Suspected of targeting seniors in Burlington. Call 911 if you see either of them

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON August 17th, 2011 — Halton Regional Police Service detectives have identified suspect photos of the man and woman being sought in connection with a series of thefts from Halton seniors in early August.

The female suspect is described as Caucasian, in her mid 30s to 40s, slim build, between 5’7 and 5’8″ tall with long dark hair and a European accent.  The male suspect is described as Caucasian, in his mid 30s to 40s, approximately 5’6 to 5’8″ tall with dark hair and a European accent.

Halton Regional Police Service detectives are urging seniors to be cautious if they are approached by a man and woman in their mid-30s to early 40s claiming to be lost and looking for the hospital.

The suspects are targeting elderly patrons of grocery and retail stores, and distracting their victims by asking them to point out directions on a map which they place over the victim’s wallet or purse, thereby giving the  thieves an opportunity to steal the property unobserved.

The Halton Regional Police Service Regional Fraud Unit is continuing its investigation into this case and are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying these individuals. If you or an elderly relative has fallen prey to this scenario, or if you have any information related to the investigation please contact Detective Brad Murray at (905) 825-4747 Ext 8982 or by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

 

 

[retweet]

 

 

Other picture(s) just released.

Return to the Front page

Seniors in Burlington targeted by thieves in parking lots and retail stores.

By Staff

A pair of thieves, one male, one female are approaching seniors in retail stores and super market parking lots saying they are looking for the hospital and have a map in their hands.

Halton Regional Police Service detectives are urging seniors to be cautious if they are approached by a man and woman in their mid-30s to early 40s claiming to be lost and looking for the hospital.

The suspects are targeting elderly patrons of grocery and retail stores, and distracting their victims by asking them to point out directions on a map which they place over the victim’s wallet or purse, thereby giving the  thieves an opportunity to steal the property unobserved.

The female suspect is described as Caucasian, in her mid 30s to 40s, slim build, between 5’7 and 5’8″ tall with long dark hair and a European accent.  The male suspect is described as Caucasian, in his mid 30s to 40s, approximately 5’6 to 5’8″ tall with dark hair and a European accent.

Constable Wendy Moraghan of the Halton Regional Police Service works with seniors in their communities within the Halton Region listening to concerns they have and explaining a problem they should be cautious about.

Constable Wendy Moraghan of the Halton Regional Police Service works with seniors in their communities within the Halton Region listening to concerns they have and explaining a problem they should be cautious about.

Detectives have determined that the suspects have targeted at least six different victims since August 6, 2011. The pair appear to be operating primarily in the Oakville and Burlington areas, and targeting seniors who are shopping alone. They have approached victims both inside the retail location and outside in the parking lot just prior to the victim departing.

“Unfortunately, this is another variation of a crime targeting our elderly population under the guise of someone in distress and asking the senior for help – in this case, needing directions to the hospital,” said Cst. Wendy Moraghan, Elder Services Coordinator. “Seniors can help police by being extremely cautious when approached by a stranger asking for assistance.  Direct them to a store clerk instead, and ensure your personal property is protected and in your sight at all times.”

Constable Moraghan has worked with seniors groups explaining how they need to be both cautious and observant.

The Halton Regional Police Service Regional Fraud Unit is continuing its investigation into this case and are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying these individuals. If you or an elderly relative has fallen prey to this scenario, or if you have any information related to the investigation please contact Detective Brad Murray at (905) 825-4747 Ext 8982 or by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

 

 

[retweet]

 

 

Return to the Front page

Regional heath workers report more West Nile Virus infected mosquitoes being found.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON August 17, 2011 Reports of new batch of mosquitoes collected last week have tested positive for West Nile Virus. This is the 14th batch of mosquitoes collected this year and for the first time positive testing mosquitoes were found in Action.

We are still in a the West Nile Virus season and as the map shown below indicates there are more pools of infected mosquitoes being found. In Burlington the following are locations where mosquitoes were captured:

  • New Street and Guelph Line (4 pools)
  • Upper Middle Road and Walkers Line (2 pools)
  • Lakeshore Road and Appleby
  • Guelph Line and Dundas

Halton health services report that their “surveillance indicates that there is a risk of West Nile virus infection throughout the Region this year and there are still several weeks of summer to go,” said Dr. Bob Nosal, Halton Region Medical Officer of Health. “It is important that all Halton residents continue to take measures to protect themselves from mosquito bites throughout the rest of the summer.”

Mosquitoes can transmit WNV to humans after becoming infected by feeding on birds carrying the virus. Older adults and people with underlying illnesses should be particularly cautious as they are more likely to develop the illness. The following are steps that residents can take to protect themselves and their families from

The Regional map showing where mosquitoes were captured is set out below:

 

 

Using the appropriate repellent and long sleeve shirts are first line of defense measures you can take. For more on what West Nile Virus is and how it is transmitted please click here. For details on Burlington area infected mosquito locations click here.

 

 

[retweet]

 

Return to the Front page

Pier tender opening moved back to Wednesday the 24th – could be later date. Good news? Depends on trestle decison.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON August 17th, 2010 Some things go smooth as silk and others – well there is just bump after bump. The date for the opening of the tenders for the completion of construction of the Brant Street Pier has been moved back to August 24th.. It might get pushed back a little further. A total of five addendums have been issued by the city. An addendum is a document that sets out a question a contractor has asked and the answer the city has given. The rules of the tender approach to getting the best price is that every gets all the information that is handed out.

The trestle is a vital piece of equipment needed to complete construction of the Pier.  The one shown above would have to be re-tested to insure that it is safe for us before any construction equipment can be placed on it.  No one is taking any chances on safety with this project.  Owners of the trestle don’t want to pay for testing – city says then remove it.

The trestle is a vital piece of equipment needed to complete construction of the Pier. The one shown above would have to be re-tested to insure that it is safe for us before any construction equipment can be placed on it. No one is taking any chances on safety with this project. Owners of the trestle don’t want to pay for testing – city says then remove it.

As things stand now – the bids have to be in the hands of the city Engineering department no later than 2:00 pm on Wednesday the 24th and will be opened 15 minutes later in Room 247.

As has been pointed out before the number that gets read out at the public opening is the price the contractor says they are willing to complete the construction of the Pier for – however, more often than not there are conditions and small adjustments and comments made by the contractors and what appears to be the lowest price at first glance turns out not to be the lowest upon review and inspection. This is why the engineering department will take away the bids and review and analyze and then take them to the appropriate Council committee where they will be debated and get voted upon and then passed along to full Council where they get voted on and – after that – we have a deal.

Everyone at Engineering can’t wait until the envelopes with the numbers are opened. That there are delays in the opening tenders date is a sign that the contractors are asking a lot of questions – one of which might be is there a trestle we can use?

The following constructions firms picked up tender packages – a 40 page document with a roll of drawings and a bunch of forms that had to be filled in: ConCrete USL Limited; Toronto Zenith Contracting Limited; Belor Construction Ltd; Rankin Construction Inc.; Bot Construction; PCL Construction Canada Inc. and Graham Infrastructure. According the city staff all the construction firms are still in the game.

There are some top ranked firms in the list. The city has indicated that it has $5.8 million left in the piggy bank for this project, which lets the contractors know that the city is serious, but that there is a limit as to what they are prepared to pay out to have the project finished.

Peter Smith of Bermingham wants his trestle back – the city says he can have it – they want him to get it out of the construction site by the end of September.  One of those careful what you ask for situations?

Peter Smith of Bermingham wants his trestle back – the city says he can have it – they want him to get it out of the construction site by the end of September. One of those careful what you ask for situations?

The trestle is one of the issues that now has to be worked out. The thing may no longer be certified to take the load that would be put on it once heavy equipment is brought in. The owner of the trestle is getting a little antsy about being paid and is putting the squeeze on the people who appear to be paying the bills. HSS got more than $4 million from the city – they are the ones who should be paying that Bermingham Construction invoices.)

The present tender calls for the removal of the existing trestle by the new contractor.

While it has been a bumpy road the Mayor has consistently said he will see this project through but that he is not going to pay both an arm and a leg to get the Pier built. $5.8 million – but you know it is going to creep a bit higher than that.

 

[retweet]

 

Return to the Front page

How do you make a Mayor ? Treat him as a catcher and throw everything at him.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON August 17, 2011 – He is getting better. He is more in control than he was in his first six months. He has a better command of the job and is much more of a Mayor now than he was in his six months ago. He thinks now, whereas he tended to react to situations that he wasn’t always comfortable with.

The trestle has been almost as much of a headache as the Pier.  It was essential to have a trestle in place to do the construction work. Whoever gets the contract to complete the construction of the Pier is going to need a trestle.  The one in place now belongs to Bermingham Construction who was a subcontractor to  Harm Schilthuis and Sons, who walked off the job.  The trestle owner wants his trestle back or wants to be paid.  The city has said – take it out by the end of September.  That should solve that problem – right?  It’s never that simple with our Pier.

The trestle has been almost as much of a headache as the Pier. It was essential to have a trestle in place to do the construction work. Whoever gets the contract to complete the construction of the Pier is going to need a trestle. The one in place now belongs to Bermingham Construction who was a subcontractor to Harm Schilthuis and Sons, who walked off the job. The trestle owner wants his trestle back or wants to be paid. The city has said – take it out by the end of September. That should solve that problem – right? It’s never that simple with our Pier.

The latest bit of crap to land on his desk was an attempt on the part of a contractor to get the city to pay for a service he had provided – in this instance it was Bermingham Contracting that wanted the city to pay that company for the use of a trestle that had been put in place by the company the city originally contracted with to build the Pier. That company, Harm Schilthuis and Sons Ltd walked off the job – they basically abandoned it – and the lawyers begin serving Statements of Claim on each other. Great for the lawyers – they have to earn a living too – but not so good for the city who has to pick up the tab for some pretty expensive legal talent.

Add to this, a city that has residents, who, before fully informing themselves, write Letters to the Editor and declare the city should just tear the darn thing down.

“First of all,” said the Mayor in a statement, “I would like to state that the City of Burlington does not wish to fight a legal battle in the media. However, some points need clarification. The following responds to information conveyed by the media regarding the trestle built to construct the Brant Street Pier.

“The city has no contractual relationship whatsoever with Bermingham Construction Ltd. Bermingham has a relationship and business agreement with the original contractor on the pier. The city is not a party to that agreement.  The city does not owe money to Bermingham.”

The Mayor went on to say: “I understand Bermingham’s motivation and interest in looking for a way to recover perceived losses. The city is not prepared to use the taxpayer’s money to resolve subcontractor issues.”

“The city has had discussions with Bermingham to determine if the trestle can safely be used to complete the pier. Bermingham insists that the trestle, as it is today, is not available for use in the construction project and cannot withstand the construction loads.”

Bermingham has written to the city indicating their financial requirements, including the cost of testing the trestle for usability. That amount of money, a figure substantially higher than that reported in the media, is not satisfactory to the city. As a result, the city has asked Bermingham to remove the trestle by Sept. 30, 2011.

We look forward to the receipt of tenders on Aug. 17, 2011, at 2 p.m., and to recommending a contractor in about six weeks’ time to complete the Brant Street Pier.” Said the Mayor.

Earlier in the week Steve Zabos, acting as City Manager, released a prepared statement that was somewhat different than the comments the Mayor made. It was probably the former that made it necessary for the latter – if you get my drift.

Here is what Zabos released: “The city does not substantiate information provided to the media if that information could negatively affect any litigation that the city may be involved in. Bermingham Construction Ltd. is a subcontractor of Harm Schilthuis and Sons Ltd., a company with whom the city is currently involved in litigation.”

The people in the legal department must have had conniptions over this exchange of comments.

There are all kinds of hurdles popping up and so far Mayor Rick Goldring is getting over all of then. But one of his team thinks the whole pier mess is “disgraceful”. Is that hurdle he has to get over or something in a cow pasture he wants to step around ?

 

[retweet]

 

Return to the Front page

Take that Paul Hellyer. Government announces the navy is Royal once again. Break out the rum, tots for all

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON August 16, 2011 The federal government announced today that the ships at sea, which have been until now known as the Maritime Command, will now again be referred to as the Royal Canadian Navy and the air force would be known as the Royal Canadian Air Force.

They were always the Royal Canadian Navy.  The government just forgot to use the words for the last 45 years.

They were always the Royal Canadian Navy. The government just forgot to use the words for the last 45 years.

In 1968 then Minister of Defense Paul Hellyer, took away the Royal reference as part of his drive to integrate the three armed forces.

Now perhaps they will fly the white ensign and get things back to where they were before the politicians got silly.

Finally, some common sense and a respect for tradition and history has returned to the country. Hopefully they will serve us a double ration of rum today.

 

[retweet]

 

Return to the Front page

Ontario Municipal Board has another customer, Queensway community wants a hearing.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON August 15, 2011 – The Queensway community, that collection of neat, smallish houses on really large lots south of the QEW and west of Guelph Line has decided they don’t think they have to accept the decision of city council to let a developer put up 54 units on land that had just six dwellings and they have taken their complaint to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) where they will argue their case for a reduction in the number of units.

Until there is a decision, the develop has to sit on his hands and wait. Richard Szymczyk, the very able community spokesperson is leading the effort even though he no longer lives in the community. His view is that he doesn’t want to abandon his neighbours even though he doesn’t live amongst them.

Sign selling homes that may not get built for some time..

Sign selling homes that may not get built for some time..

Szymczyk put forward a pretty sound argument at the committee level where his neighbours were also heard. When the matter got to Council, Szymczyk got cut short and wasn’t given time to complete his delegation. He had gone past the five minutes allotted but others had been given a little extra time in the past. Queensway didn’t get that courtesy.

Burlington knows that it has to intensify and the Queensway community looked like a good place to add additional housing – most felt that going from 6 to 54 was just a bit too much. Let’s see what the OMB thinks.

When the community took their argument to city council they failed to convince a majority that the development was far too big. Szymczyk had a number of very capable communicators with him – it will be interesting to see how the OMB reacts to their concerns.

We will try to keep you posted.

 

[retweet]

 

Return to the Front page

Is there an independent candidate about to declare his intention to run October 6th ? Sounds like Casey Cosgrove wants to run.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON August 15th, 2011 – Elections are fascinating events. People talk about who is going to run for public office and who is ahead and why this person should hold office and why this person shouldn’t.

We organize our elections around political parties whose members decide who their candidate will be. The political party that wins the most seats forms the government. We’ve been doing it that was since Confederation. However, one does not have to belong to a political party to run for public office. A person can deice to run as an independent and not be attached to a political party. There is an honourable tradition of independents in this country – and Burlington just might produce the next independent to sit in the provincial legislature.

Casey Cosgrove – running as an independent?

Casey Cosgrove – running as an independent?

It all seemed to start with some chatter on the internet between Casey Cosgrove, Lawrence Winterburn and Brian Heagle. Here is the way the Facebook chatter went.

Casey Cosgrove had made a comment about the way the provincial election was going and Brian Heagle, 2009 Citizen of the Year, candidate for Ward 4 in the last municipal election and a candidate for the Progressive Conservative nomination before he withdrew replied:

Heagle wrote: “Casey, I didn’t realize you spoke Daltonese – and in several languages!. The decision to “green light” redevelopment is opportunistic, but not just for Liberals with their vote-getting timing. It’s the chance for Burlington voters to elect an MPP who understands and will support the community for such a vitally important concern – regardless of political orientation, or who may want to “kill the deal”. Voters need to look closely at the individual, not so much their Party, in this case. We will need a true local champion with integrity, smarts and tenacity to keep the “green light” on after October 6.”

Cosgrove, who was a candidate in Ward 5 in the 2006 election and came a very respectable second (480 votes behind Rick Goldring who won and went on to challenge Mayor Cam Jackson in 2010 and won at that level as well.) Cosgrove is the director of the Canadian Centre for Financial Literacy (CCFL), which is a division of the national charitable organization and also teaches at Guelph University, Casey responded: “..now you’ve got me thinking of running as an independent in October. gosh, just when things were quieting down around here..”

Lawrence Winterburn then jumped in with:

“Paying wealthy people to put up solar panels, increasing taxes in the middle of a recession-(no Ontario isn’t even close to back where we were-regardless of propaganda-), Trading good paying jobs for part time retail sounds like a progressive plan. Ontario has great leadership presently…. of course I have a 60 IQ and I am blind from starvation…but yes, re-elect Dalton. Casey–you will notice this is a non- partisan comment, any party is fine with me too, I just want somebody with benevolence, intellect and honorable intent.”

Heagle came back with:

“Casey, I believe Lawrence may have just provided your campaign for MPP with a great slogan: “Cosgrove – The Benevolent Independent”.”

Cosgrove wasn’t going to let that stand and came back with:

“I don’t use words I can’t define. I don’t like independent, I prefer interdependent. Brian, I have a couple hundred ‘engage, listen, lead’ signs that have been rotting behind the shed for 6 years – I may just use those. I also have 2 old Heagle signs back there if you want them :)”

The dialogue then took a surprising twist when Casey wrote:

“Brian, I will credit you and one other friend-Chris K, for getting me worked up enough that I may just do this. so tired of all three leaders…just cleared it with Bryna.. Looks like one more kick at the can for me :). Larry – I know you will join my team!”

Later in the day Cosgrove goes public – sort of ands says:

Musing today about a run in the fall election as an independent (interdependent). Not sure I could sit under a banner of any of the three party leaders at this point, so why not just run under my own ‘Burlington ‘ banner? Am I joking? Not really. Bryna just smiled, gave me that ‘uh,oh, I see that look in your eyes’ glance….hmmm, decisions, decisions.. 🙂

In a message sent to us from Cosgrove he said:I clearly don’t mind people knowing I’m frustrated enough to be thinking about this, but I wanted you to know I will spend the next couple weeks at the cottage with the family before even considering jumping in. Just wanted to be up front with you.

Cosgrove seems to have said he could be an independent candidate and go after the Burlington seat at Queen’s Park. Wow, this social media does make things happen. We may not use the media the way the thugs in London use it and we may not use it to take to the streets the way they did in Cairo – but seeing it used to bring another candidate to the surface. Amazing, truly amazing.

 

[retweet]

 

Return to the Front page

It is going to happen –Joe Brant is getting an upgrade. No operating rooms soon though, parking garage comes first.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON August 11, 2010 The announcement to expand Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital is a reason to celebrate,” said Karmel Sakran, Liberal candidate in Burlington.

Hamilton Mountain MPP Sophia Aggelonitis and Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale MPP Ted McMeekin, on behalf of Health and Long-Term Care Minister Deb Matthews, announced funding for the long awaited expansion of the hospital.

“As a kid, I lived two blocks from Joseph Brant and I determined some day I would be part of that great hospital. Like you, I have seen Joseph Brant neglected by one government after another and not receive needed expansion funding. As a member of the Hospital Board that put the strategic plan together over the last two years, I am proud to see the McGuinty government respond to our plan and approve the expansion,” Sakran said.

Anyone who was anybody was there – but not a dollar to be seen from the provincial government

Anyone who was anybody was there – but not a dollar to be seen from the provincial government

Sakran said one of the reasons he’s running is the McGuinty Government’s commitment to healthcare. “Dalton McGuinty expands and builds new hospitals. Unlike the previous PC government which shut the doors on 28 hospitals during the Harris/Hudak years” said Sakran

“I congratulate our community and the government for working together in a co-operative spirit that is moving us forward. Now we must carefully engage in the planning process to ensure that we get the expansion right for the people of Burlington,” said Sakran.

That was Karmel Sakran’s take on the announce made Wednesday afternoon at an elaborately event that included a large white tent for the assembled dignitaries who made speech after speech – but the odd part was that no one said exactly how much money the government was going to spend or what kind of a partnership there would be or when construction would start. The audience was told that the hospital was going to be expanded – that is WAS going to happen.

It would help if the financing of the upgrade were a little clearer. Burlington citizens have had a small levy for the hospital improvement added to their tax bills – $4 for every $100,000 of assessment. And the city has $4.8 million sitting in a bank account that the hospital would like to see sent their way yesterday, but that money isn’t going to move until there is a Memorandum of Agreement in place.

The hospital foundation has said it will raise $60 million – so we have $120 million coming from the community.

Ted McMeekin announcing that the government will put up some of the money for a major upgrade to the hospital.  Didn’t say how much or when the check might be in the mail.  Burlington has committed $60 million.  I thought health was a provincial responsibility.

Ted McMeekin announcing that the government will put up some of the money for a major upgrade to the hospital. Didn’t say how much or when the check might be in the mail. Burlington has committed $60 million. I thought health was a provincial responsibility.

McMeekin, who was once a patient at the hospital, didn’t put out any numbers but the hospital has been working with a figure of $312 million. The understanding is that the province will use its Alternative Funding Plan (AFP) to get the hospital upgraded. The AFP is a plan that has private contractors building the hospital and then maintaining it for a period of time, in this case reportedly through to 2043, during which time the contractors will see something in the order of $1 billion flow their way. Sort of like the 407 – forever and ever kind of thing.

Hospitals are very complex structures and it will take some time to get the plans drawn up. Eric Vanderwall, President and Chief Executive Officer of the hospital corporation, is said to have put out a date of 2017 before new patients get treated at the hospital.

Later on Burlington Mayor Rick Goldring put out a press release saying the announcement is good news for the people of Burlington. He called it “an awesome day, an historic day,” for the city. “No one wants to end up in hospital, but when you do, you want the best care possible as close to home as possible. Thanks to the hard work of the previous mayor and council, the current council and our provincial funding partners, the dream of a redeveloped hospital can become a reality.”

In December 2009, city council approved not more than $60 million as a municipal contribution for the proposed hospital redevelopment plan.  The city is working on a memorandum of understanding and contribution agreement with the hospital that will outline when and how Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital will receive the city funding.

The city began collecting $1.2 million in 2010 and 2011 through a special tax levy. City Council earmarked $2.4 million from previous years’ surpluses, and now has $4.8 million committed in a reserve fund earning interest. The tax levy amounts to $4 for each $100,000 of residential assessment.

“The city has shown leadership in committing $60 million for the hospital redevelopment, and taxpayers have confirmed they think this money should be spent on improving our community hospital,” said Steve Zorbas, acting city manager. “We now need to look at next steps, working with the hospital and our community to raise the money needed to complete the redevelopment project.”

“The estimated cost for Phase 1 of the Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital redevelopment is more than $300 million. The planned local share is $120 million. The Joseph Brant Hospital Foundation has committed to raising $60 million through a fundraising campaign in addition to the city’s contribution of $60 million”, said Goldring.

So far all Burlington has is this nice drawing.  No financial commitment from the province and no start date for the project.  We are told it will be six storeys high.  The Pier will open before they start digging any holes in the ground.

So far all Burlington has is this nice drawing. No financial commitment from the province and no start date for the project. We are told it will be six storeys high. The Pier will open before they start digging any holes in the ground.

A much needed upgrade is now a certainty, according to provincial government Ministers and every one of them will tell you there is no link between the announcement and the forthcoming provincial election. Right.

 

[retweet]

 

Return to the Front page

Three cultures managed to overcome differences and agree on a unique approach to creating a community centre.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON August 12, 2011 — It was a unique idea – why not put a school, a library and a community sports complex all in one place and attached to each other ? And why not do it in a brand new community. Do you think it would work?

Burlington is in the process of finding out if three organizations that are in place to serve the public can adjust their operating procedures enough to be able to work together. Cindy Mercanti, Manager Recreation Services for the city of Burlington speaks glowing of the process and how well it has worked so far.

Getting this project to the point where shovels will begin to dig into the ground had to work its way through reams of paper – and you know what that means: lawyers. There were so many lawyers on this file that they had to hire a law firm to write the definitive agreement to ensure that no one party favoured themselves. Nancy Shea Nicol advised a city council committee that herding the lawyers was not quite as difficult as herding cats and that except for some concerns with the drafting of the operating agreement – it went pretty well.

Organizationally it was quite a challenge but fair minded people with willing hearts put together a collection of committees and got on with the job of making it happen.

The last major housing development in Burlington is well underway.  Occupancy should begin late in the year.

The last major housing development in Burlington is well underway. Occupancy should begin late in the year.

At this point, August of 2011, construction on the skate board park is well underway and should be opening sometime in the fall. Off in the background of where the skate board rink is being built one can see the frames of new houses going up and construction vehicles running up and down Tim Dobbie Drive, the street that dissects the location which is immediately north of Dundas and west of Walkers line.

The Skate Board park and playing fields will be to the east of Tim Dobbie Drive with the combined library, community sports centre and the school will be on the west side along with additional playing fields. The North Burlington Skate Park is being built as part of the Norton Park development. It is targeted to be complete mid-October, 2011.

Manager Recreational Services for the city of Burlington, stands in front of the transit being used by engineers as they work on the construction of the skate board rink that is part of the Norton development across the street from the high school, library, community centre complex.  The only thing not on the site (yet?) is a Tim Hortons.

Manager Recreational Services for the city of Burlington, stands in front of the transit being used by engineers as they work on the construction of the skate board rink that is part of the Norton development across the street from the high school, library, community centre complex. The only thing not on the site (yet?) is a Tim Hortons.

The Alton community was the last large greenfield residential construction project for Burlington on land that had been zoned for housing. At some point in the not too distant future some of the lands that are designated employment lands may get re-designated and become available for housing but at the moment Alton is the last big one – and big it is.

The city of Burlington, who are not the lead on this project, insisted that all the agreements be in place, signed and approved by the various boards involved before any tenders were awarded.

The community site is on the eastern side of Tim Dobbie Drive north of Dundas.  A sports fields and a skate board rink are on the east side.  Rink is expected to open in September.

The community site is on the eastern side of Tim Dobbie Drive north of Dundas. A sports fields and a skate board rink are on the east side. Rink is expected to open in September.

 

The lead on the construction side of the project is the Halton District School Board. The project was tendered and the best bid came in from Bondfield Construction at a cost of just over $40 million. Burlington’s piece of that cost is $13.9 million. The bid is good until August 17th – the same day that the city will open bids from construction companies for the completion of the Brant Street Pier. If all these project get completed on time 2013 is going to be a ‘gang busters’ year for Burlington. We may not be able to live with all that success. Shovels are expected to go into the ground for the community centre part in September. The project has yet to be given a name. Please not another politician, there is a veteran who got passed over just awhile ago – maybe time to remember him?

At a July Council committee meeting council members were brought up to date and advised how well the project was going. The only hiccup was mention of a budget shortfall. There no panic, but at the time the HDSB was still shy close to $1.7 million for their part of the project.

The Burlington Library, The Halton District School Board and the City of Burlington are all part of this unique arrangement with Burlington Hydro in the mix as well. They are installing the solar panels that will be on the roofs collecting sunshine and pumping that energy back into the electricity grid.

Architects rendering of what the three part complex will look like.  A high school, a community centre and a library are all linked together into a single complex.  Construction is scheduled to start in September.

Architects rendering of what the three part complex will look like. A high school, a community centre and a library are all linked together into a single complex. Construction is scheduled to start in September.

 

So – what’s the big deal about this project. To most people it would make sense to have a library, a school and a community sports complex all in one place. The students could use the library, which would be part of the complex and evening sports events could use the gymnasium facilities that are part of the school. Common sense was written all over the idea. The stumbling blocks were at the organization level, where the operating cultures are quite different.

A high school principal runs one kind of organization and has obligations that must be met under the Education Act while the Chief Librarian runs a significantly different origination which is, yet again, quite a bit different that a community centre. Parks and recreation has a totally different culture and operating procedures. Each had to be identified and understood by all the parties involved and then adjusted enough to be able to work together seamlessly. Getting them all pulling together at the same time and in the same direction was much easier said than done. But in Burlington – it looks as if it is going to get done.

The people behind this are thinking well outside the box are not just linking up a couple of buildings. Heating and air-conditioning – vital – but did there have to be three separate systems? Why not just the one – sure but then how do you figure out how much each participant pays when the hydro bill comes in and who gets the benefit of those solar panels on the roof ?

Are you getting the sense that there were a lot of committee meetings going on. You betcha there were. And the lawyers were in their big time. First there was an all party Joint Development Agreement that set out the sharing of the design ands construction costs. Care to guess how many drafts that went through?

The project came together when Leo DeLoyde, GM Development and Infrastructure, asked then newcomer Scott Stewart if he would talk to the people at Parks and Recreation to see if anything could be done

This project however is planned as much more than a collection of organizations coming together to benefit from synergies and scale and the cost savings that come from a larger project. The group involved the Burlington Tourism office which was the first signal that something quite a bit bigger is planned.

Once the building is open and operational the layout above give you a sense of what will exist and how all the parts are linked together. One wonders where the hallway monitors at the high school will end their rounds.  Maybe no monitors?

Once the building is open and operational the layout above give you a sense of what will exist and how all the parts are linked together. One wonders where the hallway monitors at the high school will end their rounds. Maybe no monitors?

 

The city wants to create a centre where provincial level sports events can take place and Burlington is being positioned as the community that has it all. The focus is going to be on floor sports: basketball, badminton and volleyball are the original focus. Meetings have already been held with the provincial sports organizations and while there are no events scheduled for the facility yet – those 32 foot ceilings and four courts all in one large space with up to date change rooms and a large venue – will certainly put Burlington on the map for the provincial level sports community. Burlington Tourism will finally have something to sell – I mean Spencer smith Park can only take you so far.

While having a flashy new facility with all the whistles and bells will certainly draw flies, it has to work as a single entity – and that is where the magic in this initiative exists.

There was a Steering Committee, a Construction Team as well as an Operational Team, and various sub-teams. The Steering Committee has representatives from all three organizations and is overseeing the project and the development of the various agreements. The Construction Team deals with all aspects of construction and has representatives from all organizations as well as the architect.

Cindy Mercanti stands before the bill board that shows what is about to be built on the site north of Dundas and West of Walkers Line.  Major change for that part of Burlington.

Cindy Mercanti stands before the bill board that shows what is about to be built on the site north of Dundas and West of Walkers Line. Major change for that part of Burlington.

The Operational Team assisted the Construction Team with detailed design and has led in the development of the operating model and operations and maintenance agreement.  Similar to the Construction Team, representatives from all three organizations participate.  And there are sub-teams all over the place from the three organizations. As Cindy Mercanti explained it: “This was a very collaborative process” The city team included Parks and Recreation, Roads and Parks Maintenance and Community Strategic Initiatives

The three groups of people from three significantly different organizations made this happen. Let us return and tell you who they are and how they managed to make it all come together and work – so far.

 

 

[retweet]

 

Return to the Front page

Sneak thieves breaking into homes late at night. Be careful.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON August 12, 2011 Halton Regional Police Service is investigating a break and enter to a Greening Lane residence in Burlington.

Shortly after 3 a.m. on August 5th, a homeowner was awoken by a noise inside the house. The homeowner saw a shadow near the top of his stairs and called out. The suspect was startled and fled the house.

Investigation revealed the suspect had gained entry to the house by cutting a screen on a window at the rear of the residence. While inside the house the suspect had removed the homeowner’s wallet, a cell phone and camera from downstairs.

The suspect is believed to be a male party approximately 5’9″-5’10” with an average build.

Halton Regional Police remind homeowners to lock their backyard gates and to be mindful of not leaving windows unlocked especially during the hot summer months.

Anyone with information on this or any other crime is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1 800 222-8477 (TIPS) or through the web at www.haltoncrimestoppers.com or by texting “Tip201” with your message to 274637 (crimes).

 

[retweet]

 

Return to the Front page

Safe swimming report: Oakville, Coronation and Bronte problem areas. Read on for details.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON August 12, 2010 – The following beaches have high levels of bacteria and are unsafe for swimming:

Oakville

Coronation Park East,

Coronation Park West,

Bronte Beach Park

The Halton Region Health Department tests recreational water throughout Halton.  Beach water samples taken on August 9 and 10 revealed the following beaches have acceptable levels of bacteria and are safe for swimming:

• Burlington – Beachway Park North, Beachway Park South
• Halton Hills – Prospect Park Old Beach
• Milton – Kelso Conservation Area

Residents can also call Halton Region to find out which beaches have acceptable levels of bacteria or which have been posted as unsafe for swimming due to poor water quality.  Beach water quality information is available 24 hours a day by dialing 311 or calling 905-825-6000, toll free 1-866-442-5866 or TTY 905-827-9983.  During regular business hours ask for beach information, and after regular business hours press 0 for health information.

 

[retweet]

 

 

Return to the Front page

NDP candidate comes out swinging – wants us to look closely at the hospital funding announcement.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON August 12, 2010 – She is certainly banging out the press releases and based on her words every announcement the government makes has a “crass political” purposes behind it. Peggy Russell is one tough lady – don’t mess with her.

NDP candidate Peggy Russell supports the need for a hospital upgrade – she just doesn’t like the way the government apparently wants to pay for it.

NDP candidate Peggy Russell supports the need for a hospital upgrade – she just doesn’t like the way the government apparently wants to pay for it.

She says: “After 8 years of silence”, and an in less than 60 days “the McGuinty Liberal government finally found their way to Burlington’s waterfront to announce infrastructure support for Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital. Ancaster Dundas Flamborough Westdale MPP Ted McMeekin was in town to make the announcement, surrounded by Liberal Party candidates.” Russell says she “was not surprised by this crass political move in the run up to an election. and says, “I have been an elected official during both the Harris and McGuinty governments and what has been clear in both cases is that between elections Burlington issues tend to get ignored and then come election time the promises begin. I have seen this story before.”   She said exactly the same thing in the last press release. Someone get Peggy a dictionary.

“Also unsurprising” says Russell “is the Liberal Plan to finance the hospital expansion and modernization through a private financing scheme. While the full details of what is planned have not been released, the Liberal government has indicated that it will continue with the P3 model of funding that they have renamed AFP (Alternative Financing Plan). Given the significant cost overruns and service reductions that have happened under this model, first adopted by Mike Harris”, Russell says the community has good reason to be concerned.

NDP candidate Peggy Russell says Ted McMeekin, Liberal Cabinet Minister, invited all his Liberal friends to the hospital upgrade announcement.  He didn’t invite Russell and he apparently didn’t invite the sitting member Joyce Savoline either.

NDP candidate Peggy Russell says Ted McMeekin, Liberal Cabinet Minister, invited all his Liberal friends to the hospital upgrade announcement. He didn’t invite Russell and he apparently didn’t invite the sitting member Joyce Savoline either.

“In Brampton this model meant an increased cost to taxpayers of over $200 million dollars. In Ottawa it has meant a reduction of 96 beds at the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. McGuinty used to dismiss these private financing schemes as opposition leader but as Premier he has turned a Mike Harris pilot into an Ontario-wide private health plan.”

Them’s fightin words folks!

 

[retweet]

 

 

Return to the Front page

The things a professional, running a publicly funded institution, has to do to get the funds he needs when an election is on.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON August 11, 2011 – There he was, a top notch professional, an experienced hospital administrator trying to re-shape and redevelop a hospital that is badly in need of an upgrade, An institution that has not had any major work done on it for more than forty years in a community that has grown significantly in the past ten years with a population that is aging and in need of different kinds of care. A hospital that went through a deadly C difficile epidemic that cost 78 people their lives because the hospital was old and very hard to keep clean enough to prevent the spread of newer more virulent viruses.

Nice guy, great at what he was hired to do.  Got abused by the politicians.  Made to stand up and basically say nothing.

Nice guy, great at what he was hired to do. Got abused by the politicians. Made to stand up and basically say nothing.

They had him up there on a platform, looking a little like a monkey on a chain tethered to an organ grinder who was peddling the same old tune. Poor Eric Vandewall had to stand up there and say what he has been saying for years, give me the funds I need and I will get you the hospital you need and deserve.

He is the President and Chief Executive Officer of one of the largest employers in the city and responsible for one of the most important institutions in the city. And he had to be excited and say how happy he was, and indeed he is happy, but he doesn’t yet know just how the government is going to get him the funds to build the hospital he has to run. And given that it looks as if the provincial government is going to go the Alternative Funding Plan route(the government doesn’t have the money to pay for the hospital) – Vandewall may not have all that much say in just what kind of a hospital he will get to run. They’ve got the guy tending to the minutia and not focusing on the bigger picture and ensuring he has the best team he can recruit to give the community the hospital it needs and deserves.

A member of the provincial government was on hand at the “announcement” event to spout for more than ten minutes, assuring the community that the hospital was going to be redeveloped. That it was going to happen.

Of course it is going to be redeveloped. The question is exactly when and how much has the government actually committed to the project. Where are the time lines ? Where are the funds ?

The event was an announcement of “historic” proportions. What was historic about repeating what has been known for some time – that the government is going to re-build the hospital ? They couldn’t not re-build, not if they want to have a hope in Hades of ever getting elected in Burlington. It’s been a long time since a Liberal represented Burlington in the Legislature – 43 years and counting.

Ted McMeekin, former Mayor of Flamborough, former member of Hamilton’s city Council and now the MPP for Ancaster, Dundas, Flamborough, Westdale was on hand to make the announcement along with MPP Sophia Aggelonitis, MPP for Hamilton Mountain who is also the Minister of Revenue for the province and the Minister Responsible for Seniors as well.

Aggelonitis was supposed to be on hand for the announcement but was reported to be struck in QEW traffic. This on the day that Premier Dalton McGuinty announced that if the GO trains were more than 15 minutes late riders would have the cost of their fare refunded. Aggelonitis could have taken the GO train like the rest of us and been on time.

Vandewallderwall must have wondered why he spent so much money on renting a fancy white tent that was filled with just about every politician drawing a paycheck – and there were a lot of those on hand, each congratulating themselves on how wonderful this announcement was.

What announcement? Nobody said anything new. We weren’t told how much money the government has committed to the redevelopment of the hospital. We weren’t told when construction would start – not one single dollar amount was mentioned nor was one date mentioned.

Liberal Candidate Karmel Sakran, who sat on the hospital board and was on the committee that hired Vandewal said after the press conference that all one had to do if they wanted to know what was being spent was do some research. Wonderful idea but there are no numbers on the hospital web site nor are there any construction start dates. It was a little on the embarrassing side for Sakran. Here he is, running for office with a campaign that is in very good shape, doing all the right things and ahead of his competition who has yet to open her campaign office and he finds himself sitting in a room with everyone waiting for an announcement that really didn’t get made.

The press conference was originally going to be on the Tuesday but got moved forward a day. One would think the government could plan things well enough to ensure that the Minister making the announcement could get into the riding the Liberals have a slightly better than even chance of winning and have at least a shot at the Halton seat.

Ted McMeekin, member for Ancaster, Dundas, Flamborough, Westdale has shoved Joyce Savoline aside and is doing every media event he can. Savoline, the current MPP for Burlington, is the Progressive Conservative member of the opposition for Burlington, was not at the event. McMeekin , said he had called Savoline four times but she never got back to him. A very reliable source informed me that Savoline apparently wasn’t invited and was very disappointed because the hospital was one of her favourite projects.

After the dignitaries had done their bit, McMeekin said the reason dollar figures were not announced was that the government didn’t want to say publicly what was going to be spent so that contractors wouldn’t know how much money was going to be available. What a crock! Either McMeekin didn’t know – unlikely, or he had been told that announcement would get made by Aggelonitis. Or the government doesn’t want to talk at this time about their Alternative Funding Plan, whichever, it was a cock-up on the part of the government and a waste of everyone’s time.

In his press release Mayor Goldring said: “Phase 1 of the Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital redevelopment is more than  $300 million. The planned local share is $120 million. The Joseph Brant Hospital Foundation has committed to raising $60 million through a fundraising campaign in addition to the city’s contribution of $60 million.” The city already has $4.8 million sitting in a bank account and they are going to sit on it until there is a rock solid Memorandum of Understanding in place. The city’s money may get used to build the parking garage. How embarrassing.

It was a non-event, waste of taxpayers money – and all apparently because Minister Aggelonitis couldn’t get to Burlington on time to tell the whole story and tell us just how many big bucks were going to be spent.

 

[retweet]

 

 

Return to the Front page

Candidates go into the ring right after breakfast. Chamber of Commerce to provide knives and forks for breakfast event.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON August 11, 2011 — The dance cards are beginning to fill up with the Chamber of Commerce announcing they will put on their traditional all candidate event to help businesses make an informed decision about their vote for Burlington’s next Member of Provincial Parliament.

The event is to take place September 27 at what is now the Burlington Hotel & Conference Centre. Used to be the Holiday Inn on South Service Road just east of Guelph Line.

Registration desk opens at 7:30 a.m. with a continental breakfast. The question and answer session runs from 8:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.  The meeting is free to Chamber members and costs $10.00 (including HST) for non-members.  You must sign up in advance.

All candidates have confirmed their attendance at what will be a moderated question and answer session where attendees can ask questions of each of the candidates. We don’t do debates in Burlington, which is unfortunate for debate brings out the strengths and weaknesses in candidates. Can you imagine the national TV networks doing a moderated Question and Answer session. Debate allowed Brian Mulroney to show a side of John Turner we had never seen before. Imagine too – John Diefenbaker in a moderated session. But this is Burlington.

The event is sponsored by the Realtors Association of Hamilton-Burlington.

 

[retweet]

 

Return to the Front page

Johnny boy brings home the bacon, then reads out his shopping list for next three years. Our MPP takes a pass on event

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON August 6, 2011 – It was a brief ceremony, I mean we were doing a photo-op for the opening of a splash pad at a 40 year old public swimming pool that was badly in need of an upgrade, so it had to be mercifully brief, and it was..

Those yellow shorts belong to one of the city’s General Manager’s – and it isn’t Kim Phillips.  It was a “casual” event.

Those yellow shorts belong to one of the city’s General Manager’s – and it isn’t Kim Phillips. It was a “casual” event.

Ward 3 Councillor John Taylor has been fighting at council committee meetings for some of the federal gravy to spill into his ward and today he was there to see the reward on the table. The governments of Canada and Ontario have each committed $825,000 to the project, while the City of Burlington will contribute the balance of the total project cost of $2.475 million that upgraded forest trails, paved paths, put in a seating area; added a playground, a multi-use court with basketball and skate elements, in addition to an enhanced entrance and screened parking. The project also brought enhancements to the outdoor pool area, which includes a new splash pad that features a large water play structure and water play elements.

Taylor also let his community know that there was even more gravy coming their way. He proudly announced that City Council had approved funds in the 2012 budget to add an upper level and a small community centre with meeting rooms. Architects have been hired with an opening scheduled for sometime in 2013. The pool is set in what is a 30 acre park.

Mike Wallace, MP for Burlington; Ted McMeekin, MPP for Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale; and John Taylor, Ward 3 Councillor and Deputy Mayor of Burlington, participated in the celebration of  this important community recreational infrastructure project. Acting Director of Parks and Recreation and some of his staff were also on hand.

It took a lot of stick handling for Councillor John Taylor to get to this point.  Next for the community – an expanded community centre in the 30m acre park.

It took a lot of stick handling for Councillor John Taylor to get to this point. Next for the community – an expanded community centre in the 30m acre park.

“Stimulating the economy and creating new opportunities for healthier, more active living in our communities supports Building Together, Ontario’s long-term infrastructure plan. In Burlington, Building Together is helping to repair, rebuild and renew our sport and recreational facilities, providing spaces for families to enjoy for years to come,” said MPP McMeekin, who was apparently filling in for MPP Joyce Savoline who appears to be missing in action.

“One of the most significant things about this project for me, was that while enhancing the pool and park we were still able to meet the community’s objectives of preserving the remarkable forest and natural area,” said Ward 3 Councillor and Deputy Mayor John Taylor who was subbing for the mayor who is on vacation. This was a project Taylor really wanted for his community.

 

[retweet]

 

Return to the Front page

Getting hot in the kitchen. Russell slinging accusations, McKenna looking for office decorator, Sakran may open hot dog stand.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON August 10th, 2010 – When you get nominated just 71 days before the election and the President of the political party association doesn’t show up and nor does the sitting member, you know one thing – there is trouble in paradise.

We are in the process of interviewing every candidate and have given Progressive Conservative Jane McKenna a little more time to pull her team together. She may be looking for someone to decorate her office.

Peggy Russell Burlington’s NDP candidate

Peggy Russell Burlington’s NDP candidate

Meanwhile, NDP candidate Peggy Russell says she is suspicious of Liberal promises. She said in a press release that “after 8 years of silence, the Liberal government recently indicated that we might soon see an announcement in regards to our hospital.  Now, the McGuinty Liberals also appear to have suspended their plans to push a new highway through sensitive Niagara Escarpment lands in Burlington.” Russell says she was not surprised by these crass political moves in the run up to an election.”

“I have been an elected official during both the Harris and McGuinty governments and what has been clear in both cases is that between elections Burlington issues tend to get ignored and then come election time the promises begin.  I have seen this story before.”   And Peggy is surprised at this? The New Democrats did much the same thing when they formed a government – except they didn’t last long enough to form a second government. Few have forgotten the Rae Days

“Liberal Transportation Minister Kathleen Wynne has only made a vague promise (it really wasn’t a vague promise – she just didn’t follow up or through on her words) at a local Liberal Party organized event.  But, what does it mean? The Government of Ontario website has no record of the Minister’s local promise or a changed government position on the mid-peninsula highway, at least yet, and the Minister did not cancel the ongoing study for the proposed highway.  No announcement has been made about how the Liberals will deal with the congestion and transportation needs of this area.”

Feisty isn’t she?

Liberal candidate Karmel Sakran stands proudly before the sign being installed outside his campaign office on Guelph Line

Liberal candidate Karmel Sakran stands proudly before the sign being installed outside his campaign office on Guelph Line

Karmel Sakran, the Liberal candidate made a strategic decision not to have a campaign office on Fairview Avenue, the traditional location for campaign offices in Burlington but instead opened his in a small plaza on Guelph Line, south of Upper Middle Road and North of the QEW. Karmel thought he might open a small sand that people could drop by for a chat outside the campaign office.

 

[retweet]

 

Return to the Front page

Transit will eventually have a Master Plan – consulting work has to be done first. Does better service follow?

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON August 10, 2011 Taken the bus in Burlington recently? Not that many people do take the bus. Students use public transit because they have to; seniors sometimes have to because they don’t drive and people on limited incomes just can’t afford a car – so it’s public transit for them.

New bus cuts through a ribbon at the opening of the new Transit Operations Centre.  Lot of city hall talent on hand to cut a ribbon.  How much did it cost to have them all there to get their picture taken?  Did they take the bus or did they drive individual cars?

New bus cuts through a ribbon at the opening of the new Transit Operations Centre. Lot of city hall talent on hand to cut a ribbon. How much did it cost to have them all there to get their picture taken? Did they take the bus or did they drive individual cars?

Burlington is a car city – most houses have two cars in the garage or driveway. If you want to get around Burlington quickly – you drive. The city gives its employees the choice of a transit pass or free parking. Guess which most choose ?

The city spends a lot of money on its transit system and many feel the busses we have on the road aren’t effectively used. Council member Paul Sharman got himself electe4d on a transit issue and he is the most forceful member when it comes to talking about transit at Council and committee meetings.

Burlington decided a number of months ago that a detailed study of what we have in the way of transit service and brought in a consulting form to finds out who uses the transit service and what the public feels they should have in the way of transit services.

Mayor Rick Goldring is a big advocate for greater use of public transit but he drives a car provided by the city and says that he uses his bicycle but I’ve never seen even a picture of him on his bicycle. If asked when they last used public transit very few, if any, members of Council would tell you they use the public transit system.

The city wants to develop a Transit Master Plan. The consulting that will precede the development of a Plan is being called The Road ahead. When the proposals for the consulting contract came in Council members later said they knew almost instantly which firm they were going to go with. The details and ideas in the proposal from Dillon Consulting were so far superior to all the others that it was a pretty simple exercise to choose who to go with.

The John Street terminal can get really busy at rush hours – yes there are actually rush hours at this location.  Advertising pulls in some revenue for the city.

The John Street terminal can get really busy at rush hours – yes there are actually rush hours at this location. Advertising pulls in some revenue for the city.

There will be significant public input – and that means the public gets to make comments. Think about what we need in the way of transit; what would it take to get you to use transit ? Do you know what the bus routes are in your community? Does public transit even matter to you?

Burlington as a city is now much more attuned to public engagement – city hall staff (not all of them yet) are learning to listen and to go out to the community for comment and ideas. The public needs to get better at responding to these opportunities to participate in the decision making process.

The purpose of the Transit Master Plan is to attempt to get a sense as to what the public will want in the way of public transit – and with gas well above $1.25 a litre transit has to get at least a look. The purpose of the plan is to conduct a comprehensive review of Burlington’s conventional transit services and to develop a Transit Master Plan covering the period 2012 – 2021.

The main objectives of study is to provide recommendations that will significantly increase the use of transit, improve the overall efficiency and effectiveness of transit service in Burlington, develop technology and marketing plans and review options for the downtown terminal.

The Route Ahead will include an implementation plan that will lead Burlington Transit to the next level of ridership growth.  A key component of this study will involve consultation with transit customers, community groups/organizations, and the public at large to determine their views of the Burlington Transit system and obtain input on strategic directions.

The first of the several methods of getting involved in this study and providing input will be the Let’s Talk Transit” Drop in Centre that will hold two sessions on August 24th. One at the Burlington Seniors Centre from 2:00 to 4:00 pm. Deputations will begin at 2:30 pm. The second session will take place at City Hall in the evening from 6:00 to 9:00 pm Room 247

Dillon Consulting will be hold a series of Focus Groups in September and October with residents and stakeholders that have an interest in transit services.  These two sessions will be facilitated discussions focused on the overall vision for Burlington Transit, key markets for increasing ridership and strategic directions for moving forward.  Participants are not required to be transit users; only to have an interest in the future of Burlington Transit.

If you would like to participate, send an e-mail under the subject of “Focus Group” to TheRouteAhead@burlington.ca and provide a brief description of your interest in this study.  Participation is voluntary and numbers will be limited.

In mid September, there will be an Onboard Transit User Survey. Passengers will be able to complete a survey that will probe key information on demographics, trip making characteristics and attitudes concerning transit.

A Public Information Session will be held in the late fall to present consultation results, study findings and potential directions and obtain feedback from the public prior to finalizing study recommendations.

The Study is expected to take approximately six months to complete. The presentation of the study recommendations to council is scheduled to occur in mid December 2011.

Comments from the public are both welcomed and encouraged. I would add they are expected.

 

[retweet]

 

 

 

Return to the Front page

Gary Carr announces that Region has a better credit rating than the United States of America.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, OM August 10, 2011 – Standard and Poor’s Ratings Services affirmed Halton Region’s AAA credit rating. The same organization recently downgraded the credit rating of the United States to a AA- with negative implications.

This is the twenty-second consecutive year that the Region’s credit rating has been affirmed the Standard and Poor’s. The published review that is part of the affirmation is attached.

“Reaffirmation of Halton Region’s high credit rating is extremely important and excellent news for our residents because it ensures the Region and our Local Municipalities are able to borrow money at the lowest possible financing rates in the capital markets, minimizing the longer term costs of infrastructure capital. The Region’s lower costs can then be passed on to our taxpayers in the form of lower tax increases, said Regional Chair Gary Carr – and we are pretty sure his tongue wasn’t in his cheek when he said that.

When any of the municipalities within the Region need to borrow funds for long term development or operational purposes they go to the markets and float a bond that is offered by the Region. The Region’s credit rating is thus the credit rating for Burlington, Oakville, Milton and Halton Hills – so we all have a better credit rating than the United States.

Over the last five years, the average annual tax increase for Regional programs and services has been approximately half a per cent – one of the lowest among municipalities in Canada.

 

[retweet]

 

 

Return to the Front page

Hospital is expected to announce major funding on Wednesday.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON August 10, 2011 – The media people at the Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital will be making an historic announcement Wednesday afternoon.

And you know what that means. The Liberal government will announce that oodles of money will flow to Burlington to begin the long needed upgrade and improvements to the hospital that has had the same foot print for more than 40 years.

That wouldn’t be because there is an election taking placed in just over 60 days would it? Burlington has been represented in the Legislature by the Progressive Conservatives for more than 43 years but the Liberals seem to sense there is an opportunity to take the seat this time around and they also seem prepared to finally come up with the funding they have been talking about for years.

The Liberals must be dancing in the streets.

 

[retweet]

 

Return to the Front page