Outdoor Recreational Amenities can Reopen

News 100 yellowBy Staff

May 22nd, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Province has announced that outdoor recreational amenities can reopen as long as COVID measures are in place, beginning Saturday, May 22 at 12:01 a.m.

Now the city has to figure out which Parks and Recreation department programs can be made operational – again. This is perhaps the fourth pivot that department has had to make.

soccer balls + leg

You can kick the soccer ball around but can’t actually play a game – yet.

The things you will be able to do starting today include, but are not limited to, golf courses and driving ranges, soccer and other sports fields, tennis and basketball courts, and skate parks.

Outdoor limits for social gatherings and organized public events will be expanded to five people, which will allow these amenities to be used for up to five people, including with members of different households. All other public health and workplace safety measures under the province wide emergency brake remain in effect.

Changes to City services and programs:  Recreation Services, Parks, Amenities and Facilities
Outdoor Courts
Outdoor courts such as pickleball, basketball and tennis courts will be open Saturday, May 22. If there are people waiting to use the court, please keep your time to a maximum of 30-minutes. Masks are to be worn while waiting for your turn. For locations of outdoor courts, visit burlington.ca/outdoorplay.

Sport Fields
Grass sport fields will open for casual use such as throwing a ball, self-directed yoga, kicking a ball or flying a kite. Organized sports and recreational classes are not permitted. Groups of up to five people are allowed. Please make sure you stay 6 feet from anyone not in your household.

Skateboarding Norton elements

The skate boarders will be out in droves this weekend.

Skate Parks
Skate parks will be open on Saturday, May 22. Please make sure you stay 6 feet from anyone not in your household. Wearing a mask is highly recommended.

City Park Washrooms
Most City park washrooms will be open to the public from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

LaSalle Community Park Marina
In partnership with the LaSalle Community Park Marina Association, the public boat launch is not ready to open yet and will remain closed until further notice. It will reopen once boats have been cleared from the lower parking lot.

Tyandaga sign

Open – but try getting a T time

Tyandaga Golf Course
Tyandaga Golf Course will open for play on Saturday, May 22 at 7 a.m. Book online at tyandagagolf.com or call 905-336-0006 between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. starting today.

For a list of the Pickle Ball court locations CLICK HERE

Roads, Parks and Forestry
Services provided by the Roads, Parks and Forestry Department will continue as needed. Residents with questions or concerns can email RPF@burlington.ca or call 905-333-6166.

As the province wide vaccination rate and key public health and health care indicators improve, and City staff receives and reviews updated orders from the Province of Ontario and more details under its Roadmap to Reopen, the Parks people will continue to comply and keep you informed on available City services and what can open while keeping City of Burlington staff and residents safe.

Meed Ward at BSCI

The Mayor wants to see everyone out and about – but following the guidelines.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward adds: “This is welcome news and something my fellow Mayors from all across Ontario have been advocating for throughout this present lockdown. We know healthcare and science experts have repeatedly stated that the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in these activities is low, and the mental and physical benefits are high.

“With warmer weather upon us, I know Burlington residents will be thrilled with this announcement. I encourage our amazing community to enjoy these activities safely, as intended, with thoughtfulness and care so that we do not risk undoing the great progress we have made in the past month in both reducing new cases and steadily increasing vaccinations. Please avoid crowding over five people at a time, and be patient to wait your turn when other groups are using amenities. When using outdoor amenities, please also be courteous and thoughtful to those who are waiting so everyone can have a turn.”

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Rivers asks: Has Ford Been Playing Us ?

 

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

May 22nd, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

Doug Ford is right about one thing. Ontario residents will only stop getting sick and dying after we’ve all had our shots. That is because he has been unable and/or unwilling to control the transmission of the virus.

It’s been over a month since he applied his famous emergency brake. And despite the so-called shut down we’re still hitting a couple thousand cases and a couple dozen deaths a day. Yet the reason why it’s taking so long is obvious.

Ford gregarious

Ontario had elected a populist – when the pandemic hit he was expected to lead – many were disappointed.

He shut down the wrong part of Ontario’s economy. Almost 70 percent of COVID transmission in hot spot Toronto, for example, has been taking place in the workplace among factory and warehouse workers and the construction trades.

Had Ford made these folks stay at home we might have seen real and rapid reductions in the numbers. Killing the provincial sick pay plan just made it worse. According to a Peel region study 25% of the industrial workforce had been showing up at work with COVID symptoms.

Ford promised to be brutal at his disastrous April media conference, and he was. But he brutalized the wrong folks. Shutting down outdoor recreational activities, including golf and tennis, which had never reported a case of COVID, was just mean… and stupid.

Doug Ford covid t shirt

Leading the province through a pandemic proved to be more than the Premier and his Cabinet could handle.

But if Ford really wanted to bring the numbers down he should have focused on the sectors where transmission is high. Instead, it was all a smokescreen. He declared residential construction an essential service. How could building a new subdivision in a time of COVID be considered essential?

Mr. Ford’s legislative record makes it clear that he has used the pandemic as a cover to fast track development in the province. His government passed a number of COVID recovery laws last year. And they were more about development than anything else. He has enacted his autocratic Minster’s Zoning Orders, ignoring and bypassing local councils and their voters’ wishes on development.

Ford has unearthed a plan to build a new 400 series highway (413) on property held by a group of developers, who collectively have contributed close to a million dollars to Ford’s party since 2014. They own 39 properties along the proposed route covering 3,300 acres, which is worth about half a billion dollars in today’s market. But their windfall profit is expected to inflate wildly from adjacent sprawl development once the highway is approved.

Ford Doug with graph Apr 16

Scientists were providing solid data – the Premier seemed to use what worked for his agenda.

He has stripped conservation authorities of their role in the approval of new developments that can affect them and all of us. In protest, former Toronto Mayor and Mulroney cabinet minister David Crombie, has resigned as chair of the Greenbelt. And in an insult to everyone who cares about the environment, Ford replaced him with former Harris environment minister Norm Sterling, of Walkerton crisis fame, who actually voted against establishing the Greenbelt.

The speed with which this government is undoing decades of environmental protection in the province is stunning. One has to ask whether Ford is packing in as much development as he can before the next election. And that, apparently, takes priority over controlling COVID.

Ford OPEN for business

It was always about business – the closer they could get to the Premier the better it was for the development community. And they certainly did manage to get very close.

But as the numbers surged this past March, and infected people overwhelmed Ontario’s hospitals, Ford needed to appear to be doing something – to be taking charge. So he scapegoated the federal government and played the rest of us.

His stay at home order was brutal and tough, especially on children and their parents. But it has had little effect on COVID transmission. The numbers are falling because we are getting vaccinated. The stay at home order was mainly just for show.

Rivers hand to faceRay Rivers writes weekly on both federal and provincial politics, applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking.  Rivers was a candidate for provincial office in Burlington where he ran against Cam Jackson in 1995, the year Mike Harris and the Common Sense Revolution swept the province.

 

Background links:

Friends with Benefits –     Sick Pay –     Under Cover

Emergency Order –     Construction COVID –       Small Gatherings –

MZO –      Crombie Resigns

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Halton's MPs meet with disabled community - promise more funding

News 100 redBy Staff

May 21st, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Yesterday, the Honourable Karina Gould, Member of Parliament for Burlington, the Honourable Anita Anand, Member of Parliament for Oakville, Pam Damoff, Member of Parliament for Oakville North-Burlington, and Adam van Koeverden, Member of Parliament for Milton were joined by community advocates and local service providers to discuss support for people living with disabilities in Halton.

Paul WHO in wheel chair - Senior

The objective is to ensure that people with mobility limitations are able to take part in all community activities.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the long-standing barriers Canadians with disabilities have faced for decades. Since the start of the pandemic, many have faced higher costs in accessing food, medication, social services or health care.

As Members of Parliament in Halton, we remain committed to advancing policies that build inclusivity from the beginning and will continue to work to reflect the principle of ‘Nothing About Us, Without Us’ when it comes to creating a society that is inclusive by design and promotes belonging for everyone.

Important stakeholders including Community Living Burlington and Community Living Oakville, Charter Ability, the Burlington Accessibility Advisory Committee, Stroke Recovery, Meals on Wheels, Special Olympics, and Goodwill Amity came together to share their thoughts on how we can continue to push for more inclusive spaces in our communities.

One of the overwhelming pieces of feedback was that we as a society need to engage in an attitudinal change. Inclusiveness for those living with a disability should be built into planning and policy procedures from the very beginning to ensure that all of us are included.

Our community spaces need to be inclusive and accessible. While we have made progress in this space, there is more work to be done to ensure that everyone can access and utilize spaces that many of us take for granted, such as public washroom facilities.

We also need to work harder to ensure that housing is not only affordable but accessible and that job opportunities are available and accommodating to all interested applicants.

We will also continue to work to foster inclusion and belonging in the workforce for people living with disabilities, recognizing the unique skills and talents they bring to employment.

In Budget 2021, the Government of Canada has made significant proposals to support people living with disabilities and ensure our communities are more accessible, including:

• Undertaking consultations to reform the eligibility process for federal disability programs and benefits. This work would feed directly into the design of a new disability benefit;

• Triple funding for the Enabling Accessibility Fund and support small and mid-sized projects with not-for-profit organizations, women’s shelters, child care centres, small municipalities, Indigenous organizations, territorial governments, small businesses, and businesses of all sizes;

• Improving access to the Disability Tax Credit;

• Extending disability supports under the Canada Student Loans Program;

• Providing $29.2 million over two years, starting in 2021-22, to ESDC through the Enabling Accessibility Fund to support child care centres as they improve their physical accessibility;

• Support the creation of a National Autism Strategy and;

• Renewing Funding for the Office of Public Service Accessibility.

 

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Women's Health Issue to be Subject of a Podcast by two Certified Menopause Practitioners

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

May 20th 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Every woman experiences menopause differently but the onset of menopause can mean a variety of symptoms (hot flashes, insomnia, mood swings etc.) and a marked increase in certain health risks. While there are women that immediately seek treatment, menopause symptoms are just as often left untreated due to misconceptions about the treatment options available. As a result, 70% suffer in silence or miss the window for seeking treatment options that can actually make life more comfortable.

There are healthcare providers available known as Menopause Practitioners, that are dedicated to promoting the health and quality of life of women through an understanding of menopause. These specialists see patients to help them assess and determine treatment protocols, and they may be more accessible in your community than you think!

Menopause women

Kerry Roberts & Carolyn Whiskin, Certified Menopause Practitioners at Brant Arts IDA have helped hundreds of women through their transitional years and now they are heading online to empower more women in their quest towards a healthier postmenopausal life.

Brant Arts IDA Pharmacy is home to two experts in women’s health: both are Certified Menopause Practitioners.
Kerry Roberts and Carolyn Whiskin. Together, Roberts & Whiskin have been referred by many doctors and met with hundreds of patients to help them through their transitional years. Their expertise includes a vast knowledge of women’s health concerns such as: sleep disturbances, hot flashes, low libido, mood swings, irregular menstruation and more.

These two energetic experts are offering a free online education session entitled: “Menopause Symptoms… Do I REALLY Have To Live With Them?” This session provides a casual and relaxed online environment for postmenopausal women to learn what should be expected with regards to menopause symptoms. “We’ll discuss the benefits and risks of many treatment options so women can feel in control about choosing the best treatment for them!” Roberts explains.

They will then evaluate the impact of the education they provide and this research will be used to help improve the future of women’s health. Roberts & Whiskin are looking for females that have experienced menopause symptoms but have yet to seek treatment to participate in their free upcoming education sessions. While their first few sessions filled up quickly, the next available date is June 8. Space is limited. Details can be found at: www.brantarts.ca/menopause

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Joseph Brant President Updates the Community - things are better - still some very sick people to take care of

News 100 blueBy Eric Vandewall

May 20th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

Over the past few weeks, I have been sharing these regular updates with our community to keep you informed of what is happening at Joseph Brant Hospital and to seek your help to move out of this third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This week, I would like to say thank you. Thank you for following public health measures. Thank you for getting vaccinated. Thank you for continuing to show your support for our hardworking staff and physicians in your emails, phone calls, Join the J lawn signs, available at www.jointhej.ca, and social media posts. With your help, we are moving in a more positive direction.

We are starting to see the pressure on critical care bed capacity easing. Today the number of COVID-19 patients receiving critical care is 718: 494 of these patients are on a ventilator. Today, JBH is at 82% capacity. We are currently caring for 13 patients with confirmed COVID-19 as well as presumed and resolved cases – 11 of the confirmed COVID-19 patients are in Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

Yesterday it was announced that hospitals across the province can gradually resume surgeries and procedures as able, based on capacity and resources. Our teams are planning the resumption of scheduled care, ensuring the safety of our patients, staff, and physicians. If you were impacted by a deferral, your surgeon or physician will contact you with more information as soon as available.

While we are seeing a decrease in acute care cases, as well as daily new COVID-19 case numbers, it is important to put this information into perspective. The daily case numbers we are seeing now are equal to the number reported during the peak of the second wave. Ontario’s hospital occupancy rate is still very high and it will take time for this rate to decrease to acceptable levels.

The reality is we are still very much in this third wave. By following public health measures, the risk of transmission decreases, and so does the number of severely ill COVID-19 patients in our hospitals.

Vaccination is also a key ally in our fight to stop the spread of the virus. As of today, more than 260,000 Halton residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine offered through regional clinics, pharmacies and family physicians. I am proud to report that since March 12, the Halton Region COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic at Joseph Brant Hospital has administered over 22,000 doses. We have also started to increase the number of available appointments per day. In less than a week, we expect to reach 25,000 doses.

There is more good news – anyone age 18 and up is can now make an appointment to get vaccinated. This is a very positive development that will also help us out of this third wave safely and stronger than before. I encourage everyone who is eligible to make an appointment: either online at www.halton.ca/covidvaccine or call 311 if you need assistance.

Some of you may have questions or concerns about getting vaccinated. Please talk to your doctor or go to credible sources like Halton Region, the Ontario government and Health Canada for more information. During the recent Immunization Awareness Week, our own Dr. Dale Kalina answered a series of questions from our community related to vaccine. I invite you to watch these short video clips on our Instagram page.

Please continue to look after each other. Stay safe and thank you once again for your unwavering support of our hospital.

Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital CEO is about to tell us what he gets paid annually. He didn't volunteer this information.

Eric Vandewall: President and CEO Joseph Brant Hospital

Eric Vandewall is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Joseph Brant Hospital.  He was appointed in 2009 and took on the task of adding additional space and a completely new wing to the hospital.

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The Road to Normality - Premier Lays it Out

News 100 blueBy Staff

May 20th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Ontario government has released its Roadmap to Reopen, a three-step plan to safely and cautiously reopen the province and gradually lift public health measures based on the province wide vaccination rate and improvements in key public health and health care indicators. In response to recent improvements to these indicators, Ontario will allow more outdoor recreational amenities to reopen, with restrictions in place, effective May 22, 2021 at 12:01 a.m.

Doug Ford finger pointing

Doug Ford: He is a happier man today. Thinks the Leafs are going to win tonight.

“As a result of the strict public health measures we introduced to stop the spread of COVID-19 variants, we are seeing a steady improvement in our situation as ICU and hospital numbers begin to stabilize,” said Premier Doug Ford. “While we must remain conscious of the continued threat the virus poses, with millions of Ontarians having received at least their first dose of vaccine we can now begin the process of a slow and cautious re-opening of the province in full consultation with our public health professionals.”

Roadmap to Reopen outlines three steps to easing public health measures, guided by the following principles:

• Step One – An initial focus on resuming outdoor activities with smaller crowds where the risk of transmission is lower, and permitting retail with restrictions. This includes allowing outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people, outdoor dining with up to four people per table and non-essential retail at 15 per cent capacity.

• Step Two-  Further expanding outdoor activities and resuming limited indoor services with small numbers of people where face coverings are worn. This includes outdoor gatherings of up to 25 people, outdoor sports and leagues, personal care services where face coverings can be worn and with capacity limits, as well as indoor religious services, rites or ceremony gatherings at 15 per cent capacity.

• Step Three – Expanding access to indoor settings, with restrictions, including where there are larger numbers of people and where face coverings can’t always be worn. This includes indoor sports and recreational fitness; indoor dining, museums, art galleries and libraries, and casinos and bingo halls, with capacity limits.

The province will remain in each step for at least 21 days to evaluate any impacts on key public health and health system indicators. If, at the end of the 21 days, the following vaccination thresholds have been met, along with positive trends in other key public health and health system indicators, then the province will move to the next step:

• Step 1: 60 per cent of adults vaccinated with one dose.

• Step 2: 70 per cent of adults vaccinated with one dose and 20 per cent vaccinated with two doses.

• Step 3: 70 to 80 per cent of adults vaccinated with one dose and 25 per cent vaccinated with two doses.

Based on current trends in key health indicators, including the provincial vaccination rate, the government expects to enter Step One of the Roadmap the week of June 14, 2021. The province will confirm closer to the expected start of Step One.

“While we know that now is not yet the moment to reopen, Ontarians deserve to know the path forward on what we will carefully reopen and when, starting with the settings we know are safest,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “Brighter days are ahead and we believe this Roadmap represents a path out of the pandemic and will encourage Ontarians to get vaccinated and to continue following public health advice.”

The province-wide emergency brake restrictions remain in effect while the province assesses when it will be moving to Step One of the roadmap with the Stay at Home order expiring on June 2, 2021. During this time, the government will continue to work with stakeholders on reopening plans to ensure full awareness of when and how they can begin to safely reopen.

Due to the continuing success of Ontario’s vaccine rollout and the collective efforts of Ontarians in following public health and workplace safety measures to date, effective May 22, 2021 at 12:01 a.m. the province will reopen outdoor recreational amenities with restrictions in place, such as the need to maintain physical distancing.

These amenities include, but are not limited to, golf courses and driving ranges, soccer and other sports fields, tennis and basketball courts, and skate parks. No outdoor sports or recreational classes are permitted. Outdoor limits for social gatherings and organized public events will be expanded to five people, which will allow these amenities to be used for up to five people, including with members of different households. All other public health and workplace safety measures under the province wide emergency brake will remain in effect.

At this time, publicly funded and private elementary and secondary schools in the province will continue to operate under teacher-led remote learning. Data will be assessed on an ongoing basis and medical experts, including the Chief Medical Officer of Health, and other health officials will be consulted to determine if it may be safe to resume in-person learning.

“Due to the stringent efforts of Ontarians following public health and workplace safety measures, we have reached the point where we can begin preparing to exit the province-wide emergency brake and lift the Stay-at-Home order,” said Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health. “We must remain vigilant however, as the fight against COVID-19 is not over and our case counts, ICU capacity and hospitalizations are still concerning. It remains critical that all Ontarians continue to follow all public health and workplace safety measures currently in place to help further reduce transmission and save lives.”

The government will continue to work with the Public Health Measures Table, Public Health Ontario, and other public health and scientific experts to determine public health guidance for Ontarians to follow, including protocols for masking and outdoor/indoor gatherings, after being fully vaccinated.

Quick Facts
• Based on the latest modelling data COVID-19 case, positivity and hospitalization rates are decreasing, and control of the pandemic is improving. Maintaining the current rate of vaccination and public health and workplace safety measures will help to ensure Ontario starts to safely and gradually reopen.

• Ontario has administered first doses of the COVID-19 vaccines to over 58.5 per cent of Ontarians aged 18 and over. Over two million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Ontario since the start of May, and the province remains on track to have administered first doses to 65 per cent of Ontarians aged 18 and over by the end of May.

• The government has extended the province wide Stay-at-Home Order until June 2, 2021, and has maintained all public health and workplace safety measures under the province wide emergency brake to help to stop the rapid transmission of COVID-19 variants in communities, protect hospital capacity and save lives.

• The Stay-at-Home order currently in effect requires everyone to remain at home except for specified purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services (including getting vaccinated), for outdoor exercise, or for work that cannot be done remotely.

• If passed by the Legislature, powers under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 (ROA) will be extended to December 1, 2020 to ensure public health measures currently in place can be extended and adjusted as necessary, to deal with the impacts of COVID-19 and support a gradual re-opening of the province. There are currently 29 orders in effect under the ROA. Orders can be extended for up to 30 days at a time under the ROA, and the government must report on all order extensions to the Select Committee on Emergency Management Oversight.

As of 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, May 18, 2021, individuals aged 18 and over in 2021 across Ontario are eligible to book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment through the provincial booking system and call centre, or directly through public health units that use their own booking system.

 

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Farmers' Market opens for the season - covid rules are being sensibly enforced

News 100 blueBy Staff

May 19th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It was the first day of operation this season for the Lions Farmers Market that set up in the south end of the Burlington Centre parking lot.

The weather was perfect; people strolled in, cleared the entrance where you are expected to squirt the disinfectant on your hands and begin looking at the produce.

Right to your tableAnd produce there was – the pictures tell that story.

The crowds weren’t great and there were a lot of empty places for the significant list of farm participants this market has had in the past.

It was week day – Saturday will tell the story.

There were plenty of Lions people on site welcoming as you came in and ready to answer any question.

Table laden with vegetable

You need a big bag when you leave this table – they had something of everything that comes out of the ground.

 

potato table + truck

 

Empty spaces

Lot of space for additional farmers – expect it to be busier on the weekend.

 

market - entry point

Squirt your hands at the entrance and enjoy what is being offered for sale.

Markets operate Wednesday, Friday and Saturday – well worth the time.

Hours of operation: Wednesdays   8:00 – 2:00   Fridays  8:00 – 3:00    Saturdays  8:00 – 2:00

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Metrolinx staff make a young women’s final wish to operate a train come true

graphic community 3By Anne Marie Aikins

May 17th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Transit vehicles, especially big commuter trains, can inspire imagination and even a bit of awe. But for some, they become the thing of dreams and wishes.

If given the opportunity to ask for anything – anything in the world – what would be your last big wish?

For one determined young woman, it was to operate a train like the GO trains she often took rides in with her parents. It was always her dream, but now seemed like an impossible feat for someone on her last journey in palliative care.

metrolinx girl with her dad

Romina stands next to a GO Transit Safety officer and his K9 partner at the UP Express terminal at Union Station.

Born with Down syndrome, Romina Asrani is now 21 years old. The endearing and determined wisp of a young woman saw her wish come true at Union Station this past weekend (May 16) when Metrolinx and Alstom Canada staff worked together to create an incredible, joyful experience that no one will soon forget.

This past year has been filled with sadness and loss for everyone. There is a proverb, however that says sorrow is a requirement for finding moments of true joy. This story may seem terribly huge, but because a young woman believed her dream was possible, it also made us believe it too.

And we felt joyous even for a few minutes because of her.

I was first introduced to Romina Asrani and her family when Sick Kids reached out to tell us about her dream to “drive a big train like her grandfather”.

Hesitant at first because it seemed impossible under the circumstances, but I was willing to try and do what we could and agreed to meet with them by video. The Thornhill parents, Mansour and Soraya, told me about their daughter Romina, who was born with Down syndrome and has suffered with multiple illnesses since she was a little girl. She’s a fighter, Soraya said, but is now in palliative care.

metrolinx asrani h&s

Romina Asrani: She’s a fighter, Soraya, her Mother said, “but is now in palliative care.”

Romina told me about her wish to drive a train some day. They often, at least before she became gravely ill and the pandemic began, took the GO train for trips, and she would take the train in Europe too, she said. Her dad would tell her stories about her grandfather who was a train engineer and his stories always fascinated her.

Well, I fell in love with her immediately of course, so proposed we wait until we were out of lockdown and it was safer. She wouldn’t be able to exactly drive a train, I said, but I would see if our rail team could give her a fun trip, nonetheless.

Unfortunately, they were concerned that waiting wasn’t really an option, so we agreed on a Sunday afternoon with barely three days to plan. The parents also requested a reporter be there so they could have her story documented. Romina cheered as we ended the call saying: “Yes, I am going to drive a train!”

I hung up on our video call wondering: ‘What on earth am I going to do? I cannot disappoint her.’

For readers who don’t know, my little sister Jenny was one of the greatest sources of joy in my life. Like Romina, she was also born with Down syndrome and died the day before our first lockdown in March 2020. Jenny would have kicked my butt if I didn’t fulfill Romina’s dream.

So, I reached out across our organization – to senior leadership in rail, transit safety, operations, stations, and beyond – and told them about Romina’s last wish. I pressed send on the email and waited – within minutes everyone responded with the same message.

And then I sat back and watched our teams create some magic. Metrolinx staff worked with Alstom Canada to plan a special UP Express train and a crew to work personally with Romina. Stations staff ensured we were ready to escort the family around safely with a wheelchair for Romina to carry her oxygen and reduce the amount of walking. Transit safety arranged to be on site with Dougie from the K9 team. Souvenir gifts were planned. And a safety plan was meticulously prepared to ensure we remained COVID-safe and were prepared for any type of emergency.

Staff thought of everything and really reached out across our entire organization to prepare for Romina’s special train.

The day finally arrived. As the family pulled up in front of Union Station, I was taken aback just how frail and tiny Romina was as she approached and glad we thought about bringing a wheelchair.

After I greeted Romina and her parents, transit safety and stations staff met with the family as they arrived, took them to the UP Express station and provided her with special gifts including official transit safety badges, a GO bear and plenty of masks. She loved the UV cleaner in the station and made her parents clean their phones. 2

Once the regular scheduled train was loaded with customers and left for the airport, with Romina watching from the platform, the station grew quiet and over the loudspeaker came this soothing voice:

“Attention please, we have an extraordinary announcement. Please join me and all our staff at Metrolinx in welcoming Romina and her family to UP Express as our very special guests today. The next train arriving is Romina’s train.”

metrolinx girl with police dog

“This is the coolest thing, the best thing that has ever happened in my life. I will never forget it, ever.”

Romina’s joy was palpable, and she was giddy with excitement as the specially arranged train arrived and the doors opened. As we entered the train, staff and customers in the station spontaneously cheered loudly.

“This is the coolest thing, the best thing that has ever happened in my life. I will never forget it, ever.”

The crew met Romina and toured her through the train, explained their jobs and when they asked her if she wanted to sit in the conductor’s seat in the cab, she turned to me and said: “Really, you are making this happen for me?”

I’m not sure there was a dry eye at this point. Certainly not mine.

The Alstom crew, engineer Tony Borek and conductor Aaron Trude, took her into the cab, let her hold the key, which she held like it was the most precious treasure and then explained all the gadgets. The microphone was a huge hit; they showed her how to use it to make announcements and toot the horn.

Although she wasn’t technically operating the train, the crew made her feel like she was in control as the train moved the very short trip to platform 3 and back.

Once we were back at the station, Romina sat in the opposite end cab and showed off her skills on the microphone.

“I’m so excited,” she said.

While Romina learned the tricks of the trade, Soraya and I chatted like moms do. She told me just how hard the last year has been for her daughter, the loneliness, her worsening breathing and stays in the hospital. Worrying about contracting a potentially deadly virus added to their anxieties.

Soraya spoke with such fondness and gratitude for their amazing Sick Kids family – the same hospital Jenny was treated at for years.

Then the crew presented her with an official honorary locomotive engineer certificate.

metrolinx certificate

“I could not be happier than I am right this minute,”

“This is the coolest thing, the best thing that has ever happened in my life,” Romina said. “I will never forget it, ever.”

As the family wished, Global News (including Global National) was there to document her journey. When Mansour was asked to speak to the reporter, Romina tugged his sleeve to let him know she had this covered. And then she articulated much better than any of us could what this experience meant to her.

“I could not be happier than I am right this minute,” Romina said. “Thank you all for making my wish come true for me. I love you all. You are my angels.”

When I passed on her thanks to Savio D’Gamma Rose, a manager in the operations centre who helped bring all the details together behind the scenes, his response spoke for all of us: “This was my absolute pleasure. I was lucky to be a part, even in a small way, of bringing some happiness and joy to Romina today.”

Thank you, Romina from all of us.

 

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Victoria Day: What’s open and closed at the City of Burlington

News 100 blueBy Staff

May 17th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

City of Burlington administrative services will be closed for Victoria Day on Monday, May 24. For a list of which City services and facilities are available on the Victoria Day holiday, please see the summary below or visit burlington.ca

Queen Victoria

The event celebrates the birth of Queen Victoria – a women that reigned when the British Commonwealth was the biggest power in the world. Her reign’s impact is still being felt.

*Important information regarding COVID-19: The information provided below is accurate as of May 17, 2021. In the event of any changes made by the Province of Ontario to the current COVID-19 Stay-at-Home order, please visit burlington.ca/coronavirus for potential impacts to City services and programs.

Residents can also stay informed about city news on our social media channels: @cityburlington on Twitter and facebook.com/cityburlington.

City Service Holiday Closure Information
Animal Services
The Animal Shelter at 2424 Industrial St. remains closed to the public due to COVID-19.
To report an animal control-related emergency, call 905-335-3030 or visit www.burlington.ca/animal.

Burlington Transit Burlington Transit will operate a Sunday schedule on Victoria Day. For real-time bus information and schedules visit myride.burlingtontransit.ca.

The downtown terminal at 430 John St. and Specialized Dispatch will be closed on Monday, May 24.

City Hall The Service Burlington counter at City Hall (426 Brant St.), will be closed to all appointments and walk-in service on Monday, May 24.
Many service payments are available online at burlington.ca/onlineservices.

Halton Court Services Provincial Offences Office Court administration counter services at 4085 Palladium Way will be closed on Monday May 24.

With the exception of the Victoria Day closure, telephone payments are available at 905-637-1274, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday. All in-person services are available from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday to Friday. Many services are also available by email at burlingtoncourt@burlington.ca or online at Halton Court Services.

Parking Free parking is available downtown, on the street, in municipal lots and in the parking garage (414 Locust St.) on weekends and holidays, including Victoria Day.

NOTE:
• The Waterfront parking lots (east and west at 1286 Lakeshore Rd) do not provide free parking on statutory holidays.
• Paid parking, on weekends only, at Beachway Park (1100 Lakeshore Rd) begins Saturday, May 22, using HONK Mobile.
Parking exemptions are required to park overnight on city streets and for longer than five hours. Visit burlington.ca/parkingexemptions

Recreation Programs and Facilities Lending Library
Play Equipment
• Horseshoes, glow in the dark soccer balls, Kanjam, washer toss, tennis, Spikeball and more are available to borrow.

Visit burlington.ca/playlending
Pickleball Equipment

• Borrow pickleball equipment for free, including noise-reducing paddles, ball packs and portable nets that can be used in your backyard or driveway. Visit burlington.ca/pickleball

kids running

Get out and have fun – just follow the rules and we will soon see the end of the pandemic

Outdoor Activities
If you need some fresh air and activity, it’s okay to walk, cycle or jog through your neighbourhood park, but please do not linger. Please stay two metres (six feet) away from everyone else in the park, or on a trail, and take your waste home with you to dispose of it.

Active at Home
Options to stay active at home are available online at burlington.ca/activeathome, including a series of virtual activities from fitness to crafts for everyone to enjoy. All videos are free and new videos are added frequently.

 

 

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People of Burlington know how to follow the rules

graphic community 3By Staff

May 14th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

When left to following the rules most Burlingtonians comply.

A Gazette reporter/photographer  got out into the parks and the waterfront – things were quieter, people were following the rules – getting the exercise and fresh air they needed,

The pictures tell the story.

Ships and fishing

Ships at anchor while a couple test the waters for fish. There were actually three ships at anchor – unusual for Hamilton.

little guy not sure LaSalle May 13

The little guy wasn’t exactly sure what he wanted to do despite a lot of coaxing from Dad; the other two new exactly what they wanted to do,

hanging from parl equipment

LaSalle man reading in sunshine shorts

Looks like this man is working on his tan and doing a crossword puzzle. Great social distancing.

LaSalle Mom with daughter picnic

Mom just wants to know why the camera is pointed at her.

Beachway - few people walking

Very few people on the Beach on a Thursday – it will be different on a weekend that is forecast to have great weather.

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Police marine patrol watching the Beachway on Thursday

News 100 redBy Staff

May 14th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

police boat May 13

Boat from the Regional Police Marine unit were cruising the waters opposite the Beachway.

While Halton Regional Police Chief Tanner may have said his people would not be involved in crowd issues in Burlington there was one of the boats from the Marine fleet patrolling the waters off the Beachway on Thursday.

Those boats do not patrol on a regular basis – someone told them to be out there.  Watch for them on the weekend.  We might see a much needed shift in police involvement.

The boat didn’t come in very close – but the Officer was on deck with binoculars.

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Mayor says the parks are open - some private community parks are not open

graphic community 5By Staff

May 12th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The parks were closed by the province; then they were opened when the province realized the closing was a dumb decision.

Georgian - closed playground

This boy just wants to play and that yellow tape is in the way.

But not all the parks are open and that is a concern for an Aldershot parent who lives in the Georgian Court community where the park put in place and maintained by the housing company is closed.

Mayor response

Mayors says: Go ahead and use the park. It wasn’t a public park.

Her unit looks right out over the park and her son just does not understand why he can’t be outside playing.

Nor does his Mom who is a stay at home parent and asked not to be personally identified.

She is part of a group of parents who are all stay-at-home mothers and do everything they can to keep their children active and outdoors as much as possible.

In Burlington when you have a problem – you call the Mayor, who explained to our parent that indeed the parks are open.

Georgian message

Georgian Court Management explains their position – which isn’t the same as that of the Mayor. Problem is they are talking about different kinds of parks.

Some miscommunication in there somewhere – the Office of the Mayor didn’t understand that the park that had been closed was not a city park.

Our parent didn’t know who her ward councillor was. We’ve put the two of them together to see if someone can explain to the community when the private community park can be opened.

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Halton municipalities asking province to safely open outdoor activities

News 100 blueBy Staff

May 11th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Mayors of the four Region of  Halton and the Chair of the Region reiterate their call to safely reopen outdoor activities

Regional boundariesAs the Province of Ontario considers extending the Stay-at-Home emergency order beyond May 20, today, Halton’s Mayors and Regional Chair are reiterating our call to safely reopen outdoor activities.

Outdoor activities done safely with physical distancing and masking are a necessary support to physical and mental health, especially during this prolonged period of lockdown. Guidance provided by the COVID-19 Science Advisory Table for Ontario, that has also been endorsed by the Ontario Medical Association, encourages safe outdoor activities. •

Keeping people safely connected: Maintaining social connections and outdoor activity are important to our overall physical and mental health. This means allowing small groups of people from different households to meet outside with masking and two-metre distancing.

It means keeping playgrounds open and clearly encouraging safe outdoor activities. As noted by the Science Table: “Policies that discourage safe outdoor activity will not control COVID-19 and will disproportionately harm children and those who do not have access to their own greenspace, especially those living in crowded conditions.”

While the Halton Mayors and Regional Chair continue to discourage large gatherings in any setting, small groups can be at the same amenity at the same time as long as they are following the health guidelines. We also stand with our Halton students who are calling for a safe return to sports when health guidance and evidence suggests it is safe to do so.

The Halton District School Board’s (HDSB) Student Senate recently passed a motion declaring sports essential in students’ lives and created a Safe Sports subcommittee, co-chaired by two Halton students. The committee seeks to work with the Province to develop a plan for the safe return of sports, beginning with low-contact sports such as track and field, tennis, badminton, and swimming.

Given that many sporting activities occur in city facilities, the four Halton municipalities stand ready to partner with the Province, school boards and our local fitness providers in planning for a safe restart of sports.

In light of the evidence and advice from the Science Table, we renew our call to the Province to review and reconsider the list of currently prohibited outdoor activities. We further call on the provincial government to consult with school boards and our youth to design a safe return to sports plan, so that low-contact sports can resume as soon as it is safe to do so.

 Halton Regional Chair, Gary Carr;  Mayor Marianne Meed Ward, City of Burlington;  Mayor Rob Burton, Town of Oakville;  Mayor Gordon Krantz, Town of Milton;  Mayor Rick Bonnette, Town of Halton Hills

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Halton Region opening new COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic in Burlington

News 100 redBy Staff

May 10th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

On Wednesday, May 12, Halton Region will open a new COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic at Gary Allan Learning Centre at 3250 New Street in Burlington.

Lots of parking space

Starting today, eligible residents can book to their vaccination appointments at the new location through Halton’s online booking system.To book an appointment CLICK HERE.

“Based on expected supply, Halton Region is pleased to offer more options for residents to get their COVID-19 vaccine,” said Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr. “We are making great progress on vaccinating our community, but our ability to open appointments to more eligible groups and expand vaccination options remains dependent on ongoing and predictable supplies from both the Provincial and Federal governments.

In addition to our new Burlington clinic, we also have capacity in our current clinics to significantly increase what we are doing now – we are ready to get more people vaccinated as we receive more vaccines from the Federal and Provincial governments.”

Halton Region now has seven COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics across the region, operating seven days a week. In addition to opening the new Burlington location, clinic hours will be extended into the evening at the FirstOntario Arts Centre location in Milton starting May 18. This will provide more options for residents to book their vaccination appointments at a time most convenient for their schedules. Residents are reminded that all appointments must be made through Halton’s online booking system and walk-ins will not be accepted.

“Getting more people vaccinated each and every day will help us get closer to achieving community protection,” said Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Halton Region Medical Officer of Health. “I encourage everyone to book their appointments when it’s their turn. The best vaccine for you is the first one you are offered and the more people we are able to vaccinate each and every day, the closer we can get to returning to normal.”

Halton Region Public Health is reminding all residents to continue to adhere to public health measures, regadless of vaccination status. This includes staying home as much possible, only going out for essential reasons and only gathering indoors or outdoors with their households. When out in public for essential reasons (getting groceries or medicine, attending medical appointments or work) or enjoying outdoor activities, residents are reminded to wear a mask and keep a two-metre distance from anyone outside their households.

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Positive Relationships with Police and Public Safety - are both possible during a pandemic

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

May 10TH, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 Part two of a two part article.

Chief of Police Stephen Tanner met with city council virtually last week – covered the full spectrum of what they do for the municipalities in Halton .

Chief Tanner 2

Chief Tanner in conversation virtually with Council.

In 2020 there were 44,675 calls for service to the police; impaired driving charges increased by 100% during part of 2020 when bars and restaurants were closed.

Police officers now have much more in the way of personal devices that help get the job done.  He said he expects that in the not too distant future they will be able to finger print a person on the spot and be able to access RCMP and Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC)  data banks. Chief Tanner certainly liked it.

In the past the police used to transport 300 to 400 individuals who were in custody to court hearings.  The advent of virtual hearing via Zoom has basically ended the need for that service.

During the question and answer part of the meeting the Chief mentioned that there was going to be an additional court house operation somewhere on the South Service Road, he paused and wondered aloud if he was supposed to be making those plans public.

The comment that caught people by surprise was word that the police were not going to be involved in the public patrolling of parks and other places where large numbers of people gather.

A comment made at council meeting last week that a city staff member had been involved in an incident that put her personal safety at risk brought the approach the Chief had suggested into question.

If the police cannot be called upon when there are public safety issues who do municipal administrations turn to?

During the council meeting mention was made of the mounted patrol Toronto has and the appearances they make in parks.  Burlington doesn’t have mounted police officers but there are a lot of bicycles that could be used.

Chief Tanner hard look

Tickets handed out by police do not result in positive relationships.

Media were not able to learn who the staff person was and just what had happened; only that the Spencer Smith Park Ambassador program was on hold until the there is more information.

During the virtual session with the police Chief Tanner talked about the police relationship with the city. Mention was made of the number of tickets that were handed out by police – did not result in positive relationships.

Expect there to be discussions about the quality of the relationship with the police and the matter of public safety.

Part 1 of a two part article

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Rapid testing available now to help keep workers safe in small and medium-sized businesses

News 100 blueBy Staff

May 8th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Ontario government, in partnership with the federal government and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, has launched the COVID-19 Rapid Screening Initiative for small and medium-sized businesses across the province.

The COVID-19 Rapid Screening Initiative will provide free rapid antigen tests for employees of small and medium-sized businesses through participating local chambers of commerce and other organizations. The program will screen for asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 in the workplace that might otherwise be missed, helping to keep workers and their families safe and businesses open.

More than 760,000 rapid test kits have already shipped to 28 chambers and more than 50 others have expressed interest in participating.

rapid testing kit

Rapid testing kit – Non-chamber members with 150 employees or less are welcome to participate in the initiative.

“With the success of the StaySafe Rapid Testing Pilot in Waterloo Region, expanding rapid testing to small and medium-sized businesses across the province will help keep people working and safe,” said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade.

“Adding rapid antigen testing to the arsenal of protections for small and medium-sized businesses, especially in regions with hot spots, is one more important step towards keeping businesses open and economic recovery.”

“The rollout of the COVID-19 Rapid Screening Initiative through local chambers of commerce will make rapid tests accessible for more employees of small and medium-sized businesses,” said Prabmeet Sarkaria, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction. “This initiative is providing Ontario’s hardworking business owners with more tools to prevent outbreaks and will ensure their employees can stay on the job with the best protection possible.”

“Our government’s top priority is protecting the health and safety of all Ontarians. As we continue to vaccinate more Ontarians, testing remains a key component of Ontario’s pandemic response,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health.

“By supporting the use of rapid antigen tests by more businesses, our government is helping to provide an additional layer of protection for workers and their families.”

Ontario has already begun delivering rapid testing kits through the Provincial Antigen Screening Program to workplaces for asymptomatic staff in key sectors such as manufacturing, warehousing, the supply chain, mining, construction and food processing. As of April 30, about 7.6 million rapid antigen tests had been sent through the program to nearly 1,500 workplaces.

This includes nearly 200 essential industry sites, most of them in hot spot areas.

The COVID-19 Rapid Screening Initiative builds upon the success of this existing program and delivers tests into the hands of small and medium-sized businesses across the province.

rapid test - finer prick

Simple finger prick – with results in 15 minutes,

Making COVID-19 rapid tests accessible to all small and medium-sized businesses is part of a greater strategy to decrease the impact of COVID-19 on the people of Ontario and the economy. This includes stay-at-home measures, paid sick days, education campaigns on how to stay safe, significant testing and tracing capacity, and a robust vaccination distribution plan to make sure that every Ontarian who wants to be vaccinated will be vaccinated.

Quick Facts
• To contact participating local chambers of commerce and boards of trade about the COVID-19 Rapid Screening Initiative, visit the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.

• Non-chamber members with 150 employees or less are welcome to participate in the initiative.

• The COVID-19 Rapid Screening Initiative applies to businesses allowed to be open under current orders.

• The StaySafe COVID-19 Rapid Screening Pilot program in Waterloo Region is a collaboration among the Government of Ontario, Health Canada, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and participating member chambers, and Communitech.

• There are more ways for organizations to easily find out how to access rapid antigen tests. Visit ontario.ca/testingonsite to find out more.

• A COVID-19 rapid screening test can be performed anywhere (e.g., on-site, at the place of employment) and does not require shipping a specimen to a lab for processing. It takes about 15 minutes to yield a result.

• Rapid antigen point-of-care testing does not replace public health measures, such as symptom screening, physical distancing, masking and hand hygiene. Any positive results from a rapid antigen point-of-care test must be confirmed with laboratory-based chain reaction (PCR) testing.

• Employees can self-swab using a COVID-19 rapid test under the supervision of a trained employee or business owner.

• Frequent screening with rapid antigen tests increases the chances of early identification of cases in otherwise asymptomatic individuals.

• Organizations participating in the Provincial Antigen Screening Program can now search for a service provider offering point-of-care rapid testing services through a directory on the Ontario Together website. Service providers offering point-of-care COVID-19 testing services can also apply to be listed.

• Ontario has also released guidance for individuals or organizations that choose to participate in COVID-19 testing that falls outside of the public health care system, to ensure there is appropriate oversight and consumer protection and that public resources are supporting public health initiatives.

 

 

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42% of Halton residents have had at least one vaccination dose

News 100 redBy Staff

May 7th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

As of Thursday, May 6, 2021, 218,614 doses have been administered in Halton to priority populations identified by the Province.

This represents about 42 per cent of Halton’s population who have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The vaccination status dashboard on the Region’s web site –  www.halton.ca/COVIDvaccines  – is updated Monday to Friday between 12 and 2 p.m.

Information on eligible residents and appointment dates is set out below.

 

Schedule for Vaccine Booking Eligibility_Age Groups_MAY6_IG 3

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Hospital President assures public we will 'cross the finish line together'

News 100 blueBy Eric Vandewall

May 6th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

This week, I would like to offer a message of hope in these uncertain times, and a call for kindness and compassion.

These past 14 months have been incredibly difficult for everyone. The long, difficult road we have all travelled has transformed our lives in ways we could ever imagine.

Eric Vandewall

JBH President Eric Vandewall

Without question, we have all made difficult sacrifices, from in-person connections suddenly ending, sports and activities cancelled indefinitely, and having to adjust to new health and safety provisions intended to protect us. So much anxiety comes from not knowing if the worst is yet to come, or when we will be able to put this pandemic behind us. Those feelings and experiences can have a significant impact on our health and wellbeing.

This week is Mental Health Week. Now, more than ever, please check in on each other and take some time to reflect on your own mental health. A kind gesture goes a long way in making someone’s day better. Let other people know that you are thinking about them, send them a reassuring message, and use kind and inclusive language. Also, know that it is OK not to be OK. If you are struggling, it is vital to open up to someone who you trust or seek out mental health supports available, including virtual supports.

Finally, I would like to offer some hope. Over the past few days, there has been a slight downward trend in not only the number of daily new COVID-19 cases but also in daily COVID-19 critical care hospitalization occupancy rates. While this is early positive news for all of us, and in particular, for our amazing staff and physicians at the hospital, please remember that hospitals in many parts of the province remain under considerable stress. Halton Region continues to see the highest number of cases now since the beginning of the pandemic.

The situation remains precarious, yet hopeful. In terms of our hospital’s capacity, today JBH is at 83% capacity. We are currently caring for 17 patients with confirmed COVID-19 as well as presumed and resolved cases – 12 of the confirmed COVID-19 patients are in Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

The most important thing we can all do to continue to drive daily case numbers down, is to continue to follow public health measures, follow the lockdown guidelines, and get your COVID- 19 vaccination when it’s your turn. I ask you to continue to wash your hands, wear a mask and maintain physical distance.

Together, we will get through this. The road behind us has been a long one, and I can promise you that with your help, we will all cross the finish line together.

 

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It is getting dangerous out there - staff are at risk and getting hurt

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

May 6th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Council went into a Closed Session yesterday on six different items; one of which related to a person (believed to be a staff member) who could be named- thus the need for privacy.

There are reports that a city employee was harassed, or injured while doing their job.

There is basically no information but the city has suspended its Park Ambassador program.

Someone was hurt.

Staff put forward all kinds of information on city policy related to workplace violence.

bylaw options

 

Earlier today Regional Police Chief Tanner told council during a virtual delegation that the police would not be getting involved in matters relating to how people in the parks behaved.

Everyone was walking away from the issue and saying that it was going to be up to the public to be cautious and tell the bylaw people that they saw a problem y calling the Covid hot line that few people even know exists.

The number is 905-825-4722: write it on the palm of your hand or the cuff of your shirt because things are getting nasty out there.

The best the city seems to be able to do is issue a communication to the public.

Amber Rushton

Amber Rushton

Amber Rushton, a city staff member that Tim Commisso once said he could not do without, provided some data that normally comes from the Public Health Unit.  She has commented in the past on her difficulties with them.

Rushton was providing data on the damage and the impact the Covid variants were having on the transmission and level of infections.

The last line of the statement she read out is truly troubling: “Mental health tribulations, civil unrest, anti-government movements, social isolation strains = short term crisis + Long Term Community Recovery.”

In my experience as a reporter I have never heard a civil servant make a statement like that in public.  I bounced that off people who have deep civil service experience – their experience was the same.  Rushton was not wrong; however the solution to the issues she highlighted are not better public communication.

ashton data

Denise Beard -stern

Denise Beard: in the seven years we have covered Ms Beard and her work at city hall we have never seen her as concerned and disturbed as she was today.

Denise Beard, one of the Parks and Recreation managers said “there was a violent incident that came up in the Closed session of Council” that took place yesterday.

A bylaw department staffer said that “no one thought this would happen – there is a lot of animosity out there”

When the idea of creating the Park Ambassadors positions someone said they were going to be on site to help people enjoy a “Disney like experience”.

Ward 2 Councilor Lisa Kearns said the public needs to be warned about what not to expect in the parks and asked “why is nothing being done about the way people are congregating in the parks. This is getting dangerous.”

Stolte May 5

Ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte

Councillor Stolte wanted to know: “How do we communicate this to the public adding that “we need to land a message that explains what we can and what we cannot do to protect the public.”

It is going to take more than more signs – a change in public behavior is what city hall is asking for.

City manager Tim Commisso added that “that’s the crux of what we face” adding “the public is not aware” and that this is another opportunity to look at our communication plans.

Kwab Ako-Adjei, Director of Communications for the city said his people are working with the bylaw staff on a communications plan adding that there would be massive blow back from the public.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward told council that she had a meeting with police and bylaw people and met with the communications people to develop some initial material for members of Council and their staff.

The solution seems to be that the onus is for individuals to follow the guidelines – which at this point is to Stay at Home – that rule is in place until May 20th.

This is an important story.  It impacts everyone who lives in Burlington and gets out to enjoy the parks and get some fresh air.  When a staff member with significant field experience uses words like “Civil unrest, anti-government movements” and points out that “short term crises” = Long Term Community Recovery we need to pay close atention

Unfortunately not everyone in Burlington reads the Gazette – would you make a point of sharing this story with ten people in the city you know.  The message is critical – we are in serious trouble.

 

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Tax Levy bylaw sets out what you have to pay and when payment is due. Deferral payment plan in place

budget 2021By Staff

May 6th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

City Council approved the 2021 Tax Levy Bylaw at its meeting on May 5, 2021.

The bylaw allows the City to bill 2021 property taxes and set payment due dates for final tax bills on June 22 and Sept. 22, 2021. Final tax bills will be mailed in late May.

The 2021 Tax Levy Bylaw reflects the budget processes of both the City and Halton Region. The province provides the education tax rates.

Tax levy 2020-2021

City of Burlington 2020 and 2021 Urban Residential Property Taxes per $100,000 Current Value Assessment (CVA)

COVID-19 Property Tax Relief
In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic impact, on March 3, 2021 Burlington City Council approved a 2021 COVID-19 Property Tax Deferral Payment Plan program. The application-based program provides relief to residents and businesses that continue to face financial hardship due to the pandemic.

deferred tax graphicEligible property owners who are unable to pay property taxes by the regularly scheduled tax due dates can apply to defer taxes under a pre-authorized payment plan. Those eligible may include unpaid balances from March 1, 2020 onward in the deferral plan and can choose which month they would like to start the monthly payments. The remaining options for start dates are June 1, or July 1. Equal monthly withdrawals will be made that will allow for the property taxes to be paid in full by Dec. 1, 2021.

Property owners enrolled in this payment plan will not be subject to penalty and interest charges as long as payments are made.
Please visit Burlington.ca/property tax for more information or email pap@burlington.ca to register.

Quick Facts
• The City of Burlington collects property taxes for the city, Halton Region and the Halton district school boards. The total combined tax levy for all three entities is approximately $439 million.

The city’s levy is $182 million; the city collects $141 million on behalf of Halton Region; and $116 million on behalf of the Halton district school boards. The taxes levied for Halton Region and the Halton district school boards are remitted to them.

• Burlington City Council approved an increase to the Low-Income Seniors Property Tax Rebate. For eligible property owners, the rebate has increased from $525 to $550 for the 2021 tax year.

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