Out of lock down and into a snow day - nothing moves

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

February 16th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The irony of it all.

The province puts everyone in a lock down mode – restaurants are closed – no place to go – nothing to do but get out for long walks.

The lockdown gets lifted – and then the snow begins to fall and it keeps falling.

snow plows

Traffic will move on the major highways – getting out of the driveway will be the challenge

The only thing one can do is find the shovel and begin moving the stuff.

snow on bench

No picnic today

There is an upside – today is also Shrove Tuesday, a Christian celebration marking 40 days before Lent.  The day is celebrated by serving pancakes.

Probably the best thing you can do today – pancakes, maple syrup and butter – with 15 cm + of snow.

About as Canadian as you are going to get today.

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Is it time to at least think about looking for a different Prime Minister ?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

February 15th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

We are for the most part proud of the country we live in. Most of us were born here, many chose to come and many were invited to be here.

Think about the War Brides, or the Syrians who arrived at the airport to be greeted by the Prime Minister who was handing out winter coats.

We do not show our pride the way our friends to the South do. We seldom choose to wear a flag but we enjoy the feeling we get when we see those Olympians walking into a stadium bearing that flag.

We are for the most part a tolerant people. We respect the government that leads us and are quick to boot them out when they don’t live up to what we expect of them.

Justin Trudeau handiing out a coat tp Syrians

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau handing out winter coats to families arriving as refugees from Syria

So what to make of the Prime Minister we have? His lineage excited most of us – another Trudeau – that would be nice. Yes, there were and still are many who did not share my view of what Justin Trudeau was going to be able to do.

There are now reasons, too many of them, to ask – what happened.

We are going to get the vaccines we need – the when is the question and where they are going to come from is a huge concern.

It sounded as if every pharmaceutical country in the world had a contract with the government of Canada. We had so much in the way of vaccines in the pipe line that we were deciding who we were going to let have some of the vaccine we wouldn’t need.

COVAX, an organization Canada was part of putting in place a global initiative aimed at equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines led by the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, the World Health Organization, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, and others. (COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access, abbreviated as COVAX.)

It was in place as a distributor of the vaccines that would be made available to the third world countries.

Goulds in House defending ranked

Karina Gould as a newly minted Minister for Democratic Institutions defending a decision not to go forward with a different approach to federal elections.

Karina Gould, a Member of Cabinet and currently serving as the International Development Minister was left carrying the ball again as she did her best to explain what COVAX was, the role Canada played in its creation and assuring Canadians that what Canada draws down at this point would be returned when we had a surplus.

Recall that Minister Gould once had to defend not going forward with something other than First Past the Post in future elections.  She had been Minister of Democratic Institutions for less than a month when she has handed that ball.

Now we learn that Canada is going to have to draw down some of the vaccines we need from COVAX. That is so embarrassing.

This gets added to the list of embarrassments that is getting pretty long.

There was that unfortunate trip to India, there was the shameful way MP Jody Wilson Raybould and Jane Phillpot were treated when they showed the courage to stand up for what they believed to be right and got tossed out of Cabinet for it. Turned out they were right as well.

Add to that the need now to find another Governor General because a mistake was made in the failure to fully vet the one we had.

Kevin Sneader McKinsey

Former McKinsey Consulting, Global Managing Partner Kevin Sneader now the Ambassador to China. Another example of poor vetting.

And, the latest, learning that our Ambassador to China was the top man at McKinsey Consulting, Global Managing Partner Kevin Sneader.  The firm that agreed to pay a $6 million fine for advising on how to best sell prescriptions of OxyCodone , the addictive drug that has been the responsible for the death of hundreds of young men and women from over dosing.

What is so galling is that we get told almost every time he speaks that we are going to have all the drugs we need and that everyone will be vaccinated by September.

Are we absolutely certain those vaccines are going to be in the hands of the provinces so that they can pass everything along to the provinces who will in turn get it into the hands of the Public Health Units who will oversee that actual vaccinations.

Did the people in Ottawa who were overseeing the purchasing of the vaccine take the steps needed to ensure that we had the supply we needed. Did they not realize that the vaccines being manufactured less than a half day drive way – in Detroit – were going to go to Americans. Goodness knows that country really really needs all the help it can get to dig themselves out of the hole their then President put them in.

Chrystia Freeland and PM

Chrystia Freeland, currently the Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister.

Did someone not ask if there would be problems with the European Union that determines what goes where in Europe?

Was there not a risk analysis done – looking really hard at just what we were up against?

There is going to be a federal election soon. Justin Trudeau will look for a time when his image is going to be as good as he can make it and then we will be asked to re-elect him.

The choice for the Liberals is to hold a leadership convention very soon and choose Chrystia Freeland as Prime Minister and have her face the public.

She’s running the country now as it is.

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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The flow of information on who will get vaccinated when is almost as bad as the rate at which vaccine doses are being delivered

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr,

February 15th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

I learned this morning that sometime soon – which probably means sometime in March, the Priority list that sets out who is going to be vaccinated, and when, is going to be updated and this time will include all those who are over 80 years of age.

bull hornThat caught my attention because I fall into that category.

When do I go to get my needle – don’t know.

Where will I go? – don’t know.

How do I find out – not sure. Spent way too much time wading through the Halton Public Health web site. Lots of information but nothing that relates to my situation.

When I go – what do I need to take with me? I assume my OHIIP card – anything else? Don’t know.

Will I be given something that confirms I have been vaccinated? Hope so – want to put it on a T shirt.

There just has to be a better way to communicate with an anxious public.

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Condo real estate segment so strong - for the first time ever more than 1/3 of the listings sold for over asking price

News 100 blueBy Staff

February 13th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The condo market saw a significant increase in both sales and sale prices during the month of January.

Sale prices increased by 8.2%, price per square foot increased by 15.7% and sales increased by 27% as compared to January 2020.

This segment was so strong that for the first time ever, we saw more than a third of the listings sell for over the asking price. Inventory was at a fairly average level at the end of January, slightly lower than usual.

With the increased demand that we are seeing in this sector it’s likely that we will continue to see these properties sell in competition. During the month of January, condo apartments sold for 100.67% of the listing price and in under 30 days, on average.

The Rocca Sisters Team report that “the market is very hot right now and we have lots of buyer clients who are looking for that perfect home.

Condo stats Rocca Jan 2021

Rocca condo data

Data on the condominium market for 2020 – rate of growth impressive.

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Real Estate results for January described as stupefying

 

News 100 redBy Staff

February 13th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The real estate  sales results for January can only be described as stupefying. According to a report released by The Rocca Sister Team: “The average price paid for a freehold property during the month of January was $1,315,069 as compared to $1,006,343 in January 2020. The logical expectation with that kind of increase is that sales would be down significantly but they were not. In fact, during the month of January, we saw 3% more sales then we did in January 2020.

Penn Drive

Penn Drive, the street where some of the hottest real estate transactions took place. The houses shown are not necessarily the homes sold at record prices.

“During the month of January we saw properties that had been listed for the better part of last year re-listed and selling for considerably more than the original asking price. We saw a property on Penn Drive that was listed for $1,189,000 sell for over $1.5 million. Just days later, another property was listed on Penn, an unremarkable 1669 sq.ft. raised ranch at $1,289,000 sold for $1,652,000.

A Royale model in the Orchard (just over 1900 sq. ft. and a single car garage) listed at $974,900 sold for $1,203,131 and with over 30 offers. A property on Canterbury was listed at $1,349,000 and that very same day accepted a bully offer that was almost $200,000 over the asking price, this just days after another property on Canterbury listed for $1,550,000 and sold for $1,801,000. These are but a few of the unimaginable lengths buyers would go to in order to secure property ownership in our trading area.

It will come as no surprise, therefore, that properties sold for, on average, 106.41% of the listing price and in under 20 days. Inventory levels continued to be at historic lows (at least as far back as we can dig!) with only 60 freehold active listings at the end of January as compared to the 5 year average of 192 listings, down 68%.

Rocca data Jan 2010 houses

The data and the report came from the offices of the Rocca Sisters Team

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Players must be 19 or over to play casino slots - know your limit and have fun. It can be quite exciting

sportsgold 100x100By Adam Lumb

February 15th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The legal gambling age in Canada is determined by province. This means how old you need to be to gamble depends on where you live. However, it can also depend on what type of gambling you are partaking in. For example, there might be different minimum ages based on if you’re playing a casino game of chance or buying a lottery ticket.

In Ontario, the rules are strictly applied based on the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporate Act, 1999. This law has made the legal gambling age for Ontario residents clear for different gambling types. Let’s take a look.

Casino age in Ontario

You must be 19 years of age or older to play casino games of chance in Ontario. This includes slot machines, roulette, blackjack, and other game types. In fact, you must be 19 years of age or older to even go to a gaming premises like a casino, unless you are there for employment.

PAID lumn casino-gambling-age

Playing slots on line can be fun – exciting. Just know your limit

Upon entering a casino in Ontario, you may be asked for a government-issued identification document featuring a photo to verify how old you are. This is a common practice at gambling premises across the province. If you are 21 years of age or younger, two identification documents may be needed.

Of course, there are a few other entry requirements that you need to satisfy as well. For example, you cannot appear intoxicated, nor can you be self-excluded from playing at the premises.

How old to play casino online in Ontario?
You must be 19 years of age or older to play at online casinos in Ontario. In recent years, playing online has become more and more popular across the country. There are lots of new Canadian online casinos launching that provide a fun and new experience.

However, the age requirement for Ontario players remains the same.

You will need to create a new account at these sites using your personal information. Make sure that what you provide is accurate.

Your account needs to be verified which will often require an identification document featuring a photo and your age to be uploaded.

If you are lucky enough to win, you may be asked for further verification documents when you request a withdrawal. Online casinos must follow strict anti-money laundering policies and other rules to comply with their licence obligations. Therefore, submitting the correct personal information when you sign up is very important.

Age to buy lottery tickets in Ontario
You must be 18 years of age or older to buy lottery tickets in Ontario. There’s a variety of different lotteries that are drawn over a week. You must buy your tickets before the deadline to be eligible.

Lottery retailers may ask for a government-issued identification document featuring a photo to verify how old you are. Any retailer caught selling lottery tickets to underage people can face significant fines.

You can claim lottery prizes lower than $1,000 at a retailer. Prizes under $50,000 must be claimed via mail, while anything from $50,000 or above must be claimed at the OLG Prize Centre in person.

Make sure to check your tickets to see if you have won. There have been several occasions when a winning ticket totalling millions of dollars has not been produced. However, many lottery tickets remain valid for several months after the draw so the prizes can be claimed.

Keep gambling fun
No matter how old you are, gambling is meant to be fun. Never gamble what you cannot afford to lose and be mindful of your activity.

If you think you are starting to lose control, ConnexOntario can help. There’s a variety of resources that they can help you to find and access in Ontario.

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We get out of lockdown on Tuesday - move to level Red

News 100 redBy Staff

February 12th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Ontario government is transitioning twenty-seven public health regions out of the shutdown and into a revised and strengthened COVID-19 Response Framework

“The health and safety of Ontarians remains our number one priority. While we are cautiously and gradually transitioning some regions out of shutdown, with the risk of new variants this is not a reopening or a return to normal,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health.

covid needle 2“Until vaccines are widely available, It remains critical that all individuals and families continue to adhere to public health measures and stay home as much as possible to protect themselves, their loved ones and their communities.”

Based on a general improvement in trends of key indicators, including lower transmission of COVID-19, improving hospital capacity, and available public health capacity to conduct rapid case and contact management, the following public health regions will be moving back to the Framework on Tuesday, February 16, 2021 at 12:01 a.m. and will no longer be subject to the Stay-at-Home order:

Covid-status-chart-colour-code-768x282

Grey-Lockdown:
· Niagara Region Public Health

Red-Control:
· Chatham-Kent Public Health;
· City of Hamilton Public Health Services;
· Durham Region Health Department;

Nothing in the Region will be able to open up - maybe next week.

Nothing in the Region will be able to open up – maybe next week.

· Halton Region Public Health: includes Burlington, Oakville, Milton and Halton Hills;
· Middlesex-London Health Unit;
· Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency Services;
· Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit;
· Southwestern Public Health;
· Thunder Bay District Health Unit;
· Wellington-Dufferin Guelph Public Health; and
· Windsor-Essex County Health Unit.

Orange-Restrict:
· Brant County Health Unit;
· Eastern Ontario Health Unit;
· Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit;
· Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit;
· Huron Perth Public Health;
· Lambton Public Health;
· Ottawa Public Health;
· Porcupine Health Unit; and
· Public Health Sudbury and Districts.

Yellow-Protect:
· Algoma Public Health;
· Grey Bruce Health Unit;
· Northwestern Health Unit; and
· Peterborough Public Health.

Green-Prevent:
· Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit; and
· Timiskaming Health Unit.
After returning to the Framework, public health regions will stay in their level for at least two weeks at which time, the government will assess the impact of public health and workplace safety measures to determine if the region should stay where they are or be moved to a different level.

Visitor restrictions for long-term care homes will once again apply to those homes in the public health regions that are in the Orange-Restrict level or higher. In addition, long-term care homes must implement enhanced testing requirements.

Recognizing the risk posed by new variants to the province’s pandemic response, Ontario is introducing an “emergency brake” to allow the Chief Medical Officer of Health, in consultation with the local medical officer of health, to immediately advise moving a region into Grey-Lockdown to interrupt transmission.

Local medical officers of health also have the ability to issue Section 22 orders under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, to target specific transmission risks in the community.

“While the trends in public health indicators are heading in the right direction, we still have work to do,” said Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health. “Everyone is strongly advised to continue staying at home, avoid social gatherings, only travel between regions for essential purposes, and limit close contacts to your household or those you live with.”

What does level Red mean?

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What happened to the masks and the safe distance ?

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

February 12th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It is the Year of the Ox and an occasion when the Burlington Redleaf Cultural group can strut their stuff.

The pandemic does limit what they can do. However there is a lengthy video that displays the depth, energy and talent within the Chinese Community.  The video is long – but if the concept and practice of diverse respect means anything – give it a look.

Another,very different look at Chinese cultural organizations is offered in Claws of the Panda by Jonathan Manthorrpe, a highly regarded journalist with fifty years of experience around the world

The organization describes their purpose:
Working together with people of diverse cultures, backgrounds and ages, we will enhance the quality of life in our community by creating opportunities to develop meaningful relationships, provide stimulating social events and promote healthy lifestyles.

The main focus of our service will be for newcomers to Canada, as they need the most support in transitioning to their new life. This includes social, health, recreation and education support.

Year of the Ox

Members of the RedLeaf Cultural organization pose with the Mayor and the Councillor for Ward 2. Costumes are lovely – where are the masks?  The picture is said to be “pre-covid”

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It is now a snow day.

News 100 blueBy Staff

February 12th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The City of Burlington has declared a Snow Event. To allow snow removal equipment room to clear roads safely and quickly, all on-street parking has been suspended until 24-hours after the event has been declared over.

During a snow event when accumulation is more than 5 cm, road clearing updates can be found by visiting burlington.ca/snow. Snow Control Update subscribers will receive emails at 9 a.m., 4 p.m. and 11 p.m. about the status of snow removal.

H skinner - a dusting of snow

This is what a snow day looks like.

Snow Clearing Service Levels
• Primary and Secondary roads begin to be cleared when snow reaches 5 cm of accumulation.
• Residential roads begin to be cleared when snow reaches 7.5 cm of accumulation. Residential roads are not maintained to bare pavement. They are plowed only after a snow accumulation of 7.5 cm has fallen in a single event. Sand is applied to enhance traction, as required.
• All sidewalks are plowed and salted and sanded, if icy within 48 hours of snow fall.
• All roads will be cleared 24-hours after the snowfall has ended.
• For all roads, sidewalks and select pathways, clearing may take longer if more than 12 cm has fallen.

Please be patient as our crews work to clear the busiest streets first.

• The City is not responsible for clearing windrows left on driveways when the plow passes. If you think you will need help clearing the windrow, please make arrangements such as speaking with your neighbours, family members or hire a contractor.

Parking During the Winter
When a snow event is declared, there is no parking on any city streets until 24-hours after the snow event has been declared over. The City thanks residents for their cooperation to move their vehicles off city streets to help with snow clearing operations. Residents who park their cars on streets blocking snow removal could be faced with a $120 parking ticket or be towed.
All existing parking exemptions are also cancelled during snow events.

 

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Not once, not twice - but three times. Councillor holds three Zoom meetings

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

February 12th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Communications people at City Hall provide a service that amounts to a listing of events taking place during the week ahead. It is published every Thursday and usually consists of meeting notices. Members of Council sometimes place an event they are holding on the list.

The Gazette scans the list – there is a lot of stuff going on – and noticed that the list released yesterday had three notices for basically the same thing but at different times.

The meetings were intended for the residents of ward 6.

AB meet Feb 17

Meeting number 1` – about the budget

AB Feb 22 meet

Meeting number 2 – about the budget

AB Feb 27 meet

Meeting number 3 – about the budget

 

Angelo watching Roru

Ward 6 Councillor Angelo Bentivegna

We thought this was a clerical error and brought it to the attention of  Kwab Ako-Adjei, Director, Corporate Communications & Engagement who got back to us and confirmed that the Councillor’s office has scheduled three Zoom meetings to talk about the budget.

The events run for between an hour and an hour and a half.  It is a big budget with some critical issues.  The Mayor wants to keep the tax increase to less than 4%.

Angelo Bentivegna is a Councillor who watches the pennies and has grown to the point where he can disagree with the Mayor

The residents of ward 6, and any one else who wants to listen will get a chance to see how well their Councillor understands the budget he is going to vote on.

 

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Spring Break moved to April 12 to 16

News 100 blueBy Staff

February 11th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The province has not cancelled the March Break – they did push t back to April 12 to 16.

Stephen Lecce, Ontario’s Minister of Education, issued the following statement regarding March break:

Stephen Lecce

Stephen Lecce, Ontario’s Minister of Education,

“In support of our collective efforts to keep schools safe, we are postponing March break until April 12-16, 2021.
This decision was made with the best advice of Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and public health officials, including consultations with many local Medical Officers of Health.

“Many students have been learning remotely since the start of 2021. It is critical we follow public health advice to protect schools and avoid a repeat of the concerning spike in youth-related cases over the winter break, when students and staff were out of schools for a prolonged period of time. We are taking this precaution based on advice from health experts, including the province’s Science Table and the Chief Medical Officer of Health, to help protect against the emerging COVID-19 variants of concern.

“We appreciate the hard work of students and staff in the education sector and I want to be clear: March break is being postponed, not cancelled. To keep schools open, we must keep them free of COVID-19. The actions announced today serve to limit opportunities for congregation – while reaffirming the evidence that schools are safe for students. By continuing to follow public health advice, and by introducing additional safety measures and more testing, we are supporting our collective efforts to keep COVID-19 from entering our schools.

“With respect to travel, our government’s position on this is unchanged. Ontarians should refrain from travelling, particularly given the increase in new variants that pose a direct risk to our country. Please stay at home as much as possible and continue following the direction of public health officials so that we can keep schools open and protect our seniors, frontline health workers and all families.

“These decisions – based on the advice of medical experts – are never easy, but they are necessary to keep Ontario families safe.”

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There is a new millionaire out there - find that ticket and you will know if it is you

News 100 redBy Staff

February 11th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

olg logoIts good news for someone.

Terrible news in three weeks when the lottery ticket expires.

TICKET WORTH $1 MILLION UNCLAIMED IN BURLINGTON

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation announced today that there are two weeks left to claim a LOTTO MAX MAXMILLIONS prize worth $1 million from the Tuesday, February 25, 2020 LOTTO MAX draw.

The winning selection for this MAXMILLIONS prize was 06 – 13 – 14 – 17 – 31 – 34 – 50 and the winning ticket was sold in Burlington.

Players must match all seven numbers to win a MAXMILLIONS prize. Players have one year from the draw date to claim their prize.

The owner(s) of this ticket should fill in the back portion, sign it and contact the OLG Support Centre at 1-800-387-0098.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020 LOTTO MAX draw. The winning selection for this MAXMILLIONS prize was 06 – 13 – 14 – 17 – 31 – 34 – 50 and the winning ticket was sold in Burlington.

Players must match all seven numbers to win a MAXMILLIONS prize. Players have one year from the draw date to claim their prize.

The owner(s) of this ticket should fill in the back portion, sign it and contact the OLG Support Centre at 1-800-387-0098.

Will this news have thousands going through purses, wallets, the pockets of coats they haven’t worn for some time.

Someone thought there was a chance – and there was.  Lets see if the ticket comes to the surface.

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How well has city hall engaged during the Pandemic - and what will they do differently when this is all over?

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

February 11, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

Another survey –

This one about how we are going to engage during the balance of this pandemic and after it has come to an end.

You can access that document HERE

Engaging header graphic

The city wants your bright ideas

Michelle Dwyer, Manager of Engagement and Volunteers is one of the leads on the city’s efforts to communicate with a population that seldom goes beyond 30% turnout when it comes to municipal elections. .

With that kind of public response the hope of holding the city bureaucracy accountable,  is less than realistic.  The idea of a vigorous, vibrant community response on major issues is equivalent to one of those 25 watt light bulbs

They do their best with what they have.

We learned from a long time reader, a citizen who has been deeply involved at various levels of citizen engagement that the City is undertaking a “future of engagement” design initiative recognizing the impact of the CoVid pandemic. Many of you will already have been otherwise informed about this important opportunity.

Dwyer

Michelle Dwyer, facilitating a virtual Town Hall meeting. It went reasonably well – but there was something missing.

Dwyer asks people to feel free to share with your list of Burlington contacts, that we have a project that they may be interested in.  It is the Engaging During and After COVID-19 survey and poll https://www.getinvolvedburlington.ca/yourinput.  Below is a description of the engagement opportunity.  The survey closes on Feb 19th.

As per the City of Burlington’s Community Engagement Charter, engaging the community on issues that affect their lives and their city is a key component of democratic society. Public involvement encourages participation, actions and personal responsibility.

The goal of engagement is to lead to more informed and, therefore, better decision-making.

In an email Dwyer sent out to everyone she knows she highlighted what has been done in the past and what they hope to get done going forward.

COVID-19 has forced everyone to pivot, and engaging with the community is no exception. The City, in order to continue to get input from the community is/has:

Dwyer-Tanner-preg lady

Michelle Dwyer, second from the left, engages a group at a public meeting where people could meet without having to wear a mask.

hosting virtual public and council meetings, workshops and town halls

telephone town halls

online surveys

used the engagement platform, Get Involved Burlington for surveys, polling, mapping, ideas and discussion forums

Looking to the future, the City would like to gather your ideas as to how we can continue to safely engage with the community once in-person opportunities are allowed. We’d also like to know the types of topics you’re interested in.

 

 

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Colour codes will be used to advise citizens what can and cannot be done in different parts of the province. An 'Emergency Brake' will be used to change the status

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

February 11th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The current lockdown and Stay-at-Home order will continue to apply to 28 public health regions, including Halton Region until Tuesday, February 16, 2021.

For Toronto, Peel and York regions, it is proposed that the Stay-at-Home order will continue to apply until Monday, February 22, 2021.

Changes to retail
The government has updated the Framework to allow for a safer approach to retail. Limited in-person shopping in Grey-Lockdown zones will be permitted with public health and safety measures, such as limiting capacity to 25% in most retail settings. In addition, public health and safety measures in retail settings will be strengthened for other levels of the Framework.

Individuals will also be required to wear a face covering and maintain physical distance when indoors in a business, with limited exceptions.. Businesses are encouraged to review the COVID-19 Response Framework for sector-specific public health and workplace safety measures and public health advice.

The pressure on the province to re-open the economy has been intense. The Retail Council of Canada had its membership send thousands of letters to the Office of the Premier.

This government is a pro-business operation – it goes every grain of who they are to force small businesses to shut down.

Many are of the view that the number of new infections reported daily is just not low enough and the risk isn’t worth the benefit.

Should the infection numbers spike again – and the province is forced into yet another shut down, the response from the public will be severe.

Advocates for the front line workers want to see paid sick days for those people who have to work and put themselves and their families at risk when they report for work.

The evidence and the science seems to tell us that this virus can be brought to heel – but that we are going to have to hang tight and wait this out.

That doesn’t appear to be what the current government is prepared to do.

‘Emergency Brake’ System
Recognizing the risk posed by new variants to the province’s pandemic response, Ontario is introducing an “emergency brake” to allow for immediate action if a public health unit region experiences rapid acceleration in COVID-19 transmission or if its health care system risks becoming overwhelmed.

If this occurs, the Chief Medical Officer of Health, in consultation with the local medical officer of health, may advise immediately moving a region into Grey-Lockdown to interrupt transmission.

Covid status chart- colour code

The province has created a colour code system to advise people what the status is in each of the Regional Health Units. For Halton that means we rely upon the decision made by the Public Health Unit. .

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Ward 4 Councillor getting close to collecting 1000 lbs of food. She will be out again this Friday.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

February 10th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It’s a bit of a grind but something Ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte has gotten into doing every Friday – taking the van and touring the ward to pick up any Food Offerings that have been left out for her to take to the Food Bank.

A number of weeks ago Stolte realized (it was her aha moment) that while driving around the ward to check in on what was happening she could also be picking up food donations and truck them over to the Food Bank.

She sent out a note, asked the Gazette if we would help out and delivered her first collection which amounted to 443 lbs of Food and $500 in cash.  “In just under 2 hours during my regular tour of the ward I had the pleasure of dropping by 33 participating households.”

The second round took place last weekend. To date, reports Stolte, “we have collected 856 pounds of food and hundreds of dollars in cash donations!

Stolte - this could lead to bigger van

Those single door step donations create the flow of food needed to take care of those that need a hand up. Results from the first week of the Stolte initiative.

Cash donations can be made directly to the Burlington Food Bank website and will automatically receive a tax receipt provided a full name and address are provided and please comment for your donation to be included in the Ward 4 Friday Food Drives so we can add your generous donation to our Ward 4 Grand Total!

Together we can keep the shelves at the Burlington Food Bank stocked and help our community through this challenging time.

Please spread the word to your Ward 4 friends and neighbours and have them register for pickup at
ward4@burlington.ca.

“I will be offering this safe, contact-free pickup every Friday.”

The following is a list of the Top Ten Most Needed Items this week:

Canned Meat (Ham, Turkey, Chicken)
Large Juice (1L Tetra or Cans)
Rice (1kg or 2kg sizes)
Peanut Butter
Cookies
Canned Tomatoes
Shampoo, Deodorant, Toothpaste and Toothbrushes
Hot Cereal (Oatmeal/Porridge Single Servings)
Canned Fruit
Large Soup (Ready To Eat)

Thank you and stay well,

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Molotov Cocktail thrown at house fails to explode - Police arrested suspect earlier this week

Crime 100By Staff

February 10th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

molotive cocktail

They were once a working too for the radical protesters. Always illegal.

Arson is not something that you read about very often; molotov cocktails went out of style in the sixties.

In December of 2020, the Halton Regional Police Service responded to a report of an attempted deployment of an incendiary device targeting an address on Bonney Meadow Road.

The investigation at the scene revealed a suspect attempted to utilize a breakable glass bottle containing a flammable substance, commonly referred to a ‘Molotov Cocktail’, however was unsuccessful and ultimately fled the area.

On February 8, 2021, the suspect, Sem Golov (24) of Brampton, was arrested and charged with the following:

• Arson
• Breach of Weapons Prohibition Order (2 counts)

The investigation revealed this was a targeted incident.

Anyone with information in regards to any of these occurrences is asked to contact Detective Barry Malciw, Oakville Criminal Investigation Bureau, 905-825-4747 extension 2218.

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.

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Scrambling for seats at the Burlington Lands Project Selection Table.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

February 10th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

The following series is lengthy.  It sets out what the city has decided it wants to do on development projects that will put tax money at risk.  None of what is now known as the Burlington Lands Project was discussed, nor even mentioned, during the last municipal election. It bears watching

Part 4 of a 4 part series.

 

When talking through the Terms of Reference for the latest hot idea from City Hall – members of Council were not shy about looking for a way to sit on the Selection Committee – the place where the decisions are going to be made.

Lisa in the chamber

Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns preparing to take the Chair of a Standing Council Committee

The document that set out who would be on this all-important committee had the Mayor, the Chair of the Corporate Services, Strategy, Risk and Accountability (CSSRA) who, this year, is Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns.  The Chair of the four Standing Committees change each year.

stolte a

Ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte

Vice Chair of the CSSRA is Shawna Stolte who has made it clear that she feels she should be on the committee for several reasons.

She has a strong commitment to the concept of affordable housing and points to her private sector experience in the field and the fact that she is still a licensed realtor. And, she added, as the vice chair of the CSSRA she would bring some continuity to Council representation on the Burlington Lands Project because she will be chair next year.

Sharman a

Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman – wants to sit on committees that have clout and influence. He misses the Economic Development seat he held – why did his term on that Committee end?

Councillor Sharman didn’t see the Stolte bonafides quite the same way. He went so far as to say there had to be some merit in adding someone to the Selection Committee and that experience is important.

The original plan was to have two members of Council on the Selection Committee. Adding the vice chair of the CSSRA to the two would take it up to three which was not quite what City Manager Tim Commisso had in mind when he structured this latest initiative for the city.

He was rather firm when he said that there was not going to ever be four members of Council on the Selection Committee – that would have amounted to a Council quorum.

The decision as to the membership on the Selection Committee as it is set out in the Terms of Reference appears to rest with the City Manager and the Clerk.

The decision on the final Version of the Terms of Reference will be decided when the issue goes to City Council on the 19th.

mmw a

Mayor Meed Ward has managed to put the members of Council in roles they were ready for and kept those with depth and experience far enough away.

The Mayor would rather do without Councillor Sharman. She’s not at all interested in giving the only real competitor on Council for her job as Mayor any oxygen.   The next election is just 20 months away; all kinds of things can happen in that period of time.

There are people prepared to run against at least some of the incumbents and there are at least two members of the current Council who are at risk.

Marianne Meed Ward will run for re-election and win – providing she doesn’t slip on a banana peel and slide under a bus and providing she finds a way to come up with a budget that enough residents can live with.

At this point there is no reason to expect a strong contender from within the development sector.  Some of the decisions coming out of the LPAT might change that.

There are two members of Council who have their eye on the Chain of Office but they are at least another term as Council members before they have the credibility to take a run at the job.

Sharman will run for Mayor if he sees an opening he can exploit. He will have been on Council 12 years.

Despite how polite the members of this council are to each other – this is not a bunch of really happy campers.  Meed Ward has yet to find a way to bring them around to the point where they buy into the dream she has and also a way to coax the five newbies into her tent.

We will know before the end of the month who will join her on the Burlington Lands Project Selection Committee.

Part 1 of a 4 part series

Part 2 of a 4 part series

Part 3 of a 4 part series

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Funding to Transform Public Spaces - applications close March 9th

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

February 10th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It isn’t all that much money but put in the right hands it can be very productive and useful.

The federal government set up a fund with $31 million in it.  That money was made available to a number of the community foundations who then look for places in their individual communities where it can be put to use.

The funds are to be used transforming public spaces in response to COVID19. I don’t think this was meant to put plastic shields up so we don’t bump into people when we are outdoors.

Foundations announcement graphicAn organization that goes under the title of the The Golden Horseshoe Hub in Southern Ontario announced today they will work together to distribute $1,840,190 to transform public spaces The funding will flow over two application rounds.

The Hub is led by the Oakville Community Foundation and includes: Brampton and Caledon Community Foundation, Brant County Community Foundation, Burlington Foundation, Community Foundation of Halton North, Hamilton Community Foundation, Community Foundation of Mississauga and Niagara Community Foundation.

The money comes from the federal government and their Healthy Communities Initiative and will support community-led organizations in developing local, small-scale infrastructure projects that respond to the immediate needs arising from COVID-19, while building towards a more pandemic-resilient future.

Photo for Foundation announcement

When people work together sharing ideas and collaborating on what they decide to do – the wider community benefits.

Starting today, organizations are invited to apply for funding between $5,000 and $250,000 to lead projects that help create safe and vibrant public spaces, improve mobility options, and provide digital solutions to help their neighbourhoods or communities navigate the pandemic and look to build back better in the COVID-19 recovery.

This could include projects that adapt crosswalks and access to public transport to allow for safe physical distancing, the creation of community gardens, and art installations, and free wifi in targeted public spaces. A variety of community-led organizations are eligible to apply, including local governments, charities, Indigenous communities, and registered non-profit organizations.

Organizations can apply for First Round funding from February 9, 2021 until March 9, 2021, at 8:00 PM EST.
A second application period for funding will start in May 2021.

Application forms and background information can be found HERE

Colleen Mulholland, President of the Burlington Foundation adds that: “Burlington Foundation is pleased to partner with seven community foundations located across Southern Ontario, forming The Golden Horseshoe Hub, to provide just over $1.8M to a variety of locally-lead infrastructure projects that respond to needs resulting from this pandemic. Transforming public spaces through the addition of new community gardens, ensuring free WIFI is available in open spaces, and adapting our crosswalks, are just a few examples of how we can adapt to support immediate needs while also ensuring long-term community resiliency. This funding is part of the Government of Canada’s new $31M Healthy Communities Initiative.

Applications are now open. Visit our website for details: https://burlingtonfoundation.org/about/leadership-initiatives/canada-healthy-communities-initiative/

The Burlington Foundation expects to announce their 4th round of financing for projects.  Should be able to tell you more around the middle of the month.  These will be above and beyond funding from the federal government.

 

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Should Canada take a pass on the 2022 Chinese Olympic Winter Games ?

“The goal of Olympism is to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of humankind, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity.”  (Article 2 of the Olympic Charter)

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

February 10th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

There is an open letter signed by parliamentarians from all of Canada’s political parties, indigenous leaders and human rights organizations demanding that, given China’s record of human rights abuses, the 2022 Olympic Winter Games must be relocated away from China.

Those abuses are so significant that the former and current US governments have labelled China’s actions with its minority Uighur population as genocide.

Hitler

Hitler hijacked the 1936 Olympic Games – would China do the same in 2022

Not relocating the games would be an unfortunate case of history repeating itself.  The 1936 Olympics were hijacked by Adolf Hitler.  Opponents of the Berlin games argued that allowing the Nazi regime to host the games would just embolden Hitler and allow him a propaganda victory.  Showcasing the international games would demonstrate to the German people that the rest of the world was OK with his policies of second class citizenship, ethnic cleansing and ultimately genocide (eventually) for Germany’s Jewish population.

In addition to the Canadian effort, there is group of 180 international human rights associations calling for a complete boycott of the games.  Boycotts are problematic, as history has shown, and they rarely work.   For example, after the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan most western nations boycotted the 1980 Olympics which were being held in Moscow.  The games still went ahead; the Soviets continued to occupy Afghanistan for a decade thereafter; and the western athletes, whose careers were on the line, suffered the most.

coal China

Coal being shoveled off rail cars in China for use in generating plants

There is a long list of grievances which China’s president for life, Xi Jinping, has been ramping up over recent years.  Of course China has a terrible human rights record with respect to its treatment of the Uighur, Falun Gong, Hong Kong and Tibetan populations.   China has also replaced the US as the leading source of climate change emissions, and despite participating in the Paris climate agreement, the country is building more new coal burning power plants than the rest of the world combined.

The nation has been developing its military at break neck speed.  And with its now powerful navy has claimed sovereignty over the South China Sea which puts it on a collision course with any number of it neighbours and the USA.   And of course there is a long simmering cold war with India over their mountainous shared border.

China has threatened war and forced occupation of Taiwan, an island of 24 million people with a democratic government, and which has been independent since 1949.  And its history before that, except for a brief period post WWII, had been as a colony of Japan.  The USA may have no formal security treaty with Taiwan but has 30,000 troops stationed there.   So it is doubtful that the US would stand by and allow the Chinese to invade without a fight.

China wet market

Patrons at a wet market in Wuhan, China

It has been a year since we first heard of COVID, but World Health Organization (WHO) inspectors have finally been allowed to visit the birthplace of the virus which caused COVID 19.  Though, nobody really expects them to discover how this pandemic actually got started.  Chinese officials have sanitized the wet (seafood) market which they claim have been location zero.  And all of the Chinese citizens or officials who could have shed light on the situation have either been kept out of sight or been velcro-lipped.

The theories propagated by Chinese authorities are that the virus arrived in Wuhan aboard a load of American frozen food or that SARS-CoV-2 originated from a bat virus which transited through an infected pangolin to complete a zoonotic leap into the respiratory tract of an unsuspecting shopper in Wuhan’s extensive wet market.

But neither theory holds water.  For one thing neither bats nor pangolins were on sale at the Wuhan wet market at the time.  The closest candidate bat would have been a 7 hour train ride away but was probably too busy hanging upside down in its bat cave to make the journey.

Another theory, once advanced by former president Donald Trump, and largely dismissed because of that, is that there was an accidental leakage of the virus from the Wuhan Virology Laboratory.  Located just up the street from the wet market, this is China’s only Level 4 bio-safety laboratory with a mandate to study and experiment with these kinds of viruses.   And located behind its walls is the greatest collection of dangerous bat viruses ever assembled in one place.

The Chinese obviously deny this lab leak theory.  And the team of visiting WHO inspectors say it’s a long shot.  But this would not be the first time that WHO has been pressured by the Chinese.  And given the lack of transparency and all the secrecy, can one be sure all the inspectors have seen is a really thorough cover-up of the evidence?

For Canada there is another reason to avoid the games in China. Just ask our two Michaels who have been held in miserable captivity for over two years.  Their crimes were that they were valuable hostages which China’s strongman thought would make good trading fare for their Huawei executive whom we, in turn, continue to detain.   Australia has recently updated its travel advice for China to warn that authorities have detained foreigners on alleged national security grounds and that Australians may be at risk of arbitrary detention.

Olympics - Canada

The Canadian Olympic Team at Winter Olympic Games

The choice for Canada is pretty clear.  We need to work with other nations to convince the international Olympic committee to either cancel the games or shift the location to a more appropriate venue in keeping with the mandate, goals and the spirit of the Olympics.  Unless that happens Canada should boycott the games in Beijing and seek alternate venues and exhibitions for our athletes.

The last thing Canadians need to see on their television sets next February are our proud athletes marching through Beijing sporting a large maple leaf flag as they pass by prison cell holding one of our Michaels.

As a postscript China is now claiming it will sanction any nation which boycotts the games.  Seriously?

What would they do if the games are moved to a more acceptable location?

Rivers hand to faceRay Rivers, born in Ontario earned an economics degree at the University of Western Ontario and a Master’s degree in economics at the University of Ottawa.  His 25 year stint with the federal government included time with Environment, Fisheries and Oceans, Agriculture and the Post office.  Rivers is active in his community; has run for municipal and provincial office.

 

Background links:

About the Olympics –    Olympic Charter –     Wuhan Lab

A Lab Leak –     Was it the Lab –     More Lab Leaks

US and Wuhan Lab –     A Leak? –    Move the Games – 

Human Rights Groups –     All Parties Call for Moving Olympics – 

 

 

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With $250,000 in Hand and a Terms of Reference Document Waiting for the Nod from the City Solicitor - City Hall is Off and Running. Watch this one carefully

background graphic redBy Pepper Parr

February 11th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

Part 3 of a four part series

What is the Burlington Lands Partnership?

The Burlington Lands Partnership (“BLP”) is a flexible, multi-dimensional and integrated approach that seeks to address multiple areas of municipal strategic land management including acquisition and development.

For the City, the BLP will initially focus on achieving tangible and measurable community benefits and returns in three areas: supporting economic growth and direct job creation, completing “city building” projects and delivering much needed affordable housing.

Oversight and strategic direction will be provided by a new steering committee that is ultimately accountable to Burlington City Council. The committee is proposed to consist of the Mayor, the City Manager, the Council member serving as current Chair of the Community Planning, Regulation and Mobility Committee, key senior municipal staff, and representation from Burlington Economic Development (both the Board and staff).

Additional partner-based stakeholders such as community leaders, the heads of community organizations, and representatives of private corporations are proposed be part of smaller project specific task forces that are accountable and report out to the BLP Steering Committee.

The Steering Committee, which is the group that will look for partnership opportunities they can research, determine the risk and decide if there is enough in the way of benefits to the city to proceed.  If they come to consensus, they take their decision/recommendation to city Council where the decision to proceed will be made.

There doesn’t appear to be much in the way of public participation or opportunities for people to delegate.  The Steering Committee meetings will not be public.

Why is the Burlington Lands Partnership Needed?
• There are several strategically positioned and emerging municipal land development opportunities within Burlington, but there is no single entity that has the mandate and resources to realize the opportunities for the long-term benefit of the City.

• There is widespread support for the City to take a greater strategic role in targeting municipal land development in Burlington.

• Burlington has many active community organizations and not-for-profits which could engage in mutually beneficial partnerships to aid in developing communities within Burlington.

• A partnership in this form allows for the City, Burlington Economic Development (Burlington EcDev), and a coalition of public and private sector partners to pursue additional funding and strategic partnerships including but not limited to the Halton Region, Province of Ontario and Government of Canada.

The widespread support is not something that Gazette has heard of or become aware of and this council does not have a mandate to undertake something as large as what is being proposed..

Mandate of BLP

Throughout 2020, urbanMetrics was engaged by the City of Burlington to assess the viability, function and structure of a municipal corporation or other strategic land entity to facilitate the development of City owned lands with a focus on economic development and city building initiatives.

Parking lot CArolina and John June 2019

There was once a house on the corner of this property that was owned by the city. It was torn down to increase parking in the Caroline – John Street intersection. Little thought was given to creating a parking lot with a permeable surface to aid in rain water run off. City bureaucrats seldom have their ear to the ground and are rarely aware of what the public wants.

The study was undertaken in conjunction with a governance study conducted by MDB Insight to examine the role of the Burlington Economic Development Corporation. The recommended approach to a strategic land development entity, which was subsequently brought forward and recommended by the City Manager as the Burlington Land Partnership (BLP).

• The internal strategic real estate structure would involve Burlington EcDev, as well as other, potential partners, such as Halton Region, other public agencies, private industry and private and public institutions including not-for-profit community groups, as required.

• Oversite and strategic direction would be provided by a steering committee that would ultimately be accountable to Council. The City Manager, as staff lead, would be responsible for strategic managerial leadership and would serve as chair of the steering committee. Outside consulting expertise would be engaged as needed.

The mandate of the organization or partnership would be on leveraging real estate to:

o Maximise opportunities for economic growth and job creation;
o Develop and implement city building projects; and
o Create opportunities for the development of affordable housing.

Ultimately the BLP should have access to City staff and other resources to seek, identify and develop strategic land opportunities into viable projects; to direct the acquisition and disposition of related City lands; to undertake land and facility development visioning and design; to obtain necessary planning approvals; and to fully engage with outside partners.

• Initially, the BLP should be tasked with seeking, identifying and developing opportunities into viable strategic land projects. A number of opportunities have been presented through the urbanMetrics and Cresa studies. These, as well as others that may be identified in the future, need to be more formally prioritized and envisioned complete with detailed project plans, recommended by the BLP Steering Committee and approved by City Council.

• The BLP would be the first step towards the creation of a municipal development corporation, however this would not occur until 2023 (at the earliest) following a reporting to Council on the activities and accomplishments of the BLP in 2021/22.

• Establishing the BLP as a first step, achieves a good balance among the opportunities, the desire for augmented internal strategic land capabilities, the current resource capacity limitations and the need for due diligence and caution.

The longer term goal is to have the city getting into the the development business.  Is there a supportable collection of data that identifies the public buy in on an idea of this magnitude?  The is not a small potatoes idea.

After an initial start-up period of two years, the organization should be evaluated on an annual basis, with respect to achieving measurable results related to:

o Supporting job creation, business creation and economic expansion;
o Developing and implementation of community-wide “City building” projects;
o Realizing tangible affordable housing opportunities and increased housing supply;
o Fiscal impact (increased assessment base/taxes, development charges, other fees);
o Enhancing the profile of the City and contributing to the public identity of Best City to Live in Canada;
o Supporting the City’s 25-year Strategic Plan, Council’s Vision to Focus 4-year work plan and community planning and other land related policies; and
o Delivering value for money and cost effectiveness to Burlington taxpayers.

Bare bones Pier from high with trestle

The city basically built the Pier twice.

Seeing a set of benchmarks that would be used would certainly help the public decide if the idea has merit and serves the public and not the career aspirations of the bureaucratic cohort at city hall.

Remember the Pier.

BLP Working Groups

To be determined by the Steering Committee with approval by Council on a project- by-project basis as part of a separate project brief/plan.

Duration and Transition
The Burlington Land Partnership will function during an initial “pilot period” of two years including 2021 and 2022. A report on the strategic activities and outcomes of the BLP will be presented to Council prior to the end of their 2018-2022 terms and will include recommendations for consideration for the 2023-2026 term of Council.

The BLP represents a transitional approach that allows for the expansion of organizational capacity and a build-up of expertise that will in turn enable further consideration by Council of a formalized municipal development corporation (MDC) in line with other municipalities in Ontario and utilizing the powers allowed under the Municipal Act related to municipal corporations.

Overall, the Steering Committee will make recommendations to Council and decisions (where applicable) in the best interest of the City as a whole.

BLP steering terms 1

BLP steeriing terms 2

Agendas and Meeting Notes:
Agendas (including confidential materials as it related to property and legal matters) will be published ahead of meeting date, including attached documents required for discussion and decision making. Deadlines for attachments need to be respected to provide adequate time to read all required material to allow for comprehensive participation. If required, agenda items may be deferred at request of BLP member if materials are not distributed by deadlines.

BLP agendas and meeting notes will managed/prepared by the City Manager’s Office (CMO) and shared confidentially with Steering Committee members, City Clerk and Council Members.
blp steering terms 3

blp steering terms 4

The only thing left to do is order the new business cards.

Part 1 of a 4 part series.

Part 2 of a 4 part series

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