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While no one is certain when the vaccines will arrive - the city is going to make sure they are set up and ready to go operational in days

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

February 3rd, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

In a report to Council today Chris Glenn, Director of Parks and Recreation advised that the City has been asked to provide up to three facilities for Phase 2 (March/April to July/August) and Phase 3.

Everything of course depends on just when the vaccine is available.

This task will move very very quickly once the Vaccination Task Force knows when the vaccine will be available.

COVID big pic 2 phase

Burlington Fire Chief Karen Roche said there is preliminary work that is being done now to determine where the locations should be and how they should be operated.

The decisions will be made by the Regional Council on the advice of the Public Health Unit.

The Region has identified a list of criteria for the consideration of immunization sites. Among the locations are schools and private properties that meet their criteria as suitable locations..

• Fairness and equity will be central to these decisions

• City user groups and program providers will be displaced which will further reduce the facility inventory; already operating at a deficit due to current lack of use of school gyms

The region has identified the following as their criteria for selecting a vaccination centre location:

• One room at least 800m2 in size, preference is for 1200m2 (e.g. arena ice pad, 3-4 single gyms)
• Ample parking (minimum 100 spots) adjacent
• Space to be dedicated to the clinic. Separate entrance and exit required for people flow
• Facility must be accessible
• Exclusive use of facility is not required – other components of a multi-purpose facility can continue to be used for community activities
• Emergency power (minimally for refrigerators, preferably for entire facility so clinic can proceed without interruption)
• Accessible via Public Transit
• Heating, Cooling and Ventilation
• WIFI
• Hours of operation: 7 days a week, 8-12 hours a day
• 800-1400 people to be vaccinated at each site daily: goal 140 per hour.

Now which facilities? That’s when different ward Councillors began to speak up for their communities.

vacine locations

The Skyway Area is probably out of the question – the Forestry department is using the space – not that easy to find a new place for them.

A major concern is where is the population located – looking through an age lens. These are the people that are at a higher risk and they may need some help getting to vaccination locations.

The map below provides a look at where the population is by age, and how close they are to possible vaccination locations:

 

vacine data map

This is where the people are by age – are their sites near them.

Chris Glenn, Director of Parks and Recreation is involved on the city side with site selection determination.

He did say that the Public Heath Unit expected to be able to have people make appointments.

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If the current trend Continues, Officers will attend more than 4,000 Intimate Partner Violence Incidents by the end of this Year.

News 100 redBy Staff

February 3rd, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Intimate Partner Violence is the dark under belly part of our society.

We don’t want to hear about it, however it is going on all around us.

sexual violence image

9-1-1 call from an individual reporting that a male was assaulting a female in a residence, and that help was urgently needed.

The Halton Regional Police Service report that if the current trend continues, officers will attend more than 4,000 intimate partner violence incidents by the end of this year.

Last month, the HRPS received an early morning 911 call.

Officers were dispatched and arrived at the residence. Nothing could be seen or heard from the house which was in total darkness. Officers gained entry to the house and soon located a male, as well as his common-law partner who had multiple red marks and bruising on her upper body.

Officers learned that the male party had been drinking for several hours during the evening. Two children in the home reported hearing slapping, yelling and loud noises throughout the remainder of the night until police intervened.

The male was arrested soon after and subsequently transported to Central Lock Up. Thereafter, the HRPS Intimate Partner Violence Unit took carriage of the investigation. The accused was charged with Assault, Assault Causing Bodily Harm (Choking), and Forcible Confinement.

The female party was admitted to hospital for her injuries and was referred to the Halton Regional Police Service Victim Services Unit.

The Victim Services Unit connects victims to appropriate support services in the community, assists with victim care, and, through the Victim Quick Response Program (VQRP+), can provide immediate short-term financial support toward essential expenses for victims of violent crime.

Last month, our officers fielded 343 calls regarding intimate partner violence (IPV), compared with 279 calls in January 2020. In the same time period, we made 83 IPV arrests, compared with 51 IPV arrests in January 2020. A total of 206 IPV-related charges were laid in January 2021, compared with 85 IPV-related charges in January 2020 (an increase of 142 per cent).

Tragically, January is not an anomaly. Our analyses indicate that this is a continuation of a trend of an increasing frequency and severity of intimate partner violence incidents in the community over the course of the pandemic. What is particularly concerning is that we recognize that all forms of family violence are under-reported.

domestic violence

An increase of 142 per cent year over year for the month of January.

If you see something, say something. Someone’s life may depend on it.

Every person has the right to feel safe in our community.

Victims of intimate partner violence or sexual assault and witnesses are encouraged to contact the Halton Regional Police Service.

The following is a list of support services and resources in Halton Region for victims of intimate partner violence and/or sexual violence:

• Halton Regional Police Service Victim Services Unit 905-825-4777
• Halton Women’s Place 905-878-8555 (north) or 905-332-7892 (24-hour crisis line)
• Halton Children’s Aid Society 905-333-4441 or 1-866-607-5437
• Nina’s Place Sexual Assault and Domestic Assault Care Centre 905-336-4116 or 905-681-4880
• Thrive Counselling 905-637-5256 or 905-845-3811
• Sexual Assault and Violence Intervention Services (SAVIS) 905-875-1555 (24-hour crisis line)

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Damage done to local economies as a result of COVID19

News 100 blackBy Staff

February 3rd, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Anita Cassidy put it bluntly when she said, “It is not a pretty sight”.

In an update report to the Corporate Services, Strategy, Risk and Accountability Standing Committee, Cassidy reported that:

Anita inactive 20 + 21181,000 Canadian small businesses consider shutting down permanently

• CFIB (Canadian Federation of Independent Business) estimates 1 in 6 Canadian small business owners consider permanently closing

– Ontario could lose close to  75,000 businesses

• Economy risks losing 2.4 million jobs, equal to 20% of all private sector jobs
– Ontario can see over 873,000 jobs lost

• Businesses in the hospitality and arts and recreation sector most at risk
– 1 in 3 businesses considering closing.

Small Business Recovery will be an average of 1 year 5 months (across all sectors)

Anita sector recovery rates

Anita the damage 1

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One Burlington Promoting Share the Love Week February 6 to 13

News 100 yellowBy Staff

February 3rd, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

In partnership with the Burlington Food Bank, One Burlington is organizing a city-wide food drive named Share the Love from February 6-13, 2021 just before Valentine’s Day.

Drop-Off Locations:

  • City hall - share bannerCity Hall
  • Burlington Fire-Halls
  • Grocery Stores with
  • @BurlFoodBank Bins

You may also donate online.

We all know what to do.  Let’s ensure than the Food Bank has what it needs to take care of those who need help.

There was an occasion in January when 58 households were taken care of.

 

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Burlington COVID-19 Task Force members announced

News 100 blue

By Pepper Parr

February 1st, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The City has created a Burlington COVID-19 Task Force

It is huge.

Halton has a very good student immunization rate - 93% of students are immunized.

It is all about getting a needle in your arm. – a Task force with more than 25 people is not what people want to hear – Tell me when I will get my inoculation and where do I go.

The Task Force will share information and mobilize community and agency resources to support our hospital and healthcare workers as we prepare for an anticipated surge of patients in the coming days and weeks and work through a recovery period, as well as coordinate our broader community efforts on COVID-19.

Members will bring information and/or requests for assistance back to each of their own organizations and emergency response tables.

While this information-sharing and collaboration is already happening, the Task Force simply formalizes this effort and adds some structure as we collectively serve our community.

Membership
Membership includes community leaders and decision-makers representing various organizations and agencies involved in the COVID-19 response. New members may be added as the situation evolves.

Each participant is likely to be a member of their own organization’s COVID-19 response group, with an ability to bring information from that table, where appropriate, to the Task Force, and vice versa.
Invitees are similar to the panelists on the Mayor’s recent public telephone town hall.

Community response to that event was overwhelmingly positive, with residents specifically mentioning that they appreciated the assembled panel of cross-functional experts and leaders, and seeing the evidence of collaboration, sharing of information and coordinating of efforts to serve them.

Invited guests/organizations at this time:

Chair, Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

City of Burlington Emergency Control Group:

Burlington Fire Department:
Karen Roche, Deputy Fire Chief
Amber Rushton, Business Continuity and Emergency Planning CEMC
Dan VanderLelie, President, Burlington Professional Firefighters Association

City of Burlington:
Tim Commisso, City Manager

Joseph Brant Hospital

Eric Vandewall, CEO and President
Dr. Dale Kalina, Medical Director of Infectious Disease

Halton Regional Police Service:
Roger Wilkie, Deputy Chief of Police
Superintendent Anthony Odoardi

Halton District School Board:
Stuart Miller, Director of Education

Halton Catholic District School Board
Pat Daly, Director of Education

Halton Region:
Lynne Simons, Senior Advisor to the CAO

Members of Parliament:
The Honourable Karina Gould, Minister of International Development, MP, Burlington
Pam Damoff, MP, Oakville-North Burlington
Adam Van Koeverden, MP, Milton

Members of Provincial Parliament

Jane McKenna, MPP, Burlington
Effie Triantafilopoulos, MPP, Oakville-North Burlington
Parm Gill, MPP, Milton

TEAM Burlington:
Carla Nell, Burlington Chamber of Commerce
Anita Cassidy, Burlington Economic Development
Pam Belgrade, Tourism Burlington
Brian Dean, Burlington Downtown Business Association
Judy Worsley, Aldershot Business Improvement Area
Lita Barrie, CEO, Burlington Public Library

United Way Halton & Hamilton, Halton Poverty Roundtable
Tyler Moon, Senior Manager, Community Impact

The Burlington Food Bank:
Robin Bailey, Executive Director

Burlington Hydro:
Gerry Smallegange, President & CEO

Reach Out Centre for Kids:
Kirsten Dougherty, Chief Executive Officer

Royal Hamilton Light Infantry:
Lieutenant Colonel and Commanding Officer Alex Colic

Diocese of Hamilton
Rev. Rob Thomas, Chaplain, Burlington Fire Department

Halton Islamic Association
Sr. Osob

NUVO Network
Bridget and Shawn Saulnier, Owners

Burlington Foundation
Colleen Mulholland, President and CEO

Food for Life
Graham Hill, Executive Director

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Adam van Koeverden says the CN hub

News 100 blueBy Staff

February 1st, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Addressing the Speaker of the House of Commons Friday morning Adam van Koeverden said:

Milton NO signMr. Speaker, last week, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change released a list of the 325 conditions that the CN intermodal project must meet before it could proceed with any development in my riding of Milton. I recognize that these conditions address some of the concerns raised by my community and that this conditional approval is a technical assessment not an endorsement by the federal government. However, let me be very clear that these conditions do not change my position. I have always advocated for a rejection of this project and I remain strongly opposed.

AVK with two women

Adam van Koeverden speaking to Milton residents

Today, I want to directly address this to CN. Its own regulations recommend against new residential development within a thousand metres of an existing intermodal facility. Therefore, why would CN consider building one that same distance from a strong, growing and vibrant residential neighbourhood?

This fight is far from over. Miltonians will not give up. I will not give up. For me and our community, our top priority will always be protecting our people’s health and a clean environment. In instead, I encourage CN to invest its time and energy in a community that welcomes this development and all the benefits it claims an intermodal will bring.

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Mayor struggles with meaning of

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

January 29th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

“Hope is certainly on the horizon” said the Mayor who voted along with her colleagues to extend the face mask bylaw to the end of the year.

MMW at swearing in with Chain - superior look

“Hope is certainly on the horizon”

The hope the Mayor was talking about was the arrival of a vaccine which, according to the information the Mayor got from the Provincial COVID19 Vaccination Task Force, vaccination efforts will take through the spring and summer, and likely into the fall.

Not exactly on the horizon is it ?

For the foreseeable future, additional health measures will still be necessary – washing hands, wearing a mask, staying 6ft apart from anyone we don’t live with.

Foreseeable future isn’t exactly on the horizon either.

Meed Ward in a mask

Mayor Meed Ward: Clearly there was a struggle in determining just what “on the horizon” means.

“We want to be up front with the community about that” said the Mayor, “and be clear about the need for continued health measures and our bylaws for some months. Council did discuss ending the bylaws sooner, and in the end unanimously voted to extend to the end of December.

“My own view in supporting this extension till the end of December is that it is better to be up front and honest with our community.”

We are still in this pandemic for a long period of time, and that it is preferable to be able to lift the regulations early, than dash the hopes of our residents if we had to continually extend the bylaw.

Clearly there was a struggle in determining just what “on the horizon” means.

What is perfectly clear is that this council has extended the bylaw that governs the wearing of face masks to December 31st, 2021.

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Senior Well-being During COVID-19 - not that good

background graphic greenBy Staff

January 29th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

CDH Community Lens graphicCommunity Development Halton publishes material relevant to the well-being of the Region. The following is their most recent in a series referred to as a Community Lens.

We know that the impact of COVID-19 has affected many in Halton and, in particular, older adults. With restrictions on accessing stores and the financial constraints brought about by the pandemic, there has been an impact not only on accessing healthy, appropriate food, but also on interaction with others. This change in interaction can lead to social isolation and loneliness, especially amongst older adults and those living with lower incomes.

There is evidence that shows the negative impacts of social isolation and loneliness. According to a recent report by Angus Reid, more Canadians report being socially isolated and lonely since the pandemic began.

The Putting Food on the Table project is a partnership between Sheridan Centre for Elder Research, Food for Life, and Community Development Halton to better understand the needs of older adults who receive food supports from Food for Life. A survey went out in the summer of 2020 to approximately 1,000 older adults (aged 50 and over) in Halton who receive food supports from Food for Life asking about their nutrition, food security, food needs, health, and overall well-being. A total of 217 surveys were returned.

This Community Lens provides an overview of some of the responses to questions related to feelings of social isolation and other impacts of COVID-19.

The majority of the respondents (74%) to the survey were women, with the largest group consisting of women in their 70s. The survey also found that the women who responded have different living situations than the men. They tended to be widowed, whereas the men tended to be married or living with a common law partner. Almost three quarters of the women who responded to the survey lived alone, compared to less than a quarter of men, who lived alone.

A series of questions were asked to understand the impact of COVID-19. As shown in the chart below, respondents were more likely to leave their homes to get groceries and other supplies versus for recreation or socializing.

CDH Graph on seniors getting out

Furthermore, of the 31% of respondents who reported leaving their homes less than once a week for groceries or other supplies, it was found that 90% of them reported leaving their homes less than once a week for recreation or socializing. This means that about a quarter of these older adults are leaving their homes less than once a week for any reason. This indicates the inclination for people to stay home due to the pandemic during the summer of 2020. A follow up question on the comfort of leaving home found that almost 40% of respondents said they were uncomfortable or very uncomfortable leaving their homes during the pandemic.

Senior on telephone

The telephone is the only access to other people for many seniors during the COVID19 crisis.

Knowing the importance of socialization for well-being and mental health, a set of questions were asked about socialization. When asked if they had someone to socialize with, 15% responded “No” and for those who did have someone to socialize with, 11% said they socialize less than once a week. When asked how they socialize with others, the responses were varied, with the telephone playing an important role in their lives. Given the move of many services to online delivery, 36% of respondents indicated challenges with access to the Internet and 32% indicated a level of discomfort learning new technologies.

Finally, when asked about their well-being during the pandemic, 41% said that it has stayed the same or is better while 40% said that their well-being is worse. In addition, when asked how much of a risk COVID-19 is to them, 77% of these older adults indicated being in the “high risk” or “somewhat high risk” category.

The CDH Research team has worked hard to develop changes to the “older adult food package” from Food For Life to improve the over all experience and provide additional resources to support the older adults. A second survey is currently underway to learn about the impact of this work, what changes may have occurred with the second wave of COVID-19, and what work still needs to be done.

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Catch the Ace Lottery is Back - Brant Hospital and Rotary are the Sponsors

News 100 yellowBy Staff

January 29th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Brant lottery

Someone is going to win $1,000 guaranteed
FEBRUARY 3rd DRAW ONLY!

How does Catch the Ace Work?
Draws take place weekly, and one lucky person takes home 20% of all the ticket sales that week. And to celebrate the launch, the weekly prize for week 1 is $1,000 guaranteed!

The winner will have selected an envelope, containing one playing card from a standard 52-card deck. The envelope selected by the weekly winner is opened, and if it contains the Ace of Spades, the winner takes home the progressive jackpot. If it is any other card, 30% of ticket sales from that week are added to the progressive jackpot and tickets go on sale for the following week’s draw.

lottery ticket dealHow do I purchase tickets?
Tickets are only available online at catchtheacelottery.ca. The deadline for each draw is Wednesday at 3 p.m.

Lottery dateTicket purchasers will select one envelope per transaction, regardless of the number of tickets purchased.

 

The Catch the Ace Lottery is in support of the Rotary Club of Burlington North and
the Joseph Brant Hospital Foundation.

 

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Photo of the day: Not for the faint of heart

News 100 blueBy Staff

January 28th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It was one of those bleak winter days that often follow a snow storm.

Close to blistering cold but not cold enough to freeze Lake Ontario water and not cold enough to keep those barking mad surfers out of the water.

The photo offering today shows someone pushing through the water hoping to catch a decent wave.

Not for the faint of heart.

surfer jan 27

Photo by Helene Dube

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Guidelines to help doctors decide how likely it is that a patient may live or die in the short term issued by the province.

News 100 redBy Staff

January 26th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

Correction:  The 44 students infected at a university student residence were at McGill University – not the University of Guelph. The correction has been made.

This is a stark news report.

Dr Brian Goldman, the man behind the CBC radio program White Coat Black Art interviewed a number of medical professionals about a Memorandum that was first sent to hospitals in the province and then sent to doctors setting out the criteria as to which COVID-19 patients would get care and who would not get care.

header with goldman These documents contain guidelines to help doctors decide how likely it is that a patient may live or die in the short term. Depending on the circumstance, ICU doctors may be forced to use these guidelines, and not offer critical care to patients who are unlikely to survive. The more strained the system becomes, the more drastic the decisions ICU doctors will need to make.

Making such a drastic decision becomes necessary when there are just no more beds or ventilators to help those who are infected.

patient

Patients in critical care units in a Toronto hospital.

This short video sets out the bleak choices doctors may have to make  in deciding who gets care.

Dr David Lepofsky said, “You can’t decide who lives and dies by a government memo.”

Michael Warner

Dr. Michael Warner, medical director of critical care at Toronto’s Michael Garron Hospital

Dr. Michael Warner, medical director of critical care at Toronto’s Michael Garron Hospital said that, “On a good day, the [emergency department] can be bananas. And if we’re ever at the point where this policy becomes something that we have to use, I think the situation will be where you’re running around just trying to keep people alive.

“There are tools that we’re supposed to use: checklists to evaluate from an objective basis the likelihood the patient will survive a year from their critical illness. And if the patient is not offered critical care, it’s not like they’re left with nothing.

“They’re supposed to be offered palliative care, or some other form of care in hospitals so that when they ultimately die, they can die in a comfortable, dignified way.”

The province has extended the lock down for an additional 14 days. The number of new infections are lowering but not by nearly enough.

Forty-four students at a residence at the University of Guelph were reported infected.

Almost every resident at a long term care in Barrie is infected, with more than 25 having succumbed to the disease.

There is a crisis on the other side of the door.  Every time someone strays from the rules that are in place that door opens up just a little.  If that door is opened enough we will be facing a very very hard time; the closing of a restaurant will seem so insignificant.

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The Friday Food Drive - in ward 4 just leave your food donation on the porch; Councillor will pick it up

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

January 21st, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Politicians need people – not just as voters but as sources of information, for insights into what a community wants and needs.  They get that from meeting with people in a casual way.

Meeting people at all during a COVID lock down is impossible. There is email and members of Council can work the telephone but none of that does what a good chit-chat does.

stolte a

Ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte taking part in a virtual Standing Committee.

Ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte used to hold an open meeting at Derringers in their coffee shop area. People could just drop in to get caught up.

Stolte was fully aware of the ongoing, pressing needs of the Food Bank. The number of people they support is growing – 52 families were given food in just one day.

Stolte developed the practice of getting into her car and driving around her ward just to see how development projects were going, noticing where the potholes were, checking up on matters that were brought to her attention.

Her travels are a safe, contact-less drive around the ward to check in on the status of road construction, development projects and neighbourhood issues that have been brought to her attention.

ward 4 mapShe said, “This week I had one of those “ah-ha” moments when I realized that I’ve been missing a golden opportunity during these weekly drives around the Ward.

“The ah-ha moment morphed into the Ward 4 Friday Food Drive.

“Here is how it will work.

“Just email
Ward4@burlington.ca
by 4pm Thursdays.

“Place your donation on your front porch by 10am Friday labelled “Friday Food Drive” and during my weekly Friday drive around the ward I will drop by, collect the food from your porch in a safe and contact-free manner, and deliver it to the Food Bank every Friday afternoon.”

Neat eh!

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Mayor dominates virtual Town Hall on the budget

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

January 21st, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The number of people taking part in the Virtual Town Hall Wednesday night was better than any other virtual event the Mayor has hosted.

Dwyer

Michelle Dwyer – handled the questions coming in and kept the program going.

Despite not having access to the actual operating budget there were a number of very good questions: “awesome”, and The city communications people have come up with a format that works well. Someone from the Communications department handles the questions that come in – some live, others submitted beforehand – and determines who they should be handed off to. Michelle Dwyer was the Vanna White for the evening and she made it work quite well.

The problem to this observer was that I wasn’t sure the Mayor, who took part in literally every question that was asked, was really hearing what people were saying.

The concern over the spending was very real. Each time someone asked if a particular spend was necessary the Mayor and or the Staff member would come back with ‘we are providing the services that people tell us they need’.

A number of people – maybe 25% – were saying that perhaps some of the services weren’t needed all that much, especially given the tax increase will be 4.99% if the staff budget is adopted and 3.99% if the Mayor manages to push them enough to cut it another 1%.

Reporter Walter Byj wondered if the amount gained with a transit fare increase would offset the amount being given to the Performing Arts Centre?

Should the Performing Arts Centre and the Art Gallery be shuttered while the province is on lock down? Each get $1 million from the city to help out with operating costs.

One resident wanted to know if the city was going to close the Performing Arts Centre and the Art Gallery until things were back to normal. They were closed for a period of time explained the Mayor but they are back offering virtual programming. The city still has $2 million in the budget – $1 million each.

Additional staff are needed in the Building permit department because there has been a 10% increase in the number of building permits for decks and swimming pools.

Transit has taken a huge hit as a result of COVID – the exceptionally adroit management that Director Sue Connor provides has resulted in the department providing the service that is needed and slowly rebuilding.

Sue Connor at mike

Director of Transit Sue Connor has to deal with two big problems: limits on the number of people she can put on a bus and a traffic count that is on the low side.

COVID has Connor operating big buses with just 15 passengers – that is the COVID limit. Connor explained that she has to keep a bus on standby in Burlington and another in Hamilton. The technology she has tells her when a bus has 15 passengers – telling her that another bus is needed on the route.

Parks and Recreation is taking a big big hit on the revenue side while still trying to provide something in the way of service.  They are in a very difficult situation with not much in the way of wiggle room.

Two members of Council were on the line but did not participate.  One member of Council thought it might have been wiser to wait until the public had more access to information on just what the Operations budget was all about.  Another said she was unable to provide a response to the question asked.

Lisa Kearns pointed out that “From December 2 – January 15 questions could be submitted about the Budget to City Staff through GetInvolvedBurlington.ca   The Virtual Town Hall is the public opportunity to hear those answers and ask additional questions about the 2021 Budget.

The budget book is now available on line HERE

It is a 436 page document in a pdf format  and takes a little time to load.

The on-line Town Hall was recorded and will be posted to the city web site soon.

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Changes in city council schedule. COVID is changing much of what happens at every level.

News 100 blueBy Staff

January 19, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

City Council meetings now take place on a Tuesday and they begin at 1:00 pm

This kind of schedule is acceptable while we are living and working under COVID conditions.

Council chamber - new look

Virtual meetings mean we don’t see the Council members in their seats.

Mayor Meed Ward talks in terms of these conditions being in place for some time – possibly to the end of the year.  No one knows of course.  We all just wait and see: will the vaccine prove to be the solution?

Delegations have been slim to none

All City meetings continue to be held virtually.

Amanda Fusco, Manager of Records and Information, argues that “Shifting Council meetings from Monday to Tuesday ensures better customer service. It not only improves the delegate experience and aligns delegate deadlines with standing committees, but also provides Council members time to receive information and prepare amendments.”

You want to take that statement with a large dose of salt.

All the heavy lifting gets done at Standing Committee which are held in the evenings when there are statutory meetings.  The wind has been taken out of the delegation sails; those who were frequent delegators in the past are not rising to the challenges the way they have in the past.

Related news story:

Muir on why delegations are not taking place.

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Councillor said the public trusts us - Muir points to her false logic

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

January 19th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

When the Corporate Services, Strategy, Risk and Accountability Committee was ready to adjourn last week after recommending that the Capital budget be approved, Ward 6 Councillor Angelo Bentivegna, who voted against the $80million Capital budget, said he was disappointed but that “he would get over it”.

Kearns direct smile

Lisa Kearns – before she was a member of city council.

Lisa Kearns, Councillor for Ward 2 said: This was a big exercise, a challenge for all of us noting that there wasn’t a single delegation adding that it was evident the public trusted council.

Tom Muir, a frequent Gazette commenter didn’t see it quite that way and said:  “I think that Lisa does not have the full sense of what she claimed about everyone being budget happy just because no one showed up.

“False logic indeed.

Muir making a point

Tom Muir brings decades of experience in municipal matters to his thinking.

“Has she completely forgotten that COVID has changed everything, including public engagement and delegations. There’s no real life left in these things.

“You don’t get to meet with all the people, see the body language all around, group conversations before and after, feel the sense of the room and so on. Now that’s fact as we all know, but it goes to the heart of Lisa’s thoughtless (in my view) remark.

“In my experience, I have no actionable desire to delegate to these virtual meetings, and especially, at this time, about the budget. This budget document is very large and takes a very long time to read, and even longer if you want to criticize. People more or less can’t really do this, and with COVID have indicated so.

“I have done so in the past and from the reaction I got it was a waste of time.

“I still see the percent increase expressed in terms of the overall Regional and Education budget amounts. This increase and the way it is expressed is a perennial complaint from people – the answer is always: we are looking into it. Doubling the tax take for Burlington is not a concern of City.

Muir with pen in hand

Tom Muir: Knows false logic when he sees it.

“Also, I still see $43 million budgeted for transit for buses (16 new and 52 replacements) that for many routes nobody rides. Good to go to Hamilton and back but that’s about all. What I have been told is that they are working on it and walking, busing and biking – the integrated mobility plan – is the future.

“Has anyone up there given any thought to COVID changing all of the basis of all of the planning that is based on getting back to “normal”? I see no signs of this anywhere, including, especially, the province, who wants to double down on the past, no change.

“But of course, COVID is busting budgets all over, and we have to pay. These holes are getting deeper and deeper and will have to be paid back and this will take a long time. Like it or not, COVID, being global, will be endemic and mutating, and is not going away.

“The economy and society we had is basically not compatible and sustainable without drastic changes, but I only see these changes being forced by the virus, and not in the plans and policies that I see that only try to support what exists.

“Reopening the economy, or trying to, will be another dangerous time in the not too distant future. I have said before that we cannot have an economy that works until we eliminate this virus.

“The only real cold comfort I get from the budget future is that I trust Joan Ford. Chief Financial Officer to figure it out.”

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Police Services Board puts in a 12 hour meeting; recesses and retursn today to debate fate of Police Chief

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

January 16th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Police Services Board met for 12 hours on Friday, adjourned to resume today (Saturday) at 11:00 am.

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Halton Regional Police Services Chief Steve Tanner

The Police Services Board was to meet on Friday – scheduled to begin at 9:30 am, to virtually discuss what they wanted to do about the time the Chief of Police spent time out of the country while the province was under a lock down.

He did so with the permission of the Chair of the Police Services Board.

The in camera meeting recessed yesterday (Friday) just after 10pm and was to resume today (Saturday) at 11 am.

That is a lot of talking time.

And rightly so – there are very serious issues on the table.

The Board had legal counsel taking part in the meeting along with members who have deep policing experience.

There is fault all over the place on this one.

Should the Police Chief have known that it might have been inappropriate to ask for permission with a lock down scheduled to start the day he left the country ?

Burton Rob - glancingf left

Oakville Mayor and Chair of the Police Services Board Rob Burton

Should the Chair have sounded out his fellow Board members on the advisability of the Chief being out of the country? Most certainly.

Should the Chairman have given the Chief permission to leave the country?  The answer to that one is an obvious – No.

Oakville Mayor Rob Burton who was the chair at the time should have explained to Chief Tanner that he could not give permission to leave the jurisdiction.

Burton’s Chairmanship of the Board should come to an end; leaving the Board would be advisable.

Those on the Board who feel the Chief should be dismissed face some tough issues.

The Chief did ask.

Rick Bonnette -Halton Hills

Halton Hills Mayor Rick Bnonette

Halton Hills Mayor Rick Bonnette said in a statement published on the Town web site that “ The refrain, “we are all in this together’ is only as meaningful as exemplified through the actions of those who deservedly are held to a higher standard — particularly those in public office and highly ranked officials serving the community.”

Mayor Bonnette, looking to provide residents with a full and transparent account about having any prior knowledge of Halton Regional Police Chief Tanner’s recent travel plans, issued the following statement:

“We have all had to make sacrifices during COVID-19; not seeing loved ones, not socializing the way we wish and staying home as much as possible. I want residents to know, that no members of Halton Hills Town Council have traveled outside of Canada during this unprecedented time.

Further, let me say that recent events involving the Halton Police Chief’s travel are disappointing. Please know that none of us – including Regional Councillors Clark Somerville and Jane Fogal and me, had any knowledge of the Chief’s travel plans. I did learn that he had received approval from the Chair of the Halton Police Board.”

Clark Somerville is a member of the Police Services Board.

The police officers are reported to be very upset that the Chief left the jurisdiction.

What stoked the anger was that while the Chief was away a Detective Constable suffered a cardiac arrest while on an assignment. Detective Constable Mike Tidball, a 14 year member of the Halton Regional Police service died while on duty.

Tidball funeral

Detective Constable Mike Tidball, a 14 year member of the Halton Regional Police service laid to rest last Thursday.

His funeral took place on Thursday in Milton where his wife said: “The most unimaginable has happened and I stand here in utter disbelief that my husband isn’t here with me, Kenzley and Colton,” said Tidball’s wife Kim as she choked back tears at the service.

Tidball was 39.

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A tough period ahead with little to do but tough it out - this is serious business - we need to keep our wits about us.

News 100 blueBy Staff

January 15th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

In a media release sent out by City Hall we learn the following:

Earlier this week, the Province announced a State of Emergency, with additional restrictions to help control the spread of COVID-19. The State of Emergency began Thursday, Jan. 14 at 12:01 a.m., including a Stay-at-Home Order in place for all regions of Ontario, including Halton Region, for at least 28 days.

Impacts to City services and programs

City Hall
closed sign city hallCity Hall, located at 426 Brant St., remains open for in-person service by appointment only for commissioning services and marriage licences. Walk-ins are not permitted.

Please visit burlington.ca/commissioning, burlington.ca/marriage or call 905-335-7777 to book your appointment. Residents can also visit burlington.ca/onlineservices to access a variety of City services online.

Service Burlington is available to answer questions by phone during regular business hours, at 905-335-7777 and city@burlington.ca.

Building staff are processing building permit applications. Anyone wanting to apply for a building permit or follow up on an existing building permit application can email building@burlington.ca. Staff are responding to requests and are assisting applicants with the building permit process. For more information, visit burlington.ca/building.

Burlington Transit
Burlington Transit will continue to run as scheduled including specialized transit. The transit terminal at 430 John St. will remain open to provide PRESTO services including SPLIT passes. Presto services are available at Shoppers Drug Mart or online at prestocard.ca. Transit schedules are available online at burlingtontransit.ca to download and print, via Google Maps, Apple Maps and using myride.burlingtontransit.ca.

Halton Court Services – Provincial Offences Office
Halton POA administration counter services are currently closed. Telephone payments are available at 905-637-1274, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday. Many online services are also available by email at burlingtoncourt@burlington.ca or by visiting www.haltoncourtservices@burlington.ca

Recreation, Community & Culture Services and Facilities
Leaving your home for outdoor exercise is allowed under the current provincial regulations, as long as 2 metres of physical distancing is maintained at all times from anyone outside of your household. Exercise is an essential need for everyone. It is important to stay active for both physical and mental health.

Outdoor recreational parks and open spaces that are allowed to stay open include City-sanctioned toboggan hills, neighbourhood rinks, multiuse courts, playgrounds, trails, Burlington Rotary Centennial Pond and parks. Equipment lending (curbside pick-up) can continue.

Please cooperate with others using the outdoor space and follow all public health measures and posted signage.

Outdoor Skating
Skating rink Discovery LandingThe Rotary Centennial Pond at 1340 Lakeshore Rd. is open for skating daily from 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Residents wishing to use the rink must pre-register and complete the online screening at burlington.ca/screening. Capacity on this rink is 35 people and meets the provincial regulations.

A new artificial outdoor rink at Hidden Valley Park, 1137 Hidden Valley Rd. is open for skating daily from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. All users must pre-register and complete the online screening at burlington.ca/screening. Capacity on this rink is 10 people and meets the provincial regulations.

For both skating rinks, as per new provincial regulations, additional measures are in place for outdoor activities that require the use of masks. Visitors must wear masks while standing in line and it is highly recommended during skating. For more information, follow @Burl_ParksRec and visit burlington.ca/pond for updates.

Outdoor Winter Play Challenge
Residents can also take the Outdoor Winter Play Challenge and see how many free activities they can complete by Feb. 19, 2021. Learn more at burlington.ca/playoutside.

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. Follow @BurlingtonParksRec on Facebook and @Burl_parksandrec on Twitter for the latest updates and videos.

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

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Public wants more information on when and where they will be vaccinated when the vaccine is available.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

January 15th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

We are being asked to stay at home.

We are being asked to go out only when we must and we are being asked to not meet with people who are not part of our immediate circle.

Supermarkets, Big Box stores and other places people go to for the supplies they need are being told to limit the number of people in their premises.

There are all kinds of rules in place, many that are confusing. Bureaucracy run amok.

For the most part the public is complying and waiting.

Waiting for the information they need that will allow them to feel a little more settled and less anxious.

When am I going to get vaccinated and who is going to tell me when that will happen and where will I go to get that vaccination?

Will I get a letter? Will they tweet me?

Will the vaccinations be done by age group?

Will they bring people in for vaccination by alphabetical order within each age group that is decided upon?

Or will they have everyone in a family come in at the same time?

Has all this not been thought out?

In Burlington, no one, as of Tuesday, was all that certain as to which facilities would be used for the vaccinations.

A Task Force created to work through these issues advised that it thought school locations would be best but had not invited anyone from the School Boards to sit on the Task Force.

The Task Force is being led by the Fire Chief and the City Manager’s top aide on matters related to the managing of the issues related to Covid-19.

Both good people – now they need to create a consistent flow of information to settle an anxious public.

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Data on those testing positive for the Covid19 virus - not a pretty picture

News 100 blueBy Staff

January 15th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Understanding what is going on around us sometimes means looking at the data that has been collected.

table logoSet out is a chart that shows the positivity rate of the testing that was done.  Shown as a percentage of the tests done and broken out by week and then by age group we can see which age groups had the highest positivity.

The data was released by the Science Table, one of the Covid Advisory groups set up by the provincial government to provide data on which decisions could be made.

There are some surprises in the data.

Younger people are testing positive but not getting all that sick whereas older people have lower positivity rates but they are dying.

weekly positive data

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Regional Health Unit releases some information on the vaccinating of the public

News 100 redBy Staff

January 15th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

At a time when information is critical there seems to be a paucity of it.

The Halton Region Public Health Unit released the following information:
“Halton Region is currently focused on transporting and administering the vaccine to residents and staff in long-term care and retirement homes.

“We are working closely with Directors of Care to provide regular communications with all long-term care and retirement homes, including administrators, staff, residents and caregivers about when the vaccine will be available in each home.

“Right now our primary method of communications is through our dedicated COVID-19 Vaccines webpage, which provides residents with information about:

Health Canada authorized vaccines Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech;

“The status of Halton’s vaccination program in Halton (including where we are at and information on planning for future phases as part of the Province’s vaccine implementation plan);

“We are also communicating through Halton Region social media (Twitter, Facebook), HaltonParents social media (Twitter) and our 311/Access Halton service continues to provide answers and information to residents.

“We also continue to be in regular communications with our partners to keep each other updated and ensure we are delivering a coordinated and consistent message to the community.

“We are also actively working with our partners on a communication strategy to effectively communicate to all residents about the vaccine program, with specific focus on priority groups as they are eligible. This will include social and digital media outreach and more targeted communications to ensure all audiences and groups are aware of when, where and how to get their vaccination.

“We know that many residents are very eager to get their vaccine and this is such welcome news. We continue to ask for patience as we vaccinate priority populations and we will communicate to residents when it is their turn, ensuring that the information is easy to understand and accessible. “

The Gazette is tracking the work being done by the city and the manner in which it will set up facilities once the vaccines are available for innoculations.

The effort at this point is working out which facilities will be used and ensuring that all the support needed is available.

This is not a simple task; it is complex and has to be done right the first time.

Stay tuned.

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