Homelessness in Halton - what are the stats and what are the reasons.

News 100 redBy Staff

August 6th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

A Community Lens report from Community Development Halton sets out just what homelessness is.

What is homelessness? According to the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness, homelessness is “the situation of an individual, family, or community, without stable, safe, permanent, appropriate housing, or the immediate prospect means and ability of acquiring it.” The homeless population is hard to count because of their mobility and the cyclical nature of homelessness.
Homelessness isn’t a huge problem in Halton; 271 individuals/head of household experiencing homelessness were identified in 2018 compared to 264 in 2016.

The first coordinated Point-in-Time (PiT) Count of homelessness in Canada took place in 2016 covering 32 communities. The second count that took place in 2018 included 62 communities. Halton Region participated in both Point-in-Time counts.

Homless head count ALLWithin the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA), Halton ranks third after the City of Toronto and Peel Region in terms of the homeless rate (per 100,000 residents).

Homeless head count HALTONIn Halton, over half of the homeless individuals stayed in transitional housing (38%) and shelters (27%). Oakville has the highest rate of homelessness (65.5 persons/100,000 residents) followed by Burlington at 40.9 persons/100,000 residents, in terms of rate of homelessness (per 100,000 residents) in 2018.

Many factors are at play that result in an individual or head of a household to experience homelessness. Homelessness is usually the result of the cumulative effects of a number of factors such as family conflict, job loss, or unaffordable housing. Based on the two Point-in-Time surveys (2016 and 2018), family conflict ranks as the top reason(s) for homelessness.

Family conflict includes conflict or poor relationship between parents and children, physical violence, or sexual abuse. Lack of affordable housing is another top reason for homelessness. Job loss and precarious employment can easily lead to homelessness. Less than one-quarter (24%) of the homeless individuals are employed. Another reason for homelessness is those fleeing domestic violence which includes physical, sexual, or psychological harm by a current/former partner or spouse as well as by other family members, or by a partner’s family member.

Homeless reasosnsWhatever the reason for the homelessness, adequate support needs to be in place ensure that dignity, well-being and a road out of homelessness are in place for anyone who needs the help.

The oft heard phrase “Get a job” is not the answer to the homelessness problem.

Community Lens is prepared by Community Development Halton to disseminate and interpret important community data as it becomes available. For more information please contact CDH at data@cdhalton.ca or 905-632-1975

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Pier to Pier for a necessary 22 km run in preparation for NYC marathon in November.

sportsgold 100x100By Ashley Worobec

August 5th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Had a great week again this week, the pinnacle of which happened on my Sunday long run.

22 km run

Just for the record

This week’s long run was 22km, and my training group did what we call the “Pier run”: this means our route included four piers- the Brant Street pier, both lift bridge piers (one on either side of the canal), and the LaSalle Park marina pier.

It was a gorgeous morning and we started at 7am while most of the City was still asleep on this sunny long weekend. Nutrition is a huge part of a long run like that, and I took in a lot of water, a bit of Gatorade, and a couple of gels while on my run.

My favourite gel is a natural product called Endurance Tap, and it’s only got three ingredients- maple syrup, sea salt, and ginger. They are a Canadian company and I love them so much that I’m a brand ambassador for them. They sit well in my stomach and don’t give me any GI upset that can be common in long-distance running.

When running for so long, your body shunts blood away from your digestive system and prioritizes it into your muscles, so sometimes it’s tough to take in needed nutrition while on the run.

Breakfast

Solid breakfast

I’ve included a picture of the breakfast I ate after this particular run, a variation of which I eat many days each week- eggs for protein, spinach for iron, strawberries for antioxidants, sweet potatoes for carbs, peanut butter for fat, and coffee for coffee!

One other thing to note this week is that I changed my running shoes. I keep track of my mileage, and most recommendations advise changing shoes after 500-800km. I hit 800km on my current pair, and while they still look good on the outside, I know that’s enough mileage that they’ve done their work and taken a beating.

Running shoes

The running shoe that has never let her down.

Since a big focus for me right now is injury prevention, I don’t want to make a silly training error like that that’s so preventable. I always have a couple of pairs of running shoes sitting in my closet, as I buy them when I find them on sale throughout the year, and then they’re there for me when I need them. When I find a shoe that I like, I’ll often buy a few pairs at a time, as running shoe manufacturers often make changes to their shoes with each new yearly edition.

I run in Mizuno shoes; they are narrow and fit my foot well.

Now, to sleep and recover!

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City is looking for some input on Leash-Free parts of the city.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

August 1st, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The woof woofs need more room to run around.

 

Dogs off leash in Central Park - if you have an opinion - speak up

Dogs off leash in Central Park – if you have an opinion – speak up

The City of Burlington is looking for feedback on the City’s current Leash-Free Area Criteria.

Residents are encouraged to visit getinvolvedburlington.ca/leashfree to review the criteria and provide the City with feedback and suggestions.

The City currently has three public Leash-Free Areas:

• Roly Bird Park (2203 Industrial St.)
• Norton Park (4275 Dundas St.)
• Bayview Park (1800 King Rd.)

With feedback from residents, staff will report back to City Council by the end of this year.

dogs-off-leash-opening

The current Council-approved criteria, described below, is used when the public expresses interest in requesting a new Leash-Free Area.

The survey is looking for resident feedback on the criteria along with any suggestions on the criteria that residents may have.

Current Criteria for Creating a Leash-Free Area

• Parks must be within City of Burlington boundaries
• Leash-Free Area must be at least 0.3 hectares (30 metres x 30 metres)
• All Leash-Free Parks must be enclosed with permanent fencing, which the City will provide as part of the budget process
• An assessment will be made to whether parking will be required at a proposed leash-free site, based on the size of the Leash-Free site, location and any disruption to park function.
• A significant barrier must exist between Leash-Free Areas and children’s playgrounds, splash pads, sports fields, waterfront, cemeteries and residential housing.
• Leash-Free Areas cannot be located beside schools or in the City’s waterfront parks
• Area must be accessible to the public for year-round use
“Leash-Free Areas are great amenities in our parks. They encourage play and socialization for all. We also know there are challenges when developing new Leash-Free Areas, and with the general operation of them.

The city asking you what you think – they want some help shaping the Leash-Free future.”

Ideas, opinions what works and what doesn’t work as well as what could work..  Is the current criteria the right criteria?

Speak up!

 

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NYC marathon run is 100 days away - the training is relentless.

sportsgold 100x100By Ashley Worobec

July 30th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Friday, July 26th marked 100 days until the NYC marathon.

100 days might not sound like much, but it still means more than another three months of solid training.

The goal for me throughout this training is to focus on proper recovery and injury prevention, so I’m doing a lot to support those goals.

I try to get to a yoga class once per week, or do some yoga and mobility work in my backyard. Running inherently tightens everything up, and I feel like my muscles and joints move better if I continue to focus on mobility – it only takes a few minutes to see the benefits, and I really advocate this under-utilized component of athleticism to all of my patients.

Push ups lawnThe general rule is that dynamic stretching (stretching that involves movement, like walking lunges, marching and leg swings) is best to be done before activity, whereas static stretching (stretch and hold movements, like the downward dog seen in my photo) is best to be done after activity.

SleepI am also really trying to focus on sleep, and that 9 hours you see on my Garmin reading happened the night after a 20km run (my longest run to date in this training plan).

Sleep is when our body rebuilds itself, and since marathon training is so catabolic (breaks down muscle), sleep helps to rebuild that damage and repair stressed tissues.

My long run will build up again this weekend to 22km, and then I’ll have a recovery week of a 16km long run- this method of a few weeks of mileage buildup, followed by a recovery week where mileage is decreased, is called “periodization of training,” and it is used across many training domains, including running and weight-lifting.

RECOVERY is key, you cannot expect your body to just do more and more and more without giving it a break periodically.

Another important component of my training right now is building leg strength and power, and this is done with hill running (trills, or trail hills, as noted below).

Although the NYC Marathon route is not known for it’s hills, the number of bridges (and therefore bridge ascents) that we have to cross is deceiving, and there is 10km of ascent throughout the 42.2km route!

Hill training, and the benefit of leg strength, is very important if I’m going to make it up those bridges.

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Level of disinfectant in the wading pool cause of seven people being transported to hospital for further evaluation.

News 100 redBy Staff

July 30th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

This afternoon, on Tuesday, July 30, 2019, at 2 p.m. City of Burlington aquatics staff noticed an odour.

Staff cleared the pool and evacuated approximately 40 people outside the pool and splash pad perimeter.

Staff called 9-1-1 and fire, ambulance, police and the health department responded at 2:13 p.m..

Splash pad LaSalle - swimming

The facility at LaSalle Park is very popular.

Eighteen individuals were assessed on scene and seven people were transported to hospital for further evaluation.

It has been determined that during routine maintenance, water levels had dropped causing disinfectant to enter the pool at higher than normal levels, but still within the recommended range. The levels have since been further lowered. The City is reviewing this incident to prevent future incidents.

The Burlington Fire department inspected and tested the entire perimeter of the pool for air quality and deemed all levels to be safe.

At this time, the Halton Region Health Department is on scene. The wading pool and splash pad will reopen once approved by the health department. The City expects to reopen the pool tomorrow at 11 a.m. once it has been tested, inspected and confirmed safe.

The above is the city’s story – and they will stick to it until an independent authority takes a closer look and asks some “why’s” about how disinfectant levels are determined.

 

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Burlington chiropractor does her NY city marathon '15 weeks from yesterday'.

sportsgold 100x100By Pepper Parr

July 24th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

Ashley Worobec, a Burlington based sports chiropractor, is training for the New York marathon on November 3rd; as she puts it “15 weeks from yesterday”.

Ashley is about four weeks into this training cycle. She is very much a half-marathoner and 10k runner and didn’t start a training plan with no fitness under her belt. “I was comfortably running 5-10km a few times per week before training “officially” kicked off mid-June.

running shoes

Will Ashley Worobec go through a pair of running shoes while she trains?

“I run 4-5 times per week, with one long run per week that will gradually increase in length; this past weekend was 18km with a 37C humidex!

training watch

All the training data she needs is on her wrist.

“My longest training run will be in the 36-38km range, and a full marathon is 42.2km- the marathon is unique in this respect, as it’s the only race that athletes go into not having completed the full distance in training ahead of time- the reality is that the risk of injury just gets too high when you get up into those super long runs, so race-day adrenaline and sheer willpower will get me through the last few kms of the marathon.

Naval promenade

The Naval Promenade along the edge of the lake in Spencer Smith Park is ground zero for much of her training – rain or shine

Ashley has run five full marathons in the past, including the Boston marathon in 2003. However, she I hasn’t run a full marathon since 2007, and “in that 12-year gap I’ve had two children and have a lot less free time now! I do all of my runs very early in the morning (5:30am meetups with my running group) and that’s how I make it work.”

A lot of people have been asking me how I train through the summer heat, and this is my advice:

1- focus on hydration the day before your run so that you’re hydrated heading into it.
2- bring water with you, or arrange to have access to water fountains along your route
3- start early to beat as much of the heat as you can
4- be mindful of your route and keep in mind that shaded areas, or areas along the lake (with a lake breeze!) are typically cooler
5- don’t worry about your pace per kilometer, just run by feel and listen to your body.

Ashley will be checking in with the Gazette every week. We will follow her on run day as well.

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Burlington chiropractor will be running the New York City Marathon in November; one of 52,000 people taking part.

sportsgold 100x100By Pepper Parr

July 18th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

How do you start a marathon when there are 52,000 people competing?

That was the question we asked Ashley Worobec, a sports chiropractor who practices in Burlington and has been accepted as a competitor for the New York City Marathon which is a 42km run that winds its way through all five New York City boroughs starting on Staten Island.

nyc-marathon

42 km marathon that will cover all five New York City Burroughs – with 52,000 runners.

 

Ashley Worobec - hair flying H&S

Ashley Worobec, sports chiropracter

Ashley was a participant in the Torch run during the 2015 Pan American games and has run the Boston Marathon.

She expects that her time in the New York Marathon will be in the 31/2 hour range.

The marathon selection is usually a lottery draw – she qualified at a half marathon run in Mississauga where her time was verified.

Why is she doing this? Not sure was the first part of her answer – to which she added that the challenge was a bog and given that she had not run a marathon since 2007 – two children will do that, she decided she was ready to get back into the game.

With her son now 10 and her daughter 7 – Ashley feels she can get away and do something her kids will understand.

The Gazette has decided to follow the 16 week prep time to the run which takes place November 3rd and then to cover the event as live as we can.

Each week we will be doing a piece on where she is in the prep event.

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Rate of opioid-related Emergency Department visits rose by 72% in 2017

News 100 redBy Staff

June 20th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Community Development Halton researches and collects data that is relevant to the social well being of the community and publishes it as a “community lens”.

Data on the Opioid Crisis Canada is facing appears in the most recent Community Lens which we have presented below.

Canada is facing a national opioid crisis. The growing number of overdoses and deaths caused by opioids, including fentanyl, is a public health emergency. In 2017, there were over 4,000 deaths or approximately 11 lives lost each day because of opioid overdoses.

According to Statistics Canada, life expectancy at birth has stopped rising for the first time in over four decades as a result of the opioid crisis.

Opiod emerg visitsIn Ontario, the rate of opioid-related Emergency Department (ED) visits has been rising since 2005. Between 2015 and 2016, the rate increased by 20%. It rose by 72% the following year to 54.6 visits per 100,000 persons.

While the rate of opioid-related ED visits is lower in Halton than Ontario, the Halton rates have been following the same upward trend as the province. Between 2016 and 2017, the Halton rate of opioid-related ED visits went up by over 34% to 30 visits per 100,000 persons.

Opiod Death rateOpiod death age and sexThere has also been an increase in hospitalizations and deaths due to opioid overdose. In Ontario, over 2,100 hospitalization for opioid overdose and 1,200 apparent opioid-related deaths occurred in 2017. The opioid overdose death rate in Ontario rose from 3.5 deaths per 100,000 persons in 2005 to 8.9 deaths per 100,000 persons in 2017.

 

Related news story:

Find the  fentanyl.

 

 

 

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Battle to keep a CN rail hub out of Milton begins; it will be long and ugly.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

June 20th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Burlington, Halton Hills, Milton and Oakville will be bringing expert opinions and reports to a Federal Public Hearing on a 400-acre truck-rail hub proposed by the Canadian National Railway (CN) in the Town of Milton.

The project is currently being assessed by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency Joint Review Panel. The Panel will host a Public Hearing in Milton from June 19 – July 17 to hear community concerns related to CN’s proposal, including environmental effects and how it may affect local residents.

Gary Carr

Halton Region Chair Gary Carr.

“We have been working closely with our Halton municipal partners to ensure residents’ concerns are heard. This project impacts more than rail lines – it will congest our roads, pose health risks and result in fewer jobs for the community,” said Halton Region Chair Gary Carr. “This is something that every resident and member of this community should be concerned about.”

The Halton Municipalities’ team of internal and external experts have identified significant non-rail aspects of the project that raise concerns for residents and the community. These concerns and expert opinions will be presented to the Panel during the Hearing:

Milton modal graphic

• Traffic congestion: The hub will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week and result in 1,600 truck trips to and from the site each day. These truck routes will lead to more traffic on our roads and traffic will continue to increase as the site’s capacity grows. This congestion poses a risk to the safety of motorists, cyclists, pedestrians and families in the area.

• Health and safety: The proposed site is immediately adjacent to existing and future residential areas. Approximately 34,000 current and future residents, twelve schools, two long-term care homes and one hospital are located within one kilometer of the site. The site will generate increased levels of noise, air pollution and lighting, and significantly impact the community’s health and safety.

• Environment: Our community effort to protect the environment will be impacted by the effect of emissions, storm water discharge, water takings and watercourse alterations.

• Employment: The project will result in less serviceable employment lands and potentially fewer jobs for the Halton community. The site and the surrounding area is currently planned for 1,500 jobs and this project will only result in 130 jobs.

Additionally, CN has only revealed its plans for 400 acres on the site; they have not disclosed its plans for the remaining 800 acres. Experts have determined that the operations at this site can be significantly expanded which will further increase the impacts on residents and the community.

gordon_krantz_mayor

Milton Mayor Gord Krantz

“CN is not just asking us to support the current proposal, they’re asking us to have faith about what might come next. All the while telling us it is none of our business,” said Milton Mayor Gordon Krantz.

Conservative MP Lisa Raitt asks a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, May 4, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Conservative Lisa Raitt is the MP for Milton

“I have spent several years listening to local groups, stakeholders, and individuals on the topic of the proposed CN intermodal facility in Milton,” said Hon. Lisa Raitt, Member of Parliament for Milton. “I have weighed all the facts for and against this project and have come to the conclusion that this site is not appropriate for this type of operation.”

“I commend the many residents who have voiced their concerns about this project and thank Mayor Krantz and Chair Carr for taking the lead during the Join Review Panel presentations,” said MPP Parm Gill. “As the provincial representative for Milton, I am committed to doing everything I can to ensure those voices continue to be heard as the Joint Review Panel makes their recommendations, and theFederal Government makes their final decision on this project.”

CN Milton hub protester“The Halton Municipalities are encouraging residents and the community to get involved by attending the Public Hearing or watching it live, using social media to be part of the conversation or by contacting their MPP or MP to let them know their concerns about the proposed project. Residents can also provide comments on halton.ca/cn and these will be used to update the Panel.”

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Halton Crime Stoppers assisting to combat Fentanyl

Crime 100By Staff

June 13th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Crime Stoppers of Halton, in partnership with Halton Regional Police Service, is targeting the dangerous and increasingly widespread trafficking and dealing of Fentanyl and other opioids.

fentanyl a

“Fentanyl and related opioids are becoming ever more common in Halton Region and that raises concern for the safety of our communities,” says Constable Nadine Clarke, police coordinator at Halton Crime Stoppers. “Every tip from the public is investigated and every dose of Fentanyl taken off our streets is a life potentially saved”.

“Halton Crime Stoppers offers rewards of up to $2000 for valid tips that lead to an arrest, and all tips are 100% anonymous. Halton Crime Stoppers will never ask for your name, address, phone number, e-mail address or other personal information.”

Anyone with information on the trafficking or dealing of Fentanyl and related drugs in Halton Region are asked to contact Halton Crime Stoppers either by phone at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or online at www.haltoncrimestoppers.ca.

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Bringing climate change to the table - single use plastics are killing us - it is now in the food chain.

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

June 13th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

“Ben…I’ve got one word for you – Plastics” (The Graduate 1967.)

Read the polls, there isn’t much good to say about the government Ontario voted into office just over a year ago. So the announcement that it is planning to shift the costs of managing packaging waste from the tax base and onto the companies which create it, is worth celebrating.

We shouldn’t get too excited yet, however. The province is really only thinking about appointing a special advisor to recommend options, and results could take months, or even years. Still, this announcement is an encouraging headline from a premier who seems totally anathema to all things environment – killing the cap and trade carbon program, cancelling renewable energy and tree planting projects and fighting the federal government over the carbon tax, and so on.

But there is an ever-growing parade of doom-and-gloom environmental stories which frequent the news media these days. The fact is that an estimated 100 millions tonnes of plastic float in our oceans and some eight million tonnes are added to waterways globally every year.

Virtually all fish species now contain some plastic in their bodies – and so do we.

waste philippines-canada-waste

How the waste got out of the country is the first question and why we were so embarrassing long it bringing it back and then fining the people who shipped it out in the first place.

And when it comes to plastic waste, Canada recently became an international environmental pariah. China had stopped importing plastic waste, forcing large generators of the stuff, including Canadians, to divert exports to a number of third world Asian nations, ostensibly for recycling. But much of the waste was burnt or dumped anyway – but over there – out of our sight.

And a lot of it was too contaminated for recycling, prompting some of these nations to send the refuse back. Our own green PM looked particularly red-faced, caught in a squabble over our waste with the mad-dog president of the Philippines, even though the shipments had been made under the former PM’s watch.

Greenpeace together with the #breakfreefromplastic coalition conduct a beach cleanup activity and brand audit on Freedom Island, Parañaque City, Metro Manila, Philippines. The activity aims to name the brands most responsible for the plastic pollution happening in our oceans. A banner reads "Polluted by Single-use Plastic". Freedom island is an ecotourism area which contains a mangrove forest and swamps providing a habitat for many migratory bird species from different countries such as China, Japan and Siberia.

The sign says it all.

Earlier this year 186 nations, signatories to the UN sponsored Basel Commission, added plastic waste to the list of toxic substances not to be exported and dumped in developing nations. The US, almost alone as a non-signatory to the convention, opposed the motion but Canada signed on.

Mr. Trudeau has been under pressure to do more about the plastics problem notwithstanding the Basel amendment. For example, there was a Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment report out last year calling for zero plastic waste. The EU and some other nations have already announced plans to ban single-use plastics.

Then Mr Singh and the federal NDP recently declared they would ban single-use plastics by 2022, were they to assume the throne. So Trudeau had no option but to announce he’d do a ban even a year earlier (2021). But given the legislative agenda it couldn’t happen until after the election in October anyway. So it’s a perfect election promise.

waste turtle and straw

The damage from single use plastics is seen at a painful environmental level.

Now everyone is wondering whether Mr. Scheer will fall in line and also announce a ban on single use plastics when he brings out his long-promised environment plan. This plan which has been promised and delayed almost since he assumed the leader’s mantle is now targeted for the end of this month. People need to contain their excitement though, recalling that his predecessor, Mr. Harper, never did deliver his promised climate action plan.

It is a reasonable assumption that Mr. Ford’s primary motivation for wanting to shift the cost of waste to industry is to improve his government’s bottom line. Nevertheless this initiative should provide an incentive for manufacturers to reduce the amount of packaging they use.

Economists call it internalizing the externalities – companies will need to find better ways of packaging their products or the products will cost more and be less competitive in the market place. Ironically for Mr. Ford, that is exactly the logic behind the federal carbon tax – get off the carbon bandwagon or be prepared to pay more.

Ford may also be thinking ahead about a possible increase in blue box items should his tearing up the Beer Store’s contract result in termination of their role as a used alcohol container depot. In any case one must remember that the Blue Box program was never intended to reduce our waste, just to divert it from landfill or incineration.

waste blue box

Beer bottles in Blue Boxes?

And the blue box has been more or less successful in that regard. But the program is costly in economic terms as well as in other ways – given the duplication of collection, etc. So shifting the responsibility for packaging waste back to industry might lead to a better option. In any case, not all of the waste, and plastic in particular, can be recycled and much of it ends up in landfill anyway.

Getting rid of single use plastics will have an impact on the oil producing sector, as well. While estimated at only 3% of today’s 100 million barrel global production, a universal single-use plastics ban will amount to another shovel of dirt on the grave of a dying industry. And how long will it be before even more plastics are heading for this future?

That must concern Mr. Ford’s ideological twin and defender of all that’s back to the future in Alberta. Mr. Kenny won his election on a promise go back in time, to expand rather than oversee the demise of Alberta’s number one revenue maker. Shuttering oil sands production and cancelling proposed pipelines was never something he’d dreamt of.

waste back-to-the-future-tribeca

Most of us had even heard of climate change when Back to the Future was on our screens.,

But Albertans who read the papers should have understood that Kenny’s promises to expand the province’s oil industry were nothing more than dreams, and an unattainable fantasy. I’m also a fan of ‘Back to the Future’, the epic 1980’s sci-fi movie. But even then, in 1985, before most of us had even heard of climate change, Doc and Marty’s DeLorean ended up being powered with garbage instead of petroleum.

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:

The Graduate –   Blue Box Changes –   Blue Box –    Ford’s Shift

Philippines Squabble –     US Waste Export –    Consuming Micro Plastics

Banning Single-Use –    Basel –    Oil Industry

Harper Environment Plan

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Final bio pesticide spray to take place Saturday June 8th: 5 to 7:30 am

News 100 greenBy Staff

June 6th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

A low-flying helicopter will be applying the final application a bio-pesticide over four wooded areas to control gypsy moth populations. This pest causes significant defoliation and potential long-term impact to the City’s urban forest. The first spray date was May 31.

The final application of the pesticide on June 8 will be completed between 5 and 7:30 a.m. and is expected to take 5-10 minutes for each park.

Mountainside PArk

Mountainside Park trees to get final spray.

The areas include:

• Forestvale/Kerncliff Park
• LaSalle Park
• Lowville Park
• Mountainside Park

An interactive map is available on burlington.ca/gypsymoth that allows residents to enter an address so they can see where the address is in relation to the spray areas.

Updates will be posted on the City’s Twitter and Facebook accounts @CityBurlington and online at burlington.ca/gypsymoth.

Rob Peachey, on the left, Manager Parks and Open Spaces for the city, talks through some solutions to managing the very large weekend crowds.

Rob Peachey, on the left, Manager Parks and Open Spaces for the city, talks through some solutions to managing the very large weekend crowds at Lowville Park..

The City’s contractor will be applying a Class 11 biopesticide, Foray 48B, REGISTRATION NO. 24977 PEST CONTROL PRODUCTS ACT, with active ingredient Bacillus thuringiensis ‘kurstaki’.

Steve Robinson, Manager of Urban Forestry advises that: “The first application went very well. This second spray is standard practice and will help ensure we protect our trees from this pest in these areas for many years to come. Strong trees with a healthy leaf canopy help reduce temperatures, act as wind-breaks, provide homes for animals and help prevent flooding and erosion. They’re simply good for everything which is why we do everything we can to protect and promote them.”

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School Board special athlete track meet to take place in Oakville June 14th.

sportsred 100x100By Staff

June 3rd, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

On Friday, June 14, 2019, students from the Halton District School Board will participate in the 32nd Annual Special Athletes’ Track Meet at Garth Webb Secondary School (2820 Westoak Trails Blvd, Oakville). The track meet for athletes with physical and developmental challenges will take place from 9:30 a.m. – -2 p.m. Opening ceremonies begin at 10 a.m.

special athletes olympian-the-joy-of-sport

Concentration!

This year, more than 320 athletes are expected to participate, a significant increase considering only 12 athletes participated when the event began in 1987. Coaches, school staff and home school peers, friends, family members and volunteers provide support and encouragement for the athletes.

The Special Athletes’ events include 50m/100m races, softball throw (precision and distance), bean bag throw, Bocce (traditional), T-ball, and Frisbee throw.

special athlete - walker

Effort!

Additional events and stations have been added to the schedule including hoops/ropes and sensory exploration stations.

This event provides Special Athletes with an opportunity to demonstrate their skills and celebrate their successes with fellow students, friends and family. The Optimist Clubs of Halton Hills, Milton, Oakville and Burlington will be donating and serving hot dogs, hamburgers and cold drinks at the meet.

The rain/heat date for this event will be Tuesday, June 18, 2019 at Garth Webb Secondary School.

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Gypsy moth aerial spraying to take place tomorrow - Wednesday

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

May 28th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Tomorrow, Wednesday, May 29th, the City of Burlington will be using a low-flying helicopter to apply a bio-pesticide over four wooded areas to control gypsy moth populations. This pest causes significant defoliation and potential long-term impact to the City’s urban forest.

Application of the pesticide will be completed between 5 and 7:30 a.m. and is expected to take 5-10 minutes for each park.
The areas include:

• Forestvale/Kerncliff Park
• LaSalle Park
• Lowville Park
• Mountainside Park

aerial spraying gypsy moth

Said to be safe – the aerial spraying is necessary to caterpillars from eating leaves off trees.

Updates will be posted on the City’s Twitter and Facebook accounts @CityBurlington and online at burlington.ca/gypsymoth.
The City’s contractor will be applying a Class 11 biopesticide, Foray 48B, REGISTRATION NO. 24977 PEST CONTROL PRODUCTS ACT, with active ingredient Bacillus thuringiensis ‘kurstaki’.

About the Biological Pesticide
Bacillus thuringiensis ‘kurstaki’ (Btk) is a soil-borne bacterium that is applied to the leaves of affected trees while caterpillars are in their early stages of development. Once ingested, the bacterium disrupts the caterpillars’ digestive system with cessation of eating within 24-48 hours. Within days, caterpillars that have ingested Btk will succumb to its effects.

Btk does not have any negative effects to humans, birds or bees. Btk will affect other caterpillar species (known as non-target species). Due to its low residual nature and the narrow spray window of pest development, the non-target impact is expected to be low.

Individuals who have concerns should take reasonable precautions to avoid exposure during a spray program in the same way they would avoid pollen or other airborne materials during days when air quality advisories are issued. Residents can also reduce exposure by staying indoors with windows and doors shut during the spray period if spraying is taking place in their area, although this is not required by health officials.

As part of Burlington’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program, Forestry staff assess sites annually across the city and conduct egg mass surveys to determine areas that have exceeded an action threshold, whereby natural processes can no longer maintain pest population levels on their own. Although healthy trees can generally withstand defoliation several years in a row, trees which are already in distress from problems such as acute drought, compacted soils, diseases or other pests, may decline and die. Generally, healthy trees which are defoliated in spring, will leaf out again by mid-summer. Gypsy moth populations tend to be cyclical, with peaks every 8-12 years, followed by dramatic population decline of the pest.

The City of Burlington conducted a similar program in 2008.

For questions or concerns, please contact Brianna Thornborrow, Supervisor of Forest Planning and Health at brianna.thornborrow@burlington.ca or 905-333-6166, ext. 6145.

Steve Robinson, Manager of Urban Forestry explained that “Taking action now means protecting our trees both in the short-term and for the long-term. We are working with all authorities including emergency services, the Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks to ensure a safe, fast and coordinated application to minimize disruption and maximize effectiveness.”

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FIT IN THE CORE RETURNS FOR THE SUMMER

eventspink 100x100By Staff

May 27th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

If there are yoga exercises being done on Sundays then summer weather must be here.

Yoga in civic sqThey were done in Civic Square in the past –they have moved to a location outside the Performing Arts Centre – 440 Locust Street

Kicks-off June 2nd!

Runs every Sunday | 10am – 11am

Fit in the Core is back again for the summer beginning June 2nd! Join us for free fitness featuring a different class & instructor every Sunday outside the Burlington Performing Arts Centre. All you need to bring is a mat & water bottle.

This event will be canceled in the event of rain. Please stay tuned to social media @DTBurlingtonOn (Twitter, Facebook & Instagram) for cancellation announcements in addition to our webpage.

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Rivers on computer-based doctor-patient interface - he likes it.

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

May 23, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Seven in ten Canadians say they’d rather speak to their doctor over the internet than have to truck on down to one of those disease-laden offices where one spends more time in the waiting room than with your doctor. Health monitoring technology, most of which is delivered in a laboratory or specialty clinic (ultrasound, X-ray, MRI, etc.), has virtually obviated the need for the traditional annual physical examination.

This doesn’t mean one shouldn’t ever have, and see, a family doctor. But should we stop progress? There was a time when we only read the news in a newspaper. Today anyone reading my column has transitioned to reading on-line. So why can’t we also make the transition from the physical doctor’s visit to a more virtual reality?

Not to diminish the value of front line medicine, but increasingly the family GP has become a gate keeper and medical tour guide. Once a potential health issue has been identified the patient is typically off to a specialist.

So the Canadian Medical Association (CMA), the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (Royal College) and the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) are launching a task force to examine virtual care technology and how it can improve access and quality of care for patients from coast-to-coast-to-coast.

Virtual demo

Demonstration of a computer-based doctor-patient interface.

Hamilton’s own Dr Richard Tytus, a CMA board member, Past President of Hamilton Academy of Medicine and resident physician at Steel City Medical clinic is leading a virtual care project using a computer-based doctor-patient interface. With the assistance of local health support staff, Dr. Tytus conducts limited medical exams for his patients, then diagnoses and prescribes on-line as needed.

Dr. Tytus has largely been focusing on those with mobility challenges, for example patients in nursing homes who can’t easily make the journey to his office. And while he has been successful working with that sub-group of the public, he also sees the potential to generalize this approach for a broader cliental including those with mental health issues, where accessibility and the benefits of immediate attention may be even more valuable.

Still, CMA president Dr. Gigi Osler says one big hold up is the matter of privacy. On-line data is thought to be less secure than files in a doctor’s office or the (hopefully) more protected E-health patient files . It’s one of the reasons your doc may not allow you to schedule an appointment directly over the internet. Dr. Tytus gets around the privacy issue in using his Skype-like appointments by obtaining permissions from the patient at the outset.

Another big hold up is government support. Governments may not simply be convinced of the cost/benefits of Telehealth yet. Ontario has actually slashed e-health spending in its latest budget. And besides the province still has its own, so-called Telehealth phone-in line, which generally defaults to directing you to your local emergency ward, because liability prevents real diagnosis.

Health care is primarily a provincial responsibility operating within the Canada Health Act. But, most provinces don’t even fund real telemedicine, so entrepreneurial medical practitioners and companies like the Maple group, are starting to fill the gap, offering private services.

Even after a century and a half of living together Canada’s provinces still dwell in silos of parochialism, limiting our progress as a nation vis-a-vis the rest of the world. And health care is no exception. One of the promises of Telehealth is the ability to bring the best health care professionals to your screen no matter where you live. But that would mean tearing down artificial provincial barriers.

A medical licence, for example, in one province does not transfer to another. Each province and territory has its own regulatory college and its own set of standards to license its doctors. And yet 9 out of 10 physicians support either a national licensing regime or universal recognition of provincial/territorial license.

It is expected that the joint medical task force will conclude to call on governments to implement a real Telehealth strategy with inter-provincial portability at the heart of any subsequently hatched program. Clearly Telehealth has a future beyond Dr. Tytus’ experiments among senior citizens in Hamilton. The challenge for governments, as always, is to work together to make it happen.

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

 

Background links:

The Annual Exam

Virtual Care

Ontario Telehealth

Telehealth Task Force

Canada Falling Behind

CMA Sees Hope

Maple Telehealth

Ontario Cuts E-health

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Four wooded areas in Burlington to be sprayed for Gypsy Moth in May.

News 100 greenBy Staff

April 11, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

As part of an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program, the City of Burlington will be using a low-flying helicopter to apply a bio-pesticide over four wooded areas to control gypsy moth populations which causes significant defoliation and potential long-term impact to the City’s urban forest.

Gypsy moth undergoes four developmental life stages: these are the egg, larva (caterpillar), pupa, and adult. Gypsy moth females lay between 500 to 1,000 eggs in sheltered areas such as underneath the bark of trees. The eggs are covered with a dense mass of tan or buff-colored hairs. The egg mass is approximately 1.5 inches long and 0.75 inches wide. The eggs are the overwintering stage of the insect. Eggs are attached to trees, houses, or any outdoor objects. The eggs hatch in spring (April) into caterpillars.

Rob Peachey, on the left, Manager Parks and Open Spaces for the city, talks through some solutions to managing the very large weekend crowds.

Rob Peachey, on the left, Manager Parks and Open Spaces for the city, talks through some solutions to managing the very large weekend crowds in Lowville Park.

The areas include:

• Forestvale/Kerncliff Park
• LaSalle Park
• Lowville Park
• Mountainside Park

The exact date of the spraying is expected to be during the third and fourth weeks of May in the early morning. Weather conditions as well as insect development will determine the exact date.

Spray dates will be posted on the City’s Twitter and Facebook accounts @CityBurlington and online at burlington.ca/gypsymoth at least 48-hours before the spraying.

Residents can also use the website to enter their address to see where the spraying will occur in relation to their home or work.

gypsy mothgypsy-moth-caterpillarThe City’s contractor will be applying a Class 11 biopesticide, Foray 48B, REGISTRATION NO. 24977 PEST CONTROL PRODUCTS ACT, with active ingredient Bacillus thuringiensis ‘kurstaki’.

Application of the pesticide with be completed between 5 and 7:30 a.m.

About the Biological Pesticide
Bacillus thuringiensis ‘kurstaki’ (Btk) is a soil-borne bacterium that is applied to the leaves of affected trees while caterpillars are in their early stages of development. Once ingested, the bacterium disrupts the caterpillars’ digestive system with cessation of eating within 24-48 hours. Within days, caterpillars that have ingested Btk will succumb to its effects.

Btk does not have any negative effects to humans, birds or bees. Btk will affect other caterpillar species (known as non-target species). Due to its low residual nature and the narrow spray window due to larval development, the non-target impact is expected to be low.

Individuals who have concerns should take reasonable precautions to avoid exposure during a spray program in the same way they would avoid pollen or other airborne materials during days when air quality advisories are issued. Residents can also reduce exposure by staying indoors with windows and doors shut during the spray period if spraying is taking place in their area, although this is not required by health officials.

About Gypsy Moth
European Gypsy moth, Lymantria dispar, is a non-native invasive pest that was introduced in the late 19th century. It was first discovered in Ontario in the 1960’s and has been a major defoliator of deciduous and coniferous trees across Southern Ontario.

Integrated Pest Management
As part of Burlington’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program, Forestry staff assess sites annually across the city and conduct egg mass surveys to determine areas that have exceeded an action threshold, whereby natural processes can no longer maintain pest population levels on their own. Although healthy trees can generally withstand defoliation several years in a row, trees which are already in distress from problems such as acute drought, compacted soils, diseases or other pests, may decline and die. Generally, healthy trees which are defoliated in spring, will leaf out again by mid-summer.

Gypsy moth populations tend to be cyclical, with peaks every 8-12 years, followed by dramatic population decline of the pest.

The City of Burlington conducted a similar program in 2008.

For questions or concerns, please contact Brianna Thornborrow, Supervisor of Forest Planning and Health at brianna.thornborrow@burlington.ca or 905-333-6166, ext. 6145.

Steve Robinson, Manager of Urban Forestry explained that: “We need to take action to reduce the gypsy moth population in order to maintain the health of our valuable urban forest. Currently, populations are expected to be too high for their natural predators to keep them in check. By applying a biological pesticide with a measured approach, we will be able to reduce pest populations to manageable levels. Protecting our urban forests is a priority for the City as it greatly impacts our health, homes and recreation.”

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Rivers: Is extra billing for health care services and opening the door to two-tier health care on the way?

“The legislation is being implemented before parliamentary debate has even concluded and prior to any public hearings. The government created the Super Agency. It held its first secret meeting. The government dissolved the Boards of 20 existing agencies.

Yet the legislation has not even passed. Not only this but all public input and procedural protections that existed in previous legislation have been removed from this legislation which has been subject to no public consultation process prior to drafting.”
(March 18, 2019 – Natalie Mehra, Executive Director – Ontario Health Coalition)

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

March 22, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

I know what you’re thinking. If it worked for garbage why not provincial health care? Right?

Premier Ford’s younger brother Rob’s claim to his fame, besides his crazy antics which put Toronto on the front pages everywhere, was privatizing a part of Toronto’s garbage collection system to save money.

Ford waving

Bye bye local health care oversight.

So why not use the same tried and true formula with health care? Of course there is already substantial private sector involvement in Ontario’s health system, such as long term care, blood labs, and most doctors. Still, the opposition at Queen’s Park is convinced Doug’s plan is more privatization.

And that might account for why Ford and his team are busy willy-nilly disassembling and dismembering Ontario’s entire health-care apparatus. That and because those damned Liberals designed and implemented the system. Cripple the organization, create a crisis, then call in the consultants from south of the border to clean up the mess.

And they’ll tell you the other kind of privatization is the answer. That would be the kind that violates the Canada Health Act – extra billing for health care services and opening the door to two-tier health care. After all Mr. Ford seems to enjoy giving his middle finger to the feds when it comes to national programs.

The problem is we don’t know. And Ford is not telling. That might be because he doesn’t even know. Perhaps he hasn’t had time to put it all together, given it’s only half a year since the election, and re-inventing health care is not something you do in an afternoon. Then it could be the advice he’s getting from his crony, the guy with nearly a half-million dollar sole-source consulting contract, his old friend Dr Rueben Devlin.

Ford big grin

And how are we liking this government so far? Are we paying attention?

Christine Elliot - Super Health

Christine Elliott – Minister of Health

What we do know is that a super agency has been created, and everything is to be managed and controlled out of this super agency. Think of the irony, Ford the Marxist-hater building a Soviet-style centralized bureaucracy. Just about everything, including the world renowned Cancer Care Ontario has now been merged and lumped into this one oversized box.

The government has shut down the 14 local integration networks, the LHINs, which managed and allocated half of the provincial $60 billion budget among the competing demands from hospitals, long term and home care agencies. They will get their local budgets dictated from Toronto now.

There is mention of 30 or 50 voluntary regional health teams somewhere in the future to partly replace the LHINs. But it is anyone’s guess how they would work, given their limited roles. And it is hard to imagine how 30 administration units would be less costly than the 14 that have just been eliminated.

balls in the air

If the government drops a ball – who gets hurt?

No question there are a lot of balls in the air. And they’re going to stay up there for at least another three years according to Christine Elliott, the health minister. In the meantime, I guess it’s muddle through, the squeaky wheel gets the bed pan, and before you know it’ll be time to re-invent the system. That would take us to the next election and perhaps the next government.

‘Create a crisis’ was the marching song of the last PC government in Ontario. And it sure looks like create-a-crisis Mike is back in town, and back in charge, at least in spirit. Harris presided over the worst health care this province ever experienced. The longest hospital wait times in the country; cardiac patients literally dying in hospital corridors waiting for surgery; and cancer patients being bussed to Buffalo and Detroit for treatment.

According to the provincial auditor Harris’ restructuring efforts from 1996 to 2000, intended to bring common sense to the provincial health system, cost $3.9 billion mainly to lay off nurses and staff, close down local services, then rebuild them elsewhere. And his system savings amounted to only $800 million, leaving all of us in the hole.

We should be concerned and maybe even panicked at what is going on now, at how rapidly these changes are happening, at how little analysis has been undertaken, and at how little consultation has taken place. Even the official opposition seems overwhelmed, gob smacked or just sleeping. There have been no public hearings on any of these proposed changes or on the changes yet to come.

Ford staring

Rivers on Ford: “That might be because he doesn’t even know. Perhaps he hasn’t had time to put it all together, given it’s only half a year since the election…”,

There is no provincial program more important than health care. And that is particularly true for senior Ontario residents – those most in need of its services. It is the largest public expenditure item using up 40 cents of every tax dollar.

During the election campaign Ford bragged about how he was going to fix hallway healthcare by adding hospital and long term care beds. So far we haven’t heard of him doing any of that. Instead he is acting like God, creating a new universe of health care delivery out of the ruins of the one he is dismantling.

Mr. Ford may think he is inventing the wheel, but unless he is a miracle worker, he is just fixing what isn’t broken. He inherited a system with the shortest wait times and lowest costs of delivery per person in the country. He’d better not trash it.

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:

Ontario Health Coalition –    Elliott –    Toronto Garbage

Super Agency –     Regional Teams –      Cancer Care

A Sick Feeling –     Privatization –   Two Tier

Social Assistance –    Grifter Government –    No Consultation

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Group has organized walking groups - check it out.

eventspink 100x100By Staff

March 21st, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Walking is a healthy exercise.  It is also a time when you can think and wonder at all the things we have going for us and worry a little about the problems.

Walking with a friend is one of the most civil things a person can do.

Terry Fox - Eagles walking up path - back

Just out for a walk.

Burlington is encouraging members of the community to take steps toward better health with Just Walk Hamilton-Burlington, an outdoor community walking program led by local healthcare professionals and funded in part through the City’s Neighbourhood Community Matching Fund.

Join registered Kinesiologist Jordan Kilpatrick-Smith for a free, fun and supervised walk on Saturday, March 23 at 9 a.m. through Nelson Park and Sherwood Forest Park. Kilpatrick-Smith and the Just Walk team will meet community members at the Nelson Park parking lot located behind the Nelson Arena near the baseball diamonds (4183 New St., Burlington).

The walk will begin with a short educational talk titled, “Healthy Weight Loss to Gain Time, Money and Energy” followed by a guided walk at your own pace. Each walk is open to all abilities and pre-registration is not required.

Join the Just Walk group’s email list at justwalk-hb.weebly.com for information on upcoming walk dates and locations.

The group will be hosting 12 walks in Burlington between February and September.

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Application has been made for a retail cannabis operation on Fairview, east of Walkers Line.

News 100 redBy Staff

February 26th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

An application for a retail cannabis store in Burlington has been received by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario. Written comments due by March 6

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (ACGO) has received an application for a retail cannabis store in Burlington at 103-4031 Fairview St.

Cannabis location

Proposed location for a retail cannabis operation. On Fairview east of Walkers Line.

Written comments about the proposed location at 103-4031 Fairview St. will be received by the AGCO until March 6, 2019 and may be submitted online at www.agco.ca/iAGCO. The AGCO will accept submissions from:

• A resident of the municipality in which the proposed store is located
• The municipality representing the area in which the proposed store is located and/or its upper-tier municipality.

Comments submitted to the AGCO should relate to the following matters of public interest:

• Protecting public health and safety
• Protecting youth and restricting their access to cannabis
• Preventing illicit activities in relation to cannabis.

After March 6, the AGCO will consider all written comments and available information to decide whether the application for the proposed store location will be approved.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward has been an advocate for retail cannabis operations. During the election campaign she said she was surprised at the resistance to retail locations in the city.

When it came to a vote at city council Councillors Shawna Stolte, Ward 4 and ward 6 Councillor Angelo Bentevegna voted to not have retail outlets.

meed-ward-at-council

Mayor Meed Ward supports the opening of a retail cannabis site: two of the six Councillors were not n side with her.

The Mayor said: “This is the kind of location where it is appropriate for accommodating retail cannabis stores in our city. It is more than 150 metres from any school or any of the other locations of particular concern, including parks, pools, arenas, libraries or recreation centres. And it is also along transit routes and near the QEW/Hwy. 403.

She added that the city “won’t be submitting comments to the AGCO on this application given its suitability. The public can submit their comments by March 6 to the AGCO’s website. Burlington City Council is in the process of creating a task force to develop a set of standard comments we would provide to the AGCO, when applications come forward, that reflect community perspectives on where these should be located.”

Meed Ward has been appointed as one of four members of a working group at the Large Urban Mayor’s Caucus of Ontario (LUMCO), part of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, that will work to develop similar guidelines for suitable locations. The working group includes mayors of two municipalities that opted in and two that opted out of allowing cannabis retail stores, recognizing that our concerns are similar. The guidelines we create will be shared with the AGCO and our municipalities.

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