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

News 100 redBy Walter Byj

October 2, 2015

BURLINGTON, ON

Have you heard the term “Active Transportation”? Be prepared to hear the phrase bandied about in the next few months.

Active transportation is defined as human powered transportation such as walking, cycling, wheeling and other methods using mobility devices. This would apply whether going to the store, to work or to school.

It is a buzz phrase at all levels of government. Now how we shop or get to work is for the time being, our decision. However, the Halton District School Board can definitely have some influence as to how children reach school.

Bikes-at-Beaudoin-school

During a ride the bike to school week students at Charles Beaudoin school liked the idea and 200 students stuck with their bikes after the event.

Over the last number of years, vehicular traffic around schools has increased tremendously. There was a time when most students walked to schools. That certainly is my memory. With changing times, many more students are reaching school either through busing or car transportation.

There are many reasons that contribute to increased vehicular traffic, (safety issues, French Immersion) there has been a fundamental change as to how students reach school. Approach any school close to the opening bell and you are in the middle of a traffic jam.

This has resulted in schools needing to use the available land for circular drop off points or expanded parking lots. The HDSB did in fact promote the use of Active Transportation back in September of 2014, to date, there has not been too much traction in this area.

Well, this is about to change.

Grebenc - expressive hands

Burlington school board trustee Andre Grebenc has brought forward a motion for an Active Transportation program

A motion presented by Trustee Andrea Grebenc (Burlington), who is also chair of the Transportation Committee, recommended that the board renew its commitment to Active and Sustainable Transportation and to explore, evaluate and participate in collaboration with other school boards, municipalities, the provincial Government and other potential stakeholders is presenting a workable solution.

So why this concern about active transportation?

Various studies point to the evidence that those students who use some sort of physical activity prior to the commencement of the school day tend to concentrate better and achieve higher results than those who do not get any physical activity prior to school.

Some of the ideas to achieve active transportation?

Walking school bus

Actively promoted – children will take to walking to school on a regular basis.

• Walking Wednesdays
• Walk a Block (A drop off zone at least a block from the school)
• Bike Trains (Group of bikers along a pre-designated route)
• Walking School Bus (Parent volunteers walking a route and picking up students)

Implementation of some of these ideas would not only create a level of physical activity for students, but could also improve the air quality near the schools.

With an interim plan due in December of this year, this initiative is going to get a lot of discussion – the board is expected to initiative some public consultation prior to that date.

Background links:

City is pushing more walking and cycling as part of its draft Master Transportation Plan

If you give students a chance to make more use of their bikes – they will

 

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Hospital construction now at level 4 - live camera lets you look at the work being done any time of day.

jbhhealthBy Pepper Parr

September 26, 2015

BURLINGTON, ON

It takes the EllisDon Construction Team an average of three weeks to pour concrete and form the columns for one level of the new patient tower.

JBH construction site Sept 26-15

The view of the construction site as seem from the Earth Cam Saturday September 26th. There is a link to the camera in this story. Bookmark it and drop in to see how the construction is doing,

This means that in just a few months we can expect to see the slab for Level 7 completed, before the winter weather is upon us. The before and after photos show how fast the tower continues to rise.

The construction of the Level 4 deck has started and will continue over the next couple of weeks.

Level 4 is a double-height space there is no Level 3.

Eight elevator shafts from Level 1 to 2 are finished and shafts from Levels 2 to 4 are in the process of being built.

Three main stairways have been completed up to Level 2. The stairways from Level 2 to 4 are being constructed over the next couple of weeks.

The micro piles for the bridge that will connect the parking garage to the main hospital building will be installed by the end of this week. A micro pile is a mini version of a caisson (a structure that is drilled down to bedrock to support the bridge).

A new ramp on the Level 1 balcony in the courtyard area of the hospital has been completed.

Masonry work and roofing continues on the loading dock.

A new bulk oxygen tank arrived last Friday and will be installed in the loading dock area.

JBH old hospital ward

There are many people in this city who remember hospital rooms that looked like this. The move to four patients in a room was seen as a huge advancement.

The hospitals of today are eons away from what a hospital used to look like. People will be taken aback when they see just how attractive and modern looking the new hospital rooms are going to look like.

The hospital administration decided they would create mock-ups of what a Patient Room, Emergency Department Exam Room, Trauma Room, Intensive Care Unit Room and an Operating Room will look like

The mock-up rooms are being built in a warehouse off-site and are nearing completion.

JBH September 10, 2015

This is where the construction crews had gotten to on September 10th.

The construction site has a camera that is live all the team showing the new patient tower as it rises. The photograph shows where the site was on September 10, they are certainly growing.

How are they doing so far – Click here.

 

 

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The North Burlington Rotarians add $20,000 to the $400,000 they have already banked for the hospital redevelopment and expansion fund.

Event 100By Pepper Parr

September 21, 2015

BURLINGTON, ON

Is it a portent of things to come?

Bed race - side walk crowds

Burlington’s version of NASCAR crowds – waiting for the Amazing Bed Races races to begin

Was the surprise second place finish by Liberal candidate Karina Gould’s team a sign that these people have done their home and their ground work and the Amazing Bed Race is not the only surprise in store for the city?  Or did second place in the race mean second place in the polls on October 18th?

Word is that the pushers were all fireman – that would do it.

Bed race  kid strollers

The strollers are given the once over before the little ones take them out on the race course – they do move along the street at quite a clip.

The sixth Annual Amazing Bed Race to raise funds for the Joseph Brant hospital redevelopment and expansion had everything going for it – including some grudge matches between the auto dealers in town.

For the past two years it has been Mazda and Acura duking it out with Team Acura coming out on top.

With a federal election taking place it was natural to see beds from the candidates – the Greens didn’t make it – but their candidate, Vince Fiorito, had just been “officially” nominated two days prior. The NDP wasn’t in the race and it doesn’t look as if they are a factor on the election in Burlington either.

To the surprise of many – Liberal candidate Karina Gould and her team came in second – Acura took the top spot – again.

Bed race 2015

Mike Wallace leading his team onto the Amazing Bed Race course.

Was the Liberal second place finish a sign, an indicator that Burlington might end up with a Liberal at the provincial legislature and in Ottawa?

Mike Wallace was looking particularly fit and his wife was on the sidelines cheering him on. Wallace told the Gazette that he has completed nine of the ten marathons he wanted to run across the country – one in each province.  The Nunavik marathon might have to be dog sled run.

There were 14 entries, $20,000 was raised. Prior to the Sunday race – $400,000 has been raised by the Amazing Bed Race for the redevelopment and expansion of the Joseph Brant Hospital.

Longos once again provided bottled water, fresh fruit and power bars.

Bed race 2015 Rosie

Eleanor McMahon, Burlington’s MPP has been working on women’s issue lately and decided that her Amazing Bed would celebrate and recognize that time during WW II when women were a major part of the work force

Rosie the Riveter – otherwise known and the bed from the office of the provincial member of parliament.
Denbow Landscaping
Acura on Brant
Board of the Joseph Brant Hospital
Burlington Orthotic Centre
Mike Wallace – Federal member of parliament
Provincial Progressive Conservative Association
RBC Financial
Fun Radio 820
Leggett Mazda
Far Away Greens
Burlington Taxi
Gardener Landscaping
Kia

Bed race 2015 Rotaarian at work

The Amazing Bed Race is put on by the North Burlington Rotary Club

The event was put on by the North Burlington Rotary Club – besides the actual race there was a kids Stroller event and a Best decorated Bed as well.  Were there fewer financial institutions taking part this year?

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Liberal candidate explains the change her party wants to make in pensions - doesn't say how it will be paid for.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

September 15, 2015

BURLINGTON, ON

The phony election phase is now behind us. The past few days there have been more promises from the four parties wanting to either ensure they stay in power or want to form the next government and exert the power the public gives them. And remember – the power a government has is power you gave them when you voted.

Burlington has a large seniors’ population; current MP Mile Wallace has courted that cohort very successfully and they have been loyal to him. Say seniors and you have also said pensions, and that has brought out a statement from Liberal candidate Karina Gould who today said: A Trudeau-led Liberal government will make sure that Canadian seniors get the secure and dignified retirement they deserve.

It hasn't reached a fever pitch yet - it might not but he does know how to pull all the heart strings and both his hair and his children get many mentions.  The bold new ideas? - haven't heard those yet.  what he did assure his audience was that he had very solid values - but didn't make much mention of what they were.

These seniors are certainly fans of Justin Trudeau – he draws well when he is on public tour. Many of his policy statements have been strong – knowing how it is all going to be aid for is a concern. It isn’t just the Liberals who aren’t being candid about the costs.

“With record levels of household debt and an economy in recession, it is no wonder why Canadians in Burlington – and across the country – are worried about their retirement,” said Gould. “Right now, on average, a retired person receives just $618 per month from the Canada Pension Plan – hardly enough to live on. Our seniors have worked their entire lives, and should not have to struggle to make ends meet. Justin Trudeau has a plan to ensure that all Canadians get the dignified retirement they have earned.”

“As part of our three-point plan to create jobs, grow the middle class, and help those working hard to join the middle class, a Liberal government will work with the provinces and territories to significantly reform our retirement security system by:

• Restoring the eligibility age for Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement to 65;
• Lifting hundreds of thousands of seniors out of poverty by immediately boosting the Guaranteed Income Supplement for single low-income seniors by ten percent;
• Introducing a new Seniors Price Index – in recognition of the fact that many seniors live on fixed incomes – to make sure that Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement keep up with rising costs;
• Beginning discussions with the provinces and territories, workers, employers and others on how to enhance the Canada Pension Plan within our first three months in government;
• Not cutting pension income splitting for seniors;
• Introducing a more flexible and accessible Employment Insurance Compassionate Care Benefit; and
• Prioritizing significant new investment in affordable housing and seniors’ facilities as part of a Liberal government’s commitment to a new, ten-year investment of nearly $20 billion in social infrastructure.

This is good stuff – and as a senior who looks for that pension cheque going into the bank at the end of every month I certainly understand who Gould is talking to – me.

How is my government going to pay for this improvement in my pension? Are they going to have to take money away from something else? Will the much touted federal day care program be lost for another decade? Will the aboriginal communities not get the schools they desperately need so I can get a bigger pension?

Governing is a balancing act – how do you keep everyone happy?

Transit - seniors with Gould

Liberal candidate Karina Gould watches a group of seniors discuss transit policy – getting around the city is critical for these people – just as critical as their pensions.

“I’m proud of the policy my Party announced today for seniors,” added Gould. “It is a product of grassroots discussions, like the town hall I held in January with the Hon. John McCallum, Liberal Critic for Citizenship and Immigration, Multiculturalism, and Seniors. The measures we’re putting forward are born directly out of these conversations. I have been listening to the serious issues that face seniors in our community. ‎I’m proud to stand for a party that will act for all of our seniors and ensure a dignified retirement for everyone in our community.”

I too am proud of the policy – I’d just like to know how it is going to be paid for.

The Liberal candidates are not the only ones a little shy on the details side of the election promises – a voters question should be ; how much?

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She is back - Meed Ward took the summer off to recover from a serious concussion.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

September 14, 2015

BURLINGTON, ON

Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward brought her constituents up to day on the accident she was involved in that resulted in both whiplash and a serious concussion.

One SUV hit her van and forced her into the rear of another SUX.  The driver of the car that hit Meed |Ward was charged with careless driving. The Meed Ward van was written off.

Meed Ward at her old city hall office - the desk is as cluttered in her new space where she tends to fill up her voice mail box and overspend her postage allowance.  She promises to get back to people within 24 hours - and delivers on that promise.  Now she wants to deliver onher promise to keep spening in line with what is in the bank.

Even at 95% recovery from a concussion Meed Ward will keep her council colleagues on their toes.

Meed Ward explained that at the time she thought it was a “relatively minor accident, and I was more annoyed than anything. But the next day, at the urging of friends, I attended a walk-in clinic because I felt something wasn’t right. I learned I had sustained whiplash, and tissue damage in my back.

“Worse, I was diagnosed with concussion. The double impact had snapped my head forward and back with such force my brain hit my skull on both sides – a common injury for this type of motor vehicle accident.

“The result: headache, sensitivity to light and sound, extreme fatigue, nausea. The feeling like your head is full of sawdust.”
Meed Ward said – “There is no permanent damage in my case. And the only cure is rest, lots of it.”

Rest isn’t something Meed Ward is very good at – she was writing her constituency newsletter at 4:30 in the morning. She did however take the doctor’s advice after “she told me I could either rest over the summer and be fully recovered by the fall, or maintain my usual pace and delay my recovery by six months to a year. So I took the summer off.”

“I’m 95% recovered, with a few remaining physiotherapy and concussion appointments. I expect to be fully recovered very soon. The goal is to be symptom free while maintaining my usual work pace”

We will look forward to another of her requests for a recorded vote on an issue – this city council never tells the public how members of Council voted at Standing Committee meetings. They record the vote at a city Council meeting, which is where the actual decision is made but the way each council member actually voted is not recorded – so much for accountability.

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Blistering temperatures - take sensible precautions and avoid heat stroke.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

September 5, 2015

BURLINGTON, ON

It was blistering hot out there today and it isn’t going to be any cooler on Sunday – this heat is expected to stay with us until Monday.

Ship at pier - foggy

The lake is often shrouded in fog = as ship works its way toward the entrance of Hamilton harbour – passing the Burlington pier

Maximum temperatures near or above 30 degrees and minimum temperatures near or above 20 degrees are expected through Monday. Meanwhile, peak humidex values near 40 are forecast for Sunday and Monday. These conditions may produce much discomfort for those who may not have access to a cool or air-conditioned place.

It is expected to remain very humid Tuesday, with maximum temperatures in the high twenties.

While extreme heat can put everyone at risk from heat illnesses, health risks are greatest for – older adults – infants and young children – people with chronic illnesses such as breathing difficulties, heart conditions or psychiatric illnesses – people who work in the heat – people who exercise in the heat – people without access to air conditioning and – homeless people.

Extreme Heat - drinking waterDrink plenty of liquids especially water before you feel thirsty to decrease your risk of dehydration. Thirst is not a good indicator of dehydration.

Take a break from the heat by spending a few hours in a cool place. It could be a tree-shaded area, swimming facility or an air-conditioned spot such as a public building, shopping mall, grocery store, place of worship or public library.

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Region medical officer of health reports first probable human case of West Nile virus in Halton

News 100 blueBy Staff

September 4, 2015

BURLINGTON, ON

A probable human case of the West Nile virus (WNV) illness has been identified in an adult from the Town of Oakville. This is the first human case for Halton in 2015.

Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Halton Region Medical Officer of Health pointed out that “80 per cent of people infected with West Nile virus will have no symptoms, others will have West Nile fever consisting of fever, headache, muscle ache and a rash. If residents are concerned, I’d encourage them to visit their health care professional.”

wev

This is how West Nile Virus is usually transmitted

Urban areas are more likely to have mosquitoes that carry WNV. The types of mosquitoes that transmit WNV to humans most commonly breed in urban areas in places that hold water such as bird baths, plant pots, old toys, and tires.

The following are steps that residents can take to protect themselves and their families from mosquitoes:

• Cover up. Wear light-coloured, long-sleeved shirts and pants with tightly-woven fabric.
• Avoid being outdoors from early evening to morning when mosquitoes are most active and likely to bite, as well as at any time in shady, wooded areas.
• Reduce mosquito breeding sites around your home by getting rid of all water-filled containers and objects. Change the water in bird baths at least once per week.
• Use an approved insect repellent, such as one containing DEET or icaridin.
• Make sure your window and door screens are tight and without holes, cuts or other openings.

As part of its ongoing West Nile prevention program, Halton Region staff continually monitor areas of standing water, eliminate potential mosquito breeding sites and larvicide when mosquito larvae are found. A map showing the locations of standing water sites that have had larvicide applied is available at halton.ca/wnv.

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Someone has taken their hand off the switch at the Regional office; public health information does get distributed.

News 100 blackBy Pepper Parr

August 25, 2015

BURLINGTON, ON

Public health is a service that is provided by the Region. Much of the direction for public health comes from the province with the actual service delivered by the Region to people in the different municipalities.

There were two services that the Gazette used to get information from the Region on – the health of the lake water where there are public beaches and reports on the incidence of West Nile Virus.

To date – there have been no reports from the Region – which would suggest there are no problems with the water and no reports of West Nile.

WestNileVirus_transmissionThat didn’t seem quite right so we put a call into the Region and asked if we had missed something. The Region has six, seven or eight communications specialists – people who prepare information for the public which they send out to media – we write up reports letting people know where it is safe to swim and where the Region is treating vegetation for mosquito infestations – which if you recall is a critical part of the food chain for birds – which gets that virus into the public.

The response we got from the Region was – check the web site – all the information is there for anyone who wants it. Whoa – that’s not quite the way the system is supposed to work.

The Region has the information and they have a mandated responsibility to do everything they can to inform and advise the public.

Someone has taken their hand off the switch at the Regional office.

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Hospital redevelopment and expansion on time - a much better flow of public information and a nifty live camera of the construction site.

jbhhealthBy Staff

August 24, 2015

BURLINGTON, ON

The Redevelopment and Expansion of the Joseph Brant Hospital is the biggest redevelopment that Burlington has ever seen. So big that is got a line all of its own on your tax bill – the taxpayers are putting up $60 million to get the hospital built.

The new hospital will be completed in two distinct phases, with an estimated completion date of 2018.

JBH aerial rendering

When completed the orientation for the hospital will have the main entrance on Lakeshore Road facing the lake. The road is being raised by as much as a full metre in places to accommodate the changes.

Phase One is complete. The Halton McMaster Family Health Centre is open and already welcoming patients! Construction still continues on the new parking facility and the administration offices of JBH.

Highlights of our new building include: Halton McMaster Family Health Centre – the Burlington Family Health Team are operating clinics within the centre; Teaching classrooms for McMaster Residents as part of the McMaster University Department of Family Medicine; Administration offices for Joseph Brant Hospital and Joseph Brant Hospital Foundation.
The new parking facility with over 820 spaces

Phase Two: The new seven-storey patient tower will be built on the existing parking lot at the back of the existing hospital and will be connected to the parking facility by a foot bridge. The main highlights of the second phase of the project include:

A new Emergency Department
172 acute inpatient beds
9 new Operating Rooms and a new post-anaesthetic care unit
An expanded Diagnostic Imaging department and associated services
Expanded medical, surgical and outpatient services
An expanded cancer clinic
An expanded Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and renovated Special Care Nursery – level 2 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
An expanded and modernized laboratory
70 percent of the rooms across the hospital are single-patient rooms.

Hospital main emtrance which will face the lake

The new entrance to the hospital will be on Lakeshore Road facing the lake with the parking garage yards away on the west side. There will be a walking bridge from the garage to the second level of the hospital.

The hospital is being much more proactive with the information they are making available. They have installed a camera that lets you pop in and see what is being done on the construction site – live. Interesting to watch.

There is a video of the project overall – a little on the long side but if you want a full sense of what they are setting out to do and you have three minutes you don’t know what to do with – click to see the project – no popcorn.

Video of the project

The construction cam

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Extreme heat warning for Sunday and the following two days issued by Environment Canada.

News 100 redBy Staff

August 15th. 2015

BURLINGTON, ON

Environment Canada reports that extreme heat and humidity expected to start Sunday, August 16 will result in temperatures that will reach at least 31 degrees Celsius with overnight temperatures above 20 degrees Celsius for two days along with a humidex of 40 or higher is expected for two days.

Even short periods of exposure to these weather conditions can cause serious health problems. This warning is intended to inform the general public and community agencies, to keep residents safe and healthy during the heat and to recommend that precautions are taken when temperatures are high.

extreme heatAnyone can be affected by extreme heat-related weather conditions. Those especially at risk include: older adults (over the age of 65), infants and young children, people who work and exercise in the heat, people without adequate housing and those without air conditioning. People who have breathing difficulties, heart problems, kidney problems or take heat-sensitive medications are also especially at risk of preventable heat illness. If you or someone in your care experiences rapid breathing, headache, confusion, weakness or fainting, seek medical attention right away.

You can prevent heat-related illness by staying cool; avoiding strenuous outdoor activities; seeking shade from the sun; spending time in air-conditioned places, such as shopping malls and community centres; and drinking plenty of cool liquids, especially water. Call or visit friends and neighbours who may be at risk and never leave people or pets in your care unattended in a car.

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Burlington Mother and daughter team plan to make their Brant street stores the centre of the vegan food universe.

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

August 10th, 2015

BURLINGTON, ON

Cupcakes from Burlington being sold in Dubai. Wow – could that actually happen?

Kellys - Mother and daugter - kelly lk down - not all bd

Erinn Weatherbie and her Mon Kelly Child look over the schedule for the day – their marketing mantra is set out on the white board behind them

Well the actual cupcake may not get made in Dubai but the recipe and the concept will have come from the agile mind of Kelly Child who has operated Kellys Bake Shop with her daughter on Brant Street for the past two years.

The operation was recently voted 3rd (and only Vegan bakery) on BuzzFeed’s list of top 25 cupcake shops in the world. It’s an amazing story for a Burlington based business.

What is BuzzFeed? If you are into social media – and isn’t everyone – you will know who they are. For those who don’t know, BuzzFeed labels itself as the “Most Important News Organization in the World,”

BuzzFeed seems to have found a business model that allows it to enjoy “true journalistic independence.” (That model is “sponsored content”—copy that is produced jointly by BuzzFeed and an advertiser to blend in with editorial copy, with a small, inconspicuous identifier of the sponsor.)
After the Boston marathon bombing sent a surge of traffic to the site, BuzzFeed brought over Lisa Tozzi from The New York Times to build a breaking-news team. It also hired Miriam Elder, a correspondent for The Guardian in Moscow, to create a world desk; it now has a dozen reporters and editors stretching from Mexico City to Nairobi. In 2013 BuzzFeed formed an investigative unit as well.

So BuzzFeed would appear to have clout and worldwide reach – which explains why Kelly and her daughter and their publicist are all a twitter over the thousands of people who walk through their doors.

Kellys - her with cup cakes-edit

Delicious – without the guilt – or so they say. Childs wants to become the Martha Stewart of the vegan food world.

This all got started with the opening of a restaurant in March of 2010 called Kindfoods, a new restaurant concept conceived from a deep inspiration of healthy vegan (plant-based), and gluten-free eating and ultimately living in harmony with Mother Nature.

KindFoods got renamed and is now known as “Lettuce Love Café” ; their food is 100% authentic vegan, gluten-free, peanut-free – the healthier choice is the way Kelly and Erinn put it and add that their business is not just a food choice but a lifestyle choice as well.

The restaurant proved there was a market for vegan food in Burlington – the cupcakes were an extension into a product that had become very very popular.

Kellys - kitchen

Pink prevails in a spotless kitchen where cupcakes get produced by the thousands.

Their publicist says their cupcakes are delicious, stand head to head with the fat and sugar laden varieties, but these are guilt-free – vegan, gluten-free, peanut-free – the healthier choice

Kelly has a rapidly growing on-line following; #kellystribe who follow not just for food advice but also for inspiration and to be part of a community of life minded, health conscious eaters.

Childs adds that “It’s good for the soul when we know it’s local, fair-trade and organic and kind to living things and the planet.” She adds that great food does make a difference.

Kelly and Erinn are both very savvy and walk the talk about their insights and food philosophies. All of their food is 100% authentically Vegan – not just by way of ingredients, but also in the way they think about the planet and being socially conscious – kind food.

Kelly is a “marketer” – the product happens to be something she is passionate about but the strength is that of a big picture marketer.  Erinn has a degree in political science that she earned at McMaster. Her Mom lived in Toronto at the time and followed Erinn to Burlington where they are in the process of building an empire on cupcakes that are vegan.

They are working on their first cookbook which will be published by Random House in 2016. There are literally thousands of cook books out there – to have Random House pick up your book is a big big deal

To have investors in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates express a financial interest in what you are doing is also a big deal.  Are there dollars on the table – not yet but Kelly and her daughter Erinn are looking far beyond the borders of Burlington.

Kellys - counter of cup cakes with people

Exceptional marketing savvy are creating a brand that is becoming known around the world.

When a small shop on Brant Street draws several thousand people on a weekend and gets written up in one of the hottest news sources you know something is happening.

The underlying product will be cupcakes but that appears to be just the beginning.

Kelly Childs, who is exceptionally fit, does yoga and appears to have tapped into all the progressive approaches to running a retail operation, is clearly on a roll.

Where does she see all this going? She wants to become the Martha Stewart of healthy food choices and the cookbook is going to be the launching pad for that world reach effort.

The Martha Stewart of vegan food eh!, from Burlington you say. Keep an eye on this one

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Watch the seven floors of the Joseph Brant Hospital patient care tower rise right before your eyes.

jbhhealthBy Staff

July 30th, 2015

BURLINGTON, ON

A new chapter in Burlington’s history is unfolding right before our eyes – quite literally…

The team doing the construction of the seven-storey patient care tower have installed a web camera that broadcasts live – you can see what is being done minute by minute

Hospital earth cam

Enjoy a live look at the steady progress being made to the main construction site where our new hospital will stand in 2018. You can zoom into the site by hovering over the bottom left corner of the screen and clicking + or – and you can click the arrows to move left and right or up and down. You can also get an even bigger view of the site by clicking “Full Screen.”

Take a look at the construction site through the lens of the Construction Cam, CLICK HERE you can see Level 1 of our seven-storey patient care tower beginning to take shape, all in real time!

The construction changes each day. To date 180 caissons have been drilled into the ground.

80% of the foundation pile caps (footings) have been completed. The pile caps will hold the columns that will support the new patient tower.
Two crane towers are on site.
The underground mechanical and electrical work is underway and the installation of Cupolex (a mitigation system) has begun.
Construction of the structural floor slab began on July 17. Columns have been installed and the decking for level one has begun.

Current Update – July 29 to August 12, 2015

Continuing to form level one.
Excavation will be done by the end of July
Excavation begins for the bridge footings. The bridge will connect the parking garage to the main building.
Underground plumbing and electrical work continues.
Pouring concrete into sections of the ground floor continues.

The construction team want to know what you think of the project.

Find JBH on Twitter and Facebook and share your thoughts using the hashtag, #HereWeGrow.

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Is there another section of railway track that is not properly fenced off?

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

July 28, 2015

BURLINGTON, ON

Most of the problems we have as a city don’t go away.

In April of 2013 city council got into a major sweat over fatalities at railway crossings.

Will the sign make a difference?  If it doesn't - well we tried.  But if it does - that is a victory.  Denise Davey deserves great credit for her efforts.  Keep her in mind when it comes to selecting Burlington`s Best.

It took a while but the city came up with a solution when there was an unsafe opening to railway tracks on city property.

Staff were told to get fences up so that young people could not scoot across the railway tracks easily.  And appropriate fencing was put up.  As a result of the issue of people running across very busy railway tracks a committee was created to meet annually and keep track of where there were problems and ensure that the public was kept safe.

Rail -GO-train-without-protective-barrier

Before a citizen brought this unsafe path at the end of a city street this opening existed and was used regularly by people – including Councillor Jack Dennison who said it was a quick way to get over to Harvest Road.

When the fatalities were taking place in 2013 a parent who lost a child to a track crossing fatality delegated to City council, Regional council and met with the Minister of Transportation and they spoke to a group of people that had everyone who had anything to do with the rail lines sitting at the table

There was a lot of buck passing going on and then the energy that had been poured into the problem began to dissipate and the public interest moved on to the next problem.

There was another rail crossing fatality recently in the eastern end of the city – it didn’t get all that much publicity. People learned about the incident when the GO train they were on was delayed.

When there isn’t much said publicly people assume that the death was the result of a person with mental health issues – we don’t say it was a suicide – for some reason that isn’t a word the public wants to see. We know it happens – we just don’t want to talk about it.

Sheldon Creek - graffiti

Graffiti on the walls beneath the railway bridge is bright and colourful – the wonder is how in blazes the artists managed to climb up and do the painting. Did they levitate?

During a tour of the Sheldon Creek area where it runs through Sherwood Forest Park we came across some bold, colourful graffiti on the walks of the railway bridge – we wondered how they artist managed to get up that high.

The tour was to get a sense as to just how high the water had risen during the flood last August.

GO train approaching Sheldon Creek bridge

GO train traffic is now much more frequent. This section of the tracks is not adequately fenced. The problem is not with the railway or the city – it is with the property owner – not yet identified.

We made our way up the embankment to the level where the railway tracks ran over the creek and noticed that there were no barriers. The fence that was in place had been pushed down making it a snap to get to the railway tracks and cross over.

In the space along the creek there was evidence of small fires being lit; we bumped into some people sitting under the bridge, two males and one females – with one of the males on crutches walking along ground that was far from even.

We didn’t have to ask what they were doing there. The concern was the fence and how easy it was to get to the railway tracks.

Sheldon Creek Vince pulling fence GO line

Vince Fiorito pulls pf a section of fencing along the edge of a property that borders the rail line used by both GO and Via. The racks are in the background – yards away from a part of the Sheldon Creek where younger people hang out.

The small field was clearly a place where young people hang out – it is out of the way – they can make all the noise they want – no residential in the immediate area.

Drugs are used by young people – behaviour gets a little irresponsible and that’s when stupid things are done.

It’s a fence that needs repair and perhaps a little beefing up. It was clear that the fence had been down for some time which suggests there isn’t an active program on the part of either the city, the railways or the property owner to inspect the fences and ensure that they are doing what they were meant to do – keep people out of places that are dangerous.

Senior staff at city hall point out that “the responsibility for keeping fences in good repair is usually the responsibility of the property owner” – and added that “few companies walk their property line to check on the fences.

“When the media does their job and reports on these issues the vast majority of the property owners do the right thing and fix the fence.”

Background links:

The path that was the problem

The solution the city came up with

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Hospital asks for a re-jig of the funding formula - council says sure - the amount to be borrowed will push city close to its debt limits.

jbhhealthBy Pepper Parr

July 8, 2015

BURLINGTON, ON

The Joseph Brant Hospital tag team paid a courtesy call on Council earlier this week and chit chatted about how things were coming along on the construction site; updated council on where things were with the community portion of the $120 million we have to come up with to get that refurbished hospital, large parts of which will be brand spanking new, top the point where people can use the place.

Annissa Hilborn and Eric Vandewall, she of the Hospital Foundation and he of the hospital itself, also left the city with a document that set out when and how much of the $60 million city taxpayers have been putting into a reserve fund for that rainy day when the hospital comes looking for a cheque.

The purpose of the meeting was to approve the amendments to the City’s Contribution Milestones and authorize the Mayor and Clerk to execute the amending agreement.

JBH renering July -15 with passageway to garage

Most recent rendering of the Joseph Brant Hospital showing the bridge from the garage.

In July of 2012, Council approved a Contribution Agreement that had the city contributing $60 million towards the purchase of eligible equipment costs.
At the time there was a bit of a squabble on how the city was going to give money to the hospital. They, the hospital, wanted the city to pay for building the parking garage which Councillor Taylor objected to – unless the city was going to get the parking revenue. That idea didn’t fly.

They eventually settled on the city agreeing to pick up the tab for up to $60 million in equipment costs.

The initial cash flow from the hospital represented the their preliminary estimate of the equipment needs and cash flow requirements over the life of the JBH Redevelopment Project prior to the award of the construction Contract to Ellis Don Infrastructure JBH Inc.

Hospital cash flowThe revised schedule is now reflective of the equipment purchases required to align with the construction schedule of Ellis Don Infrastructure JBH Inc. which includes the opening of the new tower in 2017. The equipment requirements for the hospital fiscal years 2015/16 have decreased by $10.1 million. In 2016/17, the equipment requirements have increased by $22 million from the original contribution agreement. These changes are consistent with the construction project schedule and the requirement to acquire furniture, fixtures and equipment and install the same prior to the opening of the new tower in 2017.

The new tower will include a new Emergency department, three medical/surgical floors, a new ICU, new OR’s and day surgery and ambulatory care including a new Ophthalmology Clinic.

The comparison of the Revised Contribution Milestones is provided below:

JBH contribution milestones

2016 is going to be a crunch year – the hospital wants a lot of the money then – and we don’t have it – so we borrow – hoping that interest rates remain low.

The change in the cash flow advances the amount of debt required, but given the current favourable interest rates, the revised cash flow reduces the total levy and the length of time for the dedicated hospital levy from $62.1 million (19 years) to $59.5 million over 17 years.
The original cash flow is set out below

JBH original cash flow 2015

The revised cash flow means the city doesn’t have to borrow quite as much as it would have under the original flow.

The Contribution Agreement requires that JBH provide a Milestone Notice to the city at least three months in advance of each contribution date. This is critical in 2016 as this is the largest payment requiring a significant amount of debentures through the Region of Halton.

Each notice must contain:

• A statement confirming the application of all installments previously provided by the city to eligible costs
• A statement confirming the amount contributed by the Foundation to Local Share Plan Costs at that time (the agreement stipulates that the cumulative city contribution is not to exceed the amount contributed by the Foundation)
• A statement confirming the application of any unused funds from any prior city installment together with interest earned
• Any unused funds together with interest earned shall be used on account of the next city installment.

The city’s $60 million contribution is made up of cash payments totaling $24.1 M and debentures of $35.9 M. Debt repayment (principal and interest) amounts to $41.52 M (10 year debt at 1.951% for the 2015 issue and an assumed 3% for the 2016 debt issue). All cash and debt repayment is funded by the dedicated tax levy for the hospital.

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Sport Field Status - grounds in D3 at Ireland are iffy

element_sportsCBy Staff

June 30th, 2015

BURLINGTON, ON

All Sport Fields are currently open.

Please note: Ireland D3 outfield continues to experience wet patches. If inclement weather occurs please avoid use in affected areas.

Log into the Burlington Gazette daily to keep up on local news

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Vince Fiorito; a man with a mission - to clean up Sheldon Creek and keep it clean.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

June 29th, 2015

BURLINGTON, ON

Vince Fiorito teaches and instructs people in the arcane science of information technology. He knows all about Virtual Private Networks; how to set them up and how to keep them both running and safe from the cyber bandits.

He has been around information technology since its inception and while he hasn’t invented anything or become ridiculously rich he is content with what he is able to earn.

Vince Fitorio

The Halton Hamilton Watershed Protection group and Conservation Authority issues these placards – they are prized possessions in the rural part of the region.

The passion for Fiorito is the environment – and here he has become an absolute bulldog. Fiorito will see a lush green lawn and know that it was treated with some chemical that is polluting the creeks and streams that run through Burlington and into the lake – our water supply. That makes the hair on the back of his neck bristle.

When Fiorito and his wife went looking for a home in Burlington he knew that he wanted a ravine property; it was his wife who found what they were looking for. His back yard is a slope that is landscaped with stones – not as much as a blade of grass to cut but a clear view directly into the flow of Sheldon Creek that runs from the watershed in the Escarpment through the city and into Lake Ontario.

Sheldon Creek - farm equipment + Vince

This hunk of metal has obviously been in the creek since before the development surrounding the creek was constructed. A farmer or the developer that bought the farmland just left it; does the city not inspect the land at all during the construction phase. Getting it out is going to be a challenge.

Sheldon Creek is Vince Fiorito country – he has a sign into his back yard that declares he is the Friend of Sheldon Creek. His reputation has spread throughout the city. During one of his Inspire speeches Mayor Goldring was taking questions from the audience – Vince was on his feet and asking the Mayor what his position was on the cleaning of the creeks. Goldring recognized the name and said “you’re the guy that cleans the Sheldon Creek” – not bad in terms of recognition.

Fiorito has walked every foot of the creek from Upper Middle Road to the Lake – during the summer he expects to trace the path of the creek from Upper Middle Road to its headwaters in the Escarpment

During a delegation before a city Standing Committee Fiorito upbraided council for not keeping the creeks cleaner – pointing out that they were city property.

Councillor Craven took exception to that comment and said it wasn’t city property but the property of people whose property who bordered on the flood plain. Staff corrected the Council member – it was for the most part city property they said; the decent thing to do would have been for Craven to apologize to Fiorito and listen to what the man had to say but that isn’t the currency Craven deals in.

Fiorito can recite chapter and verse on how many tonnes of garbage have been removed from Sheldon Creek and had the photographic evidence to back up his point.

Sheldon Creek - chemicl cans

Not toxic but not the kind of thing you want adventurous boys coming across when they play in the creeks.

When Fiorito came across the two 40 gallon barrels and the cans of chemicals in Sheldon Creek his first instinct was to inform the Ontario Ministry of the Environment. Easier said than done. There was no phone number; there was a form he could complete and did.

Fiorito didn’t understand why he couldn’t send a GPS marker to the Ministry so they would know exactly where to look.

Sheldon Creek - small dam - fallen tree

The back up here is due to a fallen tree – there is no one culling the forestry – the result is small damn that get created and catch everything flowing through the creek.

There is more work to be done on the Sheldon Creek and while Fiorito gets quite cranked up about the environmental mess and isn’t the least bit shy about warning neighbours about the potential harm – the truth is Sheldon Creek is a mess and it is city property and while it will cost a pretty penny to clean it up from top to bottom there is the potential for flooding and the backing up of the spring runs offs – and there might be some junk in there that could be dangerous.
Burlington has 10 creeks that flow through the city and into the lake. They are for the most part abandoned with no one paying much in the way of attention to them. The city got a very rude awakening when the August 4th flood hit the city last summer. The practice before the flood was not to do all that much to the creeks; the natural approach, just leave everything that falls into the creek bed wherever it falls, was both cheaper and though to be environmentally sound.
That 191 mm of rain in a single day resulted in water roaring down those creeks and that harmless tree stump became a battering ram that lifted large pieces of concrete on New Street.

Flood weather network bridge

It was a backed up creek that brought the flood water over this bridge

Creeks got plugged and water began flowing into the streets and basements were flooded – the wonder is that some lawyer in town didn’t see the potential for a class action law suit and go after the city for tens of thousands in claims arguing that the city was negligent – which it has been.

Last week Conservation Halton held its annual awards night in Milton where it recognized those who had made significant contributions to the preservation of the environment

After the flooding brought on by Hurricane Hazel in 1954 that resulted in more than 90 deaths, flood control in Ontario and Canada as a whole became a more important issue.

Fiorito has nothing but positive words for the work BurlingtonGreen does each year when it spends the best part of a Saturday organizing thousands of people to help clean up the trash in the city – but makes this observation:

We have thousands of people helping clean up but we appear to have thousands who are littering our creeks – hundreds of vehicle tires have been pulled out the creek and they didn’t just fall of a passing car.

Sheldon Creek - vince in high water

Vince Firoito thinks there might be some scrap metal revenue in the creeks – is is salvageable? Part of his mission is to clean the creeks and keep them clean.

Fiorito has a mission: he is the Friend of Sheldon Creek – now wants every creek in the city to have a friend and people who will serve as stewards of the creeks to oversee their environmental health.

In the fullness of time Fiorito hopes that the stewards of the city’s creeks will begin to have some influence on the city’s elected council and encourage them to put some resources into rehabilitating the creeks.

In some city’s the ravines are quiet laces for people to walk and just enjoy being outside. Burlington has been spoiled – most people are just vaguely aware that there are all those creeks running through the city. Vince Fiorito is setting out to change that perception.

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City sets out what will be open and what will be closed in the event of a strike by either the outside workers or the transit drivers. June 29th is a critical date

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

June 22, 2015

BURLINGTON, ON

When they point out to you where the life boats are located – you kinda wonder what shape the ship is in.

The city of Burlington released a list of services that might be impacted if there is a work stoppage – polite word for a strike – the workers have withdrawn their services and decided they will go without a paycheque for a period of time unless their demands are met.

In the media release the city said it is “alerting residents that some city services may be affected by strike action that could take effect at 12:01 a.m. on July 2.”

The city continues to negotiate collective agreements with unions representing outside workers and arena/pool operators and Burlington Transit workers. Both CUPE (Canadian Union of Public Employees) Local 44 and CUPE Local 2723 representatives have stated that if there is no agreement by the end of June, they will begin strike action as of midnight (12:01 a.m.) on July 2.

“The city continues to seek a settlement that is fair to the unions and to the taxpayers of Burlington,” said Roy Male, executive director of Human Resources who is on the city’s bargaining team. “While we will continue to be willing to meet with the unions to discuss a settlement, regretfully, we must prepare for a strike to ensure the best possible continuity of service.”

The city has posted a list of services at www.burlington.ca/labourdisruptions that would be cancelled, reduced or continued in the event of a strike. The city has also set up a dedicated phone line for questions related to labour disruptions at 905-335-7600, ext. 7803.

“We are sharing this labour disruption information as early as we can, and in as many ways as possible, to ensure Burlington residents have the information they need to plan ahead,” said Scott Stewart, general manager of Development and Infrastructure with the city. “If the service you or your family members use is among those that would be cancelled in the event of a strike, we encourage you to try to make other arrangements, if at all possible.”

The city will resume negotiating with CUPE 44 and 2723 on June 29 and will provide updates as they become available.

Service Impacts in the Event of a Strike

Services that would be cancelled

• Conventional Burlington Transit service
• Handi-Van Transit Service
• Non-emergency tree service requests
• Street sweeping
• Programs and services offered at:
o Appleby Ice Centre
o LaSalle Wading Pool and Splash Park
o Mainway Arena
o Mountainside Outdoor Pool and Splash Park
o Nelson Arena
o Nelson Outdoor Pool and Splash Park

Services that would be reduced

• Grass-cutting and horticulture along roadside locations and in parks
• Litter and recycling in parks

Services that would continue

• Normal garbage collection, recycling (Halton Region)
• Burlington Public Library services
• Sports field rentals
• Turf maintenance
• Festivals and events
• Tyandaga Golf Course
• Forestry emergency storm response
• Arena floor rentals
o Aldershot
o Central
o Mountainside
o Skyway

• Spray pads in parks (non-fenced)

o Dofasco WaterJet Plaza at Spencer Smith Park
o Norton Community Park
o Pinemeadow Park
o Millcroft Park
o Orchard Community Park
o Hidden Valley Park

• Recreation centres

o Brant Hills
o Burlington Seniors’ Centre
o Haber
o Music Centre
o Rotary Youth Centre
o Sherwood Forest Gym
o Burlington Student Theatre
o Tansley Woods

• Indoor pools

o Aldershot
o Angela Coughlan
o Centennial
o Tansley Woods
• Banquet facilities
o LaSalle Pavilion
o Paletta Mansion
o Discovery Landing/Waterfront Centre

• Preschool, child and youth programs
• City of Burlington camps: SNAP, O2, Camp Can-Do, youth centres, LIT, youth specialty
• Adult and seniors’ programs
• All services at City Hall (includes Planning and Building, Capital Works, Finance, Transportation, Engineering)
• Playground inspections
• Cemetery service
• Road and sidewalk maintenance
• Traffic signal and street light maintenance

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Telling the sustainable story will take more than handing out copies of a solid report.

News 100 blueBy Staff

June 17, 2015

BURLINGTON, ON

It’s all about the environment – global warming, flooding and much different weather patterns than we are used to – there is a lot of talk; the fifth State of the Environment Report (SOER) for Burlington, prepared by the Sustainable Development Committee was presented to a Council Standing Committee earlier this week.   SOERs have been presented to council in 1998, 2004, 2007 and 2011.

Halton escarpment - long view up slope

Does sustainability mean ensuring the Escarpment is never touched?

The purpose of the document is to provide information on the state and health of Burlington’s environment and to make recommendations for improving it.

The SOER identifies eleven themes, and reported on:

Why it was measured
What was measured – indicators
What was found – indicator values and trends
What is happening to address the issue

The 2015 document points to progress is being made in certain areas of the city related to environmental sustainability:

The Cootes to Escarpment Land Strategy and Park System has partnered various levels of government, agencies, utilities, and non-government organizations to preserve and expand natural areas and engage the community on the value of these lands. The system is one of the most biologically rich areas in Canada with more than 1,580 documented species and habitat for more than 50 species at risk.

Under Places to Grow and with a firm urban and rural boundary, the city will continue to transform from a suburban community to a more urban built environment that should support a sustainable transportation network.

Support for urban agriculture and local food opportunities, such as community gardens, continues to grow.

Halton Region continues to experience success in reducing the waste diversion rate by expanding programs for local residents.

Greenhouse gas emissions from the community and city operations are decreasing.

Water efficiency efforts appear to be working as water consumption on a per capita basis appears to be decreasing (for low rise residential development).  However, it is acknowledged that there are challenges facing the city and partner agencies going forward:

The uncertainty of the impacts of climate change, not just with local infrastructure, but with health, food security, the natural environment, among others. A regional adapation strategy should be considered.

The automobile is still the preferred mobility option in Burlington and changing the modal split in favour of other sustainable modes like transit, walking and cycling will require ongoing support in these areas.

The urban forest is under threat by invasive species and urban development, making the Urban Forest Master Plan an important resource.

The Sustainable Development Committee recently prioritized their top ten recommendations in the SOER:

ADI rendering from SW

The use to which we put the land we have – who gets to make those decisions?

LAND USE PLANNING:
1. That the city focuses on future land planning opportunities for mobility hubs, with design principles supporting energy efficient and smart development with a sustainable transportation network.

Regional Chair Gary Carr tasting honey while on an agricultural tour.

Regional Chair Gary Carr tasting honey while on an agricultural tour.

RURAL LANDS & AGRICULTURE
2. That the city expand the position and responsibilities of the Community Garden Coordinator from seasonal part time to support the local food movement in Burlington, by encouraging local food production and distribution, and supporting urban and rural agricultural programs.

TRANSPORTATION:
3. That the city undertake Transportation Modal Split surveys on a more consistent basis than the Transportation Tomorrow Survey. It is recommended that this survey include questions to detail why residents of Burlington choose their preferred mode of transportation and what steps need to be taken to encourage residents to rely on more sustainable transportation options.

ENERGY:
4. That the city continue the implementation of the Community Energy Plan with a focus on fuel and cost savings, by switching from gasoline vehicles to electric/hybrid vehicles, investigating opportunities for local sustainable generation (e.g. district and renewable energy), improving efficiency, increasing community engagement and improving the built form.

Flood weather network bridge

Water – it can work for us and it can work against us. Either way it is a resource to be managed so that it can sustain the community.

WATER:
5. That the city implement repairs and actions to mitigate future flooding impacts based on the results of the current study being carried out by the City of Burlington, Region of Halton and Conservation Halton in a cost effective manner. The study should include an update of the design standards for the stormwater system considering climate change impacts. That the city follow the principles (e.g. electrical boxes above flood level) required by Alberta when remediation is being carried out on residences, etc. (particularly where residences have been flooded repeatedly).

6. That the city request a geotechnical report through the development review process to ensure the proper design is applied when building construction takes place near or below the water table, particularly in low lying areas where the water table level is near the surface. Ensure the Ontario Building Code requirements are implemented, such as waterproofing of the foundation walls and measures to mitigate a reduction in the bearing capacity of the soil.

7. That the city, in partnership with Conservation Halton as appropriate, undertake a series of pilot projects on city properties using Low Impact Development stormwater management techniques to treat stormwater runoff at its source rather than conveying it through the traditional stormwater infrastructure.

CLIMATE CHANGE:
8. That the city ensure community resiliency by working with regional partners including Halton Region, Conservation Halton and the local municipalities to develop a climate change adaptation strategy.

SUSTAINABLE BUILDINGS & DEVELOPMENT:
9. That the city implement green building standards to require builders to include sustainable building measures in their projects.

10. That the city continue to undertake a training program for city staff who deal with planning applications and building permits to obtain LEED accreditation and to make use of the LEED Neighbourhood checklist developed by the SDC.

The Sustainability Advisory Committee is made up of volunteers who have taken on a mammoth task.  At times the city has asked them for comments they weren’t able to provide; with these periodic reports the city gets solid data but then struggles to leverage the data and inform the public.

Sheldon Creek clean up - tires

Tires pulled out of creeks by clean up crews – the tires got dumped there by people who should know better.

Burlingtonians are particularly willing to pitch in and do what needs to be done to make the difference.  Thousands turn out for the Green Up – Clean up event; hundreds trooped to the Beachway to plant trees.  The task now is to get the message out – which is easier said than done.  The Sustainable Development Committee plans to make their report available within the community.  Copies will be distributed to the Burlington Public Libraries and local senior elementary and secondary schools as a resource document. An electronic version will be provided on the city’s website. The Committee will promote the on-line link to the SOER to minimize the number of printed copies.

It is going to take more than dropping copies off at the library and at schools to get the depth and breadth of just what sustainability is all about.  On that score the committee gets a low C grade – great stuff but it has to go much further than a presentation to council and being put in the libraries.

It comes back to that leadership issue – doesn’t it?

 

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City purchases five acres near Snake Point and adds it to Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark system

News 100 blueBy Staff

June 6, 2015

BURLINGTON, ON

Wildlife in Aldershot have more protected land to call home thanks to the City of Burlington which purchased 5 acres of natural lands on Snake Road, in the middle of the Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System.

Cootes - walkway boardwalkThe property is adjacent to the Clappison Escarpment Woods Environmentally Sensitive Area and builds on this important east-west corridor of natural greenspace along the Niagara Escarpment. Last fall other Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System partners purchased 25 acres along this same corridor.

This 1.3km long corridor of greenspace provides unusual forested talus slopes and deeply incised sheltered creek valleys creating unique microclimates for a diversity of plants and animals. The Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System is one of Canada’s biodiversity hotspots, home to more than 1,500 species of plants and animals, including nearly one quarter of Canada’s wild plants. The ecopark system lands are owned and managed by ten local government and non-profit partners who have committed to work together to protect, connect and restore the extraordinary natural heritage in the ecopark system area.

Cootes Map May 2015“The protection of natural lands is an example of what can be achieved when we work together. It exemplifies the mission of the Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System: to work together to protect, connect and restore natural lands between the Harbour and the Escarpment,” said Deborah Herbert, Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System Coordinator. “We are delighted at the progress made so far in permanently protecting natural lands in the Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System and look forward to continuing this momentum.”

With this property acquisition, partners in the ecopark system have permanently protected more than 120 acres of ecologically significant land in the past two years, through purchase, donation and conservation easement.

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Province gets tougher on drivers who insist on using their cell phones - fine could reach $1000.

News 100 redBy Staff

June 4, 2015

BURLINGTON, ON

Yacking away on your cell phone while driving could cost you a fine of $1,000 and the loss of three demerit points – and probably a boost in your insurance premium.

Cell phone while driving

This kind of behaviour will cost three demerit points and a possible $1000 fine. Let’s hope judges decide not to be timid when handing out the fines

An amendment to the Highway Traffic Act — one of several new road safety measures — is to become law this fall. The legislation to make this happen received unanimous support.

Before the police begin their crack down the transportation ministry will be launching an education campaign to make sure motorists get the message that distracted driving is eclipsing drunk driving for causing fatalities.

“People have to be constantly reminded that it is crucial to keep their eyes on the road,” said the Minister of Transportation, adding that what is really needed is “cultural transformation” that drives homes to motorists that driving requires 100 per cent of their attention.

Police and officials with safety organizations have been urging government for years now to toughen up the penalties for distracted driving, which currently only carries a fine.

Police have “seen a disturbing trend with needless deaths on the rise. They are totally preventable. Since distracted driving laws were introduced in 2009, 505 lives have been lost in OPP-investigated collisions in which driver distraction was a causal factor.”
Brian Patterson, president and CEO at Ontario Safety League, said distracted driving “is not just a bad habit, it’s a deadly habit,” adding there are many patients at Toronto’s Sunnybrook hospital who bear witness to that.

“As people get the message the roads will become safer,” said Patterson, adding that sometimes it also takes a ticket to get a driver’s attention.

Cycling driver dooring a cyclist

Fines for drivers that “door” cyclists to be increased + increase in demerit points.

The Making Ontario’s Roads Safer Act will:

Increase fines for distracted driving from the current range of $60 to $500 to a range of $300 to $1,000, assign three demerit points upon conviction, and escalate sanctions for novice drivers who are convicted.

Apply current alcohol-impaired sanctions to drivers who are drug-impaired.

Require drivers to let pedestrians completely cross the road before proceeding at school crossings and pedestrian crossovers.

Increase fines and demerit points for drivers who “door” cyclists, and require all drivers to maintain a minimum distance of one metre when passing cyclists where possible, as well as allow cyclists to use the paved shoulders on unrestricted provincial highways.

Help municipalities collect unpaid fines by expanding licence plate denial for drivers who do not pay certain Provincial Offences Act fines.

Allow more qualified medical professionals to identify and report medically unfit drivers and, clarify the types of medical conditions to be reported.

The new fines and measures will come into force over the coming months, the transportation ministry says.

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