What were you looking for during the lock-down?

News 100 yellowBy Staff

August 22, 2020



Now that we are out of lock-down, we can look back and wonder what we did with all that time.

Whatever it was – it was probably done on line.

And just what were we looking at or looking for?

A survey of Google searches done by the Economist and presented as a graphic is most revealing.

Netflix full

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Planning department sets out how it should be organized going forward; it isn't going to be cheap.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

August 21st, 2020



Those who pay attention to what happens in the way of development in the city, most notably in the Downtown Core, have always had their concerns about the quality of the leadership of the department and the high level of staff turnover and the changes at the top.

Site Planning co-coordinator Jamie Tellier explans what is going to be built whereon the JBMH campus.

Site Planning co-coordinator Jamie Tellier at the time, explains what is going to be built where on the hospital campus.

Jamie Tellier, one of the nicest people in city hall, currently the Interim Director of Community Planning, serves as pretty close to a right hand to Director of Planning Heather MacDonald.

Tellier knows where all the bones are buried, not that he is likely to tell you exactly where they are but he knows.

Thus when it comes to taking a look at the organizational set up of the department Tellier is probably the best person to explain how it is set up and then opine on how it might be changed.

The heavy lifting on how the department evolves will come out of the mind of City Manager Tim Commisso who also knows where the bones were placed.

In a report discussed at Council last week we got a look at just where the problems lie and some of the potential changes that could be made.

Tellier set out the size of the workload and the legislative documents that planners have to comply with – he added that those documents are dynamic – they are not static.

The size of the task ahead of the Planning department is daunting.  Tellier explained that planning in an infill context is complex.

He added that there are approximately 50 Active Major Developments, about 7000 residential units, 40 Tall/Mid-rise buildings, 30 Major Development Pre-consultations.

There are 11 Appeals for Major Developments and 31 Appeals to the Interim Control ByLaw (ICBL).

Pre-building permit application volumes are up more than 50% from this time last year.

Add to the work load there is the adopted Official Plan that is undergoing a Scoped Review focused on the downtown, a comprehensive Zoning By-law Review, Housing Strategy, Region MCR, Core Commitment, Various Urban Design Guidelines and Cultural Heritage.

Here is the current organization of the department.

Current functional design

The structure is OK – it’s the staffing that ‘s the problem.

Current staff

Given the size of the workload, and to make it sustainable, more people are needed in the various positions.

Tellier explained that the department is a mess and cannot keep up with the demand. Increased staff effort in processing complex infill development applications means getting some help.

Full cost recovery for development planning fees is needed to support fiscal. The last development application fee review was completed in 2012.  An updated “Effort-Based” development application fee review is badly needed.  Council wanted to know why it wasn’t kept up to date. “We just didn’t have the time” explained Tellier.

He added that only development-related HR costs are recoverable from development applications.  Non development-related HR costs such as Policy are recovered through the tax base.

Tellier said Council should assume approximately 60-70% Community Planning HR costs are recovered by development application fees and 30-40% recovered through the tax base.

The change from what exists in the way of an organizational structure and what Tellier believes is needed looks like this:

Future staff

The department isn’t going to suddenly jump from what it is to what they believe is needed.  It  will have to be phased in.

The phasing will probably cover two budget cycles – taking this to past the end of the current council term.

The phasing and the benefits that will be experienced is set out below:


The outline of what is needed will probably get tweaked; what isn’t in doubt is the organization structure planning staff have had to work under while the city moved into a dizzying level of growth that they were not prepared to cope with.

Does the plan that Tellier presented solve the problem? He has the total support of Executive Planning Director and the City Manager. Council is going to have to chew on this one for awhile.

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Be aware - be alert. Stay safe.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

August 21st, 2020



The Halton District School Board prepared this poster and would like every household sending students to school to tape it to the wall close to the door.

Every student should glance at the poster, run the questions through their mind and if there is a hint of a yes to any of the questions they should speak to their parents.

The is how we catch the COVID-19 virus before it catches us.

Be aware – be alert. Copy poster to memory stick – take it to Staples have them to print an 11×17 copy


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40 km/h set as the limit for dozens of streets. Would they dare do this in an election year?

News 100 redBy Staff

April 21st, 2020



The rate at which you drive down some streets is about to change.

If council supports the schedule set out below – learn to lighten the foot on that gas pedal.

speed 1
speed 2

Burlington residents don’t take lightly to being pulled over when they are caught on hand held radar in the hands of a police officer.

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Personal Water Craft Crash in Burlington – Charges Laid by Marine Unit

Crime 100By Staff

August 20, 2020

On July 25, 2020, members of the Halton Regional Police Service – Marine Unit-  responded to a collision on the waters of Lake Ontario, near the Burlington Pier, involving two Personal Water Craft (PWC) operators.

Marine 1

Marine Unit consists of a small fleet – this is the big one.

Following an investigation into the operating behavior of the PWC operators prior to the collision, the Marine Unit has charged both drivers with Careless Operation of a Vessel under the Canada Shipping Act – Small Vessel Regulations.

The Marine Unit reminds members of the community that operating such vessels in a dangerous manner may result in death and/or serious injury.

Further, all vessel operators should be aware that a 10 km/h speed limit applies within 30 meters of shore or structures attached to shore.

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How many from Burlington? Will the Mayor sing an operetta from her porch?

News 100 yellowBy Staff

August 20, 2020



This could be interesting.

HUGE NEWS! We’re almost there!

Thank You! Thank You! To all of you who are spreading the word about this movement! What if for one day everything stopped, and we all just listened to the music? …We may find out soon!

Let’s keep going. it should be easy to get 50 more cities, but another 37 countries will take some work. LET’S DO THIS! Let’s change the world!

Please register to be officially counted and added to our worldwide map of participants at: https://tinyurl.com/PMOTPD-2020

Explore the map at https://tinyurl.com/PMOTPD-MAP-2020

Or email your name, location and a photo to: PlayMusicOnThePorch@gmail.com

Porch play

Related news story:

This Mayor has great pipes: she may sing for us from her porch!

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Former Councillor Rick Craven has become a contributor for the Bay Observer

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

August 20, 2020



People sometimes wonder where retired politicians go when they no longer have a public they can speak to every day.

Bay Observer logo

Rick Craven’s new address: https://bayobserver.ca/

Former Ward 1 Councillor Rick Craven has found a place where he can use his city hall connections and speak to the public whenever his publisher can find space for him.

He loves his Ward, he knows his constituents and their needs. Is there life beyond city hall for Rick Craven?

Rick Craven did a lot for ward 1 when he represented Aldershot on city council.

Craven has become a contributor to the Bay Observer, a publication that was a print format until COVID-19 knocked the wind out of its sails.

Publisher John Best quickly pivoted to an online version and has done well in the short time it has been online.

Well enough for Craven to call Best and ask if they could work together. Craven and Best go back some distance.

In his most recent article Craven interviewed developer Marcel Leclerc, President of Chelten Homes who said:

“Burlington used to be looked at as an oasis of sanity between Oakville and Hamilton. It’s not viewed that way any more” said Leclerc.

The blame for his difficult experience goes beyond planning staff:

“I do understand that planners are subject to whatever political culture they have at the time”

Craven Chelten Homes

A Chelten Homes development

“The culture has changed down there and everyone’s afraid to approve something that should be approved for the community because you have a few minority loud voices”.

Leclerc’s observations came at the same time city councillors received a report indicating that the Planning Department is over worked and under staffed. Interim Director of Community Planning Jamie Tellier wrote that; “there are significant workload drivers” including; 50 active major development files involving 40 tall or mid rise buildings, 30 major development pre-consultations, 11 appeals of major developments to the Local Planning Appeals Tribunal, 31 appeals of the Interim Control Bylaw plus ongoing projects related to the official plan, zoning bylaw, housing strategy and urban design guidelines.

Tellier wrote that the Planning Department “is out of balance“. At last week’s Committee meeting he described a department riddled with secondments, contract staff and vacancies. At one point he said the situation is “a mess”. City Manager Tim Commisso said half the staff are not in permanent positions.

Tellier said that although the planning department has a lot of superstars; “We just can’t respond to the demands of a maturing City”. He said the goal is to implement a one window service for customers.

Looking forward to when Craven interviews the Mayor or writes a critical piece on her. Those two, the Mayor and the former Councillor, also go back some way.

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Thomas King will talk about his newest book - Indians on Vacation - via ZOOM cast on August 28th

eventsred 100x100By Staff

August 20, 2020



A Different Drummer Books and Harper Collins Canada invite you to what Ian, proprietor of Different Drummer, is calling a a memorable encounter with a phenomenal person of letters.

If you’ve never heard of  Thomas King – you are a diminished personality. He is funny, erudite and a great story teller.

The CBC series, The Dead Dog Café Comedy Hour which ran from 1997 to 2000 was some of the best radio you will ever hear. It should be available to the public from the CBC archives.

King is going to introduce his new novel Indians on Vacation as a discussion on line with Deborah Dundas, Friday August 28, 7pm, Live Online via Zoom

Registration to the ZOOM cast comes with the purchase of an autographed copy of the book. $32 – well worth the price.

Thomas King bookThomas King, revered throughout the nation for his broadcasting, his social activism and his witty and profound fiction including Green Grass, Running Water and The Back of the Turtle, shares his irresistible new novel in a riveting online event.

Thomas King discusses Indians on Vacation and the passions and concerns that have shaped his long, colourful life in a vigorous conversation with Deborah Dundas, Books Editor of the Toronto Star, on Friday, August 28 at 7pm.

“From the first page, Thomas King’s sardonic and very funny voice leads us to places we never expect to go…European and Indigenous history collide, and there’s no one better to examine the aftermath.”–Deborah Dundas

To access the event, please purchase Indians On Vacation (autographed copies!) from A Different Drummer Books. They will send you the code required to log in via Zoom.

The book is $32, tax included, and will be available starting on the release date, August 25.

To purchase a signed copy, please contact us at 905 639 0925 or diffdrum@mac.com, or use the PayPal button at this link.

Books can be picked up at the bookshop, or delivered to you, no extra charge.

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Male Arrested after Trafficking Fentanyl in Burlington

Crime 100By Staff

August 20th, 2020



The Halton Regional Police Service has concluded a two week drug trafficking investigation in the City of Burlington. The investigation by the 3 District – Street Crime Unit has led to charges against the following individual;

Brandon STODDARD (32 years old from Burlington)

Trafficking (Fentanyl)
Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking (Fentanyl)
Possession of a Controlled Substance (Codeine)
Possession of a Weapon for a Dangerous Purpose
Breach of Release Order (2 Counts)

On August 19th 2020, Investigators with the assistance of the Tactical Rescue Unit and K9 executed a search warrant at a residence in the City of Burlington. As a result; the following items were seized:

Drug arrest Stoddard - knife5 grams of Purple Fentanyl
100 ml of Codeine
2 Digital Scales
5 Cellular Telephones
12 inch Knife
$380.00 Canadian Currency

$11,150 worth of drugs was seized as a result of the search warrant. (Photo attached).

STODDARD was held for a Bail Hearing on August 20th, 2020.

Anyone with information in regards to this investigation is asked to contact Detective Constable Cole Richards of the 3 District Street Crime Unit at 905-825-4747 ext. 2345.

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 www.haltoncrimestoppers.ca.

People charged with a criminal offence are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.


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Nuvo One under the protection of CCAA; seeking a buyer or a new investor

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

August 20th, 2020



It was a grand idea, brilliant perhaps, but it is in trouble now.  The possible failure of Nuvo One on the North Service Road was declared in the financial press this morning.


It was a bold, brilliant idea that floundered under too much debt.

The development, a multi-use, multi-tenant operation, was floundering financially long before COVID-19 hit the world in March.  A major lender attempted to put the company in default over the failure to meet a mortgage obligation.

The largest creditor is Meridian Credit Union.

The company filed for Company Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) protection and is now carrying out a parallel process to solicit interest in the acquisition of the property or providing re-financing to the company.

A bold redevelopment of the property began in 2018 when Shawn Saulnier and his wife Bridget bought the property from the David Mainse Estate.

The site was then known as Crossroads where the two television studios were used to broadcast the 100 Huntley Street television series.

The two chapels on the ground floor were replaced by a bold design that had to be put on hold when the contractors walked off the job due to non-payment of their invoices.

The site is now the office location of a number of organizations including Sound of Music and Burlington Green.


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Survey to determine just how much damage was done during stages 1 and 2 under Emergency Legislation

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

August 20th, 2020



How much damage was there?

Region covid surveyThe Region is now in Stage 3 of the State of Emergency. All kinds of commercial activity was opened up to help Halton Region and local municipalities understand how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected businesses; Halton has put together a short 10-minute survey for local business owners and operators.

This joint survey is being conducted by Halton Region Economic Development, in partnership with the Burlington Economic Development Corporation (BEDC), and the Economic Development Divisions of the Towns of Halton Hills, Milton and Oakville.

Your input is valuable. The survey results will be shared with Halton Region and the local municipalities to inform how we can support businesses and help our local economy recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

How long will the survey take?
We understand that your time is valuable! The survey should take less than 10 minutes.

Who should complete the survey?
We are looking for feedback from business owners, operators or management executives with knowledge of the organization’s operations and forecasts.

Take the survey – CLICK HERE

Survey Deadline
Please complete the survey by Friday, August 28, 2020.

Please note that this is a one-time business survey on how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected businesses in Halton. It does not replace Halton Region’s annual Employment Survey, which will start in September 2020.

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There are a lot of parents who have yet to decide how their children will be getting their education

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

August 19th, 2020



What do parents think they want to do about sending their kids back to school in September?

The Halton District School Board has been in session since 1:00 pm today – they expect to be there until at least 7:30 pm.
A table that was presented a few minutes ago suggests where some of the parents are:


The numbers total 40,872 students; the Board reports that there are 65,000 students in classrooms enrolled in the Halton District School Board


Is someone sending out for pizza?

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Learning outdoors planned for Halton schools: Report on when and how due late September.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

August 19, 2020



The Halton District School Board is thinking very seriously about Outdoor Learning for as many schools as possible.

Outdoor learning photo

Is this what they are thinking about?

They aren’t talking about just the nice Indian Summer weather we get.

Trustees have asked for a report on what can be done and what might the cost be.

There is $200,000 in the kitty for this type of thing along with some COVID-19 specific funding.

Will the mitts the kids have to wear be covered in that funding?

Report will be ready for late September.

All the trustees were on for this.

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How many reports does it take to do a Scoped Re-examination of the Adopted Official Plan ? Lots!

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

August 19th, 2020


Most of the reports listed below can be reached by clicking on the link.

The “Taking a Closer Look at the Downtown” (Scoped Re-examination of the Adopted Official Plan) is a document-heavy process.

To get a sense as to just how document-heavy it has been – and it isn’t over yet – gaze at the documents listed below.

New OP graphic

That Closer Look amounts to a big pile of paper

The project team has released recommended modifications to the downtown policies in the Adopted Official Plan. These policies will guide development in downtown Burlington to the year 2031. The recommended modifications and associated reports are linked below.

The meat of it all is in the first document – not actually in the document itself – it’s in one of the Appendices.

The recommended modifications are discussed in staff report PL-16-20 and in Appendix 1 of PL-16-20, SGL Planning & Design Final Report.

The Official Plan recommended modifications themselves are contained in Appendices 2, 3, and 4 of report PL-16-20.

Appendices 5-14 of report PL-16-20 contain technical studies that have been completed in support of the Re-examination of the Adopted Official Plan.

Appendix 15 of report PL-16-20 contains draft Downtown Burlington Placemaking and Urban Design Guidelines, to be prepared by SGL Planning & Design and released in July 2020.

Appendices 16-19 contain information about public engagement that informed the recommended modifications to the adopted Official Plan. This includes responses to feedback received.

Appendix 20 contains updates on other City projects, as of May 2020. This appendix may be further updated in September 2020.

Appendix 21 of report PL-16-20 will contain a project update that will be prepared and released in September 2020, in advance of the public meeting. This appendix will address all feedback received up until August 28, 2020.

Next Steps

The City will share two more documents – expected sometime in September:

  • Financial Impact Analysis concerning the recommended policy modifications, and
  • Draft Downtown Burlington Placemaking and Urban Design Guidelines for public review.

Aug. 28, 2020: Deadline to submit comments on the recommended modifications to the adopted Official Plan so the project team has time to consider the feedback in advance of the Sept. 30 Committee meeting.

Sept. 2020: The project team will release an additional appendix to the staff report PL-16-20 that was published in June. This appendix will provide project updates and a response to all feedback that was received prior to Aug. 28.

Sept. 30, 2020: City Council will consider all reports at a public meeting of the Community Planning, Regulation, and Mobility Committee on Sept. 30. This meeting will include a presentation from City staff and the project consultants. The public will have a chance to delegate.

Oct. 7, 2020: Council will consider the Sept. 30 recommendations at a Special Council meeting on Oct. 7. Council will decide whether to endorse the recommended policy modifications and submit them to Halton Region for inclusion in the Region’s approval of the new Official Plan that Council adopted in Apr. 2018.

The Gazette will now dive into the pile of documents and report on what it all means.

Stand By and Stay Tuned..


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Just where is public sentiment now that we are in Stage 3 of the Emergency? Not where many would like it to be.

News 100 redBy Staff

August 19th, 2020



We are now in Stage 3 of the Emergency declared by the City and the Province.

The day those declarations were made everything shut down.  Many thought it was going to be a short term thing – when the end of that first month came people began to realize the pandemic was going to really hurt many in the commercial sector.

We got to stage three almost a month ago – things didn’t immediately open up.  It was slow, very slow for many.

Restaurants were permitted to offer service inside the premises and not just outside on a patio or under a tent.

The mask by law was extended to January 2021 – it was temporary when it was first passed.

Groups were limited to 5 people – that got expanded to 10.

Larger groups were permitted – up to 50 people, and movie theatres and bowling alleys were opened.

City hall was getting ready to have some people back at their desks.

The situation with schools is close to chaotic with different boards of education taking different approaches.

Where is the general public in all this?

A survey done in June on public anxiety, which is growing and any possible opening up of the border with the United States revealed that public sentiment falls into five unique groups

20% Ready to Go – less likely to wear masks or follow rules

19% Nearly Ready – watch data from Govt & Health

23% Want to, But Can’t – some barriers – money, child care etc.

18% Content – OK staying and working at home

20% Afraid – want to see control and penalties, think situation is worse, lack of trust

What can Businesses do to help build that trust and bring about a change in public trust and bring them into the commercial world?

Post promise

This decal is available to every restaurant in the country. They just have to sign up to the promise. Look for it – ask why it isn’t there if you don’t see it.

Model the right behaviour – masks and social distancing: this is not a celebration, demonstrate caution

Provide Credible information and validate safety (Post Promise)

Visual is best – show experience rather than tell – videos/tours

Tone – enforcement, education, help, diligent follow-up.

The hospitality sector, which took the hardest hit during the lockdown is slowly coming back – the emphasis is on the slowly part.

Public confidence isn’t as high as it needs to be. Have you seen the POST promise in the restaurants and bars you go to?

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Trustees and School Board Administration debating in a private session

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

August 19th, 2020



HDSB graphic

The trustees have been in this private session for at least more than an hour.

The Halton District School Board has been in a private session for well over an hour.

Not healthy.

Parents want information.

The Board administration has most of the information and will put forward proposals for opening up the schools in September.

The conversations and debate taking place behind closed doors is conversations and debate that should be public.

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Classrooms are going to have a new and much different look when your child returns in September.

News 100 blueBy Michele Bogle

August 19th, 2020



Over the next few weeks I will be sharing the opinions and concerns of a group of Burlington parents in an on-going series of articles. While you read this and the other parts to this series, I ask, “Do you share these same concerns? Would you like your voice heard?” Chime in, discuss, share; give those making decisions on your behalf another opportunity to hear you.

To start, all three of my children have attended the public school system in Burlington, elementary through high school. They are now at college or university or have moved on into the world of commerce.

Parents know what it costs to keep their children in these classrooms - now they know what it costs to keep the principals in the schools. Too much?

How many of these desks will be filled in September?

There are so many aspects of the move back into the classroom to discuss. Let’s meet the wonderful parents who connected with me through various Burlington Facebook groups to offer their thoughts, concerns and questions. We’ll dig deeper into this subject over the next few weeks. Here are just some of the issues that you may not have thought about.

The names of the people cooperating with me are not real, I have chosen to use aliases for all of them; but let me assure you – they are very real people.

Mary Sawyer and her husband work full time outside their home and have two elementary aged children. With the uncertainty of how successful the entrance back to school is, she wishes that the HDSB allowed for the option to have her children start in Sept, but then opt for Oct – March remote learning as Hamilton schools have this option. Why are the boards not sharing the same models?

Kathy Duncan is a special education teacher who wants to know what the government plans to do for these students. Discussion about children with special needs have been largely left out of any guidelines thus far. Virtual classrooms would be near impossible to coordinate as well as impractical.

Burlington Transit Youth Ambassadors gather in a bus shelter. Front row: YAs Benoit, Shaan, Billi and Harrison. Back row, BT’s Sandra Maxwell, YA Kayla and Burlington Green advisor Kale.

Burlington Transit Youth Ambassadors gather in a bus shelter. Front row: Yas Benoit, Shaan, Billi and Harrison. Back row, BT’s Sandra Maxwell, YA Kayla and Burlington Green advisor Kale Black. Will they be able to take on tasks like this during the school year?

Sandra Parker, a Burlington high school teacher and mother of two high school students would really like a decision made with regard to which of the three presented teaching options to prepare for with just three weeks left before the start of school. Currently the plan is for two cohorts with rotating period classes or, two subjects a day for five weeks then on to the next subject. This would provide the students with a more in depth understanding of the material without interruption. The third option would be homeschooling.

Jeremy and Talia Unger are parents to two children, grades 5 and 8. They will be signing the ‘Intent to Return’ form for their kids. One of their concerns is about the mental well-being of their children. “Socialization is a critical part of their development. Not being able to see their friends, in person, at any time during the day can be distracting as well as distressing.” Safety is of course their first priority.

Susan Grimsby teaches elementary aged kids. While she’s eager to return to class, she has definite concerns about the precautions in place. Who’s policing the policies within the school grounds? In maintaining distance between students, how much anxiety is being created?


The emotional health and well being of students at every level is a real concern. Will it get the attention it needs?

Theresa Fisk is an EA with one child in high school and another in elementary school. She is concerned with the management of the cohorts and identified a handful of opportunities for expanding cohorts. There are special needs children who also use the before-and-after school program. Due to the shortage of classrooms, many of the same rooms will be used in the course of the day. In the morning, regular class begins the moment after the before-school-program kids leave the room, leaving the classroom unsanitized for the next group.

During the after-school sessions, when there is only a handful of one age group left in one of the rooms, they condense the kids into fewer rooms, thus creating another mixed cohort. The duration of time that students are on the school bus is typically 45 minutes with poor air circulation. Theresa would love to have a staggered entry, giving time for sanitation. As well for the grade 1-3 children to wear masks.

Students at tree dedication

Are outdoor classes a possibility?

Maria Vanelli is also an elementary school teacher and speaks out about the $50 million provided to improve air quality, better ventilation in the classrooms. Maria tells me that the idea comes too late to implement in time. Her husband is a contractor and from first-hand experience informs her that the HVAC systems take six months to order, then add installation time.

Library Information Technician, Carmen White touched on, among many other items, the math. If class sizes are to be cut in half to allow for safer student numbers such as 15 per class, the reserve fund doesn’t adequately cover the number of teachers needed. Even with funding in place, space is still an immutable variable.

Each of these sets of parents and educators have concerns about very different pieces of this problem impacted by regional policies from the HDSB. Provinces are beginning to change their ideas through pressure from administrators, educators and the public. One thing everyone agreed on is that the answer isn’t to stay home, nor is it safe enough for their kids to return to school yet.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on going back to the classroom. You can reach me by email – bogle@bgzt.ca

Michele BogleMichele Bogle is a Burlington resident who writes for the Gazette on community issues.  She has written several children’s books for ages 4-12, which can be found under the pseudonym, ‘Cameron S. Matthews’. Michele received her education in journalism from the University of Pennsylvania.





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Burlington Food Bank: Getting ready for a possible second wave.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

August 19th, 2020



The front line people are the people that really get it.

It’s in front of them every hour of every day.

A lot of those front line people are volunteers – that is what community and serving is really all about.

Robin Bailey, Executive Director of the Burlington Food Bank is participating  in the annual Feed Ontario conference which will happen this week online in a virtual format. Today’s course is about “Getting Ready for the 2nd Wave”.


Beth Martin Snook – Burlington Together

Beth Martin Snook from Burlington Together made some comments earlier this week that bear repeating.

“As we head into September and beyond, let’s keep in mind that Covid-19, like the common cold, is operating solely in its best interest.

covid virus

Corona virus: They are really good at spreading.

“Corona viruses are really, really good at what they do, which is: spreading.

“We WILL see new cases as schools reopen, it WILL spread. This isn’t a moral failing on anyone’s part. It’s just a virus, doing what it does best.

“Our best defenses continue to be hand washing, social distancing, masking, and supporting each other through what continues to be an extremely stressful moment in time.

“We may very well see a second wave, and if we do, we will be here to support the Burlington community and provide reliable resources.

“The Burlington Food Bank IS and WILL be ready to support our community.

“If you are in need or know of someone who could use our help PLEASE have them email us at info@burlingtonfoodbank.ca or call 905-637-2273 to make arrangements to have food dropped at their door or they can now pick it up. If you live in Burlington, we are here to help.”
Grow to Give
Grow a row
About the Burlington Food Bank

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Public gets to ask questions on the review of the Downtown portion of the Official Plan: one of the best ZOOM productions so far this year.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

August 19th, 2020



It was the best ZOOM production we’ve seen since the lock down.


Michelle Dwyer handled the flow of questions exceptionally well. There may be a future for her in professional broadcasting.

Michelle Dwyer served as the moderator who took the calls during a virtual information meeting about the close-to-final report from the Taking a Closer Look at the Downtown event which she passed on to the team on the other side of the panel that included Alison Enns, Thomas Douglas and Jenna Pulato.

It ran smoothly, a truly professional production. The people who run the city web casts – especially the Standing Committee programs, could learn something from this team.

Dwyer would have looked even better if the camera had been adjusted just a little.

Each of the participants was working from home (Dwyer might have been working out of city hall) and were able to move from person to person without any glitches.

They were doing a virtual information meeting on one of the final Get Involved Burlington segments that was focused on the Scoped Reexamination of the Adopted Official Plan for the Downtown.

By way of background – the 2014-18 city council approved a new Official Plan that was sent to the Region where it had to be approved.  The Region sent it back saying there were parts of the Plan that didn’t fit with the Regional Official Plan – they needed some fixes.

That notice from the Region came in after the 2018 election which brought a lot of new faces to the council table and a Mayor who saw the development of the downtown core a lot differently than her predecessor.

In its notice to the city about the Official Plan that it was sending back, the Region said the city could look at other elements of the Plan and not just the four the Region had been specific about.

That gave Mayor Meed Ward the room she needed to take a deeper look at what could be done with the downtown core.

Mary Lou Tanner

Mary Lou Tanner, former Burlington Director of Planning

The city now had a new Director of Planning: Mayor Meed Ward did not get along with Mary Lou Tanner who was directing and defending what the 2014-18 Council had approved.

Mayor Meed Ward sent City Manager James Ridge packing and brought in Tim Commisso in as an interim City Manager who quickly became the choice of new full time city manager.

Most of the players had changed – which got the city to the point where the Scoped Reexamination of the Adopted Official Plan become almost a cottage industry in itself. The Director of Planning was given carte blanche to hire a consulting firm to lead the Review. They were thorough – and they weren’t cheap.

Heather MacDonald, the new director of planning, was given permission to do a sole source search – she hired SGL Planning and Design who began a process that produced literally dozens of reports with two more to come.


Alison Enns, part of the panel that took questions from the public on a virtual information meeting, worked very smoothy with Thomas Douglas on the ZOOM presentation

Thomas Douglas

Thomas handled most of the question related to transportation at the virtual information meeting.

The FINAL report with some surprising recommendations wasn’t available to the public until a few days before the live review; despite that many of the questions were very detailed – members of the public had drilled down and done their home work.

A transcript of the broadcast, as well as the broadcast itself is expected to be available “shortly” Both will be posted to the Get Involved section of the city web site.

Planning staff have asked for comments before August 28th.  The report will go to a Standing Committee September 30th and to Council in October.

If the report makes it through each of these steps, and doesn’t get bogged down with an appeal before it goes to the Region, it could become the law of the land before the end of the year.

It will have been a long, tortuous and expensive trip.

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School Board to Hold Virtual Town Hall - question is 'when'?

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

August 18th, 2020



The Halton District School Board is planning on holding a virtual Town Hall meeting to bring parents up to date on September school opening.

HDSB sign and benchThe intention was to hold the event Thursday or Friday of this week but HDSB officials said “we just don’t have enough information from the Ministry and hope to do the Town Hall virtually next week.”

In a telling quote, an Official who asked not to be identified said: “The sands are shifting.”

School Boards across the province have been struggling to deliver on the directions the province has given them.

Parents are not happy with the options they have, school boards have found that they are not getting the opportunity to use the resources they have to deal with the challenge they face.

They were told just days ago that they can tap into their financial reserves; HDSB has $40 million that they need government permission to spend. They have been given permission to spend $6 million on PPE.

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