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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Providing food for those who are self-isolating has created a complex supply chain

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

April 29th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Burlington is very good at stepping up to the plate and filling a need.

What caring people have managed to do is create a supply chain that gets food to the Food Bank who in turn deliver it to people who, in some cases, are self-isolating and not able to get out to buy food.

Bailey Food Bank March 31-20

Robin Bailey does a short web site broadcast most days – keeping donors and those who need food up to date.

The Food Bank has exceptional sources and were recently given significant sums to buy food.

Fresh vegetables and eggs are now being delivered to homes. The Food Bank has succeeded in teaching people to call in for food rather than drop by the Food Band to pick it up – which cuts down on people getting too close to each other.

One of the gaps in this food chain is personal toiletries and canned goods.

Face Mask Sign

If you need a mask – take a couple of cans of food to St Matthews Anglican church on Plains Road in Aldershot and pick up a mask when you leave.

St Matthews in Aldershot has stepped into the gap and is collecting toiletries and canned goods.

They have set up a space outside their front door that is protected from weather where people can drop of the things that are needed.

Jim Young, one of the Aldershot volunteers said in a note he sent out to his circle of influence; “Just passing along some information on an Aldershot/Ward 1 initiative to help keep local food banks stocked and operating during these difficult times.

“I know I’ve sent this before but it is an ongoing need and it would be wonderful if ongoing donations could be received.

Food notice St Matthews“It is a joint effort by St Mathews Anglican Church, Partnering Aldershot and ECoB Ward 1, and is operated by volunteers from each organization.

“The Drive Thru donation is set up to be a safe, no contact, distanced method of giving.

“Please share this information as widely as you can. Think of it as a great way to get out of the house for twenty minutes while supporting a very worthwhile cause, made all the more essential in tough times.”

Connie Price added that the donations on Monday were a little on the short side; she urged people to step up on Wednesday (today) when the boxes are set out in front of the church between noon and 3:00 pm Monday and Wednesday.

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Gazette launches a face mask initiative - expect to distribute 2500 with the help of mask makers and community groups

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

April 27th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Bolts of cloth

Bolts and bolts of cloth – being put to good use.

It began with a comment from a friend who knew that we had a lot of cotton cloth – and a number of different sewing machines in the basement.

Why don’t you make masks and give them away?

So we did.

Caremonger pieceWe reached out to Burlington CareMongers and asked if there were people who could make masks if the cloth was provided. We had ten positive responses before the day was out.

It just built from there.

What kind of masks: the tie type of masks or with elastic?

Many people said elastic could get quite uncomfortable – so we opted for tie type masks.

Jan at sewing machine

Four ties per mask – 2000 masks – you do the math.

That meant we also had to make the ties.

We decided that we would make the ties and pass those along with the cloth and have the sewers do the assembly.

Someone had to do the organizing.

That’s when Connie Price came through – Big Time. She has undertaken the supervising of the sewers – getting material to them and following their output.

We then had to get the completed product from the mask makers. The Burlington Kinsman stood up and took on that task.

They will pick up the completed product,  quarantine the bags for 72 hours and then deliver it to the people who will hand it out to the public.

The Burlington Community Seniors put up a bit of cash to cover the small expenses.

Then there has to be a location where the completed masks could be delivered; then inspected, then placed in plain brown envelopes and quarantined for 72 hours then handed over to the Burlington Lions Club who will deliver the ready to use masks to the organizations that were going to do the final distribution.

Face Mask Sign

First batch of the masks being given out at St Matthews Anglican Church

The was like creating, instructing and communicating with a small army.

So far it is working.

The first batch of 100 masks was delivered to Connie Price a few days ago.  She is handing them out to people who drop off food at St Matthews Anglican Church. Part of that first shipment went to the Food Bank.

Councillor Stolte (ward 4) is working with the Caremongers to find volunteer sewers who are perhaps not on Facebook.

 

 

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Kearns want her constituents to know that she is still with them - holding an online event to talk to her tribe.

eventsblue 100x100By Pepper Parr

April 28th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

This could be fun – and goodness knows we need something other than black humour.

Lisa Kearns taking questions

Never quite sure what Lisa Kearns is going to say when she has a microphone in her hands.

Lisa Kearns, Councillor for Ward 2, has announced that she is going to hold a virtual constituency meeting.

In a message to everyone on her mailing list she said:

You’re invited to a Ward 2 Virtual Community Update Meeting on Thursday, April 30th, 2020 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The best place for you is at home, please join me through Zoom technology (video and/or audio) to connect with the community.

Hear about what’s happening at City Hall and in your City. Engage on what matters to you.

CoVID-19 Response
• City Hall News
• Planning & Development
• Construction & Projects
• Healthy Living
• Environment
• Q&A Session

As always, everyone welcome.

Kearns is what we journalists call “good copy” – you’re never sure what she is going to say or how the words are going to flow from her mouth.

The best I ever got from covering her events was that “Phoney baloney” line.

So tune in on Thursday – it might be better than the movies – and given that the theatres are closed, Lisa Kearns is all you have going for you Thursday night.

Kearns virtual

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Light and easy workout - live every Friday, to honour RCMP Constable Heidi Stevenson

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

April 28th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Ashley Worobec is a self-described Type-A personality.

She runs. A typical day is up at 5:00 am and out running 5km with her dog.

Career wise she is a chiropractor working at a sports clinic.

Heidi Stevenson

RCMP Constable Heidi Stevenson, mother of two children killed by a shooter evading police to be honoured by people doing a 10 minute workout every Friday.

The tragedy in Nova Scotia last week moved her to use her workout skills and develop a short program to honour the memory of RCMP Constable Heidi Stevenson.

The initiative she has just begun is hosting “Movement You”, which is a 10-minute workout, LIVE online on her Facebook and Instagram pages (search “Dr. Ashley Worobec”)-“ it’s a way for me to connect with my community and to encourage my patients to stay active and moving, which is something I believe passionately in”, said Worobec.

Ashley movement“Last Friday was the first time doing this, and it was a wild success, with my kids participating in the workout too. I plan on making this a weekly thing, every Friday at 11:45am, with movements that people can do easily in their living rooms.

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Arrests made in Organized Fraud Ring Investigation “Project Outbound”

 

Crime 100By Staff

April 28th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Some people are not staying at home.

The Halton Regional Police Fraud Unit has made arrests related to an investigation into an organized automotive fraud ring. To date, police have arrested and charged two individuals, and seized 17 vehicles valued at approximately $1.35 million dollars.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Obtained through fraud – driven to Montreal, loaded into a container and taken to the Middle East – but not this time

Officers began the investigation in January 2020 after two pickup trucks were fraudulently obtained from a dealership in Oakville. Through further investigation, officers learned multiple vehicles were being fraudulently obtained by the suspects, who then attempted to ship them out of Canada via the Port of Montreal to the Middle East and Eastern Europe. With the assistance of the CBSA the vehicles were seized prior to leaving Canada.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A brand new Dodge Ram – headed for the Middle East – obtained fraudulently

The vehicles were purchased from various dealerships in the GTA, including a local dealership in Halton (Oakville).

Search warrants have been executed at three separate locations in Mississauga. During the course of the investigation police have seized the previously mentioned vehicles , electronics, and $4700 in Canadian currency.

 

Arrested and charged:

Muhammed Khoshnaw (59) of Mississauga
o Fraud over $5,000 (x2)
o Possession of property obtained by crime

Mohammed Hussein (29) of Mississauga
o Possession of property obtained by crime (x4)

This investigation is ongoing and more arrests and charges are expected.

“The detection and disruption of organized crime groups such as this one is an ongoing priority of the Halton Regional Police Service. The negative impact on the community from fraudulent criminal activity is significant and takes the form of increased insurance and retail costs,” says Deputy Chief Jeff Hill. “I would like to commend our Regional Fraud Unit and the Canada Border Security Agency on the success of this investigation.”

Anybody who may have additional information pertaining to this incident is asked to contact the Regional Fraud Unit at 905-825-4747 ext. 8738.

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

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Mayor buys into the Premier's Road map. She wants to be crystal clear and transparent about the plans and specific behaviours being asked of the public

News 100 blueBy Staff

April 28th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Yesterday morning Premier Doug Ford set out what he called a Roadmap to get the Ontario economy back to how it traditionally operates.

This morning Mayor Meed Ward had the following comments on the position the Premier took.

Meed Ward H&S profile

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

Yesterday Premier Ford and his team announced a road map to begin reopening Ontario with a focus on protection, reopening, and recovery. This is welcomed news for all Ontarians and a direct result of the hard work and sacrifices everyone has made to help successfully flatten the curve of COVID-19.

The City of Burlington is looking forward to implementing a similarly phased approach that aligns with the framework and guidelines being followed at the provincial level. This roadmap is about the how more than the when.

Ontario’s Chief Officer of Health has outlined three stages for opening workplaces and public spaces and permitting gatherings as time progresses. The criteria the Province will be using in their decision-making include:

• A consistent two-to-four week sustained decrease in the number of new daily COVID-19 cases;

• Sufficient acute and critical care capacity, including access to ventilators and ongoing availability of personal protective equipment (PPE);

• Approximately 90 per cent of new COVID-19 contacts are being reached by local public health officials within one day, with guidance and direction to contain community spread; and

• Ongoing testing of suspected COVID-19 cases, especially of vulnerable populations, to detect new outbreaks quickly

The federal government also indicated yesterday that reopening guidelines should include the capacity for testing, an adequate supply of PPE in place, and the continued medical capacity in place to handle a surge.

Mayor Meed Ward and Premier - Dec 2018

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward meets with Premier Doug Ford at a Joseph Brant hospital event

While no specific dates have yet been announced by the Province in their detailed framework, we know that with the closure of schools and provincial parks being extended to May 31st we have a slow and steady timeline ahead of us. City Hall and city facilities will remain closed through the end of June as previously announced. Burlington’s local businesses launched a campaign yesterday encouraging our community to continue to “Stay home so Burlington can get back to business”. In alignment with the Province and their future decisions related to lifting restrictions on essential services impacting the City, we will not rush this recovery at the expense of the progress we have made thus far.

Our number one priority in Burlington continues to be the health and well-being of our people, especially those who are most vulnerable.

As we formalize our plan with input from city leadership teams and council in May, we will partner closely with Halton Region Public Health so we can continue to closely monitor the level of risk being posed by COVID-19 throughout every stage of our plan.

Halton Region’s mayors, including Mayor Rick Bonnette, Mayor Gordon Krantz, Mayor Rob Burton and myself, have formed a partnership to work together on our respective plans. All four mayors have come together as the Halton Mayors Recovery Coordination Group and made the commitment to keep each other and Halton Region Chair Gary Carr apprised of decisions being considered in each municipality, share best practices, and coordinate our plans and timing.

In the weeks and months ahead, our commitment as a City is to be crystal clear and transparent about the plans and specific behaviours we are asking of the public, keep the community informed of evolving risks, and work diligently with our healthcare partners to track infection and continue to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

We have all made many sacrifices to flatten the curve here in Burlington and we must ensure they were not made in vain. For now, we must continue to stay home and follow the advice of health experts while we navigate this virus and plan the way forward. We will be cautious and careful in each step we take so that we can safely reopen our economy, manage risk, and keep our community healthy.

Fig 2

The curve for the Region of Halton is far from flattening.

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July Downtown car show - cancelled

News 100 blue

By Staff

April 28th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The summer is beginning to look quite quiet; the Burlington Downtown Car Show has been cancelled.

Carshow Blue car

Remembering when

Ron Baker, organizer and promoter of the event announced today that “Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the uncertainty of protocol for social distancing in early July, the Burlington Downtown Car Show is cancelled for this year.

car show crowd

Best argument ever for making Brant a pedestrian only street – car show crowd filled the street

‘The Car Show has become a mainstay of summer in the city. Five hundred meters of Brant Street in downtown Burlington is turned into a pedestrian mall with as many as 200 cars on display.

“The idea has always been to present a celebration of the automobile”, stated Ron Baker, car show founder. “We have had representation of every decade of the automobile on display, from 1910 to present day”. The show has attracted over 100,000 visitors in the past five years.

The summer of 2021 is an option.

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Coping: Week 6 - it has come to listing the ups and the downs

graphic coping redBy Nicki St George

April 28th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

Nicki St George is the mother of two, lives in Aldershot and teaches at a private school in Oakville. She is also a recovering cancer patient.

WEEK 6 – seriously?
As the days are becoming indistinguishable from one another, here are some ups and downs during my time in self-isolation:

The UPS:
• When a box is delivered, and you cannot remember what it could be because you have ordered so much crap over the last 6 weeks.

St George kids in big bed with cat Apr 27

Clifford the cat and the kids – in their parents bed.

• Clifford the cat – my self-isolation guru.

• When the makers of Candy Crush give the gift of unlimited lives for a whole week!

• Having the time to make homemade hamburger buns and other treats.

• Puzzles – Now that everyone is into doing puzzles, I do not feel like quite as big a nerd.

• No sport on TV = nothing left for my husband and I to fight about.

• Learning a new language while binge watching Money Heist.

• Saying goodbye on Zoom or Houseparty…you just hang up! No more awkward goodbyes at the door.

• Saving money on car insurance because you are no longer driving to work every day.

• Bringing out the patio furniture and setting up the trampoline. It’s starting to feel a little like summer.

• Less laundry…just choose your legging/sweat top combo for the week and you’re good to go.

• The magical hour around 5pm every day when a glass of wine and favourite song provide me with the motivation to dance and cook dinner.

• Discovering a new podcast.

The DOWNS:
• Temperatures in the single digits in April…or worse, snow!

Thank you drawing

Results of a parent led art class

• The annoying soundtrack of Beatrix’s YouTube videos which have become ambient noise in the house.

• My embarrassingly high score on Candy Crush.

• Where do all the charging cables keep disappearing to?

• Making plans for the summer…

• Google classroom on the iPad: why can’t I just write on the document?

• Sad husband because there is no sport on TV.

• Finding out that schools will remain closed until at least May 31st – SERENITY NOW!

• Doing your tax return – the worst part of being an adult.

• Getting the weekly alert telling me what the average daily screen time was last week…gulp.

• The absurd volume of new passwords to remember for accessing homeschool websites.

• Deciding what PPE to don on the weekly trip to the grocery store – how many times can I reuse this same mask?

• At home haircuts…they’re not everyone’s cup of tea.

• Finding the motivation to do at home workouts and complete assignments for grad school.

• Being interrupted by children asking for TV during a work Zoom call -this was not on the list of pre-approved activities.

• Google Play charging $19.95 to RENT Trolls 2 – how dare they?

• Discarded latex gloves left on the ground: so uncool.

Previous columns:

The idea

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 5

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