City hall opens offering some services - no meetings and no public input.

News 100 blueBy Staff

July 16th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Service Burlington counter at City Hall will be open for business on Monday.

City hall - older pic

Now open to the public

The space will be open to the public to make in-person payments for the following services:

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

The counter will be open from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday to Friday.

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

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.

Payment methods accepted

At this time, customers can use debit or credit card payments for all payments except property taxes.  Customers can pay property taxes by debit or cheque.  Cash will not be accepted.

If cash is the preferred method of payment for property taxes, please visit your bank to make the payment. Residents can also use the drop box outside City Hall, located at the Elgin Street entrance for cheque payments, letters, or small packages.

Health and Safety procedures for visiting City Hall in person

To protect the health and safety of staff and residents and prevent the spread of COVID-19, visitors to City Hall will see a number of precautions in place, including:

  • One entrance to City Hall through the Elgin Street doors only, exit will be through the doors facing Brant Street.

Expect to experience

  • COVID-19 screening questions
  • Plexiglass screens at the counter
  • Floor markings to support physical distancing requirements of no less than 2m
  • Signage to assist with the number of visitors at one time and the movement of visitors through the main floor. Maximum of four people being served in City Hall at one time
  • Visitors must wear a non-medical face covering unless exempted from by the mandatory mask bylaw – please bring your own mask.

Online Services

While all other customer service counters within City Hall, including planning, building and the Clerks Department, remain closed at this time, the City encourages businesses and residents to use its online services:

  • Development Applications – The City is able to accept all types of development applications digitally including development applications for pre-consultation, committee of adjustment, demolitions, site plan control, zoning clearance and many more. Please visit burlington.ca//developmentinfo
  • Online Services at burlington.ca/onlineservices – includes business licensing, marriage licenses, dog licenses, reporting form for street lights, signs and signals, and many more online services.

As residents continue to rediscover many of their favourite spaces and activities in the city, City services may look different as we work to stop the spread of COVID-19. The City’s commitment to providing the community with essential services remains a priority.

  • Property owners visiting City Hall to pay property tax bills are reminded payment of the April and August installments can be made up to Aug. 31, 2020, with no late payment charges in response to the COVD-19 pandemic. Property owners experiencing financial hardship may enroll in a monthly pre-authorized payment plan. This plan will provide withdrawals from Aug. 1 to Dec. 1 to pay the remaining 2020 property taxes (April, August and October installments). No penalty or interest will be charged to taxpayers enrolled in this plan. The deadline to enroll is July 27. For more information or help setting up a pre-authorized tax payment plan, email pap@burlington.ca or call 905-335-7750.
  • In an effort to continue to protect the health and safety of the community and stop the spread of COVID-19, Burlington City Council unanimously approved a temporary bylaw that makes masks or face coverings mandatory in enclosed public places in Burlington. The new mask bylaw takes effect on July 20 and expires on Sept. 30, 2020, unless extended or revoked by City Council.

The city media release uses the word mandatory to describe the bylaw but they do not have any way to enforce the bylaw.  They need your cooperation which should be given willingly.

 

 

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Ontario has produced some great sports talent - with a couple of tennis starts leading the way these days.

sportsgold 100x100By Lauren Wilson

July 16th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Ontario has an impressive track record when it comes to producing incredible athletes. It’s no surprise that Ontario has given us some of the finest ice hockey players in history, with Bobby Orr hailing from the town of Parry Sound and Wayne Gretzky growing up in Brantford.

Burlington has its own tradition of churning out talented ice hockey players, but sport in Ontario is not all about the puck.

Davis cup

Harvard student Dwight Filley Davis spent $750 for the crafting of a beautiful silver bawl that was completed on February 9, 1900. It became the Davis Cup, the premier international team event in men’s tennis. It is run by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and is contested annually between teams from competing countries in a knock-out format.

Canada has made massive waves in the tennis world in recent years, to the point where the nation reached the Davis Cup final in 2019. It took a strong Spain side, featuring a certain Rafael Nadal, to stop Canada from winning tennis’ premier team competition, with the youthful nature of the Canadian side boding well for the country’s future.

Quebec has played its part in making Canada a powerful tennis nation in the 21st century, with Eugenie Bouchard and Felix Auger-Aliassime both Montreal natives. However, Ontario has played an even more prominent role. Here’s a look at two tennis stars who have enjoyed highly successful careers in recent times, and two younger players who appear destined for greatness.
The established stars: Daniel Nestor and Milos Raonic

Daniel Nestor was born in Belgrade in 1972, but he made Toronto his home at a very early age. The adopted Ontario citizen became one of the sport’s greatest doubles players of all time, accumulating some incredible statistics during his career. Nestor became the first ATP doubles player to win 1000 matches, and he was ranked in the top 100 of the doubles rankings for 1134 consecutive weeks between April 1994 and April 2018.

That’s mind-boggling, but it gets even better; Nestor became the first player in doubles history to win every Grand Slam, every Masters event, the Tour Finals, and the Olympic competition at least once. Nestor’s partnership with Sébastien Lareau secured Canada’s first-ever Olympic tennis medal as they won gold in the 2000 Sydney games – proof of Nestor’s remarkable influence on furthering Canadian tennis.

Cats 3 Milos

Milos Raconic will go down as one of the most formidable tennis players in history.

Nestor amassed 12 Grand Slam titles in total, but such a title has eluded Milos Raonic. From an early age, Raonic was tipped as someone who could dominate men’s tennis. While his serve continues to overpower opponents and will go down as one of the most formidable in history, Raonic approaches his thirties with a 2016 Wimbledon final as his biggest Slam achievement. However, Raonic has still enjoyed a long and successful career on the ATP tour, with his career-high ranking of 3 the best achievement by a male Canadian singles player.

The future prospects: Denis Shapovalov and Bianca Andreescu
However, Raonic’s ranking record may be in danger from the 21-year-old Denis Shapovalov, a powerful hitter who grew up in Vaughan. Just like a young Raonic, Shapovalov has been tipped for big things. You’d expect to see Shapovalov among the favourites in online sports betting markets for Grand Slam events for years to come, with Canadian punters hopeful that Shapovalov can go one step further than Raonic and join tennis’ elite group of Slam champions. With a career-high ranking of 13 and a stunning win over Nadal under his belt, the signs look good that Shapovalov can go right to the top.

Cats3 Bianca

Bianca Andreescu, the 19 year old who took the tennis world by storm and stunned Canadians who immediately took her to heart.

Someone who has already got there is Bianca Andreescu, who was born on the shores of Lake Ontario in Mississauga. A 19-year-old Andreescu stormed her way to the US Open title in 2019, emerging as the first Canadian to win a Grand Slam singles title. How can she be included as a future prospect rather than an established star? Andreescu would be right to be aggrieved given her incredible achievements already (sorry, Bianca, if you’re reading this), but there’s still so much more to come from this remarkable talent.

Whereas Raonic appears to be on the decline following an outstanding career, the sky is the limit for Andreescu. CNN agrees that she has all the shot-making ability and the mental strength to go down as one of the all-time greats.

In fact, Ontario could watch two of its own dominate on both the WTA and ATP sides for years to come. The exploits of Andreescu and Shapovalov will no doubt inspire young tennis fans in Burlington to pick up a racket and follow in the footsteps of their fellow Ontarians.

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Joseph Brant Museum has officially re-opened.

eventsblue 100x100By Staff

July 15th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Giants, Dragons & Unicorns will be haunting the halls of the Joseph Brant Museum which is now officially open.

It is all part of the World of Mythic Creatures (organized by the American Museum of Natural History) that will be extended to January 3, 2021. Changes have been implemented to ensure the safety of our visitors, staff and volunteers. Learn more about what to expect and how to pre-book your visit on our website.

Museum re-opensThe Museums of Burlington is also offering a virtual summer program for kids. Virtual Visits are daily one hour Zoom sessions featuring live instruction by a Museum Educator who will guide a series of creative, hands-on, structured activities and crafts that relate to a weekly theme.

Programs are designed for children aged 8-12, parental supervision is required for some activities. Programs are one week in duration and take place from 11 am to 12 pm each day. The cost is $25/week and includes a craft supply bag.

How it works:

• Register online, you’ll receive an email receipt/confirmation.

• The week prior to the program start, you will receive the daily Zoom meeting links, daily itineraries and supply checklists.

• The Friday prior to the program start date, your supply bag will be packaged up and ready for pick-up at Joseph Brant Museum from 11 am to 3 pm. Please ensure you and your child prepare your supplies in advance so you’re ready to go for 11 am each day. There will be items required that are not included in the supply bag provided.

 

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Cedar Spring group doing the Terry Fox Run virtually.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

July 15th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Earlier this week, a group of people gathered at the Terry Fox monument in Spencer Smith Park.

It was the evening of July 13th – the anniversary of the day that Terry ran through Burlington in 1980.

2020 Team Cedar Springs

Members of the Cedar Springs gym who have been doing the Terry Fox Run for a Cure for Cancer for the past six years decided they would not let the official cancellation of the run stop them – they are doing the run virtually. Far left in terry shirt Craig Gardner next Daniel Zai down low Kristy Smith behind Daniel in white top Suzanne Sawell beside Suzanne in black top (hiding behind monument) Nancy Demerling Right side of monument Mary Cook-Hyslop down low behind her in red top Sheilagh O’Drsicoll to the right of Sheilagh Colleen Clairmont beside Colleen Beth Buttenham and beside Beth Lisa Drewry Missing from the picture Kevin Bita and Graham Oakley.

In 1981 Burlington citizens decided they would hold an annual run to raise funds for the Terry Fox Foundation to Cure Cancer. They have raised more than $2.2 million.

The runners and there are thousands of them tend to be both corporate teams and small groups.

One such group, a team from Cedar Springs gym has been doing the Terry Fox run for six years and have raised over $17K

With the annual run cancelled due to COVID19, the team went virtual with everyone on the team of ten walking, running, hiking starting June 1 and keeping track of their km’s with a goal of reaching 3582 km’s by July 13.

That was the number of km’s Terry Fox had run when he past the spot of the Terry Fox Marker in Burlington on July 13, 1980.

The team was able to surpass that number and this year so far have raised $1,575.

The team is looking for other teams to come forward with unique virtual challenges.

Craig Gardner is the Run coordinator this year. He is using social media and every ear he can bend to encourage people not to give up just because we are in the middle of a pandemic.

“Terry Fox did his best” said Gardner “we can do the same”. He added that it does mean being creative and looking for way to get the exercise you know you need and turn it into a fundraiser.

The Burlington Terry Fox organization has published a series of articles about the people who made the run it has become during the past 40 years.

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Almost anything would have been better than the contract the PM gave WE - Rivers suggests a Basic Income or pay their tuition fees.

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

July 15th, 2015

BURLINGTON, ON

 

From all we know the WE organization does pretty good work. And despite recent complaints by some staff, this charity has been seen as a huge success. After all, the founding brothers have both earned the Order of Canada for their efforts to improve the lives of young people worldwide. So it is unsurprising that key political figures, like those around the PM and his finance minister are linked to this organization.

Rivers Mario Dion

Ethics Commissioner, Mario Dion

And so, nobody should be surprised when Canada’s Ethics Commissioner, Mario Dion, again sanctions the PM. This time the conflict of interest revolves around the PM planning to grant a billion dollar contract to WE when his family had a history of working with them. That includes his mother earning a quarter of million dollars over the last few years.

The Ethics Commissioner, Mario Dion, reports to Parliament but is otherwise virtually unaccountable so he can pretty much call the shots as he sees them. And it is patently obvious that Mr. Dion has no love for this PM. Dion’s criticism of Trudeau over the Lavalin fiasco had been challenged by some as inappropriate. But there was no question that Trudeau’s accepting a paid vacation by the Aga Khan, who is a recipient of federal dollars, was inappropriate.

This WE mess is almost inexplicable for a seasoned politician. Surely there is someone working in the Prime Minister’s office who could advise Trudeau when he is about to step into it – another conflict of interest? Are they afraid to tell the emperor that his new suit of clothes will only leave him naked?

The PM argued passionately that WE was the only organization capable of delivering such a broad reaching program. Clearly that is not really the case, as the regular public service has now stepped up to the task of putting this fragmented and complicated aid program into action.

But it’s not just the involvement of WE that should consume our attention. The student grant program, harkens back to the problematic 1960/70’s Company of Young Canadians. In the end it was Justin’s father who axed that experiment in cultural revolution, and for good reason. Channelling youth into doing good things, like everything else in life, requires a lot of coordination and effort as well as money. And that makes it expensive, particularly in the midst of a pandemic.

If the goal is youth engagement, an option would be a program of national service. For example, there is talk south of the border of doing just that. However, if the objective of Trudeau’s project is to help students get tuition money, there is a much simpler solution. Just pay a portion of the students’ tuition bills? What could be more progressive policy for the Trudeau Liberals than making access to post secondary education less costly and thus more of a human right and a public good?

Trudeau’s student grant program would have worked out to an average of $700 per university student had it been totally allocated to paying tuition fees. That amount would be even less if other post secondary students are included in the calculations. But since tuition fees vary among provinces with a national average around $6000, we are talking about just a small fraction of the costs facing students.

Sadly the flaws in the design of this federal emergency student grant program are typical of what’s wrong with all of the other federal COVID emergency programs. CERB, the showcase emergency package. is now demanding that 130,000 recipients return their cheques. Recipients who thought they were in compliance of emergency aid now find themselves being accused of dis-honesty. And in many cases the blame lies with the eligibility criteria or other aspects of CERB program design.

CERB application

The government saw the CERB as something that would meet an immediate need – has it?

The wage subsidy program should make everybody scratch their heads. Why should the government pay employers to pay employees three quarters of their regular pay while they sit at their work stations with no work? They would be better off receiving a job furlough and staying at home on EI/CERB payments, or taking up a part-time job. It is little wonder that the uptake is well below expectations. And if the goal of this program is to discourage major lay-offs, there are 20,000 former employees at Air Canada who would dispute that notion.

Most economists support the Prime Minister putting money into the pockets of Canadians who have lost their jobs. But playing Santa for every special interest group is awfully close to what was once called pork barrelling. Indigenous communities, farmers, and even seniors have been treated to money which eventually comes out of their own pockets.

The alternative is a universal basic income (UBI), guaranteed annual income, (GAI) or negative income tax program, any of which would end up costing Canadians less money in the long run. Indeed instituting a $1000 per month UBI would cost about the same in gross terms as this year’s expected deficit. Though $1500 or even $2000 might be more realistic and could be an eventual program goal.

UBI becomes far less costly overall when the potential exists to replace a myriad of socio-economic support programs, such as old age security, employment insurance, and even general welfare. Since every adult would be eligible there would need no scamming, game playing or breaking the rules. And because the UBI would be taxed back or clawed back at tax time, only those in real need would truly benefit. This should be a no-brainer for a truly progressive government.

UBI graphic

Universal Basic Income has been researched. No movement though.

And yet, there are members of all political parties who would support UBI and keep the minority government in power. So the question is why Mr.Trudeau, who talked of big change during his first election, has rejected UBI? What could be more important for a progressive politician than ensuring basic income security for all Canadians? What better way to soothe the minds of Canadians worried about how the government will pay for its extravagant COVID period spending than knowing they’ll be mostly alright when it comes to paying their bills?

This is not going to be the last pandemic nor major crisis we will experience in this country. Indeed we are far from seeing the end now, despite a recent downturn in the infection numbers. An income security program, like UBI, would allow governments to take the kinds of important actions they need to do to wipe out the virus, rather than trying to juggle virus control with economic consequences.

And since post secondary students would also receive UBI, the PM might be able to avoid embarrassing situations, like that ill-fated WE charity contract.

Rivers hand to faceRay Rivers writes regularly on both federal and provincial politics, applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking.  Rivers was once a candidate for provincial office in Burlington.  He was the founder of the Burlington citizen committee on sustainability at a time when climate warming was a hotly debated subject.   Ray has a post graduate degree in economics that he earned at the University of Ottawa.  Tweet @rayzrivers

 

 

Background links:

WE Charity Mess –    WE Charity –     Student Grant Program –     US National Service –   How WE expected to manage they contract

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The city had a message on the use of the Beachway - many didn't see it quite that way.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

July 14th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

This is the story about what the city wanted to get across to people and how people reacted to messages they may not have heard.

rentals

Social distance was being observed for the most part.

As the hot summer temperatures continue, the City of Burlington continues to remind residents and visitors of some of the ways they can stay cool while continuing to protect the health and safety of the community and preventing the spread of COVID-19 in our community.

The problem is – the cool waters of Lake Ontario beckon – a part of town where there are more cars looking for a place to park than there are parking lots.

Beachway Park
Burlington’s beautiful waterfront at Beachway Park is a popular destination when temperatures are high, however, visitors to the beach are reminded:

Clothing was found in a pile in Beachway PArk - police seached land and water - no body recovered and no missing report filed.

Beachway – another of the city’s gems.

• The City of Burlington continues to be in a state of emergency due to COVID-19. Please continue to respect physical distancing measures at all times

• Keep two metres away from others (e.g. the length of a hockey stick) sitting on the beach and in the water

• Gather in groups of no more than 10 people who are part of your social circle

• Move to the right on the Waterfront trail to make room for others to pass safely.

The City will be taking some additional measures to educate residents and control parking around the Beachway. City of Burlington Park Ambassadors and Parking Enforcement Staff will also be in the vicinity to assist with these measures.

Increased Signage

Parking - took his chances

Not much more the city can do – if this vehicle got a ticket it amounted to $250.

Additional signs will be placed informing visitors of:
• No parking zones, tow away zones
• Cost of parking tickets on signs (where possible)
• “Parking lot full” signs at street entrances
• Physical distancing signs at more locations.

Parking at Beachway Park
Parking spaces at Beachway Park are limited and the lot fills quickly. Visitors are reminded to:

• Consider coming back another time if the parking lot is full, or parking their vehicle in an alternative location where parking is permitted and space exists on the beach to ensure physical distancing

• Avoid parking illegally – City bylaw officers will be enforcing ticketing and towing to discourage overcrowding at the beach.

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Community Support Fund created to fund a variety of virtual or limited in-person events. $5000 grants

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

July 14th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

One of the city’s more popular and effective programs has done a quick pivot and adapted to a Covid 19 environment.

Community Support Fund will be providing funding for innovative programs and projects that foster community connections during COVID-19:

This umbrella program will combine existing funding programs to provide financial support to residents and community groups who want to enrich and connect their communities through sport, recreation, art and cultural experiences during COVID-19.

The Community Support Fund temporarily brings together: Love My Hood, the Community Development Fund, The Neighbourhood Matching Fund and the Burlington Arts and Culture Fund. The combined fund will simplify the funding process and make it easier for Burlington residents and community groups to access financial supports and enhance their community’s well being.

Lakeshore ball park - matching grant winners

These four fellow got together to improve the condition of the ball park near their school. A community program helped with the funding.

The Community Support Fund will help fund a variety of virtual or limited in-person events, programs and projects in Burlington neighbourhoods and communities up to a maximum value of $5000 per application. It is a one-time annual funding program designed to recognize the importance of community during these challenging times. By providing access to funding, the City is looking for innovative ideas to connect and enhance our community.

Eligibility
The Community Support Fund is available to Burlington based:

• Informal, unofficial or formal community-based organizations, not-for-profit, grassroots groups, schools and faith organizations

• Individual persons, artists or community champions.

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis and evaluated monthly by City staff. Proposed projects must:

• Comply with public health and safety measures and any provincial orders
• Demonstrate the goals and outcomes expected from the project
• Explain how the project will benefit the community
• Demonstrate how the funds will be used
• Show how the project aligns with the goal and objectives of the Community Support Fund.

For more information, and to apply for the Community Support Fund, visit burlington.ca/funding.

He is no longer "acting"; it's now the real deal as Chris Glenn gets appointed the Director of Parks and Recreation for the city.

Chris Glenn  Director of Parks and Recreation for the city.

Chris Glenn, Recreation Services Director explains the rationale behind the program: “COVID-19 physical distancing measures have made it very challenging to connect in-person with friends and neighbours these last few months but we know there is still a great desire in the community to want to help each other and gather, in ways that are still safe and comply with provincial orders. With help from the Community Support Fund, we encourage groups and individuals to get creative and think about programs or projects that will give the community new ways of connecting and support our mental and physical well being.”

 

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We have a face mask bylaw - comes into effect July 20th - unless the Region comes up with something different

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

July 14th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

At times it seemed like a gong show.

The Mayor was riding herd on a city council that wasn’t in the Council Chamber.

There was a motion on the floor that was being bombarded with amendments – then amendments on the amendments.  A field day for those who tuck Roberts Rules of Order under their pillows.

City Solicitor Nancy Shea Nicol and one of her staff spent a large part of the weekend writing the bylaw – which they then proceeded to re-vise via amendments on the fly.

It was a gong show indeed with Councillor Kearns getting close to emotional when she insisted the the signs that are to go up in every place of business had to point out that three year old children did not have to wear a mask.

At one point Councillor Sharman seemed throw his arms up in despair and say that “sure” I’ll go along with that.

We are going to have to wait for the minutes of the meeting to determine just how many amendments there were.

council chamber with fans May 25

The Mayor, an assistant, the City Clerk and the AV person are in the Council chamber – the rest are at home taking part via zoom

But City Council did approve a temporary bylaw that makes masks or face coverings mandatory in enclosed spaces open to the public in Burlington, as of July 20, 2020.

All seven members of Council will troop into a ZOOM Regional meeting and perhaps approve something different which would make the Burlington motion mute ?

Mayor Meed Ward was so proud of what her Council had done and said that she felt the Burlington bylaw would become the “gold standard”.

The bylaw is generally consistent with other mask bylaws whereby individuals or organizations that are responsible for operation of businesses or facilities with enclosed (indoor) space open to the public be required to ensure no member of the public is permitted entry or remains on the premises unless wearing a mask or face covering.

Solicitor Shea Nicol said what her office put together was based on the city of Toronto model.

Halton’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Hamidah Meghani, recommends the use of face coverings when physical distancing could be a challenge and is supportive of municipalities implementing bylaws that aim to increase the use of face coverings as an additional layer of protection to control COVID-19 in the community.

The new bylaw applies to all indoor spaces that are openly accessible to the public, including:

• retail stores
• convenience stores
• malls, shopping plazas
• grocery stores, bakeries, farmer’s markets (enclosed areas)
• restaurants, bars (when permitted to open for indoor service)
• indoor recreational facilities (unless exempted)
• libraries
• community centres
• community service agencies
• personal service settings
• churches, mosques, synagogues, temples and faith settings
• art galleries, museums
• banquet halls, convention centres, arenas and other event spaces
• real estate facilities such as open house, presentation centres
• common areas in hotels, motels and short-term rentals (e.g. lobbies, elevators, meeting rooms)
• entertainment facilities including concert venues, theatres and cinemas
• business offices open to the public

Although masks are widely available in retails stores and online retailers, plans are being developed for residents who are unable to purchase their own masks.

Exemptions and Exceptions
The bylaw includes exemptions for those who cannot wear a mask for medical reasons including mental health concerns, children under the age of three and other reasonable accommodations.

Children under three years of age should never be required to wear a mask or face covering.

The bylaw also permits the temporary removal of a mask or face covering when receiving services, having a meal or engaging in athletic or fitness activity. The bylaw does not apply to apartment buildings and condominiums, child care facilities and schools, and areas that are not enclosed (i.e. restaurant patios).

Adjusting to the mandatory mask bylaw will take some time. Residents are encouraged to be kind and compassionate with each other, and to approach fellow community members who may not be wearing a mask with understanding and offers of assistance, rather than judgement.

To report an incident of noncompliance, contact the Halton Regional Police Service COVID19 Hotline: 905-825-4722.

As residents continue to rediscover many of their favourite spaces and activities in the city, City services may look different as we work to stop the spread of COVID-19. The City’s commitment to providing the community with essential services remains a priority.

Meed Ward with chain Sept 23-19

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward – sitting as Chair of a City Council meeting.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward gets the last word:  “The situation around this pandemic changes daily and as new information emerges, we must be ready to respond quickly. We recently learned of our ability to pass a bylaw, and with the support of Halton’s Medical Officer of Health, we believe passing a temporary mandatory mask bylaw is another way to keep our community healthy and safe as we restart our economy and open more activities to the public. Halton Region will also be considering a bylaw on July 15, but we can’t wait. Passing our own helps us ensure the bylaw meets the needs of our local community. There will be exemptions and we will take an educational approach to enforcement, with ticketing as a last resort.

I implore everyone to treat each other with kindness and compassion, and not shame or stigmatize those who have legitimate reasons for being unable to wear masks. This has been democracy in action, based on health evidence and advice. I want to thank everyone who provided feedback. We tried to reflect the support, as well as the concerns we heard in this bylaw proposal.”

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Halton gets left off the Stage 3 list - another week at least of small groups and limits on things you can do

News 100 blueBy Staff

July 13th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Large parts of the province are being moved to Stage 3 of the Emergency Control measures in place – but the Burlington and the other Halton Region municipalities are not on the list.

This afternoon the Ontario government announced nearly all businesses and public spaces will reopen in Stage 3 of the province’s reopening framework with public health and workplace safety measures and restrictions in place.

As Ontario continues down the path to economic recovery, decisions were made on which regions will enter Stage 3 in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts and based on trends of key public health indicators.

“Our success in reducing the spread of COVID-19 and getting Ontario to a place where we are ready to reopen most of the province is a testament to the hard work of business owners, individuals and families right across the province,” said Premier Ford. “So many have stepped up and played by the rules, demonstrating that we can restart our economy safely and responsibly. Small actions can make a big difference. Now more than ever, we must continue to follow the public health advice to preserve the progress we have made together.”

As part of the Stage 3 reopening, Ontario will be increasing gathering limits for those regions entering the next stage to the following:

• Indoor gathering limits will increase to a maximum of 50 people;
• Outdoor gathering limits will increase to a maximum of 100 people;
• Gathering limits are subject to physical distancing requirements.

Public gathering limits apply to indoor and outdoor events, such as community events or gatherings, concerts, live shows, festivals, conferences, sports and recreational fitness activities, fundraisers, fairs, festivals or open houses. A two metre distance must still be maintained at such events.

Regions remaining in Stage 2 will maintain the existing gathering limit of 10. Social circles in all stages at this point will also be kept to a maximum of 10 people province-wide, regardless of stage.

The Chief Medical Officer of Health, public health experts and other officials have advised the following, high-risk places and activities are not yet safe to open, even if a region has entered Stage 3, due to the likelihood of large crowds congregating, difficulties with physical distancing, or challenges maintaining the proper cleaning and sanitation required to prevent the spread of COVID 19:

• Amusement parks and water parks;
• Buffet-style food services;
• Dancing at restaurants and bars, other than by performers hired by the establishment following specific requirements;
• Overnight stays at camps for children;
• Private karaoke rooms;
• Prolonged or deliberate contact while playing sports;
• Saunas, steam rooms, bath houses and oxygen bars;
• Table games at casinos and gaming establishments.

The province is committed to working closely and collaboratively with businesses and sectors not yet able to reopen or who are experiencing significant challenges for reopening due to Stage 3 restrictions.

These businesses can visit Ontario.ca/reopen to work with the government on a reopening proposal that will enable them to safely resume or increase operations. Government and public health officials will review proposals and contact businesses for feedback or clarifications.

Expect Regional Chair Gary Carr to be all over that opportunity. Halton has had very low infection growth

The following public health unit regions will be allowed to move into Stage 3 first, on Friday, July 17, 2020:

Algoma Public Health
• Brant County Health Unit
• Chatham-Kent Public Health
• Eastern Ontario Health Unit
• Grey Bruce Health Unit
• Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit
• Hastings Prince Edward Public Health
• Huron Perth Public Health
• Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health
• Leeds Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit
• Middlesex-London Health Unit
• North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit
• Northwestern Health Unit
• Ottawa Public Health
• Peterborough Public Health
• Porcupine Health Unit
• Public Health Sudbury & Districts
• Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency Services
• Renfrew County and District Health Unit
• Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit
• Southwestern Public Health
• Thunder Bay District Health Unit
• Timiskaming Health Unit
• Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health

Businesses and municipalities will be permitted to enter Stage 3 based on their region and, as in the previous stages, may choose to take more time before reopening. The list of regions that will remain in Stage 2, visit Ontario.ca/reopen. FIX HERE

At the beginning of each week, the province will continue to reassess local trends in public health indicators, including rates of transmission, hospital capacity, progress on testing and contact tracing, to determine if additional public health unit regions can progress to Stage 3.

The Chief Medical Officer of Health and other public health experts will continue to closely monitor the evolving situation to advise when public health restrictions can be further loosened or if they need to be tightened or reapplied.

As the province safely and gradually enters Stage 3, child care centres and home child care providers across Ontario will be able to continue to operate with strict safety and operational requirements in place. Beginning on July 27, 2020, child care centres will be permitted to operate with cohorts of 15 children, which is an increase from the current cohort cap of 10. This change will allow parents to return to work, and bring the child care sector to approximately 90 per cent of its operating capacity before the COVID-19 outbreak.

The government, in partnership with health and safety associations, has released over 170 guidance resources at Ontario.ca/COVIDsafety to help employers in multiple sectors ― including fitness, restaurant and food services, and the performing arts ― keep spaces safe for workers and customers. Guidance will be available for all spaces permitted to open in Stage 3. As they prepare to reopen, employers are strongly advised to review and implement appropriate measures to help protect their communities.

Based on community needs, some municipalities and local medical officers of health have implemented more restrictions or requirements, such as mandatory face coverings in commercial establishments and all indoor public places. Check your local public health unit’s or local municipality’s website.

 

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Adult Summer Programming will be on again at Burlington Seniors’ Centre and Central Park on July 27.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

July 13th,2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Burlington residents will have another chance to connect, socialize and be active as redesigned Adult 19+ and Adult 55+ recreational activities are now set to safely resume with a small selection of activities on July 27, 2020 at the Burlington Seniors’ Centre and Central Park.

Residents can view program offerings online at burlington.ca/summer.

Registrations will be accepted starting July 20 at 9 a.m. and can be done online at liveandplay.burlington.ca. Residents who do not have access to technology and are unable to register online can call 905-335-7738. Please note those you may experience longer than usual wait times in the phone queue; limited spots will be reserved initially for phone registrations.

Due to program size restrictions and precautions, summer programs have a limited number of spots available. From July 20 to July 22, participants can only register for two programs. On July 23, participants can register for additional programs. This temporary restriction is to allow for phone registrations. Only residents of Burlington will be able to register for the summer session.

Programs
Five-day program sessions for Adults 55+ will start each Monday and run for five consecutive weekdays in one of three rooms in the Burlington Seniors’ Centre. Programs include learning and discussion series, bridge strategy classes, group music lessons and jam sessions, arts and wellness programs.

Fitness programs for Adults 19+ or 55+ will move to outdoor open spaces behind Central Arena and to locations close to Rotary Youth Centre at 560 Guelph Line. Fitness programs include toning, stretching and wellness classes will be held during cooler morning and evening times each weekday. Outdoor Fitness Programs will run rain or shine and will only be cancelled and refunded due to extreme weather including high winds, thunder or lightning. Dress for conditions required.

Carrying equipmentParticipants must bring their own equipment. There will be no sharing equipment between participants or using BSC materials.

New Procedures at the Burlington Seniors’ Centre
The health and safety of Burlington residents is of the utmost importance. In compliance with the Provincial Guidelines for opening facilities and for the health and safety of all guests, the following standards will be in effect:

• Stay home if you are feeling ill or have been in contact with someone who is ill
• Participants must complete a health screening questionnaire each day, one hour before the start of the program. To complete it online, go to burlington.ca/screening. Assistance will be available for those who need help completing it.
• Masks will be required by all staff and participants at all times in indoor programs and highly recommended in outdoor programs. Individual consideration will be given to participants requiring alternate but similarly effective personal protection, provided staff have approved the alternate PPE prior to program session start dates
• Physical distancing will be maintained in all programs
• Group sizes will remain within regulations
• Program offerings reflect those that best fit within permitted activities, timeframes and cleaning requirements
• Equipment sharing or lending will be eliminated in lieu of Bring Your Own supplies
• Pedestrian traffic flow will be designated and distance markers will be in place in all locations
• All personal belongings will be required to be kept with participants at all times
• Planning ahead is encouraged to reduce the need for washroom use. Washrooms will be available to one guest at a time
• Change rooms will not be available and use of washrooms for changing is not permitted
• Bistro Express will only offer curbside pickup with cashless payment. Pre-order by 10 a.m. for same-day packaging and curbside pickup available between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. For menu options or to place an order, call 905-335-7888, ext. 6346
• The BSC will open 15 mins before class start times when staff will assist registered participants with entry to program rooms. Access to the Centre will not be available to non-participants. The facility will be closed following each program period to allow for deep cleaning

Virtual Festivals and events ahead
Based on the Province’s restrictions on group sizes and social gatherings due to COVID-19, the City will continue to investigate and implement virtual celebrations where possible. Given the recent success of the City’s virtual Canada Day event, City staff are exploring virtual Remembrance Day and Santa Claus Parade options. All in-person festivals and events will be cancelled until the provincial group size is increased to 1,000 people.

As residents continue to rediscover many of their favourite spaces and activities in the city, City services may look different as we work to stop the spread of COVID-19. The City’s commitment to providing the community with essential services remains a priority. Sign up to learn more about Burlington at Burlington.ca/Enews and download the free City of Burlington app.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward: “Given the huge success of the TelePALS program, virtual programming will also continue – allowing residents the choice of what services they feel most comfortable participating in. I know our residents are looking forward to gradually being able to meet in person, and staff has introduced measures to keep participants safe.   ”

Beard studious

Denise Beard, Acting Director of Recreation Services

Denise Beard, Acting Director of Recreation Services explains that:  “Being able to connect and socialize can be a challenge during a pandemic so we hope that our redesigned programs will offer a much-needed boost to those looking to be active and social while staying safe. Online registration will offer the quickest way of registering but we will also hold some spaces specifically for telephone registrations for those who cannot access or are not comfortable online.”

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Pat Burgess will do his 40th Terry Fox run this year - Covid19 will not deter him - third in a series

News 100 redBy Burlington Terry Fox Run Committee

July 13th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

terry-fox-running-across-from-monumentThe Terry Fox Run for Cancer Research, an annual event in Burlington since 1981, won’t take place this year in its usual form. The physical distancing rules due to the COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t permit large gatherings. And Terry Fox events are very large gatherings

This isn’t just in Burlington, but runs across the country. Volunteers from this outstanding community have worked hard for 39 years to grow the event to the point where it has raised $2.2 million for cancer research.

They were not prepared to just let the event dribble away – it was going to take more than a pandemic to close them down.

After the Foundation announced that the 40th Terry Fox Run would be a virtual event, the Burlington Terry Fox Run Committee decided to take a creative approach to informing the community and telling parts of the unknown story.

Profiles of the people who got the event to where it is today appear on the Terry Fox Lives in Burlington blog and are being republished by the Gazette with permission.

In 1980, Pat Burgess was 25 years old and newly married. That year was also the year that he was inspired by Terry Fox’s daily running to raise money for cancer research. 1980 was the year Pat Burgess started running for Terry, to keep the Terry’s dream alive.

He hasn’t stopped.

Turning 65 in October, Pat plans to keep running, with “no end in sight,” he says. His knees are good, so he will just keep going. He has run in marathons and runs nearly every day.
Pat grew up in Niagara Falls, and was living in Toronto during Terry’s run. He didn’t see Terry run in person, but Pat was so inspired by

Terry’s challenge to others to carry on, that he incorporated Terry into his motivation for his running.

39 Years of Running for Terry

Every September since 1981, he has put on a Terry t-shirt and completed the 10 km course, dedicating his effort to Terry’s memory. Pat added to his personal memories when he visited the Terry Fox Monument outside Thunder Bay.

pat burgee - skyline background

Pat Burgess wearing a T shirt that has seen him through 39 Terry Fox runs.

His favourite shirt, one of his first among many bought over the years, bears the message, “We Can Do It,” and features Terry in front of a crowd. Pat likes the inclusiveness of all ages in the image. That’s something he has noticed over the years: that participation is ramping up, that there are more children and families involved. He likes that.

Pat likes the current route, along the Waterfront Trail, and is glad that runners can make the earlier start. But he adds that “most people are very courteous” to make room for the walkers and the slower participants. He also singled out the “very nice volunteers, the apples and fruit” that are part of each event.

So, 2020 is a big year for Pat Burgess: the 40th anniversary of Terry’s run, and his own 40th wedding anniversary.

Photographs provided by Pat Burgess from his personal collection

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Get some answers on the Thursday Telephone Town Hall on school opening in September

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

July 13th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Premier is expected to announce today that he will move to Stage 3 and open things up in some parts of the province. Halton is expected to be part of what gets opened wider – people may be able to return to work and the commercial world might be able to open up more of their space.

Telephone-town-hall-logo-2-690x386While returning to work is important to getting our economy working closer to its potential – the issue for many is – what happens in September when the kids are normally returning to school.

Will the schools be open?

For how long each day?

What measures are being taken to ensure that those students are as safe as they can be?

There is a lot that is unknown about the COVID17 virus and the way it impacts younger people.

Stuart Miller

Halton District School Board Director of Education Stuart Miller.

Thursday evening the Mayor is hold another of her Telephone Town Halls – this time the Halton District School Board Director of Education will be on the line.

This will be the first opportunity for parents to put questions to someone who can tell you as much as anyone about how schools will be operated come September.

How to Participate
Residents who would like to participate in the town hall can do so in the following ways:

1. Register in advance: Burlington residential phone numbers will be randomly selected to be part of the telephone town hall. Residents who would like to be added to the telephone call list can email getinvolved@burlington.ca by the end of the day on July 14.
Please note: if you registered for any of the previous town halls (held on March 26, April 14 or June 4), you are not required to register your phone number a second time. To remove a name from the call list, email getinvolved@burlington.ca by the end of the day on July 14.

2. Join by telephone: Anyone who does not receive a telephone invitation can call 1-800-410-5909 just before 6 p.m. on Thursday, July 16 to join the town hall. For those individuals calling in, please be advised more than one attempt may be required due to the high volume of traffic on the phone lines. If the first call does not connect, please hang up and dial the 1-800 number again.

Once the call begins, a moderator will provide participants with instructions for how to submit their questions to the leadership panel.

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The Beachway will be the place to be - but it can only accommodate so many people

News 100 yellowBy Staff

July 10th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

In her newsletter A Better Burlington, Mayor Marianne Meed Ward praises that jewel of a beach iin the Bechway part of the city – and then warns people of the traffic and parking problems.

Pay attention – she is trying to help.

“As the hot summer temperatures continue, the City of Burlington is reminding residents and visitors of some of the ways they can stay cool while continuing to protect the health and safety of the community and preventing the spread of COVID-19 in our community.

Beach aerial

It is an incredible stretch of sandy beach – it will be busy and there isn’t enough parking.

“Burlington’s beautiful waterfront at Beachway Park is a popular destination when temperatures are high, however, visitors to the beach are reminded:

“ The City of Burlington continues to be in a state of emergency due to COVID-19. Please continue to respect physical distancing measures at all times

“ Keep two metres away from others (e.g. the length of a hockey stick) sitting on the beach and in the water

Gather in groups of no more than 10 people who are part of your social circle

Move to the right on the Waterfront trail to make room for others to pass safely.

“The City will be taking some additional measures to educate residents and control parking around the Beachway. City of Burlington Park Ambassadors and Parking Enforcement Staff will also be in the vicinity to assist with these measures.

Additional signs will be placed informing visitors of:

Parking - municipal cash grab

He’s doing his job – probably grateful you gave it to him.

No parking zones, tow away zones
Cost of parking tickets on signs (where possible)
“Parking lot full” signs at street entrances
Physical distancing signs at more locations.

“Parking spaces at Beachway Park are limited and the lot fills quickly. Visitors are reminded to:

“Consider coming back another time if the parking lot is full, or parking their vehicle in an alternative location where parking is permitted and space exists on the beach to ensure physical distancing

Avoid parking illegally – City bylaw officers will be enforcing ticketing and towing to discourage overcrowding at the beach.

Outdoor Pools and Spray Pads

Splash pad LaSalle - swimming

Wading pool at LaSalle Park will be packed. Don’t hog the available time in the water

Beginning Saturday, July 11, the outdoor pools at Mountainside Park and Nelson Park will be open for lap and leisure swims. Spray pads throughout the city and the LaSalle wading pool are also open, since July 4.

In following provincial guidelines on the safe reopening of pools, online registration and pre-payment is required and available for Burlington residents only. No walk-ins are accepted at this time. To create an account and/or register, go to liveandplay.burlington.ca.

In addition to pre-registration, the number of swimmers allowed in each pool will be restricted to ensure physical distancing. Time-limits will also be in place to allow more people to enjoy the pools and for staff to disinfect the area for the next group of swimmers.

Important note for parking at Nelson Pool: Visitors registered to swim at Nelson Pool should note the parking lot is closed for paving and will reopen upon completion. Pool patrons are asked to park at the Pauline Johnson Public School parking lot at 4350 Longmoor Dr., access off Longmoor Drive.

Cooling Centre

Extended heat warnings are issued by Halton Region when forecast temperatures are expected to be at least 31°C and overnight temperatures are above 20°C for at least three days, or the humidex is at least 40°C for a minimum of three days.

During COVID-19, when an extended heat warning is issued, the City will open a cooling centre in the auditorium in Central Arena, located at 519 Drury Lane, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Community members can use the facility for one-hour increments and will be screened for COVID-19 when they arrive. Measures will be in place to ensure physical distancing and visitors are encouraged to wear a non-medical face covering. Please stay home if you are ill and always practice physical distancing (2m).

Meed Ward - tight head shot

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

“Our Beachway Park is a gem in Burlington and a destination not just for our community but others across the GTHA. While we look for ways to cool down during these hot summer days, we need to remember we are still in a pandemic and COVID-19 is still very much a part of our lives.

I’m grateful to our City staff for putting together so quickly a strategy to mitigate overcrowding at our beach and illegal parking, while encouraging everyone heading down there to follow safety and health guidelines. Our beach can be a great escape during these tough times – let’s ensure everyone who uses it has a positive experience.

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Mayor goes public with her mask.

News 100 red By Pepper Parr

July 9th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Mayor wasn’t all that keen on the idea of wearing a face mask.

She published her views in her A Better Burlington Newsletter.

She got trashed by well over 100 people.

The Mayor took another look at the issues and days later published a longer piece in the same Newsletter – this time setting out more reasons than you could imagine as to who was requiring masks and who wasn’t

Dr Meghani at news conference Hamilton

Medical Officer of Health tells the Mayor that masks won’t hurt.

The Mayor then turned to the Medical Officer of Health for guidance.

Nothing wrong with wearing cloth masks, said the MOH

The Mayor then decided she would put a motion before Council – see what happens.

Problem was, Councillor Stolte had a motion of her own in the works; one she had developed with the help of the City Manager, the City Solicitor and dozens of other people.

The Mayor and the Councillor had a sit down – the Councillor won but to make nice they put out a motion sponsored by the two of them

That motion got debated today and passed at a Standing Committee meeting that heard some really weird delegations.

Every member of Council voted to put a temporary bylaw in place requiring people to wear a mask in public places.  And kicked in $10,000 to pay for masks for people who were short on the cash side.

What next?

Mator in a mask

The Mayor wearing a mask outside city hall, either early today or yesterday.

A photo op for the Mayor wearing a bright red mask with people from Burlington Together.

The Mayor finally sniffed the scent of change.

Is the picture a one off? Only time will tell.

The bylaw gets voted at Council on Monday.

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Beachway parking problem has resulted in much stronger enforcement and some pretty stiff fines.

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

July 9th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It was a full day’s work for members of city council today – they began at 9:30 and were at it up until just before six pm with a break for some lunch.

They met as a Standing Committee then got serious and met as a council.

We got a look at what the pandemic is costing us – on paper it comes to $18 million – in reality the city finance department has to find $4 million, give or take some change.

The Mayor seemed wedded to that $18 million number.  The full finance picture is a seperate story.

The stinker is the situation at the Beachway where fines of $250 are going to be handed out for those who park where cars aren’t supposed to park.

There is going to be additional signage; there will be additional staff on hand.  A motion was passed at the City Council meeting – held at the close of the Standing Committee meeting making it all legal.

The problems is – few will know what took place – the city might get some media out and while the Gazette has a large, very large readership – all of the Burlington market area isn’t a regular reader – yet.

During the debate on the Beachway parking problem we learned that the Parks and Recreation department doesn’t know how many parking spots there are – nor does it appear to know just how many people the Beach can accommodate – COVID or pre-COVID.  No one has done any counting or measuring.

Council came close to forgetting to make the plans for managing parking illegal. City Manager Tim Commisso spotted the error, brought it to the attention of the Chair who went through some procedural issues and resolved that issue.

Park your car in the wrong place and you will be giving the city a lot of your money.

The city has come to realize that the Beachway is getting to be as popular as it was several decades ago.

Beach with canal bride

Recent crowds at the western end of the Beachway.

Recently the crowds near the western end were very thick. Compare our news photography with the way it was 30 years ago when a railway line ran along the edge of the lake.

Parks and Recreation decided to take a long term look and decided that some way had to be found to manage the vehicle traffoic and approved the following Staff Direction.

Chris 7

Not certain how Burlingtonians will take to making reservations and then paying to park.

During the debate it was suggested that Burlingtonians would pay a lesser fee.

A lot of people are going to show up and be told that there is no room for them to park and be turned away.

The initiative for finding a way to limit parking in public parks came from Conservation Halton where the problem was not just the number of people visiting the Conservation parks but the need for more in the way of income.

The City doesn’t seem to go after more revenue – at least not yet.

 

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A Council committee voted for a bylaw that would make face masks mandatory - with a long list of exceptions - it goes to Council on Monday.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

July 9th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Well – they passed it at Standing Committee.

After three solid hours of debate during which one delegation suggested that the views of the average citizen should take precedence over the views of the Medical Officer of Health (MOH).

The same delegation asked where the MOH was getting her information.

Jim Young did a solid delegation for a bylaw that would make face masks mandatory with a long list of exceptions.

The intention is to pass the bylaw at city council on the 13th – it will include an allotment of $10,000 to cover the cost of masks for those who can’t afford one.

mask envelope

The community produced 3000 cloth masks – cost free to anyone who needed one – that was two months ago.

The Gazette lead an initiative that provided 3,000 cloth face masks to the community months ago. That initiative involved hundreds of volunteer hours put in before each mask was quarantined for 72 hours and given to anyone who wanted one.

Councillors Stolte and Galbraith handed out masks to people in their wards.

What struck us as we listened to the debate that really did go on and on – and on, was that we have yet to see a photograph with the Mayor wearing a mask.

We always thought that one led by example.

Rory chair July 9

Chair Rory Nisan hands his hands full keeping the debate on topic.

Rory Nisan serving as chair did a solid job of trying to keep the discussion on topic – he didn’t always succeed – the cats just were not going to be herded.Come Monday we will have a bylaw – what it will say isn’t clear yet.

The one point made during the debate was that the anything COVID19 related was very fluid – changes by the hour.

The vote was 7-0

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The story behind how Burlington welcomed Terry Fox in 1980 - First in a series.

terry-fox-running-across-from-monument

Terry Fox as he passed through Burlington on July 13th, 1980.

The Terry Fox Run for Cancer Research, an annual event in Burlington since 1981, won’t take place this year in its usual form. The physical distancing rules due to the COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t permit large gatherings. And Terry Fox events are very large gatherings

This isn’t just in Burlington, but runs across the country. Volunteers from this outstanding community have worked hard for 39 years to grow the event to the point where it has raised $2.2 million for cancer research.

They were not prepared to just let the event dribble away – it was going to take more than a pandemic to close them down.

After the Foundation announced that the 40th Terry Fox Run would be a virtual event, the Burlington Terry Fox Run Committee decided to take a creative approach to informing the community and telling parts of the unknown story.

Profiles of the people who got the event to where it is today appear on the Terry Fox Lives in Burlington blog and are being republished by the Gazette with permission.

By Burlington Terry Fox Run Committee

July 9th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

Greg Pace
While we all know that the first Terry Fox Run was the Marathon of Hope – Terry Fox’s heroic, but shortened run across Canada for Cancer Research in 1980, but the first run as we know it today actually happened in 1981.

Terry Fox sadly passed away from cancer on June 28, 1981. Canadians were heartbroken. At this time communities across the country were organizing smaller runs for September of that year. Greg Pace, an athletic 20-something Burlingtonian, approached the Canadian Cancer Society (the Terry Fox Foundation was not yet established) about being the race director for Burlington’s first community run.

Greg running

Greg Pace – that surname is on the right man.

Greg, who has plenty of race director credits under his belt today, had little experience in 1981, but had a love for running and was inspired by the cause.

While our run has happened on the waterfront for many years now (Beachway Park and Spencer Smith Park), the 1981 run was a 10 km route in and around Sherwood Forest Park. Today’s Sherwood Forest Park is dotted with ball diamonds, soccer fields and groomed grounds, however, it wasn’t that well-developed in the early 80s.

Greg recalls one participant completing the course in her wheelchair.

“I remember seeing her do that little ravine through the mud in her wheelchair…it was one of those huge motivating things…I saw her try to back her wheelchair up a hill. There wasn’t a dry eye in the place, because obviously she was the last finisher.”

We continue to see people of all ages and abilities participate in the Terry Fox Run to this day.
Beyond 1981

Greg stayed on as Race Director/Chair for several more years. The first three years were held at Sherwood park with the 10k route. It then moved to Downtown Burlington near City Hall. Greg recalls that this was a 5k loop.

flyer

This is what flyers used to look like – Adobe software didn’t exist then. Mimeograph machines were what we used.

The first year, in 1981, the run was organized by Greg Pace and a few of his friends. It eventually evolved into a committee, which is how the runs are organized today. Greg was lucky to get to work with some very interesting people during his time as chair. From a local phys. ed teacher to local fundraising gurus – Greg had a diverse and experienced team behind him. His core committee included Chris Dooley, Fran Agnew and Margaret MacVinnie.

As the team got stronger, Greg was ready to let go of the reins.

“After the fourth or fifth year we gave it up and actually tried to recruit some people to take it over. The person that we recruited…about a month prior to it [the run] just said, ‘yeah, I’m not interested in doing it,’ so we had to scramble.”  Greg Pace and his committee organized a couple more runs after that before handing it over to Burt McGrath.

Message of Hope
“Keep him in mind.”
– Greg Pace

I asked Greg for words of inspiration to help our community stay motivated for the cause during these difficult times. His message was simple. Keep Terry in mind.

He also said that if everyone whose life has been touched by cancer did something – raised a dollar or more – it would make a difference.

gregpace with someone

Greg Pace out on a regular run with a colleague.

It’s important to keep all those spirits alive. So, whatever you do, whether it’s a 5k walk or run, writing an inspiring message in chalk on your driveway or hosting a virtual party, do it with Terry Fox in mind.

Though Greg stays behind the scenes these days, he’s still a big supporter of the foundation and our local Burlington run. Thank you for taking the time to chat with us and sharing your stories and experiences.

Photographs and clippings provided by Greg Pace from his private collection, donated to the Burlington Terry Fox Run Committee

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Ward Councillor and Mayor sponsoring a motion that will require people to wear face masks

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

July 7th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Sit down for this one.

At a meeting on Thursday Council is going to consider the following motion. It contains seven Whereas’s.

The essence of the motion that is sponsored by ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte and Mayor Marianne Meed Ward is for Council to enact a temporary bylaw requiring individuals, organizations or corporations that are responsible for the operation of a facility or business, which have indoor, enclosed spaces open to the public, to ensure no member of the public is permitted unless wearing a mask or face covering in a manner which covers their mouth, nose and chin, subject to the exemptions below, to help limit the spread of COVID-19

The movers of the motion also want the city to spend up to $10,000 to cover the cost of free masks to those who cannot afford one.

MMW + SS heads

The movers of a motion to make face masks mandatory in public places

The complete motion is set out below. It is, at this point, just a motion. It has to be debated and voted upon and then sent to a meeting of city council on the 13th where it will have to be approved.

Recommendation:
1. Council approve the following motion:

WHEREAS the spread of COVID-19 has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, the City of Burlington has declared a State of Emergency, and the province remains under emergency orders due to the health risks to Ontario residents arising from COVID-19; and

WHEREAS COVID-19 continues to be present within the City of Burlington and surrounding municipalities, and is a disease that is readily communicable from person to person, even with minimal or no signs of symptoms or illness, and carrying a risk of serious complications such as pneumonia or respiratory failure, mulitiple organ failure, kidney failure, liver failure, neurological complications, and may result in death; and

WHEREAS there is a growing body of evidence on the effectiveness of masks and face coverings to act as a barrier to prevent the spread of COVID-19; and

WHEREAS the wearing of masks and face coverings may act as an ongoing visual clue and reminder that public health measures, including hand-washing and maintaining a safe physical distance from others, are still required, that the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing and that a resurgence of local disease activity remains an ongoing threat; and

WHEREAS the Province of Ontario has enacted O. Reg.263/20 (Stage 2 Closures) under Subsection 7.0.2 (4) of Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act to permit certain businesses to reopen for attendance by members of the public subject to conditions, including the advice, recommendations and instructions of public health officials; and

WHEREAS physical distancing can be difficult to maintain in enclosed, indoor spaces open to the public; and

WHEREAS the City of Burlington wants to be prepared for the eventual Stage 3 reopenings under the provincial Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, and use every tool available to protect residents from a resurgence of COVID-19.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that Burlington City Council enact a temporary bylaw requiring individuals, organizations or corporations that are responsible for the operation of a facility or business, which have indoor, enclosed spaces open to the public, to ensure no member of the public is permitted unless wearing a mask or face covering in a manner which covers their mouth, nose and chin, subject to the exemptions below, to help limit the spread of COVID-19; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the operator of such facilities or businesses that are open to the public, shall conspicuously post at all entrances to the facility or business clearly visible signage outlining the requirements and exemptions of this bylaw; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that members of the public attending facilities or businesses that are open to the public shall wear a mask or face covering in a manner which covers their mouth, nose and chin, subject to the exemptions below, and unless it is reasonably required to temporarily remove the covering to access services provided by the establishment, or while actively engaging in an athletic or fitness acuity during physical activity, and exemptions may be accommodated if:

a. The person is under three years of age.
b. The person has an underlying medical condition or developmental disability which inhibits their ability to wear a mask or face covering, or other physical disability whereby the wearing of a mask or face covering would limit their ability to reasonably communicate with others.
c. Wearing a face covering would inhibit the person’s ability to breathe in any way.
d. The person is unable to place or remove a mask or face covering without assistance.
e. Employees and agents of the person responsible for the establishment are within an area designated for them and not for public access, or within or behind a physical barrier.
f. Staff identify any other such exemptions that may be advisable.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that employees working with members of the public in an enclosed, indoor space must also wear a mask or face covering, unless they are in an area not for public access, or they meet one of the exemptions; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that employees or members of the public shall not be required to provide proof of any of the exemptions set out herein; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the bylaw apply to all City of Burlington indoor facilities open to the public such as community centres, city hall, libraries, art gallery, performing arts centre, and public transit; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the bylaw be in force for a temporary period of time, beginning July 20 and expiring September 30, 2020, unless extended or revoked by City Council; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Executive Director of Legal Services & Corporation Counsel be directed to prepare the necessary bylaw for consideration by City Council on July 13, 2020; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Director of Corporate Communications & Government Relations be directed to develop a communications campaign during the first month the bylaw comes into force and effect to assist residents and businesses to understand the bylaw and exemptions, assist with voluntary compliance, and where people can acquire masks; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that council request that the Region of Halton present a mandatory mask bylaw for consideration by Regional Council at its meeting of July 15, 2020 to ensure consistency across the region; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that council request the Province of Ontario to enact a mandatory mask order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act for those regions that have entered Stage 2 reopening, and/or will enter Stage 3 reopening; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that council request the Government of Canada to enact a mandatory mask policy; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this report be circulated to the Region of Halton, Towns of Halton Hills, Oakville and Milton, all Halton Members of Provincial Parliament, Members of Parliament, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, and the Association of Municipalities of Ontario.

2. Direct the Chief Financial Officer to establish an initial grant of $10,000 to provide non-medical masks free of charge for community members who lack the financial means to purchase them, via application and submission of receipts, funded from the city’s COVID-19 account, and direct the City Manager’s Office to report back to the August 13, 2020 Corporate Services, Strategy, Risk and Accountability Committee on a plan for providing masks to in-need community members including such additional options as:

a. seeking a sponsor to fund or procure/provide masks that would be supplied free of charge to the public, with the sponsor and/or city logo displayed on the mask, and distributed by the city or through the sponsor;

b. issuing a request for proposals to local businesses to provide a quote on the cost to supply the city with masks that can be distributed to the public, either by the city or by the business, then billed to the city;

c. purchasing masks that can be distributed to members of the public, on a request basis, or made available at the entry to city facilities, once opened;

d. providing grant funding to residents to purchase their own mask, subject to quantity and cost limitations, and an application process;

e. other options as they may arise.

3. Direct the City Manager to report back to the August 13, 2020 Corporate Services, Strategy, Risk and Accountability Committee on potential grant funding for businesses and commercial establishments to assist with the cost of signage and masks as mandated by this bylaw, retroactive to the effective in-force date of the bylaw, subject to appropriate criteria.

4. That City Council seek matching funding from Halton Region at 50% or more of total costs to implement assistance to residents and businesses, given the Region’s role in health care delivery, social service delivery and business supports.

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Some council members are finding that the Mayor isn't quite what was advertised.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

July 8th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Mayor was in a bit of a bind.

She was, uncharacteristically, tip toeing around the issue of face masks.

Meed Ward style

Mayor Meed Ward at a council meeting before things went virtual

In her most recent public comment the Mayor set out a lot of rationale and examples of what other municipalities were doing.  But she still hadn’t taken a strong position.

She followed that up by saying that the Medical Officer of Health (MOH) wasn’t on side – so she, the Mayor, wasn’t going to take a position.

The Gazette published a very strong opinion piece on that.

When it became evident that there wasn’t much in the way of support for the Mayor’s indecision (Social media was crucifying her) she announced that she was going to put forward a motion requiring people to wear face masks in specific situations.

Hold on chimed in ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stole, who is proving to be a rather strong first term councillor. She was the one who pushed for turning some of the road space over to pedestrians – and that is what we have.

Stolte felt very strong that face masks should be required in public places. Transit requires that riders wear a mask; one 9f the major supermarkets asks people to wear a mask.

Stolte - the chair

Ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte: bringing a stronger sense of purpose to council that was not seen when she was elected.

Stolte felt that the Mayor was undercutting her initiative and she decided, after a flurry of emails between the two, that a face to face meeting was necessary. That is believed to have taken place last Sunday.

Prior to the Sunday meeting, in an email to a resident Councillor Stolte said:

“I am sitting in my office as we speak finishing my Motion to Council seeking Mandating the Wearing of Masks in all indoor spaces that are accessible to the public.

“I had advised the Mayor and other Councillors repeatedly since June 23 that I would be advocating for a Mandatory Mask Bylaw as I am completely on the same page as yourself and 85% of the population of Burlington.

“The decision announced by the Mayor this past Tuesday was a complete surprise to all of us on Council as there had been no input or conversation about the issue prior to the announcement.

“This has resulted in very intense conversations between the Mayor and myself about respect and the decision making process.

“My Motion will still be coming forward this week, there is certainly not consensus on Council, so not sure how the vote will go.
The Mayor announced this morning that she will be bringing her own Motion (different theme than mine) to Council as well this week, so I just finished an email to the City Clerk asking what the procedural process is for this particular conflict.

“We continue to be in interesting times, but I promise you I will be pushing for this.

“By the way, if you have (name redacted) email could you please forward this message to him as well.”

The two worked something out – because today we see a very lengthy motion sponsored by the two woman (with the name of the Councillor placed before that of the Mayor (and that stuff matters in the worlds of politics)

“We have heard from our community and together” said the Mayor in her Newsletter, “we are bringing forward a proposed mandatory mask bylaw for Burlington. It will be discussed at the July 9 Corporate Services, Strategy, Risk and Accountability (CSSRA) Committee, with a final vote at council Monday July 13. The proposed temporary bylaw would mandate the wearing of face coverings in all indoor, public spaces in the City of Burlington.

How did they get to his point and are the issues between the Mayor and her Council patched up? Hard to tell.

Meed ward election night 1

They all loved her on election night.

It looks as if the Councillor and the Mayor ironed out the differences. Those differences are not between just Stolte and Meed Ward. There have been concerns about the Mayor not working with the Council members and not giving them the respect they believe they have earned.

The five members of council elected in October of 2018 wanted to pull together and not only be seen to be working together but actually working together.

How did the Mayor square things with the Councillor who was not a happy camper. We may never know – only time will tell if the Mayor has the capacity to listen to the members of Council.

Not what we thought we were electing as Mayor that October 18th was it?

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Deep Energy Efficiency Retrofit Program has council excited - staff puts forward a time line council wants to change. This is a biggy - but awkward administratively.

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

July 6th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

If you don’t own a house or are not interested in upgrading your property and contributing to lower GHG emissions – take a pass on this story.

 

Have you heard of the Deep Energy Retrofit Program?

Few have.

Discussed at some length at council on Monday the report brought to the table some novel ideas that were enthusiastically endorsed by most council members.

Councillor Bentivegna wanted to know where the money to pay for it all was going to come from.

What is a Deep Energy Retrofit Program?
A deep energy retrofit program involves a systems approach to reduce carbon emissions from existing buildings, with a focus on those measures which will reduce and/or eliminate the use of fossil fuels as a source of energy. Typically, there is a hierarchy of measures which can be implemented:

Angelo - not getting it -deferal

Ward 4 Councillor Angelo Bentivegna wanted to know who and how the xxx was going to be paid for. He didn’t get much of an answer

• Adding insulation
• Sealing air leaks
• Upgrading mechanical systems
• Replacing windows and/or doors
• Water efficiency upgrades
• Thermal controls
• Renewable energy

Depending on the work required, a full energy retrofit can cost up to $30,000. Retrofits can be more cost effective if timed with home renovations.

Now you know why Bentivegna wanted to know where those dollars were going to come from.

Council was more focused on how they were going to educate the public on the benefits and then how to take part in the program.

What they wanted most was to get on with it.

The Deep Energy Retrofit Program was a sort of next step once the city had declared a Climate Change emergency followed by a Climate Action plan.

Council was presented with a number of options in a report that was to be Received and Filed. This report however was not going to be placed on a shelf to gather dust.

Interestingly – Council also got a report on the 75th Burlington Hydro Anniversary. During the Deep Refit debate Burlington Hydro was pulled into how the program would roll out – it wasn’t what they were expecting.

The Hydro people may have logged out of the Zoom based meeting before the refitting of the residential structures was debated. City Manager Tim Commisso assured Council that both he and the Mayor site on the Hydro Board – they would be reminding that Board that the city owns the company.

Direct the Executive Director of Environment, Infrastructure and Community Services to continue to work with partners, stakeholders and municipalities listed in an environment, infrastructure and community services report and report back before the end of 2020 with final recommendations, including resources and actions required to implement a deep energy efficiency retrofit program for homes in Burlington.

Council didn’t want to wait that long.

Expect them to make a decision on a possible pilot program that will be made available to those citizens who are sold on the climate change issue and will be ready to put their money on the table.

Sharman hand up

Councillor Sharman wants to see a list of reliable contractors.

Councillor Sharman told his sad story (several times actually) on his troubles getting a Backwater Valve set up in his home.

The Mayor reported that her Backwater Valve installation was a breeze and offered to help Sharman on his next upgrade.

The purpose of this report is to provide options to deliver a residential deep energy retrofit program in Burlington, a priority program area identified in the recently approved Climate Action Plan for Burlington.

This report provides a summary of the measures required to support the development of a Deep Energy Efficiency Retrofit Program for homes in Burlington, including the development of a community engagement plan, which would involve:

• Updating the city’s Environment webpage with information;
• Supporting the Bay Area Climate Change Council (BACCC) to develop a home energy efficiency retrofit accelerator program;
• Working with BACCC and the Clean Air Partnership to engage the business sector (contractors, trades and retailers);
• Working with the Burlington Climate Action Plan community stakeholders, such as Enbridge, to promote specific measures to improve home energy efficiency;
• Co-promote related actions such as home resiliency measures and electric cars, bikes and equipment.
• Pursue partnerships to develop a demonstration centre to promote home efficiency and resiliency measures.

That didn’t really convey what this council wants to do. In that regard the report was on the weak side.

In April of this year Council approved the Climate Action Plan.

At that time they Direct(ed) the Executive Director of Environment, Infrastructure and Community Services to report back in Q2 2020 after the release of the federal budget with the latest information and updated proposed timelines for the home energy retrofit program and human resource requirements to meet the goals of the climate action plan.

Problem was – the federal government didn’t release a budget. It got consumed with the economic and social fallout of the COVID19 virus that was wreaking havoc across the country – we were all suddenly in various stages of a lockdown that the public was having difficulty coping with and complying with as well.

GHG carbon dioxide

These are 2018 numbers – the carbon dioxide must be reduced.

The Deep Energy Retrofit Program was seen as a way to get something going economically and put a decent dent in the GHG that we put into the environment.

It is estimated in the Climate Action Plan for Burlington that 21,300 person years of employment will be created in total if the low carbon scenario pathway is followed to 2050, with 5,600 of those person years in the renewable energy market.

Municipalities benefit from the implementation of a home energy retrofit program through greenhouse gas emission reductions to help meeting community targets, improved reputation as an environmentally progressive community, reduced pressure on energy infrastructure and reduced air pollution.

In 2016, Burlington households, businesses and institutions spent $700 million on energy (fuel and electricity). As noted in the Climate Action Plan for Burlington, the local carbon scenario can reduce this amount by 36% or $270 million, energy saving dollars that can be invested back into the local community.

Homeowners benefit from a home energy efficiency retrofit by mitigating future energy cost increases; achieving a healthier and comfortable home; increasing property value; and improving resiliency to power outages and extreme temperatures.

The optics of a program like this for the current city council are wonderful – they love this one.  Making it happen is much much easier said than done,

The report says: Developing a comprehensive building energy retrofit program is not easy – if it was, there would be more programs in existence in Ontario than just Toronto given that Ontario municipalities have had the authority to use Local Improvement Charges (LICs) as a means of financing since 2012. Developing and delivering a program requires funding and staff time to administer applications, agreements, and deal with legal and financing issues. The residential home sector is challenging to target as it is disbursed and varies by demographics, home condition, type and age, household incomes, etc.

Successful uptake is challenging – a comprehensive marketing program is required.

energy graphicFrom a property owner perspective, the process can been seen as challenging both from technical knowledge and implementation. Very few people really want to manage contractors for renovations – different contractors are required for insulation and air sealing, mechanicals, windows, EV chargers and renewable energy. Addressing the building envelope upgrades and fuel switching to low carbon fuel requires a longer term for a financial pay back which is made even more challenging with the relatively low cost of natural gas as a source of energy.

Lastly, the market expects rebates to be available as incentives, not financing.

Factors for a Home Energy Retrofit Program
There are many factors to consider when developing a home energy retrofit program, such as:

• Marketing plan to promote the benefits of energy retrofits and the program to homeowners
• Home energy audit assessment and report (and follow-up after efficiency measures have been implemented)
• Contractor engagement (specifying upgrade works, selecting & managing contractors; completing improvements; verifying improvements)

Where the homeowner is seeking financing assistance:

• Development of an application pre-qualification process (own home, no tax arrears, etc.)
• Funding application process – review and approval
• Property owners agreement & financing schedule
• LIC repayment process
• Loan loss reserve fund – to cover loan defaults (based on other jurisdictions, this is a rare occurrence)
• Support to guide homeowners through the process (concierge approach)

Municipal Role for Promoting Home Energy Efficiency Retrofits
Municipalities can play a role in helping home owners understand what is meant by a deep energy retrofit and the specific energy efficiency measures involved in a retrofit. Similarly, an engagement program is necessary for trades, contractors and retailers on measures involved in a deep energy retrofit program so that the industry is aligned with this program.

Fortunately, the city can work with other entities and local municipalities on reaching out to these sectors. The Centre for Climate Change Management at Mohawk is working with the Bay Area Climate Change Council (BACCC) to create an Implementation Team which could pursue the development of a retrofit accelerator program, providing support to homeowners. BACCC also recognizes the need to reach out to trades and retailers to increase knowledge and skills in this area, hosting workshops and conferences. The Clean Air Partnership (CAP) is also working with local colleges and organizations to develop training and certification programs in this area. Both BACCC and CAP plan to develop one stop shop websites to support deep energy retrofit programs, with BACCC representing local resources for Hamilton and Burlington communities and CAP’s taking a provincial approach but linking to local websites.

Financing Alternatives for Implementing Home Energy Retrofits
As previously indicated, comprehensive home energy retrofits can be significant financial investment to property owners that have the benefit of increasing home value and decreasing on going energy costs over the long term. Options available for financing these improvements including utilizing own source funds or savings or borrowing through financial institutions including utilization of homeowner lines of credit or re financing mortgages for more significant projects that may be part of larger home renovations. Municipalities also have the ability to support financing deep energy retrofit programs by providing low interest loans to homeowners through the Local Improvement Charge (LIC) program on property tax bills.

Local Improvement Charges
LICs are special temporary charges that are added to a property tax bill to pay for improvements that benefit the property owners. Traditionally, these charges have been used in Ontario as a mechanism to recover the costs from affected properties for local block level infrastructure improvements (sidewalks, lighting, sewage projects, etc.).

The province amended the Municipal Act in 2012 to allow municipalities to enter into voluntary financing agreements with property owners who will benefit from the improvements. LICs are available to finance energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water conservation measures voluntarily carried out by individual property owners on their buildings. An LIC program provides homeowners with a loan to carry out these measures on their property. The homeowner pays for the measures and repays the loan through regular charges added to the property tax bills. The full cost of the program, including all associated administration costs and interest charges, are included in the loan or charged as a separate fee.

To date, the City of Toronto has been the only municipality in Ontario to implement an LIC program. In 2014, the City of Toronto launched two programs: HELP (home energy loan program) and Hi-RIS (high rise retrofit improvement support program for multi- residential buildings). As of June 2019, almost $14.9 million in financing has been committed to over 202 properties participating in the programs, reducing over 4,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. Under the HELP program specifically, $4.87 million in financing was issued to support 187 home retrofits (average loan of $22,000), resulting in a 30% reduction in home energy consumption and 28% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Participants also pay an administration fee on top of the loan of 2%.

The Clean Air Partnership has completed a ‘Toolkit for Municipalities – Accelerating Home Energy Retrofits Through Local Improvement Charge Programs’ with the support of a number of municipalities in Ontario, including Burlington. The following description of LICs is based on the information provided in the toolkit.

A unique characteristic of LIC financing is that the loan is tied to the property and can be transferred to the new owner when the home is sold. LIC financing is one tool in the toolbox available to encourage residents to invest in energy efficiency retrofits.

Challenges to Utilizing LIC Financing Mechanism
The initial capital costs required to facilitate widespread adoption of retrofit projects through LIC programs are significant. Many municipalities are already struggling to fund programs, services, and infrastructure upgrades, particularly during the Covid crisis.

There has been concerns related to whether LIC loans adversely impact the municipal debt limit imposed on municipalities by the province; this is to be further explored. The debt recovery related to LICs are recovered from individual property owners and not through general revenue collection from property taxes

Mortgage lender approval can be difficult due to the priority lien status of local improvement charges. There is a very small, potential of a financial risk to financial institutions who are providing mortgages for a property with a LIC lien attached to it.

For municipalities, a loan loss reserve fund covered by the tax base may be required to manage the low risk of loan defaults. For example, staff have been advised that the State of California, with $3.6 billion in loans, set up a fund to cover defaults, yet no claims have been made since its establishment in 2014.

Options to Deliver a Home Energy Retrofit Financing Program
Two options are available to setting up a financing program to support homeowners interested in completing a home energy efficiency retrofit.

Guelph Our Energy One Energy

Guelph merged their hydro operation with Hamilton’s. Burlington is one of the few hydro operations that has not become part of the consolidation that is taking place in local hydro operations.

1. City Run Program:
Burlington could opt to develop its own residential energy retrofit program and follow the lead of other municipalities that have completed detailed feasibility studies and business cases utilizing funding from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM). As examples, the City of Windsor and Town of Newmarket each spent approximately $200,000 to complete feasibility studies. Windsor is planning to set up a separate arms-length municipal service corporation (Windsor’s recommended approach) with $400,000 as seed funding to hire a general manager and develop a business plan. Guelph has also set up a separate organization called Our Energy Guelph with an executive director and board of directors, with start-up funding acquired through the merger of Guelph Hydro with Alectra. Our Energy Guelph plans to focus their energy retrofit efforts on commercial and multi-residential properties. Burlington could pursue FCM funding to support a feasibility study to develop a local deep energy retrofit program.

2. 3rd Party Municipal Consortium Program:
Late in 2019, the Clean Air Partnership announced a consortium approach with the IESO (Independent Electricity System Operator), AMO (Association of Municipalities of Ontario), HRAI (Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada) and City of Toronto to serve as a 3rd party entity that would deliver on many of the above mentioned program actions in order to reduce the administrative burden home retrofit programs would have on municipalities. This approach would be able to achieve efficiencies of scale related to the start-up costs infrastructure investments required as part of these programs. There are four related objectives: 1) provide municipalities with a program that is flexible and adaptable to local circumstances and capacity; 2) provide customers with a simple, user-friendly program through a one-window service delivery model; 3) increase marketing and promotional opportunities in order to drive program uptake; and 4) achieve deep GHG emissions reductions through targeting old buildings for deep energy retrofits.

home renovation work

Finding the trades to do the work is one task – finding reliable, proven tradesman is a problem Councillor Sharman worries about – he would like to see Burlington Hydro involved in some of the trades vetting.

Next Steps to Develop a Home Energy Efficiency Retrofit Program Community Engagement Plan and Activities:
The following actions are recommended to build the knowledge and skills in the local community to support home energy efficiency retrofits, which can be implemented within the year. Due to Covid, creative approaches may be required in the shorter term to engage the various sectors online versus in person events. Staff will develop a community engagement plan to support home energy efficiency retrofits in the community, coordinating this work with local partners in this area, including:

1. Updating the city’s Environment webpage with additional information and links to support home energy efficiency retrofits. For example, the City of Toronto has developed a comprehensive website to promote energy efficient building measures – www.betterhomesTO.ca, supported by Natural Resources Canada, Toronto Hydro and Enbridge provides a great one stop shop for this type of information. The city may not need to duplicate this work but provide links to existing pages such as this one.

2. Continue to work with the Bay Area Climate Change Council and the Centre for Climate Change Management create a business case to develop an accelerator program in the Bay Area to assist homeowners with the process of implementing home energy efficiency measures. This approach would help to overcome one of the barriers that homeowners have of hiring contractors to complete renovations. This concierge service could be implemented prior to the development of a full energy retrofit program and may complement the work of the Clean Air Partnership but be provided at a local level.

3. Work with the Bay Area Climate Change Council and Clean Air Partnership to engage and increase knowledge in the local business sector, representing contractors, trades and retailers on measures required to complete a deep energy retrofit on homes.

4. Work with the city’s own Climate Action Plan community stakeholders to promote measures that homeowners can implement to improve energy efficiency and reduce their carbon footprint. For example, Enbridge Gas and other local contractors have expressed interest in the installation of hybrid heat pumps along with leak sealing and smart energy controls to improve energy performance.

5. In addition to promoting home energy retrofit actions, consideration can also be given to support measures to improve home resiliency (flood proofing) and adoption of electric vehicles, e-bikes and e-equipment (lawn mowers, trimmers and leaf blowers).

6. Consider the creation of a demonstration project at an existing city facility where property owners could visit to learn about energy efficient and resiliency measures to improve local buildings and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Local partnerships and sponsorships could be pursued to participate in this project.

Developing a Home Energy Efficiency Retrofit Financing Program:
It is recommended that staff pursue joining the 3rd party municipal consortium program led by CAP with AMO, the IESO, HRAI and City of Toronto to develop and deliver a home energy retrofit program in Burlington. Joining the consortium would ensure that Burlington has the necessary support and expertise to develop a comprehensive program and overcome some of the challenges listed above.

Benefits to participating would include:

• A wider Ontario marketing campaign will be coordinated to enable holistic and consistent messaging delivered to as wide an audience at the least cost.
• A team approach to promote the program to the Ontario contractor community.
• Generic marketing material will be created for each municipality to customize by adding logos to the standard templates.

• Partnerships with other stakeholders to market the program by identifying and acting on promotion opportunities and monitor uptake to inform future outreach efforts.
• Streamline process for municipal onboarding.
• City of Toronto will support with program delivery advice based on their experience.
• CAP is proposing to assume the role of a concierge, providing support to guide applicants through the different stages of the process, by:
o streamlining the program application and approval processes;
o providing objective guidance to customers re: contractor selection, costs, and management;
o providing market research on some of the key questions/issues from customers and creating resources/processes to address them; and,
o gathering and documenting feedback on program improvements/issues.

The program is being designed to reduce the resource burden, but municipalities will still be required to complete the following:

• Pass an LIC by-law through council
• Define eligible measures and financial verification requirements (part of by-law)
• Final approval/rejection of application/contract with property owner
• Set up the structure to attach the loan to the property tax system for repayment
• Manage the payments to homeowners once they are accepted into the program
• Identify possible avenues to support uptake of the program via municipal and/or community outreach and promotion opportunities (bottom-up marketing approaches)

The Staff report opted for a home energy retrofit program as the recommended priority action in the Climate Action Plan, approved by council earlier this year, following a comprehensive community engagement program. Finance and Communications staff were engaged on this report. Stakeholders and agencies engaged in this report included the Centre for Climate Change Management at Mohawk College, the Clean Air Partnership, QUEST and Enbridge Gas. Discussions continue to be ongoing with other local and regional municipalities including Oakville, Halton Hills, Guelph, Waterloo Region, London and Windsor, among others.

The ‘Toolkit for Municipalities – Accelerating Home Energy Retrofits Through Local Improvement Charge Programs’ (2020) and the ‘Local Improvement Charge Financing Pilot Program Design for Residential Buildings in Ontario’ (Dunsky Energy Consulting 2013) were used as reference materials.

Financial Matters:
A recent Debt Policy Review report described the city’s ability to borrow money and assume non-tax supported debt which is widely used to support infrastructure requirements of community groups, stakeholders and other community partners. Non-tax supported debt is repaid by user fees, surcharges or loans. In the example of a deep energy retrofit program, loans to property owners would be recovered through a local improvement charge mechanism as described earlier in the report. LICs have traditionally been classified as non-tax supported debt as per the city’s debt policy similar to the city’s historical use of the local improvement charge for new road amenities such as sidewalks and included within the city’s debt limits.

Total Financial Impact
As per the strategy described above, the parameters of a Burlington tailored program are still to be developed, this is largely dependent upon further discussions with the municipal consortium and continued discussions with neighboring municipalities.

There is a possibility of shared resources, however, additional work is required to determine overall structure of the program and corresponding financial impact. Details include financial and staff support required to administer the program as it relates to LIC loans, agreements, interest rates, payment schedules, etc. Staff will work internally with the Finance and Legal Departments to address these details, associated funding requirements, and participate in meetings with the consortium group to help define the final program. As an example, to support 200 home energy retrofits using an average of $22,000 per home, the amount required would be $4.4 million.

Source of Funding
Further discussions with the Finance Department are required to finalize the financial support required to effectively administer a deep energy retrofit program for homes in Burlington. As discussions continue with the municipal consortium program, further clarity around the program will become available. Staff will report back on details surrounding financing required to deliver the program in the fall 2020, along with other program details as described above

Preliminary information was released earlier this year regarding the $300 million Community Efficiency Financing program announced by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) to help municipalities deliver energy efficient financing programs to the low rise residential sector. Funding is available through loans and grants.

Generally, FCM will provide a smaller percentage of the financing via grants. Municipal applicants must contribute 20% of the total amount of the application, which can be capital dollars to support home energy loans as well as in-kind contributions.
Burlington was ineligible for the first phase of funding as it was only open to those municipalities that had completed a feasibility study for a home energy retrofit program. The next round of funding through this program is expected to support municipalities wishing to complete a feasibility study to implement a deep energy retrofit program.

FCM has advised that the round of funding applicable to the consortium of municipalities working together to develop a deep energy retrofit program will be available in early 2021. Participating municipalities will submit individual but coordinated applications. The funding would provide capital dollars to support the implementation of a home energy retrofit program and may be issued in a combination of a loan and a grant. Burlington would need to be prepared to contribute 20% of the program budget, some of which can be an in-kind contribution. This will be reviewed and considered as part of the 2021 budget process.

In addition to the FCM Community Efficiency Fund, the federal government has not issued any information about zero interest loans to homeowners to support home energy retrofit programs. If the federal government does follow through with program, it may negate the need to apply for FCM funding and implement a LIC program, unless the funding flows through municipalities.

Other Resource Impacts
It is expected that an additional full-time employee will be required to help support the delivery of a home energy retrofit program in Burlington, including coordinating efforts with municipal departments to set up the LIC program. Additional responsibilities will include coordination with local partners, overseeing marketing, communications and outreach, engaging trades and contractors and looking for ongoing opportunities to drive uptake of the program. However, staff will continue to work with our local partners and other nearby local municipalities to identify measures where we may be able to share and maximize the coordination of resources.

Climate Implications
Implementation of a Deep Energy Retrofit Program is one of the priority program areas as identified in the Climate Action Plan to reduce emissions and meet the goal for the Burlington community to achieve net carbon neutrality by 2050. Based on the modelling completed by SSG (Sustainability Solutions Group) for the Climate Action Plan there is an opportunity to reduce over 1,400 kilo tonnes of equivalent carbon dioxide (ktCO2e) by implementing a residential deep energy retrofit program for existing residential buildings by 2050. In addition, over 2,600 ktCO2e can be reduced by installation of heat pumps (residential and commercial combined).

Climate change - flood

We see this all the time – it happened to us in 2014. It can be lessened – but someone has to begin to do something measurable. The current council has made this one of their defining programs.

Engagement Matters:
Staff will work with Communications and local partners/stakeholders to create a robust community engagement and marketing plan to promote the deep energy retrofit program, targeting homeowners as well as trades and contractors. Although a significant amount of promotion can occur online and through our community networks, additional funding may be required depending on some of the measures proposed in the plan.

The City of Burlington has set a target for the community to be net carbon zero by 2050. The development and implementation of a deep energy efficiency retrofit program for homes is necessary to achieve the low carbon scenario described in the Climate Action Plan for Burlington.

 

 

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