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Local trucking company gets Carrier of the Year award from two major brands: Coca Cola and P&G recognize Fluke Transport

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

October 17th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

What does a local trucking company with a name that catches your eye do as it celebrates its 100th year of operation?
Announce an award.

Usually Ron Foxcroft is the person who spreads the good news for Fluke Transport – but this time it was his son Steve who told us about the Carrier of the Year award that Coca Cola handed out to Fluke.

Fluke - Coca Cola award

It matters when your clients recognize the work you do for them. Fluke Transport got two of these for 2019

It’s not that big a deal but it is significant. Fluke hauls a lot of product for the Coca Cola Bottling Company and they like to let the carrier community know who they think is worthy of mention.

Coca Cola is a big deal.

Steve, who is a vice president at Fluke, added to the news when he told the Gazette that Proctor and Gamble also named Fluke as the Carrier of the year for their product line.

“We hauled a lot of toilet paper, paper towels and hand sanitizer for P&G” said the younger Foxcroft who added that Fluke is busy – their 105 truck, 450 trailer fleet is fully committed.

“There was a point at which we were hauling 25 loads of paper products every day for the company.”

Fluke also got a Platinum level award from their insurance company for their high level of safety management.

Everything a truck driver does now is logged electronically – Fluke has a sterling record for looking out for their drivers and keeping their fleet in top condition.

Asked for his views on business and how things looked going forward Steve said that they have all but eliminated any forward planning. “These are now day to day situations” we work at that level with the safety of our drivers and office staff being the number one issue.

The Foxcroft’s have owned and operated Fluke Transport for the last forty years –“ it’s a 100 year old company that has had just two owners” said Steve Foxcroft.

“We meet once a month to go over the numbers – Dad is in the room asking a lot of questions. We are fortunate to have a number of great customers in the food and household supplies business so we are doing OK, there are some others that aren’t doing as well.”

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Food bank misses the annual Gift of Giving Back food delivery

News 100 blueBy Staff

October 15th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The relationship between the Food Bank and the Gift of Giving Back people grew much stronger this year.

Cole, Thomas and Colby from the Burlington Eagles 07 team stopped by the Food Bank to drop off what they could gather from their family & friends during the holiday weekend. Last year at this time they were part of the huge annual Gift of Giving Back food drive where they actually filled three gyms with food.

Each year a number of teams make arrangements to stop by the Food Bank to take a quick tour and experience a little about what happens behind the scenes, as well as learn about a number of the struggles that some of their neighbours may be facing and needing the support of our services. We appreciate their visits and will miss them this year due to covid restrictions, nevertheless we appreciate any donations they are able to collect for families here in Burlington.

Weigh scales

When Covid19 was not ravaging the community Burlngton youth were collecting food as part of the annual Gift of Giving Back. Here volunteers are calculating what has been collected and sorting it into different bins for delivery.

The Burlington Eagles 07 team challenges other teams to do their best as well.

Scot Connor, a Food Bank volunteer, admits that he keeps blowing the horn of Gift of Giving Back – but adds that “these people are the absolute best of the best of all of our wonderful volunteers and charities. The people are great but its what they do to help teach our Burlington kids that makes them so special. it’s a real shame we don’t get to see a high school gym FULL of food again this year – and all the teams running around helping each other.

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Performing Arts Centre turns the stage lights on - very small audiences until province eases up on how many people can be in a theatre

News 100 yellowBy Staff

October 13th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

When the lock down was put in place Tammy Fox knew she had a problem – she just didn’t know how big a problem it was going to be.

Today – she knows.

Tammy Fay smile

Tammy Fox, Executive Director Burlington Performing Arts Centre

Tammy is the Executive Director of the Performing Arts Centre.

The two theatres in the building – one, the Main Theatre, holds 720 people; the other, the Community Studio Theatre, holds 165 people – have been empty for months.

The building needed some attention during the lock-down – while minimal, the costs were nevertheless real.

A very interesting production has been announced that will give young people who have a deep interest in theatre a chance to get some solid experience and mentoring.

Rebuilding the audience is going to take time. The immediate future is iffy at best. The province has limited the number of people who can attend events. “I can’t put much more than 50 people in the Main theatre – close to impossible to pull in the revenue needed to support the operations” said Fox.

“COVID social distancing cuts into what we can earn from the bar.”

On the upside, the Performing Arts Centre has a solid core of patrons who have stayed with us.

Our volunteers have been great – we had them in for a run-through on what it means to manage and direct people when they are entering the theatre and explaining the seating arrangements. We held three separate sessions – 90% of the volunteers have returned to usher people.

During the balance of October there will be:

Gord Downie

A fund raising concert that sold out – broadcast as a live stream of the performance featuring Tom Wilson

LEGACY – A Tribute to Gord Downie featuring Tom Wilson is sold out.

The Livestream of the fundraising concert and special evening to celebrate the man, the music and his enduring legacy take place on October 15th and 16th.

BENEATH SPRINGHILL: The Maurice Ruddick Story takes place on October 17th and 18th – at 1:00 pm on both days.
This is the dramatic true tale of seven miners trapped beneath a small mining town and the racial tension that surfaced as a result.

Elise LeGrow

Elise LeGrow; an impressive chanteuse

Elise LeGrow will perform on Sun Oct 25, 2020 at 4pm and at 7pm in the Community Studio.
Her voice and storytelling abilities are second to none. She has performed at the Performing Art Centre before to solid audiences.

Then there is the ALTdot Comedy Lounge on Friday Oct 30, 2020 at 7pm and again at 9pm

Featuring Sean Cullen, Jackie Pirico with host Ali Hassan! For 24 years, The ALTdot Comedy Lounge has been one of Toronto’s premiere comedy shows.

Nancy Brewer BPAC chair

Nancy Brewer, Chair Burlington Performing Arts Centre

The Performing Arts Centre has a new Chair, Nancy Brewer, a Chartered Professional Accountant in Burlington. Nancy is actively involved in community service having served as Chair of Joseph Brant Hospital and the Halton Learning Foundation.
Fox has put the finishing touches on the budget for next year – it is going to be painful.

Much depends on how long the current audience limitations are in place – assuming that we don’t slide back into a second lock down – and the arrival of a vaccine that proves to halt the spread of the virus.

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Beer Store closes Elizabeth Street Location: employee tested positive for COVID

News 100 redBy Staff

October 12th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

beer storeThe Beer Store announced today that its 396 Elizabeth Street location has closed while they complete a deep clean.

The Beer Store learned that an employee at the store tested positive for COVID-19. The Beer Store is working in consultation with Halton Public Health and has closed the location.

It will re-open on Tuesday, October 13.

All potentially affected employees will self-isolate and symptom monitor as a precautionary measure.

The Beer Store has implemented mandatory employee face coverings in all their stores, in addition to robust cleaning and public distancing protocols already in place.

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Thanksgiving Day - what's open - what isn't open.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

October 10th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

What’s open; what’s not open – Thanksgiving Holiday.
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 holiday schedule on Oct. 12. The downtown Transit Terminal, Specialized Dispatch and the administration office will also be closed on this day.

Schedules and specialized booking are available at burlingtontransit.ca. For real-time schedule information visit Google/Apple Maps or triplinx.ca.

City Hall Closed on Monday, Oct. 12.
The Service Burlington counter will re-open Oct. 13 and is available for the following in-person payments from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday to Friday:

– Parking permits and tickets
– Property taxes
– Freedom of Information requests
– Garbage tags
– Dog licenses
– Property information requests
– Recreation services

Service Burlington continues to offer marriage licenses and commissioning services by appointment. Please call Service Burlington at 905-335-7777 to schedule.

Cash payments are currently not accepted. Many service payments are also available online at burlington.ca/onlineservices.

Anyone entering City Hall must wear a mask or face covering unless exempted from by the Mandatory Mask Bylaw.

Residents are asked to bring and wear their own masks.

Building and Planning
Service counters for building and planning are currently closed and staff continue to process applications electronically.

For more information about building permits and business licences, visit burlington.ca/building.

For information about development applications, visit burlington.ca/developmentinfo

Halton Court Services – Provincial Offences Office Closed on Monday, Oct. 12.

Administration Counter Services, at 4085 Palladium Way, will re-open on Oct. 13 and are available from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday to Friday.

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, please visit Halton Court or email burlingtoncourt@burlington.ca

Free parking is available downtown, on the street, in municipal lots and in the parking garage on weekends and holidays.

NOTE: The Waterfront parking lots (east and west) do not provide free parking on statutory holidays.
Parking exemptions are currently not required for overnight parking on City streets between 1 and 6 a.m., due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. burlington.ca/parking

Recreation Programs and Facilities Arenas will be closed on Oct. 12 and re-open on Oct. 13.

Angela Coughlan Pool will be open on Oct. 12. Pre-registration is required. For scheduled programming, visit burlington.ca/fall

Roads, Parks and Forestry Administrative office closed on Monday, Oct. 12.

Essential and reduced parks maintenance services will be provided.
rlingotn.ca

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Fire fighters and anonymous young men collect for the Food Bank

News 100 yellowBy Staff

October 10th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

The Burlington Dads drove to the Food Bank earlier this week  at the end of their Food Drive in Kilbride with 167 pounds of donated food.

Food bank fire truck

Heritage Firetruck used as a back drop for food collected in the Kilbride community by the volunteer fire fighters.

The Dads partnered up with the Kilbride Volunteer Firefighters Association to do a non-perishable food collection and stopped by numerous friendly local businesses that offered their offices as drop-off points along the way. One of the Dads (Jordan Bradburn) organized the event and drove an old 1937 Ford fire truck to lead the way, proudly flying the DADs flag.

Each year at this time the Burlington Dads host their annual Ride to Provide spin marathon as their own fundraiser. In lieu of the pandemic it was cancelled, however last year’s host’s – Cedar Springs Health Racquet & Sports Club squash members helped out by collecting 40 donated turkeys from their members for us to distribute to families this weekend!

Food bank - three young men

Three unnamed young men dropped off a bin of food they had collected.

Being Squash Members, a few of them included squash as well.

One last thing –the photo is of three young men who just showed up last night and dropped off a full bin of food as a donation – anonymously! Two hockey players and a soccer player (that’s all we know). Amazing!

Are there some proud parents who want to identify these young men?

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Burlington MP takes a strong stand on women's health rights in the House of Commons.

News 100 redBy Staff

October 9th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

There was nothing queasy or slippery about a comment made in the House of Commons by Oakville Burlington North MP Pam Damoff.

Speaking in the House of Commons earlier this week Damoff said:

“Madam Speaker, this pandemic has disproportionately been felt by women and girls, intensifying societal issues of inequality, including access to critical sexual and reproductive health services.

Damoff ofice opening

Oakville North Burlington MP Pam Damoff

“I am disheartened by the closure of Clinic 554 in Fredericton, New Brunswick, limiting access for sexual and reproductive health services, including abortion. Even in Halton, women have limited access to abortion.
It is essential for governments to stand up for human rights and not exacerbate issues facing those most in need of care.

“The Leader of the Opposition has refused to condemn statements made by one of his members comparing abortion to slavery. Abortion is essential health care and the decision should be made by a women and her doctor, not by men legislating control of women’s bodies.

“We must always be firm in our support for women to have access to full reproductive and sexual health services. Access to these critical services is an issue of women’s rights.”

Crystal clear as to where Damoff stands on this issue.

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How many of the senior staff at city hall have been impacted by Covid 19?

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

October 9th, 2020

BURLINGTON. ON

 

Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns reports in her newsletter that her office is continuing to work at full capacity. Nice to know that.

What we don’t know is the degree to which city employees are able to work at full capacity.

Jones Audit-Jones-said-no-1

Executive Director Sheila Jones

In a report to Council yesterday Executive Director Sheila Jones took Council through a report on the status of Burlington’s financial position, where things are in terms of service deliver and an update on what is being done for the commercial sector.

These monthly reports are part of what Jones does very well. Her approach is very crisp, efficient and to the point. She calls on several people to participate, opens it up to questions and ensures that Council is well informed.

There is usually a comment from city manager Tim Commisso and often an occasion when they slip into a closed session for matters that relate to property issues or situations where an individual is named – which is a no no in the municipal world.

Commisso stare

City manager Tim Commisso

Yesterday, Commisso was getting ready to comment on staffing, he paused and said something to the effect that when talking about staffing individuals might get named and so he wanted to keep that level of detail private – as well he should.

There appear to be some people who are city employees who have been infected with covid 19. How many – we don’t know. We do know that most of the staff are working from home.

What is disturbing is the public doesn’t know how many people have been infected; how seriously the infections are and how diminished  staffing levels have become.

We certainly understand the need for personal privacy. However, the city manager could have created categories of staff. Top level senior people, Directors, Managers and the balance of the close to 1000 people who work for the city.

He could have then said that there are xx people at the senior level and that yy of them have had to quarantine themselves.

There are some departments where the leadership is critical: transit and finance, the city managers office and probably information technology are vital to the operation of the city – especially given the seriousness of the covid threat.

There is a practice of using provisions of the Municipal Act to slip into a closed session to discuss issues that are becoming habits. Not a healthy habit.

Be transparent and be accountable – please.

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Delegating at City Hall is not what it used to.

background graphic redBy Staff

October 8th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

In the days before Covid, a delegation would be sitting in the Council Chamber, often amongst their peers.

You would be called up when it was your turn and you would address the members of council. On many occasions there would be questions from the members of Council which at times got quite frothy.

Scobie 3

Gary Scobie delegating. The public doesn’t get this kind of performance anymore – and we are the poorer for it.

I recall an occasion when Gary Scobie was delegating – and when it came to questions he was able to give as good as he got. That was during the days of the 2014-2018 council

A regular Gazette reader wanted to delegate on an issue that concerned him.

The Agenda for the meeting (and accompanying application form to delegate) was not online until Thursday afternoon. Our reader was busy until 7pm.

He filled out application form at 7am on Friday (to meet the deadline of noon the next day – weekends don’t count – for Monday’s Council meeting)

Friday morning – he was busy on a community matter.

Friday 4pm – open emails to find a note from Clerk’s department which read:

“I have received your request to delegate at City Council on September 28, 2020. Due to COVID-19, all requests to delegate must contain a copy of the delegate’s intended remarks which will be circulated to all Members of Council/Standing Committee in advance of the meeting as a back-up to any technology issues that may occur.

“Once I receive your delegation comments I will confirm your delegation.”

This was new to our reader.

Capture1

The first of four images sent by the city to the delegator.

He is a quick writer but commented that there was no way he could prepare anything reasonable in 30 minutes. So I wrote something, anything, over the weekend and sent it in.

As a back-up he emailed his Councillor ask him to intervene just in case there was a hiccup – there wasn’t.

Sunday 7:20PM Clerks office emails, got your remarks, you’re good to go.

Monday 1pm – into the Delegates Room. Was asked in the instructions sent to me to “open my video (thought about it but decided not to).

Capture2

The second of four images sent to the delegator

When it came to my turn to delegate and I was facing a screen with 15 little people staring back at me (council and staff). Just as well I didn’t open my video, I spent the whole time looking down to read.

Seeing the Councillors is also a new feature. Last time (one month ago) my screen displayed what you see at home “Delegate Speaking”. So when I did look up, it was a bit unnerving, and everyone’s face was too small to read reactions.

The “rooms” we are placed in are all virtual.

There was a virtual Room shared by the people getting ready to delegate and then a separate virtual room for people who were about to actually delegate.

Capture3

The third image sent to the delegator

Everything I did was from the comfort of my home in Aldershot.

I was first in what was referred to as the delegate room where I could look at a screen and see who the other people waiting to delegate were.

When it was my turn I was moved (again virtually) to were it was me and the members of Council along with whichever Staff members were taking part.

All I could see where the 20 or so people taking part – all set out before me on a computer screen.

When a particular person was speaking a yellow box was placed around their picture so I didn’t have to look all over the place for the speaker.

Capture4

The fourth image sent to the delegator.

Was it a satisfying experience? It certainly wasn’t the kind of experience that one had when they stood at the podium before council.

The request to send in the paper I was going to read from was offensive – the Council members were not going to reads my document; many of them have problems getting through the staff reports.

Is this the best the city can do in terms of giving the citizens a way to say their piece?

Could the technology not allow for something better.

To the person at home watching the event – there is something unreal; almost plastic. The public never gets to see the person delegating – which is possible with the technology being used. The city has chosen not to do that.

It is also possible to see the embers of Council when they are speaking. The image is not always that good – but at least it is an image.

Regional Council shows everyone taking part in a meeting.

It seems to be the best that can be done at this point.

The tradition of citizens delegating will be lost if the current Zoom process is all that is going to be available.

People don’t like the current process and are not comfortable with it.

We consistently get comments from readers saying they do not feel respected by members of Council. This was certainly the case with the 2014-18 council. Does it apply to the current council? Too early to make that call – but we are seeing dis-satisfaction galore with the on-line learning students who went the virtual route are getting and have every reason to believe that the same concern exists with the Council delegations.

We will look for some time to see what other municipal council’s are doing and report back.

A member of this council is going to have to take a stand and insist that something better be put in place.

Right now this council is fixated on telling each other how well everything is going.

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Is the problem with the people who are not getting it?

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

October 8th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Why is it that we read the numbers, we know how to prevent the disease from spreading but the numbers keep climbing ?

What is it we are not getting or is the problem with the people who are not getting it.

Here is a breakdown of the total cases in Ontario by gender and age:

 

27,096 people are male — an increase of 406 cases.
29,249 people are female — an increase of 393 cases.
5,033 people are 19 and under — an increase of 126 cases.
20,126 people are 20 to 39 — an increase of 331 cases.
16,069 people are 40 to 59 — an increase of 225 cases.
8,973 people are 60 to 79 — an increase of 90 cases.
6,529 people are 80 and over — an increase of 22 cases.

Here is the solution one male came up with on the issue of wearing a mask.

Shorts as a mask

Funny, I suppose – but the issue is not a joke. We are in the process of losing this battle.

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Old Timers Hockey Club has suspended all games until further notice

sportsred 100x100By Pepper Parr

October 7th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The increase in COVID infections in the community has led the Old Timers Hockey Club to suspend games until further notice.

In a statement released early this morning the Club said: “ there has been an increase in coronavirus cases in our community. As a result of this, we too have experienced a number of positive tests over the last couple of days with some of our members. These positive tests have affected other members and has the potential of continuing to spread.

Old timers hockey logo“With this in mind, we discussed this issue, its impact on our members, the community and the Club and went through a variety of options of what we should do. Out of an abundance of caution, we have therefore decided to suspend the season at this time.

“We did not make this decision lightly and did so with the interest of all of our members’ health and safety in mind. The board of directors will be meeting to discuss this decision further and provide you with details regarding refunds; we ask for your patience in the meantime.

If you are concerned in any way about your personal health, please contact your health practitioner. To access Halton Regional Health advice click here

We will continue to monitor the current situation, learn from this experience and consider the club’s further options.

As of immediately however,
• ALL games have been cancelled.
• As mentioned, we will address refund details at a later date.
• Hectors is closed until further notice.
• The ice that we had contracts for is NOT available to players to use tonight and will not be ours going forward.

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Taste of Burlington begins on a wonderful fall day - dine in or take out offered

eventspink 100x100By Michele Bogle

October 5, 2020

BURLINGTON, ONTARIO

 

The Taste of Burlington 2020 launches today with 35 of your favourite participating restaurants offering their best under circumstances that are far from normal.

An event that started in 2008  with just 12 restaurants taking part has steadily grown.

The event starts Monday October 5th and runs through to the 25th.

This fall, each participating restaurant is again offering mouth-watering pre-fixe menus with appeal for anyone’s palate.

Taste of Burlington has made ordering easier, with extra perks.

Sign up for the ‘free’ Taste of Burlington Passport to view menus on-line. The more times you dine out, using the app, the more chance you have of winning the weekly gift card give-away, or the grand prize of $500 to a restaurant of choice.

Some participating restaurants have special offers for returning. Tallying of the contest used to be by ballot-box, but can now be done digitally.

Kelly Harris, Marketing Specialist with Tourism Burlington and Co-ordinator of Taste of Burlington writes, “Quite excited about this as especially with the pandemic, the ballots don’t have to touch so many hands.”

But wait!, there’s more. If you choose to dine in at any of the participating restaurants, the app allows you to order from the pre-fixe menu without touching anything but your own device.

Dining out at a new or favourite restaurant, has been made easier, safer and more economical with the Taste of Burlington Passport App.

As a cost-saving measure to the restaurateurs, if dining out, there is only pickup available. No delivery. The app also allows you to choose the patio, takeout, or dine in. As well it can be used to make reservations, required for this dining event.

Within this link to the list of participating restaurants, you’ll find the quick and easy application for the passport, if you don’t already have it.

Check each restaurant’s website for dates and times available. Not all locations have their own parking, so leave enough time to find city parking, if dining in.

When dining in, as a patron you can expect the Public Health Guidelines as set out by Halton Region to be rigorously observed.

As an on-going series, I’ll be reviewing some of the participating restaurants to assess, not only the value and quality of the pre-fixe menus offered, but of the safety measures exercised by those restaurateurs.

Michele BogleMichele Bogle is a Burlington resident who writes for the Gazette on community issues. Ms Bogle has taken part in the Food Network for the second year in a row to audition for the ‘Great Chocolate Showdown’ 2020 and 2021. She made it to the second stage of auditions for ‘Wall of Chefs’ 2019 and finished top 1% of auditions last year for ‘The Great Canadian Baking Show’.

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Premier Doug Ford: A Man Without a Plan

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

October 3rd, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Haven’t we seen this movie before? The eagerness to open up the economy before the virus was properly contained has returned us to where we were back half a year ago. In fact worse. We have already exceeded the record of infections we saw last spring. Does that mean the long months of lock down were all in vain?

Who is running this ship anyway ? Dare I say… this was, of course, entirely predictable. And now we’re expected to top 1000 cases in a of couple weeks. But we really have no idea, since the virus is exponential and there are lags between exposure and symptoms… and well… who knows?

body bag +

Infections have reached 1000 a day in Quebec. Deaths have also increased.

Quebec has already beat us to the 1000 cases a day, by the way. Yet it was barely three months ago that Premier Legault was so convinced he’d beat the virus to the ground that he opened up provincial restaurants and bars and invited customers in – Bon Appétit. And now he has had to shut them all down.

Earlier this week on the very day that Ontario hit its highest level of infections ever, 700 cases, casinos in the province were allowed to reopen. And still the Premier thinks he is smarter than the virus – that he can outmaneuver it, surgically control it, micro-mange and fine tune how we live our lives to constrain it – rather than doing what his neighbouring province has had to do.

We are all waiting for a vaccine to save us – something we expect to have by early next year. So one has to ask – why not sit tight and wait? Oh sure we need money to live by – but the feds have the printing presses primed – and most of us are doing better than ever if we consider the amazing growth we’ve seen in personal savings.

COVID is the viral disease making all this fuss, but this is also an economic and social crisis of historical importance.

Provincial gross domestic product (GDP) suffered its greatest loss ever. This is entirely attributable to measures we’ve taken to flatten the curve (of infections). And were it not for the federal government doling out cash we’d be in big trouble. Ontario lost over a million jobs during the June to August period.

restaurant indoor

Restaurants are taking the biggest hit – and there doesn’t appear to b a solution for them in the near term.

While just about every sector had been affected by the epidemic, entertainment, travel and hospitality were the hardest hit. These are the business activities where viral spread is hardest to control. Hospitality and tourism make up about 4% of provincial GDP generating over $22 billion in sales in a normal year. Together with restaurants there are over 11,000 establishments across the province.

Ford - dumb thoughtful

If the virus gets even worse, the Premier knows he’ll have no choice but to lock them down again.

And that is the dilemma facing the Premier. If the virus gets even worse, he knows he’ll have no choice but to lock them down again – when hospitals get overloaded and more seniors start dying he won’t be able to pretend that his surgical blade can do the impossible. He’s already getting flack from health experts demanding more lockdown and that he fire his chief medical officer.

It’s not easy being a man without a plan. And it’s clear the Premier is making it up as he goes along. Every new daily briefing brings some new direction, which may conflict with the one from the previous day. And while he can predict we’ll have a thousand new cases a day by mid-October, he can’t tell you what we’ll be doing about it.

And the mixed messaging is not only causing confusion but also social unrest. There have already been some protests over masking. And we see normal law abiding folks, who mostly observed the earlier restrictions on public and private gatherings choosing to ignore them now. Indeed when Ford himself ignores his own rules as he has done on occasion – why not? He is supposed to set an example, after all.

public interest - enough

The public reaches a point where they don’t want to co-operate.

Civil rights organizations have also taken up the question of the constitutionality of lockdowns, restrictions and bubbles – though the courts so far have weighed on the side of public interest over individual rights. But if protesters can demonstrate that government is not doing a good job at protecting them anyway – that may all change.

And there is a lot of evidence. Accountability for failure to protect the lives of long term care residents, by actions before and after the lockdowns is still on the back burner. Failure to prepare for the safe re-opening of schools. The inconsistency of restrictions. Inability to successfully execute a test and trace program. And of course the decision to re-open the economy when the Premier anticipated increased case loads as a result.

But the premier has to weigh the economic benefits of allowing these sectors to remain open against the potential economic consequences of another major lock down. He has to worry about employment and GDP and the provincial budget deficit which is forecast to hit some $40 billion, but likely will be much higher.

And of course there is scheduled to be a provincial election at the beginning of June 2022.  After all, for a man claiming to be a deficit killer and opposed to tax increases and raising more debt, he is faced with tumbling provincial revenues and hugely increased provincial expenditures. And then there is the matter of the health of the all the people.

vaccine - waiting

The vaccine may not turn out to be the solution – despite the amount being spent.

As we wait for a solution to the epidemic, either a viable vaccine or for the virus to miraculously die off on its own, as SARS did, the Premier has to balance the health and lives of Ontario folks against the economic costs of coping with the economic fallout from the virus.

So the question is whether his surgical talents will successfully constrain the contagion – or whether we are headed for a deja vu.

Rivers in maskRay Rivers writes regularly on both federal and provincial matters as well as environmental issues. He has degrees in economics and was the founder of the Sustainability Advisory Committee in Burlington. 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:

Mixed Messages –    Ontario Peaks –    Testing

Australia vs Sweden –   Long Term Care –  

More Long Term Care –   Savings Rate –    Ontario Job Loss –   

Confusion –    Ontario Deficit

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Private sector turns out to be more transparent than the public sector.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

October 2nd, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

A classroom has been closed at a Burlington elementary school.

Joe Dogs noticeA restaurant has chosen to close because a staff member tested positive.

This is the norm for at least the next six months and perhaps longer.

The virus is out there and we are letting it transmit from person to person.

The Board of Education did the right thing and the restaurant did the right thing.

It is when organizations and the hospitality sector do the right thing that we know the needed precautions are being taken.

Tough on everyone but it can be managed.

Joe Dogs was more responsible and transparent than the Halton District School Board.

The restaurant went public quickly; the people on the administrative side of the Board seem to have lost their tongues.

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MMR High School has yet to experience any COVID infections - principal Proteau supports her teaching staff and is almost a den mother to her students.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

October 1st, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

When we read about infection reports that are above 500 across the province and read about the severe restrictions being imposed in Quebec – it is reasonable to ask – What do I have to do to be safe?

We were invited out for Thanksgiving and wrote our friends asking if we could at least think about re-scheduling.

We have our own bubble that we are careful to maintain.

It’s just the two of us and a couple of dogs.

The vet was over yesterday – I was surprised about how casual he was – no mask either.

With people returning to their offices and rising up an elevator with five or six people that they don’t know – not something I want to have to do.

mmr the school

M M Robinson High School has not reported any infections.

We are getting reports from schools – there are infections. Nothing serious – not glaring hot spots – yet. Is this because we are all very careful or just lucky?

Ten schools have reported infections, all are secondary schools. None of the schools have been closed and the number reported that could be infected is at the 1 and 2 level.

MMR students 1

Students milling around outside the high school between classes keep a safe distance without supervision.

The province has released a revised approach to screening students before they head for school every day.

Like most government documents it is too long. The list of things to watch for is good and is set out below.

Claire Proteau has a very open respectful relationship with her students.  She reports that about 20% of her school population opted for virtual classes.

One of the biggest issues for Proteau is the level of education her staff is able to deliver with all the COVID precautions in place.

She works closely with the department heads and ensures that they are in very close touch with the classroom teachers.

“But it isn’t the same” she said.  “It is very hard to deliver a quality education under these circumstances.”  Proteau isn’t complaining, she just does her best to ensure that her students are getting the help they need to cope with what everyone has to deal with and at the same time strive to give them the education they deserve.

“I have a great bunch of students, they are a delight to work with and my teachers are giving it everything they have.  If there are problems we will deal with them.”

If we exercise that abundance of caution we will get through this. When we learn of the hundreds that are found to be infected each day we know that some people don’t take the precautions. They are usually the ones that move their lips when they read.

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Exercise equipment placed in Burloak Park - paid for by a citizens group

News 100 yellowBy Denis Gibbons

October 2nd, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The gorgeous waterfront setting of Burloak Park now is the home of Burlington’s first Seniors’ Exercise & Social Space.

BSCI band

A band was on hand to celebrate the opening of the Seniors Exercise space in Burloak Park. The band is reported to have been paid for by the ward Councillor – Paul Sharman. Photos by DENIS GIBBONS

Equipped with several work stations compatible with safe workouts for seniors, the space was donated to the City by Burlington Seniors Centre Inc., a non-profit group.

BCSI Meed Ward unveiling

Mayor Meed Ward does the unveiling of the plaque that explains why this equipment was put in the Burloak par. Tucked behind the sign is Connie Price, the woman who would not give until the city came up with space for the equipment to be placed. Fred Hendriks, president of Burlington Seniors Centre Inc. stands watching

Connie Price, treasurer and seniors equipment chair, was the sparkplug behind raising $50,000 for the new park.

“I am so concerned that after COVID we are going to have a community of seniors who are more frail,” Price said at Thursday’s official opening. “Now they can get out and use this, even just to socialize which is so important to them.”

Fred Hendriks, president of Burlington Seniors’ Centre Inc., said the project took three-and-a-half years to complete. He said the committee looked all over Burlington for a location.

“We finally found this gem right here,” he said. “And we did it in the colors of the BSCI (blue and green).”

Halton Region Chair Gary Carr said the Halton Board of Health has made an effort to get people of all ages to be active and stay healthy.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward said the park is a good example of what happens when people are persistent with their dreams and don’t give up.

“When we do right by our seniors, we benefit our whole community,” the mayor said.

Related article:

The story behind the gift of exercise equipment to the city.

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A public promise will go a long way to creating the confidence the hospitality sector needs to get back on its feet.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

September 29th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Several months ago the Gazette published a piece on a program called the “Post Promise”, which is a self-declaration that a business is working to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Post promiseOnce completed, a business is provided with the necessary communication and implementation tools to educate employees on the five key steps to workplace safety, which were created to be consistent with what has been recommended by the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Make the promise today: Click HERE.

Businesses who make the promise will be able to use and prominently display the POST Promise logo which is a nationally recognized symbol of a business’ commitment to doing their part to protect their customers’ and employees’ health and safety as COVID-19 restrictions ease. Participating business can also purchase a kit which will include additional communication tools like window decals, posters and tent cards which can be used to further build awareness of their commitment within their place of business.

Businesses that want to apply for some of the grant money that is being made available ($2500 per grant) will not be eligible unless that have made the POST promise.

I have yet to see one of these decals on the window or door of any restaurant or commercial establishment.

The program is free – and for me and the circle I travel knowing that a location is safe and is prepared to go that extra distance to ensure that I am kept safe while I am in their establishment is something I look for.

cafe crowd - no six feet here

The weather has been great – the traffic on the patios has been good. What happens when the weather chills on us?

The hospitality sector is looking for all the help they can get including financial support from the city and the Region. The want help from the federal government as well.

They are in a very tough sector. When the restaurant business is good it can be great – but it can also be a grind. You take all the problems home with you.

I don’t understand why these decals aren’t on every front door and every print piece a restaurant has. Put it on the menu – tell me that I am going to be taken care of.

The hospitality sector is, unfortunately, close ground zero for the huge spike in infections.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward said in a prepared statement that “Consumer confidence to participate in the economy is still very low, and hopefully this will help the public feel more comfortable visiting their favourite local shops.

Photo-ops of the Mayor in a restaurant that has the Post Promise decal on their front door would help.

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The latest COVID testing information

News 100 redBy Staff

September 28th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Do you need to test for the Covid 19 infection?

If you needed one – were you able to get a test?

Where would you go to be tested?

When would the results be available to you?

More questions and answers.

And a very mixed message from the provincial government.

The province put out a graphic that should help.

Covid testing a

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Province has a COVID containment plan - they don't appear to be ready to tell the public what it is

News 100 redBy Staff

September 28th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Everyone with ears will have heard that there were 700 new COVID infections across the province.

And many will have heard that we are into a second wave of infections (no kidding) and that it should peak at around 1000 new infections a day by the middle of October.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford called the province’s record-setting new case count Monday for COVID-19 “deeply concerning” but announced no new public health measures, despite calls by a group of doctors and medical experts calling for a return to Stage 2.

The province reported an additional 700 cases of the infection on Monday, the most on a single day since the outbreak began in late January.

Premier web casting Sept 28th

The picture appears to be that of a beleaguered man – – time for the Premier to begin walking the tough talk.

Speaking to reporters, Ford said Ontario is indeed embarking on its second wave, which will be “more complicated, more complex — it’ll be worse” than the first.

Still, asked about calls by the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) to re-implement restrictions to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus, Minister of Health Christine Elliott said, “We don’t want to turn back a stage unless we absolutely have to.”

cafe crowd - no six feet here

Is there a covid rule that isn’t broken in this picture?

The province also announced the recruitment of 3,700 more health-care workers and caregivers, including nurses and personal support workers (PSWs), at a price tag of $52 million.

Burlington has for the most part been sparred really significant new infections. The breakdown of that 700 number had Halton with more new infections than Hamilton.

Niagara Region: 20
Halton Region: 15
Hamilton: 13
Simcoe Muskoka: 12

Nelson High School reported 2 infections.

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Protestors are going to face new 'tools' to keep them away from demonstrating

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

September 28th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

Last June Regan Russell was walking in front of a transport truck that was loaded with hogs that were being taken into the Fearmans slaughter house.  The truck had stopped until protesters finished walking front of it; Regan Russell wasn’t able to get out of the way in time and was run over by the truck.  She died at the scene.

Pig protester killed

Regan Russell

The slaughter house is part of a group of slaughter houses across the country that are owned by Sofina Foods.

Regan was one of a number of demonstrators who gather regularly at the Harvester Road/Appleby Line intersection to, as they put it, “bear witness to what is taking place” and to attempt to water the hogs.

They see what they are doing as a peaceful demonstration. They are indeed slowing down the entry of the truck into the meat processing plant.

Regan was run over by the truck that apparently didn’t see her. She was slight in stature and the front of the truck was very high.

The Regional Police investigated and came to the conclusion that a 28-year-old male from the Municipality of North Perth was to be charged with Careless Driving Causing Death under the Highway Traffic Act. The police reported that ‘there were no grounds to indicate this was an intentional act, or that a criminal offence had been committed.”

pigs - watered - girls

The protesters usually arrive as a group waiting for the transport truck to enter the slaughterhouse.

Animal Rights protesters have been demonstrating at that location for a number of years.

The meat processing plant, in operation since the 1960’s, has no intention of moving and currently employs 1000 people.

The provincial government recently passed legislation that would give the municipalities that have demonstrator problems “tools” to handle these situations.

The argument is that the issue is really one of public safety – they want the demonstrators out of the way.

Strong legislation certainly helps do that.

pigs being watered

Protestors water hogs when the transport has to stop for a traffic light at the entrance to the slaughterhouse.

At the Monday City Council meeting a resolution was put forward and passed unanimously.

The Resolution reads:

Whereas the Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act, 2020 recognizes the unique risks that can result from interfering with livestock transport including creating unsafe work conditions as well as causing stress to animals and introducing diseases or contaminating our food supply; and

Whereas Sections 6(1), 7, 14(1) 3 and 15(1) of the Act came into effect on September 2, 2020 and prohibit the stopping, hindering, obstructing or otherwise interfering with a motor vehicle transporting farm animals; and

Whereas protest groups, including minor children, present outside the Sofina pork plant in Burlington continue to reach inside livestock trailers to touch, film and give water to the pigs creating an unsafe situation where they may be injured by the animals or trailer; and

Whereas the recent tragic loss of the life of a protester in Burlington underscores the urgent need to ensure the safety of all involved; and

Whereas Section 6(2) of the Act states that no person shall interfere or interact with a farm animal being transported by a motor vehicle without the prior consent of the driver of the motor vehicle;

Therefore be it resolved that the City of Burlington pass a resolution urging the Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs to immediately proclaim Section 6(2) of the Act in order to provide a legal basis to prevent the unsafe practice of protestors having contact with livestock trailers and animals; and

That this resolution be forwarded to Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario and the Region of Halton.

Those in favour of the motion didn’t have a word to say about the right of people to protest.

pigs - single

Hog suffering from heat while being transported.

Councillor Sharman sounded more like a shill for Sofina Foods (they are in his ward) rather than a person responsible for the wider community. The puffball questions he asked the three delegations were embarrassing.

Which begs the question: Why not find a way to allow the Animal Rights people to demonstrate, maybe even water the hogs while the trucks wait at the gate for 10 minutes.

After which the demonstrators would be required to move on.

The Conservation Authority closes off a portion of Kind Road for weeks in the spring so that the Jefferson Salamander can cross the road and mate in the wetlands.

He isn't exactly pretty but nevertheless plays an important role in the local environment. Comes in different colours as well.

He isn’t exactly pretty but nevertheless plays an important role in the local environment.

In 2008 a provincial tribunal found that the loss of a habitat for the Jefferson Salamander in north Burlington was reason enough not to give the Nelson Aggregate an extension to their license.

We have a proud history of protecting endangered species.  Admittedly hogs are not endangered but the right of people to voice their views in a public place is as important as making huge allowances for an endangered species.

That history was sullied this morning by city council.

Related news story:

Protester run over by truck transporting pigs to slaughter.

Salt with Pepper is the musings, reflections and opinions of the publisher of the Burlington Gazette, an online newspaper that was formed in 2010 and is a member of the National Newsmedia Council.

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