-side pickup option. If you live in Burlington, they are here to help. Don’t struggle – give them a call.

 

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Heavily weighted committee formed to discuss, share information and action around the Meridian Aldershot Quarry

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr
February 5th, 2021
BURLINGTON, ON
 
We reported yesterday on a Motion the Mayor put forward to create a Public Health Bylaw that Council didn’t want to say all that much about at the time.
The Motion put on the Council Table came after a two hour CLOSED session during which it is believed the Meridian Aldershot Quarry and the air pollution issues were discussed.  Council had the benefit of advice from legal counsel that had a strong environmental background.
Later this week we will report on a Staff Direction response that set out for Council just what the issues at the Meridian Quarry are and what might be done to mitigate the concern residents that have been raised by the Tayandaga Environmental Coalition.
Mayor Marianne Meed Ward has taken a significantly different approach to being Mayor than her predecessor Rick Goldring. Goldring took the position that the quarry had a license and there was nothing the city could do.
Three-quarry-sites-5-768x432

The West and Centre quarry cells are close to depletion. Meridian Brick wants to open up the East Cell creating air pollution problems for West Haven residents.

In  a report Mayor Meed Ward sent to council she sets out what she calls the “Aldershot Quarry Community Liaison Committee(AQCLC)” and its Terms of Reference.
She has created yet another committee that has the potential to make life very difficult (but respectful)  for the Meridian Brick people.
1. Mandate The Aldershot Quarry Community Liaison Committee (AQCLC) is group comprised of community stakeholders, city staff and Quarry representatives to provide a forum for discussion, information sharing and action around the Meridian Quarry activity in the Aldershot area of Burlington.
2. Purpose The AQCLC provides an opportunity for respectful dialogue between stakeholders to share questions, concerns, ideas, and new information related to the Quarry’s ongoing activities. The committee is also an opportunity to identify agreed-upon action items by any stakeholders. Note: Any advocacy activities for or against the Quarry’s activity rest solely with external organizations – this committee is not an advocacy group.
3. Member Selection Membership will be comprised of:
Mayor Meed Ward, City of Burlington
Ward 1 Councillor Kelvin Galbraith, City of Burlington
Ward 3 Councillor Rory Nisan (based on quarry activity taking place in his ward)
Mike Greenlee, Customer Experience Manager-Business Development, City of Burlington
2 representatives from Meridian Quarry–to be recommended by Meridian Quarry
TEC stop quarry expansion Jul172 representatives from Tyandaga Environmental Coalition–to be recommended by Tyandaga Environmental Coalition
1 representative from BurlingtonGreen–to be recommended by BurlingtonGreen
1 representative from Conserving Our Rural Ecosystems (CORE) Burlington–to be recommended by CORE
1 representative from Protecting Escarpment Rural Land(PERL) – to be recommended by CORE
Burlington Green logo large1-2 citizen representatives from the Burlington community – to be appointed by a subcommittee of the Mayor, Ward Councillor and Customer Experience Manager based on a call for expressions of interest from the community.
Secretary from the Mayor/Councillor’s office (non-voting)
Ex Officio Tim Commisso, City Manager (optional attendance, not counted for quorum).

That is more than a dozen people for a committee that one Council member said might be around for 25 years.

Additional members can be considered and added with committee approval. Representatives from the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks and Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry will be invited to each meeting.

4. Meeting Roles & Responsibilities Chair:

The meetings will be co-chaired by Mayor Meed Ward and Councillor Galbraith who will oversee setting the agenda and providing advance materials, calling the meetings to order, turning the meeting management to the facilitator, and closing the meeting with summary of next steps. Secretary: a member of the Mayor’s team or Councillor Galbraith’s team will be present to take minutes during the meeting and distribute said minutes to members in a timely manner afterward.

The secretary will also forward agendas and any supporting materials in advance of each meeting, and send calendar invites with virtual connection details. Until further notice, all meetings will be conducted on a virtual platform (Zoom or Teams).

Facilitator: An impartial and trained facilitator appointed by the City of Burlington (TBD but ex: Stephanie Venimore) will move the meeting through the agenda and ensure respectful dialogue occurs, with reasonably equal speaking time be provided to all participants who wish to contribute to the conversation.

5. Meeting Schedule The AQCLC will meet virtually or in person at minimum twice annually, with the option of additional meetings should they be mutually agreed upon by members. Meeting invitations will be sent out several months in advance and will be estimated to be approximately 90 minutes in duration unless the agenda warrants otherwise, and schedules can accommodate.

6. Meeting Protocol The agenda will be distributed by the Secretary one week prior to each meeting. Agenda items for discussion are due to the Mayor’s and Councillor’s office two weeks prior to each committee meeting (one week prior to agenda going out). Items for discussion that are raised after the agenda is circulated will be addressed under “Other Business” if time permits.

Meetings shall be attended by members listed above, with the option to invite additional guests as relevant and when agreed upon by all members.

There is no mention as to whether or not the meetings will be public.

Related news stories:

Could a Public Health Bylaw slow things down at the Adlershot Quarry

Mayor Meed Ward takes on Aldershot Quarry for Ward 1 residents

Former Mayor Goldring struggles to find a position that will satisfy West Haven residents. .

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There is a protocol requiring members of council to always congratulate staff for the reports they submit.

News 100 bluePepper Parr

February 4th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

We don’t always get it right and we have learned that sometimes the less said, the better.

Councillor Kearns sent us a note asking for a correction
We had said:

Lisa Kearns

Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns.

Councillor Kearns wanted to see a more honed in approach to whatever it was the Mayor wanted done. Reference was made to where this fit into the V2F document (Vision to Focus) by Kearns but not before she could say that she thought the city was lucky to have Nancy Shea Nicol on Staff (she is the Executive Director of Legal Services) because she was “an amazing person.”

Kearns felt we had gotten it wrong and sent us a note.

Subject: CORRECTION

“I said this about Sheila Jones when I misplaced her professional title.”

Councillor Kearns was objecting to what we wrote.  In a response to Kearns we said we wondered why she felt it was necessary for her to “gush” over staff so often.

We (the Gazette) wondered if “gushing” about staff publicly was good politics. Council is there to hold the administration accountable.

Kearns replied: “I only gush about people that deserve it.” Then added “It’s protocol courtesy to thank staff for the reports that come forward.”

Really – there is a protocol saying thou must fawn over every report that staff prepares for Council?

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Terry Fox Run seen as one of the most successful fund raising events in North America

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

February 5th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum is honoring three nonprofits that overcame long odds to host successful fundraising campaigns in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic as its Programs of the Year.

This year’s honorees include:

Fox monument with Brant Inn

The marker in Spencer Smith Park overlooking Lake Ontario. The Brant Inn was directly behind the marker.

The Terry Fox Foundation, which continued to tell the story of its namesake founder and stayed true to its values, even when the pandemic disrupted its plans for 950 community runs across Canada last September. In the face of incredible disruption, the Terry Fox Virtual Run raised nearly $8 million in 2020 – just 3% less than it raised in 2019.

Locally Craig Gardner reminds people that the Burlington community raised more in 2020 than they did in 2019. He adds: just as an update the total raised in Burlington in 2020 has passed the $141K mark with 2 months to go till foundation year end March 31.

A large part of Burlington is home to the memory of Terry Fox.

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Number of EV chargers to increase - no policy yet on a fee - most Councillors are opposed to a fee

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

February 4th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The end result of a good discussion at the Corporate Services, Strategy, Risk and Accountability Committee, (CSSRA) on the use of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations was to:

Direct the Executive Director of Environment, Infrastructure and Community Services to develop a policy to guide the expansion, operation and maintenance of electric vehicle charging infrastructure on city property.

Rivers EV charging stations

EV chargers are becoming part of the landscape in may large malls.

Behind that Staff Direction was an informative presentation on what the city has in the way of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations and where they are located and the astounding fact that the city cannot charge a user for the electricity they let flow into their vehicles.

Apparently only Burlington Hydro can sell you electricity.

The need to electrify transportation has been identified as a vital action in both the City’s Climate Action Plan and Corporate Energy and Emissions Management Plan.

EV downtown inv

EV charging stations downtown

EV inventory - all

EV charging stations throughout the city.

The City installed its first public access electric vehicle (EV) charging station in 2015 in the downtown parking garage and has expanded its portfolio each year with the largest installation being in 2018 with the addition of 12 dual head stations partially funded under the province’s Workplace Electric Vehicle Charging Incentive Program.

The City of Burlington currently has 23 Electric Vehicle (EV) charging stations on city property with a total of 44 charging heads. The majority of these units can be found in downtown parking lots.

There are three types of charging stations available for use, Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3.

Level 1 stations would be a charger that would come with an electric vehicle when purchased and plug into a standard 120 volt, 15 amp wall outlet. Charging times at these stations vary with vehicle and charger but will typically charge 200km in approximately 20 hours.

Level 2 stations are stations like the city currently has installed in its parking lots. These are stations with 1 or 2 charging heads using 240 volts and either 40 or 50 amps. Typical charge time at these stations is 200km in approximately 5 hours.

Level 3 stations or “Fast Chargers” operate at direct current (DC) voltage, sometimes as high as 800 volts, and can charge a vehicle 160km in approximately 30 minutes.

Currently all City of Burlington chargers are Level 2 chargers.

EV's being charged

Example of a level 2 charging station

In 2020 additional stations were installed for city operated fleet vehicles at Fire Station Headquarters, Roads, Parks and Forestry Operations Centre and the Burlington Animal Shelter.

In 2020, funds from the Parking District reserve were allocated to install 3 additional EV charging stations in City owned parking lots namely in lots 1, 8 and one level 3 EV charger in a lot in close proximity to Brant Street. Due to the reassignment of Parking Services staff and other additional unexpected work assignments, the EV chargers were not installed in 2020. This work is expected to be carried out in 2021.

During budget discussions at the January 12, 2021 CSSRA Committee, staff were directed to provide further information on the Parking District reserve fund specifically related to how the fund is broken down and funded.

EV Costs and avail

The city absorbs the cosy of the electricity that comes from Burlington Hydro The city cannot sell the electricity.

The Parking District reserve fund was set up for funding capital improvements to city owned parking facilities within the downtown as well as funding in years with operating shortfalls. Since the one reserve fund model did not sufficiently differentiate the use of funds, in June 2020 council approved the creation of three separate and distinct reserve funds to ensure the most efficient use of the balance by clearly distinguishing funds for stabilization of operations, lifecycle costing for all parking assets (renewal) and future growth in parking supply.

Parking - municipal cash grab

Parking fines go into the Parking Reserve fund – which at this point is covering the cost of the EV chargers.

As of September 30, 2020 the existing Parking District reserve fund has a balance of $9,566,345.

Based on a financial model the balance is being allocated amongst the three newly created reserve funds as follows:

Parking Renewal – $2.5 million reflects the city’s parking asset inventory and required needs

Stabilization of Operations – $0.2 million this balance reflects a target of 10-15% (3 year rolling average) of operating revenues for the purposes of stabilization of operations

Parking Growth – $6.9 million to reflect the anticipated growth in parking demand

The revenues (and associated percentages) that support the total expenses and provision to the reserve fund are as follows:

property tax levy against the business properties of $304,200 plus a payment in lieu for exempt/partially exempt city properties of $39,327 for a total of $343,527 (13.0%)

parking fines of $470,000 (17.7%)

parking fee revenues of $1,838,546 (69.3%)

Staff believe that it is appropriate to use the Parking District funds to cover the costs of EV chargers for city owned parking facilities in downtown Burlington.

EV unique

This bar chart shows the number of unique users .

City staff are also currently working on the installation of 11 additional dual head charging stations for spring 2021 that will be accessible to the public. These stations are being installed as part of the council directed budget addition in the 2020 capital budget. Charging stations will be installed at the following city facilities;

– Tansley Woods Community Centre (4 heads)
– Appleby Ice Centre (4 heads)
– Central Park Campus (4 heads)
– Mountainside Recreation Centre (2 heads)
– Haber Recreation Centre / Norton Park (2 heads)
– Nelson Recreation Centre (2 heads)
– Aldershot Arena (2 heads)
– Mountainside Recreation Centre (2 heads)

With the installation of these charging stations the City will have 33 charging stations installed with 26 of those being publicly accessible.

It is expected that additional stations will be installed in the coming years as part of the green fleet strategy for corporate vehicles.

Detailed information on charging usage and times is available for 20 of the city’s 23 chargers. Staff are currently working to secure a more accurate means of monitoring the other three charging stations.

Through the years the utilization of the publicly available charging stations increased annually with the installation of additional charging stations and increased awareness of the stations. However, an obvious dip can be seen in the graph below in March 2020 coinciding with the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Other sustainable mobility options will be considered and assessed through the development of the Integrated Mobility Plan.

Currently there are no fees for using a city EV charger, however, electricity used for these stations carries an annual cost as does ongoing maintenance and programming/data access for the charging stations.

Annual costs of operating the EV charging stations vary.

These costs are expected to increase annually by an additional $20,000 to $39,000 (electricity cost plus operations/maintenance), depending on charging activity, with the installation of the additional 13 charging stations as part of the 2020 capital budget.

These projected costs do not include the operational costs of the level three charging station that is to be installed in 2021 due to unknown charger specifications and utilization rates.

The City does not charge staff or the public for using the chargers. However, due to the rising utilization of the City’s charging stations and the general growth of the City’s charging assets the addition of an hourly fee to our charging stations is necessary. The City is unable to charge directly for electricity consumption but can base the charge on an hourly rate to use the charging station.
That idea didn’t sit well with most of the Council members. Mayor Meed Ward saw the charging stations as a draw the malls and large box retailers would use to attract traffic.

EV usag e- all

The usage of the EV charging station has grown – the dip during the first lock-down is evident.

A new policy regarding fees for EV Charging is recommended to be developed in 2021. This would include items such as fees for public users and staff users, charging time limits, introduction of a penalty fee if an overstay is detected, as well as how to direct the funds that are collected.

Currently the cost of electricity consumption at the charging stations are covered under operating budgets for electricity accounts for the various assets that house our charging infrastructure. Installation and ongoing maintenance fees have been covered through facility or parking asset operating budgets.

Since 2015 the city has helped residents and our own corporate fleet reduce emissions by approximately 82.5 tons, which is equivalent to the carbon sequestered by approximately 1356 seedlings grown for 10 years.

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A Public Health Bylaw - isn't that a Regional issue ? Might it be related to air pollution?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

February 3rd, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It was one of those walk-on items; a piece of city business that wasn’t on the agenda.

It came from the Mayor who did not appear to have consulted with her peers before the meeting.

There was a certain awkward silence, which is hard to pick up on when the meeting is virtual and you can’t always see all the players at the same time.

It was short; set out as a Staff Direction it read:

Direct the Executive Director of Legal Services to undertake a detailed review of the feasibility of enacting a city wide health protection bylaw to be funded from the Contingency Reserve fund and report back by Q2 of 2021.

My first reaction was – what is this all about? Don’t we have a Public Health Unit at the Region that focuses on public Health?

The motion wasn’t actually ready – Council took a few minutes break while the short paragraph was typed up and put up on the screen.

Kelven Gal Jan 14 a

Kelven Galbraith, Chair of a Standing Committee waiting for the Mayor to complete the writing of a Staff Direction

Kelvin Galbraith who was chair of the meeting asked if there were any questions. Rory Nisan, who seems to be the person that automatically supports whatever the mayor puts forward said he was very interested to see where this could go.

Angelo Bentivegna was next with his standard “two quick questions” approach. He wanted to know more especially about the “detailed” part and just how much of the Contingency Reserve fund was going to be used. He asked “how far are we going to get into this” and added that at this point he could not support the Staff Direction.

Council had just come out of a two hour CLOSED session on the Meridian Aldershot Quarry and were scheduled to do a hard stop at noon – with that hour just minutes away.
They needed to take a lunch break after which City Manager Tim Commisso spoke saying he felt that Bentivegna deserved a more detailed answer to his concerns.

Commisso pointed out that the Legal Services budget was not public. He seemed to be aware of what it was the Mayor wanted to bring forward and pointed out that Council can do whatever it wants to do.

Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman said he had concerns over the scope of what was before Council. He wanted to know who will do the actual work and noted that there is a Public Health Unit at the Region adding that he was not clear on just what was being done.

Nancy Shea Nicol

Nancy Shea Nicol, Executive Director Legal Services

At that point the Executive Director of Legal Services spoke saying she could put together a Terms of Reference document.

Commisso then said that this was something that was dealt with in the CLOSED session. Which CLOSED session?

Tom Commisso

City Manager Tim Commisso

Commisso was referring to the CLOSED session that had taken place earlier in the day relating to the Meridian Aldershot Quarry where Air Quality issues were part of the discussion.

We were aware that the city had included outside legal counsel with a background in environmental matters.

Commisso said there would be a specific lead role and that “Nancy will provide executive guidance that would provide a “consolidated approach”.

A muddy picture was getting muddier.

Councillor Stolte then spoke saying she wanted more information. She would later vote to move the matter to Council later in the month at which time the City Solicitor would have more information for them.

Councillor Kearns wanted to see a more honed in approach to whatever it was the Mayor wanted done. Reference was made to where this fit into the V2F document (Vision to Focus) by Kearns but not before she could say that she thought the city was lucky to have Nancy Shea Nicol on Staff (she is the Executive Director of Legal Services) because she was “an amazing person.”

Kearns wanted to know if this was an internal look at public health; did it include audio, smells – adding that the wording was obtuse and needed fine tuning and could be the equivalent to opening a Pandora’s box.

She wanted the matter deferred to Council.

mmw Jan 14 a

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

Meed Ward then spoke saying that “we are constrained” about what we can say and that the public will not know what we are talking about and what can be shared with the public.

Withholding information is the beginning of a slippery slope that leads to deliberately hiding information from the public.

What the Mayor did not share when she spoke was that previously the Executive Director of Legal Services  had been asked to find lawyers with environmental experience.

Those lawyers are what we at the Gazette believe were speaking to Council in that CLOSED session.

In the fullness of time all the facts will come out. What we don’t want to hear is that the approach the Mayor has taken was what was best for the city.

Weeks before the 2018 election took place we said that of the three candidates running for the Office of Mayor Meed Ward was the only real choice.

And she is certainly in the process of making her mark on the city. She is also creating a profile of being bold and courageous and doing good things.

What is also being left is the view that she always knows best – this is not a view that is shared by most of her colleagues. The collaboration and a collective will of Council is not as evident as the Mayor would like it to be.

A Gazette reader recently made a comment that this Mayor wants everyone to know that She Is in Charge – democracies don’t work that way Your Worship.

What we will learn in the fullness of time is that Council will try and pass a city wide health protection bylaw that will relate to the quality of the air and what corporations will not be able to do when their product or the work they do releases pollutants into the environment.

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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Traffic and transit data is volatile - hit hard by the lock-downs

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

February 3rd, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Is there less traffic on the streets?

What has the traffic volume curve looked like ?

What do you make of that? Does the curve represent your traffic pattern?

traffic volumes

Director of Transportation, Vito Tolone. told Council today that Traffic Volumes on Burlington Roadways during  the lock downs has been volatile.

• Traffic sensors have been collecting volume data from various permanent count stations situated on arterial roadways across the City

• Volume data for Tuesday through Thursday is taken from each station as a “typical day”, totaled for each period (am, pm, 24hr) and averaged to get a “weekly average” for each period

Eva Amos, a Burlington resident wouldlike to see stronger traffic controls along the Lakeshore, especially at Brant and Maple where she feels the right hand lanes are used by agressive drivers to rush ahead of the traffic flow. She thinks making those right hand lanes, right hand turns only.

Traffic is certainly lighter during the lock downs.

Highlights:
• March 2020 traffic volumes decreased significantly by 40-45 per cent
• June to December 2020 – traffic volumes steadily increased to reach almost 95 per cent of pre-COVID volumes
• Following Province wide shut down, 2021 volumes have again decreased by 35– 40 per cent.

Transit Volumes Update
• Ridership has been recovering since April 2020 as the economy re-opens from the 1st Provincial Lockdown

• A new schedule went into effect since late August 2020
– Enhanced midday service on New St, Plains Rd, Fairview St, and Industrial Area
– 15 minute or better service on New St, Plains Rd, and Fairview St (Route 1, 10)

• Dec 2020 ridership was 67.5% of pre-COVID levels (comparing to Dec 2019)
– GTHA average is 40% of pre-COVID levels

• Jan 2021, after the 2nd second Provincial Lockdown, ridership was ~44% of pre-COVID levels (as of Jan 24, 2021)
– Adult ridership down to 56% of pre-COVID levels
– Seniors, Students, and Children ridership down to less than 30% of pre-COVID levels

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While no one is certain when the vaccines will arrive - the city is going to make sure they are set up and ready to go operational in days

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

February 3rd, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

In a report to Council today Chris Glenn, Director of Parks and Recreation advised that the City has been asked to provide up to three facilities for Phase 2 (March/April to July/August) and Phase 3.

Everything of course depends on just when the vaccine is available.

This task will move very very quickly once the Vaccination Task Force knows when the vaccine will be available.

COVID big pic 2 phase

Burlington Fire Chief Karen Roche said there is preliminary work that is being done now to determine where the locations should be and how they should be operated.

The decisions will be made by the Regional Council on the advice of the Public Health Unit.

The Region has identified a list of criteria for the consideration of immunization sites. Among the locations are schools and private properties that meet their criteria as suitable locations..

• Fairness and equity will be central to these decisions

• City user groups and program providers will be displaced which will further reduce the facility inventory; already operating at a deficit due to current lack of use of school gyms

The region has identified the following as their criteria for selecting a vaccination centre location:

• One room at least 800m2 in size, preference is for 1200m2 (e.g. arena ice pad, 3-4 single gyms)
• Ample parking (minimum 100 spots) adjacent
• Space to be dedicated to the clinic. Separate entrance and exit required for people flow
• Facility must be accessible
• Exclusive use of facility is not required – other components of a multi-purpose facility can continue to be used for community activities
• Emergency power (minimally for refrigerators, preferably for entire facility so clinic can proceed without interruption)
• Accessible via Public Transit
• Heating, Cooling and Ventilation
• WIFI
• Hours of operation: 7 days a week, 8-12 hours a day
• 800-1400 people to be vaccinated at each site daily: goal 140 per hour.

Now which facilities? That’s when different ward Councillors began to speak up for their communities.

vacine locations

The Skyway Area is probably out of the question – the Forestry department is using the space – not that easy to find a new place for them.

A major concern is where is the population located – looking through an age lens. These are the people that are at a higher risk and they may need some help getting to vaccination locations.

The map below provides a look at where the population is by age, and how close they are to possible vaccination locations:

 

vacine data map

This is where the people are by age – are their sites near them.

Chris Glenn, Director of Parks and Recreation is involved on the city side with site selection determination.

He did say that the Public Heath Unit expected to be able to have people make appointments.

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If the current trend Continues, Officers will attend more than 4,000 Intimate Partner Violence Incidents by the end of this Year.

News 100 redBy Staff

February 3rd, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Intimate Partner Violence is the dark under belly part of our society.

We don’t want to hear about it, however it is going on all around us.

sexual violence image

9-1-1 call from an individual reporting that a male was assaulting a female in a residence, and that help was urgently needed.

The Halton Regional Police Service report that if the current trend continues, officers will attend more than 4,000 intimate partner violence incidents by the end of this year.

Last month, the HRPS received an early morning 911 call.

Officers were dispatched and arrived at the residence. Nothing could be seen or heard from the house which was in total darkness. Officers gained entry to the house and soon located a male, as well as his common-law partner who had multiple red marks and bruising on her upper body.

Officers learned that the male party had been drinking for several hours during the evening. Two children in the home reported hearing slapping, yelling and loud noises throughout the remainder of the night until police intervened.

The male was arrested soon after and subsequently transported to Central Lock Up. Thereafter, the HRPS Intimate Partner Violence Unit took carriage of the investigation. The accused was charged with Assault, Assault Causing Bodily Harm (Choking), and Forcible Confinement.

The female party was admitted to hospital for her injuries and was referred to the Halton Regional Police Service Victim Services Unit.

The Victim Services Unit connects victims to appropriate support services in the community, assists with victim care, and, through the Victim Quick Response Program (VQRP+), can provide immediate short-term financial support toward essential expenses for victims of violent crime.

Last month, our officers fielded 343 calls regarding intimate partner violence (IPV), compared with 279 calls in January 2020. In the same time period, we made 83 IPV arrests, compared with 51 IPV arrests in January 2020. A total of 206 IPV-related charges were laid in January 2021, compared with 85 IPV-related charges in January 2020 (an increase of 142 per cent).

Tragically, January is not an anomaly. Our analyses indicate that this is a continuation of a trend of an increasing frequency and severity of intimate partner violence incidents in the community over the course of the pandemic. What is particularly concerning is that we recognize that all forms of family violence are under-reported.

domestic violence

An increase of 142 per cent year over year for the month of January.

If you see something, say something. Someone’s life may depend on it.

Every person has the right to feel safe in our community.

Victims of intimate partner violence or sexual assault and witnesses are encouraged to contact the Halton Regional Police Service.

The following is a list of support services and resources in Halton Region for victims of intimate partner violence and/or sexual violence:

• Halton Regional Police Service Victim Services Unit 905-825-4777
• Halton Women’s Place 905-878-8555 (north) or 905-332-7892 (24-hour crisis line)
• Halton Children’s Aid Society 905-333-4441 or 1-866-607-5437
• Nina’s Place Sexual Assault and Domestic Assault Care Centre 905-336-4116 or 905-681-4880
• Thrive Counselling 905-637-5256 or 905-845-3811
• Sexual Assault and Violence Intervention Services (SAVIS) 905-875-1555 (24-hour crisis line)

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Ward 4 Friday Food drive was Impressive

News 100 yellowBy Staff

February 3rd, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

For Ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte it was one of those “aha” moments.

It has been her practice to use Fridays to drive around the ward and see what’s happening; look for problems that need attention and satisfy herself that the ward is as OK as it can be, given the circumstances.

Hang on, she said to herself – If I am driving around why not pick up whatever food I can convince people to leave on their porches and take it to the Food Bank.

And so off she was. Last week the results were pretty clear. People will help out – just make it as easy as you can for them.

She maps out her route for Friday and prints out the Thank-you notes she leaves behind.

Stolte - this could lead to bigger van

What happens when the vehicle is full but the rounds have not been completed?

The results speak for themselves.

“So proud of the fantastic response to the first Ward 4 Friday Food Drive!

“In just under 2 hours during my regular tour of the ward I had the pleasure of dropping by 33 participating households and collected; 443 pounds of food and $500. Cash donations.

Stolte at Food Bank

The results of the Food Drive go directly to the Food Bank

Hoping that this initiative will continue to gather momentum over the coming weeks as more and more Ward 4 households participate and support our local Burlington Food Bank.

The drill on making this happen goes like this:

Email ward4@burlington.ca by 4pm tomorrow (Thursday) to schedule a contact-free, front porch pick up for this Friday’s Food Drive.

You will receive an email confirming the pickup. Place your donation on your front porch by 10am Friday labelled “Friday Food Drive”. The items will be collected in a safe and contact-free manner and delivered straight to the Food Bank.

 

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Damage done to local economies as a result of COVID19

News 100 blackBy Staff

February 3rd, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Anita Cassidy put it bluntly when she said, “It is not a pretty sight”.

In an update report to the Corporate Services, Strategy, Risk and Accountability Standing Committee, Cassidy reported that:

Anita inactive 20 + 21181,000 Canadian small businesses consider shutting down permanently

• CFIB (Canadian Federation of Independent Business) estimates 1 in 6 Canadian small business owners consider permanently closing

– Ontario could lose close to  75,000 businesses

• Economy risks losing 2.4 million jobs, equal to 20% of all private sector jobs
– Ontario can see over 873,000 jobs lost

• Businesses in the hospitality and arts and recreation sector most at risk
– 1 in 3 businesses considering closing.

Small Business Recovery will be an average of 1 year 5 months (across all sectors)

Anita sector recovery rates

Anita the damage 1

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Armed Robbery at Burlington Pharmacy - staff ordered to lie down on the floor - cash and drugs taken

Crime 100By Staff

February 1st, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

On January 31, 2021, at approximately 3:50 pm three suspects entered a Shoppers Drug Mart store located near the intersection of Walkers Line and Dundas Street in Burlington. One of the suspects was armed with a handgun. The suspects threatened store employees and forced them to lie on the floor.

car used in armed robbery

Bandits fleeing the scene of an armed robbery in a stolen vehicle.

The suspects then stole a large quantity of Tylenol pills, Percocet pills and a quantity of cash before fleeing the store in a waiting vehicle.

They were last seen driving northbound on Walkers line in a stolen 2017 White Hyundai Elantra (see photo attached to website).

No employees were physically injured during the robbery.

There are no suspect descriptions available at this time.

CrimeStopper_LogoAnyone with information pertaining to this incident is asked to contact the Burlington Criminal Investigations Bureau at 905-825 4747 ext. 2316.

Tips can also be submitted anonymously to Crime Stoppers. “See something? Hear something? Know something? Contact Crime Stoppers” at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or through the web at www.haltoncrimestoppers.com

 

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One Burlington Promoting Share the Love Week February 6 to 13

News 100 yellowBy Staff

February 3rd, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

In partnership with the Burlington Food Bank, One Burlington is organizing a city-wide food drive named Share the Love from February 6-13, 2021 just before Valentine’s Day.

Drop-Off Locations:

  • City hall - share bannerCity Hall
  • Burlington Fire-Halls
  • Grocery Stores with
  • @BurlFoodBank Bins

You may also donate online.

We all know what to do.  Let’s ensure than the Food Bank has what it needs to take care of those who need help.

There was an occasion in January when 58 households were taken care of.

 

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A chance to remember what the Brant Inn was like

eventsblue 100x100By Pepper Parr

February 2nd, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It sounded like a great idea. It was certainly imaginative and done right it could be a great way to spend an evening during what are difficult times.

The price seemed just a little steep: $55 per person.

Brant Inn eveningMarch 12

In the 1940s and ‘50s, Burlington’s very own Brant Inn was host to some of the most famous entertainers in the world. Join us for “An Evening at the Brant Inn” for a joyful glimpse into our past.
The Brant Inn was famous for a period of time.

Brant Inn outdoors

Outdoors on a summer evening – it must have been a great place to get out for dinner. The Inn closed when the ownership changed – poor management led to its demise.

Your ticket includes a take-out dinner prepared by Pepperwood Bistro Brewery & Catering, dessert from COBS Bread Headon Forest, a beverage by Nickel Brook Brewing Co., dance lesson and demonstration by danceScape via Zoom, and live musical entertainment broadcast from the Joseph Brant Museum.

Brant inn front

Front entrance – it was the place to be on New Year’s Eve

Order by March 5 for pick up on March 12 from the Joseph Brant Museum between 12 noon to 6 pm, then tune in from home at 7 pm for your evening entertainment.

Regular price, $55/person, ($49.50 for Museum members), includes tax. Limited quantity available.

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Male Arrested in Online Extortion Investigation In the summer of 2020

Crime 100By Staff

February 1st, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

In the summer of 2020, the Halton Regional Police Service started an online extortion investigation when two separate victims reported being contacted over social media. The victims were asked to send a nude image in exchange for money. The suspect indicated the image would only be viewed for a few seconds before being deleted.

After receiving the image the suspect was able to save a copy and threatened to distribute it unless additional images were sent. No money was exchanged.

The suspect ultimately distributed the images without the consent of the victims and in one case the victim was under the age of 18.

On January 28, 2021, the suspect, Nathan Haslett (25) of Oakville was arrested and charged with the following:

• Extortion (3 counts)
• Distribution of Intimate Image Without Consent (5 counts)
• Distribution of Child Pornography (4 counts)
• Possession of Child Pornography (3 counts)

Police believe there may be other victims and are asking anyone who had contact with the online identity of “Jason Tottersmith” and/or Instagram account “jay.totts” or Snapchat account of “jtottersmith” to contact police.

Police want to remind the public of the following:

• All images shared over the internet can be saved without your knowledge.
• Never send images to unknown persons over the internet.
• Increase all privacy and security settings to all of your social media accounts.
• For additional internet safety tips, please visit https://www.cybertip.ca/app/en/

CrimeStopper_LogoAnyone with information in regards to any of these occurrences is asked to contact Acting Detective Stephane Verreault of the Oakville Criminal Investigations Bureau at 905-825-4747 ext. 2260

Tips can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers “See Something? Hear Something? Know Something? Contact Crime Stoppers” at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or through the web at www.haltoncrimestoppers.ca.
Media Inquiries:

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New Home Construction Regulatory Authority Launches Operations Today

News 100 blueBy Staff

February 1st, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

A new Ontario regulator, improving protection for new home buyers, starts operations today. The Home Construction Regulatory Authority (HCRA) is now responsible for regulating and licensing the people and companies who build and sell new homes in the province.

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

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

“The HCRA will enforce high professional standards for competence and conduct in the homebuilding industry, giving new home buyers confidence in one of the biggest purchases of their lives,” said Tim Hadwen, Interim CEO of the HCRA. “We will also ensure consistency across the sector, curtailing unethical and illegal builders and maintaining a fair marketplace.”

In addition to licensing, the HCRA provides educational information for consumers on their home buying journey, and manages the Ontario Builder Directory (OBD) – the official source of background information about each of Ontario’s more than 5,000 new home builders and vendors. The OBD provides current information on each builder and vendor’s licence status and specifics such as whether they have had any convictions, the number of homes they have built, and their warranty history. It also lists illegal builders and provides details about charges and convictions to better inform and protect consumers.

The HCRA is also implementing a streamlined complaints process, providing a clear, straightforward way for a new home buyer to raise real concerns about a builder or vendor’s conduct.

Community residents have held up the construction of these homes as they fight a city decision to change the zoning on six properties.

New regulatory agency to support home buyers who run into problems. These prices have not been seen in Burlington for some time.

An independent regulator, the HCRA takes over the licensing function from Tarion. Previously, Tarion was responsible for both licensing and warranty administration. Tarion will continue to deliver Ontario’s new home warranty and protection program.

A separate licensing body was recommended by a major review of Ontario’s homebuilding sector.

“In essence, the HCRA will ensure professional standards for the builder, and Tarion will backstop responsibility for the building,” Hadwen said.

Recognizing that some consumers and builders may not immediately know where to turn, the HCRA and Tarion are committed to a “no wrong door” approach, seamlessly directing stakeholders to the right place to deal with their specific issues.

 

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Female takes $1,200 worth of fragrance product - by passes the check aisle

Crime 100By Staff

February 1st, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

On Saturday January 30th, 2021, at approximately 3:40pm, a lone female entered the Shoppers Drug Mart located at 4525 New Street in the City of Burlington. The female proceeded to the fragrance area and concealed $1,200.00 worth of product in a large purse. The female exited the store, making no attempt to pay for the items.

fragrance theft

Lady on a shopping spree – forgot about the check-out aisle.

If you can identify this suspect, please contact Cst. Kate Bechard at 905-825-4777 ext.7501 or kate.bechard@haltonpolice.ca.

Tips can also be submitted anonymously to Crime Stoppers ‘See Something? Hear Something? Know Something? Contact Crime Stoppers’ at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or through the web at www.haltoncrimestoppers.ca.

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Mountainside Outdoor Pool to be Revitalized - Parks and Recreation Looking for Community Input

News 100 yellowBy Staff

February 1st, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Mountainside Outdoor Pool has served the community well for over 50 years.

The City of Burlington is planning a future revitalization of this popular community outdoor pool. The renewal project is anticipated to begin after the 2021 summer swim season. The pool will remain open for use this summer, pending public health and provincial COVID-19 direction.

Ward 3 Mountainside Pool update July 30

Time for an upgrade. The ward Council is now a happy camper – he has delivered something for his constituents

The City is inviting and encouraging all families and individuals who use the pool to take the online survey to help guide them with the style and themes of amenities and features planned for the new pool. The survey is open until Feb. 19, 2021: CLICK HERE for the survey.

Styles and themes of amenities in the survey include:

  • Pool water spray features
  • Climbing wall
  • Water slide
  • Shade structures

The revitalization will create an attractive, fun, active and welcoming multi-use outdoor swimming pool, that invites the community to participate and experience swimming and water play while encouraging an active and healthy lifestyle.
Construction is scheduled to begin in September 2021, with completion expected in the spring of 2022.

About Mountainside Outdoor Pool
Mountainside Outdoor Pool and Splash Park (2205 Mount Forest Dr.) is an important community hub and aquatic recreation destination in the Mountainside neighbourhood. The pool is well used and serves on average 27,000 participants in a wide variety of activities including recreational swimming, lap swimming and learn to swim lessons each summer.

Chris Glenn

Chris Glenn, Director of Recreation, Community and Culture

Chris Glenn, Director of Recreation, Community and Culture explains what the City is doing and the timeline for the revitalization.   “Mountainside Outdoor Pool is over 50-years old and has served the community and the city very well. It’s now time to revitalize it and make the needed upgrades, repairs and updates so it can be a community activity hub for another 50-years. By starting the construction in the fall, we can ensure people have another opportunity for healthy, active recreational swimming this summer, and weather and construction permitting, have it open for the 2022 outdoor swimming season.”

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