Three words and they know exactly where you are - a simple free app makes it happen.

News 100 blueBy Staff

September 11th,2020



This one is a little on the complex side.

The Regional Police have signed on to a web site that will aid them in finding people who are lost and help people who are lost in getting found.

The Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) announced a new partnership with What3Words. They are one of the first police services in the country to adopt this potentially lifesaving technology and is confident that this new program will help reduce response times.

The service is called – What3words – described as an easy way to communicate an exact location. This is done by dividing the world into 3 metre squares and assigning each square a unique combination of three words.

We did say it is complex.

For example, the what3words address of the HRPS Headquarters’ front entrance is Erupt.Venomous.Linear.

Using the app, callers can communicate their precise location to call takers at the HRPS. If they do not have the app, the HRPS can send callers a text message that will identify their location and unique what3word address. HRPS communicators can then direct officers to the exact location of the caller.

What3 words graphic

It is complex – but if it works – it could be great.

“This technology could be especially helpful in situations where people have become lost hiking, or have driven off the road and are trapped in a vehicle and don’t know where they are” says Staff Sergeant Stephanie Jamieson, Communications Bureau.

“We think this will also help immensely along the 325 square kilometres of Lake Ontario policed by the HRPS Marine Unit. Boaters can become stranded or lost and struggle to communicate their location to police.”

This program is far more precise than a traditional cell phone ‘ping’ often used by emergency services.

The HRPS will begin using this technology effective immediately.

The app is available for free on iOS and Android or via the online map at It’s also available in more than 40 languages.

The app also works offline, making it ideal for use in rural areas of Halton that may have poor or unreliable data signal.

For more information a video on how the program works can be found HERE.

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The kind of thing you might want to do when you are stuck in traffic.

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

September 11th, 2020



Where do you find the time to complete a survey the Ministry of Transportation has sent out on long-term transportation planning for the Greater Golden Horseshoe?

The results of the survey will help inform and guide highway and transit investment from today to the year 2051. Gathering input directly from communities is part of the government’s commitment to develop regional transportation plans that reflect local needs and priorities.

Greater Golden Horse graphc“We’ve received great feedback as we develop this transportation plan and are encouraging even more people to participate in helping to shape the future of transportation in the Greater Golden Horseshoe,” said Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation. “This survey is incredibly important. We need the community to take part in order to build a high functioning and efficient transportation system that will keep families and the economy of the Greater Golden Horseshoe moving.”

The survey is the latest step in continued engagement with the general public, municipal and freight stakeholders, businesses and Indigenous communities. A summary of the survey findings will be produced by the Ministry of Transportation and posted on the Greater Golden Horseshoe transportation plan web page.

Link to the survey is HERE

The survey’s closing date is October 26, 2020.


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It's a mess - who is responsible and what can be done?

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

September 11th, 2020



There are a couple of commercial operations in the Burlington Heights Plaza, it’s at the intersection of Guelph Line and Upper Middle Road.

They deal in used clothing and toys – mostly for children.

People show up with items they want to sell – sometime the commercial establishments buy what is offered – on occasion they will explain there is no market for what is being offered.

The seller will leave, disappointed – but such is life.

Unfortunately – a problem crops up with what is done with the items that were not sold.

Burlington Heights - Dumping at Charity bins - 9-9-2020

Unsightly for sure. Why are all the bags of clothing left on the ground. Are the bins full. The merchants at Burlington Heights might want to collaborate and get this mess cleaned up.

A Gazette reader and his wife sent us a note saying: “…the very lazy habit of dumping trash beside charity bin has finally got my goat…”

Not only is the dumping illegal but really disgusting from a visible view point. What I feel is happening at these particular bins is a result of folks bringing all sorts of stuff to two stores in the Food Basics plaza on Guelph line.

When the store(s) do not wish to buy their stuff…bingo, they dump this junk at the bins….how convenient for them…out of sight …out of mind.

If they acted just a little bit more responsibly, they could off load much of their stuff at Value Village or the Salvation Army where much of it could possibly be recycled…or at least disposed of responsibly.

We don’t know who is dumping the clothing – but we do know the commercial operators – might they ask people who they do not buy from to take what they wanted to sell to Value Village or the Salvation Army and not dump it in the bins on the site?

A final thought – were the bins just full and there was no place to leave the donation someone wanted to make other than on the ground ?

Did our reader call the company that put the bins in place?

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Daily Covid in the Schools information available to parents and the general public

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

September 11th, 2020



Saying that “The Premier and our government made a promise to parents, that we would ensure that they would have access to the same information that we have.” the province created a web site that will report on the most up-to-date COVID-19 information available, including a summary of cases in schools and licensed child care centres and agencies.

If a COVID-19 case is confirmed at a school it will be posted to the web site.  Data is current as of 2:00 pm the previous day.

Click HERE for the web site.

Set out below is what one of the pages on the web site looks like.


Covid cases school report

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“Mayor Meed Ward’s Weekly Update: September 7-13, 2020”

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

September 11th, 2020


The taxpayers of Burlington can now get a peek at what Mayor Marianne Meed Ward has planned for a week.

This is a new feature coming out of the Mayor’s communications department.

It is described as “a regular and predictable communication of my high-level meetings, media engagements, events and regular communications”.

mmw updateAn example of what the Mayor is providing is HERE.

Look at the September 9th entry for Clearwater Development Discussion entry.  Was that meeting with the developer, who has revised the plan for two medium rise buildings in what is a single dwelling community or with the ward Councillor:  who was involved in that meeting?  This particular development is of serious concern to a number of people in the community.

One wonders if this weekly peek is being put in place rather than a Registry that has been proposed by ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns.

A Registry is a list of the people that an elected official meets with on city business.

A Registry entry would set out the name of the person the Mayor or Councillor met with, the company they represented, the business that was discussed and the length of time the meeting lasted.

There are a lot of people who want to do business with the city of Burlington.  Many think that the Mayor can serve their interests well and they look for an opportunity to meet with and impress the Mayor. Never hurts to have friends in high places.

A former Mayor of Burlington once told me “anything that happens in the city comes through the office of the Mayor”. A Registry is a much more  disciplined document and in some municipalities there are penalties for not complying with keeping an accurate and timely Registry – no noting that you met with someone three months ago.

During the presentation of a development by a large corporation at a public meeting the senior officer of a much smaller development organization approached a Councillor who was elected for the first time in 2018.  It was a very casual meeting, lasted just a few minutes during which a business card was presented.  I would bet dollars to donuts that there was a follow up meeting.

And there is nothing wrong with that – but, when public money is involved – you note the event.

This is a good and commendable effort.  More detail would make it what the public is entitled to.



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Reader questions the appointment of new vice principals at public schools - the appointments were not new - they were re-locations.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

September 10th, 2020



Several days ago we received a letter with no return address. There was a single piece of paper with five paragraphs with which the writer explained that she had learned of 19 new vice principals being appointed at the Halton District School Board.

The full letter went as follows:

As a teacher I am sending this note anonymously for obvious reasons – but you might want to ask some tough questions publicly.

As you are aware, additional spending has been required by the HDSB to prepare schools for re-opening during the pandemic and money is tight.

However, on August 26th, this board announced 19 new vice principal appointments) note these were not replacements – new appointments) to oversee in several schools “Virtual Schools”. Vice principals are not cheap and this money could have been spent further reducing class sizes in some of the more high risk locations, particularly in Oakville.

While I understand that a significant (perhaps up to 20%) of Halton students have chosen to learn from home, this was accomplished in the spring for three months without any bureaucratic oversight. And I didn’t notice any shortcomings that more administrators will solve.

These appointments do underscore a philosophy in the administration on Guelph Line that nothing good happens without Board oversight. Sadly, this is at polar opposites from reality.

grebenc 3

HDSB Trustee Chair Andrea Grebenc

We first communicated with the Chair of the Board of trustees, Andrea Grebenc, who answered our questions. She said there were just two new appointments. We asked for a little clarification at which point Grebenc, correctly we believe, said this was an operations matter.

We then put ourselves in touch with Director of Education Stuart Miller, who got back to us very very quickly saying:

Miller prep at Central

Director of Education Stuart Miller

As you know we created 4 Virtual schools (3 elementary and 1 secondary). They all needed administrators as they are now our biggest schools (16,000 students).

Also because of the number of students who chose distance learning, it meant the number of administrators required for schools in which they lost students to distance learning is not the same. Many schools became smaller and therefore could afford to lose an administrator (P/VP). Those were the ones redeployed.

There was one new appointment and that is because we had a late retirement of a Principal, the rest were not new assignments.

To our anonymous reader – don’t think there is any misbehavior here. The information you refer to does not appear to exist. If you have something that we haven’t managed to dig up – please send it along, and we will follow up.

I think you may have been misled or misinformed.  You did the right thing – you brought the concern forward so that questions could be asked.

At this point it looks to us that the board administration is scrambling to meet a dynamic and very fluid situation.

Our only comment is that 17 administrators for four virtual schools looks a little thick but the administrators are professionals and we have to trust them to do what they think is needed.  Better to have too many than not enough.

They are doing an impossible job in tough times.

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Did the federal and provincial funding kill the hope for an electric transit fleet ?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

September 10th 2020



When funding is given to a municipality it rarely comes as a surprise.

More often than not the city and the funding body work with the municipality work out what is available and what it can be used on.

The Member or in Burlington’s case the Members of Parliament are heavily involved.

MMW at transit funding Sept 8

Mayor Meed Ward leading the announcement of new transit equipment. She had them dancing about the funding before they all went home.

Thus the decision to lay millions of dollars on the city is something that was worked out between the federal government, the province and the city. The Region had nothing to do with this one.

The question that popped into my mind was: What does this mean to any electrification of the Burlington Transit fleet.

Every bit of professional advice Director of Transit Sue Connor got was that it was not possible to operate a fleet that was electric AND diesel. Not with the money that is available to Burlington transit. Everything about electric is different.

You have to go all in if you are going electric.

The charging stations needed to ensure that the bus batteries don’t fail are a million dollars each. It looked as if Burlington was going to need two of them.

Also on the table was the use of nitrogen as the propellant. There is a very strong argument for nitrogen over electricity.

Sue Connor at mike

Director of Transit Sue Connor

Sue Connor brought in a speaker who took council through the nitrogen argument explaining that Canada was at that time a bit of a leader in applying the use of nitrogen to transit.

Adding 12 diesel buses to the fleet does help Connor in meeting the demand that she hopes will come back.

Just before the covid shutdown took place transit was reporting double digit rider increases.

How quickly that ridership returns is an unknown at this point.

The 12 new 40 foot buses and the five conventional buses to replace vehicles in the fleet now are to be acquired over a three year period.

Perhaps Connors can hold getting those buses and make them electric when she does purchase.

Connor, AVK and Gould - bus money

Director of Transit Sue Connor looks on while the political set announce that she is going to get 17 new buses over a three year time frame. None were to be electric – does this kill her dream of an all electric transit fleet?

When Sue Connor was brought on board she made big changes at transit. There are people on staff there now who moved from other city departments to work at transit.

Connors has made the necessary changes; prior to her arrival there was some pretty incompetent leadership.

At one point a former Director of Transit had suggested that the terminal on John Street be closed and that bus tickets be bought at city hall (which closed at 4:30) or at local convenience stores around the city.

Problem was none of the convenience stores wanted to be bothered.

A lot of really stupid decisions were made before Connors took the wheel. Let’s hope that the senior levels of government that made the funds available have not killed the idea of an electric fleet for Burlington Transit.

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.

What makes politicians dance: a funding announcement.  Watch them do it.

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Statement from the Office of the Mayor doesn't tell the whole story and doesn't give credit to those who got a better development for the community

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

September 10th, 2020



A statement came out of the Mayor’s office on Wednesday commenting on an appeal that had been made by a developer that was before LPAT – the Local Planning Act Tribunal.

The development was the one First Capital had for the Appleby Mall where they wanted to build two towers – one 17 storeys and the other 12 storeys that were going to be very close to the Pinedale Street sidewalk.

In the Statement the Mayor said:

At the City Council meeting on Aug. 24, 2020, Burlington City Council approved the recommendation to accept an offer to settle the issues in dispute between First Capital (Appleby) Corporation and the City with respect to First Capital’s appeal currently before the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT).

The settlement between the City and First Capital resolves the issues in dispute between the City and First Capital on the basis that First Capital and the City will seek LPAT approval of a revised development concept for the property at 5111 New St. The City and First Capital will request the LPAT withhold a final order approving the development until the City and First Capital are satisfied with technical studies that are required to support the revised development concept.

Appleby Mall rendering 2 structure proposal 16 & 11 floors

The rendering of what was proposed at the first round of plans for the project. while the structures have a brutish look to them – they are quite close to towers that are not much lower less than a block away.

The revised development concept proposes 368 dwelling units in both apartment and townhouse forms located on a portion of the site of the former Appleby Mall that currently contains a parking area adjacent to existing retail/commercial uses. The revised development concept reduces the building heights of the original proposal from 12 and 17 storeys, down to a 9 storey and two 12 storey buildings that follow the Official Plan. The revised development concept also: increases setbacks from Pinedale Avenue; reorients and redesigns the buildings to achieve compliance with the City’s Urban Design Guidelines; introduces townhouse units at the base of the buildings; and provides enhanced landscaping, among other things.

Nice bit of news for which council is prepared to take most of the credit. In the Statement there are congratulatory comments from the Mayor and the ward Councillor about some help from a community organization.

Appleby Village site set up

Configuration of the new residential buildings went through a number of changes. At one point they were going to face Appleby. The large shape middle right is the Fortinos location along with a number of commercial retail units.

The City and First Capital will attend at the LPAT hearing scheduled to commence on Oct. 26, 2020 to seek approval of the Official Plan amendment, Zoning Bylaw amendment and revised development concept by the LPAT.

That is not the full story.

The proposed development goes back to the flooding that took place in the east end of the city in 2014.

First Capital was doing a major re-development that changed most of the property allowing for some intensification.

During the flood it was learned that there were serious problems with the storm water management infrastructure that required the Region to do serious upgrades that put the development on hold for a number of years.

During that time people in the community began to organize and oppose the development

END of part 1.

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Performing Arts will put on performances starting October 2 - No more than 50 people in the theatre at a time - all wearing masks

News 100 blueBy Staff

September 9th, 2020



With Public Health saying holding an event with up to 50 people was now legit Tammy Fox, Executive Director  at the Performing Arts Centre has released her fall season program.

Abbreviated as it is – it is a welcome step forward.

That 50 people rule means that there will be no more than 50 people in the theater – they will be masked and spread out so that the six foot separation measure is met.

Tammy Fox hands-out-768x578

Tammy Fox is thrilled – she wants her patrons to return and has a solid program in place.

Tammy is thrilled – as well she should be.  She has been stuck at home pushing paper and working the telephone.  Tammy Fox is a people person – she needs interaction with people.

The Fall line-up of incredible live entertainment options to lift the community’s spirits in these unprecedented times is part of why the program was put together.

“As a facility, BPAC is perfectly positioned to welcome back audiences with patron safety at the forefront;  with its spacious Lobby, increased ventilation, physical-distancing ticketing system and additional health and safety measures to put theatregoers’ minds at ease.

“Many presenters have pivoted to exploring online content offerings and virtual performances, and while BPAC is also considering live streaming options, the organization believes that there really is no replacement for the experience of live entertainment in engaging the community and in supporting Canadian artists.

“All patrons must wear a mask, hand sanitize upon entry and maintain social distancing outside of their social circle. Patrons are expected to self-screen, and of course to stay at home if experiencing COVID-related symptoms or if suspecting recent exposure to the virus. Health and safety measures are also being implemented backstage to protect artists, and throughout the venue to protect staff and volunteers.

Most performances will be 70-75 minutes in length, and while the Lobby bar will remain open for one hour prior to each performance, intermissions have been suspended in most cases in order to reduce the risk of overcrowding in the Lobby.

Spoons - female lead

Sandy Horne – one of  The Spoons.

Kicking off the Fall line-up is an intimate evening with Burlington’s own THE SPOONS on Friday, October 2nd and Saturday, October 3rd at 8pm, performing as an acoustic duo.

Canadian pop superstar CHANTAL KREVIAZUK will be presented over a three-evening period from October 8th to 10th. “We all have a need to connect so badly right now and there is no better way than through the music. If we can do this safely, I am thrilled and well, to be fair to my kids, they could use a break from their mother!” says Chantal.


Gord Downie.

BPAC’s annual Cultural Diversity Festival will begin with its yearly fundraising performance LEGACY: A Tribute to Gord Downie in support of the Downie-Wenjack Fund, featuring Hamilton native TOM WILSON, Indigenous duo TWIN FLAMES, and more, on Thursday, October 15th and Friday, October 16th.

On October 17th and 18th audiences will be treated to BENEATH SPRINGHILL: The Maurice Ruddick Story, about the racial tensions that surfaced in a rural community as a result of a mining disaster, written and performed by Stratford actor Beau Dixon, who seamlessly plays 10 vivid characters. BPAC will also present four performances of DRAG QUEEN MUSIC BINGO with Fluffy Soufflé – each one featuring a different era of music, and tons of exciting prizes to be won!

Two events that had been scheduled for the second half of BPAC’s 19/20 Season, which had to be canceled due the pandemic, have been rescheduled – jazz artist ELISE LEGROW on October 25th and singer/songwriter KEVIN FOX: Songs for Cello & Voice on November 1st.

Sean Cullen

Comedian Sean Cullen

Toronto mainstay the ALTdot COMEDY LOUNGE will be presented at BPAC for the first time, in a series of performances over October 30th, 31st and November 27th and 28th. The October 30th performances will feature actor-comedian SEAN CULLEN with host ALI HASSAN.

Other performances will include comics Nigel Grinstead, Keith Pedro, Peter White, Patrick Haye and more.

Multiple Juno-Award winner SARAH SLEAN takes the stage on Saturday, November 7th and CBC Radio host and BPAC favourite TOM ALLEN presents A POE CABARET on Sunday, November 8th.

Classical pianist LESLIE KINTON Celebrates Beethoven on November 29th and Talk is Free Theatre will present INTO THE WOODS In Concert, a ‘lightly staged’ musical theatre production featuring both professional performers and 27 local youth from December 3rd to 12th.

The firsttwopeople to enter the Mian Theatre for a paid performance hand their tickets to an usher.

The first two people to enter the Main Theatre for a paid performance hand their tickets to an usher. Staff are hoping the audiences return.

Tammy Fox, BPAC’s Executive Director, is hoping that audiences will return with pent-up enthusiasm after months of having only online access to entertainment, and with a new appreciation of the importance of communal connection.

“Putting together a fall season full of incredible Canadian talent over the span of a week has been a little hectic to say the least,” she says, “however the applause really needs to go to our staff, who have been working tirelessly to ensure our safe reopening, to our Board of Directors whose unwavering support in resuming live entertainment offerings has given us the confidence to forge ahead, and to all of the amazing artists who have agreed to be included in the Season – because frankly they have all, in deference to our 50-patron capacity limit, committed to performing at rates well below what they deserve and are accustomed to.

It’s been a team effort, and I am beyond grateful to be surrounded by this community of dedicated artists and arts-lovers.”

BPAC Board Chair Nancy Brewer says “We’ve been holding your seat! And now, what a fantastic fall season we have for you. I’d love to see you in the audience as BPAC welcomes you back, safe, secure & ready to entertain you!”

Tickets go on sale to BPAC Members on Friday, September 11th, and on sale to the general public on Monday, September 14. Renew your BPAC membership to be first in line and to receive $5 off all regular-priced tickets!

Visit for a complete listing of performances.

Box Office Information:
Over the Phone: 905.681.6000 – Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday from 12:00pm to 4:00pm
In Person: 1 hour before each performance.

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They were all elected - my goodness - what did we do

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

September 9th, 2020



The event was basically over.

MMW at transit funding Sept 8

Mayor at an event announcing funding for transit.

Each of the politicians that was going to speak had done so – it was time to head on to the next event.

The news was that three levels of government were going to contribute to new transit – buses, infrastructure upgrades that brings new buses to the city.

Throughout the event, which was chaired by the Mayor, she kept referring to this being an event that was worth dancing about.

Little did this reporter know that they would actually do just that – dance.

The video doesn’t lie CLICK here for 20 seconds of politicians kicking up their heals.

Your tax dollars at work for you.

The announcement that they all danced about.

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City will hold 5th Telephone Town Hall September 23rd

eventsorange 100x100By Staff

September 9th, 2020



The City is going to host a fifth Telephone Town Hall on September 23rd that will focus on COVID-19 as we head into the fall season.

The event will be between 7:00 and 8:00 pm when information will be shared and questions answered.

These events have been very useful – it serves as a place for people to go when looking for answers and gives the city a sense as to where the concerns are.

That the Director of Education for both the Catholic and the Public Boards of Education are taking part suggests where the serious concerns are.

The Mayor will host the event; taking part with her are:

Tim Commisso, City Manager at the City of Burlington
Pat Daly, Director of Education at Halton Catholic District School Board
Stuart Miller, Director of Education at Halton District School Board
Eric Vandewall, President and Chief Executive Officer at Joseph Brant Hospital
Mary Battaglia, Director of Roads, Parks and Forestry, City of Burlington
Denise Beard, Manager of Community Development, City of Burlington
Allan Magi, Executive Director of Environment, Infrastructure and Community Services, City of Burlington
Rory Nisan, Ward 3 City and Regional Councillor

Members of Burlington City Council will be present and listening.

How to Participate
Residents who would like to participate in the town hall can do so in the following ways:

1. Register in advance: Burlington residential phone numbers will be randomly selected to be part of the telephone town hall. Residents who would like to be added to the telephone call list can email by the end of the day on Sept. 22.
Please note: if you registered for any of the previous town halls (held on March 26, April 14, June 4 or July 16), you are not required to register your phone number again. To remove a name from the call list, email by the end of the day on Sept. 22.

2. Join by telephone: Anyone who does not receive a telephone invitation can call 1-800-779-0904 just before 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 23 to join the town hall. For those individuals calling in, please be advised more than one attempt may be required due to the high volume of traffic on the phone lines. If the first call does not connect, please hang up and dial the 1-800 number again.

Once the call begins, a moderator will provide participants with instructions for how to submit their questions to the leadership panel.

Many of the questions not answered during the call will be posted, with answers, to the City’s website at, along with an audio file and full transcript of the call after Sept. 23.


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The show will go on. Burlington Student Theatre is returning to the stage –six feet apart

artsorange 100x100By Staff

September 9th, 2020


Burlington’s Student Theatre programs will be returning this fall with opportunities for youth ages 4 to 17 years.

Actors from Burlington Student Theatre were on hand for the turning over of the Burlington Performing Arts Centre.

Actors from Burlington Student Theatre

Beginning Sept. 29, participating young actors and actresses will be performing at either the Burlington Performing Arts Centre or the Student Theatre building. No experience is necessary to participate.

Online registration for Burlington residents opens Sept. 12 at 9 a.m. Non-Burlington residents can register on Sept. 18 at 9 a.m.

Student Theatre will meet all the health guidelines put out by Halton Region Public Health, which include lower ratios and capacity, physical distancing, mandatory health screening and enhanced facility cleaning.

The final performances will be filmed, edited and played on-screen.

There will be no live performances.

Burlington Student Theatre Film Festival presents a screening of Matilda and Frozen from Summer Arts Camps.

Two films featuring participants from the summer Student Theatre will be played at the Burlington Student Theatre Film Festival at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre.

RAINER NOACK with wild lady

Rainer Noack – inspirational leader at the Student Theatre

Tickets are available online. COVID-19 precautions will be in place for each screening.

• Saturday, Sept. 12 – 12 p.m.
• Sunday, Sept. 13 – 12 p.m. and 7 p.m.
• Saturday, Sept. 19 – 12 p.m.

Recreation Fee Assistance
Recreation is for all, regardless of financial situation. Recreation Fee Assistance is funding made available to resident individuals or families who need help to pay for City of Burlington recreation programs.

For more information or to apply, visit You can also leave a confidential voicemail message at 905-335-7738, ext. 8501 and our staff will return your call to assist you.

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.

Chris Glenn

Chris Glenn, Director of Recreation Services

Chris Glenn, Director of Recreation Services points out that “Student Theatre has a great history of working with our youth and giving them not only a fun time, but also opportunities for them to grow. As with every program we’re offering, things will look a bit different but will still be filled with friendly faces and high-quality service.”

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Politicians descend on transit garage and leave $12.8 million behind.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

September 9th, 2020



Nine politicians trooped into a Burlington Transit garage and jointly announced that they were leaving $12.8 million on the table.

Stoltr - Kearns - Nisan at bus money

No social distancing with these three, Councillors Shawna Stolte, Lisa Kearns and Rory Nisan look on stoically as politicians from higher levels of office speak.

Three federal, two provincial and four municipal politicians.

All the money was for transit stuff.

Sue Connors, Director of Transit for the city, stood quietly at the back of the garage wondering when people were going to begin riding the buses again.

Up to last March Ms Connors had done a superb job of building a customer base that had grown by double digits – the wheels fell off when COVID shut everything down.

Transit was free once the buses started running again. The public has had to pay full fare starting in September.

In her now close to daily publication, A Better Burlington, Mayor Meed Ward spoke for everyone saying:

MMW at transit funding Sept 8

The announcement event was led by the Mayor.

“Today, the Honourable Karina Gould, Minister of International Development and Member of Parliament for Burlington, on behalf of the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities; Adam van Koeverden, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth and to the Minister of Canadian Heritage (Sport) and Member of Parliament for Milton; Pam Damoff, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indigenous Services and Member of Parliament for Oakville North–Burlington; were joined by Jane McKenna, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development and Member of Provincial Parliament for Burlington, on behalf of the Honourable Laurie Scott, Ontario’s Minister of Infrastructure; Effie J. Triantafilopoulos, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Long-Term Care and Member of Provincial Parliament for Oakville North−Burlington; and Her Worship, Marianne Meed Ward, Mayor of Burlington, to announce funding for six projects that will modernize and improve public transit in Burlington.

Connor, AVK and Gould - bus money

Director of Sue Connors looks on as Milton MP Adam Van Kxxx and Minister Karina Gould, MP for Burlington.

“Public transit users will benefit from the purchase of 12 new 40-foot conventional buses to expand the fleet over the next three years. This will make public transit more efficient and convenient for riders by increasing service frequency and enabling connections between bus routes and regional transit. In addition, five new conventional buses will replace buses that have reached the end of their life cycle, helping to maintain a reliable, high quality service.

“In addition, three specialized accessible vehicles will be added to Burlington’s fleet over the next three years to support the community’s need for more accessible public transit. Devices will also be installed on traffic signals and buses to help improve the transit system’s on-time performance, while the implementation of intelligent transit system technology will enable on-demand transit service to be introduced to under serviced areas.

“The Government of Canada is investing more than $5.1 million in these projects through the Public Transit Infrastructure Stream (PTIS) of the Investing in Canada plan. The Government of Ontario is providing more than $4.3 million, and the municipality is contributing more than $3.4 million.

That’s 12.8 million. Most of it will be spent by Burlington but not in Burlington. No job creation out of this bit of pork barrelling.

All the buses are gas driven – pushing the Connors dream of an all-electric fleet that much further into the future.

Where did the money come from and what will it be spent on?  First – it came from your pocket – then got passed back to you in the form of a grant to improve the bus service.

transit grant 1

transit grant table 2

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Public school board trustees hold their session in the Board room - six trustees take part.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

September 8th, 2020



It started as 1-1 conversations that Andrea Grebenc had with trustees on the virtual meetings the Halton District School Board was holding.
Grebenc thought it was time to hold meetings that took place in the Board room and not have all the participants communicating from their keyboards and cameras.

Grebenc frown

The technology at the School Board Board Room was at times not up to the demands of a meeting that was live and local for some and virtual for others – they made it work.

Once she had canvassed the 13 trustees she met with Director of Education Stuart Miller to look into the possibility of moving back into the Board room.

The question was brought up at an Agenda Review meeting early in August.

“We had to find out if public health regulations would allow us back into the building and how it would restrict us.

“Once we received guidelines from staff and reviewed them, we had a short conversation about it in private session.  That resulted in  the outline of a plan to see about moving forward. The limitations,  physically and technologically, were known.  I then posted a sign-up sheet for the first regular board meeting on September 2.”

Roche xx

Trustee Rocha

Trustees Gerrits, Gray, Rocha, Shuttleworth, Vice Chair Ehl Harrison and Grebenc were there as well as Director Miller.

“We were limited by the board room technology in the room right now as it is hardwired to our desks (which are not even a metre apart. The two cameras would not be able to capture everyone because of the social distancing.

“We settled on six as the maximum number of Trustees to take part.”

However after the first run Grebenc is looking at being in the Board room a little differently.

“There were some problems – but after last week’s pilot, that may be reduced as we had some difficulties with feedback and mics not working properly.

“Bringing the Board room up to the different technical standard was not something we wanted to do. The limited resources (yes, we spend a lot of money – but there is never enough to go around) result in our deciding not to funnel  resources from the classrooms and central administration to expedite the technology changes needed for 13 people (11 Trustees & 2 Student Trustees) who are still able to meet and complete their work online. We felt it was  more important to have the whole system focused on student and staff safety and the learning environments.

grebenc 3

Ear buds were driving her frantic – the six screen she had to keep an eye on made it a busy meeting.

“No worries – we will get there – it is just not a top priority – nor should it be.

“We are following the public health guidelines that were created for the board office. Facilities staff have measured out and designated places we are able to sit to meet the guidelines. There is hand sanitizer available in several places and masks as well. Washrooms are now single person. There are arrows directing us around, etc.

“Personally, I have to say that my set-up at home was a lot easier as I had my three monitors to work with (2 personally owned monitors and my board laptop) and didn’t have to wear the truly uncomfortable (verging on painful) earbuds.

“There are quite a number of screens that I need to use for the meeting to run smoothly:

voting screen,
voting responses,
request to speak form,
speaker’s list,
the google meet screen itself for the meeting,
email for emergency notifications (when someone is having technical issues like getting kicked off.

“The regulation is still in place that would allow the board meetings to happen remotely, so if we have to, we can function completely at a distance again. We are going to be in the board room again on the 16th and probably every meeting going forward.


Trustee Gray

“As for a public gallery, no. At this time, we are not opening the gallery to the public, but are continuing to live-stream and record board meetings as usual. We do not have any broadcast of the Google meeting available in the board room due to sound feedback issues, so the public would have to sit in the room with earphones watching on a personal device to have access to what everyone is saying – people might as well be doing that at home as there is nothing special going on in the room itself.

“We don’t even talk amongst ourselves in the room because we have to watch our screens and wear the earbuds to hear what is going on.

“We don’t have barriers between us physically in the room, but it sure feels that way socially.”

What is really interesting is that it was the Board of Education that was the first to edge forward a little bit and have at least some of the trustees in the room while conducting public business.

If Burlington city council wanted to come out of their closet as it were they could do so easily – there are just seven members of Council – there are 13 trustees plus two student trustees.

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Rib Fest on Labour Day attendance bigger than on Canada Day

eventsblue 100x100By Staff

September 9th, 2020



They made it work.

Despite a downcast day a total of 2,751 cars drove into the Burlington Centre, carefully worked their way through a maze and decided which ribs they wanted, paid and drove home with the sweet smell of freshly charred ribs filling the vehicle.

Rib Fest traffic Sept 7

The flow of traffic was smooth – not even a fender bender.

Sami Bogle, part of the operations team at Lakeshore Burlington Rotary Service Club who held their second Drive Thru Rib Fest.

The cancellation of the annual fall Rib Fest was a covid fatality but that didn’t stop Rotary.

Rib fest volunters Sept 7

Volunteers are what make event like the Rib Fest work. From left to right) they are: Meiling Menin – grade 10, Maija Fotr – grade 9, Annika Fotr – grade 11 and Margaret Hayes – Rotary Burlington Lakeshore

ribbers rib fes Sept 7

This is what was on the menu.

Bogle said: “ I’d say it was a successful day! We had great feedback on social media about the choice of vendors, live music, and the change in logistics to ensure that the traffic was kept off of the main roads. The 2,751 cars, was just over the number we had on Canada Day.

“Though it was an overcast day, the weather was still great, so we feel very blessed. Our main concern had been the safety of our guests, vendors and musicians if the forecasted thunderstorms had persisted.”

Related news story:

How it all came about – the big pivot.

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Significant funding to build social purpose organizations available through Burlington Foundation,

News 100 yellowBy Staff

September 9th, 2020



Helping Business be a Successful Tool for Social, Cultural and Environmental Change is the theme behind the Investment Readiness Program (IRP) which is a $50M national initiative led by Community Foundations of Canada and funded by the Government of Canada to help social purpose organizations (non-profits, charities, co-operatives, hybrid social enterprises, and mission-focused for-profits) go from great ideas to investment ready.

Organizations have the potential to receive from $10,000 to $100,000 in non-repayable capital to develop their enterprise.

Community Foundation Get ReadyApplications for the second and final round of funding will be accepted starting 9 a.m. EST Tues. Sept. 8th until Fri. Oct. 9th, 2020

Burlington Foundation is excited to be a local partner in the Brant | Halton | Peel Partnership (made up of six Community Foundations, Sheridan College and EDGE), with the partnership allocating $715,000 in Round 1 funding to 23 social purpose organizations impacting our local communities.

As we’ve acutely seen in 2020, it is vitally important to have healthy and thriving social purpose organizations, which will also be key in Canada’s recovery efforts as we #BuildBackBetter. Through the IRP, together, we’re helping to build more resilient, sustainable and inclusive communities.

Comm foundatio Click here graphic




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HDSB may have to pull as much as $8 million from the Reserve accounts.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

September 7th, 2020


HDSB may have to pull as much as $8 million from the Reserve accounts. Director is OK with that – no sense yet as to how the trustees are going to react.

The Halton District School Board trustees were given a close and disturbing look at just how big the COVID-19 financial hole was going to be. It was not a pretty picture.

financia updated


The financial story for the Halton District School Board is far from complete.  The $12.4 million in COVID funding came from the provincial and federal government.  The drill down on what those funds are going to be used for is set out in the table below.


Here is how you spend $12.4 million.


covid exp

The above are expenses the board expects to incur when schools open on the -14th

The spending priorities as the Board sees them at this point are shown in the table below.   There are a tasks that still have to be fully costed – at this point they are at $9.6 million

spending prioities

The Board has $40 million in reserves.  Those funds are set aside for specific projects and a source of funds for unexpected situations.  The COVID-19 virus was one of those.  The Board is going to have to pull about $4 million from the reserves to cover the immediate expenses.  This is not something they can do without permission from the province.  School boards across the province were given permission to use up to 2% of their reserves on COVID related expenses.

Board administrators have not yet asked the trustees to approve the spending – they are just telling the trustees that this is the way they see the finances working out.  The HDSB may find itself having to take that 2% from the reserves which amounts to $8 million, which Director Miller said he “is OK with”.

What was of interest was the question Director of Education Stewart Miller put to the trustees on deficits and what they had in the way of a comfort level.

Miller told the trustees that budget shortfalls and the use of reserves are as much a philosophical question as it is a financial matter. What Miller doesn’t have to deal with are tax payers who look askance at increases in their tax bill.  That is the ire that falls upon trustees.

What Miller has to cope with are trustees who do their home work and press the Director for details and teach him how to find efficiencies.

Collard and Miller

If looks could kill – the Director was toast. Amy Collard, Ward 5 Trustee holding the Director of Education to account during the high school closing discussions.

Up until very recently Ward 5 Trustee Amy Collard was the only trustee prepared to and capable of going toe to toe with Miller.

In the past year the Chair, Andrea Grebenc, has gotten stronger and may now be at the point where she can bear down a little harder on the Director and ask awkward questions of some of the Superintendents.

Miller in a huddle with Grebenc

Trustee chair listening to what Director of Education thinks on an issue.

The Chair of the School Board is a job that doesn’t pay very much and for the most part amounts to following staff recommendations. It is a job that takes time to learn – and things can get very sticky if the Chair is having problems – all too often they have to look to the Director of Education for guidance. The biggest job trustees have is hiring and holding the Director to account. It takes several terms as Chair to get to the point where he or she is independent enough to fill the role.

Grebenc showed some of her mettle with the two letters she sent the Ministry of Education; the second had a certain edge to it.  Ms Grebenc may soon be ready for a higher level of office.  She is the Trustee for Ward 3 – that ward could use a voice like the one Grebenc is developing.

Someone to keep an eye on.

Related background articles:

First Grebenc letter to the Minister of Education

Second Grebenc letter to the Minister of Education

Letters from the Board are sent on behalf of the Board

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Robbery investigation at the Plains Road Esso Station wrapped up with the arrest of a minor.

Crime 100By Staff

September 7th, 2020



The Halton Regional Police Service has concluded a robbery investigation which occurred at an Esso Gas Station in the City of Burlington on September 6th, 2020.

At approximately 6:10am on Sunday September 6th, 2020, a lone male entered the Esso Gas Station located on Plains Road and proceeded to jump over the counter with a knife in his hand. The lone male lunged towards the store clerk causing the victim to put his hands up in order to defend himself. As a result of this altercation, the victim’s hand was cut by the knife. The male continued to lunge towards the victim who proceeded to run into the main store area to get away from the knife welding male. The lone male then proceeded to grab approximately $550 cash from the till before fleeing the Esso on foot.

police cruiser second

Police attended at the crime scene and were later able to arrest the suspect.

The victim immediately contacted 911 and police and ambulance responded. The victim suffered a large cut to one finger and had the tip of another finger cut off. The victim was transported by ambulance to Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital where he received a number of stitches. The victim was eventually released from hospital after receiving medical treatment.

Investigation by Halton Police revealed that the lone male had attended the Esso Gas Station on September 5th, 2020 at approximately 6:00am and had attempted to break in through the back door. The male was confronted by the victim at that time and fled the scene. As a result, police identified a 16 year old male responsible for the robbery.

On Monday September 7th, 2020, investigators located and arrested the 16 year old male outside of his residence in the City of Burlington.
Police executed a search warrant at this residence and as a result of the search; Halton Police located and seized a knife, cell phone, clothing and recovered Canadian Currency.

Investigation by the Burlington Criminal Investigation Bureau has led to the following charges against a 16 year old young offender from Burlington whose identity cannot be released:

Young Offender

The Young Offender Act was designed to attempt to intercede in the lives of young men and women who are in conflict with the law and treat them differently by protecting their identity.

• Robbery
• Aggravated Assault
• Disguise with Intent
• Attempt Break and Enter

The Young Offender was held for bail and will appear in Milton Court on September 8th, 2020.

Anyone with information in regards to this investigation is asked to contact Detective Constable Colin MacLeod of the 3 District Criminal Investigations Bureau at 905-825-4747 ext. 2357.

Tips 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

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

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Craig Gardner reports: 'Looks like a great day for Rotary'.

eventsblue 100x100By Staff

September 7th, 2020



Here is what we are getting from the front lines at Rib Fest – taking place at the Burlington Centre (formerly the Mall).

Just back from Rib Fest (they let us put up some signage to advertise Terry Fox event), reports Craig Gardner who is heading up the 2020 Terry Fox Run.  He faces the same problem the Rotary was up against – their events were cancelled and everyone had to scramble to come up with an alternative.

“People started showing up at 9 for RIBS – by time I left shortly after 11 am the lineup was getting rather large. Looks like a great day for Rotary.

“Everything is nicely laid out easy to navigate and will hold lots of cars. Appears to be much better lay out than July 1.

Another Halton resident sent us a note about her visit to the “Valhalla of Ribs” adding – I attended at about 11:10 by which time 500 or 600 had already preceded me.

The volunteers do an excellent job of answering questions and keeping the long snaking lines of vehicles moving toward the Valhalla of ribs.

I wanted to get try ribs from two vendors but that’s impossible with the current, but necessary, setup.  And how to choose the ribs you want to try?

Advice to me, which I followed, was to choose the shortest line.

Map Sept 2020


The entrance is off Fairview – lots of signage – you can’t miss it.

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BurlingtonGreen taking Climate Action to the streets - a Shoe Strike - stay tuned.

News 100 redBy Staff

September 7th, 2020



BurlingtonGreen is doing it again.

They are reminding us that despite the pandemic and the serious concerns parents have with the way Return to School is being handled – Climate Change is the biggest issue before the whole world.

On September 25th Burlington residents will demand more action from different levels of government with a Shoe Strike.

BG shoe strike

Starting Mon. September 21st, you can drop off shoes to three locations around town. We will bring them to the demonstration site on Friday the 25th.

They will be silent reminders to politicians that we need CLIMATE ACTION NOW. Details to follow.

In the past few months Burlington Gazette columnist Ray Rivers has shifted his focus from political issues to the biggest issue facing the world.  The first in a three part series on climate change – what it really is, what it is going to mean to every one of us and what we can do individually to being about change.

The Shoe Strike is one step – the Rivers column is another.  Link below to what Rivers had to say; he will be following up on climate change.

Ray Rivers: The Problem – our problem – don’t walk away from it.

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