Lakeshore Rotary cancels the late summer Ribfest

News 100 blueBy Staff

May 22nd, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Burlington Rotary Lakeshore, has been closely monitoring developments relating to the Covid-19 pandemic and the global impact it is having, not only on the health and safety of the public, but also the social and economic impact it is having on individuals, businesses and charities such as ours.

Ribfest north side 2017

Lakeshore Rotary promises to come back in 2021 with a bigger and better Ribfest.

The information available to them has led to the decision to cancel the event scheduled for September. In a statement Rotary said: “While we have watched for positive trends and are seeing the beginning of gradual and cautious re-opening phases; we continue to face uncertainty as to what the coming summer months will bring in terms of access to parks, facilities or whether we will experience relaxed or further enhanced public safety protocols. It has become increasingly clear that large scale public events in 2020 will be impossible and impractical to take place.

“With that in mind it is with deep regret that the unfortunate decision has been made to cancel Canada’s Largest Ribfest for 2020.

If you looked around there was still some sitting room. The weather was close to perfect and the music was good - great way to bring a summer to a close.

If you looked around there was still some sitting room. The weather was close to perfect and the music was good – it great way to bring a summer to a close.

“This comes as a huge disappointment to everyone involved, those who have already spent countless hours working towards this years event, our club members, the hundreds of volunteers, vendors, partners and especially the Ribbers, Bands and the Charities we support as a result of the event.

Listening best babe

The audiences listen closely to the music.

“While we know it is impossible to replace and replicate an event that over the course of 25 years has become a local end of summer tradition and has raised nearly $4.5 million for local and international charities, work has already begun on organizing other new and exciting fundraising initiatives to help us support those most in need.

“While we may not be able to come together in 2020, we know that your community spirit remains strong. Please consider making a contribution to one of the following charities that would have benefited from this year’s event: Halton Food For Life, Burlington Food Bank, Salvation Army Food Bank, Food4Kids, Wellington Square Meal Program, Halton Women’s Place, The Carpenter Hospice, Joseph Brant Hospital or Rotary Burlington Lakeshore.

The need to cancel Burlington’s two main festivals amounts to a financial hit that can never be recovered

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City manager: The emails, the emails - they're killing him

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

May 21st, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The day to day operations of the city are in the hands of the Emergency Coordinating Group (ECG) which reports directly and daily to both the Councillors and the Mayor.

The ECG is a Committee of Council that operates under Council’s emergency management bylaws.

That group is in the hands of City Manager Tim Commisso (he co-chairs with Alan Magi – they rotate daily) they are ably supported by the best the city has in terms of administrative leaders.

Tim’s day start at a bit before 7:30 – and he is at it for the full day and at times into the evening.

His lens is his computer monitor and Zoom where he talks to the different sub groups that have been created,

Tim Commisso - finger up hard eyes

City manager Tim Commisso is facing the most challenging problem he has ever faced in his career.

He is tired – not burnt out – but there are limits on how long anyone can last.

Commisso has been around the municipal world much of his professional life so he knows the lay of the land – he has a depth of experience that is critical at this point.

There isn’t an issue that crops up every day that doesn’t impact on other issues – which is normal but with a COVID crisis going on the safety of the public becomes paramount.

And that public is not always that easy to serve. The bylaw problems with people who seem unable to understand simple basic rules that related to the way they had to handle their dogs in parks has been taking up valuable time.

Commisso faces financial pressures – revenue has gone to the rats – expenses keep climbing. The number of monitors the city had to buy for people working at home from lap tops wasn’t something that was budgeted for. Every communication, at least the important ones where a number of people are involved gets done on line. Three months of that without a high end monitor – not possible.

In an exclusive interview Commisso said the situation he faces is more difficult than anything he has had to deal with before.

The biggest problems is the emails “they never stop coming”

All the part time staff were laid off – 700 of them – when the shutdown of the city took place – now he has to begin calling some of them back; he has called back 92 so far and expects to have to bring back more.

Sheila Jones

Sheila Jones Executive Director of Strategy, Risk & Accountability

Dealing with the COVID based issues is prime – at the same time Commisso has Sheila Jones,  Executive Director of Strategy, Risk & Accountability working on the service re-design. COVID has taught the city that they will have to do things differently in the post COVID world.

Municipalities have always been the bottom rung on the political ladder; the crisis has ratcheted up the directions the province hands down and there are problems when what the province says publicly isn’t always fully reflected in the regulations. And in Tim Commisso’s world the regulations are the meat on the bones.

Normally the interaction with the Regional Public Health Unit is limited to some rabies cases and an outbreak of measles. Now Commisso has to be constantly aware of the reports that come out of the public health unit – if the number of new infections rise – he has to scale back some of the services, especially in parks and recreation or anything that involves people directly.

It is the minutia that keeps Commisso hopping from issue to issue.

By law person

Grant Ziliotto – Manager of Municipal Law Enforcement, Licensing and Animal Services

There are eight bylaw control officers, some are working 12 hour shifts on duty from 8 am to 11pm.

Ensuring that the team is functioning and being aware of those who aren’t doing all that well is a challenge. Every Commisso interaction is through the monitor where it isn’t always easy to catch the small signs that someone needs some help. “The BLT (Burlington Leadership Team) has proven to be a great resource – the managers can talk very openly about where the problems are in their domains and where the help is needed.

The stress is part of every day and at times, said Commisso, they have to figure it out on their own.

Keeping it all together is challenging – even more challenging for the administration is the really big decisions that will have to be faced once we are out from under the virus. No one really knows when that will be – the experts maintain that every pandemic the world has experience has had a second wave. Some in the medical world argue that we are not ready for a second wave of infection.

Commisso, who technically no longer reports to city council – he is working under Emergency legislation, is grateful for the way city Councillors have been supportive.

Those big decisions are going to land in the Council Chamber where they will rub up against budget constraints.

City hall - older pic

Changes to the first floor of city hall – hopefully it will be more welcoming.

Before the shutdown the city was in the process of creating a new Customer Support service – it was being centralized and designed to be more responsive and create ways for individuals to look in on the issue they had with the city and find out how it was progressing – all on line.

Commisso wanted a friendlier looking main floor at city hall and a better working environment for staff and more room – what was going to call for some construction.

There isn’t that much money available for anything new – Commisso and Treasurer Joan Ford are scouring the Reserve funds to see if there is a funding source and if that work can be done while city hall is closed.

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Leash free parks for the dogs - open at 3:00 pm today.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

May 21st, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Straight from the mouth of the Mayor.

Leash free dog space open at 3:00 pm this afternoon.

Expect to see Her Worship at the park closest to her home.

Leash free MMW

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The announcement that schools will not re-open was no surprise - 3.5 months before the children return to school in September

graphic coping redBy Ashley Worobec

May 21st, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

Ashley Worobec writes regularly on how she and her family are coping.  Ashley Worobec is a sports-based chiropractor living a life of fitness, health, and parenthood in Burlington.

Well, we got the official announcement about the cancellation of the remainder of the school year. While we knew it was coming and it was a foregone conclusion that this announcement would be made, it’s still somewhat shocking to hear it and to see it written in black and white. With so many other closures still ongoing, it’s the obvious choice, and I’m thankful that some of the uncertainty surrounding schooling has now been eliminated.

family

Jersey Day in the Worobec household during the pandemic

In all honesty though, I’m glad they kept delaying the school start date- had I been told back in mid-March that schools were closed for the remainder of the school year, I would’ve had a hard time coping. My strategy has always been one day or one week at a time; I’ve been able to cope much better by focusing on the here and now rather than worrying about the what-ifs of the future. On March 13th, when the first school closures were announced, I would’ve been into panic mode if I’d known that would last into September.

The kid’s school has done a good job of keeping up a sense of community throughout this time, and we’ve participated in all of their spirit days, including the most recent Jersey Day.

This official education announcement won’t change much in regards to what we’re doing with our children though. We will continue to do the assigned tasks/projects that their teachers are giving on the e-learning platform, and at the end of June we’ll wrap up. My kids are in Grade 5 and Grade 2, so at the end of the year we’ll likely have some sort of celebration at home- we usually buy some sort of Summer outdoor toy to kick off Summer break, and I’m anticipating this year will be no different- in the past we’ve done road hockey pucks, sprinklers, and sidewalk chalk, but this year I’ve got my eye on a pogo stick. Any outdoor time is time well spent in my opinion.

My husband is a high school teacher, and his routine won’t change much for the remainder of the year either, although he’s anticipating less of a buy-in from his Grade 12 students now that the year has officially been shut down. Time will tell. He’s in the midst of organizing a virtual Athletic Banquet for his Phys Ed department so that the athletic awards can still be presented, albeit in a different format this year.

This year has been a challenge, no doubt, and it’s far from over. We still haven’t been given a timeline on when my clinic will be allowed to open, so we’re in a holding pattern at this stage. Once I go back to work, that’ll change our family dynamic, as I won’t be around as much, but my husband and kids are looking at another 3.5 months at home.

morning run

The morning run – its Mom who does the heavy lifting

I’ve attached a picture of our morning run, and we do this nearly every day- once I’m back at work, that morning run won’t happen as often, but it’s been something I’ve really treasured, so we will do it on the days that time allows. It’s not about the physical fitness- it’s about the time together, the time outside, the fresh air, and our mental health. Between the morning run, our daily hikes or walks, and backyard workouts, we’ve been coping with a lot of movement and physical fitness.

dog and cat

Determining the territory.

Our pets have brought us great joy during this time as well; our Golden Retriever is 2 years old, and at the very start of this pandemic, on April 2nd, we adopted a cat from a local cat rescue. Rosie has been a great addition to our family, and a wonderful source of distraction too.

I’ve heard that this pandemic has resulted in lots of pet adoptions, and I can see why!

We will get through this, and we will look back on this time and say “remember when.” For now, I am thankful for sunshine and warmer temperatures and the health of my family. One day at a time……

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A fun scavenger hunt - on line

eventsgreen 100x100By Staff

May 21st, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Freeman Junction sign BESTThe Friends Of Freeman Station are participating in the Toronto Railway Museum’s big online scavenger hunt.

Railway museums across the country have submitted clues for you to find online.

Virtually explore museums from across the country and discover the treasures in their collections.

For the inquisitive student this could be both fun, interesting and part of perhaps a geography or history class.

The list of clues will be released by The Toronto Railway Museum @TORailwayMuseum on May 24, National Scavenger Hunt Day get tuned in!

Check this link for more information.

on line scavenger

 

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Region hopes to convince the province to defer the construction of a new Court House rather than cancel it.

News 100 blueBy Staff

May 21st, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Yesterday, Regional Council unanimously endorsed a resolution asking the Provincial Government to postpone, rather than cancel, the Halton Consolidated Courthouse project. The new courthouse was expected to replace aging courthouses in Milton and Burlington which have experienced ongoing resourcing and security issues.

It also would have brought much needed economic stimulus to Halton along with approximately 600 jobs. Council feels strongly that the shovel-ready project is critical to post-COVID-19 recovery of the local economy and it is ideal as a federal-provincial infrastructure stimulus project.

Milton Court House

The existing Court House has been stretched beyond its limit – the property it sits on in Milton on Steeles will be a prime location for something in the distant future.

“Halton Region along with Halton Regional Police Service and other key stakeholders in the justice system have strongly supported the position that the Milton and Burlington courthouses are unable to serve the needs of residents in our community and that without question, both need to be replaced,” said Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr. “We fully recognize the financial challenges facing the Provincial Government as a result of the pandemic but are asking them to postpone this project, not cancel it, based on the critical services it would provide to our community and the impact on our Regional economy.”

This has been a long standing advocacy issue for Halton, in 2015 Council passed a resolution urging the Provincial Government to proceed with a new courthouse in Halton. The new facility would bring the Superior Court of Justice and Ontario Court of Justice operations in Milton and Burlington together in one state of the art, accessible and efficient facility in Oakville.

The conditions of the courthouse facilities have long been a source of concern for many in Halton. Both the Milton and Burlington courthouses do not have enough functional courtrooms and lack resources. Halton Police Chief Steven Tanner has stated that the Milton courthouse is “dangerous and is considered beyond repair and beyond renovation.” The Honourable Geoffrey B. Morawetz Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Justice has acknowledged that the cancellation of the Halton Consolidated Courthouse Project is an access to justice issue and underscores the overall lack of functional courtrooms in the Central West Region.

Court house location - McMahon

The Liberal Wynne government,represented by then MO Eleanor McMahon, made the announcement to build a new Court House – it was to be located in Oakville on land the province already owned.

With today’s Council resolution, Halton Regional Council is adding their voices to call on the Provincial Government to reconsider their decision. The Province has already invested a significant amount of money in the project which was already in the procurement stage. It is the hope of Regional Council that with enough community pressure, construction of the Halton Consolidated Courthouse could go ahead at some point in the future.

The existing Courthouse in Milton is certainly limited. During the Air Park trials those who wanted to attend were literally packed into a tiny room.

But at some point someone has to look at the spending – if the hope is to deferal – it will be a decade before a shovel goes into the ground.

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Dog owners get a break - they have been feelings like a harassed community. End of Friday is there freedom at last day

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

May 19th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The dogs won.

City hall is working furiously to open leash-free dog areas and most City park parking lots by end of day on Friday, May 22, 2020.

dogs-off-leash-opening

Dogs have been waiting for months to be able to do this legally. City expects their owners to adhere to the six foot rule.

Toronto made the move – Burlington is feeling the pressure from the dog owner community – the plea from the city is to encourage everyone to follow public health directions and Provincial orders to physically distance themselves a minimum of six feet to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

The bylaw officers have had a very difficult time getting people to keep their dogs on short leashes and to not congregate – they clearly don’t understand dog owners and dog owners clearly don’t take all that well to bylaw.

There was one day last week when a reported seven tickets – with a potential $750 fine – were given out in a single day.

Runners two dogs we know what this is about

Not hard to figure why the guy in red is out for a walk.

All City-owned leash-free dog areas, parking lots and tennis courts are scheduled to be opened by end of day Friday, May 23 with the exceptions of:

1. The west parking lot at Spencer Smith Park (ongoing construction)
2. LaSalle Park Marina parking lot (ongoing construction)
3. Lowville Park parking lot (continued crowd management)

Residents are encouraged to leave their cars at home when visiting a park. Walk, bike or roll to your neighbourhood park.
City Multi-use Sports Fields

social distance - rural

Congregating is lovely – just adhere to the six foot rule. Our failure to do that gives the virus opportunities to spread itself every where.

The Province announced today that multi-use sports fields (such as baseball diamonds and soccer fields) can be opened. Families can now enjoy our publicly accessible sports fields (areas not locked and enclosed with fencing) with members of their own household for casual play. Only family members from the same household are able to be within six feet of each other. The City of Burlington will provide further information regarding our sports fields by Friday, May 23.

In the meantime, organized group sports are still not permitted due to Provincial emergency orders. Requirements need to be in place by provincial sport organizations before permitted field use can be re-introduced. The City will work in collaboration with local sport organizations and as the specifics are provided, an implementation plan will be finalized.

Provincial emergency orders remain in effect that limit the number of people in a gathering to five. If sports fields are used for casual purposes they are to be used at resident’s own risk; the City has not maintained or inspected sports fields during the pandemic.

IInfections by date cropped

The number of infections in the Region are increasing regularly – that is because the virus is amongst us in the community and being passed from person to person. Don’t be the person that picks it up from someone else – maintain that six foot distance.

 

By Provincial order, park amenities, including all washrooms and playground equipment remain closed.

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Premier Ford threatens to hammer the 'greedy landlords'

News 100 redBy Staff

May 19th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Wow – the Premier laid it on the line.

He was addressing what he called “greedy landlords” and said they needed to begin to cooperate with their tenants and find a compromise.

If they don’t he said, he was going to come down on them very hard. He was going to hammer them

He wasn’t smiling when he was speaking.

Premier with deputy May 19th

Premier threatening to hammer the “greedy landlords.”

Will it make a difference to the small business operators that are renting from large property owners?

While the Premier was speaking in a media Q&A that was running live Deputy Premier Christine Elliott was smiling in the background. We thought we could hear her saying: Go get em Dougie.

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Schools closed for the balance of the school year; summer day camps, both indoor and outdoor, may be permitted in July and August - no overnight camps

News 100 redBy Staff

May 19, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The decision the province made to keep the schools closed for the balance of the school year  involved consulting with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, health experts on the COVID-19 Command Table, and medical experts at The Hospital for Sick Children.

Group of students MMR

This is what the province doesn’t want to see – students congregating the way students do – the virus would jump from person to person in situations like this.

The government is planning for the reopening of schools for the 2020-21 school year, the gradual reopening of child care, and the opening of summer day camps subject to the continuing progress in trends of key public health indicators.

Today’s announcement was made by Premier Doug Ford, Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, and Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health.

All students who were on track to graduate from secondary school before the initial school closure order was made in March will be able to graduate, and all students will receive report cards.

MMW with students

Classroom scenes like this return in September – if the COVID infection rates are kept low.

Later this summer, the government will announce a plan to strengthen learning and safety protocols to enable students and staff to return to in-class instruction for the 2020-21 school year. That plan will be bolstered by an enhanced province-wide virtual learning program that will allow all students to learn, regardless of the challenges that may transpire in the coming months.

Private schools, licensed child care centres and EarlyON programs will also remain closed for the safety and protection of children, families and staff through Stage 1 of the Framework for Reopening the Province. Emergency child care will continue to operate and provide support for health care and other frontline workers. A gradual reopening of child care is expected to begin when the province is ready to transition to Stage 2 based on public health criteria, which will include robust safety protocols for the safety of Ontario’s youngest learners and their staff.

Funny hats and smiling faces - all part of the summer day camp experience.

Funny hats and smiling faces – all part of the summer day camp experience.

Assuming trends in key public health indicators continue to improve, summer day camps, both indoor and outdoor, may be permitted in July and August of this year with strict health and safety guidelines to be developed in partnership with local public health, the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development, and municipalities.

Overnight camps will not be permitted to operate in the summer of 2020.

The province also unveiled an expanded seven-point summer learning plan to ensure Ontario students have every opportunity to continue their learning through the summer months. Summer learning programs are being expanded to reach the most students in Ontario history, to ensure they remain on track to start the 2020-21 school year with the confidence and knowledge required to succeed.

 

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Closure of bars and restaurants except for takeout in force until May 29th

News 100 redBy Staff

May 19th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

The hard news is in the first couple of paragraphs.

The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, has extended all emergency orders currently in force until May 29, 2020.

Brant street getting ready

Those chairs are going to have to stay empty for a little while longer.

That includes the closure of bars and restaurants except for takeout and delivery only, restrictions on social gatherings of more than five people, and staff redeployment rules for long-term care homes and congregate settings like retirement homes and women’s shelters. The government is also allowing drive-in religious gatherings.

Today, the province officially enters the first stage of its Framework for Reopening the Province. As part of this initial stage, the government is permitting the reopening of some outdoor recreational amenities, including outdoor sports facilities and multi-use fields, off-leash dog areas, and outdoor picnic sites, benches and shelters in parks and recreational areas, effective as of Tuesday, May 19, 2020.

Outdoor playgrounds, play structures and equipment, fitness equipment, public swimming pools, splash pads and similar outdoor water facilities will remain closed until later stages of the province’s reopening plan.

driving range May 16

Six feet – swinging those clubs can work up quite a sweat.

“Although we are entering the first stage of our framework to reopen the economy, it’s critical that we continue to do so in a safe and responsible manner,” said Premier Ford. “The people of Ontario have been doing a fantastic job to help flatten the curve and stop the spread of this terrible virus. With warmer weather beginning, individuals and families will now be able to enjoy many outdoor amenities, but everyone must continue to maintain physical distancing from those outside of their household.”

To ensure that individuals and families have safe access to outdoor spaces, it is critical they take everyday steps to reduce exposure to the virus, such as maintaining physical distancing by staying two metres apart from anyone outside of their household, washing hands regularly, and staying home if feeling unwell.

Extending the dates supports the government’s plan to cautiously and safely reopen businesses, services and amenities in a way that will enable the province to continue to protect the health and safety of Ontarians.

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The Care Mongers got Together and would like you to Grow a Row for the Food Bank

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

May 19th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Burlington together logoThey called themselves Burlington Care mongers – and their presence on social media just took off.

They had people making masks; people running errands for people who had to self-isolate.

They were exceptionally well organized and effective.

Then they decided that the word “care monger” could use a little refinement and changed their name to Burlington Together. They are still exceptionally effective.

Beteh Martin Caremonger

Former Chief Care monger”, Beth Martin Snook with her children

Grow plants Jan

If you do it right – this is what you can produce.

The former Chief Care monger”, Beth Martin Snook popped us a note announcing the “Grow a Row” project through the Burlington Together Facebook group
They are encouraging people to grow an extra row of food in their gardens and donate that extra harvest to the Burlington Food Bank.

Beth is prepared to help anyone who needs it with seeds or gardening advice, and will also set up a seed swap if there is interest.

“I’m the contact for the project – you can reach me at – bethmarty@gmail.com or through Facebook at Beth Martin Snook or through the group at Burlington Together.

The link is a direct connection to the group.

growing a row Jan

Burlington Together would like you to Grow Row for the Food Bank

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Cith hall puts out a statement: summer program cancelled - you'll get your refund in four to six weeks,

News 100 blueBy Staff

May 19th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

City hall has provided more information on the decision to close city hall that was heard at a Standing Committee; that committee recommendation will go to Council on Monday of next week.

“Following the Provincial and public health directives, the City of Burlington is cancelling all City-run summer programs. This includes activities such as summer camps, recreation programs, festivals and events, swimming and skating drop-ins that were originally offered in the Live & Play Guide.

“Organizations and residents are asked to please be patient during this time as we expect it will take 4-6 weeks for staff process these cancellations. Residents who paid for these programs using a credit card will be refunded to that same credit card if possible. All other payment methods will receive a credit to their Recreation accounts. Following the processing of cancellations, cheque refunds will be issued based on specific email requests. Please email liveandplay@burlington.ca for cheque refund requests, and be sure to include your full mailing address.

“As restrictions from the Province and Public Health are lifted, the City will implement a redesigned or modified program where possible.

“Any programs available will be advertised. To be notified of any new programs, visit and subscribe to burlington.ca/play.

Facility Rentals

No snow? There are always swimming pools. Check out the available programs and register for a spot.

Not this summer.

“All facility rentals up to and including Sept. 7, 2020, including arenas, pools, community centres, schools, sport fields and picnics are cancelled. Renters who paid by credit card will be refunded to that same credit card if possible. Others will receive a credit on account. A confirmation will be emailed once the rental cancellation has been processed.

“Requests for future booking dates are not being accepted until further notice.

“For questions about facility rentals or rental refund requests please email rentals@burlington.ca.

“For more information and FAQ’s on summer closures, cancellations and refunds visit burlington.ca/coronavirus.

“The City is monitoring the situation closely and will work with local organizations to determine any modified programs as we are able to.

“Any opportunity to re-open facilities or resume programming following health directives including physical distancing or reduced group sizes will be posted to the City’s website and social media.

baseball players

Probably not this summer either

Parks
While City of Burlington parks were never closed for walk-through traffic, residents can now enjoy a few more activities in their local City of Burlington parks and green spaces with members of their own household including:

• Playing catch, kicking a soccer ball and flying a kite
• Sitting on a blanket, grass or lawn chair
• Exercising and stretching on a yoga mat, but not in a class
• Letting young children run and burn off some energy

“We are asking everyone to remember they have a role to play in slowing the spread of COVID-19.

The Mayor explains: “I know this news will be disappointing to our community; however, we need to continue to stay apart for now to protect ourselves and each other. Public health and safety need to continue to come first. I know our City staff are working on alternative programming that can be done virtually, so watch for that news.”

He is no longer "acting"; it's now the real deal as Chris Glenn gets appointed the Director of Parks and Recreation for the city.

Chris Glenn – Director of Parks and Recreation.

Chris Glenn, Director of Recreation Services tells his side of the story:   “Summer programming is our busiest time with some wait lists forming as early as January. Please be patient as we process credits and refunds. These can take time but be assured that everyone who needs a credit or refund will get one. One of our adaptations to the COVID-19 physical distancing is our virtual programming. I encourage everyone to access our free virtual programming which can be found at burlington.ca/activeathome. There are golf tips, cooking lessons, crafts and more.”

Four to six weeks to process a refund for a cancelled programming is a real stretch.

 

 

 

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The weather last week put the kibosh on any plans that I had to see friends - heading into week 10

graphic coping redBy Nicki St George

May 19th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

The Gazette put together a team of parents who are at home taking care of their children while the province goes through school closures and the shut down of everything other than essential services.

Ashley Worobec and Nicki St. George write regularly on how they are coping. We invite parents to take part in this initiative by adding comments to each Coping with COVID19 & the kids article.

Ashley Worobec is a sports-based chiropractor living a life of fitness, health, and parenthood in Burlington.  Nicki St George is a teacher, a recovering cancer patient and a mother working on an MBA

WEEK 9-

This week has been a blur.

Dan was busy working on a deadline for the 9-week project that has been occupying his days and nights and I was back in full-swing at work with a flurry of emails and zoom meetings to attend. The children were often left to their own devices (literally and figuratively).  I now have the musical stylings of Molly and Daisy from something called Toy Heroes permanently stuck in my head. My penance for neglecting Beatrix.

Leo Bea sitting in chairs

Screen time – determining which level is the challenge.

Of course, while I am feeling overwhelmed by feelings of guilt over this, the children see completely oblivious and are happy to have fewer restrictions placed on their device time. My mantra this week has told me that this is all temporary, but I still worry about the longer-term effects of too much screen time and how that will stunt the creativity of my children.

I now separate screen time into the following categories: educational, games, and family TV time. This last category is the cause of some heated debates in our family. Nailed It seems to be the only acceptable compromise. Leo, a fellow night owl, sneaks out of his room every night after bedtime and begs me to watch Community with him – how can I say no? It seems the children are most amenable to compromises when they are breaking their bedtime curfew.

Leo’s bedroom is a library. There are stacks of books everywhere and he has read every one of them. So at night I am faced with the choice of allowing him to use EPIC (an online database with a huge selection of books that he likes), i.e. more screen time, or do I allow him to sneak out and watch TV with me? I know there is a third option, but he is good company and I love laughing with him. Sometimes he goes into Bea’s room and plays dolls with her. She likes playing with him the best.

I still managed to get out for my morning walks every day this week, and we ate dinner together every night as a family, so I am still going to consider this past week a win. I did burn an entire batch of homemade granola, a sign that I was slightly off my mom-game, but my homemade chicken soup and scones will make up for that (I hope). I ordered hand-sewn masks for the family by a local Burlington mother who has been laid off. The idea of leaving my house with the kids while we are all donning face masks fills me with both hope and dread.

Bea and Leo outdoors

When it is just Nicki and the kids – no such thing as social distancing.

I have felt frustrated all week by the lack of clarity around social distancing rules. In other provinces and countries, the citizens are given direction about how to expand their ‘bubbles’ or at least they are aware of when they might be able to start this process. Of my friends, some are being very careful and have not seen their boyfriends in 9 weeks and others are being a lot less careful.

I have reconciled that outdoor visits while maintaining a 2-meter distance is okay; however, the weather this week put the kibosh on any plans that I had to see friends in this way.

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4th phase of the ambitious Elgin Promenade on target - will the $$ needed to complete be available?

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

May 17th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Elgin Promenade, that pathway that serves as a pedestrian and cycling corridor will extend from Brant Street to Martha Street connecting the downtown core to the Centennial Multi-Use path is about to embark on the 4th phase.

The idea has been on the drawing boards for some time – when a funding opportunity came up in 2017, the city moved on it quickly.
It was a grad idea when it was first presented to the public in 2017, made possible by a federal gas tax rebate grant of $700,000.

Overall area - big pictureThe Promenade will eventually allow people to cycle or walk across the width of the city from the BurlOak Park in the east end to the Canal that separates us from Hamilton on the west end.

The first thing it did was open up the space opposite city hall and a little to the south of city hall. Some parking spots were removed and the first of four phases between Brant and John Street was done.

phases graphic all 4

Done in phases; the fourth one will begin in the Spring of 2021.

 

No one was really sure how many people would use the Promenade; when a pedestrian counter was installed on John Street from October 25th, 2019 to December 2, 2019 the counter showed approximately 346 people per day which is significant number of users, especially in the off-season.

A second pedestrian counter was also installed for all of 2019 at Martha Street and the Centennial Multi-Use Trail which is located beside the east end of the Elgin Promenade. The 2019 daily average count for 12 months at this location was 688.

Phase 4 connects Pearl Street to Martha Street – Site Constraints
The final phase that will connect Pearl Street to Martha Street, comes with a series of challenges and site constraints including land ownership, vehicular circulation of the adjacent parking lot and underground utilities.

The land for this proposed walkway is not owned the City however the City Realty Services department is in negotiation with the landowner of 425 Pearl Street to acquire the northern section of this parking lot in order to build the connecting link of the Elgin Promenade.

The proposed walkway is on top of two easements; Transnorthern (high-pressure gas pipeline) and Halton Region (sanitary and water). In advance of tendering this project, all those permits and approvals from various agencies have to be in place before a tender can be released.

The existing two-way driveway into the parking lot at 425 Pearl Street will be converted into a one-way in drive lane. A secondary driveway further south along Pearl Street will be built to accommodate egress from the existing parking lot.

concept plan BEST

All of phase 4

 

enlargement area # 1

A tighter look at the west side of phase 4.

area #2 enlarged

A closer look at the west side of phase 4

The Elgin Promenade Phase 4 – Design Program

The finished phase 4 will be a 4m wide pedestrian facility that is uninterrupted by cars (except at intersecting streets).

The illustrations for phase 4 represent approximately 60% design completion.

Two additional properties

Looking east. The two white structures are properties that will have to be acquired.

view looking west

Looking west. Phase four has space for more than just a walk – there are small areas where people can congregate.

Proposed Crossovers

There will be three pedestrian crossovers where the Promenade crosses Martha Street, Pearl Street and Elizabeth Street.

Martha Street and Pearl Street will be installed in conjunction with Phase 4 of the Promenade. Transportation Services staff are reviewing the Elizabeth Street pedestrian crossover to determine if it can be installed prior to completion of the Elgin Promenade.

In addition to the three pedestrian crossovers proposed, John Street is still under evaluation given the additional movements related to the Downtown

Parking Summary
The overall parking count from phases 1 to 3 resulted in a net zero loss of city parking stalls.

The project will result in 17 parking stalls being removed from a privately- owned parking lot at 425 Pearl Street. Currently, the owners of the lot do allow the public to use the space during evenings and weekends.

Capital funds have been committed in 2020 to complete a needs assessment with the goal of developing a plan to add parking supply to the downtown.

Project Schedule
The Elgin Promenade construction is anticipated to start in spring of 2021. Below is high-level schedule for the balance of this project.

High level time line graphicThe addition of a handsome rather splendid path for pedestrians and cyclists does present a repetition of a problem at Spencer Smith Park where cyclists tend to forget to respect the rights of those walking to safe passage.

This part of the city is rich in historically significant properties. The heritage value and appropriate protections (including possible Heritage Act designations) for the potential built heritage resources and potential cultural heritage landscapes will be addressed.

A report released last September, “Cultural Heritage Resource Assessment of the Downtown Mobility Hub”, will be reporting back to Council in 4Q; a funding source has yet to be determined.

One of the potential cultural heritage landscapes, the properties known as 431 and 435 Pearl Street, which are adjacent to the Elgin Promenade on the east side of Pearl Street.

Community Planning Department staff will report back to Council in spring 2020 concerning the scope and financial considerations for the heritage study.

Given the financial constraints brought about by the COVID crisis – could this part get put on hold ?

Part of Phase 4 includes new landscape construction on the rear portion of the city-owned property at 431 Pearl Street.

The project is going to significantly improve the way people use the downtown. It is going to require the purchase of a part of that parking lot, the purchase of the properties at 431 and 435 Pearl  – all at a time when dollars are going to be in short supply.

The success of the Elgin Promenade to date is a direct result of the number of stakeholders that have participated in the development of this multi-use pathway facility. Formal engagement with the downtown business community, members of council, advisory committees and area residents started in 2017. Since the project start, there have been two formal PIC sessions as well other related initiatives such as the Urban Parks Strategy Workshop and Downtown Streetscape Guidelines public engagement process.

dfer

Marianne Meed Ward as a citizen delegating to a council that she would lead in 2018

In Q2 of 2020 staff will host a design session, open to project stakeholders and members of Council, in order to complete the conceptual design for the area behind 431 Pearl Street.

view looking west

The view looking west

There was a phrase that Marianne Meed Ward used frequently when she was the ward 2 Councillor – ‘these are nice to have projects that we can’t afford.’ Didn’t hear that phrase once during the discussion of what was a Receive and File report from the Planning department on this project.

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A trip to the supermarket is 'not a social occasion'. Be efficient - in and out.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

May 17th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Part way through the long weekend our Member of Parliament, Karina Gould reminds on how we need to conduct ourselves now that the province has cautiously opened up some of the retail world.

In her message to us about the Queen Victoria holiday Gould adds that when we go shopping we are there to purchase food items – “this isn’t a social occasion”, she said.

Grocery shopping graphic Gould.Wow! Has COVID done this too us – when we gather at a market or a supermarket we bump into our friends and get caught up on the news and the gossip. – keeping that required safe distance of course.

The Victorian Era was known for its difficulty with touching and close relationships – at least in public.

Seems the Good Queen’s approach to the way she saw society working are  coming back.

Whatever happened to all that freedom we earned in the sixties?

Queen Victoria

This was not a woman to trifle with once she had matured and realized thee size of the Empire she ruled.

The Victorian period saw the British Empire grow to become the first global industrial power, producing much of the world’s coal, iron, steel and textiles.

The subject of Victorian sexuality, which continued to be a continuing topic of debate and fascination well into the 20’s – that was the 1920’s.

According to their own testimonies, many people born in the Victorian age were both factually uninformed and emotionally frigid about sexual matters. Historically, it appeared that the licentious behaviour and attitudes of the Regency period had been replaced by a new order of puritan control and repression.

That changed – but there are still strains of it out there. None of this of course was mentioned in the MP’s column.

She wishes us all well and urges us to make the best of the long weekend and be grateful for everything the Front Line workers are doing for us.

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One Burlington steps aside while COVID19 works it way through the world.

eventsorange 100x100By Staff

May 17th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

One Burlington, that annual event that strives to attract as many people as possible to participate and to learn about the diverse cultures and faith practices of our neighbors in a safe, joyful and relaxed environment announced the decision to cancel the August 2020 event.

One Burlington logoA key value at One Burlington is to encourage participation by everyone. We could not imagine a way to present our Festival and restrict attendance as it clashed with our mandate. Hence the decision to cancel this event for this year.

The One Burlington Festival did get funding from the Burlington Arts Council and have been advised that they can use those funds for marketing purposes.

Canceling the August 3, 2020 Festival event for this year is backed by every intention to put on the One Burlington Festival Day in Central Park in the summer of 2021.

One Burlington is planning to hold a special fall Outreach event and add an online component as well. They are hoping to hold this event indoors and restrict attendance to conform to the numbers recommended by the Province of Ontario health authorities.

One Burlington Canada-Burlington1-2017

Murals that invite anyone to pick up a paint brush and take part are part of One Burlington events.

They hope to either broadcast the proceedings online/or record it for repeat viewing on YouTube. The theme has not yet been chosen but it will involve speakers and professional performers; the Programming Committee will be working on that –  their first outreach event (in support and collaboration of the Black History Month was a huge success.

In addition, One Burlington is using the time afforded to it by the cancellation of the August 2020 event to renovate our presence on social media. We are taking money intended for marketing and promotion of the 2020 Festival and we will spend it on a comprehensive marketing/communications strategy.

By the end of 2020, they hope to be reaching the citizens of Burlington regularly through multiple social media platforms spreading the message of love, unity and building a united community in many different ways.

“We all recognize that the state of the world has made the need to render meaningful service to humanity even more urgent. I have no doubt that you as ambassadors of love, will with high resolve and intense endeavour use every interaction to spread hope, kindness and inclusivity”, said Shadi Salehian, Board Chair, One Burlington.

More on what One Burlington is all about – CLICK here.

 

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St Matthews takes a holiday break - closed holiday Monday - re-opens on Wednesday.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

May 17th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Hopefully we will get nicer weather on Monday.

People will be able to get out and about – however they won’t be able to drop off any Food donations that are collected by St. Matthews Anglican church every Monday and Wednesday.

St Matthews Not open Monday 18thThey are taking a break but do hope that you will visit them on Wednesday.

St. Matthews partners with the Burlington Food Bank and the Compassion Society/

Pick up a free 100% cotton face mask while you are there.

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Zoom for BurlingtonGreen - they are going to hold their AGM online

News 100 greenBy Staff

May 17th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The BurlingtonGreen Environmental Association Board of Directors invites you to BurlingtonGreen’s 2020 Annual General Meeting, held virtually using ZOOM on Tuesday, May 26, 2020.

B green AGMLearn more about what BurlingtonGreen has been up to for the past year, meet our Board and Leadership Team and tell us what matters to you!

 

When: Tuesday May 26, 2020, 5:30pm – 6:15pm

Where: Virtually via ZOOM webinar

Register today!

Don’t see all that much time to ask probing questions; no mention of their financial statements.  Transparency applies to the not for profit sector – not just the politicians.

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The evidence always tells the story; it can be enhanced by anecdotal information.

News 100 redBy Joe Gaetan

May 17th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Joe Gaetan is a regular Gazette reader who more often than not gets it right. He can be, has been, a trenchant critic. He is Italian.

“First, I would like to say that this will be the last issue of my reporting on the Covid19 pandemic. Secondly, I recently read an article entitled, “Seniors with Covid19 show unusual symptoms Doctors Say”. The premise of the article is that some seniors experience unusual symptoms, please read it and share as you see fit, https://khn.org/news/seniors-with-covid-19-show-unusual-symptoms-doctors-say/

“ When I first started doing this I did so because I wanted to see how Canada was doing compared to Italy. As time marched on I became interested in what was occurring in South Korea (for obvious reasons) and the USA (because they are our neighbor). And now it is time to move on and I am getting sick and tired of hearing phrases such as “during these difficult times” blah blah.

“This chart shows the average number of new cases per day for the months of March, and April and for May to the 15th. The U.S.A. is currently running at an average of 25,951 new cases per day while S Korea is seeing about 17 new cases per day. Canada is now seeing 1,419 new cases per day on average while Italy is at 1,228. We have a way to go.

Canada - Italy numbers 1

Cases per day, by month, comparing Canada and Italy.

“This series of charts and my favorite are the % Daily Change in Cases that tell us if we are winning or losing the battle against Covid19. Canada is within striking distance, but we need to be below 1%.

Canada daily changes 2

Canada’s curve – needs to be brought down to less than 1%

“S Korea is the benchmark for this. As you can see S.K was running at a rate of 1.85% back in March. The rest is history and their average % daily change rate for May is .16% down from an average of.32% for April. Canada per the above chart is at an average daily % change rate of 1.65%, so I suspect we may be 45 to 50 days away from where SK is today % wise but with way more cases.

 

Penny Hersh, a strong face mask advocate, said in a comment: “My concern has been that once things started opening up that residents would not do what they should to protect themselves and others.

“Yesterday, there was a huge lineup for ice cream at La Creme de la Creme on John Street. The lineup outside of the shop snaked all around the street and around the corner. No physical distancing was taking place and no one was wearing a facial mask.

“Friday evening, about 5 or 6 cars of residents( about 15 people) came together in the parking lot across from Emma’s and stood in the parking lot some drinking and all socializing once again no physical distancing or masks.”

The message is getting out to family’s – it doesn’t seem to be getting out to the younger people who seem to think they are immune to the virus.  The data does say that this cohort is infected less than other cohorts – but they are being infected.  No one has come up with a way to get this message across.

Youth on Beachway - balls

They are sometimes oblivious to the obvious.

South Korea daily changes

South Korea’s curve – this is where we need to get to.

Joseph GaetanJoseph A. Gaetan has a BGS degree in applied studies, earned through studies at The University of Waterloo and Athabasca University. He also earned a Province of Ontario Engineering Technology Certificate through Fanshawe College, and for 8 years worked at earning a trade becoming a Journeyman Machinist. He also studied French at the Centre Linguistique du Collège de Jonquière and Italian at Mohawk College. In addition, he has taken online courses through the EDx platform taking courses from Harvard, The University of Queensland, Wellesley and Delft Wageningen, he is currently working at learning 6 languages through Duolingo. His work career includes being a Machinist, a CNC programmer, a business owner, a consultant and the Director of Organizational Development for a Fortune 100 company. All of this thanks to life-long learning.

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Conservation Halton issues a flood warning - rain on a long weekend day. Phhtt!

News 100 greenBy Staff

May 17th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Well – there goes the weekend.

CH Rivers and streamsConservation Halton advises that the Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry’s Surface Water Monitoring Centre is forecasting an incoming low-pressure system that will bring up to 40 mm of rain over our jurisdiction beginning Sunday afternoon with a chance of thunderstorms leading to an additional 10 to 25 mm locally. An additional 10 to 30 mm is possible on Monday before the system moves out of our jurisdiction.

Soil conditions within the watershed are saturated from recent rainfall meaning that much of the forecasted rain on Sunday and Monday will runoff into our rivers and streams. The combination of increased flows and water levels and slippery and unstable banks will create hazardous conditions close to any rivers, streams, or other water bodies.

Widespread flooding is not anticipated. Our reservoirs are still in range of our seasonal holding levels and have storage capacity available. However, fast flowing water and flooding of low-lying areas and natural floodplains may be expected. Municipalities, emergency services and individual landowners in flood-prone areas should be on alert.

Creek flooding - Halton

High water in the creeks and streams

Conservation Halton is asking all residents and children to keep a safe distance from all watercourses and structures such as bridges, culverts and dams. Elevated water levels, fast flowing water, and slippery conditions along stream banks continue to make these locations extremely dangerous. Please alert children in your care of these imminent dangers.

Conservation Halton will continue to monitor stream flow and weather conditions and will issue further messages as necessary. This Flood Outlook Statement will be in effect through Thursday May 21, 2019.

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