Regional Council holds a very successful virtual Special meeting devoted to hearing delegation on the Official Plan.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

November 19th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It was the day for the Regional Council to hear delegations on the five reports that were background for the current Review of the Official Plan.

The papers were serious stuff; well written, very well illustrated. The community has said it wishes it had had more time to review and prepare comments. But that window has closed.

Curt Benson, told Regional Council that there had been more than 200 written reports sent to his office on the papers.
The delegations covered three areas: farming, climate change

In late January perhaps February the Region will be releasing four growth concept and waiting 100 days for responses and community engagement.

That will be followed by a preferred concept probably in the Fall of 2021.

The Region is moving on two levels that are attached to each other at the same time.

Process graph

The two bottom circles relate to the Burlington MTSA and UGC issues. While part of the Regional Official Plan they will be processed separately and then wrapped into the Region’s OP

The Burlington MTSA and Urban Growth Centre (UGC) issues are being dealt with separately but are still a part of the Regional Official Plan Review.

Whatever decision gets made on the MTSA and UGC from a Burlington perspective will be included in the next version of the Official Plan that is released.

There will be a Statutory meeting on the Regional Official Plan in the fall of 2021.

The expectation is that the MTSA in Burlington will be removed.

The focus for the Regional Planning department is:

What has been heard to date?

Did we hear you?

Is this what you are saying?

The listening exercise is an ongoing process.

The delegations started with remarks from Sofina Foods which operates 11 pork processing plants in Canada and maintain that they cannot keep up with the demand for pork from the market which they export around the world.

They have major plans to develop and expand the Fearman’s operation on Harvester Road and Appleby Line and are concerned that the boundary in place for the Appleby Line GO station (which was at one time called a hub but is now an MTSA.

The Sofina spokesperson said there are 150 family farms within a three hour drive of the plant that meet some of the need but that in the not too distant future they want to expand that operation.

The question is – will an even bigger food processing operation fit into that part of Burlington?

Sofina wants to be certain that they are part of the economic development of Burlington. They are a major employer and the demand for pork grows steadily.

What was interesting was that the several people who talked about the problems the farming community has none made any mention of the part that Sofina play in the agricultural sector.

We learned that close to half the agricultural land is believed to be owned by interest other than induvial farmers; that most of the land is being banked by the development community.

The agricultural community wants a ban on the conversation of agricultural land.

Climate change was the base of close to half of the delegations – these were for the most part coming from community based organizations who advocate and lobby for more in the way of climate change efforts.

Vanessa Warren 2

Vanessa Warren, delegates with conviction, passionate and firmer grip on the facts that the vast majority of the Regional Councillors.

Vanessa Warren, who always delegates with conviction, passionate and firmer grip on the facts that the vast majority of the Regional Councillors said that the framework the agricultural sector has to work within cannot be fixed, “we have to bring it down”.

Warren said that a farmer can grow turnips but that they cannot process those turnips on their land under the current conditions.

Agricultural Tourism was said to need some help. Prince Edward County has figured out how that can be done very effectively – Halton isn’t there yet.

The Evergreen development that is in Burlington with the Oakville border on the other side of the road at Tremaine and Dundas was described by Burlington Mayor Meed Ward as the poster boy of the developer’s world.

Evergreen phasing

The Evergreen development would go through two phases with employment offices fronting onto the street on the east side.

They must be blushing at the corporate offices in Milton. That project started in 2007 and will consist of 1945 residences whenever it is completed.

ALOG lands

The land assembly has been in the works for some time. Whatever development plans there are have yet to hit city hall. with the Aldershot GO station a very short walk away the land is primed for growth.

The IBI Group representative brought forward concerns with a property development that includes abutting lands owned by four different corporations that is on the west side of Waterdown Road – north side of Plains Road.

They are looking for employment land conversions that would occur simultaneously with MTSA delineation, through phased ROPA.

There is much more to learn about this development.

It is big with the Emshie interests and St. Mary’s Cement involved.

The Station West development that is underway now with a number of units occupied.  When completed Station West will become a community unto itself and will need services and access to good retail.

Aldershot has wanted some strong retail – this development just might bring it to their doorstep.

The Development plans for the east side of Waterdown are inching forward.  Solid Gold, Aldershot’s ongoing embarrassment, is planned as the site for a decent coffee shop and a small supermarket if the ward Councillor can convince the Solid Gold owner that it can be made to work.

What the area is not going to have is very much in the way of parkland in the immediate area.  LaSalle Park to the south is a decent walk away. It will be under considerable pressure.

The swimming pool at Aldershot high school will see increased pressure.

There were no clashes, no major points being made by the bigger interests. For the most part they weren’t involved in the virtual event

The Regional Clerk was pressed to keep all the balls in the air – he pulled it off. Chair Carr thought Graham Milne might have a future as an air traffic controller in Chicago.

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Citizen Engagement scrambling for committee members

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

November 19th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON’

 

It was a one hour virtual meeting with about 35 people taking part – at least five were city staff.

City Clerk Kevin Arjoon explained the basics of what City Advisory Committees are all about. He listed most of the committees.

The Cycling Committee needs 14 new members – that seems very high unless all the previous members all left at the same time.

Members of the Community Engagement Team do a debrief after their Council Workshop session. Chris Walker is in the center.

Members of the Community Engagement Team do a debrief after their Council Workshop session. Chris Walker is in the center.

The closing date for new applications is November 27th – that closing date has been extended in the past – expect it to be extended again this year.

The intention is to announce the appointments at a Council meeting in January or February.

Arjoon is a big fan of citizen advisory committees – he has seen them work well in the five different municipalities where he has served as Clerk.

However, shortly before Arjoon arrived in Burlington a report from citizens on problems with the way the Advisory committees were created was debated at a City Standing Committee.

It was a lengthy report with perhaps too much data. It has one central point: that was set out in a Historical Note.

Adv Comm Review graphic

It was a major piece of work for the citizens – didn’t get past the printing machine.

Historical Note
This report and its recommendations represent the fourth occasion on which citizens have been asked to provide advice to council on Advisory Committee reform, beginning in 1997.

On each occasion, while the recommendations have differed since 1997, the initial conclusions were similar. Advisory committees far too often did not work as intended and were not properly integrated into the decision-making process.

Poor structure, poor terms of reference, misunderstandings, lack of relevant training, and selection methods open to influence all worked to undermine the role advisory committees should have in establishing citizen voices with appropriate input at the centre of City Hall.

We therefore encourage council to adopt our recommendations, recognizing the very longstanding need for change and the ongoing need for flexible, collaborative and insightful resident voices as trusted partners at City Hall and with staff and Council.

Until the issues set out in the Advisory Committee review Team are resolved Citizen Engagement will be less than robust.

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The lights are out at the Performing Arts Centre - in the red applies to more than the Covid19 status

theartsBy Staff

November 18th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Port Nelson United Church had to cancel their Mirth and Music event; the Burlington Performing Arts Centre has had to close for the 28 days they are going to be in the Red zone of the provinces colour coded behaviour chart.

Tiered Regional approachTammy Fox, Executive Director explains: “We’ve been forced to cancel all live performances while we are in this 28 day ‘red zone’.

“It’s disappointing, but fortunately we’ve been here before this time around we are much better prepared to cope.”

All isn’t lost for the Performing Arts people.  The huge wreaths that go up each year in the windows will be up next week, the huge tree on the plaza area will go up and the Festival of Trees will take place – limited however to just ten sponsored trees.

They will be up on the 25th

“We will get through this!” said Fox.

Related news story:

Festival of the Trees

Festival of Trees courtesy of BPAC

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An application for a 16th cannabis store in Burlington has been received.

News 100 redBy Staff

November 18th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Application for a 16th cannabis retail store in Burlington WAS received by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario: Written comments are due to Province by Dec. 2

Nova Cannabis proposes to locate at 1235 Fairview St. The application does meet the City of Burlington Council approved guidelines.

Written comments about the proposed location will be received by the AGCO until Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020 and may be submitted online at www.agco.ca/iAGCO.

The AGCO will accept submissions from:

• A resident of the municipality in which the proposed store is located
• The municipality representing the area in which the proposed store is located and/or its upper-tier municipality.
Comments submitted to the AGCO should relate to the following matters of public interest:
• Protecting public health and safety
• Protecting youth and restricting their access to cannabis
• Preventing illicit activities in relation to cannabis

After Dec. 2, the AGCO will consider all written comments and available information to decide whether the application for the proposed store location will be approved.

Currently there are ten licensed cannabis retail stores in Burlington since the ACGO moved to an open licensing system for cannabis retail store applications earlier this year. The ten stores include:

• Relm Cannabis Co. 4031 Fairview St. Suite 103
• Corner Cannabis 3007 New St.
• The Hunny Pot Cannabis Co. 1505 Guelph Line, Unit 3-4
• Friendly Stranger Plains Road 1025 and 1059 Plains Rd. E., Unit 3
• Pioneer Cannabis Co. 1200 Brant St., Unit B-004
• mihi 3500 Dundas St., Unit A1B
• Canna Cabana Burlington 2400 Guelph Line, Unit 2
• Welcome Cannabis 1401 Plains Rd., Unit 5
• Spiritleaf 3295 Fairview St.
• Canada Buds 1860 Appleby Line, Unit 11B

Five additional cannabis retail stores are under review by the AGCO and one is out for comment, including this one.

Sixteen cannabis stores gives a whole different view of the statement: Burlington is ranked as Canada’s best community and best place to raise a family. It is a City where people, nature and businesses thrive. As residents continue to rediscover many of their favourite spaces and activities in the city, City services may look different as we work to stop the spread of COVID-19. The City’s commitment to providing the community with essential services remains a priority.

Quick Facts
• On Jan. 14, 2019, Burlington City Council voted to allow the operation of retail cannabis stores in Burlington
• On Apr. 1, 2019, the first round of brick and mortar, privately-operated retail cannabis stores opened across the province
• The AGCO is licensing and enforcing regulations related to retail cannabis stores in Ontario
• The ACGO introduced an open licensing system for cannabis retail stores in January 2020. On March 2, 2020, the ACGO began accepting store authorization applications.
• The provincial requirement for a cannabis retail store is 150 metres from schools (as defined by the Education Act), as per the provincial regulations. The City of Burlington guideline for a cannabis retail store is 500 metres from schools

The existence of th retail operations doesn’t appear to have resulted in fewer drug busts>

Related news stories.

Arrests and drug seizures

Brass knuckles, switch blade and drugs – arrest made

 

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We comply

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

November 18th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

In a letter from Regional Director of Planning Curt Benson to Burlington’s Director of Planning, Heather MacDonald, he told her that:

OP cover NEWWith the proposed modifications to the New Official Plan described above, and identified in Attachment #1, I am of the opinion that the City of Burlington New Official Plan conforms to, or does not conflict with,the Regional Official Plan, is consistent with the Provincial Policy Statement 2020, and conforms to, or does not conflict with,the applicable Provincial Plans and policies.

The letter covers a number of issues but the gist of it all is that what city council asked of the Region it is going to get.

Just another step in this city council meeting a large large part of its election mandate.

Much more to follow, There is a 360+ page document to be waded through.

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Mirth and Music put on Hold Until Normalcy Returns

eventsred 100x100By Staff

November 17th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Robert Missen announced yesterday that the November 21st Mirth and Music concert until has been postponed.   Halton County is now under a red alert.

Missen, the man who put the show together and was going to perform as well, said “As soon as we can reschedule it we will do so, patrons will of course have first refusal for future tickets.

Related news story:

Mirth and Music to be heard at Port Nelson United Church

 

 

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Two virtual public meetings critical to how the city develops are taking place: On the 19th and on the 25th

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

November 17th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

The dates and Zoom participation information is at the end of this article.

What began as the core and defining issue during the 2018 municipal election has become a review of the Region’s Official Plan.

The people that supported candidate Marianne Meed Ward were not in favour of the kind of development they were seeing take place in the city.

In the 20 months since winning the election the Mayor has worked to bring about two important objectives.

Meed Ward H&S profile

Marianne Meed Ward was always crystal clear on what she wanted to achieve.

She did not believe that the John Street bus terminal was an MTSA -Major Transit Station Area and she did not believe the boundary in place for the Urban Growth Centre was the right boundary for the city.

The bus terminal situation was almost funny. Most kitchens in decent sized homes are bigger than the bus terminal – how it got the label of an MTSA attached to it was never really clear.

nautique-elevation-from-city-july-2016

The Nautique – a condominium under construction at the intersection of Lakeshore Road and Martha Street.

That terminal and its labeling as an MTSA is basically the reason the Nautique is now under construction at Martha and Lakeshore Road.

There is a sad tale to be told about how all that came about. There are still planners out there arguing that the existence of the bus terminal, with its designation, is justification for building more than 20 storey’s in height.

The Mayor worked every angle she could find to rid the city of the John Street bus terminal designation and to get the Urban Growth Boundary moved.

She is close to getting what is the biggest part of her election platform

Curt Benson, the Director of Planning for the Region delegated to Council last week explaining what the Region is doing and the role the public can play in helping to arrive at a decision.

He covered a lot of ground and answered a lot of questions. Surprisingly three Councillors didn’t say a word: Councillors Bentivegna, Nisan and Stolte didn’t ask questions. Stolte was chair of the meeting but that has never stopped her from asking questions in the past.

Sharman hand up

Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman

Councillor Sharman was very pointed with many of his questions.

The Mayor was as supportive as she could be but made a point of asking the kind of question that supported her long term political objective.

If what Meed Ward set out to do when running for the office of Mayor is achieved it will become a significant part of the development history in the city and result in a major shift in how the city grows and where the growth takes place.

Curt Benson +

We tend to see elected and administrative people on video screens. See here are Mayor Meed Ward on the left with Regional Director of Planning Curt Benson and Ward 3 Councillor Rory Nisan

What Curt Benson had to say to Council will be covered in a separate article.

What he said that is important to people who follow this kind of municipal stuff is the two Public Information Centres (whoever came up with that name) that are taking place.

One is on the 19th of November and the other on the 25th.

Both are virtual.

The information you need to take part in these virtual events is as follows:

November 19, 2020
Time: 1 p.m.
Call 1-855-703-8985 (Toll Free) or 647-374-4685 or 647-558-0588 to listen or join via Zoom
Meeting ID: 965 8371 6047
Passcode: 930488

For Wednesday, November 25, 2020
Time: 7 p.m.
Call 1-855-703-8985 (Toll Free) or 647-374-4685 or 647-558-0588 to listen by telephone or join via Zoom
Meeting ID: 980 8592 6459
Passcode: 930488

The same material will be covered in each event.

This is important stuff and Curt Benson is a good presenter.
GO station area

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Covid19 and Mother NAture - there is a connection and Burlington Green wants to hear from you and your experiences

News 100 greenBy Staff

November 17th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

We sometimes wonder how money moves around in this city.

Burlington is a very wealthy city with small pockets of poverty and people who struggle to meet their basic needs.

Rents are very high.

The plus side of wealth is the people that have it in Burlington are very good about sharing it.

The Burlington Foundation handles many of the endowments that families have created. The Foundation is good at spotting where needs are and going back to those who can donate and asking for funds.

One of the recent asks resulted in a Pandemic Response Fund that handed out the second phase of their planned program.

Burl Green nature artBurlington Green was the recipient of one of the grants. They have used the funds they were given to put together a program: Nature Friendly Burlington initiative that will connect more of the community to local green space.

The Nature Friendly Burlington initiative will connect more of the community to stewardship opportunities and to a multitude of benefits nature experiences provide.

With the program structure in place the folks at Burlington Green want to hear from you

They want to know how you’ve been connecting with nature during COVID.

These are stressful time – there are more questions than answers on the minds of most people.

We are moving into a significant festive season – and it is going to be very different.

How do we cope- what supports are there out there for every demographic.

Burlington Green likes using a contest approach to draw responses from the community. There is a chance to win an eco-prize – you are automatically entered into a draw when you let them know how you’ve been connecting with nature during COVID.
Their core question is: For many of us, 2020 has been a difficult year. And many of us have turned to nature for solace, escape, refuge, and fun too! How have you enjoyed nature during COVID?

You get to the question and the opportunity to tell them what you do by CLICKING here.

 

 

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City looking for citizens to serve on Advisory Committees - there are 18 of them

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

November 17th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Burlington is looking for community members to volunteer on a city committee or board and play a key role in providing advice and feedback to City Council and staff on a variety of city issues. Applications are now being accepted online at burlington.ca/committees until Friday, Nov 27.

Table work Action plans Thomas

An Action Lab – one of the events that took place when the city was determining the role that Advisory Committees would play in bringing you new ideas to the table.

Residents over 18 years of age, representing the diverse backgrounds of our community are encouraged to apply. Participating on a city committee provides a unique opportunity to:

• Lend your voice and expertise to help shape decisions and services that impact our community
• Expand your network and meet new people
• Gain a broader understanding of how municipal government works.

There have been Advisory Committees that have served the city very well in the past.  The Heritage Advisory is one.

Attend a Virtual Information Session
A virtual information session to share more details about the openings and application process will be held on Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. Individuals who would like to attend can register in advance by emailing clerks@burlington.ca.

A recording of the Nov. 17 virtual information session will be posted to burlington.ca/committees following the event.

Kevin Arjoon, City Clerk who oversees the administration side of the Advisory Committees will tell you that: “Sitting on a local board or committee provides a unique opportunity to directly impact the future of our city. We are looking for volunteers who represent the diversity in our community to lend us their expertise and ideas to help make a difference in our community.”

Quick Facts
• The City of Burlington has more than 18 boards and committees that play a key role in providing advice and feedback to City Council and staff on a variety of issues, including heritage, accessibility, diversity and the environment.

Here is where the problem exists:

Many people who have served on Advisory Committees have come away disappointed and unsatisfied with what they were able to achieve.  They didn’t feel that they were really listened to and that members of council play too big a role in how the Advisory Committee operates.

Many would like to see the Council members left outside the room.  Many more feel that the members of Council play far to large a role in determining who sits on the Advisory Committees.

Until these issues are worked out – the problems of the past few years are not going to go away.  Which is unfortunate because in events this reporter has taken part in there have been some very smart, dedicated people who want to see and are committed to citizen participation.

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Newly opened pool to be shut down for maintenance

sportsgold 100x100By Staff

November 16th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Didn’t the Coughlan pool just open?

Coughlan pool upgrades 1

The upgrade to the facilities was exceptional.

Angela Coughlan Pool service will be disrupted for one week starting Monday, Dec. 7 through to Friday, Dec. 11, and on Dec. 14 to Dec. 15 from 5 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Follow-up maintenance from the recent pool upgrade is necessary to ensure that the pool is in proper working condition.

Maintenance is scheduled from 5 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., weekdays. Evenings and weekends are not impacted.

Daytime programs before 4:30 p.m. will be cancelled:

• Lap Swim
• Leisure Swim
• Combo Swim
• Learn to Swim (extended to another week)

Angela Coughlan Pool

Photograph was taken before the upgrades.

Alternate swim times are available at Tansley Woods and Centennial Pool and additional morning lap swims at Tansley Woods will be offered.

For aquatic programming information and alternate pool options, go to www.burlington.ca/swimming.

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Art Gallery in the running for a significant award for one of the best events they put on in 2019

artsblue 100x100By Staff

November 16th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Art Gallery of Burlington is in the running of a significant award by the Ontario Association of Art Galleries
The Gender Conspiracy, ran from August 31st to December 31st 2019. The event, curated by Suzanne Carte, senior curator at the Art Gallery of Burlington

Suzanne CArte 2

Suzanne Carte, senior curator at the Art Gallery of Burlington

AGB was listed as one of three in the Exhibition of the Year Budget under $20,000 category.

Hosted by the Ontario Association of Art Galleries, the annual OAAG/AOGA awards celebrates outstanding achievement, artistic merit, and excellence in arts institutions and professionals in the public art gallery sector.

The OAAG/AOGO Awards recognize new exhibitions, publications, programs and community engagements that have been produced and commissioned by Ontario’s public galleries.

Gender Conspiracy Award

The event was something Burlington had never experienced before. It was very well attended.

The Gender Conspiracy is an Open Letter to the Trans and Gender Diverse communities in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) to express allyship in furthering the discourse on gender fluidity and identity, sexual orientation, same-sex relationships, and consent to promote the mental health and safety of all LGBTQI2S* communities.

The AGB is determined to be vigilant and visible in our support of LGBTQI2S people by placing critical conversations on gender diversity back into the public education sphere.

The exhibition hosted a significant public programming stream in collaboration with community partners; The Positive Space Network, EGALE Canada Human Rights Trust, JAYU Human Rights Film Festival, Burlington Public Library, McMaster University Department of Gender Studies and Feminist Research, Dr. Frank J. Hayden Secondary School Position Space (GSA), and Oakville Galleries.

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'You would be forgiven if you did not know what was going on'

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

November 16th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

On a CBC radio program earlier today Melissa Lastman, a strategist with Enterprise Canada said:  She added later that many people feel “Nobody is telling us why”.

We are getting a lot in the way of numbers – nothing comforting in any of them.

1487 new cases in Ontario
538 for Toronto
88 active cases in Halton – 16 deaths in the Region.

Tiered Regional approachAnd we are now in a “red” code which the Mayor seems to be comfortable with as she struggles to breath some life into the hospitality sector.

She is pushing a big stone up a hill.

The virus is in the community – that is a fact. How far it gets to go is up to us.

We have a Premier who is loath to shut things down – it isn’t in the way he thinks or acts. He is a business person – the doors don’t get closed.

At a Standing Committee Council was focused on getting a little closer to normal and beginning to open up a little. There were some really good ideas and the mood of council was upbeat.

Then the move into a Red Control Zone.  Council and Staff didn’t seem to be fully aware of just what the numbers were really telling us.

ppe

The province today announced significant changes in the way PPE is sourced.

There is a bigger picture and a bigger responsibility that no one seems to fully understand or prepared to do all that much about.
At Council next week they will decide if the second round of $125,000 funding for PPE is to go forward.

There is now a very vigorous debate within the medical community. The province appears to be prepared with new infections just as long as there aren’t too many.

There is a new group of medical professionals who urge that a 0 growth rate be put in place and that we shut down as much as possible until that level is reached.

We need to do more to get this virus under control is the sentiment that is being heard.

long termcare 29 dead

A reported 29 deaths at this Long Term Care residence

No one at the political level is prepared to say that Christmas will be different – just how much is the big question.

The Canadian Medical Association has said that “we are very close to a tipping point”. This is a voice that needs to be heard.

Something that has to be said as well: We should be ashamed of what we have let happen in the long term care homes.

There is a report of one home in which 80% of the residents are infected.

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Rocca Sisters report some 'truly astonishing sales during the month of October'

News 100 redBy Staff

November 16th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The average price of a property in Burlington during the month of October rose to $1,095,813, up 16.7% as compared to October 2019.

56% sold for the asking price or more and properties sold for 101.34% of the asking price and in 13 days, on average during the month of October.

Sales were up just under 36% as compared to October 2019. Inventory levels at the end of October were down 46% as compared to the end of October 2019. YTD, sale prices are up 14.4%, sales are up 9.3% and days on market are down 35.5% as compared to the same period in 2019.

A couple of truly astonishing sales during the month of October: a two-storey family home in original condition (circa 1988) on Simon Drive in south Burlington was listed for $1,299,900 and sold for $1,650,000 in 5 days!

Another 2 storey family home in original condition (circa 1981) on Appleford Lane in Tyandaga was listed for $999,900 and sold for $1,225,000 in 2 days.

Our Team listed a fully updated bungalow in Pinedale for $1,099,000 and 12 offers later, sold it for $1,270,000!

A look at the numbers:

Rocca Oct sales residential

Residential sales for October 2020

 

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Burlington Collision Reporting Centre Re-opens

News 100 blueBy Staff

November 16th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

The Halton Regional Police have re-opened our Burlington Collision Reporting Centre, and modified the hours of operation for our Oakville Collision Reporting Centre.

HRPS crestEffective immediately, the Collision Reporting Centre located at 3800 Constable Henshaw Blvd. in Burlington has re-opened. It will be accessible to the public seven days a week, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The Collision Reporting Centre located at 95 Oak Walk Drive in Oakville remains open Monday to Friday, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. To report a collision on a Saturday or Sunday, please visit the Burlington Collision Reporting Centre.

There will be strict adherence to public health directives while in police facilities, including sanitizing your hands on entry, maintaining adequate physical distancing, and wearing a mask or face covering.

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Covid19: New Region Restrictions not far enough or fast enough

opinionred 100x100By Andrew Drummond

November 15th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

On Nov 13, the Ford government announced that Halton region will be added to the list of regions in the “red” zone, effective Nov 16. After a Toronto Star story exposed that the government ignored health experts’ recommendations and amplified the requirements for inclusion to red restrictions by 4x, they announced a new set of guidelines that will include Halton into the most restrictive conditions that currently exist in Ontario.

Unfortunately, even these restrictions are too little to seriously impact the spread of COVID-19 within our community given the explosive increase in cases and positivity ratings during the last month. The best course of action would be for the government to fund a complete two week shut down of all non-essential businesses so that Halton and other communities have a chance to fight the spread of COVID-19. Without decisive action now, we will be forced into a second, lengthy lockdown that will threaten the economic recovery that our region has worked so hard to build.

Covid cases for the region

Regional Public Health data for November 11th

Over the week of Nov 5-11 Halton region had a rate of 54.9 confirmed COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents. The Region also has a positivity rate of 4.4%. These are alarming stats, and indicators that the current efforts in the Region are not sufficient to contain the spread of the virus. There is reason for concern however that the new measures to be implemented on Nov 16 will also be insufficient in stopping the spread. As an example, Peel region is currently under even more restrictive measures than what the “red” zone mandates and yet has seen its cases increase exponentially. People are fatigued with social gathering restrictions and will only follow guidelines if stringently enforced, not if they are merely recommendations.

Controlling the spread of COVID is essential to the health of our community. Beyond spread within the Burlington community, there is also a localized outbreak at Tansley Woods Retirement Home. To date 35 residents and 11 staff members have been infected with the virus. As of Nov 13, 7 of these residents have died. This is too terrible an impact within our community to ignore. Without quickly imposed strong measures in place, we risk further institutional outbreaks that will endanger our most vulnerable populations.

McKenna + Drummond

Andrew Drummond talking to Jane McKenna at an all candidates meeting during the last provincial election.

On October 24, Burlington MPP Jane McKenna co-authored a public letter to Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health referring to the minimal restrictions in place at that time. “These measures are working.” she said. This was completely untrue. We now know that holding back on necessary restrictions then allowed the virus to spread virtually unchecked within our community. It is critical that those mistakes not be repeated again. We need a stronger set of restrictions with rigid enforcement or we risk our region suffering the same fate as Peel with more than 400 cases every day.

The COVID pandemic has to date caused a massive amount of damage to the Burlington economy. Countless small and medium businesses in Burlington have struggled. Many have closed and many more have been forced to move. And throughout, there has been very little support from the provincial government. The federal government has offered a significant amount of support towards businesses and employees affected by the economic downturn. But the province has been hesitant to provide even meager additional supports. That has to end.

According to the Ontario government, 97% of direct support for COVID impacted people and businesses has come from the federal government with only 3% coming from Ontario itself (https://www.fao-on.org/en/Blog/Publications/fed-prov-response-2020). Ontario needs to step up and have a plan for the long term health of our economy. Preventing shutdowns now risking future COVID outbreaks is short-sighted. We need the government to actually support our businesses through the short term so they can rebound through what is to come.

Burlington, Halton, and Ontario need to beat this wave of COVID-19. Our community cannot afford another week or month of the indecisive wait and see approach from our leaders. But our small and medium businesses cannot afford to take this hit by themselves. The Ontario government must finally step up and give our business community the support that it needs to shut down in a controlled manner, before we are forced to do so in a panic.

Tiered Regional approach

Burlington is currently in the red zone – Control

The current measures do not go far enough. It is a continuation of the conflicting direction and expectation that most people will take additional measures on their own initiative. That is not good enough, we need better. Even the “red” zone guidelines are conflicting in their expectations. The strong recommendation is that no one leave their homes except for essential travel (work, school, etc.). However, there are guidelines set as to how house league sports are to conduct themselves (no games, practices only). Is house league sports really an essential activity worth risking our community’s health?

Why have guidelines for it if everyone is supposed to stay home except for essentials? Mall food courts are restricted to 10 seated guests. The food court at Mapleview almost certainly has to close under those restrictions. So where is the support for those businesses? Every recommendation from the government in the last three months has been politicized and constantly modified to the point that neither citizens nor businesses are sure what the exact advice is anymore.

These conflicts are only examples of the conflicted, unclear, and indecisive leadership shown by the government during this crisis. They are so invested in protecting businesses in the immediate short term that they can’t or won’t plan for what is necessary in the medium term. Burlington needs a decisive shut down in order to protect our community and to ensure that all of our efforts in the past six months were not in vain. Burlington has worked too hard for too long to suffer through more indecision and half measures. The time is now for decisive action to ensure that our community has a chance to build the recovery we need.

Andrew Drummond is a Burlington resident.  He was the NDP candidate during the last provincial election.

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Christmas decoration is Gardner's next project after stunning Terry Fox results

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

November 15th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The guy who was tasked with running the 2020 Terry Fox Run felt he was in great shape at the beginning of the year.

Come the end of March he thought he was looking at a disaster.

But Craig Gardner pulled the rabbit out of the hat and raised more in the year of the pandemic than ever before.

He gave the Gazette a call and said he had an idea.

“Things are going to be slow around Christmas – there won’t be many places we can go and there might not be all that much for people to do?, he suggested

Craig Gardner Terry Fox

Craig Garner delegating to city council. wants to give people a way to drive around the city to take in the Christmas decorations.

“What do you think of the idea of encouraging people to put up imaginative Christmas decorations outside their homes and then create a map showing where the homes are so that people can drive by with the kids in the car and at least get a sense that there is still a Christmas?”

With the city now in a red zone and the possibility of a lock down facing us, Gardner may have come up with a good idea.

How to make it happen was our question.

“Won’t that result in dozens upon dozens of people showing up in the cars?” I asked.

“I don’t think so” said Craig. “ I think people will be out for a drive and will want to move from location to location.”

We thought the idea had merit – anything Craig Gardner takes on usually works out.

The plan is to create an email address that people can use to say “I’m in” and send us their address.

rees dec St Catharine

St. Catharines, ON has parts of that city that go all out on decorating.

The Gazette will put the address locations on a map and people can decide where they want to drive around.  It was suggested that people who are long term care facilities would love to be driven around to see all the trees and decorations..

The map will be published in the Gazette.

Because we expect a significant number of locations the city broken out by ward. You click on your ward and you get a map with all the locations in that ward.

You can tour as many wards as you like. We felt there might be far too many locations to place on a city wide map.

Gardner will be posting the idea on the Burlington Together Facebook page as well as the Burlington Dad’s Facebook page.

Craig and I are getting ready to visit a large retailer with an idea and an interesting way to promote the event and serve the community as well.

We will let you know how that works out.

Meanwhile, if you’re interested and want to be part of the tours just send us an email to:

lights@bgzt.ca

Provide your street address and the ward you live in (if you happen to know it).

We hope to have the maps in place before the end of the week.  Note that “hope” is underlined.

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How did Council and City Administration miss the Regional Health data?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

November 14th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

City Council has a cycle of meetings for each month.

They hold Standing Committee meetings at which there is usually vigorous debate on Staff Reports.

Then a Council meeting at which the results of the debate get approved (or not approved) which results in a bylaw that governs what we can and can’t do.

Sheila Jones - in group

While supported by good staff – these are the brains and executive capacity that keep the Emergency Coordinating Group ahead of major problems.

We are currently in a mode of government where the real power is in the hands of the Emergency Control Group. (Council is involved, heavily involved, but the ECG does have the power to call the shots.)

The Emergency Control Group was the result of a decision made by the province that required every municipality to create an emergency control group.

Each month Council gets a “Service Re-design” report in which the ECG sets out program changes and modifications.

On Thursday Council heard a report from the Parks and Recreation Department on the Community Winter 2021 Opportunities for Recreation Services.

In the Executive Summary of the report, Staff said “…there is still a degree of uncertainty regarding the spread of COVID-19…”.

Tim-Commisso-finger-up-hard-eyesThere was no comment from the City Manager on just what that “degree of uncertainty” was; there was mention of the costs involved in the proposals that were put forward.

There were ideas and proposals for Outdoor Skating,  Holiday Skates, Holiday Activation, and Winter Activation all with numbers attached setting out what it would cost and require in the way of staffing resources.

The Parks and Recreation people were asked to get more solid numbers on the costs. I suspect the Parks and Recreation people were a little taken aback at just how keen council seemed to be with most of their ideas.

That was Thursday.

On Friday the Province had taken a harder look at the numbers and moved all of Halton into a Red Zone, effective Monday (why the delay?) with a clear threat for a tough lock down later in the week.

It seemed as if Burlington City Council and the senior city administration people and the provincial leadership were singing from different hymn books.

City Manager Tim Commisso has some very smart people working with him – he frequently refers to his lead person on just what the province is doing and keeping him up to date on what is coming out of the Regional Public Health office saying that he couldn’t do his job without that person.

So here we were with Burlington sailing ahead with what sounded like good plan for giving the public things to do – the Santa traveling about the city on a fire truck was particularly neat –an innovative way to make up for the cancellation of the Santa Claus parade.

I couldn’t reconcile what Burlington was setting out to do with what the Province did on Friday.

I decided to look at the Regional Public Health data – something I now wish I had done much earlier.

Gazette resources are limited and I just didn’t keep a close eye on the data.

It was a shocker – there is a link below to the piece we published earlier today on what we learned.

The rolling average for the Region is 50 new infections each day with a positivity rate of 5: that is not a sustainable number.  The hospital cannot manage those levels.

The concern is this: Did the city manager not know about the Regional data? Was that information not passed along to him?

Council in memory

No mention of the Regional Health data from this bunch on Thursday

Did members of Council stop looking at the Regional data? Not one of them made any mention of what the Region was telling anyone who took the time to visit their site.

Don’t expect anyone to say much about the eyes being taken off the ball – but hopefully we can expect a different tone at the meeting of City Council on the 23rd.

We could be in a total lock down by then.

Related news story

Regional data

Salt with Pepper is the musings, reflections and opinions of the publisher of the Burlington Gazette, an online newspaper that was formed in 2010 and is a member of the National Newsmedia Council.

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The data is not good and the resources are beginning to be stretched - if the numbers get worse things will be very painful

News 100 redBy Staff

November 14th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The details are always in the data.

Burlington data for 13 Region

The blue line might be a little on the mis-leading side.

On balance the Regional Public Health office has been doing a very good job testing and tracing COVID-19 infections. There are certainly instances of situations where things went off the rails – but the people doing this work have been working flat out. It is a seven days a week operation putting in the hours that it takes to test and trace.

Covid cases for the region

These are the numbers for the Region. How close are we to capacity in terms of what the hospitals can handle?

Testing and tracing tells the Region what we are up against.  When the data is rolled up to the province we get to see the bigger picture.

Local data explains the part we play in all this.  The numbers are not good.

Lab testing

The percent positivity is the critical number. We are now very close to be unable to control the spread of the virus.

Spread and containment

These numbers are not sustainable. That Effective reproduction number is what we want – not what we have. The Region is currently at a reproduction number of 5

 

capacity graphics

With a seven-day moving average of 50+ cases a day it isn’t hard to see where we are headed.

 

The numbers on where we are with hospital capacity are approaching critical.

If the infections increase the number of people who enter hospitals and those who are in ICU and perhaps needing ventilation – bumps up against the number of ventilators available. As of Friday there were 8 classrooms in the Region closed with 11 people defined as infected.

The front line workers within the medical system are close to exhaustion – they have been at it since March with not much in the way of let up for them.

The Friday announcement that the four municipalities in the Region were now in a code Red status and the Premier suggesting that the province might well go into a second lock-down that will last longer than the first.

New Zealand chose to do a total lock down in August – winter time for them.  Their lock down lasted more than 100 days.  Canada is approaching its winter and our numbers are rising – because we did not heed what the data was telling us – the very mixed messaging didn’t help.

Is the writing on the wall?

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City recreation and facilities to remain open with new restrictions

News 100 redBy Staff

November 14th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Yesterday, the province announced Halton Region, including Burlington, will move into the Red (Control) Phase with additional restrictions to help control the spread of COVID-19. This takes effect on Monday, Nov. 16 and will be in place for a minimum of 28-days.

City of Burlington facilities and recreation programming can remain open with new restrictions in addition to ones already in place. Recreation Services staff are contacting user groups, renters and individuals affected by these changes.

New restrictions for City facilities and recreation as a result of moving in the Red (Control) Phase include:

• 10 people maximum for indoor programs such as ice pads, gymnasiums, pools, etc.

• 25 people maximum for outdoor programs

• Drop-in recreation programs will have a maximum capacity of 10 people. This includes Aquatic Fitness, recreational swimming and skating, lap swims, etc.

• Swimming lessons and indoor pickleball are cancelled

no no no

A lot of no,no coming out of city hall. Expect more of this in the days and weeks ahead.

• No spectators permitted at sports and recreational fitness facilities except for parent/guardian supervision of children

• All other program participants will receive targeted communication
These new restrictions will impact program providers in the following ways:

• For all team sport, indoor and outdoor game-play is no longer permitted

• Teams in City facilities and on City fields can adjust their programming to training and skill development with a maximum of 10 people indoor and 25 outdoor. Program participants are encouraged to reach out to their organization for additional information

• If you are a participant in a non-City program, please connect with your organization to understand how this may impact you

• No spectators permitted at sports and recreational fitness facilities except for parent/guardian supervision of children

• No contact permitted for team or individual sports

• Limit duration of stay to 90 minutes

• Require active screening, contact information and attendance for all patrons

• No live performances. Performing arts rehearsal or performing a recorded or broadcasted event permitted
• Singers and players of brass or wind instruments must be separated from any other performers by plexiglass or other impermeable barrier
Existing restrictions that will remain for City facilities and recreation include:
• Physical distancing
• Mandatory face coverings
• Mandatory health pre-screening, pre-registration and online payment

Virtual programming, Active at Home is still available at burlington.ca/activeathome and offers a wide variety of activities.

Anyone with questions should follow-up with their sport provider or user group or you can call Recreation Services’ Customer service at 905-335-7738.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward added her position to the provincial announcement.

Meed Ward with chain Sept 23-19

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

“Today, the Province revised the thresholds for movement in its new COVID-19 Framework and moved Region of Halton into the Red (Control) level with additional restrictions to help control the spread of COVID-19. The new level allows most businesses to remain open with additional protocols and restrictions.

I support this measure along with the new thresholds given the new and concerning modelling that was released this week. The Halton Mayors and Regional Chair had previously requested that any additional restrictions be based on transparent health indicators. The new data shows Halton meets the criteria for this change to a new level.

I continue to ask our residents to please follow the updated restrictions and guidelines from our Medical Officer of Health that include limiting social gatherings to household members, limiting outings to essential trips, and continuing to wear masks when social distancing is not possible.”
recommend everyone to check out the videos and stay active and safe.”

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Get to know your mask really well - you will be using it when you next put on sun skin care products - Really!

News 100 redBy Staff

November 13th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

We asked the Regional Medical Officer of Health for some detail on masks.

What kind of mask works best and how do you care for the masks that you purchase. And what should one be looking for when they are buying masks on-line.

Dr Meghani at news conference Hamilton

Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Regional Medical Officer of Health

We didn’t get quite the answers we were hoping but what we did get was certainly detailed enough,

This is what your taxes are paying for:

Masks are most effective when they are worn correctly.

Wear a mask made of three layers, including a middle, filter layer for improved protection. Masks should be made of tightly woven materials such as cotton or linen. Two layer masks do not need to be discarded, instead consider making or buying a three-layered mask when it is time to replace your two-layer non-medical mask.

Wear a mask that fits well around your nose and mouth, without gaps at the sides (for example, cloth mask, balaclava, bandana, or scarf).

Clean your hands before putting on, taking off or adjusting your mask.

Touch only the straps when putting on and taking off a mask.

Avoid touching your mask while wearing it to avoid contaminating your hands.

mask hold by strings

Hold the mask by the strings

If reusable, store in a clean place and wash regularly.

Discard non-reusable masks in a lined garbage bin if damp, soiled or damaged, and wash your hands afterwards.

Do not leave discarded masks on the ground or in shopping carts.

Masks or face coverings with an exhalation valve do not filter virus particles when you breathe out. In order to protect others nearby, wear a non-medical mask, balaclava, bandana, scarf, cloth or other similar item that covers the nose, mouth and chin without leaving a gap between the face and the mask.

mask n95

High end face mask

Medical masks, such as N95 respirators, protect against respiratory droplets from others entering the nose or mouth. Medical masks are needed by healthcare workers for medical procedures and to care for individuals who have COVID-19.

Some employers (that do not provide health care services) may require staff wear medical grade masks in order to meet safety requirements.

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