What does it mean to be sustainable - and why does it matter?

What does it mean to be “sustainable” – why does it matter and if it matters that much – why isn’t every one doing it?

This was a question the Gazette put to Jim Feilders, a committed environmentalist and an engineer with a private practice. Here is what Feilders had to say:

backgrounder 100By Jim Feilders

May 1, 2016

BURLINGTON, ON

 

A general definition of sustainability is the ability to continue a defined behavior indefinitely. This can apply to everything from keeping your body alive to the survival of the universe. But most of us think about it in terms of maintaining our lifestyles in the environment in which we live.

The three most common aspects of sustainability are environmental, economic and social. Some like to include culture as a separate item but it generally is included under the social umbrella.

Cod Newfoundland

There was a point when the cod fishery in Newfoundland was a massive industry until the Grand Banks were fished out – it took years to get back the balance that was once in place.

For the environment to be sustainable, the planet has to be able to respond to the human use of resources and pollution created. An example of this gone wrong is over-fishing of the Grand Banks off Newfoundland that resulted in depletion of cod. Wildlife species are becoming extinct by direct killing of animals and destruction of habitat. When the balance of nature is upset, significant changes occur.

We want to know that the planet will be around for future generations. If we don’t maintain a balance between what we do to harm the planet and the capacity of the earth to recover from it, we will find ourselves living on a dying planet. Evidence exists that we are on that path and a global initiative is underway to try to do something about it. Sending too much carbon into the air and oceans is causing global climate change with disastrous impacts. Information is available on the major countries of the world in terms of their biocapacity versus their environmental footprint. It’s just a fancy way of describing whether the environment can absorb all the pollution being produced. Not surprisingly, the US and China are in the red while Canada still has room left over after sucking up all we spew out.

Ecological footpint

Each of us has an ecological footprint – how big might yours be?

Economic sustainability deals with the ability to support a defined level of economic production indefinitely. The most common expression of this is balanced budgets where countries do not spend more than they bring in. As we are all aware, balanced budgets are not common and the devastating effects on the human population are obvious.

Socially, we can be sustainable when the country functions at a defined level of social well being indefinitely. This includes health care, recreational amenities, schools, good transportation, religious buildings and other institutions in a manner that creates a sense of community.

Most of us agree something should be done to keep us sustainable but how we can contribute on an individual basis is perplexing. Governments, particularly local municipal ones, have the greatest role to play through passing legislation to control services, development and pollution. This makes it easier for people to do their part as they are forced into it. Garbage recycling is a good example. Providing a balanced transportation system is another. But government can only push so hard. We live in a free country and have to let our citizens decide on what kind of place in which to live.

Why we don’t do more as individuals has been a topic of discussion for decades. Recently, a Canadian entrepreneur and author, Tom Rand, with degrees in both engineering and philosophy, discusses environmental sustainability in his book “Waking the Frog”. In essence, we are reluctant to change. With our busy lifestyles, we give little thought to what we can do. It is probably not a mass conspiracy of the oil companies. The affluent especially, see no benefit because maintaining their lifestyle is usually just a matter of spending more money when pollution penalties arise.

biocapacity - green fields

The earth needs green fields like this – we need them if we are to survive as human beings on this planet. At this point in time we are losing this battle.

To make our planet sustainable, we can start right within our own communities. We can become involved by exercising age old philosophies of democratic voting, donating financially to worthy causes and directly helping others. When we work together and support each other, the job goes faster and easier. Many forums exist that offer something for everyone to use their specific talents. When stories are heard about dramatic changes such as housing of homeless people in Medicine Hat, Alberta, we are spurred on to do our bit. Burlington is at the tipping point of real change in terms of a sustainable community with the completion of its strategic Plan.

With climate change being such a pressing issue, there are two simple things that we can do right now. Many of us think saving the planet means sacrifices such as taking the bus, turning down the heat and wearing sweaters or yelling at the kids to turn off the lights in unoccupied rooms. But modern technologies for electric and hybrid vehicles and electric heat pumps for heating and cooling our homes are available now that do not require sacrifices.

Despite the apparent higher cost of electricity compared to natural gas and gasoline, these more efficient solutions are actually cheaper on a monthly basis to own and operate.

So get involved where your talents are best put to use and encourage others to do the same. To coin the phrase of BurlingtonGreen: “Together we can make a difference.”

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Barracudas take an impressive number of medals in recent hockey competition.

sportsgold 100x100By Staff

April 7, 2016

BURLINGTON, ON

Burlington’s not-for-profit hockey organization that offers girls a fun environment to play Canada’s favourite sport — picked up two GOLD medals and one SILVER medal at the Lower Lakes Female Hockey League (LLFHL) Championship Weekend, April 1-3, 2016 in North York.

BarracudasLogoAn incredible showcase for Canada’s girls minor hockey players, the BGHC had four teams participate in the LLFHL including Peewee AA, Bantam AA, Peewee BB and Midget A, a team who came out victorious in their division after three rounds of pre-championship playoffs.

“These medals are the product of hard work from a great group of athletes and dedicated volunteer staff,” says Jason Crawford, Vice President of Hockey Operations, Burlington Girls Hockey Club. “The Lower Lakes Female Hockey League is one of the largest girls minor hockey leagues in the world. Simply making the final weekend is a major achievement due to the challenging multi-week playoff format.  To bring home three LLFHL medals is an incredible accomplishment. All our BGHC teams have proudly represented our community and together, we celebrate their achievements during the 2015-2016 season!”

Peewee AA — GOLD

The Burlington gold rush began with the Peewee AA team who won 4-0 over the Oakville Hornets in the final game after being undefeated in the round robin. The BGHC Peewee AA team is the #1 ranked team in Canada.

Braracudas Gold Peewee Aa

Front row (L-R): Jamie Matthews, Mae Matteis. Middle row (L-R): Jalen Duffy, Christina Walker, Elizabeth Gauthier, Olivia Stock, Emily Davidge, Maddie Suitor, Jaime Kastelic. Back row (L-R): Jamie Suitor (Assistant Coach), Payton Bennett, Olivia Muhn, Kevin Greco (Head Coach), Kara den Hoed, Tijana Miskovic, Courtney Rice, Mike Gauthier (Assistant Coach), Sara Davidge, Paige Greco, Kyla Josifovic, April Josifovic (Manager), Tim Bennett (Assistant Coach). Missing from Picture: Assistant Coach Frank Kastelic and Kevin Matthews; Trainers Kim Davidge and Sharon Rice

Bantam AA — GOLD

The BGHC’s success continued when Bantam AA captured their division with a final score 2- 1 vs the Stoney Creek Sabres. This team also went undefeated in all 6 of their games and is currently the #2 ranked team in Canada.

BGHC Bantam AA - GOLD - LLFHL 2016

Front row (L-R): Brynn Koocher, Sara Boucher, Taylor Batista, Grace Bellamy, Amanda Rampado, Olivia Muhar, Bianca Chevarie. Middle Row (L-R): Head Coach Fred Koocher, Alyssa Meyer, Catherine Trevors, Rachael Carson, Jenna Morais, Kristen Walker, Mackenzie Lauretti, Jenna MacLean, Assistant Coach Karl Lauretti, Miranda Dyer and Assistant Coach Preston Dyer. Back Row (L-R): Paige Kenyon, Teeghan Dalby

Peewee BB — SILVER

The BGHC Peewee BB team was undefeated in the round robin and lost to the Orillia Hawks in overtime with a score of 3-2.

BGHC Peewee BB - SILVER - LLFHL 2016

Front row (L-R): Ella Arsenault, Callista Thompson. Kneeling (L-R): Peyton Bear, Maddie Dilworth, Savannah Singh, Reese Andreychuk, Claire Shepherd, Jessica Anderchek. Standing (L-R): Renee Doucet, Ali Armstrong, Madisson Fonseca, Kristen Hazlett, Regan Duffy, Charlie Lewis, Ainsley Kaszecki, Kira Rowe, Madison Uba.

 

 

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Psychologist will explain why some children and adolescents have difficulty managing their behaviour.

eventsred 100x100By Staff

April 7, 2016

BURLINGTON, ON

The Halton Board of education is going to host behavioural expert who will talk on dealing with challenging behaviour in children and teens on April 27, 2016. The event starts 7 p.m., and will be held at Burlington Performing Arts Centre

Ablon Stuart J.

Dr. J. Stuart Ablon, on the right, will speak about why some children and adolescents have difficulty managing their behaviour.

Dr. J. Stuart Ablon will speak about why some children and adolescents have difficulty managing their behaviour. His presentation will provide an overview of Collaborative Problem-Solving, an evidence-based approach to understanding and helping children and adolescents with behaviour challenges.

Specifically, the Collaborative Problem-Solving Approach provides an alternative conceptualization to help parents with explosive noncompliant children and adolescents. The CPS model helps adults teach children lacking cognitive skills in the domains of flexibility/adaptability, frustration tolerance and problem‐solving.

Dr. Ablon is the Director of Think: Kids in the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital, as well as an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

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Province says Halton water is safe; gets 100% on all tests - no need to filter the water from taps.

News 100 greenBy Staff

March 30, 2016

BURLINGTON, ON

The Drinking Water Systems Flow Summary Report for 2015 that Regional Council was given earlier this month said that all 11 of Halton’s water systems achieved scores of 100 per cent on inspections conducted by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change in 2015.

Extreme Heat - drinking water

The water from your tap is just as safe as bottled water.

“Regular monitoring of our drinking water protects public health and ensures public
confidence in our water supply,” said Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr. “Keeping our
drinking water safe is a shared responsibility and our ReThink Water program
encourages residents to enjoy our high-quality water and be aware of how to protect
our source water resources.”

This summary report on Halton’s municipal drinking water systems is prepared and
provided to Council annually to address regulatory requirements as set out by the
Safe Drinking Water Act, 2002. Halton operates 11 drinking water systems governed by
four municipal drinking water licenses, all of which achieved scores of 100 per cent on inspections conducted by the Ministry in 2015. Inspectors did not note any
regulatory compliance issues related to water quality over the past year.

Halton’s highly-qualified and licensed employees perform regular testing to make sure the Region’s water supply consistently meets or exceeds provincial
water-quality standards. From time to time, we are aware that residents are approached by sales people claiming that Halton’s water in unsafe to drink and that
they should purchase water filtration equipment.

However, residents should be confident that their drinking water is of the highest quality and no additional
filtration systems are needed in their homes.

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Great idea helping high school grads make the best of their prom to take place again this year.

News 100 blueBy Staff

March 21st, 2016

BURLINGTON, ON

Various schools within the Halton District School Board will be hosting open houses in late March and early April for Grade 12 students to select various free articles of donated prom clothing.

Prom white-high-school-graduation-dresses-07_4

It’s a big night and they want to look great – and their is a great program in place to help out with the clothing side of the evening.

High school social workers are once again hosting an initiative to help students look their best for their Grade 12 prom, called Fashion Forward. New or gently-used articles of prom wear for all students were donated and available for students free of charge. There are many different styles, colours, and sizes of formal dresses available including suits, shirts, ties and shoes.

The open house for Burlington will be at:

• Thursday April 7, 2016 at M.M. Robinson High School (2425 Upper Middle Road, Burlington) from 3:00 to 6:00 pm.

Students are asked to bring their student identification card with them.

We don’t know how long this program has been around nor do we know who came up with the idea – but it is a superb way to let young people get to their prom look smashing.

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Regional police charge Toronto male with receiving a material benefit from sexual services.

Crime 100By Staff

March 20th, 2016

BURLINGTON, ON

The Halton Regional Police Service’s Human Trafficking and Vice Unit (HTVU) concluded a month long investigation of the Dynasty Wellness Centre in Milton. As a result two people have been charged and a third faces deportation on an outstanding immigration warrant.

The police also have appeared to add an interesting phrase to the English language.

On March 17th, the HTVU, in conjunction with Milton Municipal Law Enforcement officers executed a Criminal Code search warrant at the Dynasty Wellness Centre located in the area of Ontario Street and Derry Road in the Town of Milton.

As a result of the warrant, the following have been charged with prostitution related offences:
Chin-Yu (Tim) CHIU 50 year old male of Toronto – Receive material benefit from sexual services. CHIU will appear in Milton Court on April 25th 2016.

The police do not define “a material benefit”. Could it become a phrase used in some of the bars and pubs frequented by the single set?

A male from Milton was also charged with purchasing sexual services.

A third person, female, was detained on an outstanding Immigration Warrant and has been turned over to the Canadian Border Services Agency for processing.

The Halton Regional Police Service HTVU have ongoing investigations relating to suspicious activity in other similar establishments in the Region of Halton and will be following up investigative leads.

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Without proof of immunization - students face suspension from school.

Newsflash 100Walter Byj

February 5, 2016

BURLINGTON, ON

It came near the end of the Wednesday Halt on District School Board meeting when Director Miller announced to the trustee that to date there are 2,000 students at the grade 11 and 12 levels who are not yet fully immunized.

The Halton Region Health Department that requires 100% mandatory immunization for grade 11 and 12 students within Halton. If those students do not get their immunization by the end of March they will be subject to a 20 day suspension beginning April 6th.

The Regional Health department has done everything possible to immunize students – going so far as to set up individual appointments for students to get the needle.
Miller stressed that that this is mandatory by Halton Public Health as they will be suspending the students, not the school board.

Related article:

Parents have to report.

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Burlington’s Will Finch decides to call it a career after too many concussions.

sportsgold 100x100By Staff

January 25, 2016

BURLINGTON, ON

Burlington’s Will Finch, the record-setting, fourth-year quarterback of the University of Western Ontario Mustangs is calling it a career.

Finch H&S

Will Finch – A Nelson High graduate who went on to Western where he broke most of the existing records.

Finch was one of the Canada’s most highly sought after recruits when he graduated from Nelson High School in 2012. He led the Lords to an undefeated 12-0 season, and the Golden Horseshoe Bowl title in 2011.

One of London’s best known athletes, one whose concussions have sidelined him before, is retiring to avoid risking further injury. Each of his last three seasons has been interrupted by injury. He missed the end of the 2014 and 2015 Ontario University Association seasons because of concussions.

Finch MVP

A remarkable football player who had a remarkable career.

The awareness of the impact of brain injuries on athletes at all levels has grown dramatically in recent years, underscored by the 2015 Hollywood movie “Concussion.” The film is about Dr. Bennet Omalu, a pathologist, who uncovered the truth about brain injuries among players in the National Football League.

In Canada, Leo Ezerins, Executive Director of the Canadian Football League Alumni Association, and Toronto Rehab and Toronto Western Hospital have been at the forefront of research into brain injuries for the past seven years.

Caused by blows to the head or violent hits to the upper body, common in contact sports, the effects of concussions are usually temporary, but can range from headaches and problems concentrating, to memory and balance problems.

In London, medical professionals have been on the cutting edge of concussion research and treatment. The Fowler Kennedy Sport Medicine Clinic, founded in 1974, has had more than 2,000 visits by hockey, soccer, basketball and football players with sports concussions.

Dr. Henry Svec, a psychologist who operates the Dr. Svec Institute and Rehabilitation Clinics in several cities in Southwestern Ontario, and a former Mustang football player who deals with traumatic brain injuries, called Finch’s decision, speaking as a fan and alumni, a “courageous one.”

But Svec said too often not enough is done to diagnose the severity of a concussion and not enough recovery time is allocated for the brain to heal and rehabilitate after an injury.

Finch passing the football

Will Finch – he had a great arm and an even better eye – always knew where the ball had to go.

In his four years at Western, Finch played 30 regular-season games — completing 533 of 790 passes for 8,243 yards, 57 touchdowns and 24 interceptions. He also had more than 1,200 yards rushing. In six playoff games, he had 1,372 yards passing.

His best season was 2013-14 when he played in all eight regular-season games and three playoff games. In the regular season, he completed 191 of 274 passes for 3,047 yards and 21 touchdowns, with six interceptions.

Finch - forlorn look Glover photo credit

Will Finch

In the playoffs he completed 48 of 78 passes for 576 yards and three touchdowns. He set an Ontario University Athletics record with 3,047 passing yards, and a 69.7 completion percentage. He was the 2013 OUA most valuable player and Hec Crighton Trophy nominee.

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Council nixes the idea of a pilot project that would let seniors ride free on Monday's They approved $16,000 for their Car Free Sunday event.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

January 21st, 2016

BURLINGTON, ON

Robert Lovell doesn’t understand.

Robert Lovell A

Robert Lovell

He was interviewed for the job he has as a member of the Burlington Seniors Advisory Committee and thought he was expected to do just that – advise city council on things that mattered to seniors.

BSAC met on a number of occasions and went into the community to learn when people wanted in the way of transit services.

They researched what Oakville was doing and came to the conclusion that the Free Transit on Monday’s was a good idea and certainly worth trying in Burlington.

They then delegated to city council and made a strong case for trying the Free transit for seniors on Monday’s.

They argued that ridership would rise and the free service might convince people to try the bus. They argued it would also allow people with limited means to use the bus service more often.

Councillor Rick Craven, centre, with a copy of the 2013 budget on a memory stick. Craven did a superb job of chairing the budget committee last year. He will have no argument with candidate Henshell over the need for additional shopping facilities in Aldershot - getting themt there has been the challenge.

Councillor Jack Dennison, Rick Craven and John Taylor voted not to proceed with a pilot project to learn how much additional ridership could be added to the transit service. All three voted for an allocation of $15,500 for the car free Sunday event that takes place in wards 4,5 and 6.

A majority of city council didn’t see it that way and they voted (4-3) against the pilot program that was to run for six months.

Councillors Marianne Meed Ward, Blair Lancaster and Mayor Goldring voted for the pilot program.

Councillor Craven said very little during the debate. Councillor Taylor seemed to feel that the program was intended for those who could not afford transit – and he argued, if that was the case, there were Regional programs that gave financial support.

Taylor seemed quite prepared to have people submit to a financial means test to get support to buy a transit pass. He saw the pilot project as social welfare which he explained is handled by the Region.

Councillor Dennison has never been in favour of much in the way of support programs. Councillor Sharman said he didn’t have a problem with the program but he wanted to be sure everyone fully understood just what the outcomes and expectations were for the pilot project.  He wanted the Director of transit to set out what would be measured so that a proper evaluation could be done when the six month pilot ended.

Lovell said he had been told by friends that the Advisory committees were just a sham – that they were put in place to let the public think the city wanted to hear what they had to say. “If that is the case: said Lovell, “then I am out of that committee. I am interested in working on committees that want to make a difference.”

Lovell was one of three people who delegated on the Free Transit for seniors on Monday – a program that Oakville has had in place since 2012 where it is reported to have increased transit ridership by as much as 14% in one period.

Burlington Transit has always had difficulty growing transit ridership. There have been significant price increases which has depressed ridership and route changes haven’t helped all that much either.

When the matter got to council for debate it was clear that some of the members of council didn’t hear what the delegations were saying the day before.

Jim Young was asking council to forget the cost but focus on service – he argued that it was taxpayer’s money and the seniors wanted this kind of service.

What council failed to see was the real opportunity that was being missed. Burlington has busses that travel the streets “more than half empty most of the time” if we understood what Councillor Sharman says.

Bus station 1

A new bus is added to the fleet – city hall staff and area politicians drove over to the transit garage to give a round of applause. They get paid for this – don’t they?

We own the buses, we pay a driver to be behind the steering wheel – if there was a chance to increase the ridership at no additional cost and at the same time provide a service and entice people to use the buses – why wouldn’t one at least try the pilot?

The city wasn’t going to lose any money – there would be passengers on the bus who would not pay a fare – they wouldn’t have been on the bus anyway

There is an additional benefit if ridership can be increased. The gas tax rebate the province gives a municipality is based on two measurements: the population of the municipality and the ridership.

There are currently 130 municipalities sharing $332 million dollars.

There was an addition to the 2016 budget that was estimated to cost $14,000 – they spent more than an hour

Burlington has had problems convincing people to use transit. Doug Brown maintains the city does not have a plan to increase ridership and that there really isn’t anyone within city hall who will advocate for improving transit. There is no one at city hall who fully understands transit – responsibility for transit get mentioned by the people responsible for transportation.

More than 17% of the population is over 65 and while many people are able to drive their cars well into their 90’s our aging population is likely to become subject to graduated drivers licenses.

We will get to the point where a doctor will be required to advise the department of transportation that the patient is no longer capable of driving a car.  What do we do when we have a growing cohort of people who are either not allowed to drive or are no longer comfortable driving?

The transit free Monday was an opportunity to learn if people would take a bus if it were free. The driving factor behind the pilot project was to see if this was a way to increase ridership.

Old school thinking had Councillor Taylor seeing the request as a social welfare issue, while Councillor Sharman wanted a clear understanding of what the expectations of the pilot were going to be.

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Ward 6 Councillor Blair Lancaster – voted for the Free Monday transit service for seniors

Ward 2 Councillor MArianne Meed Ward made her presence known to Council well before her election to office, the city knew what they were getting and she has delivered on that promise.

Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward made her presence known to Council well before her election to office, the city knew what they were getting and she has delivered on that promise.

Councillors Lancaster and Meed Ward were quite willing to let the Director of Transit take the time needed to prepare a report and if they had to move the start date of the pilot back a bit they could live with that as well. An amendment to the motion allowing for a report to be prepared didn’t pass either – the four opposed to the pilot project just didn’t want to see it take place.

When an item fails at the Standing Committee level there is always an opportunity to debate it again at a council meeting – these are usually held a couple of weeks later.  However, budget meetings were slipped in and the normal rotation of meetings got jammed up. If there is going to be a change at city council – those who are behind this project will have to get a wiggle on.

The Gazette understands that the good folks in Aldershot are not at all pleased with the Councillor Craven vote against the pilot.

 

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Seniors push for free transit on Monday's - chances of this making it to the final budget look good. Oakville has had such a service since 2012.

burlbudget2016By Pepper Parr

January 19th, 2016

BURLINGTON, ON

It was delegation time, the occasion when different community groups get their ten minutes to wrangle with council to advance their different causes.

This time it was transit for seniors, transit and the lack of a master plan and two positions the Performing Arts wanted to fill and have added to their ongoing budget.

The Performing arts matter will get covered in a separate story.

Two very effective speakers wanted to see the idea of free Monday transit for seniors make it into the 2016 budget.

Which seniors need the free transit was the question that occupied the minds of many of the council members.

Bus station 1

Imagine a bus service that is free to senior’s on Monday’s – it just might happen.

Every senior responded both Robert Lovell representing the Burlington Seniors’ Advisory committee and James Young, a word 1 resident who spoke to the plans for transit fares for seniors.

In Burlington delegations are usually a one way street – the delegations speaks but for the most part doesn’t often engage the members of council.
There are many occasions when a delegation doesn’t get asked questions.

When Councillor Craven is chairing the meeting – delegations are kept to very few words. Not that way when Councillor Lancaster is the chair.

Robert Lovell was asked questions and council got much more in the way of an answer than they expected when Lovell pushed right back.  Lovell wanted to see Burlington adopt the free Monday transit for seniors that Oakville uses and he kept chiding Burlington’s council members for not doing what Oakville has been doing since 2012.

The two delegations were both seniors – they were there to see that the senior’s in the city got what they felt was needed. Lovell talked of people who were not able to get out of their homes because they couldn’t afford the cost of transit.

“These people get isolated and there mental health deteriorates”, he said.

Mayor Goldring and Councillor Dennison wanted to know what percentage of the senior population lived on the $12,000 a year Lovell had referred to; he wasn’t able to say but he had a petition with more than 500 signatures.

The short delegation session Tuesday afternoon was all that was needed to handle the delegations that were made. It isn’t clear if no one asked to delegate in the evening or if the city decided it was not going to hold an evening session. So much for an engaged city.

Councillor Lancaster said in her opening remarks there was lot of consultation. There was just the one public meeting held at Tansley Woods last week.

In contrast the Strategic Plan has been put before five different public meetings as well as a very detailed on line questionnaire.

For some reason people in Burlington just accept how much their council decides to tax them.

Budget public parent on stairs at ice rink

Parents at a hockey game while three people next door were listening to a budget presentation. It’s just who we are.

In 2015 there was a public meeting that focused on the budget held at Mainway Recreation Centre; it was a winter night – less than three people showed up – next door at one of the skating rinks less than 20 yards away there were several hundred parents watching a hockey game.

Did they know there was a public meeting to review and comment on the budget? The city does advertise the events – and the Gazette certainly spread the word.

wervbg

In 2014 – an election year people showed up for the budget review. In 2015 it snowed and there were just three people in the room plus two people who had run in the last election and were keeping tabs on the council they were not part of – this time.

There have been other public budget meetings that were very well attended – however the more active citizens complained that the budget decisions had already been made – all the city was doing was explaining what they had decided to do.

There are those who think the public should be at the table helping to decide what and where their tax dollars are to be spent.  And that was certainly what Robert Lovell and James Young were suggesting council do – take a much different look at transit. Make it free for seniors every day of the week suggested Young. “That’s what they do in Europe” he said. “You are looking at transit as a cost when you should be looking at transit as a service that is paid for with money the taxpayers give you”, he added.

Several members of council wanted to know how many really poor seniors there were in the city that needed financial support to be able to use the transit system. The figure was said to be 6%.

Mayor Goldring pointed out that 17% of the population is made up of seniors – he seemed to be worried that they all might want to get on a bus on the Monday’s when service would be free – which is exactly the point Lovell and Young were making.

There comes a time pointed our Lovell when you lose your license – what do you do then? The frequency of the bus service really limits how much you are going to be able to get around. If the service were free and frequent you would have people out of their homes spending money, going places and being active in the community, said Lovell

The Mayor, who said he was a senior, one of the younger set – but he does hold a membership at the Seniors’ Centre, told the delegation that he was once carded and asked to prove he was a senior.

The Mayor’s concern was with how many seniors the city will have in 25 years and how a city would manage to deliver the services they will need. The challenge is to develop plans today that will provide the services needed.

One thing became very clear Tuesday afternoon at city hall – if Robert Lovell is representative of the baby boomers who are entering retirement city councils of the future had better be ready for some very local people who expect much more in the way of services And they are not going to be quiet or docile.

Joan Gallagher Bell spoke of a new vision for an age friendly city – for her the minimum was the free transit on Monday.

And that was what Councillor Meed Ward had put forward an adjustment to the budget to make the free service available this year.

Cost – no one was sure but $40,000 seemed to be the number.  James Young pointed out that it wasn’t a real expense – it was just revenue the city wasn’t going to get.

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Councillor Meed Ward just might deliver a real benefit to the senior citizens with this budget.

There is a side bar to this event. More than a year ago – on a December 18th of 2014 when city council was deciding who was going to sit on which committee,  Meed Ward represented the city on the hospital board and she very much wanted to retain that committee responsibility.

Her colleagues didn’t see it that way and gave that task to Councillor Sharman and gave the job of representing council on the Seniors Advisory Committee to Meed Ward.

Meed Ward has delivered big time for the seniors – she will be rewarded when she decides to run for a different role on city council in 2018.

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Regional health department bending over backwards to get students properly immunized

element_healthservices-74x74By Staff
January 18th, 2016

BURLINGTON, ON

The provincial Immunization of School Pupils Act (ISPA) outlines which immunizations students must have in order to attend school.
Local health departments are responsible for confirming the immunization records of students to ensure they have either the legally required immunizations or required exemption form on file.

immunization

Students born in 1998 and 1999 who are not fully immunized can get their shots at school.

This year, students born in 1998 and 1999 who have not provided this information to the Health Department by February 24, 2016, are at risk of suspension starting in April.
Families with children born in 1998 and 1999 whose immunization records are incomplete, received notices from the Health Department in July and December of 2015.

Hamidah Meghani

Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Halton Region’s Medical Officer of Health

“While the majority of families in Halton immunize their children to protect their health, many are unaware that they need to notify the Halton Region Health Department about any immunizations their children have or do not have,” said Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Halton Region’s Medical Officer of Health. “We don’t want anyone to miss school, so as we enforce provincial immunization legislation, we’re making sure it’s easy for students to get updated immunizations by holding clinics in their school.”

If families do not want to wait for the February in-school clinics, they can also receive all required vaccines through their family doctor and report these immunizations back to the Halton Region Health Department.

In February 2016, the Halton Region Health Department will be offering in-school immunization clinics for students born in 1998 and 1999 with incomplete immunizations who are at risk of school suspension.

Although the Halton Region Health Department is taking steps to ensure the immunizations of students born in 1998 and 1999 are up-to-date, all families are encouraged to review their children’s immunization history and make sure the Health Department has updated records either online at halton.ca/immunize, by dialing 311 or by dropping off a copy of their child’s immunization record to the Halton Region Health Department at 1151 Bronte Road in Oakville.

 

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Outside of the hospital construction is coming along fine - teams are now focusing on how the place will work for patients.

jbhhealthBy Pepper Parr

January 15th, 2016

BURLINGTON, ON

While the construction of the hospital is on schedule –concrete pours for levels 7 and 8 slabs of the tower are now done, and construction of the building envelope and structural steel work has started, the team that is going to run the place when it opens is gearing up to operate a hospital that will be a lot different than the one we have today.
More on the construction side before we get to the Readiness Team.

wer

It will be up and opened before we know it.

The verticals from Level 7 to 8 are complete and the verticals from 8 to 9 are in progress and will be completed by the end of January. Levels 8 and 9 will be dedicated to mechanical and electrical equipment that will run the building.

Hospital cranes

Construction cranes loom over the hospital site 0 pouring of the slabs for the top floor expected to be done by the end of the month.

• There will be five concrete pours in total for Level 9. The final pour will happen by the end of January.
• The vertical from Level 9 to the roof of the hospital will begin at the end of January and will be completed by the beginning of February.
• The construction of 6 elevator shafts and 3 main stairways from Level 8 – 9 is underway and will be finished by mid-January. Construction of 1 stairway and 2 elevator shafts will continue from Level 9 to the roof throughout January/early February.
• Mechanical work, plumbing, electrical and duct work continues on the Main Level, Level 1 and Level 2 throughout January and February.
• Installation of drywall continues on the Main Level, Level 1 and Level 2.
• Masonry work on the Main Level, Level 2 and Level 4 is happening throughout January and early February.
• The construction of the Building Envelope (also known as curtain wall) continues on the Main Level and will begin on Level 1 soon. If you take a look at the site from the parking garage roof you will see some of the curtain wall panels.
• Structural steel work begins in the Ambulance Garage.
• In our existing hospital, the excavation for footings for the second section of our loading dock is complete and the pouring of concrete for the footings is done. Forming and pouring for the foundation wall has begun and will be completed by mid-January.

You can log into the web camera that runs 24×7 and watch the hospital being built – you get to be a sidewalk superintendent without getting cold.

Construction is on schedule – the people who will run the hospital have been organized into an Operational Readiness Team that will focus on ICAT (Information, Communications and Automation Technology).

“We want staff to feel excited, to be comfortable and confident to move into their new space in a seamless transition so they can operate out of that space on move day,” said Kate Traianopoulos, Project Manager, Operational Readiness.

Trish Hamilton JBH

Trish Hamilton Readiness Project coordinator

Trisha Hamilton, Operational Readiness Coordinator and Registered Nurse is working with 11 programs at the hospital including Emergency, ICU, Finance and Decision Support and IT to ensure staff are prepared to move and operate in our new hospital in 2017. Trisha describes her role: “I meet with my assigned programs and essentially we review every little task that needs to be completed so they can hit the ground running. Staff need to feel comfortable going into that space on opening day because we have patients to care for and we have a lot of safety concerns that we need to address so that everything is smooth right from opening day.”

“Once we move into this new building your entire processes change. It’s a big change and that’s why we need to start early, ” she said. For Hamilton the challenge is “getting right into the minutiae of that program, down to the meat and potatoes of what those programs do and the processes they need to accomplish and how they serve our patients is important.”

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Resident doesn't think Strategic plan public sessions are going to make any difference - gives them a poor mark.

opinionandcommentBy Vince Fiorito

January 13th, 2016

BURLINGTON, ON

At the beginning of each new term, the City of Burlington Council develops a strategic plan, which reflects Council’s vision and strategic priorities for its term of office and beyond. A strategic plan is a document that provides a framework for future City of Burlington decision making and resource allocation. The result should be a document with specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time bound objectives and key performance indicators.

Strategic Plan Workbook

Strategic Plans are usually four year plans prepared by a city council.

The process to develop the City of Burlington’s 9th Strategic Plan started in December 2014 and should have been completed by December 2015.

This document should take less than a year to consult all stakeholders for input, develop a draft version for consultation and feedback, before City Council ratifies the final version.

Here we are in 2016, and the city still has a few more public consultations to complete and a significant amount of stakeholder input to process before a final version can be put to a vote before city council. I suppose better late than never.

If you plan to attend one of the public sessions, don’t expect to have much time to add your ideas. The format is to divide the audience up into five groups and rotate through five stations, each with a topic to discuss and a communication facilitator. New ideas are welcome, but you will have to compete for time with other participants. I recommend being prepared to submit your ideas to the session moderator in a written format at the end of the session in case time constraints restrict your ability to share your ideas.

As much as I would like to feel warm and fuzzy about how good the City of Burlington is, we do not having a strategy to address invasive species, pollution, climate change and other problems which threaten our natural heritage system.

Sheldon Creek dump 2

Trash dumped into creek ravines.

The City of Burlington has about 20 urban creek valleys which run through the heart of our city. These areas are currently neglected, overrun with invasive species, littered with hundreds of tons of trash and contaminated with fertilizer and road salt residue.

Fish from Sheldon creek

Fish from Sheldon creek

Despite these serious problems, Burlington’s urban creek system act as wildlife corridors and support a wide diversity of native species including trout, salmon, mink and great blue heron.

Clearly the city could add the  Green Belt objectives and our urban creeks to the Strategic Plan, but, for whatever reason, has chosen to continue to neglect these urban green spaces within walking distance of most city residents.

Vince Fitorio

Conservation Halton made Vince Fiorito a watershed steward – Sheldon Creek is his territory.

I live on Sheldon Creek and founded the Friends of Sheldon Creek Stewardship organization. Ideally I’d like every resident and business adjacent to one of Burlington’s urban creeks to be considered waterfront property.  I am disappointed that the strategic plan has no plan to protect, conserve and restore these natural areas. It’s not like I haven’t tried to raise awareness. I’ve submitted the above information as a delegation to city council and to the Sustainable Development Committee. What does that say about Burlington as an Engaging City?

Another missing component in the Strategic Plan is Climate Change and a plan to reduce the city’s greenhouse gas emissions. The strategic plan states that by 2040 the “city’s operations are net carbon neutral”.

Hydro Cogen Hydro Sept 29-15

The hydro plans to increase micro-generation of electricity using natural gas, would increase the city’s greenhouse gas emissions.

However, the strategic plan lacks anything on how to achieve that objective. In fact, the city’s plans to increase micro-generation of electricity using natural gas, would increase the city’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Overall the draft of Burlington 2015-2040 Strategic report gets a C- in my opinion with an F on the environment.

The final public sessions for input to the Strategic Plan are:

Strategic Plan Open House
Jan 18, 2016 07:00 PM – 09:00 PM
LaSalle Park Pavillion

Strategic Plan Open House
Jan 18, 2016 07:00 PM – 09:00 PM
Mountainside Recreation Centre

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100 woman are going to gather at Emmas Back Porch four times a year - check them out.

News 100 blueBy Staff

January 13th, 2016

BURLINGTON, ON

The Gazette has written about the 100 Women Who Care Burlington. It is a simple concept whose impact is very powerful.

The goal is to raise $40,000 (or more) annually for local registered charities or their charitable programs that help Burlington residents live their lives to the fullest. This is done by gathering 100 women (or more) who commit to donating $100 (or more), four times per year. At each of their one hour meetings, nominations for charities and/or their programs are submitted by members for consideration of the group.

To expedite the process, of the nominations submitted, three are selected at random and of those, the nominators have an opportunity to pitch their cause to the members, after which a vote is taken, ballots counted and cheques written to the organization that receives the most votes.

Food4kids - bag + appleThe group is part of a grassroots movement that’s spreading rapidly across the globe. Men’s groups have also been formed (one is in the works for Burlington) and in some communities, the kids have been inspired to follow suit (with $10 donations).
Since their inaugural meeting in 2014, they have collectively donated in excess of $40,000 to:

Burlington Humane Society
– Halton Women’s Place
– Home Suite Hope
– Food4Kids
– Carpenter Hospice
– Alzheimer Society of Hamilton and Halton
– Community Living Burlington
– Friday Night Community (Wellington United Church)

Humane Society BurlingtonMore information about the group can be found at www.100womenwhocareburlington.com. Their facebook page is www.facebook.com/100WomenBurlington
Meeting dates for 2016 are January 19, May 31, September 13 and November 29. All meetings this year will be held at Emma’s Back Porch at 2084 Old Lakeshore Rd.

Craig Kowalchuk and the team at Emmas Back Porch has a long history of giving back to the community and 100 Women Who Care Burlington are appreciative of their support in hosting our quarterly meetings this year.

Dermetics, a Burlington based business is sponsoring 10 of their staff as members. It’s been a fabulous way for their business to give back to the community, while involving their team as they contribute to the decisions on where the funds will be directed. Dermetics has also provided numerous door prizes and incentives to grow our membership.

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Dates for the public meetings on the Strategic Plan corrected

Strategic Plan WorkbookOooops!

It happens.
Mistakes get made.
Some of the dates for the public meetings on the Strategic Plan were changed – and we missed updating our data base.
Earlier today we published a list of dates that were incorrect.
Sorry – the correct dates are set out below.

 

Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016
Robert Bateman High School
5151 New St.
Cafeteria
7 – 9 p.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016
Burlington Senior Centre
2285 New St.
Multi-purpose Room
7 – 9 p.m.

Monday, Jan. 18, 2016
LaSalle Park Pavilion
50 North Shore Blvd. E.
Main Hall (upper level)
7 – 9 p.m.

Monday, Jan. 18, 2016
Mountainside Recreation Centre
2205 Mount Forest Dr.
Community Room 2
7 – 9 p.m.

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Pedestrians being given more time to get to the other side of the road - how will the police enforce this one?

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

January 5th, 2016

BURLINGTON, ON

Speeding and aggressive driving are the top complaints by residents in the Halton Region, according to the Regional Police.

Officers work diligently to educate drivers about the dangers of bad driving behaviour and conduct enforcement to ensure people are getting the message. The province’s Making Ontario’s Roads Safer Act requires drivers to be more patient and alert when driving through busy pedestrian intersections.

On January 1, 2016, drivers in Ontario will have to wait until a pedestrian has reached the other side of a designated school crossing or designated pedestrian crossover, or face a fine between $150.00 and $500.00 and three demerit points.

crosswalk-sting

The driver of this car would be subject to a stiff fine were the police to have been on hand. New rules are now in place.

Drivers will have to stop and yield the entire width of the road to the pedestrian, instead of half the road as was previously the case. Cyclists must follow the same rules as drivers under the Highway Traffic Act, and thereby must stop and wait or face the same fine.

These rules apply at pedestrian crossovers identified with specific signs, road markings and lights – the new rules do not apply to pedestrian crosswalks at intersections with stop signs or traffic signals, unless a school crossing guard is present.

It is everyone’s responsibility to ensure our roads are the safest they can be. Drivers, cyclists and pedestrians must share the road and look out for each other. Make 2016 your safest driving year yet!

Good luck on getting the cyclists to adhere to this rule.

A number of months ago, perhaps it was last year, we recall hearing a police officer tell city Councillor’s that the people they stopped for speeding on a residential street were usually found to be people who lived on the street.

Human nature – it will eventually be the end of us.

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Region has issued an Extreme Cold Weather Alert starting the evening of Sunday, January 3

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

January 3rd, 2016

BURLINGTON, ON

Christmas Day there were people in the city wearing shorts. Today the Region has issued an Extreme Cold Weather Alert starting the evening of Sunday, January 3, 2016.

Overnight temperatures are expected to remain in the extreme cold range until Tuesday, January 5. This alert is issued when temperatures are expected to fall below -15 degrees Celsius (without wind-chill), or when weather conditions are severe enough to warrant alerting the community to the risks involved with prolonged exposure.

The alert is intended to inform the general public and community agencies, while also recommending safety precautions. This alert is in effect until temperatures rise above -15 degrees Celsius (without wind-chill) or weather conditions improve and the risks involved with prolonged exposure are reduced.

Coldest night - boy with signAnyone can be affected by extreme cold-related weather conditions, depending on length of time of exposure to cold and exertion levels. Those especially at risk include: older adults (over the age of 65), infants and young children, outdoor workers, sport enthusiasts (hikers, skiers), homeless persons, and/or those lacking shelter, proper clothing or food. During extreme cold, call or visit friends and neighbours who may be at risk.

To keep yourself, your family and your home safe, you should know how to prevent cold-related health injuries, avoid frozen plumbing in your home when extreme cold temperatures hit and be prepared if there is a cold-weather emergency. You can avoid cold-related injuries by dressing appropriately and covering exposed skin. To protect your home, ensure good air circulation to all plumbing areas. Remember pipes can freeze when there is inadequate heat inside your home and the air temperature falls below zero. Open doorways to basement areas and crawl spaces enough to keep these areas warm.

Finally, it is also important, in preparation for winter driving conditions, that you keep a Car Survival Kit in your car at all times. This kit can include items such as: cell phone, blankets, booster cables, shovel, first aid supplies, flashlight and batteries, extra boots/socks, etc. A kit such as this can save your life or someone else’s. Plan ahead and listen to the weather forecast.

It is evident that we are all still in Canada. Now if the Canadian National Junior Hockey Team had managed to beat Finland instead of finding themselves on an airplane back to Canada, we would really know that this is Canada and we are enjoying the cold weather and our boys are winning at the game we own.

Hey, Montreal is still leading in the NHL  so all is still well in the world. Right?

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What happened the last three months of last year? Some pretty good stuff actually - and one more small pier story.

News 100 blueBy Staff

December 31, 2015

BURLINGTON, ON

The last quarter of the year – what mattered most?

There was some movement, finally, on the Strategic Plan; the school board finds itself taking a very hard look at the level French will be taught; intensification is getting good discussion. Many think we have already reached the intensification level the province will expect us to grow to  in terms of population increase the subject got a lot of public discussion.

Showtime AGB - poor lighting

Walt Rickli’s sculpture – Showtime at the AGB.

Rickli sculpture unveiled at the Art Gallery – donated by Dan Lawrie.

Active transportation: Never heard of it ? You will – a Burlington school board has some ideas she wants to see become policy.

Bylaw prohibits feeding of wild animals – including coyotes – does not go into effect for one year. City wants to educate people particularly around Fairchild Park.

Summer school enrollment increases in public secondary schools – grew by 15%

Tom Muir wants to know why the city missed a 180 day deadline on a major project opposed by almost everyone.

Geraldos at LaSalle Park and Spencers on the Waterfront asking for lease renewals – one of them wants to lock in parking spaces for 15 years.

Parking to get a serious review: what do we have – what do we need? Consultants being hired.

Mary Lou Tanner

Mary Lou Tanner – city’s new Director o Planning.

City snags a planner from the Niagara Region: Mary Lou Tanner to head up Planning for the city.

Council finds the city manager’s Work Plan a little on the ambitious side and lacking prioritization.

The province wants to put more money into off road bike paths where would Burlingtonians like to see those paths built?

Public meeting to learn what the board thinks it should do with the French and English programs at the elementary levels.

Planning department creates drawings to show what parts of the city could look like with intensification in specific locations.

Public hears what the HDSB thinks could be done to manage the trend to increased interest in French immersion.

Grade 9 math test scores for Burlington public high schools release: Robinson and Pearson don’t rank all that well. Why?

First glimpse of the draft Strategic Plan for the balance of this term of office – some rash deliverable dates were put on the table.

Burlington is now represented by three women in Ottawa: Gould, Damoff and Raitt

Public school board posts policy documents on its web site – not that easy to find – Gazette provides instructions.

Henrys pier #1

A smaller pier.

The pier – a footnote.

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Influenza Outbreak Reported in Burlington Long-term Care Home

News 100 blackBy Staff

January 1, 2016

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Halton Region Health Department is reporting the region’s first confirmed Influenza A outbreak at a long-term care home in Burlington. The outbreak is contained and all patients are responding positively to treatment.

“While influenza outbreaks are not uncommon in long-term care homes, they present a real challenge for residents and caregivers,” said Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Halton Region’s Medical Officer of Health. “Elderly patients are especially vulnerable to the acute impacts of influenza and must be closely monitored to ensure their health does not deteriorate.”

The Region did not identify which long term care home experienced the outbreak.

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2015 in review - July, August and September - some significant appointments made.

News 100 redBy Staff

December 29, 2015

BURLINGTON, ON

The year in review – July, August and September – how did the city do?

July 2015
Union wage settlements of 4.25% and 6.95% negotiated by CUPE.

Burlington Transit asking its riders what they want

HOV lanesWe get to use HOV lanes with two occupants in the vehicle – as we prepare for the day when we have to pay to use that lane with just a single occupant in the car.

Burlington’s federal Liberals launch their campaign; they sense a victory in the air.

Changing the culture at city hall; bringing in the department leadership needed – and getting a Code of Conduct in place for the politicians.

Federal government decides the CN Milton Logistics hub needs to benefit from the eyes of an independent panel. Truck traffic impact on Burlington roads worrisome.

Messy council debate refers the Code of Conduct to the city manager.

Flood Fairview plazaCommunity Foundation closes it books on the Disaster Relief Fund – $2.72 million distributed.

Is the Food Truck a fad, a new phenomenon or the shape of things to come?

Is there a future for the oldest farmhouse in the downtown core? Could be if the city planners and the developer get creative.

Premier plans to make room for more politicians in the legislature.

An electric vehicle charging station will be installed in downtown Burlington at the parking garage on Locust Street.

The Flood – It was small in area and it hovered in the one place and just kept pouring – dropping almost as much rain as Hurricane Hazel in 1954.

August 2015

Can we pull it off? The potential is significant and it will certainly change the city in a rather positive way.

Premier tells Ontario Mayors they will get a better deal next time there is a localized disaster.

Suzanne HainesBurlington imports a new executive director for the Performing Arts Centre from Richmond BC; Susan Haines starts September 1st

Rebuild of the Freeman station is coming along nicely – they still need help with a lot of the work. Get in on it now – when this thing is done it will be something to be able to say you were a part of.

Where do we put 35,000 people in the next 25 years? And what will the city have in place in the way of roads and transit to move these people around?

September 2015
Hydro cuts the ribbon on a micro co-generation turbine that has the potential to contribute significantly to the city’s Community Energy Plan

Is there an Arts Council in the city’s future? Should there be one? Does anyone care?

Stuart_Miller___GalleryStuart Miller appointed Director of Education for the Halton District School Board

A fourth GO station for Burlington? It is in the works.

City Clerk opens the kimono just a little and lets you see how Council voted on recorded votes.

Most of the community and corporate affairs discussion at council was be behind closed doors – six confidential items on the list.

City challenges residents to Think Outside the Car – the process of changing the car culture has begun

Transportation Minister explains what the provincial government is going to do with rail transit – catch up and keep up!

Harper in Burlington sept 1 - 2015Prime Minister in town with a promise to build an Advanced Manufacturing hub – if he is re-elected.

The full year:

Ist quarter – January, February and March

2nd quarter – April, May and June.

4th quarter – October November and December.  To follow.

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