Joe goes missing at the party held in his name but the hot dogs were good and the Swing Band had a great time.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON August 1, 2011 – He wasn’t there – not in body, not as a reproduction – nor in spirit. While Burlington took a bright sunny day to relax and enjoy the atmosphere at LaSalle Park to celebrate the aboriginal native Joseph Brant, there were more War of 1812 re-enactors than there were aboriginal people.

Dave Vollick, his wife and a War of 1812 re-enactor look over some material.  Vollick was acclaimed as Burlington’s Town Crier for the next four years.

Dave Vollick, his wife and a War of 1812 re-enactor look over some material. Vollick was acclaimed as Burlington’s Town Crier for the next four years.

There wasn’t even a large picture of Brant posted up anywhere – it was almost as if we were ashamed of the man. Within the aboriginal community there are different opinions about who Brant was and the role he played during his time. Many aboriginals point out that he wasn’t an Indian “chief” but rather a ‘pine tree’ who is a person of significant value in a community and a person who can speak at Council meetings. Brant was a Captain in the British army and had a foot each in camp, so to speak.

At the end of the day there was a dance performed by six young men from the Six Nations community; one a delightful four year old whose grandmother was in the audience. There were people at the front of the stage where the performance took place telling parts of the Joseph Brant story but some said the sound system was not up to the task and few could hear well enough. Once again – we “cheated the indians”.

There are Joseph Brant descendants in the community who are apparently eager to tell the family story – but we didn’t hear from them.

It was a nice, pleasant family day – it could have been called anything; calling it Joseph Brant Day was a disservice to the man, his memory and his achievements.

The parking lot was full early in the day and the shuttle bus service worked quite well.

Native drummers entertaining the crowds were asked to stop so the Sophisticated Sound could play popular music.

Native drummers entertaining the crowds were asked to stop so the Sophisticated Sound could play popular music.

At one point a pair of aboriginal men were beating away on an Ojibway drum when they were asked to stop so that the Sophisticated Swing Orchestra could be hard. So much for First Nation’s people.

David Vollick was acclaimed as the Town Crier for Burlington and is now going to join the Town Crier’s Guild and learn more about how to be a Crier. Vollick’s first gig is later in August. Expect to see him around town quite a bit.

A member of the Sophisticated Sound Orchestra pauses to check his sheet music as the Orchestra played popular songs.

A member of the Sophisticated Sound Orchestra pauses to check his sheet music as the Orchestra played popular songs.

The day long event is the major fund raiser for the Museums of Burlington that operate Ireland House on Guelph Line and the Joseph Brant Museum that has plans for a significant expansion at the current location. A lot more effort is going to have to go into telling who Joseph Brant is and what he managed to achieve in his time and to bring the Aboriginal people onside. They weren’t really at the event. We have our work cut out for us.

The Joseph Brant Day has taken place for more than twenty-seven years – which is how long Barbara Teatero, Executive Director Joseph Brant Museum has been with the organization. “There was a time when the aboriginal community was much more involved but our budgets are quite limited now and we couldn’t afford the fees involved.”

It was a lovely sunny day and the music was really nice. Watching all the 1812 re-enactors mill about was pleasant. But it sure wasn’t a day to celebrate Joseph Brant. False advertising if you ask me.

 

 

 

Quite a few War of 1812 re-enactors were at the Joseph Brant day event.  Brant died in 1807 but the re-enactors added colour to the day and reminded us that the second centenary of the War of 1812 is to take place next year.

Quite a few War of 1812 re-enactors were at the Joseph Brant day event. Brant died in 1807 but the re-enactors added colour to the day and reminded us that the second centenary of the War of 1812 is to take place next year.

 

The Joseph Brant Day is a free event with revenue from concession booths bringing in funds for the Museums fund raising event.

The Joseph Brant Day is a free event with revenue from concession booths bringing in funds for the Museums fund raising event.

 

Some people got right into the mood of the Sophisticated  Sound Orchestra.  Couple of ladies were dolled up waiting for dance partners.  No one took to the floor to dance.

Some people got right into the mood of the Sophisticated Sound Orchestra. Couple of ladies were dolled up waiting for dance partners. No one took to the floor to dance.

 

War of 1812 re-enactors set up camp at the LaSalle Pavilion during the Joseph Brant Day event.

War of 1812 re-enactors set up camp at the LaSalle Pavilion during the Joseph Brant Day event.

 

A colourful part of the day was watching the “troops” stack their rifles and some of their equipment.

A colourful part of the day was watching the “troops” stack their rifles and some of their equipment.

[retweet]

 

Return to the Front page

Innovation is like trip to dentist. Mayor is going to take you through that kind of experience – it will be good for you.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON July 28, 2011 Innovation is something we all talk about but few of us really know what it means to innovate and fewer still actually do very much in the way of innovating in their lives. Ask yourself this: When was the last time you changed the way you do something and did so with a real solid innovation?

Innovation doesn’t come easily. Too many interests get rubbed the wrong way when someone innovates. Corporations can do it because they are profit driven and the innovation is put in place to improve the profit level.

The City of Burlington isn’t driven by profit. It will tell you it is there to serve – but it isn’t always clear who it is that is being served. But that is not the direction I want to go with this piece.

Mayor Rick Goldring understands the need to innovate and while he may not have a lot of experience at actually putting new innovations into practice, he knows they are needed and has begun to take the first tentative steps to bringing some very significant innovations to the city.

He is going to see the Pier completed. It wasn’t a problem he created, it was someone else’s mess, but he is going to clean it up as well as he can. He is going to spend more money than we should ever have spent on the project but that isn’t something he has a lot of control over.

He is going to deliver a Strategic Plan. It may not be the plan he had hoped he could deliver when he started the process, but there will be more than enough meat on the bones of the Plan he delivers to satisfy most people. Once the plan is approved at Council – and yes after as much deliberation as the Mayor can get the citizens of the city to give him – he will move forward with a firm policy that will deliver numerous innovations.

He will be out looking for a new City Manger. Some interesting features in the process of hiring a new City Manger. The interviews are done by the full Council. If a Council member happens to miss one of the interviews they are not permitted to sit in on any other interviews – or as the Mayor explained it: “They get voted off the island”. That process will begin in the fall.

The Mayor will be out in the community meeting as many people as he can to talk up and sell his Strategic Plan. He is taking his – not sure I want to call it a vision – so let me call it the program he wants to work within, one step further and will begin talking about Burlington using the language that the software/computer applications people use.

There is the Web; then there was the Web2. We have an iPhone3 and an iPhone4 with an iPhone5 out there on the near horizon.

Goldring is going to talk about a Burlington that was; the Burlington that is and the Burlington that we are going to have – and he has labeled them Burlington.1; Burlington.2 and Burlington.3. Get ready to hear a lot about Burlington.3 – because that is where your Mayor wants to take you – and he would like to do it with as much input from YOU as possible.

Burlington is a city that tends to be a little placid and shows up at city hall in droves only when it is unhappy. We have a Mayor that is learning his job very well thank you. But he cannot do this all on his on. He is innovating and that means change and change is disruptive and while he is not a disruptive man by nature – he knows that the city has to innovate if it is to maintain the advantages it has.

Your Mayor is doing his part – you need to do your part and pay attention to the direction he is going to take us.

 

[retweet]

 

Return to the Front page

City manager to leave. Was he pushed or did he jump? Neither – he stepped aside.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON July 27, 2011 He has been with us for four years and is in the last stretch of his five year contract with Burlington as City Manager. Early in the year he approached the Mayor to get a sense of what his thoughts were on a contract extension – found that there probably wasn’t going to be one and discussed a number of options – one of which was to step aside – and that is what he did. Roman Martiuk leaves his office at the end of August.

Roman Martiuk listened and when he had a contribution to make – he was always heard.  Here he communicates with Georgina Black during the Strategic Planning Sessions

Roman Martiuk listened and when he had a contribution to make – he was always heard. Here he communicates with Georgina Black during the Strategic Planning Sessions

What did he achieve while he was with us? Was he worth the $215,000 + we paid him? Is Burlington a better place because of what Roman Martiuk got done – and did the city ever really get to know the man?

For the most part he ran a happy ship. He is a great numbers guy and he knew the rules of the game better than anyone else on campus and has to be credited for developing his staff and introducing new systems, procedures and approaches

In a memo to his staff he said: “Throughout my career I have tended to stay with organizations for no more than five years, as I firmly believe that a key part of being a successful change agent is taking the organization as far as you can and then transitioning to a new manager who can build on your successes and take the next steps.” Was Roman Martiuk a change agent?

 

“The decision to transition to a new City Manager was one that was made after extensive discussion between myself, the Mayor and Council.  In fact, it is a discussion that was in large part initiated by me and a decision which I fully support”, said Martiuk.

“In the last four years we have had a number of successes.  These successes are even more impressive given the challenging nature of the environment and economy under which we were operating.  Our accomplishments include:

  • Implementing a new budget system with a strategic focus
  • Introducing a cost containment program with $27.5 million in savings since the start of the program.
  • Developing a new 10 year capital plan achieving $69 million in savings
  • Implementing  the asset management approach to capital budgeting
  • Increasing reserves from 6% to 10% of own source revenues
  • Designing and constructing a $40 million performing arts centre
  • Completing a corporate reorganization
  • Work load measuring and redeploying staff in response to the recession, and
  • The relocation of the McMaster school of business to Burlington

While Martiuk was involved in all of these accomplishments – he wasn’t the leading force in many of them. He lead a team that got these jobs done. He was a sound financial manager and he constantly hammered away at the significant infrastructure shortfall of more than 30% He never let an opportunity to make that point go by without a comment from him.

He came in when a very dynamic Mayor was leaving office and had to work with a Mayor who was very intrusive and a staff that was not as in sync with the community it served as it needed to be. Significant changes were made on his watch. All of his top line manager – the General Manager levels were changed while Martiuk was city manager.

The Pier fiasco took place on his watch but one can’t fault Martiuk for that one. A lousy contract was entered into before he had the keys to his office. The best he could do was attempt to manage a situation that went from bad to worse. In a somewhat plaintive tone, Martiuk says he “wishes the Pier had been completed while he was city manager. I would have liked to dance on it.”

The Burlington Performing Arts Centre got built on his watch but to be candid the BPAC Board raised the money and got the building in place on time and on budget. The project was designed and tendered by the city.

Martiuk came to Burlington from Prince Albert Saskatchewan and had to fill the shoes left under the desk by Tim Dobbie, who was Mayor MacIssac’s right hand man. He faced a staff that had to undergo significant refurbishment and at the same time work with a Mayor with a very distinct personality shaped by years as a Minister at Queen’s Park and absolutely no municipal experience. The two didn’t even know each other.

In leaving Prince Albert, Martiuk said: “I really hadn’t been looking. I was contacted by a professional in the (human resources) business and he told me about this opportunity,” said Martiuk. His first day on the job in Prince Albert was March 21, 2005.

The thinking it through was always part of the job – here Martiuk does his homework alongside staff and Council members.

The thinking it through was always part of the job – here Martiuk does his homework alongside staff and Council members.

Martiuk had family in Ontario and a daughter at McMaster and the money in Burlington was a lot better than that in Prince Albert.

During Martiuk’s tenure with Prince Albert, he established new systems, reduced costs, improved the city’s competitive position and recruited a number of new department heads. Which is basically what he has done for Burlington.

The guy has a remarkable education and, based on his resume, a pretty decent track record. He is clearly a solid administrator. The bulk of his career was with a Burlington Mayor that he found it very difficult to work with. Cam Jackson didn’t understand municipal government and Martiuk didn’t yet have the grip he needed on his team. Ward 3 Councillor John Taylor described Jackson as the Mayor who thought he had been elected President of Burlington.”

So – why did Roman Martiuk offer to step aside? He is adamant that he did not resign. resign – probably because he didn’t think he was going to be offered a contract extension. This Council works quite well. The newly elected Mayor knew he was going to need help and brought in a trusted colleague to help him steer his way through a thicket he wasn’t all that familiar with. The decision to bring in Frank McKeown, a very experienced corporate operative, has resulted in a more hard nosed approach to the way things get done. Add to that mix Paul Sharman, a new council member with significant corporate experience and not the least bit shy about making blunt comments and you now have a council that needs much different care and feeding.

The Mayor’s announcement – and notice that is was the Mayor’s announcement and not a joint statement by Martiuk and the Mayor, sets it out pretty clearly. The city wanted a different kind of manager and this was an opportune time to cut their ties with the existing manager and go looking for someone who was more “corporate”, prepared to work with a Council in a different way, get critical data in their hands in a much more timely manner and someone who bought into the concept of community engagement in a way that Martiuk wasn’t comfortable with. Many at City Hall thought the Shape Burlington report that Mayor Jackson commissioned and had done by an independent committee, was unfair to city hall staff and it took them some time to get comfortable with the report. Martiuk deserves credit for pulling his team together and holding their ground while the battle for supremacy took place.

Martiuk would frequently say that staff is in place to serve council and all they could do was give their best advice. It may have been very good advice but Council didn’t want another five years of it.

While this Council is backing away from parts of the report they all ran on in the 2010 election and supported it unanimously and they have a community group watching them carefully to ensure they live up to the eight recommendations in the document.

While Roman Martiuk is all business he has a well developed sense of humour that was evident in the costume he wore one Halloween – he came dressed as the devil. His was a happy ship.

The child of immigrant parents who met each other in Canada, Martiuk always worked after school and worked hard at school. He earned a Bachelor of Science, Mechanical Engineering degree; is a Professional engineer; is a certified Management Accountant; has an MBA and holds two certificates in Human Resource management.

What then does Martiuk’s resignation mean for Burlington? That we are losing a well qualified man for sure. But there is more to all this than just that. Council has a very clear agenda and a direction it wants to take Burlington – and they just didn’t think Roman Martiuk was the man to help them get there. There are others at the senior level that don’t fit in with the agenda Council has. Can we expect to see more resignations?

Somewhere out there, there is a municipal council that needs a manager who can fix whatever financial mess they are in. Google Roman Martiuk or track him down in LinkedIn – he’s available

 

[retweet]

 

Return to the Front page

It was a quickie – 15 minutes and no open bar. McKenna gets acclaimed, Wallace gets excited.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON July 27, 2011 – It took awhile, but the Burlington Progressive Conservative Association finally nominated a candidate. Jane McKenna was acclaimed in a very, very short nomination meeting – 15 minutes, and they were out the door.

It was a decent size meeting, maybe 100 people in the room but it had that eerie feeling the Cam Jackson municipal campaign had – a lot of very senior people sitting in those chairs. And there wasn’t much in the way of energy in the room. Were it not for the consistent clapping by federal MP Mike Wallace, there may not have been any applause.

A fresh face with no political experience other than a run for a seat on city council for a ward she didn’t live in.

A fresh face with no political experience other than a run for a seat on city council for a ward she didn’t live in.

 

The Progressive Conservative Association held it’s meeting without the presence of the President of the Association at the podium nor was the sitting member, Joyce Savoline in attendance. Both Burt Radford, president of the Association and Joyce Savoline were said to have had “other obligations”. There appeared to be some difference of opinion over whether or not the meeting was properly constituted but the concerns weren’t made public other than one member saying that he did have a copy of the association in his bag.

There is something not quite right with the Burlington Progressive Conservative Association – but they now have a candidate and while she has absolutely no political experience she does appear to have friends who support her. Ron Foxcroft got a specific mention and Keith Strong placed her name in nomination..

Rene Papin, the nice man who fell on his sword when it was suggested he wasn’t quite what the association was looking for, was in the room but Brian Heagle who after changing his political stripes from red to blue found that the change in colour wasn’t quite enough, bowed out of the race by saying that the failure to call a nomination meeting had left him hanging in the wind and he wanted to get on with his life and withdrew his name as well. Heagle didn’t make an appearance. Nor did former MPP Cam Jackson make an appearance. Any chance to rehabilitate his reputation in Burlington is going to have to start with his attending events like this.

McKenna looked great, was a little edgy and flushed at the podium, which didn’t have a microphone for the speakers, but there was a freshness to her. Given that Burlington tends to elect Tories – it is said that the city hasn’t elected a provincial Liberal since 1943 McKenna stands a chance. The extremely disappointing behaviour of both the sitting member and the association president are things McKenna is going to have to put behind her and create her own organizational and build her own campaign team. With just 71 days before the election she does have her work cut out for her.

McKenna did come up with one interesting bit of information when she said: “Ontario has almost 630 different Agencies, Boards and Commissions. Every one of them will be reviewed to ensure they are providing good value for the taxpayer. Our process will be straightforward. If it works, leave it alone. If it’s broken, fix it. If it cannot justify its existence, it goes. Great sound bite – now to get out on the streets and make the words real to the voters.

With candidates nominated by the three political parties that are active in Burlington the race is on. McKenna won’t have to beg for funds – there were enough deep pockets in the room to get out the coin from the membership.

She appears to have a pretty sharp tongue. During the municipal election she ran against Rick Craven in Ward 1, got trounced but certainly had her say. “I have the interests of all of Ward 1 at heart. The only knock on me, and it’s a non-issue in my mind, is that I don’t live in the ward – though I’ve got close family there and have worked full-time in Ward 1 for several years. If for whatever reason you’re hung up on geography, consider the fact that the mid-point between the incumbent’s home and my own is the Burlington Golf and Country Club; if you live east of there, I’m technically more your neighbour than the politician you’ve been paying for the last 10 years. And frankly, those 10 years have been sufficient. Most incumbents have been at it for long enough that they’ve shifted into maintenance mode. Competitive communities should never be satisfied with the status quo. Ward 1 in particular needs fresh leadership that respects the concerns of residents, that addresses the ward’s shortage of basic amenities and is prepared to work tirelessly toward a shared vision of community.

Karmel Sakran has been in the field for the Liberals for a number of months and has managed to pull two Ministers into the riding; Chris Bentley, the Attorney General made comments that will keep the Liberal base happy and Kathleen Wynne came to town to tell Burlington Mayor Rick Goldring and the people from the Stop Escarpment Highway Coalition that a road didn’t have to be built through the Escarpment. Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr says she promised “that the province will not proceed with the Niagara to GTA corridor through Burlington”. Promise is a big word with anyone but one that doesn’t have much credibility when it comes from politicians. It’s not that they don’t tell the truth; it’s that they have to satisfy the interests of every segment of society and everyone cannot be satisfied. We will track this one. Good for Sakran to pull that much political weight into the riding.

The NDP have Peggy Russell in place and so now the gates are open and we can begin tracking this one more closely.

Tim Hudak, the man who wants to form the next Ontario government, has decided that he will take the seats he can win in Hamilton and live with losing Burlington and perhaps Halton by taking the position tat the GTA corridor is necessary. Maybe he can have all those criminals he want to get out of their jail cells and earn their keep doing some of that road building – and then we can create a unique tourism industry and have people from around the country visiting and watching convicts break rocks with sledge hammers. Gives the provincial motto “Yours to Discover” a whole new meaning doesn’t it.

 

[retweet]

 

Return to the Front page

Festival, found art, aboriginal hoop dancing and maybe even a contest to find Joseph Brant himself.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON July 27, 2011 – Next to the Sound of Music the Joseph Brant Festival is one of the best public events available in the city. Not that poor old Joe will get all that much attention, but then Burlington has never really taken to a savage who went on to become one of the most influential statesmen of his time. He is an incredible story – we just don’t get to hear that much about him.

The Festival however is a fun event and there is decent aboriginal representation. The native drum performances and the Hoop Dancing are well worth the time.

It all takes place out at LaSalle Park – starting at 10 am and going right through to past 4:00 pm. Located on North Shore Road – and if you haven’t been there yet you should be ashamed of yourself. Admission is free but there are plenty of opportunities for you to spend your money.

Dave Vollick first came to the attention of the Burlington community when we reported on his attendance at City Council committee meeting where he convinced them to create the volunteer position of Town Crier.

Dave Vollick first came to the attention of the Burlington community when we reported on his attendance at City Council committee meeting where he convinced them to create the volunteer position of Town Crier.

From 10 to 11 you have a chance to let the politicians bore you silly but once they are all off the stage the competition for the OFFICIAL Burlington Town Crier will take place. This is going to be a slam dunk for Dave Vollick who is the guy that got the ball on this one rolling when he showed up at a Council Committee meeting dressed as a Town Crier and convinced the Committee to go along with the idea. There was to be a competition but because there were no entries (the lack of any remuneration kept other applicants away). Vollick will serve the city well.

Hind’s work on display at a Toronto art show.

Hind’s work on display at a Toronto art show.

Opening Ceremonies 10:00-11:00

City of Burlington Town Crier! 11:00

Hamilton Hoppers Rope Skippers! 12:00

Sophisticated Swing Orchestra! 12:30-1:30

Mountsberg Birds of Prey! 1:30

Blue Stone Native Drum Performances with Hoop Dancing! 2:15

Bubbleology Show! 2:45

Musical Performance by rising talent Hans Munoz! 3:30

Lost Dancers of the Six Nations! 4:15

JuggleMagic! Various Times

 

 

David Hind is a Brantford based visual artist who work in very large format – like 16x8 foot mural size formats.  This time he is using aluminum and is expecting anyone who walks by to spend some time on his “canvas”.  The piece shown above is a collective effort. It is directly based on George Bingham's painting "Fur traders descending the Missouri" and was in part inspired by James Ensor's "Christ entering Brussels" and Bill Reid's "Spirit of the Haida Gwaii". It depicts a canoe on the grand river passing through Brantford Ont. The boat has been filled by 250+ participants from in and around Brantford and illustrates the rich and diverse community that call this place their home. It is meant to be a symbol of togetherness: uniting all through peace, understanding, openness to difference, and compassion for all living things. Thanks to all that have contributed; Sarah Baker, Dawn Hackett, Chris Wabie, Sarah and Lori Byrd, Tim Southern, Sharon, Steven, Aliki, Jay, the Arts Bloc, Glenhyrst, et al. Additional works with Simon Frank, Tor Lukasik-Foss, and Steve Mazza

David Hind is a Brantford based visual artist who work in very large format – like 16x8 foot mural size formats. This time he is using aluminum and is expecting anyone who walks by to spend some time on his “canvas”. The piece shown above is a collective effort. It is directly based on George Bingham's painting "Fur traders descending the Missouri" and was in part inspired by James Ensor's "Christ entering Brussels" and Bill Reid's "Spirit of the Haida Gwaii". It depicts a canoe on the grand river passing through Brantford Ont. The boat has been filled by 250+ participants from in and around Brantford and illustrates the rich and diverse community that call this place their home. It is meant to be a symbol of togetherness: uniting all through peace, understanding, openness to difference, and compassion for all living things. Thanks to all that have contributed; Sarah Baker, Dawn Hackett, Chris Wabie, Sarah and Lori Byrd, Tim Southern, Sharon, Steven, Aliki, Jay, the Arts Bloc, Glenhyrst, et al. Additional works with Simon Frank, Tor Lukasik-Foss, and Steve Mazza

Special Appearances, Programs & Demonstrations:

Dave Hind, visual artist! Join Dave and help create his mural!

Karen Millyard from the Toronto English Country Dancers!

Learn about the history of dance and try some dance steps!

Heritage Music & Demonstrators such as spinning demos by the Fireball Knits & Flint Knappers—Watch items tooled from stone!

Fencing Demonstrations

Historic Re-enactors, Historic Militia & Zig Misiak from Real People’s History!

War of 1812 portrayals!

 

ALL DAY LONG!

Along with the special events there will be programs running throughout the day. You can keep the little ones busy every minute you’re there.

 

Boat Rides at LaSalle Park Marina & Splash Park for kids!

Artisans & Vendors! A summer BBQ and refreshment stands!

Giant Bouncies, Face Painting & Airbrush Tattoos!

Capture the flag puzzle hunt & historic play & learn area!

The famous Joseph Brant Day Silent Auction! Jungle Hut!

Hamilton Nationals Lacrosse demonstrations & games!

Interactive Inflatable Soccer play area presented by Mosaic!

The Boys and Girls Club of Hamilton live interactive children’s area with scheduled games, activities, relays & historic obstacle course!

Fair-style games with prizes! Lots of Hands-on Crafts & activities!

One Book, One Burlington Special Program!

School in the Woods Wilderness Survival School!

Public Trivia Contest with Prizes, Special Attractions and so much more!

Now for the fun part – finding a parking spot. The place will be packed – it usually is. So why not just settle for the shuttle that will run from the Aldershot High School parking lot to the LaSalle Park. The high school is at 50 Fairwood Place, which runs parallel to Plains Rd W and is just to the west of Waterdown Road.

 

Joseph Brant Day is a full day heritage festival presented by Joseph Brant Museum that celebrates history and one of Burlington’s original settlers and national figures: Joseph Brant Thayendanegea. The festival includes activities for all ages, live music and unique performances, special historic re-enactments and demonstrations, various exhibitors and displays, interactive activities and games, artisans, crafters and other attractions. Joseph Brant day is not only an important heritage festival; it is also the largest summer event and fundraiser for the Museums of Burlington.

 

 

[retweet]

 

 

Return to the Front page

Wherever two or more of you are gathered …

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON July 26, 2011 – Ever the eager beavers, the Councillor for Ward 2 and her able assistant have announced that there will be a Ward Two Citizens Advisory Committee meeting Wednesday July 27 at 7pm in Room 247 at City Hall.

Now that is dedication – on the part of both the Council member and her Advisory Committee. There is much for the Council member to report on. Might she advise her Advisors as to where things are with the Freeman Station project and what the real reason is for not going with the most logical location and the one that everyone thinks is the best location ? And where would that be? Spencer Smith Park of course

Would the answer lie in the three condominiums that lay to the North of Spencer Smith Park and just a little to the west of Maple ? Are the people with all that supposed clout, who frightened Councilor Craven and then Council member Peter Thoem now frightening Councillors Lancaster and Meed Ward?

One would like to believe that the interests of the larger community outweigh the petty, personal interests of people who get their phone calls answered – but maybe some people have more influence than others.

Locating the Freeman Station just beyond the two trees would have is sitting within yards of the old rail line that rank along the lake edge embankment that is now a walking path is the most logical place to put the building from an historical perspective.  Those in the immediate neighbourhood who think it will mess up their sight lines need to re-think the position they’ve taken.  The station is just a bit over a storey and a half high.

Locating the Freeman Station just beyond the two trees would have is sitting within yards of the old rail line that rank along the lake edge embankment that is now a walking path is the most logical place to put the building from an historical perspective. Those in the immediate neighbourhood who think it will mess up their sight lines need to re-think the position they’ve taken. The station is just a bit over a storey and a half high.

The Freeman Station belongs in the western section of Spencer Smith Park for numerous reasons, the strongest of which, from an historical point of view, is that it lays right along where the rail line used to run.

Those with a Christian frame of mind will recall the phrase “…whenever two or more of you are gathered in my name” and given that there are going to be at least two people at the Ward Two Citizen’s Advisory Committee on Wednesday – perhaps there will be some divine intervention.

If the Freeman Station doesn’t take up all the time available – why not talk about the changes that are going to take place at city hall. The resignation of the city manager is step one of a significant shake-up in the works.

 

[retweet]

 

Return to the Front page

Mosquitoes with West Nile virus found in Oakville – Region sets out protective measures. This is serious stuff.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON July 26, 2011 A batch of mosquitoes collected last week in Oakville has tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV). This is the first batch of positive mosquitoes found in Halton Region this year.  The mosquitoes were collected from the area of Cornwall and Chartwell Roads in the Town of Oakville.

The West Nile virus is transferred from birds to mosquitoes who then transfer it to human beings.  There is no vaccine for the virus.

The West Nile virus is transferred from birds to mosquitoes who then transfer it to human beings. There is no vaccine for the virus.

Positive mosquitoes are a key indicator of the risk of human West Nile virus infection. Hot, dry summers are perfect for West Nile virus. The months of August and September are the peak risk months,” said Dr. Monir Taha, Halton Region Associate Medical Officer of Health.  “Halton residents should keep taking precautions like covering up, using insect repellent with DEET, and avoiding the outdoors during peak mosquito activity.”

Mosquitoes can transmit WNV to humans after becoming infected by feeding on the blood of 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 mosquitoes:

• Cover up. Wear light-coloured, long-sleeved shirts and pants with tightly-woven fabric.
• Avoid being outdoors from early evening to morning when mosquitoes are most active and likely to bite, as well as at any time in shady, wooded areas.
• Reduce mosquito breeding sites around your home by getting rid of all water-filled containers and objects. Change the water in bird baths at least once per week.
• Use an approved insect repellent, such as one containing DEET.

 

 

 

[retweet]

 

Return to the Front page

City manager calls it quits – did he jump or was he pushed?

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON July 25, 2011— The Mayor’s statement.

“Earlier today, Roman Martiuk announced that after four successful years as the city manager of Burlington, he will be leaving his post at the end of August 2011.

Ever the conductor no matter what the meeting, City Manager Roman Martiuk, whose resignation was announced by Mayor Goldring today, conducted a significant part of the Strategic Planning sessions – but he wasn’t always in tune with the Council he serves.  Here he “conducts” with Georgina Black, the Strategic Plan facilitator.

Ever the conductor no matter what the meeting, City Manager Roman Martiuk, whose resignation was announced by Mayor Goldring today, conducted a significant part of the Strategic Planning sessions – but he wasn’t always in tune with the Council he serves. Here he “conducts” with Georgina Black, the Strategic Plan facilitator.

“Roman has had a vast and varied career as a change agent in the municipal sector, both in Ontario and Saskatchewan. His expertise is in organizational change, cost containment initiatives and budget system improvements. He was hired by the City of Burlington in 2007 in his change-agent capacity, and successfully oversaw a number of changes, initiatives and system improvements.”

“After extensive discussion with me, City Council and Roman, the joint decision was made that a new city manager, early in the council term, would both build on Roman’s successes and be best to lead and implement council’s strategic plan over our four-year term.”

“On behalf of council and staff, I want to thank Roman for his hard work and dedication to the City of Burlington and its residents.”

“While we conduct a search for a new city manager, the duties will be assumed by rotating acting assignments by the city’s current general managers.”

So – what really happened?

Martiuk has been a strong administrator but he has had difficulty with this new Council who want to serve as a strong Board of Directors and while the city Manager has consistently said staff were in place to serve Council – there was the distinct impression that he didn’t like the shift that was taking place.

During the extensive Strategic Plans sessions – there were nine half day sessions – Martiuk and his staff were often running counter to the wishes of the majority of the Council members.

Where Martiuk has served Burlington exceptionally well is with his solid grasp of the city’s finances and the consequences of any changes that were made on the spending side. He was a very firm hand at the Council meetings he took part in – and tended to use the words “..if I might make a comment”, which usually saved one of his staff memners from making a mistake.

Roman Martiuk, in the white shirt, center, was the kind of city manager who did his home and usually knew more than anyone else in the room about the numbers that lay behind every decision made.

Roman Martiuk, in the white shirt, center, was the kind of city manager who did his home and usually knew more than anyone else in the room about the numbers that lay behind every decision made.

 

No word on where Martiuk plans to land next – the words “looking at his options” wasn’t used in the Mayor’s statement and the words “irreconcilable differences didn’t get used either. There is certainly more to this story than we are being told.

Is there a new City Manager amongst the current senior management team? Well, we have far too many “acting” positions on the go. Chris Glenn at Parks and Recreation is an “acting” Steve Zabos and Joan Ford are also “acting”. While there are good reasons for each of these people still serving as “actings” the reality is that a part of the management team is not fully confirmed – and that doesn’t result in a management team that is tight and focused.

Of the two General Managers – Scott Stewart is the strongest candidate and he is said to have an appetite for the City Manager position.

[retweet]

 

Return to the Front page

This adventure got us out of the house and kept us on the road. Jackie didn’t once ask: Are we there yet?

By Jack Dennison

BURLINGTON, ON July 21, 2011 It was proving to be quite an adventure. From Grimsby into Toronto and a night in a tent at Fort York, breakfast and then back on the road with a stopover at The Guild Inn, in Scarborough and then on to Ajax where the trip ended for the day.

The objective was to cover the full trail in the six days.

Dennison who runs a sports organization and is an avid cyclist believes there is an opportunity for the creation of a significant sports tourism business built around the Waterfront Trail that was the result of work former Toroto Mayor David Crombie did when he created the Waterfront Regeneration Trust.

Burlingtonton, once a leader in the promoting of the trust, appeared to have lost interest in the project. Dennison wants to bring it back and get more people on bicycles and more bicycles lanes on roadways. Follow him as he cycles east into Toronto.

DAY TWO – SUNDAY, JULY 3RD, 2011

Hamilton to Toronto – 80km

Rest Stop – Waterfront at Downtown Burlington

Cyclists hear the clappers welcoming them to the Burlington Butt Break posted by Tourism Burlington wher cyclists were greeted with enthusiasm from the Tourism Burlington Team, best food, best setting on the trip.

The Tourism team padded the package with a handy map to the Burlington’s attractions at the water’s edge; coupon book to encourage return visits and postcards from Burlington, so riders could write a note to friends and family. Burlington Tourism posted the notes for riders.

After riding what I see as Burlington’s unsafe Waterfront Trail from Brant Street to Burloak, along Lakeshore Road, we arrive at the Oakville border and their beautiful, new on road bike lanes from Burloak almost to Bronte and had lunch at the Town Square in Oakville where we are greeted by the BIA at the Bike Corral.

DAY THREE – MONDAY, JULY 4TH, 2011
To Breakfast: Fort York – Toronto

Riders awake in historic Fort York in downtown Toronto and after packing up a canon blast signals the start of Day 3 and the treck across the city to the Guild Inn on the eastern side of the city where lunch is served in this hidden Toronto gem that features gardens with over 70 architectural fragments and sculptures. There was time to walk about the grounds and discover what this interesting park had to offer.. Eventually the Waterfront Trail will be routed along the base of these bluffs. Starbucks on of several corporate partners supplied an amazing meal.

After lunch we headed for the destination for day 3 – Ajax, a community named after a British warship that was lost. Many of the town’s streets are named after members of the ship’s crew.

 

Part 1 of the Great Waterfront Trail Adventure is here.

 

 

[retweet]

 

Return to the Front page

Only in America would the cardboard tube in a roll of toilet paper matter. Do read on …

By Staff who pinched the story from the Chicago Tribune.

BURLINGTON, ON June 13, 2011 – Kimberly-Clark has begun testing sales of the Scott Naturals Tube-Free brand of TP that doesn’t need a cardboard tube to keep the good times rolling. It’s the biggest change seen by toilet paper users since the roll first appeared in the 1800s.

But response isn’t all flushed with excitement for terminating the tube, often reused for arts and crafts projects or as pet toys.

“You just know it’s done. It’s over. It’s finished. You need a new roll,” said Samm Reed, a customer at a Pennsylvania Wal-Mart. “There’s something about that tube.”

To her, the appearance of a brown cardboard cylinder signifies something momentous — the end of an era.

Kari Love, of West York, Penn., pointed to the new rolls’ central holes. Designed to fit around a spindle, they’re shaped like polygons instead of circles.

“How are you going to get your holder in there?” Love asked. “I’m in my 40s. I grew up, and they always had a tube. I’m environmentally conscious. I recycle, but this doesn’t look like it’s going to work.”

According to a Kimberly-Clark news release, U.S. households use an estimated 17 billion bath tissue tubes annually, amounting to 160 million pounds of waste.

The company conducted a survey of 1,000 people that found 85 percent throw the tubes out with the trash.

At Wal-Mart, Scott’s Naturals Tube-Free costs $2.97 for four rolls containing 205.2 square feet compared to the tube-inclusive Scott brand, which costs $3.98 for four rolls containing 419.2 square feet of paper.

Anna Hall, of West York, Penn.,  didn’t seem so sure about paying more per sheet to lose the tubes, sometimes coveted by children as make-believe telescopes and finger puppets.

“Oh for Pete’s sake!” she said. “If they do away with (the tube), we won’t have anything to build with in Sunday school class.”

Only in America!

 

[retweet]

 

Return to the Front page

Is there trouble in paradise? Why is a council committee meeting with lawyers the day tenders are to be issued?

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON July 20, 2011 – It was disturbing. Disturbing to learn that there was going to be a closed meeting of the Committee that was going to hear a presentation from the city’s solicitor on where things are with the Pier. Disturbing to see the “high priced” legal talent from Toronto walk into the room beside Nancy Shea Nicol, the city’s in house legal counsel.

Will we get to the point where these exposed beams get a solid deck built on them – or did someone find a fly in the ointment the day the tenders were to be issued?

Will we get to the point where these exposed beams get a solid deck built on them – or did someone find a fly in the ointment the day the tenders were to be issued?

Today is the day the city is releasing the tender to the seven firms that have been pre-qualified to complete the construction of the Pier at the foot of Brant Street. There are some very good constructions firms on that list. There are at least two that we would be lucky to get.

City staff have been focused on getting it right and I’ve had the sense that they have everything under control.

So why the need for a meeting with the lawyers on the day the tender is to be issued. City engineer Tom Eichenbaum was sitting outside the meeting room with a document that had the words DRAFT all over the thing – are we still using draft versions of documents on the day that the tender is to be released and given to the contractors. How come?

And why does the meting have to be a closed meeting. Sure, the city is in the middle of some very contentious litigation and we do need to be very careful. We are arguing with a number of people about the money we paid them and the work they did and we do want the bond that we required the original contractor to provide to be honoured.

The lawyers take care of these things and in time we will know just how much we have had to pay the lawyers. But that is an issue for another day. What I would like to know is this – why are we meeting with lawyers in a closed session the day that the tender was to be issued ?

Two lawyers, one carrying one of those big, big brief cases lawyers that come in at $400.+ an hour carry, guided along by our in house counsel Nancy Shea Nicol, to talk to a council committee meeting. Why now, why on the day the tender is being issued?

Kind of like meeting with your lawyer on the prenuptial agreement the day of your wedding. One usually gets those things taken care of before you send out the wedding invitations.

Burlington has an affinity for going into closed session and a definite preference for not telling people what they have every right to know – but that’s part of the legal culture. Don’t tell if you don’t have t – let the other guy drag it out of you. In this case that other guy is you and it is your money they are spending.

Council has been exceptionally responsible in managing a problem this council didn’t create. The only people who have been part of this from the beginning are Councillors Craven, Dennison and Taylor and Craven was a newbie at the time. We can’t blame this one on former Mayor Cam Jackson. Taylor and Dennison would serve the city well if they chose to comment at length at a committee meeting just how they see this whole matter and why the city got itself into this mess. Mayor Rick Goldring has galvanized his council and decided to go forward in a responsible way.

This last minute meeting of a council committee and legal counsel is not good news. Methinks one of the parties we are suing may have thrown a wrench into the works. Time will tell.

Prior to the lawyers walking into the room Council and a several key staff were going through the last of the working up the Strategic Plan that will get taken to the public late in August. They have done some incredible work – and it hasn’t been easy for them. Had the same attention to detail been shown to the issuing of the first tender for the Pier things would have been a lot different today and those lawyers would not be in that room.

 

[retweet]

 

Return to the Front page

Top secret recipe places Burlington company amongst world leaders in marine environmental technology.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON July 18, 2011 — They have a secret recipe and are using it to rid the seas of the world of some very significant pollution. They have sales that exceed $20 million, 100 plus people on staff at a plant on Mainway and no one in Burlington buys anything from them. They were recently nominated for a coveted Ocean Environmental Protection Award.

Don’t look for a sales counter at Thordon Bearings – they don’t have one. But they do have distributors in more than 73 countries and have sold their product to more than forty different navies and are in the process of prototyping a product that they believe will replace the use of some bronze in the marine line of bearings

The basic premise behind everything the company does is the replacement of metallic bearings with the polymers they first developed in 1969 and have been improving upon ever since.

Thordon Bearings designs and manufactures a complete range of high performance, non-metallic journal bearing solutions for marine, pump, hydro-turbine, offshore oil and other industrial markets. From water lubricated stern tube and rudder bearings for ships to grease free wicket gate bearings for clean power generation, they provide innovative non polluting bearing solutions that meet or exceed the technical requirements.

The Thordon Bearings people focus on the propeller shaft bearings of a ship and in this image the propeller has been removed.

The Thomson Gordon business focuses on the propeller of a ship and in this image the propeller has been removed.

The company has more than 10% of it’s labour force doing research and development and includes three people with doctorates in their field. This is very much a company that is breaking new ground in product development – all based on a secret recipe that is used in their manufacturing process that takes place behind screens that prevent visitors from even seeing what they do and how they do it. But they do it rather well and the growth potential for the company is close to unlimited.

The only account they haven’t managed to crack is the Adam Beck power generation plant at Niagara Falls “We do have our product in power generation plants in Northern Ontario” added Carter and we do a lot of business with Hydro Quebec.”, he added.

Mayor Rick Goldring, who is focused on improving and upgrading the make up and mix of companies headquartered in Burlington said: “While we share the disappointment in Thordon Bearings not winning the Ocean Environmental Protection Award, we nevertheless recognize their significance as a leading employer in Burlington that is allocating a significant portion of their 100 plus employees to research and development.” The Mayor added: “Their participation in the Burlington economic scene is both very welcome and satisfying.”

Formed in 1911, the organization is in its fourth generation of leadership with a succession line that will place the leadership on the shoulders of Anna Galoni who is the current vice chair. Founded by Chairman Sandy Thomson’s grandfather, army major George J. Thomson and his brother William, the company was in the business of repackaging and distributing industrial products. They later took on a partner and renamed the company Thomson Gordon when it was incorporated in 1916. The business flourished and by 1936 they were into manufacturing products for industrial engineers.

The son of the founder, Sandy’s father, graduated from Pratt Institute in New York with an architectural degree. He completed his studies during the Great Depression and found work as a commercial photographer. He soon answered his father’s summons to help run the business in Canada, which he did for the next 30 years. That put the second generation in place and the evolution continued in 1967, when Sandy took the reins of the company from his father, George J.V. Thomson.

Sandy Thomson had decided he didn’t want to be in the family business and chose to study aeronautical engineering at Northrop University in California. “I wanted to be an aerospace engineer,” George “Sandy” Thomson said, remembering his college days during the 1960s at Northrop University in Inglewood, California. “My mentor was a senior engineer who was absolutely brilliant, and we played in a band together. I really thought I had found my place in life because I didn’t want to be involved in the family business. However, the dean of the school talked me into going from aerospace to mechanical engineering because he said there would be many more opportunities, so that’s what I did. In fact, I did my final mechanical project design on seals for pumps.” That work with pump seals took Sandy into a career that has revolutionized the way propeller shafts are lubricated around the world.

The firm had a broad selection of product offerings and expanded often, but in a little corner of the plant Sandy was working on his non-metallic bearings concept. Sandy and production foreman Arnold Lange were coming up with a number of ingenious uses for newly discovered polymers and soon began solving bearings problems with an entirely new type of bearing system.

The only way Sandy Thomson felt he could convince ship operators to use his product was to have a ship using them – so he bought a Russian steam operated tug boat and outfitted it with his product and then sallied from port to port – 200 in all to show what kind of a difference his products could make.  Many Thomson Bearing staff members can remember tours on duty on the Rudokop which was later sold to Norwegian interests.  It was a Sandy Thomson original trade show.

The only way Sandy Thomson felt he could convince ship operators to use his product was to have a ship using them – so he bought a Russian steam operated tug boat and outfitted it with his product and then sallied from port to port – 200 in all to show what kind of a difference his products could make. Many Thordon Bearing staff members can remember tours on duty on the Rudokop which was later sold to Norwegian interests. It was a Sandy Thomson original trade show.

 

Having a great product is one part of a great business operation – selling it is the other part and Sandy, in his typical innovative fashion took his product to the market using a ship he had purchased, a Russian deep sea salvage steam tug, the Rudokop, and converted it into a floating showcase for the company’s marine bearings and seals. Over a 14-year period, the tug visited more than 200 international ports. It was crewed by six Eastern Europeans and captained by Thomson himself. Burlington staff would take turns being part of the crew to explain the product line. As a traveling road show the tug and its crew was a great success in introducing ship owners to Thomson’s radically new approach to lubricating the shaft of a ship’s propeller with sea water instead of oil.

“My grandfather didn’t do very much with bearings in his day. He did look at synthetic polymers but felt the science was too complex for him. He actually thought it was too complicated for Sandy as well, but the young Thomson envisioned three products that could be made from polymers. One was a flexible machinery mount. Another was a flexible coupling for a shaft, and the third was a rubber bearing for pumps. “So I came up with the idea of using an elastomer blend to work as a pump bearing and our first customer was a Canadian steel company,”

“Our bearings worked much better than the rubber bearing in vertical scale pit pumps, which were pumping scale water out of the pits. Then it hit me: Why not use my new bearings on propeller shafts for ships? While the company didn’t enter into the maritime markets for a few more years, I knew we had a winner.”

At the time the company did not have a testing facility for the new polymer bearings. So a few years before entering the maritime market, Thomson worked with a couple of senior engineers at Stelco to test the new product: “These engineers bought our polymer bearings and put them into places even I thought they didn’t have a chance to work, and they didn’t, but the cost was covered in the plant’s maintenance budgets. We did a lot of testing and I give those engineers a lot of credit for helping us in our early days.”

The Halifax class frigates gave Thordon Bearings their entry into the marine business.  With their products on ships of this class and level the rest of the marine world had to pay attention and look seriously at the products.  They did and the company grew.

The Canadian Navy Halifax class frigates gave Thordon Bearings their entry into the marine business. With their products on ships of this class and level the rest of the marine world had to pay attention and look seriously at the products. They did and the company grew.

 

When Thordon Bearings entered the maritime market, its biggest client and supporter was the Canadian Coast Guard. While a couple of tugboats used the propeller shaft bearing, the company knew they really had to be proven on the next level of ships. “The Coast Guard came along and gave us a chance,” reminisces Thomson. “I don’t want to say it was easy, because it wasn’t.

Products go through different departments as the come from manufacturing the finishing and into shipping where they are sent to more than 70 countries around the world.  China is the companies biggest customer.

Products go through different departments as the come from manufacturing to finishing and into shipping where they are sent to more than 70 countries around the world. China is the companies biggest customer.

 

In the days when Thordon first began business, 95 percent of the ships in the world had propeller shaft bearings of white metal with stern tubes of oil for lubrication. At the time the systems were state-of-the-art and no one worried much about a seal leaking. In fact, marine vessels had very little environmental compliance issues to deal with. When Thordon decided to eliminate oil and replace propeller shaft lubrication with seawater, many thought the concept was going backwards. Thomson reminds us that shaft bearings were made of wood until the 1950s. More importantly, wooden bearings would only last for about five years. So companies began manufacturing white metal bearings and using oil as a lubricant to extend the life of the bearings.

Thordon Bearings has a lock on the market for propellers and rudder bearings on those specialized vessels that push barges up and down the Mississippi River where the mud and particles in the water get cleaned out of the propeller shaft bearings that are lubricated by the river water.

Thordon Bearings has a lock on the market for propellers and rudder bearings on those specialized vessels that push barges up and down the Mississippi River where the mud and particles in the water get cleaned out of the propeller shafts that are lubricated by the river water.

 

While attitudes change slowly, today’s environmental push has never been more comprehensive, and losing a few liters of oil a day from a leaking seal is no longer acceptable. Thomson points out that in 1998 Thordon installed a seawater propeller shaft bearing on Carnival Cruise Lines’ Grand Princess. Thirteen years later, during an extensive refit the strut and stern tube bearings were checked and found to be in exceptional shape.

Thomson says the bearings on the Grand Princess could be in great shape for 20 years, which is unheard of. “When we started guaranteeing 15 years of life for our seawater propeller shaft bearings, people thought we were nuts,” he said. “We’re not in the spare parts business, so we manufacture our bearings to last the life of the ship.”

We` are a much more environmentally conscious society and it is no longer acceptable. With bearings that have a 20 year life span a lot of oil is kept out of the water.

The more than 100 employees who manufacture products result in significant savings for their clients and keep a lot of oil out of the sea lanes. Operated as a company that constantly innovates Thordon Bearings uses a team of nine area agents who supervise agent/distributors in 73 countries. Craig Carter, Director of Marketing and Customer Service, explains that by using local distributors we can be both international and at the same time very local. Our distributors have been with us for a very long time and they have their ears to the ground in their markets.

Sandy Thomson is both an engineer and a captain who understands the waters ships sail on and the equipment they need to ensure a safe voyage.  He is also fully aware of the increased environmental consciousness that is keeping the sea lanes cleaner than ever before.

Sandy Thomson is both an engineer and a captain who understands the waters ships sail on and the equipment they need to ensure a safe voyage. He is also fully aware of the increased environmental consciousness that is keeping the sea lanes cleaner than ever before.

 

However, to be successful around the world, you also need credibility at home. “When our products were specified for the Halifax class patrol boats used by the Canadian Navy we had immediate bona fides with other navies and as a result of that we sell to navies around the world including the United States where the four Nimitz class aircraft carriers use our products.

Today the company has outfitted about 2000 vessels with its oil-free, seawater-lubricated bearing system. Thomson says the company has expanded to Poland and Saint Petersburg, Russia to complement the Canadian facility.

Sandy Thomson is winding down a little today at the company. His new passion is an old one with him, film-making. He is working on documentary films and only spends a couple of days a week at the office. Thomson recently re-released a DVD – “The Eyes of Memory” that he shot in 1972 with a 16 mm camera that he will tell you is the only film format that is going to survive. The 32 minute reflection on Burlington is a joy to watch – give Sandy’s office a call and get a copy. Might even be on at the Library you can borrow.

Succession is critical for any business.  Thordon Bearing knows today what the fourth level of succession is going to be.  Anna Galoni will lead an engineering company in an industry that doesn’t have very many woman in it and lead the company deeper into the marine market where woman are rare.  Once again Thordon  Bearings innovates and leads.

Succession is critical for any business. Thordon Bearings know today what the fourth level of succession is going to be. Anna Galoni will lead an engineering company in an industry that doesn’t have very many women in it and lead the company deeper into the marine market where woman are rare. Once again Thordon Bearings innovates and leads.

 

Sandy’s stepdaughter, Anna Galoni, is a Polish-born epidemiologist by training and is now the firm’s Vice Chairman. She will eventually succeed her stepfather. The company is going to celebrate its 100th anniversary in September and Sandy has a large container of old papers and memorabilia to sort through for that event. Then, perhaps another film or two and maybe some ideas for a slightly better polymer bearing. There is also the old lighthouse on the Burlington canal, built before Confederation, that Sandy would like to see renovated. A great, great, grandfather of his was at one time the lighthouse keeper.

Both the company and staff are deeply involved in the community. They were major donours to the building of he Burlington Performance Arts Centre and are involved in the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum where Sandy and members of the staff provide volunteer hours in restoration projects.

Guys like Sandy Thomson don’t retire – they just keep on going round and round – much like the propellers that his bearings support.

 

[retweet]

 

Return to the Front page

Learning on the job – or making a fool of yourself?

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON July 18, 2011 — There are things about municipal government and basic business that are just things you know. Like being an accountant – it is assumed you can count.

At a Council Committee meeting Marianne Meed Ward, the woman who represents the good people of Ward 2, wanted to know what Council was going to learn about the pier tender at a meeting scheduled for August 31st – that’s the date that appeared in the agenda she was reading from.

The Pier is in Ward 2 and Councillor Marianne Meed Ward wants her people to know what it is going to cost.  She said at a Council Committee meeting that she would attend the tender opening and “tweet” the numbers to her constituents.

The Pier is in Ward 2 and Councillor Marianne Meed Ward wants her people to know what it is going to cost. She said at a Council Committee meeting that she would attend the tender opening and “tweet” the numbers to her constituents.

 

Actually nothing was going to happen on that date – but things were certainly happening and the Ward 2 Councillor didn’t seem to have a clue. She wasn’t really clear on what a tender bid was nor did she have any idea what the public opening of tenders was all about. All she knew was that she wanted to be at the meeting so she could “tweet” whatever number was the lowest bid and that had a very senior member of the civic administration fuming..

“That kind of behaviour is just plain irresponsible” and “has the potential to create a perception that might not reflect what the best price for completing the construction of the pier at the foot of Brant Street is all about.”

 

Roman Martiuk, city manager, had already explained to Council how the tender process worked. The lowest price gets the job – but that lowest price cannot have a whole bunch of conditions attached to it that raise the price well above what the city has said it is prepared to pay.

Sometimes a contractor will put forward a low bid and then add all kinds of provisos – for example the bidder might stipulate that the trestle in place, which is already the subject of litigation, has to be removed. The removal would add to the city’s costs and thereby take the cost from this particular contractor higher than other bids that come in.

Tenders are opened publicly so that there is no favouritism shown for any particular bidder. Everyone knows what the number is. The engineering department, after opening the envelopes and reading out the amount shown at the bottom of the document, then takes all the documents away and does there due diligence.

Then they prepare a report for the city council committee responsible for the project and make a recommendation based on the numbers that were publicly read and their due diligence. That recommendations is discussed at the committee level and goes to a Council meeting for acceptance. Contractors who wish to comment at the committee level can supposedly do so.

There have been occasions in the past when the mathematics in a bid were incorrect; there have been tenders that were not properly signed. So the lowest number at first reading may not in fact be the lowest price when the due diligence is done. For a person in the room to hear all the numbers, note the lowest and then broadcast that number to her following is “absolutely irresponsible”.

During the Council meeting at which the Waterdown Road interchange bids were opened, Ward 1 Councillor Rick Craven said he attended and sat at the back of the room and noted the numbers. He made no public comment.

The skeleton of the pier extends out into the lake waiting for someone to complete the work or come in and tear the whole thing down.  Costs will decide which the city decides to do.  Public seems divided on the issue.

The skeleton of the pier extends out into the lake waiting for someone to complete the work or come in and tear the whole thing down. Costs will decide which the city decides to do. Public seems divided on the issue.

 

The tenders will be issued on July 20th to the seven contractors who have been pre-qualified. They are expected to come back with their bids no later than August 10th, however, it is not uncommon for a contractor to ask for an extension or to ask some questions as they prepare their bids.

When one contractor asks a question – the answer to the question is given out to all the contractors who picked up a tender. Contractors are encouraged to be innovative and come back with a bid that is their best possible price. They may include in their bid new and unique ways of doing something. That doesn’t mean changing the design but it does allow for the contractor to use their creativity and knowledge of new techniques developed by the construction industry.

Burlington has pre-qualified seven contractors several of which have enviable reputations. The pre-qualified are:

ConCrete USL Limited

Toronto Zenith Contracting Limited

Belor Construction Ltd

Rankin Construction In.

Bot Construction

PCL Construction Canada Inc.

Graham Infrastructure

These seven companies have undergone a much more rigorous process to be qualified to bid on the pier completion. In a report to a council committee Toronto based Mettko said “a more comprehensive pre-qualification package was issued in June 2011 which included more than 25 pages of the city’s standard requirements and illustrations. Compared to the two (2) page pre-qualification package used in March 2005. Council had directed staff to provide a report that set out the differences between the 2005 tender pre-qualifications process and the one that will be issued later this month. Earlier Tom Eichenbaum said at a committee that the pre-qualification in 2005 have been “rather cursory”.

The tender that will be issued will have three provisional items on it which include a promenade area extension that is expected to come in at $100,000.

A small scale floating dock that is also to cost $100,000.

Ramp to the mini beach that has developed naturally on the west side of the pier. Expected to cost $60,000.

At a council committee Council Jack Dennison commented that “no one can spend money the municipal staff can”. His view was that the floating dock was maybe ok – Dennison is a boating buff.

These three provisional items will only be considered if the tender prices come in below the overall updated project budget which is now $9,094,000.

 

The cost of the pier once it is completed is going to amount to $15,070,000. The original cost was $9,272,033 of which $5,975,205 had been paid out to various contractors and suppliers. Which leave $3,296,828. left from the originally approved budget. In order to complete the pier the city has estimated it needs an additional $5,798,000. That money will come from the Capital Purposes Reserve Fund. Burlington has a lot of money tucked away in reserve funds

The money to build the pier, working from the original budgeted amount, came from:

Federal government/provincial governments: $4,356,230.

Regional government: $2,500,000.

Burlington Hydro: $100,000.

The city’s portion was just $2,315,803. It looked like a good deal at the time.

 

The city estimates it will cost $2,400,000 to demolish the pier.

The key dates for the immediate future are

Tender going out July 20th – this date is now cast in stone.

August 10th bids to come back from the contractors

August 17th possible extension date for bids from contractors

Things get pretty quiet around city hall during the month of August. While many senior staff people are on vacation – bet that they will be two rings away on their cell phones should problems arise.

The one plus that hasn’t cost us a dime so far is the instant beach that formed on the west side of the unfinished pier.  The city is now talking about installing a $60,000 ramp to provide access, which could be done for a lot less by just moving some boulders.

The one plus that hasn’t cost us a dime so far is the instant beach that formed on the west side of the unfinished pier. The city is now talking about installing a $60,000 ramp to provide access, which could be done for a lot less by just moving some boulders.

 

Some patience and the belief that the engineering team at city hall along with the consultants they have brought in to advise them each step of the way and we can expect to see the opening of the Pier just about the time Sound of Music 2013 is to take place.

However, let us not let the Sound of Music schedule determine when we open the pier. Let the contractors complete their work and just make sure that we do it right this time. And whatever number Councillor Meed Ward decides to tweet to you on either the 10th or the 17th of August – take it with a grain of salt and realize that while it might be the lowest number, the bid may not meet other criteria that would disallow it.

 

[retweet]

 

 

Return to the Front page

He calls it the old “switcheroo”.

By Ken Colombo

BURLINGTON, ON July 18, 2011 — Subject: Heagle withdrawal

As I have said many, many times before, Pepper, your blog is a valuable and highly insightful viewpoint covering municipal and provincial politics. My friend worked his butt off for Heagle in the municipal election … thinking Brian represented the Liberals. When Brian pulled the ‘switcheroo’ … the guy became totally pissed. Hang in there buddy, yer doin’ a great job.

Ken Colombo … (a pseudonym of course).

 

[retweet]

 

Return to the Front page

Contemplation and consultation takes time; Heagle needed more as he withdrew from PC nomination, and took it.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON July 14, 2011 – There appears not to have been quite enough contemplation and consultation as Brian Heagle worked himself towards withdrawing from the nomination race to be named the provincial Progressive Conservative candidate for Burlington.

An original press release put out at 9:33 am was to be replaced with a revised version released at 10:57 in which Heagle took out the lines: “nine weeks have passed for other candidates to emerge. Perhaps, as a result of my decision today, one or more will step forward.”

Not quite sure why those lines were withdrawn – they don’t and won’t make much difference at this point. The Tories just wanted Heagle out of the picture and as quietly as possible would be nice – but when you get hammered the way Heagle was hammered – there is a bit of bitterness that has to be accommodated.

Rene Papin had his comments to make as well when he pulled out.

It’s going to take a super star or a very high profile candidate to pull this one from the edge of the cliff.

[retweet]

 

Return to the Front page

Burlington Tories have yet to nominate a candidate; Heagle follows Pepin and falls on his sword. Bloody mess.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON June 14, 2011 – The Burlington Progressive Conservatives are soon going to run out of swords. First it was Rene Papin falling on his sword and now Brian Heagle has made “the right decision” and withdrawn as a candidate for the Burlington nomination. That leaves just Jane McKenna in the line up for the Associations nomination.

After a valiant battle and shaking thousands of hands Brian Heagle withdraws from the race for the Progressive Conservative nomination in Burlington.

After a valiant battle and shaking thousands of hands Brian Heagle withdraws from the race for the Progressive Conservative nomination in Burlington.

Heagle said this morning that: “After a great deal of contemplation and consultation, it’s the right decision for me to make at this time. I’m accustomed to making tough choices but this one was especially difficulty because so many people in Burlington supported my candidacy.” Apparently not enough of those people were on the Burlington Progressive Conservative Association, which has yet to even set a date for their nomination meeting.

Jane McKenna is the only candidate left publicly seeking the PC nomination.

Jane McKenna is the only candidate left publicly seeking the PC nomination.

The Liberals have had Karmel Sakran out in the field for several months and the New Democrats found a saddle Peggy Russell was prepared to ride in and they are out there canvassing and developing supporters.

Sakran is out developing support in a riding that hasn’t elected a Liberal for more than 65 years.  The PC’s are making it easy for him.

Sakran is out developing support in a riding that hasn’t elected a Liberal for more than 65 years. The PC’s are making it easy for him.

Jane McKenna is courting ever member of the PC association she can find hoping to get their vote when they hold their nomination meeting. At this point she is the only candidate actually campaigning publicly for the nomination.

Are the Progressive Conservatives so sure of their support in Burlington that they believe they can risk having their candidate not yet named with less than 90 days before the election takes place ? There must be some interesting and perhaps noisy association meetings.

The Progressive Conservative brand is taking a bit of a hit, the shine and the luster it held when Cam Jackson won 70% of the vote is beginning to tarnish.

Current MPP Joyce Savoline advised the association that she would not run in the October provincial election some time ago. Given the Burlington history of electing Conservatives to the provincial legislature since 1943 one would have thought this was almost the safest seat in the province and that there would be a line up of people seeking the nomination.

The New Democrats have their show on the road, given the candidate a new paint job and hope they can gain some traction from the federal NDP wins in Quebec.

The New Democrats have their show on the road, given the candidate a new paint job and hope they can gain some traction from the federal NDP wins in Quebec.

The best they seemed to be able to do was attract Heagle who was for the longest time known as a Liberal and was being groomed by the late John Boich as the candidate for that party. A well placed Burlington Tory has said privately that the Progressive Conservatives “could lose the seat if they are not careful.”

McKenna, who was serving as Papin’s campaign manager, did a two step and put her own name forward after Papin withdrew and is now the only person publicly seeking the Progressive Conservative nomination.

Heagle, in his withdrawal statement said: “When I stepped forward as a candidate earlier this year, and after Rene Papin withdrew from the race in early May, I never expected the nomination process would still be going on in July or that a nomination meeting date would not be scheduled yet. Nine weeks have passed for other strong candidates to emerge. Perhaps, as a result of my decision today, one or more will step forward.

Heagle said he would “love the privilege and opportunity to be the Ontario PC Party candidate and represent Burlington as its next MPP. Regrettably, timing and circumstances have changed. I have to make firm commitments now to my family, partners an clients which no longer fit with this political process, including the short lead up to the October 6 election.”

The gleam in Boich’s eye (far right) and the earnestness with which Heagle was preaching to the Liberals was more than the Progressive Conservatives could handle – they just couldn’t accept that Heagle had really changed his colours – they wanted a real blue Tory - they’re still looking.

The gleam in Boich’s eye (far right) and the earnestness with which Heagle was preaching to the Liberals was more than the Progressive Conservatives could handle – they just couldn’t accept that Heagle had really changed his colours – they wanted a real blue Tory - they’re still looking.

The problem for the Tories was that Heagle was just to red for them, his Liberal past was more than they could swallow. However, others have changed their political stripes and gone on to win elections under different party affiliations. Something doesn’t appear to be quite right within the party association.

 

[retweet]

 

Return to the Front page

Up close and personal and the light standards really do exist.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON July 11, 2011 – Up close and on site – the Pier is a marvel to behold. The lazy curve of the S shape and the way it snakes out into the lake is quite something. It will be an experience to stand out there in a wind storm.

The outline of the S shape is very clear with all the side beans in place waiting for the deck to be built.  It is going to be a stunning addition to the city.

The outline of the S shape is very clear with all the side beans in place waiting for the deck to be built. It is going to be a stunning addition to the city.

The place is a bit of a shambles right now. The sea gulls have had there way with the main deck and it is a mess – keeping it clean is something the city is going to have to budget for and I can see it getting slippy when ice builds up – but the same can be said of the promenade along Spender Smith in the winter.

The light standards – at least nine of them are there – stowed away in a dry electrical room just waiting for someone to install the things – problem is that there aren’t enough of them – the Pier needs 12 and there are only nine in the storage room and this particular model isn’t made any more.

The light fixtures were found – but three are missing.  Is there a buyer out there that can make the city an offer so that the city can go out and buy the 12 they need.  The nine in hand are a model that is no longer manufactured.

The light fixtures were found – but three are missing. Is there a buyer out there that can make the city an offer so that the city can go out and buy the 12 they need. The nine in hand are a model that is no longer manufactured.

There were other items that weren’t where the city thought they should be when they took possession of the site once the original contractor walked off saying they couldn’t complete the job using the design they were given. Some of the evidence relating to the sub standard steel that was made has disappeared.

Left however is a trestle which doesn’t belong to the original contractor and doesn’t belong to the city – then who does it belong to? It belongs to a local contractor who put it in place – not sure yet who actually told the owner of the trestle to put the thing in place – but it is still there and the owner wants it back.

Whoever completes the construction of the Pier will need a trestle and because the city sued everyone who was part of the construction – contractor and sub-contractors; they all got writs- everything stays as it is until the legal stuff is worked out. Great paydays for the lawyers involved and the city’s legal department doesn’t want to say how much they’ve spent because saying how much has been spent might give away the city’s strategy. And if you believe that – well I can’t sell you the Pier but I am aware of some land in Florida that I can get you a very good deal on.

The owner is the trestle is one very unhappy camper right now.  He wants the thing back or he wants someone to pay him for hanging on to it.

The owner is the trestle is one very unhappy camper right now. He wants the thing back or he wants someone to pay him for hanging on to it.

The legal department works at one level and the team at city hall overseeing the issuing of the tender package that will get a contractor on site has had to step very, very carefully around the numerous issues that are still unresolved. A little like walking on eggshells and told not to break any of them.

But, they are doing a good job – we’re not home free yet – that day however is not very far off. We should know what is going to be possible by the middle of September. We may yet see some very creative and innovative proposals from the group of at least five, maybe as many as seven pre-qualified contractors.

Three municipal councils later and a $5 million + increase in the cost but we are going to have a pier at the foot of Brant Street.

There is one bit of sliver lining in all this and that is a small stretch of sandy beach that has formed at the west side of the Pier site. No one thought there would ever be a beach with the Pier – but Mother nature had her way with the water that swirls around the embankment that was built on the shore line and as a result sand has built up around the western side of the Pier snuggled next to where the eastern end of the Spencer Smith Park promenade begins.

Perhaps we can call it:  Instant Beach, a short stretch of sand created as a result of the change in water flow when the shape of the embankment was changed as the pier was being built.  It is certainly being used.

Perhaps we can call it: Instant Beach, a short stretch of sand created as a result of the change in water flow when the shape of the embankment was changed as the pier was being built. It is certainly being used.

People are already using the beach even though there is no real access – they have to climb over large boulders but, if the city is at all proactive, they will move half a dozen of those boulders and create stair way and a wheel chair access ramp leading down to the sane so people can get to the waters edge.

Do you want to guess at how many reasons people at legal will come up with as to why this can’t be done: no lifeguard on duty, people might begin to swim under the Pier. They will have more than a handful of reasons. Hopefully they will be so busy defending their position on not letting the public know how much they have spent on outside lawyers suing all the contractors involved in the work before the contractor walked off the job, that they won’t find time to bother about the new beach we are getting.

Maybe we can call the stretch of sand: Instant Beach.

[retweet]

 

Return to the Front page

Everyone benefits from the homeless who live at the Riviera Motel. They get lousy digs but a great view.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON July 11, 2011 – This business of municipal politics can get pretty sticky and complicated.

Try this on for size. A developer, Mayrose Tycon has the right to put up a building that can reach 21 stories into the sky on the property that is home to the Riviera on the Lake Motel, located to the east of the Waterfront Hotel on the south side of Lakeshore Road. The height and density of the structure are basically cast in stone. What it will actually look like isn’t known yet.

At a Waterfront Advisory meeting a few months ago committee member Michael O’Sullivan passed around a news clipping from 1995 that showed a drawing of what the developer had in mind back then. It is pretty close to what people understand the plans being talked about now are calling for.

Mayrose Tycon have been trying to put together a deal since 1995 with a company that would do the actual building and take over the property, but haven’t yet found the right company to partner with. Minto and Tridel, two very large, well established builders walked away from the opportunity. Mayrose Tycon is now talking to a major mid level hotel group about a possible deal that would be a combination of hotel and condominium.

The close to defunct Save our Waterfront people were worried that a structure would go up that prevented a view of the lake. While the height and density of whatever is built is a done deal, the actual site plan is something the community has been assured they would have some say in.

But as Jeff Marten, a member of the Waterfront Advisory Committee, said at a recent meeting: “I would like to be alive when the ground for construction is broken.” That isn’t going to be this year and many wondered if the Pier would be completed before shovels went into the ground for the 21 storey landmark structure.

Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward has been telling her constituents that she is “on the file” but there isn’t very much she can do except prod and probe and ask questions which she did at a recent meeting with the Mayrose Tycon people.

Is there a by-law enforcement officer that would let the badly damaged floor of the motel room balcony at the Riviera Motel remain the way it is if they knew about the condition.  They know now.

Is there a by-law enforcement officer that would let the badly damaged floor of the motel room balcony at the Riviera Motel remain the way it is if they knew about the condition. They know now.

A lot of people would like to see the building torn down because it is something of an eye sore – and who by the way would want to stay in the motel – it looks like a dump. Well – guess what; both the city and the region have an interest in keeping the dumpy looking motel right where is it, thank you. And the developer doesn’t mind one bit – renting out rooms in the motel brings in some revenue

The revenue stream is your tax dollars – money the Regional govern pays Mayrose Tycon for the use of the motel as a place to house homeless people. And as of last Friday the place was full.

There is an interesting aspect to all this and that is for a city that talks about making the waterfront accessible to the public, precious little is actually done to improve the access.

A Waterfront Advisory sub-committee recently did an excellent piece of investigative work to find out just how many “windows on the to the lake” there actually are – good report – that has gone exactly nowhere. Meed Ward hasn’t brought up the matter at a Council committee nor has Councillor Craven. Grahame Richards, who was part of the group that did the field work on the report said he couldn’t add much more: “the people at city hall aren’t answering their phones these day.”

The Mayor sits on the Waterfront Advisory Committee – has he asked legal to look into those situation where private property owners whose property abuts public property have taken steps to actually prevent the public from getting to the edge of the lake.

Lots of issues regarding the lakefront getting to the waters edge and then being a bit stunned when you see the condition of at least one of the buildings. Comes pretty close to being the kind of building run by slum landlords.

There is more than just the one damaged balcony – much of the building probably doesn’t meet building or safety codes.  Why hasn’t the city done something about this situation?  Because it houses homeless people?  Because the Region is renting the building?

There is more than just the one damaged balcony – much of the building probably doesn’t meet building or safety codes. Why hasn’t the city done something about this situation? Because it houses homeless people? Because the Region is renting the building?

Were the public able to walk along the pathway at the lake edge in front of the Riviera Motel they would see the deplorable condition that building is in.

A close look at the building suggests the city’s by law enforcement people might want to take a look at the condition of the structure. But bylaw enforcement in Burlington is a reactive process – they respond to complaints and no one so far has complained. That is about to change.

The Medical Officer of Health might also want to take a look at the structure. Maybe that department is also reactive as opposed to being proactive.

The Riviera has been around for a long time, still has guests who have one of the best views in the city.  At the edge of the property there is a brand new walkway – waiting for the public to stroll along the waters edge where they can gaze upon a dumpy looking eyesore.

The Riviera has been around for a long time, still has guests who have one of the best views in the city. At the edge of the property there is a brand new walkway – waiting for the public to stroll along the waters edge where they can gaze upon a dumpy looking eyesore.

The city gets tax revenue on the property and the developer wanting to get something in the way of a return for the property, rents the units to the Region who use it to house homeless people and immigrants that the Region has to house.

Someone suggested that the city could rent the motel and the land around it from the developer for $1 a year and demolish the eyesore and use the land as a temporary, short term park; and given that this project has been on hold for at least 15 years the public could benefit. Might be a good idea – depends on what the taxes are on the property. Sounds good, seems to have some merit. Why not give it a shot?

The city could enter into an agreement with Mayrose Tycon to forgive the property taxes as long as the city uses the land for a public park. When the developer eventually has a partner who is ready to actually build the city gives up the space as parkland and lets the construction equipment in.

You can get to the walkway that gets you to the edge of the lake – all you have to do is slip through the fence and then wander along till you meet up with the eastern edge of Spencer Smith Park – great view of the unfinished Pier from this location.

You can get to the walkway that gets you to the edge of the lake – all you have to do is slip through the fence and then wander along till you meet up with the eastern edge of Spencer Smith Park – great view of the unfinished Pier from this location.

There was a bit of a land swap involved in the assembly of the property that will at some point become the city’s one skyscraper. A small patch of city land was traded and the developer ceded the right to a small strip of property at the water’s edge that is ready today for pedestrians to stroll along – problem is- the pathway isn’t open to the public. The walkway is in place and will eventually join up with Spencer Smith Park

But don’t hold your breath waiting for either Councillors Meed Ward or Craven to propose this at a Council committee meeting and put forward a Staff Direction to have this looked into. Even if they did, the City Manager would bury this one for a couple of years.

If the motel were torn down the Region wouldn’t have a shelter for the homeless and, while the place is a dump, Burlington doesn’t want to get into a discussion about building a homeless shelter – that would bring out every NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) in the city howling at a council committee meeting. Disappointing, that a city with so much cannot find its way to actively looking for a place to build a shelter for the homeless. We manage to raise money for just about every other group but we’re not very good at helping the truly disadvantaged.

The best place for a shelter would be in either Wards 1 or 2 – can we expect Councillors Craven and Ward to ask the city to look for a suitable location in which to house the homeless and at the same time open up some lake front property for more parkland – even if it is going to be temporary. The location would be a great spot for the sidewalk superintendents in the city to sit out in the fresh air and keep an eye on the Pier construction.

[retweet]

 

Return to the Front page

Condo corp breaks ground in “uptown” Burlington. Real news is what’s going on underground.

BURLINGTON, ON June 11, 2011 A 16 storey condominium will break ground this week to commence construction at the Upper Middle Road and Appleby Line part of town. The building will be one of the first multi-residential high rises in Canada equipped with geothermal technology.

Geothermal is a renewable energy source that reduces the use of fossil fuels and release of harmful emissions that pollute the air. “Just by moving in, purchasers reduce their carbon footprint,” says Ironstone’s lead architect Roland Rom Colthoff of RAW.

The geothermal holes get drilled and pipes run through the holes to bring the heat in the earth up into the buildings.  Once the holes are drilled and the pipes fitted in the construction of the building can then commence.

The geothermal holes get drilled and pipes run through the holes to bring the heat in the earth up into the buildings. Once the holes are drilled and the pipes fitted in the construction of the building can then commence.

Designed to service all of Ironstone’s space heating and cooling load requirements, the geothermal system will be installed and maintained by leading clean technology developer and operator GeoXperts Energy.

Ironstone has shown significant leadership, as it has done in the past and reflected in the more than 34 awards the company has received for design excellence and innovation, in the decision to use geothermal energy.

The positive twist to this decision is that energy costs for the unit owners are locked in for at least a decade. The geothermal unit and its installation and maintenance become the responsibility of the GeoXperts people. They own the equipment that gets put into the ground before the building is actually built. Raising the capital to pay for the piping and drilling isn’t that difficult when the finance people know that the equipment isn’t going to go anywhere and the people in the building on top of the equipment are going to want to be warmed and cooled. It was one of those win – win – win situations.

Drilling rig that bores into the ground for the pipes that will be used to carry heat into the building.  Heat exchangers convert the heat into cool air during the summer months.

Drilling rig that bores into the ground for the pipes that will be used to carry heat into the building. Heat exchangers convert the heat into cool air during the summer months.

GeoXperts Energy has brought a completely new model the condo industry where controlling costs and keeping prices in markets where competition can be stiff.

Leslie Thomas, co-founder of GeoExperts, figured he could do what the gas company does – pay for the cost of installing a gas line to a house and then sell the owner of the house whatever gas he needs. In the thermal energy situation there is no cost for the energy – all they had to do was drill holes into the ground and tap into the heat that is stored underground

“Whether it’s a 10-, 15- or 25-year energy contract, that (annual price) will be capped,” says Thomas, explaining that the benefit to the customer is no upfront capital requirement, long-term predictability of energy costs, a slightly lower annual energy bill and environmental bragging rights for purchasing emission-free heating and cooling. “That’s the difference we bring to the equation.”

Graham Chalmers, partner with Davies Smith Development points to a feature in the 16 storey condominium model that will break ground at the Appleby Line and Upper Middle Road location in Burlington

Graham Chalmers, partner with Davies Smith Development points to a feature in the 16 storey condominium model that will break ground at the Appleby Line and Upper Middle Road location in Burlington

There are other side benefits to geothermal as well, including more comfortable heating and cooling and lower noise.

Says Thomas Garcia, GeoXperts’ co-founder and chief financial officer: “There are so many retrofits that could be done. People just don’t know how to do it. If you can’t afford it, we’ll make it affordable for you.”

The idea of selling renewable energy to a customer, rather than renewable technology, isn’t entirely new. There are a number of “utility” ventures now selling solar power in the same way – they own the solar photovoltaic panels and related equipment, but sell the electricity to the customer over a long-term contract. The idea is that, over time, those energy revenues will more than pay for the initial capital cost that the utility incurs by installing the system.

The customer doesn’t do much more than simply pay the energy bill. “It’s all done seamlessly for the client,” says Thomas.

Behind the scenes, however, there’s much more going on. If GeoXperts negotiates, for example, a 15-year contract, then it knows precisely how much revenue it will earn over those years. It will take that total, minus any government incentives targeted at geothermal, and subtract the expected cost of installing and maintaining the system. The difference equals the profit that GeoXperts and its investors can count on.

But that’s just the starting point. There’s also opportunity to increase that profit by lowering installation costs, as well as constantly fine-tuning the systems that GeoXperts puts in to maximize their performance and efficiency.

The company, through its internal engineers and strategic partnerships, aims for high-quality installation at the outset to reduce costs associated with long-term maintenance. It has also developed proprietary software that lets it remotely monitor the performance of every geothermal site it has installed – including building and outdoor temperature – making maintenance easier and allowing for rapid-response when problems are detected.

An early version of the software, developed during Thomas’ days at Guelph Hydro, is being used at a 70,000-square-foot facility owned by Mississauga-based Lange Transportation and Storage Ltd., which claims one of the largest – some say “the” largest – geothermal retrofit in Canada.

“This (monitoring ability) has been a component in geothermal that’s been missing for years,” says Thomas. “It lets us know exactly how the system is behaving.”

And that is exactly what the Ironside condominiums are going to have – state of the art technology that will provide their residents with heating and cooling at a cost they can project well into the future. The developers, Davies Smith Development, have led in a number of construction innovations and may well do other projects in the Burlington market

The Wal-Mart store on Fairview and Brant also uses geothermal energy to heat and cool the building.

[retweet]

 

Return to the Front page

New funny money explained to seniors; samples were not available.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON July 7, 2011 – They make up a large part of the community and the demographic trend is for there to be many more of them. Their needs tend to be greater than that of other people in the community.

These are our senior citizens, although that term, senior citizen, is one many of them don’t like all that much and many scoff at the explanation that they are in their “golden years”, for many live in close to dire poverty and have health issues as well as financial issues.

Constable Wendy Moraghan of the Halton Regional Police Service works with the seniors community and spends time in the different Halton Region communities to answer questions related to safety.  She is able to sense when there is any abuse taking place and knows how to gently prod and bring issues and concerns to the surface.

Constable Wendy Moraghan of the Halton Regional Police Service works with the seniors community and spends time in the different Halton Region communities to answer questions related to safety. She is able to sense when there is any abuse taking place and knows how to gently prod and bring issues and concerns to the surface.

The fast pace of the society we live in and the newer forms of communication are beyond many of these people. They aren’t stupid. They have very strong core values and during their working years had a work ethic that today’s employers wish they saw a lot more of in the people they hire.

There is an innocence to many of today’s seniors and the changes in the family unit leave many of them alone, a bit frightened and looking for a place they can go for answers to many of the questions they have.

Elder abuse is now a serious social problem that every community struggles with. Many seniors give a power of attorney over there financial affairs to someone they trust and find that it is abused by the person who holds that power.

Fraud has become another serious problem with some seniors receiving a phone call from a person claiming to be a friend of their nephew or some other relative and asking for money to be sent to solve a problem.

Many seniors find that through misunderstanding or poorly placed trust, they get taken by scam artists and the savings they had set aside are suddenly gone and they are at a point in their lives when they cannot replenish those savings.

While counterfeit money is no longer the big issue it once was in Canada there are still people out there trying pass along counterfeit bills to unsuspecting people.

The Bank of Canada controls the money supply in this country. It is the Canadian Mint that actually prints the money. The Bank of Canada has people in the field who go into the community and explain what to look for in to determine if a bill is counterfeit.

The Bank of Canada was in Burlington doing a presentation with Constable Wendy Moraghan of the Halton Regional Police Service explaining the new polymer bills that will be released by the Bank in the very near future.

A table with several seniors looks closely at paper bills given to them to inspect.  They were asked to decide if the money was counterfeit – none of it was.

A table with several seniors looks closely at paper bills given to them to inspect. They were asked to decide if the money was counterfeit – none of it was.

And at the same time the told the audience how to detect a counterfeit $10, or $20 bill. The cardinal rule was: tilt the bill and look for the and then run your fingers over it – and if in doubt ask the person giving you the bill to give you a different one.

The new $100 and $50 polymer notes are easy to check and hard to counterfeit. They have the same innovative security features that can be seen in transparent areas on both sides of the notes. Some tips on what to look for if you find yourself with either a $100. or a $50. bill in your purse.

Feel

  • 1. Raised ink
    Feel the raised ink on the shoulders of the large portrait, the large number, and the words “Bank of Canada” and “Banque du Canada.”

Look

  • 2. Large window
    Look for transparency through the large window containing a metallic portrait and building.
  • 3. Metallic portrait
    Look at the details in the metallic portrait in the large window. It matches the large portrait.
  • 4. Metallic building
    Look at the details in the metallic building in the large window. Tilt the note to see sharp colour changes in the building.
  • 5. Small numbers
    Look at the numbers in and around the large window that match the value of the note. Some of the numbers appear in reverse.
  • 6. Transparent text
    Look at the word “Canada.” It is transparent and feels slightly raised.
  • 7. Maple leaf border
    Look at the maple leaves that border the large window. Some of the leaves cross into the window.
  • 8. Frosted maple leaf window
    Look at the frosted maple leaf window to see that it has a transparent outline.

Flip

Flip the note to see the features in the large window repeated in the same colours and detail on the other side.

Added Security

  • 9. Hidden numbers
    The hidden numbers are a security feature that you can use to further verify your note, with the aid of an eye-safe single-point light source.

The Bank of Canada representative explained to the seniors gathered at Tansley Woods explained that when bank notes are taken out of circulation they are not burned but rather shredded and then recycled. He passed around a smallish plastic freezer bag half full of shredded bits of paper that he said represented half a million dollars worth of fifty dollar bills. It got a lot of attention as it was passed from table to table

Real money was passed around as well and people were asked to determine if the samples they were holding were real or counterfeit. Opinions were pretty evenly split – turned out every bill was real and were used to show people how to identify a counterfeit bill. Seems the Bank of Canada doesn’t deal with counterfeits and doesn’t use it in the community work.

[retweet]

Return to the Front page