Burlington GO station elevators to be upgraded - work will take 2 1/2 months

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

October 6th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Good news and news that is not all that good for people with accessibility issues.

Work on the elevators at the Burlington GO station is needed as they reach the end of their lifespan

The work will begin later this month and is not expected to be completed before the end of the year.

The work is to start October 26, 2020.

This will mean some temporary changes for customers at Burlington GO, especially those who require elevator access.

Customers with accessibility needs are able to use the elevators at both neighbouring GO stations (Appleby and Aldershot), GO Transit will also help make alternative travel arrangements for customers.

The brand new elevators will open to customers early next year.

What is happening at Burlington GO?

GO Burlington elevators

Elevators at Burlington GO getting an upgrade – going to take two and a half months to do the work.

While the elevators upgrades are taking place, both the north and south platforms will be not be accessible for customers who need elevator service.

There will not be an accessible route between the north and south side of the station.

The elevator in the parking structure in the north lot will still be available.

I need an elevator, what should I do?

Customers who need an elevator can request an accessible shuttle service which will transfer them between Burlington GO and Appleby GO or Aldershot GO.

To use the accessibility shuttle, customers can register with GO Transit through the Contact Centre.

The current elevators have been running since 1994, so this modernization work is necessary to ensure reliability for many years to come.

 

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Lots of height, several different forms of housing - not much in the way of amenities and no one speaking up for the new residents when they arrive

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

October 6th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

During the virtual  public pre-consultation given by the ADI Development people last week the number of people who were “on the call” was small.

Two that mattered though were the ward Councillor, Kelvin Galbraith and Mayor Marianne Meed Ward.

KG H&S

Kelvin Galbraith: ward 1 Councillor

mmh H&S

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

They were there because council recently passed some rules for a process that, while voluntary, was necessary if the Planning department was to look at the application.

What was most interesting was how little they had to say.

One of the people who took part asked about retail and was told “there wasn’t going to be any”.  There wasn’t a word of comment from the Councillor.

The ADI people said that base level retail was not considered.  Judy Worsley, Executive Director of the Aldershot BIA said she had met with the ADI people and differed with them on ground level retail adding that “we will be revisiting this”.

3 towers

Rendering of a three story tower configuration.

The ADI people agreed that retail was important and they saw that being built along Waterdown Road which could become a retail spine for the area.

Shawn Coon did say that if retail is found to work “ADI will be interested” adding that retail might not work right away.

One had to wonder at that point what the Councillor was going to do to get some traction behind the need for retail. The hundreds of people who are going to live at Station West will need groceries, a Beer Store, an LCBO at the least.

The word supermarket didn’t get mentioned.

Galbraith, who has been working with a developer nursing their project along in the area, has said the developer will include a coffee shop in his development.  Galbraith is pushing him for a small supermarket that will be a long block away from the centre of Station West.

The matter of fire truck access came up which “needs to be worked out” according to Shane Cooney, an Executive vice president with ADI.

option 1 3 towers

Two towers at 39 stories each, a third at 29 storey. They will border Waterdown Road and Masonry Court.

config 1

Height will range from 39 storeys to 18 storeys

Meed Ward urged people to “continue thinking about what you like: green space, retail and built form.

Traffic was another issue: Cooney said that it is early in the process of doing a traffic impact study – we are not certain how to estimate what the vehicle traffic will be.

ADI defines Station West as a complete community with different housing forms.

There is certainly a lot of housing and in time there are going to be a lot of people in that community – but at this point there didn’t appear to be anyone talking loudly about what was missing.  By the time half of the people have moved in it will be too late.

No library, no community centre, no park.  Not the usual definition of complete community.

Related news story.

ADI gets to tell their story.

 

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That Free P - it Went Down the Drain

News 100 blueBy Staff

October 6th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON.

 

It was too good to last.

Or was it a case of the perk being abused by too many people – with the downtown merchants who were originally getting a benefit that over time got away from them.

The result is to ask that Council approve a decision to eliminate the free parking that was available for all of the month of December,

Every program or service has to meet at least one of the visions that make up the Vision to Focus Alignment: Focus Area 5 – Delivering customer centric services with a focus on efficiency and technology transformation.

In promoting the Free Parking service someone at city hall got really creative and put together a very funny 35 second video.  Check it out

The downtown business community as the city’s customer, requested a change in the parking service provided.

The Downtown Parking Committee (DPC) was established on November 11, 2002 as a citizen advisory committee of council. The mandate of the DPC is to:

• To provide comments and advice to Council on strategies and policies that affect the development and delivery of parking services in Downtown Burlington

• To consider the community’s interests regarding parking in Downtown Burlington and assist Council in addressing those concerns.

On June 17, 2013, Council approved changes to on-street and municipal facility parking, which approved free parking for all on-street meters and in municipal parking facilities in the Defined Parking Area in downtown Burlington for the month of December.

The intention of this initiative was to improve the parking experience and support economic activity, special events, tourism, and visitor activity in the downtown throughout the month of December.

werf

Get used to this experience in December.

The program was well received by the downtown business community. However, over the past several years, the benefit of the program has been challenged and in December 2019, the DPC was informed that the consensus among the Burlington Downtown Business Association (BDBA) membership was that the program is no longer achieving the original goal, and additionally, that the reduced turnover in parking spaces observed during the Free P period has in fact, become detrimental to business activity.

The DPC agreed on a motion to pause the December Free P! initiative to allow the committee to review options to revise the program. The BDBA circulated a survey to all membership, requesting their feedback and personal experience on the program. The survey consisted of three options:

1. Cancel the program
2. Modify the program
3. Status Quo

As a result of the response, the Burlington Downtown Parking Advisory Committee held a special meeting on March 3, 2020 where the findings of the survey were presented.

While modifications to the program were considered at length, consensus was reached that given the current parking occupancy levels in the downtown, both visitors and businesses would benefit more from the turnover of parking spaces that paid parking would encourage.

Buzz-on-Elizabeth-1024x682

Too many downtown merchants took advantage of the free parking; city staff were taking up so much of the space that the city manager at the time had to put out as memo bringing that practice to a halt.

City of Burlington Transportation Services staff serve in a support capacity to the DPC. Staff consider the DPC and BDBA as the voice of the downtown business community and will support the decision to discontinue the December Free P! parking program.

December Free P is no longer fulfilling its intended purpose and moreover has lowered turnover rates which is considered detrimental to business activity.

The downtown municipal parking service functions with a net zero annual operating budget. Net revenues in excess of expenses are allocated to the Downtown Parking Reserve Fund. Should expenses exceed revenues, funds are withdrawn from the reserve fund to ensure that the downtown parking service continues to be self-sufficient.

FreeP December FNL ParkingWhen the Free P program was implemented the annual cost of permits was charged over 11 months of the year and each permit holder saw an increase in the monthly fee. With the termination of the Free P program, permits will now once again be collected over 12 months thereby reducing the cost of the monthly permit.

Eliminating the Free P program will bring in additional paid parking revenues, which would contribute to the parking reserve fund.

Staff will work with the Communications Department to develop appropriate communication and media releases.
Council’s decision on these matters will be communicated to stakeholders and the community through the Downtown Parking Committee membership, a media release, a marketing campaign and the city’s website

The proposed amendment to By-law 39-2016 is supportive of the DPC’s recommendation to remove December Free P.

That should get it through Committee and on to Council.

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Art for the entrance to the Joseph Brant Museum - public input is the next step

artsorange 100x100By Staff

October 6th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The City of Burlington is commissioning an Ontario-based Indigenous artist to create a permanent public art piece for the outside of Joseph Brant Museum.

Residents are invited to share their thoughts on two finalists chosen by an independent jury. The two proposed designs can be viewed and commented upon by logging into or joining the City’s engagement platform: GetInvolvedBurlington.ca.

The comments received on GetInolvedBurlington.ca/MuseumPublicArt, along with the technical and detailed design proposals, will inform the jury’s final selection.

The hope is that this project will help to create awareness of the rich Indigenous cultures, peoples and heritage that are at the root of our territory, city and province. The theme of the artwork will focus on Indigenous language. Language connects us to our past, present and future; it is crucial to the development of community and the sharing of knowledge.

The budget for this project is $120,000 CAD (maximum, exclusive of HST). The City of Burlington Public Art Reserve Fund and the Dan Lawrie International Sculpture Collection are jointly funding this project.

The City released A Request for Expressions of Interest in 2019. An independent jury made up of project and community stakeholders and representatives from Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation and Six Nations of the Grand River went through the submissions and choose two finalists to develop preliminary artwork concepts.

Proposal #1
David M. General
Artist Statement
Conversations and Stories is the working title of an outdoor artwork proposed for the City of Burlington. The artwork features two women on their way to see the new Joseph Brant Museum expansion. One woman carries a child – her granddaughter. Conversations and Stories will be installed in the garden near the main entrance.

Brant Museum Artist A

The artwork features two women on their way to see the new Joseph Brant Museum expansion.

The theme for the Joseph Brant Museum Outdoor Art Project is Indigenous Language. Old people at home say “you learn your language on your Mother’s knee”- I believe that. Language gives you a sturdy foothold on lessons to be learned from the Thanksgiving Address, Seven Grandfather Teachings, Great Law of Peace and Medicine Wheel.

Granite and bronze are classic, timeless and durable materials used by ancient civilizations for thousands of years. I used granite mainly for the contrast it provides between highly polished and etched surfaces and its low maintenance and vandalism resistance.

Design begins with rough sketches that guide making maquettes – small 3-D models of figures I create. Sketches are used to guide maquette development. Up to four sets of maquettes will be used to determine best combination surface, text and symbol for the artwork.

Conversations and Stories will stand at the entrance to Joseph Brant Museum for several lifetimes – inviting all to share conversations. Conversations and Stories a modern-day tribute to historic contributions of Indigenous leadership and commitment.

David General

David is Oneida and a member of the Six Nations of the Grand River, near Brantford, Ontario.

Artist Biography
David is Oneida and a member of the Six Nations of the Grand River, near Brantford, Ontario. Prior to his art career, David worked as a Journeyman Bridge and Structural Steel Ironworker, an Elementary School Teacher and an Arts & Culture Officer with the federal government. David’s career as a full-time artist began in 1980 and for 30 years he worked and developed a distinctive style for work, mainly in marble and bronze.

In 1984, David was a founding member and co-chair of the Society of Canadian Artists of Native Ancestry (SCANA), a national native artist organization that successfully lobbied the National Gallery of Canada for greater recognition and representation for First Nations Art. In 1987, the National Gallery bought the first of many works by contemporary native artists.
https://davidgeneral.blogspot.com/

Brant Artist 2

A series of three white cedar story poles at staggered heights.

Proposal #2
Artist: Kris Nahrgang
Artist Statement
My vision for this public art project includes:

• A series of three white cedar story poles at staggered heights.
• Each pole will feature traditional Indigenous symbols, hand carved and painted with vibrant colours in the Woodland School style.
• The existing large stones from the garden will be rearranged to gather around the poles and will represent the Grandfathers, the Spirits of our ancestors, they are our permanent audience.
• The heights of the poles will complement the roof lines of the building and the canopy, with the tallest pole visible from almost 360° around the museum.
• The poles will integrate with the existing landscaping, with minimal disruption, complementing the architectural theme of the front entrance.
• The installation will be a colourful focal point and therefore a natural gathering place.

First Peoples of Ontario created poles distinct from those of the West Coast. The word Totem is derived from the Anishnaabeg word dodem, which means clan. The poles here were Clan Poles and recognized as Story Poles. The proposed Story Poles will acknowledge the three indigenous groups of the past; Mississauga Ojibway, Iroquoian, and the Huron. They will celebrate our differences, and more specifically, our similarities. We are distinct, yet one in our beliefs. As Peoples we did not have written language, but we did communicate with art, symbolism and the spoken word. Through images inspired by Woodland School symbolism and ancient petroglyphs, this public artwork will tell the story of the area with wood and stone, linking the earliest inhabitants, the current residents and the generations to come.

Kris N

R. Kris Nahrgang: His style has a balance of innovative, modern and traditional elements which have led to a growing recognition of his work across Canada and the world.

Artist Biography
R. Kris Nahrgang is a multi-disciplinary artist working in wood, stone and traditional oil mediums. He is also an advocate for the rights of First Nations communities in Ontario and has liaised between Native and non-native groups with respect to archaeology since 2000. Kris Nahrgang is a Status, Mississauga Ojibway Treaty Indian – status held at Curve Lake. His home is located close to the site of the Peterborough Petroglyphs which date back over a thousand years and are recognized as the largest single concentration of rock carvings in Canada.

Kris’ art is a continuation of this spirit and tradition of rock and totem carving. His style has a balance of innovative, modern and traditional elements which have led to a growing recognition of his work across Canada and the world. His work has been noted in art periodicals including Insight, Art Impression and Collectibles, as well as Maclean’s magazine.

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Schedule for Her Worship Marianne Meed Ward - Mayor of Burlington

Mayor sched Oct 4 a
Mayor sched Oct 5 b

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The full picture of the ADI Station West development - row housing along with 39 storey structures

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

October 5th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The first of the Public presentations of a new development under the new rules took place last week.

The new rules require a developer to present their plans to the public and get feedback before taking their project to the Planning Department.

The rules are a little on the complex side and were the subject of some debate, which we cover in a separate article.

The presentation was done by the ADI Development Group and was focused on the second stage of their Station West development. The first stage is well underway – the developers said that there are already people moving in.

Something about that first phase – it is huge. Unless you drive north on Waterdown Road from Plains Road you might not see it. But drive north on Cooke or along Masonry Court and there it is – right in front of you. Cooke is extended right into the site of what amounts to six lengths of row housing.

ADI Masonry Court south boundary

The two structures are joined by a lobby area where the elevators are located. We weren’t able to determine just how many elevators there are.

Station West eastern boundary

This is the eastern boundary with the Aldershot GO station a short walk away. This is what intensification looks like.

ADI row housing

Reasonably attractive, underground parking, basement units with a separate entrance – but it is still row housing with precious little in the way of grass.

The meeting was to talk about phase two which is projected to be four towers (but it could be three) with heights of between 18 and 39 storeys.
What strikes anyone looking at the development is – where is the parkland?

3 towers

Architectural rendering of the the tower option for phase two of Station West.

Where is there any retail?

Those questions didn’t get answered during the hour and a quarter virtual presentation.

More on that in a separate article.

The presentation itself was not all that bad.

There were three people who could be described as public taking part. That was probably because there was very little in the way of public notice.

The Gazette did a short piece two days before – not much time for people to read up on the development and prepare their questions.

The meeting was to get public input on phase two – the first phase is a done deal.

The developer was offering two versions: one with three towers, a second with four towers.

config 1

Four towers with some green space in the middle. Height will run from 18 to 39 storeys.

option 1 3 towers

Three towers with small park space in one corner. One tower at 29 storeys two at 39 storeys.

The three tower option was made up of one 29 storey tower and two 39 storey towers.

The four tower option had buildings ranging from 39 storeys to 18 storeys.

There will be additional opportunities for public input.  The truth is that there isn’t a community in place yet – there is no one to speak for the development and what it offers for those who see it as a place to live.

It is reasonably priced – said to be in the $700,000 range.

There are no homes in the immediate area that will be severely impacted by the high towers.

The development started when Rick Craven was Councillor for ward 1.

The land was reported to have been purchased from the Paletta interests for $14 million.

The ADI group has in the past built quality housing with some very innovative design.

Their Nautique in the downtown core is a smart looking 26 storey structure that has broken ground.

Getting to the point where they were able to start building meant breaking a lot of the rules; put another way – they were able to convince the then OMB that the little bus station on John Street was an MTSA – a transit area and that justified the height they were asking for.

The ADI’s are tough, very in your face developers.  They don’t take prisoners – but they are in the process of creating a community that lacks severely in the way of amenities.

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HDSB Chair Points Out That Spending Reserve Funds is Robbing Peter to Pay Paul

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

October 5th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The flow of information from the Halton District School Board and the parents with children in school could be better.
Parents do get information from teachers, especially for those students who are being taught virtually.

What the parents are not getting is the bigger picture – information that sets out what the Board of Education is up against and the challenges they have to overcome.

It is October and we are hearing of what is called “June burnout” on the part of teachers.

They are being asked to do a job that isn’t the cake walk that a lot of parents talk about – they now have to perform under very different circumstances.

A thicker flow of information would be useful.

Where the parents in Halton are being informed is through the Chair of the Board of trustees. Andrea Grebenc, serving her second term as a trustee, now has a much firmer grip on the job and she is speaking out.

Miller in a huddle with Grebenc

Chair Grebenc listening to Director of Education Stuart Miller

Grebenc has an excellent working relationship with her Director of Education Stuart Miller.

There are issues that Miller can’t say all that much about – but the Chair can.

Over the weekend Chair Grebenc said the funding is not what the province is saying publicly. Her Board decided to use $6.1 million out of the reserve funds to cover pandemic related expenses, “that is $6.1 million that was earmarked for other expenses.

“As an example, if we say OK allocate these reserve funds to hire more teaching staff, then we won’t be able to afford to give this school, this school, and that school the air conditioning they have been begging for for years. That’s the trade-off we are looking at. It’s not just money sitting around doing nothing” Grebenc said.

“It’s robbing Peter to pay Paul” she added.

In Halton about 20% of the students are being taught virtually. There is an opportunity for them to move from being virtual to in-class students. The Board at this point has no idea how many will make the switch.

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Halton Regional Police Arrest Burlington Resident for a Series of Break and Enters

Crime 100By Staff

October 5th, 2020

BURLINGTON,. ON
HRPS crestThe Halton Regional Police Service – 3 District Criminal Investigations Bureau – has concluded a month-long investigation involving a series of break and enters into several businesses within the City Burlington.

Throughout the month of September 2020, several businesses were broken into involving at least two suspects targeting A.T.M.s where an undisclosed sum of money was stolen.

As a result of the investigation, one suspect was identified by investigators. On October 3rd, 2020, a Criminal Code Search Warrant was executed at a residence in the City of Burlington and the accused was arrested.

The investigation led to charges against the following individual;

John BAILEY (48 years old from Burlington)

Break and Enter – Commit; contrary to the Criminal Code of Canada – (7 counts)
• Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking (Fentanyl); contrary to the Controlled Drugs and Substance Act
• Fail to Comply with Probation Order; contrary to the Criminal Code of Canada

The accused was later released on a Form 10 Undertaking.

Investigators are still seeking to identify the second involved party. Anyone with information in regards to this investigation is asked to contact Detective Melissa Parsons of the 3 District Criminal Investigations Bureau at 905-825-4747 ext. 2307

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

Please be reminded that all persons charged are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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Taste of Burlington begins on a wonderful fall day - dine in or take out offered

eventspink 100x100By Michele Bogle

October 5, 2020

BURLINGTON, ONTARIO

 

The Taste of Burlington 2020 launches today with 35 of your favourite participating restaurants offering their best under circumstances that are far from normal.

An event that started in 2008  with just 12 restaurants taking part has steadily grown.

The event starts Monday October 5th and runs through to the 25th.

This fall, each participating restaurant is again offering mouth-watering pre-fixe menus with appeal for anyone’s palate.

Taste of Burlington has made ordering easier, with extra perks.

Sign up for the ‘free’ Taste of Burlington Passport to view menus on-line. The more times you dine out, using the app, the more chance you have of winning the weekly gift card give-away, or the grand prize of $500 to a restaurant of choice.

Some participating restaurants have special offers for returning. Tallying of the contest used to be by ballot-box, but can now be done digitally.

Kelly Harris, Marketing Specialist with Tourism Burlington and Co-ordinator of Taste of Burlington writes, “Quite excited about this as especially with the pandemic, the ballots don’t have to touch so many hands.”

But wait!, there’s more. If you choose to dine in at any of the participating restaurants, the app allows you to order from the pre-fixe menu without touching anything but your own device.

Dining out at a new or favourite restaurant, has been made easier, safer and more economical with the Taste of Burlington Passport App.

As a cost-saving measure to the restaurateurs, if dining out, there is only pickup available. No delivery. The app also allows you to choose the patio, takeout, or dine in. As well it can be used to make reservations, required for this dining event.

Within this link to the list of participating restaurants, you’ll find the quick and easy application for the passport, if you don’t already have it.

Check each restaurant’s website for dates and times available. Not all locations have their own parking, so leave enough time to find city parking, if dining in.

When dining in, as a patron you can expect the Public Health Guidelines as set out by Halton Region to be rigorously observed.

As an on-going series, I’ll be reviewing some of the participating restaurants to assess, not only the value and quality of the pre-fixe menus offered, but of the safety measures exercised by those restaurateurs.

Michele BogleMichele Bogle is a Burlington resident who writes for the Gazette on community issues. Ms Bogle has taken part in the Food Network for the second year in a row to audition for the ‘Great Chocolate Showdown’ 2020 and 2021. She made it to the second stage of auditions for ‘Wall of Chefs’ 2019 and finished top 1% of auditions last year for ‘The Great Canadian Baking Show’.

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Citizen group disagrees with Council decision.

October 4th, 2020
Last week Council endorsed the recommendations from the Planning department on the Scoped Review of the Downtown Core portion of the adopted but not approved Official Plan.
The endorsement goes to Council this week and, if approved, will be come part of the Official Plan that is currently in the process of being revised. It will be sent to the Regional government where it has to be approved.
Citizens created an organization they called We Love Burlington, (WLB).  That group released the following statement related to an article the Gazette wrote on the decision of Council to endorse what the planners had brought forward.
The WLB statement should be part of the public record.
  Taking a closer look graphic
Last December and January, WLB delegated before City Council opposing the direction proposed in the returned Official Plan for downtown development and the public waterfront. We were joined in our opposition by our colleague, Gary Scobie, long time civic activist and critic. Today we post a submission by two members of WLB and Gary on the virtually unchanged but ‘final’ direction for downtown and the waterfront. We continue to advocate for local voice and respectfully request that it be heard. If you agree, contact your Councillor and make your voice count. We strongly suggest looking carefully at the morass of documents and not simply the consultant’s Guidelines nor the summaries provided by the City or council members.
September 21, 2020
The following is the joint submission of Lynn Crosby and Blair Smith, two founding members of WeLoveBurlington, and Gary Scobie, long-time civic activist and advocate. We share a common passion for the City of Burlington and a common purpose in protecting its downtown and waterfront from inappropriate development and excessive intensification. We also have a compelling interest in preserving the integrity of local government – that level of governance closest to the citizen and most sensitive to local needs and voice. Indeed, WLB actually was created by the need to counter the provincial direction for amalgamation at the regional government level. The campaign, waged in concert by a number of ad hoc organizations, was ultimately successful and the threat of amalgamation in Halton removed.
Ironically, the government that WLB fought to preserve because of its perceived sympathy to the people’s will, then turned a virtual deaf ear to many of those citizens when it developed its revised plans for Burlington’s downtown. It would appear that proximity to the people is no guarantee of either the ability to hear their voice or follow their wishes.
On December 5th, 2019 and January 12th, 2020, we delegated before Council. On those occasions we questioned the timing and basic process of the course that brought forward the 243-page Integrated Control By-Law Land Use report and the highly interdependent 319-page Preliminary Preferred Concept Report. We challenged the timing, the conclusions and the basic sequencing of events. At that time, we urged Council to address the relocation of the Urban Growth Centre (UGC) and the mis-designation of the John Street bus station and the downtown as a Major Transit Station Area (MTSA). We argued that these actions must be a priority before any acceptable redesign of the downtown was possible. We asked for ‘no more tall buildings’. And we were not heard. Indeed, with our final delegations there was not one question posed. We raised inconvenient truths and there was no will to exchange ideas, no appetite to debate. We were politely but conclusively dismissed. We determined at that time that further delegation was pointless and the course for downtown irrevocably charted.
Today, however, we are making another statement in response to the latest documents, the Placemaking and Urban Design Guidelines and the Downtown Burlington Fiscal Impact Analysis and the latest, and apparently final, version of Report PL-16-20, Taking a Closer Look at the Downtown Recommended Modifications to the OP. We do this to bring orderly closure to our advocacy and, once again, echo the voice of Burlington citizens who deserve to be but have not been heard. Sadly, the situation remains almost exactly the same as it was nine months ago – all this time spent tinkering with the documents, but not substantially changing the position or the “vision.”
On page 8 of the Guidelines, for example, the two designations that enable both the Province and the development community to force high intensity massing of people and/or jobs in Burlington’s downtown remain unchanged and in force. We refer, of course, to the Urban Growth Centre (UGC) and the Major Transit Station Area (MTSA). COB recently announced that Council voted unanimously on August 24, 2020 to request removal of these designations, yet they remain the key component of the downtown OP, the Guidelines, all Schedules and the Fiscal Impact Analysis. Coupled with this is the fact that LPAT, the ‘new’ dispute forum, is a high-rise developer’s dream tribunal where height and massing in designated growth areas are not just supported but are actively encouraged.
The Urban Growth Centre (UGC) designation was first applied to our Downtown through the Places to Grow provincial legislation in 2005 and ratified by Burlington Council in fall 2006, just weeks before the City Election. It demanded a minimum 200 people/jobs per hectare over the area bounded by the Growth Centre and remains in place today.
The Major Transit Station Area designation arrived much later in the second decade of this century through the provincial agency, Metrolinx, based on the unsubstantiated claim that our Downtown Bus Terminal qualified as a Mobility Hub. The MTSA covers roughly the same area as the UGC and requires the same intensification minimums. Both designations support high intensity massing of people/jobs (and buildings) in the Downtown area and reinforce each other as provincial intensification tools. Moreover, both designations share three critical aspects detrimental to the popular “vision” of what constitutes “good planning” for Burlington’s downtown:

The intensification applies over an area, not a building.

There is no maximum stated. Only a minimum is demanded, and municipalities are “encouraged” to go above the minimum.

There is no mention in the legislation of maximum building height – the sky is quite literally the limit.

So, the two most damaging factors remain unchanged and will be ‘in force’ and operative for the foreseeable future – at minimum, until the Regional Official Plan is revised and approved. This factor alone undermines the comforting assurances and lofty principles of the Guidelines. Indeed, the latter are almost a misdirection, intended to appease a skeptical and fatigued citizenry; false guarantees that intensification can be controlled and made amenable to the public will. But, as Guidelines, they exist simply to articulate what “should be” not what “must be” and they can be contravened by any number of higher policies and direction statements. For example, the “Core Commitment: Downtown Vision and Action Plan” (as amended) goes beyond and takes precedence over the “Placemaking and Urban Design Guidelines”.
In essence, the Guidelines are unenforceable, part of an array of reports and documentation that requires a very informed and patient reader to do all the necessary cross-referencing to determine the complete context. As with the past process of last December and January, the documents are too numerous, too dense, too intricate and too complex. They are not intended to easily inform.
Truly, the devil can be in the details. There are instances in which the Guidelines don’t match or conform to the main OP report. One of the best examples is Village Square. The Guidelines talk about 4 storeys “abutting Martha Street” but Village Square, as popularly known, does not extend to Martha Street.
The Guidelines state:
“1. The maximum height of developments abutting Martha Street shall be 4 storeys and/or shall provide a built form transition to Martha Street and north of Pine Street to maintain the existing low-rise character.”
2. Retail frontages should be designed to complement and reinforce the unique human scaled and historic character of the Village Square Precinct.
3. Retail provided at-grade along Pine Street will act as a transaction to the Village Square development and emphasize an intimate relationship with the public realm by providing a minimum setback of 4 metres from the curb.
4. Development should maintain and enhance views of the Village Square.”
The language is intended to give the impression that the low-rise nature of the area is being protected and preserved. However, when the map (notably, only included in the revised schedules and omitted from the Guidelines) is referenced, it is clear that the north portion of Village Square allows 11 storeys. Moreover, both the Report and the Guidelines are silent on the treatment of the Square’s interior. At best this is misleading; at worst, a deliberate omission. And this is characteristic of the Guidelines as a whole. They contain a treasure trove of vague, ambiguous, qualitative language that provides a sense of affirmation but does not allow for measurement or objective validation.
The Guidelines perpetuate a number of known problems and deficiencies already cited with the planning process and the downtown modifications made to the Official Plan. Most glaring, perhaps, is the fact that the Old Lakeshore Road precinct continues to be ignored. Why is this most critical of precincts, the gateway to the downtown, continually out of scope?
Why are the serious issues, constraints and challenges posed not openly addressed? Why reference it as one of the 10 precincts and note that the downtown is “on a beautiful waterfront setting”, then completely ignore what is required to protect the waterfront, enhance its accessibility to the public and maintain the existing views? Indeed, Burlington has had a very uneven record over the last 20 years in terms of preserving and protecting the natural asset of the waterfront. It sold valuable waterfront property to private owners, failed to extend the waterfront trail and allowed development interests to prevail over those of public access. These Guidelines and this Official Plan do little to reverse the mistakes of the past. World class cities provide strict and enforceable measures to ensure that their waterfronts are valued as irreplaceable jewels and true public assets. Burlington, by contrast, posits a “feel good” set of principles (pp 44/45) factored around the discretionary preservation of “views” and “access”.
The same principles with the same poor expectation of effective implementation are used to preserve sight lines to landmark buildings such as City Hall, Knox Presbyterian Church and Village Square. One can reasonably argue that the view of City Hall will be obstructed by the Twin Towers approved for the northeast and southeast corners of Brant and James. Knox is located in the Downtown East Precinct that allows tall buildings and is vulnerable to demolition. Village Square presents a series of already identified issues. In fact, we take serious issue with the whole Downtown East Precinct in which the “precedent” of existing tall buildings is used to justify an ongoing ‘tall building’ development pattern. Why is the “precedent” not anchored in the many one or two storey houses in the area? How does the allowance for 17 storeys on Elizabeth Street and 17 at the Lions Club Park conform to the existing adjacent neighbourhoods? How does it conform to that which the people have been asking and how is it feasible that that small area around tiny Martha Street and Lakeshore/James could possibly accommodate this many tall buildings and additional congestion? Where is the requirement that Carriage Gate finally, after more than a decade, build their promised parking garage and medical centre at the site of their 17-storey condo building atop a three storey “podium” (the much-touted retail portion on ground level still completely vacant) located in the East Precinct? Why is the consultant/staff recommending 22 storeys at the Carriage Gate property at Pearl and Lakeshore, beside the uniformly unwanted ADI property next door?
There is almost a complete lack of green space and amenities. The map in Schedule 3, Appendix D shows three green circles denoting “public parks” (viz. Ghent/Brant, No Frills parking lot and Martha near New Street). They are small, located in insignificant areas and appear as afterthoughts – not integral components of the plan. The City claims to want to create complete communities with all of the amenities, but this worthy goal appears to have been abandoned in the downtown. Indeed, there is no section in the Guidelines dealing with green spaces and parks. Instead of needed amenities, community hubs and actual parkland, we are presented with the concept of POPS (Privately Owned Publicly Accessible Spaces) as leisure and recreational areas for the thousands of people who will populate the new buildings. The POPS were featured in the Fall 2019/Winter 2020 presentations of the preferred concepts for downtown. They were not critically acclaimed then and deserve no better treatment now. In fact, little has changed with either the concepts or the consultant’s treatment of the design for downtown. So, for example, where is the recognition that the pandemic has dramatically changed our reality? In the Fiscal Impact Analysis:
Table 3-1 summarizes the residential growth projections for Downtown Burlington to 2031. It is anticipated that the within Downtown Burlington, the City’s population will grow by 2,787 population over the 2020-2031 forecast period. The population growth will be facilitated by the development of 1,720 additional high-density residential dwelling units. Consistent with the assumptions of the 2016 FIS, it is assumed that 75% of high-density residential development will be in the form of condominium development, with the remaining 25% comprising apartment developments.”
Remarkably, there is no updated view of the changes that COVID has made to our lives and the nature of our future living. Today, and for the foreseeable future, there is far less desire for condominium living and cloistered spaces. People want to distance and separate, want more open spaces and houses with traditional features and backyards. Accordingly, there should be fewer allowances for tall buildings and much better-defined planning for open spaces. Why is the consultant’s vision unchanged?
This speaks to our final major issue – the implicit cynicism of the consultation process and the lack of meaningful public engagement. Much has been made by the City and Council in ward newsletters and social media posts of the extensive outreach that has been undertaken. Citizens have been thanked for their time and effort reviewing an endless array of documents, helping to make the Official Plan and its policies a better, more inclusive work. However, nothing has materially changed. The preferred concepts, the vision and principles, the Official Plan itself with its myriad ancillary reports and the strategic documents ‘ad infinitum’ have not been varied or amended. The direction has not been moderated by either public comment and feedback or influenced by a differing public perception. The development scenario was essentially set during last Summer and Fall, when SGL Consulting was engaged under a directed tender to validate staff-defined outcomes. The necessary substantiating reports and studies were then concluded with predictable findings and the path forward unaltered from that framed and established at the very beginning.
Neither Council nor Planning staff should believe that a lack of new comments opposing much of these final documents means that the public now finds them acceptable. In the midst of a pandemic and at the end of a very long, quite protracted and overly tiresome process with too many documents, too many cross-references and too many versions, people are fatigued with the need for repetition; for saying repeatedly what they want and never being heard. We know that the council members are there to speak up on our behalf, convey our long-standing and unchanged positions, and to direct staff as they see fit. This is what the public expects and is counting on.
In summary, we’ve been here before – several times actually and nothing substantive has changed. It’s not that we expect that Council is under any obligation to passively comply simply because we attended and delegated. However, we did expect to be respected and to be heard. We represent a popular voice to which you have turned a deaf ear; worse, to which you have claimed an avid attention, then done nothing. We respectfully request that you provide for substantive amendments to the Official Plan, addressing the deficiencies noted in this submission and reflecting what the people of Burlington want for their downtown.
We understand that Council has worked with staff on modifications to produce a revised Official Plan for endorsement but we believe that it is seriously flawed. It leaves the waterfront vulnerable to development and permits a downtown in which tall buildings will dominate, with no real green space or public amenities. As we have said from the beginning, there is only one waterfront and one downtown – once gone there will be no bringing anything back and we urge the current Council, elected with such high popular expectation two years ago, to do everything needed to clearly ensure their permanent protection. Your legacy depends on it.

 

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Premier Doug Ford: A Man Without a Plan

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

October 3rd, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Haven’t we seen this movie before? The eagerness to open up the economy before the virus was properly contained has returned us to where we were back half a year ago. In fact worse. We have already exceeded the record of infections we saw last spring. Does that mean the long months of lock down were all in vain?

Who is running this ship anyway ? Dare I say… this was, of course, entirely predictable. And now we’re expected to top 1000 cases in a of couple weeks. But we really have no idea, since the virus is exponential and there are lags between exposure and symptoms… and well… who knows?

body bag +

Infections have reached 1000 a day in Quebec. Deaths have also increased.

Quebec has already beat us to the 1000 cases a day, by the way. Yet it was barely three months ago that Premier Legault was so convinced he’d beat the virus to the ground that he opened up provincial restaurants and bars and invited customers in – Bon Appétit. And now he has had to shut them all down.

Earlier this week on the very day that Ontario hit its highest level of infections ever, 700 cases, casinos in the province were allowed to reopen. And still the Premier thinks he is smarter than the virus – that he can outmaneuver it, surgically control it, micro-mange and fine tune how we live our lives to constrain it – rather than doing what his neighbouring province has had to do.

We are all waiting for a vaccine to save us – something we expect to have by early next year. So one has to ask – why not sit tight and wait? Oh sure we need money to live by – but the feds have the printing presses primed – and most of us are doing better than ever if we consider the amazing growth we’ve seen in personal savings.

COVID is the viral disease making all this fuss, but this is also an economic and social crisis of historical importance.

Provincial gross domestic product (GDP) suffered its greatest loss ever. This is entirely attributable to measures we’ve taken to flatten the curve (of infections). And were it not for the federal government doling out cash we’d be in big trouble. Ontario lost over a million jobs during the June to August period.

restaurant indoor

Restaurants are taking the biggest hit – and there doesn’t appear to b a solution for them in the near term.

While just about every sector had been affected by the epidemic, entertainment, travel and hospitality were the hardest hit. These are the business activities where viral spread is hardest to control. Hospitality and tourism make up about 4% of provincial GDP generating over $22 billion in sales in a normal year. Together with restaurants there are over 11,000 establishments across the province.

Ford - dumb thoughtful

If the virus gets even worse, the Premier knows he’ll have no choice but to lock them down again.

And that is the dilemma facing the Premier. If the virus gets even worse, he knows he’ll have no choice but to lock them down again – when hospitals get overloaded and more seniors start dying he won’t be able to pretend that his surgical blade can do the impossible. He’s already getting flack from health experts demanding more lockdown and that he fire his chief medical officer.

It’s not easy being a man without a plan. And it’s clear the Premier is making it up as he goes along. Every new daily briefing brings some new direction, which may conflict with the one from the previous day. And while he can predict we’ll have a thousand new cases a day by mid-October, he can’t tell you what we’ll be doing about it.

And the mixed messaging is not only causing confusion but also social unrest. There have already been some protests over masking. And we see normal law abiding folks, who mostly observed the earlier restrictions on public and private gatherings choosing to ignore them now. Indeed when Ford himself ignores his own rules as he has done on occasion – why not? He is supposed to set an example, after all.

public interest - enough

The public reaches a point where they don’t want to co-operate.

Civil rights organizations have also taken up the question of the constitutionality of lockdowns, restrictions and bubbles – though the courts so far have weighed on the side of public interest over individual rights. But if protesters can demonstrate that government is not doing a good job at protecting them anyway – that may all change.

And there is a lot of evidence. Accountability for failure to protect the lives of long term care residents, by actions before and after the lockdowns is still on the back burner. Failure to prepare for the safe re-opening of schools. The inconsistency of restrictions. Inability to successfully execute a test and trace program. And of course the decision to re-open the economy when the Premier anticipated increased case loads as a result.

But the premier has to weigh the economic benefits of allowing these sectors to remain open against the potential economic consequences of another major lock down. He has to worry about employment and GDP and the provincial budget deficit which is forecast to hit some $40 billion, but likely will be much higher.

And of course there is scheduled to be a provincial election at the beginning of June 2022.  After all, for a man claiming to be a deficit killer and opposed to tax increases and raising more debt, he is faced with tumbling provincial revenues and hugely increased provincial expenditures. And then there is the matter of the health of the all the people.

vaccine - waiting

The vaccine may not turn out to be the solution – despite the amount being spent.

As we wait for a solution to the epidemic, either a viable vaccine or for the virus to miraculously die off on its own, as SARS did, the Premier has to balance the health and lives of Ontario folks against the economic costs of coping with the economic fallout from the virus.

So the question is whether his surgical talents will successfully constrain the contagion – or whether we are headed for a deja vu.

Rivers in maskRay Rivers writes regularly on both federal and provincial matters as well as environmental issues. He has degrees in economics and was the founder of the Sustainability Advisory Committee in Burlington. Rivers was a candidate for provincial office in Burlington where he ran against Cam Jackson in 1995, the year Mike Harris and the Common Sense Revolution swept the province.

 

Background links:

Mixed Messages –    Ontario Peaks –    Testing

Australia vs Sweden –   Long Term Care –  

More Long Term Care –   Savings Rate –    Ontario Job Loss –   

Confusion –    Ontario Deficit

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Private sector turns out to be more transparent than the public sector.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

October 2nd, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

A classroom has been closed at a Burlington elementary school.

Joe Dogs noticeA restaurant has chosen to close because a staff member tested positive.

This is the norm for at least the next six months and perhaps longer.

The virus is out there and we are letting it transmit from person to person.

The Board of Education did the right thing and the restaurant did the right thing.

It is when organizations and the hospitality sector do the right thing that we know the needed precautions are being taken.

Tough on everyone but it can be managed.

Joe Dogs was more responsible and transparent than the Halton District School Board.

The restaurant went public quickly; the people on the administrative side of the Board seem to have lost their tongues.

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The story behind the exercise equipment that a seniors group paid for at Burloak Park

background graphic redBy Pepper Parr

October 2nd, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

This story goes back to 2015. At the time there was a Memorandum of Understanding between the city and BSCI expired on Dec. 15, 2015.

The City of Burlington had taken over all operations at the Burlington Seniors’ Centre after severing ties with an independent board of directors that had been responsible for running some aspects of the city-owned facility.

The city ended its association with Burlington Seniors’ Centre Inc. (BSCI) at the start of November following a recent decision not to renew its partnership agreement with BSCI.

Under the previous agreement, BSCI had the responsibility at the centre for running the Bistro Café and annually organizing seven day trips as well as one lunch and Christmas dinner and a Robbie Burns dinner.

On Oct. 26, the city notified BSCI that it would assume these responsibilities as of Nov. 1, said Fred Hendriks, president of BSCI, a non-profit volunteer entity that was incorporated in 2012.

Kwab

Kwab Ako-Adjei, Director of government relations and strategic communications for the City of Burlington.

“From a service delivery perspective, we had two different entities offering services to members. … the BSCI operated the bistro and organized the day trips while the city organized everything else,” said Kwab Ako-Adjei, senior manager of government relations and strategic communications for the City of Burlington.

“The recent change means that we now are able to offer the same training, support and recognition to the volunteers in the bistro and events areas, who were formally the only volunteers not under city supervision.

“…. This conclusion in our relationship (with BSCI) will have no operational impact on service to the 3,800 members of the seniors’ centre. All the programming members have come to enjoy will remain the same.”

The paid chef who manages the bistro will remain in his position, said Ako-Adjei, who added that, if anything, he expects some service improvements and enhancements at the centre in the future, but didn’t elaborate.

Hendriks said his board members had expected to have meaningful dialogue with city representatives about a renewed working arrangement and feels that didn’t happen.

“The city and BSCI have been in discussion for many months about beginning negotiations to renew the MOU. BSCI is disappointed that the city chose to end the relationship in this premature and disappointing manner without any BSCI consultation.”

Ako-Adjei disagreed with Hendriks’ assessment.

“Since October 2015, the BSCI and the city had co-cooperatively agreed to work though a mediation process facilitated by an external facilitator, which amongst one of the objectives sought (was) to clarify roles and responsibilities at the seniors’ centre.

“At the conclusion of this lengthy and thorough mediation process, the outcome highlighted our collective inability to effectively move forward as partners…. As with any end to a relationship, the decision was not an easy one to make…”

BSCI is now operating as Burlington Seniors’ Community (BSC) and is governed by the same board of directors, said Hendriks.

It has a boardroom within another local organization’s building and will hold meetings there, he noted.

“The BSCI board will meet in November to discuss next steps. Our goal is to continue to be a vital organization supporting the well being of Burlington’s diverse and growing community of seniors,” said Hendriks.

“…. BSCI hopes to offer our experience and expertise by collaborating with BSAC (Burlington Seniors Advisory Committee) and other seniors groups throughout the community.”

As for wrapping up its affiliation with the city, Hendriks noted that programming staff in the city’s recreation department are responsible for all programs at the seniors’ centre.

Seniors taking in the music

Music programs are part of the program offering at the Seniors’ Centre

The city hires and pays the centre’s program instructors and determines the content.

All seniors’ centre membership fees his group received as BSCI were forwarded to and managed by the city, he said.

However, BSCI did receive and manage money donated directly to it by independent groups like The Boutique Ladies, which sold handmade items and donated proceeds to BSCI, and Club Nine.

“All of those generous donations were given to BSCI to be used at the discretion of BSCI’s board of directors. The board of directors chose, instead of using such donations for operating expenses, to add all of them to profits from running the bistro, day trips and events,” said Hendriks.

He said the BSCI used these funds to purchase items that would benefit the members of the Burlington Seniors’ Centre, things like playing card tables, dirty dish carts, a fridge, freezer and utensils.

As well, the BSCI had given tokens of appreciation to the centre’s volunteers such as free coffee, food vouchers for the bistro or Tim Horton’s cards.

Hendriks wouldn’t say how much money is in the fund managed by BSCI/BSC,  just that those funds “will continue to be used to further the interests of seniors in Burlington”.

“No decisions will be made about those funds without thoughtful deliberation, transparency and input from the local seniors’ community.”

Carr + MAyor at BSCI

Mayor Meed Ward on the right and Regional Chair Gary Carr on the left at the unveiling of the exercise equipment at Burloak Park.

Fast forward five years and we have the Mayor, the Regional Chair, a couple of members of council unveiling a plaque that says the equipment in the Burloak Park was purchased by the Burlington Seniors Centre, a not for profit private group that once used to run programs at the Centre and operated a very profitable Bistro.

When the city parted ways with the group they took the money they had (it was a substantial amount) and used it for events that benefited the senior community.

The exercise equipment was their most recent initiative. Finding a place to put the equipment turned out to be a real challenge. The city provided little in the way of help. They were eventually able to find a space in the Burloak Park. The preferred site was somewhere in Central Park.

The working relationship between Parks and Recreation and the seniors group was never healthy.

When things were difficult back in 2013 the seniors decided their issues would get attention if they went after members of Council – that tactic worked.

City manager Jeff Fielding doesn't win every time. Joe Lamb, negotiating for the Seniors' Centre basically took Fielding to the cleaners with the deal he talked the city into.

City manager Jeff Fielding with Joe Lamb, negotiating for the Seniors’ Centre

Jeff Fielding was the city manager at the time; he was a delight to work with as far as the seniors were concerned. The problems were worked out.

When James Ridge became city manager a lot of things changed.

The Seniors’ Centre is administered by the Parks and Recreation department which many feel has never really understood what the seniors want and need in terms of recreation and exercise needs.

The Gazette recalls an occasion when ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward took part in a “listening” exercise. She met with anyone who wanted to take part in a gathering of people at the Centre to talk about the issues. It was a somewhat muted occasion when members found that staff were lined up at the back of the room listening carefully. Members felt intimidated and not prepared to speak out.

Parks and Recreation has not been able to find people who can empathize with the seniors, understand their concerns and put up with some of their limitations.

This isn’t the story that got told out at Burloak Park Thursday morning.

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MMR High School has yet to experience any COVID infections - principal Proteau supports her teaching staff and is almost a den mother to her students.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

October 1st, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

When we read about infection reports that are above 500 across the province and read about the severe restrictions being imposed in Quebec – it is reasonable to ask – What do I have to do to be safe?

We were invited out for Thanksgiving and wrote our friends asking if we could at least think about re-scheduling.

We have our own bubble that we are careful to maintain.

It’s just the two of us and a couple of dogs.

The vet was over yesterday – I was surprised about how casual he was – no mask either.

With people returning to their offices and rising up an elevator with five or six people that they don’t know – not something I want to have to do.

mmr the school

M M Robinson High School has not reported any infections.

We are getting reports from schools – there are infections. Nothing serious – not glaring hot spots – yet. Is this because we are all very careful or just lucky?

Ten schools have reported infections, all are secondary schools. None of the schools have been closed and the number reported that could be infected is at the 1 and 2 level.

MMR students 1

Students milling around outside the high school between classes keep a safe distance without supervision.

The province has released a revised approach to screening students before they head for school every day.

Like most government documents it is too long. The list of things to watch for is good and is set out below.

Claire Proteau has a very open respectful relationship with her students.  She reports that about 20% of her school population opted for virtual classes.

One of the biggest issues for Proteau is the level of education her staff is able to deliver with all the COVID precautions in place.

She works closely with the department heads and ensures that they are in very close touch with the classroom teachers.

“But it isn’t the same” she said.  “It is very hard to deliver a quality education under these circumstances.”  Proteau isn’t complaining, she just does her best to ensure that her students are getting the help they need to cope with what everyone has to deal with and at the same time strive to give them the education they deserve.

“I have a great bunch of students, they are a delight to work with and my teachers are giving it everything they have.  If there are problems we will deal with them.”

If we exercise that abundance of caution we will get through this. When we learn of the hundreds that are found to be infected each day we know that some people don’t take the precautions. They are usually the ones that move their lips when they read.

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Exercise equipment placed in Burloak Park - paid for by a citizens group

News 100 yellowBy Denis Gibbons

October 2nd, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The gorgeous waterfront setting of Burloak Park now is the home of Burlington’s first Seniors’ Exercise & Social Space.

BSCI band

A band was on hand to celebrate the opening of the Seniors Exercise space in Burloak Park. The band is reported to have been paid for by the ward Councillor – Paul Sharman. Photos by DENIS GIBBONS

Equipped with several work stations compatible with safe workouts for seniors, the space was donated to the City by Burlington Seniors Centre Inc., a non-profit group.

BCSI Meed Ward unveiling

Mayor Meed Ward does the unveiling of the plaque that explains why this equipment was put in the Burloak par. Tucked behind the sign is Connie Price, the woman who would not give until the city came up with space for the equipment to be placed. Fred Hendriks, president of Burlington Seniors Centre Inc. stands watching

Connie Price, treasurer and seniors equipment chair, was the sparkplug behind raising $50,000 for the new park.

“I am so concerned that after COVID we are going to have a community of seniors who are more frail,” Price said at Thursday’s official opening. “Now they can get out and use this, even just to socialize which is so important to them.”

Fred Hendriks, president of Burlington Seniors’ Centre Inc., said the project took three-and-a-half years to complete. He said the committee looked all over Burlington for a location.

“We finally found this gem right here,” he said. “And we did it in the colors of the BSCI (blue and green).”

Halton Region Chair Gary Carr said the Halton Board of Health has made an effort to get people of all ages to be active and stay healthy.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward said the park is a good example of what happens when people are persistent with their dreams and don’t give up.

“When we do right by our seniors, we benefit our whole community,” the mayor said.

Related article:

The story behind the gift of exercise equipment to the city.

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Standing Committee of Council endorses the Official Plan - that is good news

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

October 1st, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It was an eleven hour meeting that went as smoothly as things like this can go.

The result – the city now has an Official Plan that it will soon send to the Regional government where it has to be approved.

City council on innauguration Dec 3rd - 2018

They were sworn in to deliver – yesterday – they delivered.

Getting the document to this point has been a massive effort on the part of the people in the Planning Department where many of the people in place now are new to the city.

Alison Enns

Alison Enns on a walking tour with a group of citizens.

Alison Enns and Thomas Douglas did a huge job of involving the public and fattened their resumes with some superb work.

Director of Planning Heather MacDonald, new to the city as well, was able to get staff to meet the call every time she asked.

Council deserves credit – they believed a better Official Plan was necessary and they hung together for the most part to see it to the point where it passed through the Standing Committee on a 6-1 vote with Councillor Sharman being the exception.

sharman and AB in huddle

Councillor Sharman with Councillor Bentivegna – they voted against the 9 Meed Ward amendments – with one exception.

His decision not to support the motion was as much a political move as a vote against what is a good Official Plan. This Council did the work that the 2014-18 Council wasn’t able to get done.

Even Councillor Sharman admitted as much.

Mayor Meed Ward did what she always does – did it her way. She, along with ward 2 Councillor introduced nine amendments to what the Planning department brought forward.

Meed Ward style

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward – she ran on creating a better Official Plan – she has delivered.

Much of the amendments focus was on the eastern side of the city where Meed Ward brought forward reasonable changes.  Most people agreed with the Mayor; although the Lions Club would have liked the Mayor to look upon the block sized property they own a little differently.

The specifics of the nine amendments will get covered in future Gazette articles.

The now endorsed Official Plan gets put before a City Council meeting early in October where it will be passed.

Is it the right plan for the city? Only time will tell – what is not in doubt is the size of the effort from everyone involved.

The plan should get through the Regional level – but it looks as if a number of vested interests are going to appeal the document.

The number of letters put on the record by different developers and the legal counsel that have in the past represented the interests of the developers more than suggests the battle isn’t over.

Blair Smith talking to planner Heaher MacDonald

Heather MacDonald talking with a citizen at a public meeting – we used to have events like this.

Is the plan defensible at LPAT is the question on many minds.

Only time will tell.

Heather MacDonald was given the task of hiring consultants to support the work that had to be done. The firm hired –SGL Planning & Design Inc., was her choice – she chose well.

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Council being asked to endorse what the planners think the city needs

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

September 30th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

City Council is meeting today as a Standing Committee that is preparing to endorse the recommendation from the Planning department on a Scoped Review of the downtown portion of an Official Plan that was approved in xx 2018, went to the Region for approval – the Region returned the Official Plan pointing to four areas that did not comply with the Regional Official Plan.

In sending the plan back to be made conforming with the Region the invited the city to make additional changes.

That allowed the current city council to make all the changes they thought the city needed.

That process, which began in 2018 is coming to a head today.
It is a convoluted, complex process, evident in the graph set out below.

time line

A complex process that is coming to a head at council today.

The consult the city hired is doing a superb job; planning staff have set new heights in terms of the community outreach they have done.

Some of it has been excellent – what has not been all that excellent is the public participation. There were walking tours that had less than 20 people. The Action Labs were an interesting approach.

The city has gone through two Planning directors – the difference between the two has been very evident.

Councillors are facing a full day’s work. The delegations and letters sent to council went from a through to r. A lot of people want to be on the record for this run at getting an Official Plan in place that can change the way the city will grow as it faces significant population growth targets.

The Gazette will report in detail on what was said and who said it.

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Which is the birthday girl?

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

September 30th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

One of the three female members of city council is a birthday girl today.

Can you figure out which one?

Audit Kearns 5

Lisa Kearns

Meed Ward with chain Sept 23-19

Marianne Meed Ward

Councillor Stolte looking for a response to her motion - put forward last April

Shawna Stolte

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How to Make Money On Gambling: No Deposit Bonuses

News 100 blueBy George Wolfson

September 30th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The majority of gambling platforms allow users to play both for real money and free games. However, the winnings can be obtained only when playing for real money (with the possibility of their further withdrawal to a card or online wallet).

dice 2

The majority of gambling platforms allow users to play both for real money and free games.

To increase your chances of receiving such a prize, it is worth listening to helpful advice from experienced professionals. If you are just starting your way in gambling, then you should pay attention to the no deposit bonus and the conditions to win without investing your money.

What Is No Deposit Bonus?
This reward is one of the casino promos that provides players with cash when they open an account or try a new game without replenishing it. In fact, there are not too many places where you can get real money with no deposit   So, these bonuses offer a great opportunity to try a new casino or new game with minimal risk.

Gambling platforms may offer two types of such rewards:

1. Cashable: they allow the player to withdraw both the bonus money provided and the winnings;

2. Non-cashable: they cannot be withdrawn, because the casino deducts it from the total winnings.

The main purpose of such gifts is to advertise the brand, as well as quickly increase a client base. Usually, gambling platforms use no deposit bonuses in order to attract new customers or reward regular players.

Dice 1

Understand the pros and cons of using no deposit bonus gambling – then have fun.

Thanks to this offer, players can try something new without risking their own money. Online casinos can also provide free rewards on any new game so that visitors can play it and only then replenish the account.

Pros and Cons of Using No Deposit Bonuses
It should be noted that everything has its positive and negative sides, and all types of free rewards as well. So let’s pay attention to the pros and cons of using no deposit bonuses:
Advantages:

1. Having used these rewards, you will be able to study the whole functionality of the site and make sure that it is worth your trust;

2. You will be able to test the game in the real money mode and understand the principle of its work;

3. The player does not spend his own money and, as a result, he does not have to invest his own funds, if something is wrong with a casino.

Disadvantages:
● Small size. If you think that casinos are giving hundreds of dollars, then you are wrong. Usually, the reward starts from $10-20 free dollars to several dozens of free spins;

● The original bonus will not be allowed to withdraw immediately after the receipt. The withdrawal option appears only after playing a wager;

● These rewards are issued for a small number of games. As a rule, the use of free spins is limited to one or a few video slots.

Having considered the pros and cons of using no deposit bonus, you are ready to start. Good luck!

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Front Porch Food Pick up - one call and you will have helped someone.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

September 30th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

Update:  The email address for the Front Porch Pick Up has changed – it is now andrea@florianrealtyteam.ca

A smart lady in this city has come up with a really neat way to support people who need help ensuring they have access to the food they need.

Front Porch pick up takes place every Friday; it is a community driven event.

To take part and contribute, email your address to Andrea Florian, who works at Royal LePage.  She has put together a team that picks up food that people leave on their porches.

All you have to do is send her an email at andrea@florianrealtyteam.ca or text her at 289-218-8119 by Thursday at noon and then simply put your donations on your front porch marked “Food Drive” and it will be collected the next day.

Front_Porch_Food.originalWe will have more to tell you once we’ve had a chance to talk to Andrea.

Great idea – convenient and works for everyone.

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