Face masks being distributed to community groups

News 100 blueBy Staff

May 6th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Some State Governors in the United States are thinking of making the wearing of face masks mandatory. Ontario hasn’t taken to that idea yet.

A major Burlington supermarket announced that it requires patrons to wear a face mask when they are in the store.

Galbraith couple

Ward 1 Councillor Kelven Galbraith and his wife Angie Blignaut

Shawna and daughter

Ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte and her daughter Danielle

One of the problems is that face masks are in short supply.

The Gazette undertook to provide the material and the ties for face masks that are being sewn together by volunteers from across the city – there are ten sewers in place now and they have one person cutting cloth from bolts and running the cloth ties through a surging machine.

A couple of members of council are wearing masks and distributing them to people in their wards.  Those masks are fashion statements.

The Food Bank plans to include a mask with every food hamper they deliver.  Arrangements are being worked on to collaborate with other community organizations.

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Do we know what is happening to us?

background graphic redBy Pepper Parr

May 5th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

What’s happening to us?

We read that thousands have died – from something we don’t understand and nor do the scientists who are struggling to find a vaccine that will prevent the spread of the disease.

isolation - woman - window

Self-isolating

We are asked to stay inside as much as possible and when we do go out we are asked not to congregate with people. Don’t stop to talk to people – if you do keep at least six feet of space between people.

Grandfather at window

No hug – not even a Hi – just a wave

Children don’t get to see their grand parents; some parents don’t get to see their parents because they are in a retirement home.

We are told to wash our hands often – at least every hour.

We can’t go to work and when we are able to get back to work we are warned it is going to be a much much different environment.

How did we get to this point ?

There is a delightful children’s bedtime story – short – that has a lot for adults – it may have been meant for us and not the children.

There is something to think about for all of us in that short clip. Part of the answer as to what is happening to us is in that story.

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Holton says: 'The cream is rising in the arts world - Humanity Will Make It.'

opinionred 100x100By Margaret Lindsay Holton

May 5th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

I was asked by the editor for my opinion about “where the arts are going with the virus getting in the way of everything.”

Ok.  This is where I think the arts are going …

The arts are exploding at the moment. Previously under-paid and unpaid TALENT is foregoing the traditional means of gaining venues, exhibitions, funding, acceptance & credibility through mainstream society. Instead, they are moving over to internet streaming services to connect, learn, engage and get paid from the #screenaddicted.

And it’s going completely tribal. Creative hubs are emerging and coalescing around talent.

Listen > https://open.spotify.com/track/1p8npYnb9vbm8JdWwkwjaT

Watch: https://youtu.be/F5pgG1M_h_U

The cream is rising.

As example, on Twitter, a vibrant, international #writingcommunity ~ (with the best being unabashedly local), is tearing up how thoughts are shared between others.

There are now incredible opportunities to meet some of the best minds thinking about our era and current predicament. (Supplied links in bio profiles connect you to immediate purchase options if you want to pursue their thoughts further.)

Atwood

Margaret Atwood – has a huge following.

But note, some authors are more engaging and engaged than others. In literature, Stephan King, J.K. Rowlings, Margaret Atwood and Diana Gabaldon are heavily followed so the chance of a one-on-one interaction, or reaction, with them is near nil. Surprisingly interactive ‘thinking’ twitterers are Robert McFarlane, Colette of ‘Bealtaine Cottage’ and Canadian business woman, Arlene Dickinson. All the above are worth following.

Arlene Dickenson

The Arlene Dickinson profile began with a television program – she has used social media to maintain and built on that and is now seen as a savvy successful business woman

Next is Youtube. To give you an idea of how good it is, I seldom watch Netflix at all anymore. I subscribe to channels by personalities or institutions that compliment my varied interests. A favourite of mine is the Oxford University Debating Society. They bring in guest speakers, to an oak podium or armchair, interview them, then open up the floor to questions from mostly undergraduates. Stephen Fry, Elon Musk, the founder of LinkedIn, and controversial Katie Hopkins of the U.K. have all spoken. It keeps the mind ticking.

Twitch is busy with the below 30 crowd. I’m not on it. Example: https://twitch.com/camilladerrico

Next is Instagram. For visual artists it’s both a gods-send and a devil’s curse. A gods-send because they can post their work. A devil’s curse because they can post their work.

Instagram is the great visual equalizer. Authenticity and talent is immediately evident. When you realize that the eye decides faster than the word, it’s clear there is a lot of junk that pretends to be ‘art’ on Instagram. No-one has to waste their time with those ‘art’ accounts. Instead, satisfy your visual hunger and follow WHATEVER interests you. Example, there are plenty of innovative and fascinating people around the world producing amazingly practical ideas for their communities ~ and none are “artists” in the ‘traditional’ sense of the word. Meaning, a skilled furniture restorer who shows his meticulous repair work on a stunning 18th century marquetry-inlaid English armchair is lightyears ahead of the imagery of a smeary graffiti artist who yells, yet again, about the ‘angst-of-the-artistic’.

#Photographers (amateur and professional) do very well on Instagram. Just remember that photographers are primarily framers not creators. So, look THROUGH the photos to understand what philosophical perspective the photographer is trying to sell you. ~ Example: Do they honour and pursue beauty, or are they all about the ugly? Ask yourself: why? Follow accordingly. Then, explore some more …

Finally, Facebook. Facebook is like your lovely Aunt’s cozy and inviting house. It’s always fun to visit, to catch-up, to joke and reminisce with family and friends. But you don’t live there. Artists will readily share their work there, looking for ‘Auntie’s approval’, but they definitely go elsewhere for ‘intensity’.

The best ‘art’ IDEAS, in my opinion, at the moment, are found on Twitter and Youtube. Lesser known mainstream news links are popping up and trending under #hashtags on Twitter, like The New Yorker Magazine with this insightful piece under hashtag, #COVID19 ~ ‘The Coronavirus & Our Future’.

As for some of the other sites, like TikTok of WhatsApp, I am not on those platforms, so, cannot comment. Perhaps someone else could add their two cents about those platforms. Personally, I don’t know any notable thinkers active over there. If you know of any, kindly supply links.

We’ve seen examples above of how artists are adapting in the short term. But how will #COVID19 impact the arts and the local, national and global arts communities long term?

If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the centuries, human beings can and will adapt to survive and thrive. Artists and the arts are often the markers that lead the way. Watch how the best among us manoeuvre ~ and follow them.

It is unlikely that we will head en masse to the Cineplex or our local bookstores anytime soon, but that does not mean you can’t have a ‘watch party’ with family or friends through the technology of Facebook or ‘visit’ through Zoom. You can support local book retailers by phoning in your order. (Amazon is not the only game in town.) Many booksellers have made timely and sensible provisions to get your ordered books to you.

Of course, there will be casualties in the ‘commerce of art’, just as there will be in the larger economy. (Airlines are taking a beating. Even famed investor Warren Buffet is dumping airline stocks.)

Rest assured though, creative new initiatives and innovations will emerge. As is happening.

The invention and development of the internet, in our lifetime, offers access to ANYTHING. Embrace that.

Be sure too to brush up and build ‘off-screen’ resilience skills so that this necessary ‘transition’ is less fearful and overwhelming.

Why not take this #isolation time to learn to better prepare and cook nutritious meals for yourself and others? Savour anew those time-honored human rituals of ‘making’ as much as tasting. ~ Adapt. Survive.

Share this heart-warming Youtube ‘bedtime story with your wide-eyed, wondering children or grand-children ~

Humanity Will Make It.

Holton H&SMargaret Lindsay Holton is an artist, she identifies herself and her work as “naive-surreal-folk-abstracts”, a descriptive moniker that demonstrates how her work falls outside of traditional and current ‘art schools’.

 She is a typographer, a pinhole and photo-collage photographer, a furniture designer and furniture maker – learned that at the hands of her father.  She was raised on a sheep farm in north Burlington, graduated from MMR high school, graduated from the University of Toronto.  Holton has written 11 books.  

She has created over forty short documentary films, under 15 minutes each.

Holton received the Alumni of Influence award by University College, University of Toronto and was nominated for the Premier of Ontario Arts Award.

 

 

 

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Downtown business types get creative - small but smart idea - it should grow.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

May 5th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It is tough for the retail people.

They have gone through more than a month of no revenue and weeks of wondering how all this is going to work out.

The federal government has all kinds of programs and tons of money that they are throwing at almost everything. Heck the football league is looking for financial support.

City hall doesn’t have much in the way of immediate measurable support – the kind of thing that you can put into a bank account.

A small but smart initiative came out of the creative marketing people at the Burlington Downtown Business Association. Brian Dean – the Executive Director over there passes all the credit for this one back to his staff.

They offered a gift box.  They call it the #DTBURLBOX.

Burl BoxThe first is targeted at Mother’s Day. Can’t take Mom out for breakfast and you may not even be able to invite her over for breakfast.

It was a limited production – they sold out.

The plan is to roll out a different box each month.  If the BDBA use their creative juices they can come up with something targeted at any number of demographics.  The kids – 3-6, the tweens, the teens, the Dad’s, the fisherman, the golfers – almost limitless.

It will be interesting to see what they come up with.  Kudo’s for the effort.

The special gift box was seen as a way to support the downtown businesses during this difficult time. With the purchase of just one box, you are helping support multiple small businesses within our community. All proceeds go back to the vendors involved.

Each new box will be released at the beginning of the month and will be available for purchase in limited quantities on a first-come-first-served basis.

What was in the May Box?
Hand-selected items from each retailer include:

Creme de la Creme• La Crème de la Crème Creamery – 6-piece caramel chocolates
• Pure Boutique – Hairclip
• MollyCake – “The Cookie” dough (1/2 pint)
• Harmony Fine Jewellers – Jewellery cleaning kit & $25 gift certificate
• Purity Nails and Spa – Foot mask
• Joelle’s – Wish n’ Wear Bracelet
• Soapy Penguin – Facial toner, oil or cream
• The Handmade House – Soy candle or room spray
• Centro Garden – Pre de Provence soap

Total Price of Box: $75 + HST This is a retail value of $150!

The May Box was sold on a curb-side pick-up basis in downtown Burlington.

The first Gift Box was marketed primarily to the people on the Downtown e-news subscriber list.  The Gazette will tell you about the next box.

 

 

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Number of infections are down; social distancing is working - keep it working.

News 100 redBy Staff

May 5th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Halton Regional Public Health Unit report on the number of cases of the COVID virus show some decline. Curve is not as flat as it needs to be, but there has been some progress.

Cases over time

541 – COVID-19 cases among Halton residents to date (478 confirmed + 63 probable)

May 3 Fig 1

Figure 1: COVID-19 cases, by episode date, Halton Region, Mar. 1-May 3, 2020

May 3 Fig 2

Figure 2: Cumulative COVID-19 cases, by episode date, Halton Region, Mar. 1-May 3, 2020

Figures 1 and 2 show the 541 COVID-19 cases among Halton residents reported by end of the day on May 3. All cases have been graphed according to their episode date, which is used to estimate the date that symptoms began. Figure 1 shows the number of new cases per day, while Figure 2 shows how cases have accumulated over time. Counts for the past 14 days should be interpreted with caution, since there is a delay between when a person becomes infected and when they develop symptoms, get tested, and are reported as a case. Please note the large increase on April 11 is due to expanded testing and identification of COVID-19 among asymptomatic individuals at Mountainview Residence.

Individuals who are lab-confirmed cases are shown in green. Individuals who are probable cases are shown in orange. Probable cases are epi-linked cases, which means they are presumed to have COVID-19 because they are symptomatic close contacts of cases or returning travelers who have COVID-19 symptoms.

Case demographics

73  cases were residents or patients of an institution experiencing an outbreak (13% of all cases)

86  cases work in health care (16% of all cases)

May 3 fig 3

Figure 3: COVID-19 cases, by age and sex, Halton Region, 2020

Figure 3 shows that by end of the day on May 3, the most COVID-19 cases were among Halton residents aged 40-59 (with 200 cases, or 37%). 317 cases (59%) were female.

May 3 fig 4

Figure 4: COVID-19 cases, by municipality of residence, Halton Region, 2020

Figure 4 shows that by end of the day on May 4, the greatest number of COVID-19 cases were among residents of Oakville (with 184 cases, or 34%). Please note this figure shows counts, and therefore does not take into account the different population sizes or age structures of the four municipalities. Counts in municipalities can also be inflated by outbreaks that have occurred within institutions in their boundaries. The figure excludes one case with municipality information pending.

Case exposure source

May 3 fig 5

Figure 5: Percentage of COVID-19 cases, by exposure source, Halton Region, 2020

Figure 5 shows that by end of the day on May 3, 225 of Halton’s COVID-19 cases (42%) had no known travel or contact history, and therefore were believed to have acquired the virus within Ontario, making them community cases. 206 cases (38%) had contact with a confirmed case that was believed to be the source of their infection. 98 cases (18%) had a history of travel that was believed to have been the source of their infection. Information on exposure source was pending for the remaining 12 cases (2%).

Case outcomes

75  cases who have ever been hospitalized to date (24 listed as currently in hospital)

395  cases who have recovered to date

22  cases who have died to date (11 of the deceased were residents or patients of an institution experiencing an outbreak)

Institutional outbreaks

12  confirmed institutional outbreaks of COVID-19 reported to Halton Region Public Health to date (4 are ongoing)

 

May 3 fig 6

Figure 6: COVID-19 institutional outbreaks, by date outbreak was declared, Halton Region, Mar. 1-May 3, 2020

Figure 6 shows the 12 confirmed outbreaks of COVID-19 in Halton institutions reported by end of the day on May 3. Institutions are defined as long-term care homes, retirement homes, and hospitals. Eight of the outbreaks have resolved, while four remain ongoing. Among the 12 confirmed institutional outbreaks reported to date, seven (58%) have been in retirement homes, four (33%) have been in long-term care homes, and one has been in a hospital (8%).

Lab testing

>7,500  Halton residents are known to have been tested for COVID-19 to date

Comparison to Ontario

17,923  total confirmed COVID-19 cases reported in Ontario to date

 

May 3 fig 7

Figure 7: Age-specific rates of COVID-19 (per 10,000 population), Halton Region and Ontario, 2020

Figure 7 shows age-specific rates of COVID-19 for Halton and Ontario. Rates take into account the population size of each age group to make it possible to compare between different areas. Halton’s age-specific rates are currently significantly different from the provincial rates for all age groups except youth aged 0-19. For example, Halton has 32.5 cases per 10,000 residents aged 80+, which is statistically significantly lower than the 58.7 cases per 10,000 residents aged 80+ in Ontario overall. It is important to note that these rates will fluctuate as numbers increase throughout the pandemic, and that differences between age groups may reflect differences in the likelihood of developing symptoms and being tested.

Data limitations and data sources
Halton case data: integrated Public Health Information System (iPHIS), extracted at 7:00 AM on May 4, 2020, to reflect data entered by the end of the day on May 3, 2020

Halton lab data: COVID Data Information System, extracted on May 4, 2020.

Ontario case data: Public Health Ontario, Epidemiologic Summary, COVID-19 in Ontario: January 15, 2020 to May 3, 2020, posted on May 4, 2020 to https://www.ontario.ca/page/2019-novel-coronavirus

Denominators for Halton and Ontario age-specific rates: Population projections [2020], IntelliHEALTH Ontario, extracted on April 8, 2020.

Data notes
All cases of diseases of public health significance diagnosed in Ontario are entered into iPHIS by local public health units. iPHIS is the Integrated Public Health Information System. It is a dynamic disease reporting system which allows ongoing updates to data previously entered. As a result, data extracted from iPHIS represent a snapshot at the time of extraction and may differ from previous or subsequent reports as data are updated.

The data only represent cases reported to public health and recorded in iPHIS. As a result, all counts will be subject to varying degrees of underreporting due to a variety of factors, such as disease awareness and medical care seeking behaviours, which may depend on severity of illness, clinical practice, changes in laboratory testing, and reporting behaviours.

Cases are included if their “diagnosing health unit” in iPHIS is Halton Region, which means counts include only individuals whose primary residence is in Halton Region. The case may not necessarily have been managed by Halton Region, if they were temporarily residing elsewhere during their case management period. Cases managed by Halton Region who normally live elsewhere but who were managed by Halton Region staff because they were temporarily residing in Halton during their case management period have not been included.

Cases for which the Disposition Status in iPHIS was reported as ENTERED IN ERROR, DOES NOT MEET DEFINITION, DUPLICATE-DO NOT USE, or any variation on these values have been excluded.

Figure 1 distinguishes between lab-confirmed and probable cases. Since April 7, probable cases are defined as epi-linked cases, meaning they are symptomatic close contacts of cases or returning travelers who have COVID-19 symptoms and therefore are presumed to have COVID-19. All other figures and numbers include both confirmed and probable cases combined.

Figures 1 and 2 use episode date, which is a field that is intended to approximate the symptom onset date for each case. It is calculated hierarchically, using symptom onset date if available; when it is not available, specimen collection date is used; if neither symptom onset nor specimen collection date are available, the lab test date is used; and finally, if none of these other dates are available, the date the case was reported to Public Health is used.

In subsequent reports, counts in Figures 1 and 2 may increase as cases are added from past dates as individuals become symptomatic, get tested, and their results are reported to Halton Region Public Health, as well as any past results are added due to delayed data entry or new arrival of lab results.

Cases are considered to be patients or residents of an institution experiencing an outbreak if they are linked to a confirmed Halton institutional outbreak in iPHIS, and they are not known to be a staff person at the institution.

Cases are considered to work in health care if they are known to have an occupation that involves caring for patients, e.g. physician, nurse, occupational therapist, recreational therapist, chiropractor, paramedic, midwife, orderly, etc. Individuals who work in health care settings but do not provide direct care to patients (e.g. managers, cleaning staff) have not been included.

Exposure type is determined by examining the exposure and risk factor fields from iPHIS to determine whether a case travelled, was a contact of a case or neither. A hierarchy has been applied as follows: Travel-related > Close contact of a confirmed case > Neither (indicating community acquisition) > Information pending.

Case outcomes (hospitalizations, recovery, deaths) reflect the latest available information reported to Halton Region Public Health and recorded in iPHIS by the extraction time.

Institutional outbreaks include outbreaks of COVID-19 in settings such as long-term care homes, retirement homes, hospitals, and prisons.

Lab testing data reflects only lab tests that have been reported to Halton Region Public Health and entered into CDIS. There may be more residents who have been tested but not reported to Public Health.

For daily Halton case tables and up-to-date information about how to protect yourself and others, please visit halton.ca/covid19

For daily provincial epidemiologic summaries and more information on COVID-19 in Ontario, please visit Ontario.ca/coronavirus

For national information on COVID-19 in Canada, please visit Canada.ca/coronavirus

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Building Resiliency: City launches Emergency Preparedness Week and National Youth Week

News 100 blueBy Staff

May 5th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Timely – very timely.

With the province locked down while we deal with a pandemic that has infected tens of thousands and been the cause of death for tens of hundreds the city is offering advice and direction on how to better prepare for what we are going through.

depressed girlThe focus is on the young people, partly because this is National Youth Week.

The theme  for the Emergency Preparedness initiative is  “Putting on your resiliency backpack” and being prepared.

The best thing residents can do to protect themselves and the community is stay home, practice physical distancing and use online tools for social connectedness.

In an emergency, protecting yourself from mental stress and harm is just as important as protecting yourself from physical harm.

Within the web site page burilngton.ca/covid19resources, there are several organizations offering mental health supports and resources across the City. Many workplaces also offer similar resources and supports through workplace employee assistance programs.

One of the largest law firms in the country is sponsoring a Mental health in the age of dramatic change and uncertainty event.

Tips for protecting your mental health

  • Mental health graphicBe aware of your thoughts and feelings. It is normal to feel anxious
  • Limit the news you are watching or reading and ensure it is from a reliable news source
  • Reach out to friends and family through phone calls, video chats, texts
  • See resources and supports offered through burlington.ca/covid19resources
  • Keep healthy habits: eat healthy foods, stay active, get a good night’s sleep, drink water
  • Limit, reduce or avoid alcohol, drugs and caffeine
  • Take advantage of your employer’s employee assistance programs for mental health

Stress and anxiety can be high for youth during emergency situations, too. Many youths are working the front lines at grocery stores, restaurants and delivery.  They are at risk and they feel at risk – and many of them wonder – does anyone care?

There are organizations, resources and supports to support youth mental health in Burlington such as the Reach Out Centre for Kids (ROCK).

ROCK has put together resources and suggestions to help support children, youth, and families at this time of uncertainty. They are committed to live answering phone calls from the hours of 9 – 5 p.m. each business day. Families will have the ability to speak directly to a ROCK staff person. They have also created the opportunity to connect families to a pathway coordinator staff who will assess and support connection to brief virtual consultation services.

REach them in a number of ways:

rockonline.ca

Main Line: 289-266-0036

Crisis Line: 905-878-9785 – 24/7

Youth falling apartYouth are also invited to participate in the No Socks for Ivan daily challenges, which can be found on No Socks for Ivan’s Instagram page at burl_youthvoice. Daily challenges include posting about binge-worthy shows, books, shout-outs to essential and front-line workers, dance moves, athletic feats and more.

The Mayoris certainly onside pointing out that “There’s no better time than now to explore the issues around emergency preparedness and mental well-being. The City’s new webpage provides a wealth of information on supports and resources, and I am so impressed at how dozens of organizations from across our community collaborated to put this information together in such a short time. We are all facing resiliency challenges right now and we need these amazing local supports more than ever. I am thankful for the great work they continue to do to help our residents in these trying times.”

Amber Rushton, now the Community Emergency Management Coordinator, a who happens to have a lot of experience organizing communities and projects that take place in those communities saiid: “As we reflect this week on the importance of emergency preparedness and mental health and wellness, I ask that individuals, family members and friends of all ages across our community reflect on one vision: Putting on your resiliency backpack. What could you put in yours? How could you fill your neighbours? How could you fill your family members or your friends?

“These are unprecedented times and it’s still important to be prepared and take care of ourselves, which includes physical distancing, healthy habits and reaching out for health and mental health resources. Remember: in community we persevere, taking the right steps each day toward a more resilient tomorrow.  Stay healthy and be kind to one another. You are not alone.”

Links

  • Youth Week: burlington.ca/youthweek
  • Mental Health Week: mentalhealthweek.ca/
  • Emergency Preparedness Week: burlington.ca/epw

COVID-19 Links and Resources

  • For further COVID-19 information, including where to get tested, please visit Halton Region Public Health halton.ca/coronavirus
  • COVID-19 Resources: burlington.ca/covid19resources
  • Residents can stay informed at burlington.ca/coronavirus as well as on our social media channels: @cityburlington on twitter and facebook.com/cityburlington
  • Questions about the cancellation of Recreation programs can be directed to rentals@burlington.ca or liveandplay@burlington.ca or 905-335-7738
  • Government of Ontario: ontario.ca/coronavirus
  • Government of Canada: canada.ca/coronavirus
  • World Health Organization: who.int
  • Joseph Brant Hospital: josephbranthospital.ca/covid-19

 

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Economic Recovery Network set up to guide how to get back on our feet.

News 100 blueBy Staff

May 4th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Burlington’s business support organizations, known as Team Burlington, have announced the launch of the Burlington Economic Recovery Network.

Comprised of Burlington Economic Development, the Burlington Chamber of Commerce, Burlington Downtown Business Association, Aldershot Village BIA, and Tourism Burlington, Team Burlington has been working closely over the last several weeks to support the business community in dealing with the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis.

Would a downtown mobility hub result in greater density on the east side of Brant Street?  Would traffic from the core work itself to the Burlington GO station?

How much of the downtown core will survive the pandemic? what about the Aldershot and Alton communities?

The Network will bring together key stakeholders and business leaders from across Burlington to develop a recovery strategy that will prepare our economy for recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. The impacts of the global pandemic are already being felt locally and there is a strong need to align economic stakeholders and business support groups to position Burlington for short and long-term economic recovery.

In a joint statement made by the leadership of the Team Burlington organizations they said:  “We’re being proactive. The Burlington Economic Recovery Network is a natural extension of the work Team Burlington is currently doing to support businesses in dealing with the COVID-19 crisis. The creation of the network is about preparing businesses to come out strong on the other side and help our local economy recover. Meaningful advocacy, as well as business support and programming will be key outcomes.”

The impacts of COVID-19 are already being felt in our community and will continue to be felt long after the state of emergency has ended. It is anticipated that in Burlington alone, just under 2,000 businesses and 29,000 jobs may be directly affected. The network will work together to advocate for business support at all levels of government, including targeted relief measures and stimulus funding for the hardest hit sectors, which include agriculture, retail, tourism, healthcare  and hospitality.

The network will also focus on cutting “red tape” to help all sectors rebound and get back to business.

Meed Ward with chain Sept 23-19

Mayor Meed Ward is happy with the work Team Burlington has done.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward is looking forward to how the Network will help businesses through recovery. “Our local businesses have not been immune to the negative economic effects of the COVID-19 emergency. I’m very happy with the work Team Burlington has done so far and the support and guidance they have been offering to owners and staff. I support the launch of the Network as it will work to address, wherever possible, any gaps in existing supports, such as directing guidance to help manufacturers retool; clarity on direct contacts for supports at federally- and provincially-announced programs; and any constraints on our municipality to support.

The Economic Recovery Network will be focused on seeing our businesses through COVID-19 and ensuring they can get back on their feet after this crisis and that’s the light at the end of this tunnel that we need.”

Every bit counts and the business community is going to need all the help it can get.  There will likely be considerable damage.

There are views that the commercial sector hasn’t managed to come together as a group.  The creation of the Network is a good start – but isn’t the information they refer to available from the offices of the MP and the MPP?

And what are we hearing from the Economic Development people at the Region?

Stephen White, an at times acerbic critic had this to say several weeks ago.

Steven White

Stephen White

“Moral support and a business seminar. Is that it? Is that all Team Burlington has to offer? In the words of a song from the immortal American Blues singer, the great Peggy Lee,”Is that all there is”?

Here are some free ideas Team Burlington can “run up the flagpole”:

1) hire a website designer, create a central website, and have them work with all the small, at risk businesses in Burlington that do not currently have a website or internet presence. The website designer can help them create an ad or posting promoting their services, hours of operation, contact information, etc.

2) on behalf of small business owners at severe risk, collectively approach their landlords and ask them to accept a reduced rental payment through the end of the year. Half a loaf is better than no loaf. If the “at risk” businesses go under the landlords are left trying to rent property in a depressed market.

3) 2 hours free parking downtown from the time things open up to the end of the year.

4) Approach the Burlington Post and the Burlington Gazette, and purchase advertising space in both printed and electronic format on behalf of the most severely “at risk” businesses to promote their products and services. Default to those with no internet presence or website.

5) identify those business owners who want/have to sell, and facilitate discussions/meetings with recent immigrants or those wishing to buy a business.

If Team Burlington doesn’t like the preceding, then fine: come up with some ideas of your own.

However, for God’s sake, don’t just sit there and mouth platitudes like “We’re all in this together”. Moral support is wonderful, but it doesn’t put food on the table, pay the bills or keep a roof over one’s head. This is an existential crisis, and it’s high time the captains of industry in this community started demonstrating some real leadership.”

More information on the Burlington Economic Recovery Network will be posted on the Team Burlington COVID-19 one-stop-shop resource site, hosted on burlingtonchamber.com.

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If you're isolated and need some help in getting food into your kitchen - that help is a phone call away.

News 100 blueBy Staff

May 4th, 2020

Burlington, ON

 

Robin Bailey, Executive Director of the Burlington Food Bank explained in his short broadcast this morning that there are people who never thought they would have to rely on a Food Bank. He said: “We recognize that these are stressful times and you may not have ever thought that you’d be in this situation.

Bailey Apr 8

Robin Bailey – he is there to help.

“We are here to help you make things a little bit better for you and your family, confidentially, people don’t need to know where it’s coming from. It’s the start of the month and that’s budget time, so now we all have the stress of being alone and the financial stress. Allow us as part of your community to help you out right now. Give us a call.

“If you are in need or know of someone who could use our help have them email us at info@burlingtonfoodbank.ca or call 905-637-2273 to make arrangements to have food dropped at the door. If you live in Burlington, we are here to help.

More about the Food Bank and how you can help.

 

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This is the week we celebrate education with all the schools closed - ironic isn't it

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

May 4th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Halton District School Board joins school boards across Ontario in celebrating Education Week from May 4-8, 2020. This year, the HDSB will celebrate Education Week through a different lens each day to focus on the importance of schools, staff, families and the community working together to support the well-being and success of students.

FIRE table 3 - student strong look

Students at Bateman high school in a cooking competition with fire fighters – the kids won.

“While we may be learning differently right now, Education Week provides an opportunity for us to demonstrate how we are working together and doing our best to keep the continuity of learning in supporting students at the Halton District School Board,” says Stuart Miller, Director of Education for the HDSB.

“Without question, student success and well-being is a partnership among schools, parents/guardians and the community. The current COVID-19 situation exemplifies it more than ever. During Education Week, we celebrate students and staff, and we also want to take the opportunity to acknowledge the support our HDSB families have been providing their children during these many weeks of teacher-led distance learning,” adds Miller.

Monday, May 4 – Emphasizing the #HDSBstillconnected social media campaign to foster support among Halton District School Board staff, students and families during the Ontario school closure. The campaign demonstrates that although we cannot be together right now, we are still connected.

Tuesday, May 5 – Engagement & Achievement: The HDSB will highlight how students engage in their learning, school, and community, and how staff contribute to a collaborative learning environment.

Wednesday, May 6 – Stewardship & Resources: The ways in which students are provided with innovative and creative opportunities and supported through technology and resources within accessible and equitable environments will be explored.

Thursday, May 7 – Equity & Well-Being: Examples will be shared of how the HDSB strives to provide an inclusive and caring learning environment while advancing a culture of respect that supports the
well-being of all students and reflects the changing needs of school communities.

Friday, May 8 – Celebrating Excellence: On the final day of Education Week, the HDSB is celebrating the accomplishments and successes of HDSB students and staff.

The Board is proud to recognize the success of students through its annual Celebration of Student Excellence event on Thursday, May 14. Given the current school closure, this will be a ‘virtual’ event that will start at 7 p.m. Each year, one student per school is honoured for their excellence in academics, athletics, self-improvement, community work, citizenship or student leadership. A link to the ‘livestream’ of the ceremony will be on the homepage of the HDSB website (www.hdsb.ca).

This is what the Halton District School Board has to say about the week during the year that we look at what we have managed to do in educating the students that are going to be tomorrow’s leaders.

Is that all that is going to come out of the world facing the biggest pandemic we have every experienced – and the experience isn’t over yet.

What will we be doing differently this time next year?

Students doing survey

Students answering survey questions about school closings while their parents debate with school board officials in the same room.

What will the students take away from this experience?

What will the parents take away from it – along with a deep appreciation for what those teachers do day in and day out?

What will teachers know in a year that they do not know now?

While we struggle to meet the educational needs for a situation we did not see coming our way – there is more to our reaction to the disease than appreciating the students that are being recognized by their schools.

 

 

 

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Local local local gets you re-elected - international moves you up the Cabinet level ladder

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

May 4th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Gould in the Legion kitchen

She gets right into the trenches with her constituents – this time it was a Legion kitchen.

Karina Gould is a Mother, a Burlingtonian, a graduate of McGill University and Oxford University. She is a Member of Parliament and a member of the Justin Trudeau Cabinet.

When she writes to her constituents she talks to her people. In her most recent missive she had this to say:  “Let’s get through the local stuff.” Karina has been doing BIG stuff at the world level as well.

“This is mental health week, I encourage you to check in on someone new every day. Whether it is a family member who you have talked to this week, or a colleague who you have not seen since social isolation began, I am sure they would really appreciate to hear from you.

“I know many members of our community might be struggling in other ways as well. COVID-19 has caused many to become food insecure and they may not be sure how to access the supports that are available here in Burlington. To assist those in need, the City of Burlington has compiled an extensive list of resources that residents can access to get the help they need or offer supports to the community. To access this page, please consult the link found here.

WHO director general

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization had a conversation with Minister of International Development  Karina Gould that he isn’t likely to forget. He won’t be looking forward to the follow up call he will be getting either.

“I know that accessing supports for the first time can be nerve racking but I can assure you the teams at the Burlington Food Bank, Food for Life, and the United Way are some of the most compassionate people out there. They understand the situation that you’re in and they don’t care about your income, they just care that you have access to food. Should you have any questions about accessing supports in Burlington, please do not hesitate to contact my office.

“I have some good news. In many parts of the country, the curve has flattened. This means that we are seeing some progress because of the commitment and determination shown by Canadians to stay home and practice physical distancing is paying off.
“To continue to improve on our results and ensure that we beat COVID-19 we must continue to stay home, wash our hands, and when we go out, stay two meters away from one another.”

Karina Gould - fingers apart

Karina Gould – punches well above her weight.

Local matters, especially when you want to get re-elected. During the month of April Gould had conversations with the people at the World Health Organization (WHO). Right now the world is struggling to control COVID-19 disease but there are a lot of people who wonder and are concerned that the WHO did not do the job that could and should have been done to warn the world what was likely to be coming our way.

The perky, always smiling mother of one child, can also be very firm and persistent at making her point. She advised WHO that they have been put on notice by the government of Canada.

This is a woman who punches well above her weight.

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On balance the public behaved reasonably well - there were exceptions but the message has certainly gotten through.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

May 3rd, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It was the first really nice sunny warm day since the decision was made to lock down the province with the Mayor telling anyone with ears to stay home – and when they do go out for some exercise to walk and not stop to talk.

The only way, the public has been told, to put an end to the pandemic is to ensure that the virus is not spread from person to person.

The Regional Public Health unit produces daily reports showing that infections in the Region are rising every day – not by a huge number – but they are rising.

That curve we have been told about is not flattening.

But – sunshine, good weather – what do people do?

Playground beachway

Playground was vacant – surrounded by yellow tape.

I drove around the city in the northern part and then down into the waterfront and along the Beachway.

A couple of things were immediately evident. There were more police vehicles on the street; there were a lot of bikers roaring along and hundreds of young people on their bikes.

The vehicular traffic was not really heavy. On the residential streets most driveways had several cars parked.
I didn’t see very much in the way of sidewalk crowding.

Wore mask

Some people wore masks – which they slipped away from their faces once they were outside the supermarket.

Some people wore masks, some didn’t. Did see one couple – she wore nothing – he wore a mask and a shield.

There were children out and about but there weren’t hundreds of them.

People were respecting that six foot rule – for the most part.

Fortino

Each of the major supermarket chains has taken their own approach to staking out how they choose to respond to the public concern. Business for this sector is great.

Brant and Lakeshore is definitely the pinch point the Mayor has mentioned several times.
Supermarket parking lots, as well as Costco weren’t packed solid but there was a steady flow of traffic in and out.

Lowvillw Park

Lowville Park – CLOSED

Mt Nemo

Mt Nemo -CLOSED

Parks were all closed. Saw a couple of coffee shops that were opened but you couldn’t sit down.

Queen's Head patio

A hard sight for those who enjoy a cold one while sitting out on a patio.

The Queen’s Head patio was barren – a terrible sight for a drinking man.

Promenade well spaced

People were reasonable spaced, most people respected the pedestrians only rule.

Pedestrian traffic on the Promenade was steady and for the most part well-spaced out.

The message has certainly been heard and there didn’t appear to be a lot of worry from the people we spoke to – tough to have much in the way of a conversation six feet away from someone.

Two weeks from now we will see new numbers from the Public Health Unit and get some idea if our individual behavior is working.

I stood and watch small groups, 10 to 15 people, gather at intersections; some wearing masks other less than a foot away from people who were not wearing a mask.

Brant - Lkshore crossing

This is probably the location that bothers the public health people the most – Brant and Lakeshore – where people cross to get into Spencer Smith Park.

City manager Tim Commisso said last week that he shudders when he thinks about what could be going on amongst those small groups of 10 to 15 people.

We will know soon enough.

The Provincial government wants to open things up – give people some breathing room and let some business operations open up.

It is going to be tricky; these are perilous times.

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Food Banks get a much needed financial boost from Lexus dealerships - $5000 each

News 100 blueBy Staff

May 3rd, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

When the need is there the commercial sector inevitably comes through.

Last week the Oakville and Burlington Lexus dealerships came together and wrote a cheque for $10,000 with $5000 going to the Food Banks in each city.

Those were badly needed dollars.

_Lexus dollars to Food BAnk

From the left: Peter Wolfraim, President of the Fare Share Food Bank in Oakville, Frank Apa, the man who signed that cheque on behalf of the Lexus dealerships and Robin Bailey, Executive Director of the Burlington Food Bank.

Burlington Food Bank Robin Bailey was at the Lexus dealership to take part in the photo op – he was standing beside a shiny new Lexus, which he will tell you is about as close as he is ever going to get to owning one of those vehicles.

The donation was very timely; food donations have dropped off during the crisis forcing our Food Banks to purchase their own food for deliveries to families.

For Bailey this was a great way to kick off Spring!

The Burlington Food Bank is now giving out 100% cotton Face Mask to any of their clients who need one.  The masks are a Gazette initiative that involved the Burlington Community Seniors and ECoB – Engaged Citizens of Burlington.

The Gazette donated the cloth and did some of the sewing.  There are currently ten community volunteers sewing masks from cloth provided by the Gazette.

Robin Bailey’s update.

The canned goods and toiletries collection is still on every Monday and Wednesday at St. Matthews Anglican Church on Plains Road – open from noon to 3:00. You can pick up a mask there as well.

 

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Binged out? Can't take anymore Netflix ? A treat from Margaret Lindsay Holton

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

May 3rd, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Just how much Netflix can you take?

You get to the point where you’re bushed – enough. The Crown was great – good history but I’ve had enough. It was becoming predictable.

One gets tired of the American need to shoot everyone.

Holton H&S

Margaret Lindsay Holton,

Margaret Lindsay Holton, an area artist has treated all of us to something we’ve heard about; may  have even listened to – but don’t really remember.

Should I tell you what she has shared or ask you to trust me and click on the link below.

I’m going to go for the trust angle.

You won’t regret it – this is more Canadian than the Calgary Stampede or that beer commercial.

This isn’t Holton’s work – it is something she is sharing

Try it – the quality is superb – you will want to share it.
Click here

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The curve is still not flat - and warmer weather is upon us - time to be even more vigilant.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

May 1st, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

For those who are having difficulty with the need to Stay at Home and not mingle with people you don’t live with when they are out – some  graphics from the Regional Health Unit should give you caution.

515 COVID-19 cases among Halton residents to date (456 confirmed + 59 probable)

The curve: It has to stop rising – until then we are going to have to Stay Home – and the province will not be able to even begin to lift the restrictions.

Episode date
71
cases were residents or patients of an institution experiencing an outbreak (14% of all cases)

78
cases work in health care (15% of all cases)

The number of people infected by municipality.

Muni differences

Burlington’s numbers have always been the lowest – that is not a reason to think we can let up.

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Talk about cheek - the Mayor makes no apology for breaking the rules on public processions.

News 100 redBy Staff

April 30th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

In a Statement from City Hall we are told that:

“Communities all over the world are finding new and unique ways amid the social distancing requirements of COVID19 to celebrate significant milestones, including birthdays, retirements, weddings, health progress and more.

“One of these ways is “drive-by” processions. Family and friends drive by the location of their loved ones to wave and offer some cheer from a safe, social distance.

“These drive-by celebrations have a small but powerful, positive influence on the participants, the recipients as well as the surrounding neighbourhoods and we need to find a way to support them in a controlled and legal manner.

“Some of these have grown significantly in size, duration and frequency.

“Upon review of provincial emergency orders, any parade larger than five vehicles at one time would be prohibited. Halton Region Public Health discourages parades but has provided some guidelines below that allow for limited ability for small scale, local processions.

MMW on procession toJB

A segment lifted from the YouTube film on the drive by to the hospital – events that the province has pointed out are not permitted.

Wow! Talk about cheek – a few weeks ago the Mayor was at the front of a procession to the hospital where she hopped out of her car – megaphone in hand to tell the hospital staff how much they were appreciated.

We learn today that Provincial emergency orders prohibit any organized public events of more than five people, including a parade.

As such an organized public event in the form of vehicle parades for birthdays or other celebrations of more than five people who not members of a single household are prohibited by O.Reg. 52/20.

Region of Halton Public Health has guidelines for parades. These events would first have to comply with the provincial emergency orders in size.

These drive-by parades are becoming more common and can be a way to celebrate an event. However, it is important that public health measures continue to be followed during these types of events.

Mayor hospital clap

Mayor Meed Ward on her first drive by with a good dozen public vehicles behind the car she was in – sirens blaring – lights flashing. She just loves a parade.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward explains: “The drive-by parades have given a lot of joy to people in a creative way, amid the physical distancing restrictions of COVID-19 and at a time when we’ve been unable to socially connect like we used to.

I was honoured to participate in one recently. These parades have been an awesome idea when they’ve been kept to a certain scale — unfortunately, the larger they get, the harder it is to maintain physical distancing and keep health and safety protocols in place. We need to follow the provincial emergency orders and public health advice and keep the size and frequency of these events to a reasonable scale. Our focus is keeping everyone safe and healthy, and I’m very proud of our residents who are thinking of creative ways to socially connect while doing so.”

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Good motion gets trashed by Mayor - the need recognized by Councillor Stolte is very real.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

April 30th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

When the motion you put forward to create more sidewalk space for people to use when they are out for a walk is followed by an amendment from the Mayor with seven points to it – you know your motion is in trouble.

Such was the fate of a motion put forward by ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte.

Direct the Director of Transportation Services to assess, create and implement as soon as possible, and with input from other city departments and members of the Cycling and ITAC Committees, a “Shared Streets Burlington” Pilot Project with the goal of temporarily closing portions of roadways to allow for safer physical distancing for pedestrians and cyclists for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Background Discussion:

The residents of Burlington, along with City Council and City Staff, are all committed to the goal of stopping the spread of COVID-19 in our community. Our role, as City Council and staff, is to amplify the message of medical experts in regard to adhering to physical distancing requirements while also considering a longer-term plan that acknowledges residents need for physical exercise and fresh air in order to effectively manage their mental health and well being.

Stolte had reliable statistical data on how people were handling the isolation. She pointed out that sidewalks are simply not wide enough to ensure the physical distancing requirements recommended by medical experts and the informal use of grass boulevards does not provide a safe nor viable alternative for wheelchairs, strollers or bicycles.

Stolte and Kearns - budget book

These two women work well together; very different personalities but when the strength are combined that are very effective.

Roadways are underutilized due to reduced traffic volumes and represent a clear and simple alternative to “expand the sidewalk”. There are many resources already available, as well as an established work group comprised of dedicated residents from the ITAC and Cycling Committee who have been meeting to research strategies and suggestions for implementation.

Stolte wanted to begin with a Pilot Project to measure, monitor and learn as well as to assess the willingness of the community to participate in a safe manner.  She was strongly supported by ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns.

Her hope was that council would consider a phased approach that can adapt/expand as needed at multiple, local, widespread, “very ordinary” locations to avoid gathering crowds gathering. Her hope was that street networks would be coordinated with park locations

•to ensure strong signage and communication

•to consider a variety of options such as closing off curb lanes on thoroughfares (ex. Maple, Palladium Way, Prospect -east of Guelph) or installing strong “Shared Streets” signage on key neighbourhood streets (ex. Spruce, Townsend, Palmer, Millcroft Park)

This motion is intended to encourage a realistic, longer-term plan that will ensure safe “physical distancing” as well as strive for the balance that is needed to support physical exercise and mental health initiatives, by literally creating more space for people to get outside and breathe.

Burlin Vt road share sign

Public education is key – it doesn’t always take in Burlington.

Stolte encouraged Council to join the 60+ other cities around the world including Brampton, Calgary, Edmonton, Kitchener, Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver, Victoria and Winnipeg who have already implemented or are actively exploring this creative alternative as a means of supporting the well-being of their residents.

Debate on this one was vigorous.

Ward 6 Councillor Angelo Bentivegna came out of the gate asking that it be deferred – “we have bigger fish to fry – and this will be expensive” he said. “If we open up part of a roadway we are going to have to put pylons out and then take them in.”

Angelo B

Councilor Bentivegna was solidly against the motion – too expensive and the city has bigger fish to fry.

Bentivegna, like most of the other Councillors said they just weren’t seeing all that much pedestrian traffic on the streets.

The Mayor who lives in ward 2 didn’t agree with Lisa Kearns, councillor for the ward. The Mayor said you could fire a cannon up the streets she walked along. She said she was out walking every day.

Councillor Nisan said he felt that this was a Staff matter and that they were the people who should be driving it; implying that Councillor Stolte might be offside. Odd that Nisan would take that position; when he wanted some traffic moderating in Kilbride and he could hardly get the time of day out of the department.

Nisan wanted the issue of changing the way roads get used during the State of Emergency referred back to transportation – problem with that is the motion didn’t come from Transportation – it came from Stolte, a member of council.

Ward 6 councillor Bentivegna said: “Transportation experts should make the decision because it is an operational matter – maybe it should be handled at the ECG.”  It was discussed at the ECG.

Nisan moved a motion to refer it to staff – Galbraith seconded it. He too didn’t see the need, at least not in Aldershot. Didn’t think this was on for Burlington – “we are not a big city like Ottawa, Edmonton and Vancouver.

Stolte had taken the idea to Staff and found she wasn’t getting anywhere and withdrew the motion she had planned on putting forward earlier in the month.

Meed Ward style

Mayor Med Ward basically manhandled the Stolte motion.

Meed Ward’s amendment, it had seven parts, did add valuable points to the motion. She was concerned about the purpose of the amendment and what the criteria would be for closing down part of a public road.

In getting into her seven point amendment the Mayor seemed to be defining what the motion was really about – it is usually the mover of a motion who does that and the record shows that Stolte had done her home work.

There wasn’t much in the way of appetite for the idea from the Transportation department when it first came to them. The ECG people were swamped with other more pressing issues. City Manager Tim Commisso was comfortable with where things were – people were thinking about a possible problem. Stolte had discussed the idea with them earlier.

Galbraith, Councillor for ward 1 couldn’t see a need. No heavy pedestrian traffic in his part of the world.

Councillor Sharman was non-plussed – he didn’t see any pedestrian traffic to speak of on Spruce or any other part of his ward.

After lengthy, robust debate, the motion carried 4-3 and will come back to Council during the May meeting.

Earlier in the debate Councillor Nisan had put forward a motion to defer  the motion back to Transportation; it really should have been a referral – a motion that will come to be seen in a much different light when the warm weather arrives and people don’t want to stay cooped up.

Lisa Kearns had it right: “This is a public health and a mental health issue, she said.  Covid-19 is a serious public health issue, “but we also have to let people move around and we need to be proactive now and not react to a serious problem later” said Kearns.

Vito 2 Sept 2019

The matter is in the hands of the Director of Transportation Vito Tolone

Bentivegna, Sharman and Galbraith weren’t seeing that.

Nisan wanted staff to run the show.

The City manager, with help from City Solicitor Nancy Shea Nicol, that the closing of a public road is not something that has been delegated to municipalities – that is going to require some explaining. explained something

The Mayor scooped a good motion right off the plate of a Councillor who understood the need and was taking steps now to handle a situation she is certain will come back to bite us.

Stolte wanted to know why her motion wasn’t acceptable.  The Mayor said that the Nisan motion prevailed.

The Mayor said that Stolte’s motion didn’t do what Nisan’s did.

Hopefully staff will understand and work with the nuance that came out of the meeting.

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Kearns forgot to share the microphone and left her sense of fun and at times cutting humour at home.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

May 1st, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

She isn’t ready for the big stage – not yet

And she needs to let the microphone slide into other hands.

Lisa Kearns Election Photo

For her first Zoom solo – she did Ok.

On the positive side – Lisa Kearns deserves credit for taking a shot at using Zoom to talk to her people,

She drew 35 people – nice to see Jackie Isada again. I think Paddy Torsney should have been less blatant with the wine glass.

Kearns chose to cover the complete waterfront – her audience was well plugged in – they didn’t need be told to wash their hands.

Kearns likes the new TelePlus program the city Parks and Recreation has rolled out. Few fully understand what the city has gotten itself into. Time will reveal where the problems are.

Two parts of the presentation were disturbing – before questions were permitted Jenn Morrison from CLV development that is going to put up seven structures that range from 29 – 37 floors, got to make comments. There was no opportunity to discuss that development in more detail.

The rules appear to be a bit different for this development.

We did learn that those sites that are permitted to continue construction can work from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm used to be 7 to 7.

If a development site has risen above grade it is deemed essential and can continue building.

Bridgewater April 2020

Section on the right is residential – construction can continue – section on the left is a hotel – not essential – continued construction not permitted.

Bridgewater site that looks as if it is going to be under construction for some time. The residential parts can continue with construction – but the hotel which is on the west side cannot – hotels were not deemed essential.

Cyclists are causing a lot of people considerable grief. They are on pathways that were not meant for bikes and they “just fly by” as one commentator said.

There was a “hint” that a way might have to be found to limit the number of people who access the park – where you are expected to walk with no dilly dallying or sitting on a bench for a break.

It was a good effort – do it again – but listen more and talk less.

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We have unaccountable local decision-making being done by the Emergency Coordinating Group - time for some accountability and some transparency.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

April 29th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

In normal times the administration of the city is in the hands of the City Manager who works at the will of council.

Council also issues Staff Directions which set out some very specific tasks they expect the City Manager to ensure gets done on time and within the budget.

But these are not normal times.

On March 21st, Mayor Marianne Meed Ward declared a State of Emergency and the role city council played going forward was severely diminished. When the province declared a State of Emergency that meant many of the instructions as to what a city had to do came from the province.

The City manager was, to a large degree bound by what the province was calling for.

So – what was a mere city councillor to do?

In Burlington several of the Councillors began to chafe a bit and worked on the city manager to get more in the way of information as to just what was happening day to day.

Commisso stare

City manager Tim Commisso: With most of the power over local decision making – there might be some reluctance to give it back to council.

As Chair of what is known as the Emergency Coordinating Group (ECG) the city manager takes the steps he thinks are necessary to ensure the safe operation of the city and while city hall is closed to the public there are some people working on tasks that can only be done from within city hall.

The ECG is made up of a large number of people. They meet twice a day on-line and make sure that what needs doing is done.

My understanding is that the City Manager is now giving the city Councillors an update once a week as to what was done and why.

That information however is not being shared.

If the Councillors do have a weekly report they aren’t sharing that information with their constituents. One wonders why.

One could also ask why the City Manager doesn’t share those reports with the public.

An opinion piece in the Toronto Star on April 27th raised some serious questions under the headline: “Use of municipal emergency powers has gone too far.”

Anneke Smit and Alexandra Flynn argue that “meaningful, participatory governance has been thrust aside” in the name of keeping people safe while a virus kills hundreds across the province.

“Municipalities have very weak powers in Canada’s constitutional framework, cities are subject to provincial whims when it comes to both stable funding and political structures. Local governments are overlooked in conversations about democracy and governance, yet they are responsible for many of the decisions that most directly affect our daily lives.

“Canadian municipalities have made big decisions from the start of the crisis, such as enforcing physical distancing; dealing with the functioning — or not — of public transit; access to parks; and deciding whether to dedicate extra space for pedestrians and cyclists to name a few.

“Canada’s municipalities are not governed by a “strong mayor” system. This means that city council as a whole makes decisions, not just mayors. Provincial state of emergency legislation changes this. In most provinces, municipalities have the power to declare their own state of emergency. In its survey of 65 of the largest Canadian municipalities, the Canadian Urban Institute (CUI) counts 56 that have done so, in some cases for the first time in history, leaving mayors able to bypass city council votes and act unilaterally.

“While B.C.’s emergency legislation requires a mayor to consult the rest of council before they act, this is not the case in most Canadian provinces. CUI counts 10 of the surveyed cities having cancelled city council meetings during COVID-19 (including Toronto, Halifax, Windsor, Winnipeg and Edmonton). The cancellation or diminishment of council meetings means residents won’t know who made what decisions, which questions were asked, or hear staff advice, and decisions on many key issues not immediately related to the pandemic are simply being postponed.

“What is more, 28 of the municipalities have also cancelled committee meetings, and 34 have cancelled public consultations. These meetings are the backbone of local democracy. They give the public a chance to directly weigh in on issues that matter to them in their communities.

“In the early stages of the pandemic, decisions had to be made quickly. A single, authoritative voice on behalf of a government was arguably necessary. Five weeks later, much of the dust has settled, and we are left with unaccountable local decision-making in many communities and no immediate end in sight to states of emergency.”

That pretty well sets out what is taking place in Burlington.

It doesn’t have to be this way – the elected members of council can agitate and advocate for a more open process – and those with the courage to do so might better serve their constituents by being more vocal.

All seven were elected and they speak as the will of council.

The Gazette for one would like to hear that will expressed verbally.

Council ALL 2018

Elected less than two years ago – they have now let someone else make the decisions.

Related news stories:

Mayor declares State of Emergency

What does a State of Emergency mean?

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Burlington Caremongers work from the simple premise: It will work out - all you have to do is 'be kind'

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

April 29th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

As the Gazette was putting together the idea of making a couple of thousand 100% cotton face masks with ties rather than elastics someone suggested we reach out to the Burlington Caremongers Facebook page.

Want to get into care mongering – there is just the place to do ...There we found Beth Martin who built an organization that in the first week of being active, raised $2500 for Food4Kids Halton. They have been highlighting Halton charities every week. They connected community members who are in immediate need with food and necessities; their members have picked up and dropped off groceries and pharmacy orders.

Others have been making masks, scrub caps, button headbands and scrub tops for front-line healthcare workers. Several times, we have posted anonymously for community members who did not want to be identified, and have received overwhelming offers of assistance.

There are now 6,177 Caremongers serving whoever needs help.

They moved very quickly on our Face Mask initiative – we had 10 volunteers before the end of the first day.

Beteh Martin Caremonger

Beth Martin with her two children.

So who is this Beth Martin?

She is the mother of two children, works at home with her husband after a number of years in book publishing for a major multi-national firm and then in advertising.

It was this collection of skills, plus a degree from Western University that taught her how to jump into the trenches and make things happen.

She had heard of a Caremongers group working out of Hamilton but they had a political bent that Martin wasn’t comfortable with.

She wanted something that would help people. Martin always uses the phrase “be kind” when she communicates with people.

When the Burlington Caremongers got going it became clear that there many different needs. Some people were looking for something; others had something to give. Martin began creating hash tags that directed conversations. #need meant you needed something; #sew meant you could sew.

It didn’t take long for a sewing group to develop; they got involved in making face masks for people in long-term care and nursing homes.

Martin put the Gazette in touch with that group.

Where will the Burlington Caremongers go from here? Wherever there is a need or someone who can help.

Martin is supported by ten people who serve as administrators of the site.  With 6,000 + members they are kept busy.

It all works out wonderfully well – you just have to “be kind”.

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Craft brewers want federal funding support - claim that if there was ever a time for a local brew it would be right now

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

April 29th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

A ray of sunshine when the Canada’s Craft Breweries said: “If there was ever a time for beer lovers across the country to support their local craft breweries, it would be right now.”

The comment was part of a plea to the federal government for financial support.

A survey of the craft breweries on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the brewing industry in Canada. There was sufficient response from across the country to achieve a 95% confidence level with 5% margin of error.

brewery photo

Let the suds flow.

“Similar to many other industry sectors, craft breweries across Canada have been dramatically impacted by the current health and economic situation.” began Rick Dalmazzi, Executive Director of the CCBA. “For example, 44% of breweries reported a year over year revenue drop of over 50% in March, while another 25% were down over 25%. Over 77% of breweries anticipate that April will be the same or worse.”

There are over 1,100 craft breweries in every province and territory in Canada, with over 90% of them opening in the last decade. Many have helped to rejuvenate local economies and bring new employment to communities that have otherwise lost jobs. In provinces where it is legal, many breweries have added a home delivery service to help replace lost revenue. But it doesn’t come close to making up for their own restaurants and taprooms being closed, and keg sales to bars eliminated. The 317 survey respondents reported having to lay off 4,180 of their 6,409 employees, or 65%.

brewery logo“Cashflow is the biggest problem”, continued Dalmazzi. “Many of our member breweries are still in their investment growth phase, and therefore marginally profitable if at all. Everyone’s doing whatever it takes to weather the storm as best they can. Fortunately, we’ve seen very few permanent closures, but that will change if current conditions extend into the summer.” continued Dalmazzi.

The survey also found that craft breweries are stepping up to support the fight against COVID-19. Over 15% of respondents said that they are either making hand sanitizer or that their beer is being used to make it elsewhere. Most of the hand sanitizer being produced by breweries is for use within their local community.

“We are appreciative of the federal government’s wage subsidy and other programs. Ottawa has been very responsive to the financial needs of small businesses. However, our industry will need further support if it is to survive in its present form.” concluded Dalmazzi. “And if there was ever a time for beer lovers across the country to support their local craft breweries, it would be right now.”

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