The fire chief has a funny video for you - and a safety tip about carbon monoxide poisoning.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

December 23, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON.

 

Tony Bavota, Burlington’s Fire Chief would like you to buy a gift for your house.

Nothing sexy about what he wants you to buy and no, it isn’t a calendar of a dozen of the hunks that put in fire helmets.

Something pretty simple, that you are now required to have in your home and it could well you’re your life.

Tony Bavota - fire chief

Tony Bavota, a serious minded fire chief – with a sense of humour.

Tony Bavota wants to you buy and install a Carbon Monoxide alarm; they are now required by law in most Ontario homes.

The regulations mean any home with a fireplace, gas stove, water heater or furnace that burns fuels, such as gas, must have a CO alarm. The new law also applies to homes with an attached garage.

“We’re experiencing an influx of calls from residents asking about the new law,” said Chief Fire Prevention Officer Joe Wintar. “If the house contains a fuel-burning appliance, fireplace or an attached garage, a CO alarm is required to be installed near each sleeping area, including any basement or main level bedrooms.”

For added protection, CO alarm(s) can be installed in other areas of the home near a possible CO source. Always check the product’s instruction manual for details and installation requirements.

Known as the silent killer, CO is a tasteless, colourless and odourless gas that is responsible for the deaths of about 50 Canadians, including 11 Ontarians on average, every year.

The department recently released a valuable and funny video (They weren’t kidding – this is a funny video – didn’t think the fire department had this kind of funny in them) about the importance of testing both smoke and CO alarms called Test Yours Today that can be viewed on its YouTube channel.

Carbon monoxide 1

A number of different brands – check to see that the one you by is CSA approved.

Proper placement of a CO alarm is important.  In general, the human body is most vulnerable to the effects of CO during sleeping hours, so an alarm should be located near all sleeping areas of the home.

CO alarm(s) should be located near every sleeping area, where it can wake you if you are asleep. Where sleeping areas are located in separate parts of the home, an alarm should be provided for each area.

For added protection, additional CO alarms can be placed on each level of a residence and in or near rooms where CO sources are located (such as in a room that contains a solid fuel-fired appliance, gas clothes dryer or natural gas furnace, or adjacent to an attached garage).

Carbon monoxide 2

Once you’ve made the purchase – make sure you install it correctly.

Unlike smoke, which rises to the ceiling, CO mixes with air.  Recognizing this, a CO alarm can be located at knee-height (which is about the same a prone sleeping height).  To work properly, a CO alarm should not be blocked by furniture, draperies or other obstructions to normal air flow.

If a combination smoke/carbon monoxide alarm is used, it should be located on the ceiling, to ensure that it will detect smoke effectively.

 

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Twelve finalists selected for Pan Am torch relay. Citizens get to vote which one will carry the torch for Burlington.

News 100 greenBy Staff

December 17, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Burlington is being considered a major celebration community for the Pan Am Torch Relay, and has asked its citizens to help choose a local resident to carry the Pan Am flame on behalf of the city when the torch relay comes to Burlington next year.

Pan Am Torch bearersThe Burlington Pan Am Community Engagement Committee accepted applications and nominations until December 14th.

The public is now being asked vote on a short list of names selected by the committee. Torchbearer finalists are, in alphabetical order:

Kelly Arnott
Jaden Bailey
Chris Chandler
Dana Cooke
Oubaida Ikharbine
Dawn Izzard
Kaitlin Jones
Sonia Reynolds
Adam Smith
Alicia Thomson
Ashley Worobec
Eric Xu

There is something either ironic or fitting that Kelly Arnott be on the finalist list. Ms Arnott runs some of the most successful races in Ontario. Just last week she held the Santa Claus run which brought hundreds of Santa Claus clad runner streaming through the city.

Residents are invited to vote for Burlington’s community torch bearer.
“The person with the most votes will become the community torch bearer to run for Burlington when the flame comes to the city during the Pan Am torch relay.” said Alan Magi Executive Director of Capital Projects for the city.

Voting will close on Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015. The selected torch bearer will be notified in mid-January.

The relay begins in May 2015 with the traditional Aztec lighting ceremony at the Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacan, Mexico.

The Canadian journey for the flame starts with its arrival in Toronto on May 30, 2015. It will then visit five cities in Canada, as well as 130 communities across Ontario.

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Monday is the FINAL day to get flood funding applications into the Burlington Community Foundation.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

December 14, 2015

BURLINGTON, ON.

 

The Burlington Community Foundation office on the South Service Road will be open until 5:00 pm on Monday which is the last day that applications for financial support under the province’s ODRAP – Ontario Disaster Relief and Assistance Program.

The application is not short; Governments don’t give money away easily, although they have been known to spend it wastefully.

Flood - Palmer Drive - with bin

There were streets in Burlington that had a bin in front of almost every house.

The financial assistance is for those who either had no insurance or were under insured. Many people in Burlington live in a part of the city where they cannot buy insurance at any price. Those in the Regal Road area who are close to Tuck and Roseland Creeks were hard hit – and not for the first time.

There are still people who qualify for support who apparently don’t know about the program. There is a family that chose to pay cash for much of the labour they used to repair their home. How they paid for the repairs is not that big a concern; was the work done and is there evidence to show that the work was done?

The Burlington Community Foundation hired an insurance adjustor to guide them through the process. The adjuster works for the Foundation – not some insurance company. They are there to help people work their way through the forms and complete the application.

BCF Info - Mark Preston _ Richard Burgess

Mark Preston on the left and Rick Burgess on the right; both are members of the Claims Committee that will oversee the distribution of funds to flood victims

The adjuster passes the applications along to a Claims Committee made up of Mark Preston, Preston Insurance Services; Bruce Russell, Wardell Insurance; Nancy Swietek, Dan Lawrie Insurance and Rick Burgess, Burgess Law Office. It is their job to approve a claim.

The Claims Committee has a delicate task. They have to determine first just how much money is available for distribution. They take the amount that was raised by the community and get an additional $2 for every $1 raised by the community.

That will determine the amount that is available for distribution. Collen Mulholland reports t there were 115 applications in the office on Thursday and that applications were coming in at the rate of 10 a day. She expects something close to 200 applications to be received.

Some applications may not be complete – there are people at the Burlington Community Foundation who understand the forms and are in place to help. But they cannot help if they don’t have an application – and Monday December 15th is the close off date.

Mayor Rick Goldring commented that: “While it is invisible to most of us, there are still people rebuilding their homes and their lives all these months later.” He encourages everyone who is eligible to work through the Burlington Community Foundation to make a claim.”

To apply for funding, visit  and click on Make a Claim. If you need help with the application process,  call 905-639-0744.

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Burlington MPP gives her inaugural speech in the legislature; supports bill on Invasive Species

News 100 redBy Staff

December 9, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON.

 

It is a tradition in the provincial legislature for one member to congratulate another when they make their “maiden speech” at Queen`s Park.  Monday morning Norm Miller, member for Parry Sound said “These are always special speeches, because you learn so much about the member’s family and what brought them to the Legislature.

“I’ve learned a few things today. The member’s mother was born in Glasgow, as my mother was born in Glasgow, and that she comes from a large family—the youngest of a large family. She certainly has a very close relationship with her mother.

“She also thanked the past member for Burlington for her work. I know that Jane McKenna has been out to some community events, and she says how nice you have been to her at those events.

“Congratulations on your maiden speech” said Miller

And with that Burlington`s first Liberal member of the legislature in more than 70 years stood up to give her first full speech

McMahon - looking direct into camera

Burlington MPP Eleanor McMahon delivering her inaugural speech in the legislature.

Ms. Eleanor McMahon: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I believe you will find that we have unanimous consent to allow me to deliver my inaugural address during debate on this bill today.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Ted Arnott): The member for Burlington is seeking unanimous consent to deliver her maiden, or inaugural, speech in this House. Agreed? Agreed.

The member for Burlington.
Ms. Eleanor McMahon: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I’m pleased to rise and join the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry in speaking in support of Bill 37, the proposed Invasive Species Act. This proposed legislation would address a serious threat to our province. Indeed, close to my home in the riding of Burlington, the Cootes to Escarpment is the perfect example, a precious tract of land that contains more indigenous species than any other area of Canada, a number of them species at risk. Bill 37 will protect areas like the Cootes to Escarpment.

Invasive species cause significant damage to the natural environment, which results in significant ecological, economic and social costs, as the minister outlined. This is the case within Ontario, across Canada and internationally. Invasive species move into ecosystems and take over, killing or crowding out some native species. Invasive species disrupt food webs, degrade habitat, introduce parasites and disease, and lead to species becoming at risk. Globally, only habitat loss is a bigger threat to biodiversity.

Cootes Paradise

McMahon wants to ensure that invasive species do not get into Cootes paradise.

Mr. Speaker, on a global basis, invasive species costs are estimated to be $1.4 trillion. That’s the equivalent of 5% of the global GDP and seven times the cost of natural disasters. Industries like fishing, hunting, forestry, tourism and agriculture can all be negatively affected by invasive species. In the Great Lakes basin, invasive species foul water intakes, reduce the value of commercial and recreational fisheries and reduce property values. Every year, invasive plants cost the agriculture and forest industries in Canada about $7.3 billion.

All invasive species pose some risk; however, some species pose a bigger threat than others. The members of this Legislature will be familiar with the Asian carp, which have damaged the ecosystems of many American lakes and rivers. There are actually four species of Asian carp: bighead, silver, grass and black carp. Our greatest concerns are bighead and silver carp, which have spread the most aggressively in the United States. They are considered one of the greatest threats to our Great Lakes.

Asian carp are voracious consumers. They eat up to 20% of their body weight each day. Everywhere they go, they eat the food supply that native fish depend on, and they crowd native species out of their habitat. The decline of native fish species could damage sport and commercial fishing right here in Ontario. Currently, there are no established populations—thank goodness—of Asian carp in Ontario waters. Preventing Asian carp from spreading in the Great Lakes is the best way to prevent harm to Ontario’s native fish species.

Another species that has not yet entered Ontario is the mountain pine beetle. In British Columbia, it has destroyed millions of hectares of pine trees. Reports have predicted that climate change, a major underlying cause of the proliferation of invasive species, may allow the beetles to spread north and east. The cost of fighting the mountain pine beetle is staggering. Since 2001, the BC government has spent close to a billion dollars fighting this one insect.

Invasive plants may not be as well known, but they are also a serious threat. One of them, hydrilla, is considered one of the world’s worst aquatic invaders. It can grow up to 2.5 centimetres a day, resulting in extremely dense growth that impacts boaters and swimmers. Hydrilla has not yet been detected in Canada, but it has spread rapidly throughout the United States. It is highly adaptable and thrives in many different kinds of aquatic environments.

McMahon reading her innaugural

The Inaugural speech was detailed focused and on an issue that is important to Burlington.

Asian carp, the mountain pine beetle and hydrilla aren’t yet established in Ontario, as I mentioned, but we are managing many invasive species that have become established here.

Some invasive species can be a threat to human health. One example is the giant hogweed, a plant introduced from Asia. Its toxic sap can cause painful burning blisters on the skin when exposed to sunlight. In addition to that threat, this plant can spread readily and shade out native plants, which can have an impact on our biodiversity.

Another invasive species that is already established in Ontario is the round goby. It is a small, bottom-dwelling fish that feeds aggressively on fish eggs, larvae and other small organisms found on lake and river bottoms. In less than a decade, the round goby has spread through all five of our Great Lakes and begun to invade inland waters. The round goby’s aggressive eating habits and ability to spawn several times each season have helped them multiply and spread quickly. In fact, in some areas, the fish has reached densities of more than 100 fish per square metre. Round goby have reduced populations of sport fish and threaten several species at risk in our Great Lakes basin.

There is no question that the threat of invasive species is real and significant.

Managing the threat of invasive species is challenging and complex. It requires a coordinated approach. Indeed, managing invasive species has always been a collaborative effort across all levels of government as well as with industry, environmental groups and the public.

Ontario plans to continue to collaborate with all of those involved in invasive species management, including the federal government, which has an important national role to play in invasive species management. Indeed, I want to be clear: Our proposed Invasive Species Act is intended to complement the role of the federal government, not duplicate or take over their responsibility. The proposed Invasive Species Act will enable Ontario to use its own framework to determine an appropriate course of action.

Preventing invasive species from arriving and becoming established in Ontario is critical in our fight against this growing threat. Evidence has shown that the costs of preventing invasive species from Preventing invasive species from arriving and becoming established in Ontario is critical in our fight against this growing threat.becoming established through taking immediate action are generally much lower than the costs of controlling an established invasive species. Like so many things, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

We know that there may be many circumstances that arise where immediate and urgent action is required to eliminate or reduce the spread of an invasive species. This could happen if a new invasive species is found in Ontario or an existing invasive species is found in a new area of the province. The proposed legislation will help by allowing the government to intervene earlier and enable rapid response actions. This could include working with partners to stop an invasive species from spreading: for example, by preventing or restricting the movement of contaminated firewood.

Mr. Speaker, as I noted earlier, addressing the threat of invasive species is a collaborative effort. I would like to take a few minutes to highlight a few of the many enduring partnerships our government has built in the area of invasive species management and education. We place tremendous value on these relationships, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our ministry stakeholders for their valuable advice and for giving of their time and talents to enrich our public policy work as a government. Ontario works with the Great Lakes states and the US and Canadian governments to prevent aquatic invasive species, such as Asian carp, from entering the Great Lakes. Indeed, there is a federal office in my riding of Burlington which is doing extensive work in this area.

Ontario works with the Great Lakes states and the US and Canadian governments to prevent aquatic invasive species, such as Asian carp, from entering the Great Lakes.We have been working with the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters for more than two decades to deliver the Invading Species Awareness Program. The program raises awareness of the threat of invasive species to Ontario’s biodiversity. It engages the public in preventing and controlling the spread, and monitoring the distribution, of invasive species. This program also operates the Invading Species Hotline to give the public an avenue to report sightings, seek information and request educational material on invasive species.

More recently, we established the Invasive Species Centre in Sault Ste. Marie to work with the federal government and other partners to address invasive forest and aquatic species and invasive plants. Ontario has provided approximately $9.7 million towards the establishment and operation of this centre.

Partnerships such as these are helping us to protect our natural environment and industries that contribute thousands of jobs to our economy. One example is recreational fishing, an industry that contributes about $2.2 billion to Ontario’s economy and is also a notable contributor to our tourism industry. Ontario will continue to collaborate and work with these partners and, if passed, the proposed Invasive Species Act could help us expand the use of strategic partnerships.

The proposed act would provide the minister with authority to enter into agreements to help us prevent, detect, control and eradicate invasive species. As such, the legislation will provide us with the tools we need to protect our environment and our economy. Under the proposed act, regulations could be made to prohibit certain activities to help prevent the spread of an invasive species. Agreements could identify exemptions that would be necessary to achieve desired outcomes. For example, an agreement with a local conservation partner could allow the partner to undertake a program to control species such as garlic mustard. The partner would be able to possess the plant during the control activities and then dispose of it properly.

As I said earlier, managing invasive species is a responsibility shared with other governments, industry, environmental groups and the public. In fact, Ontarians can report sightings of invasive species to help us detect new ones and monitor the spread of those that are more established.

We can all play a role in protecting Ontario’s biodiversity. How can we do this? By planting non-invasive species in gardens, by never releasing bait or any wildlife into nature, by washing our boats before moving them to another body of water, and by buying firewood locally and leaving what we don’t use.

We need to engage all Ontarians in doing their part to protect species and habitats, and as policy-makers, we need to do our part as well, by taking a leadership role with this proposed legislation. The proposed Invasive Species Act would help limit the social and economic impacts of invasive species by preventing them from becoming established, controlling their spread once they are here, and eradicating them if possible. As such, I would encourage all members of this House to support this critical legislation. I look forward to today’s discussion and the debate to come.

In the meantime, it is my honour and pleasure to stand in this House and spend some time talking about my journey to public life, to talk about what I hope to accomplish and bring to public service during my time here and thank the people who have helped me along the way.

It is worth noting that in strict terms this is my inaugural speech, Mr. Speaker, and that I have already had the honour and privilege of speaking on a number of occasions, to items that are not just of local interest and concern to the people of my riding of Burlington, but to Ontarians as well.

I must say that I am rather glad to have had these two months to begin to become accustomed to this historic and storied place and the work that we do here. As such, I can now look back on the past few months with a bit of perspective and experience.

McMahon innaug Dec 8-14 mouth open

Inaugural speech was lengthy; McMahon was certain her Mother Marie was watching.

If this speech were to have a theme, I would say that it is gratitude. There are many people to thank and many things to be grateful for. Let me begin by thanking the people of Burlington for the confidence they expressed in me on June 12. I am humbled by that confidence, and I look forward to serving them in this place, and to working with them towards improving the quality of life of all of the people in our beautiful city.

It is an honour and a privilege to have this opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives, to be entrusted with their hopes and dreams, as well as their challenges. I’m grateful to have the chance to work on behalf of such an extraordinary community, and with such kind and generous people.

I would like to take a moment to offer a sincere thank-you to my predecessor, Jane McKenna, for her sacrifices and service in representing the riding of Burlington since 2011.

Applause.

Ms. Eleanor McMahon: Yes. Since my election, I have come to know what Jane knew during her three years of able service here: The hours are long, the time away from family significant. Thank you, Jane, for representing Burlington in this place so ably.

On our first day of orientation, we were reminded that, of the 13 million people who call Ontario home, we are but 107. “How fortunate am I?” I thought, and I know that many of my colleagues feel the same. We came here with a sense of purpose and excitement, and with a desire to serve.

My colleague the Honourable Ted McMeekin is fond of quoting Bobby Kennedy. Ted volunteered for Bobby on one of his campaigns, and he heard him say about his passion for making change: “Don’t get mad, don’t get even—get elected.” I think that call to action embodies the desire that most of us have here to make a difference in the lives of the people we serve, to work as diligently as we can on their behalf and to do so with a listening ear and an open heart.

Burlington ariel

McMahon and her late husband decided that Burlington would be home for them. She told the members of the legislature that Burlington was the most beautiful city in the province. Her speech almost turned into a debate.

Let me talk for just a minute, if I may, about another reason I’m grateful to the people of Burlington. I am not from Burlington. I was born in Windsor, Ontario. I came to Burlington in 2005. My late husband and I chose Burlington. He was an OPP officer, and to a certain degree we had a choice of where we wanted to live in the GTHA. We chose Burlington for its beauty and for its people, and for our families. My brother and his wife have called Burlington home for over 20 years. During that time, as a result of numerous visits, we fell in love with Burlington and decided to settle there, which we did in the summer of 2005.

Since that time, my affection and my ties to the community have deepened. Burlington has been very good to me, and I’d like to thank my friends and my community for their warm embrace. Since becoming your MPP, your kindness and your graciousness have been nothing short of overwhelming. I’m grateful to you for making this native of Windsor feel right at home in Burlington.

I can honestly say that there is no more beautiful place to live in our province than Burlington. I’m delighted to have this opportunity—

Interjections.

Ms. Eleanor McMahon: That may be a moment of debate.

I’m grateful to have this opportunity to thank everyone who helped me during the election campaign this past June. To our extraordinary volunteers, our wonderful staff—most especially, our dedicated campaign manager—our generous donors, and to the members of the Burlington Riding Association, the words “thank you” don’t seem quite enough. Your support and your encouragement, your confidence expressed in me as your candidate, your kind words of comfort when I needed it most—for all of this and so much more, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Burlington Escartment 006

Parts of Burlington that McMahon loves to cycle through.

Your support for me helped me during the election campaign, and it will serve to guide me in my work as the first Liberal in Burlington in 71 years. Our celebration on election night was one I shall never forget, and nothing short of extraordinary. Thank you for being there for me.

Perhaps most memorable was the presence of my family on election night. It has been said, and it’s true, that to do this job truly requires a support network unlike any other. I am truly blessed with an extraordinary group of siblings, their spouses, and my nieces and nephews.

Most of all, I was proud of the fact that my mother, Marie McMahon, was there with me. When we learned that I had won, we were standing in the foyer of my brother’s home. In an exchange I will never forget, my mother turned to me and said, “Your dad would be so proud.” It was a touching moment, to be sure, but it brought home to me, as indeed did my decision to run, that I was truly fortunate to have been raised by two extraordinary people, who taught my brothers and sisters and I about the true meaning of working hard, giving back and community service.

My dad, Hugh McMahon, died in 1994 of cancer. Dad worked hard all his life. His family was his greatest joy. His own childhood was marked by challenging moments, from growing up during the Depression, to the start of the Second World War. Dad enlisted in the Canadian army at the age of 16; he lied about his age. He went overseas and served his country as part of the Canadian First Regiment. He landed in Sicily, saw action during the Italian campaign and later took part in the liberation of Holland.

A proud moment for me came in 2007 while attending, with an official delegation from Burlington city hall, the city of Apeldoorn, one of Burlington’s twin cities. We visited the Canadian War Cemetery in Nijmegen. A number of soldiers from my father’s unit are buried there, and his regimental crest is in the Apeldoorn city hall.

Dad returned to Canada after the war and married my mother, Marie, in 1948. He attended university briefly in Toronto and returned to Windsor, where he worked at Chrysler until 1981. Seven children followed, as did a life of community service in the militia and with many local organizations.

My mother, who I think is watching today, is a shining light for me. Mum will be 89 on Thursday. She was born in Glasgow and grew up in Windsor. A pioneer in so many ways and a strong believer in education, Mum attended Assumption University, then part of the University of Windsor. She got a science degree and served as a laboratory technologist at Windsor’s Grace Hospital for most of her career.

She and Dad both felt very strongly that education provided a gateway of opportunity, and they encouraged us in every way possible. Mum was adamant, too, that as women—there were five of us girls—we must have our independence, our own income and the ability to make our own decisions.
Mum is tiny in stature but mighty in every other sense of the word. Her love for her children, her care and concern for others and her utter selflessness have shaped my life in amazing ways. I would not be standing here today without her.

To you, Mum, I offer my undying love and thanks. Thank you for making me feel like I could do anything. Thank you for always being there for me, and for your wisdom and your friendship.
To my siblings: I’m truly grateful to you for your encouragement and support. I am so lucky to have such a tremendous group of ardent supporters and cheerleaders. As the youngest of all of you, I have benefited from your wisdom—and your mistakes—your advice, your terrific humour and your wit. You offer me a hand up when I need it, and no request is too much. When I told you I wanted to run, you were worried about the rigours of the debate and the demands of the job. After dutifully expressing your concerns to your younger sister, you were there from day one. Thank you all.

Earlier, I spoke of my parents as people who inspired me to public service. I grew up in a house where the mantra was, “To whom much is given, much is expected.” Speaking of my mother, I should add that her personal commitment to her family and her community was recently recognized. Mum recently got a volunteer award from Hospice Windsor in recognition of her 30 years of service as a volunteer.

Applause.

Ms. Eleanor McMahon: Yes. Thank you.

Every Thursday Mum cooks lunch with her friend for the past 70-plus years, Mabel Gagnier, for hospice patients and their families. I know that Mum is loved by her hospice family, but I know too, because she’s told me this, that she gets as much out of this experience as she gives. Her stories of people who are in the most difficult and challenging of circumstances serve to bring a necessary perspective to her life and to mine as we reflect on what is important. As you can see, from my mother I learned empathy and compassion.

Speaking earlier this year to the CEO of the Carpenter Hospice in Burlington, I was reflecting on the same theme: the events that shape our lives and the people who inspire us. As we all know, one of the best parts of this job is the opportunity to attend events and meet the wonderful people in your riding. Well, it was very early in my job as an MPP that I truly understood what Burlington is made of, and it is strong stuff indeed.

Flood Fairview plaza

McMahon told her fellow parliamentarians how badly Burlington was flooded last August. She was instrumental in getting funds for the flood victims.

On the evening of August 4, a once-in-100-years storm brought 200 millimetres of rain to Burlington in just six hours. This rain is the equivalent of the amount of precipitation that Burlington would see in July and August together. This devastating storm flooded our streets and people’s homes. A rush of water filled people’s basements and over 3,100 homes were damaged. As the unrelenting rain fell that night, reports began to pour in of flooding on the 407, the QEW, Fairview and New Streets, Brant, Guelph, Walkers Line and Appleby Line; all flooded, our major north-south arterial roads. The water overwhelmed Burlington’s sewage system, which at capacity is built for three million litres an hour. At the height of the storm, this reached 10 million litres.

People’s basements filled in mere moments as creeks overflowed their banks. Visiting devastated homes the next day on Regal Road, among the hardest hit, I met people who fled with their children, their animals and a few precious memories as water filled their basements within minutes. Seeing their anguish, not to mention the contents of their homes on their front lawns, was heart-wrenching.

FLOOD basement blur couch

Homes were devastated by the flood. McMahon was out into the community within hours going door to door with the Mayor.

On the 5th, I got on the phone, but many people were calling, too, wondering how they could help. My colleagues were there, and I’d like to thank them. The member from Halton; the Minister of Labour, the member from Oakville, and the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, all in neighbouring ridings, were there, offering a friendly word of advice. Thank you.

Applause.

Ms. Eleanor McMahon: Yes.

But it was the response of our community that was so remarkable. I reached out to the mayor that evening. He was travelling back from his cottage in response to the disaster. His own home was flooded. He hit the ground running the next day, and as we travelled door to door together, it became apparent that greater assistance was needed.

On the night of the flood and in the days that followed, our EMS personnel were extraordinary. Our front-line police officers, firefighters, paramedics—all were there, doing an amazing job rescuing people from their flooded vehicles and responding to those in need.

Later on, with the assistance of the region of Halton, the Red Cross came to our aid and did an extraordinary job quantifying the amount of flooding and the impact on people’s lives. Together we mobilized community support. I called the CEO of United Way, and 72 hours later they had a website portal up and running to collect donations.

The mayor, working with our regional chair, mobilized staff. City and regional staff began the process of responding to those in need and going door to door. As the scope of the disaster became clear, city council met and declared a state of emergency, triggering an Ontario Disaster Relief Assistance Program request.

Flood BMO at the vault

Ron Foxcroft made the phone calls, Collen Mulholland displayed the cheque while McMahon pressed the province to deliver matching funds. The bankers were asked to give up some of the money in their vaults.

On the community side, donations poured in and the community foundation stepped up, offering much-needed volunteer and fundraising support. The CEO of the community foundation, Colleen Mulholland, and her team have done an extraordinary job. Under the chairmanship of Ron Foxcroft, the disaster relief committee has worked hand in hand with the community foundation to raise funds, and to date, I am proud to say that our generous community has contributed close to $1 million to help their neighbours in need.

Indeed, one of the truly wonderful things about Burlington is how generous our community really is. In 2010, 30% of Burlingtonians contributed to a charitable cause, higher than the provincial average of 24.5%.

During the summer, I attended many events which contributed to the flood relief, raising funds and rallying the community, from neighbourhood fundraisers like the Up the Creek event started by some neighbours whose street and homes were flooded—they raised $20,000—to our Rotary Club’s Ribfest event, which raised thousands of dollars as well. There I was, side by side at the door, raising money with buckets, mayor and city Councillors right beside me.

While the scope of the disaster made for a challenging summer for our community, and while much of the hard work remains to be done by the committee as they adjudicate requests for funding, I am proud to say that on November 10, my colleague, the member from Halton, and I announced that our government would be contributing up to $3 million to support Burlington and its flood relief. For a new MPP, this was an extraordinarily proud moment.

Speaker, the election provided me with an excellent opportunity to speak to some of the opportunities and challenges facing our community. During that time and since, I’ve had many conversations about the kind of Burlington we all want now and into the future. Burlington has one of the highest median incomes in Canada and we enjoy an excellent quality of life overall. Still, there are challenges. As the recent Vital Signs report by the Burlington Community Foundation shows, Burlington has one of the oldest populations in the GTHA. While most of our seniors are aging successfully, over 5% of them are living in poverty. More broadly, close to 8% or over 13,000 of our residents in Burlington are living in low-income households. When it comes to housing, access to affordable housing remains a barrier to many.

When it comes to employment, Burlington is doing well, with stronger employment levels than Ontario as a whole. The number of jobs is up 7% and the number of businesses is up 4% since the 2012 employment survey.

werf bfgt

Infill housing on what were once half acre single story post war bungalows are now the norm for Burlington.

To maintain this excellent quality of life, I’ve had conversations about how, as a community, we can work together to tackle some of our challenges. Burlington is built out; therein lies another challenge. Our growth will come from infill and density. With growth comes the need for stronger transportation networks. I look forward to working with city hall, our region, local businesses, citizens’ groups and my colleagues in the House on creating transit hubs in Burlington and encouraging the kinds of alternative transportation—cycling and walking—that will make our community more connected and more liveable, and attract investment.

Issues such as food security, investing in our agri-food sector, which is a strong sector locally, and continued investments in health and education will continue to dominate my conversations in the months and years to come and remain areas of strong local focus. In particular, youth and adolescent mental health is another area which is in significant need of focus, as demonstrated again by our community foundation and their work. I’ve also had terrific conversations about how, working together, we can find solutions to these important issues.

On a final note, Mr. Speaker, I started this speech talking about what brought me here and what I hope to accomplish. I want to close my remarks by mentioning someone who’s no longer here but who had and continues to have a very positive impact on my life. On June 6, 2006, my late husband, Greg Stobbart, a veteran OPP officer with 24 years of experience in policing, was killed by a careless driver. Greg died, not in the line of duty, but doing something he loved. We were training for a triathlon. He had recently purchased a new bike, and with a beautiful day beckoning, set out on a training ride from which he never returned. Greg’s tragic death at the age of 44 in a senseless collision was a life-changing event for me, for my family and for his as well. His legacy lives on in me and my desire to continue in this place the work that I started to create a more bicycle-friendly Ontario.

McMahon in blue jacket

McMahon became a force to be reckoned with in the cycling community and created the Share the Road organization and pushed the province to pass Gregg’s Law

Our response to Greg’s death came on many fronts. First, working with then-Minister of Transportation the Honourable Jim Bradley, we changed the Highway Traffic Act. In 2009, after sustained advocacy, we got Greg’s Law passed, increasing the penalties on suspended drivers based on similar legislation in six other provinces. The man who killed Greg had five convictions for driving under suspension, four convictions for driving with no licence, $15,000 in unpaid fines, and two months after he killed my husband, he hit someone else.

As you can imagine, Mr. Speaker, this instilled in us the importance of focusing on that advocacy and securing those changes to the Highway Traffic Act. Our goal was to prevent others from going through what we did, and we wanted to get those repeat offenders out from behind the wheel and off the road. Greg’s Law became the law of Ontario in October 2009.

Second, we launched the Share the Road Cycling Coalition in Ontario in 2008. Share the Road has become the provincial cycling policy and advocacy organization, representing thousands of local organizations, cyclists, stakeholders and municipal leaders from across Ontario, united in a vision of safer communities for all road users.

In 2012, I had the privilege of sitting on the coroner’s review into cycling deaths in Ontario and secured a recommendation for an Ontario cycling strategy. Together with the Honourable Glen Murray, who was then Minister of Transportation, I launched that strategy, the first of its kind in Ontario in over 20 years, in September 2013, a proud moment.

McMahon staff watching innaugural

MPP McMahon’s staff watching her inaugural speech on desktop computers.

In Greg’s memory, and in memory of all the cyclists who have been killed and injured, I look forward to continuing the work we started at Share the Road. Together with all members of this House, given the tremendous benefits of cycling, I look forward to making our communities and our province even more bike-friendly in the years to come.

In the interim, Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank you and my colleagues and all the members of this House for their gracious welcome, for your friendship and your support, for this opportunity to share my thoughts with you and for the privilege of being the MPP for Burlington.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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The pier is still well; the police and the fire department were there the past few days - taking care of people.

News 100 blackBy Pepper Parr

December 8, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON.

 

An observant citizen told us about fire trucks being at the pier. They were – several times.

The reason for being there had nothing to do with either the pier or the electrical room.

The police and the fire department are there to protect us. That’s what they have been doing. Some people need more protection than others.

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There are options to retirement homes or long term care when you can no longer live by yourself.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

December 5, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON.

 

Shelley Raymond had a problem – both her parents were at that point in their lives when they needed a level of care she had not had to provide in the past.

Her Mother’s Alzheimer’s was advanced and her Father’s dementia while stable, made life demanding for her.

Where do they live when they can no longer care for themselves? There is nothing comfortable about the choices people like Shelley Raymond have to make.

Co housing Seniors population

Seniors will represent more than 25% of the population of Burlington in the not too distant future.

More than 14% of Canada’s population is over 65 and that number is going to grow – the Baby Boomers are moving into retirement.

Long term care is one option. According the Ms Raymond, a senior today has a 7% chance of getting a long term care bed,

Cohousing Seniors population 2

Will Burlington be properly prepared for the growth in the seniors population?

Staying home, alone is the choice many make – but it doesn’t work. The isolation leads to depression; memory loss creates all kinds of problems – medication isn’t taken; repairs on the house just don’t get done; there are challenges with food preparation and falling down stairs or tripping over objects is very common.

Many, including Shelley Raymond believe the province faces a long term care crisis.

Seniors need some level of support for daily living activities – cooking, cleaning, shopping, transportation and medication reminders. Most seniors want to remain independent as long as possible; many try to remain independent and do themselves considerable harm both emotionally and financially.

Cohousing -  Family finances - have + last

A vital and pressing problem for a lot of families in Burlington.

Finding the level of care parents need is just one part of the problem – being able to pay for that care is the second part. The over-riding question is – how long will the money last?

What’s available in terms of care? Long term care facilities: $78 a day – $2400 a month for a private room; $56 a day for basic care – $1707 a month.

Cohousing -Chances of getting LT care bed

Depressing and scary – is this the best the province is going to be able to do?

Retirement homes come in at $3500 a month and can run up to $8000 a month with advanced services. These are now growth businesses. The Pearl at Pine is preparing to open seen, the six floor residence on Upper Middle Road next to the Tansley Woods community centre has been open for more than a year and Aldershot has a new retirement community.

The other options are staying in your home or moving in with family.

For those who choose to stay in their homes there is an additional issue and that is home care offered by the province’s Community Care Access Centre (CCAC). There are limits to the number of people they can handle – the number of senior’s that will need care is not as limited. There is a crunch coming.

There are literally tens of thousands of seniors facing this problem – and they are beginning to realize that the government is not going to solve their problem for them. People are coming up with good ideas – that’s what Shelly Raymond had to do when her parents needed care.

Remember that television program The Golden Girls – they are on the way back. Sharing accommodation was an entertaining idea – Shelley Raymond took it a couple of steps further and developed the idea of what she calls “co-housing”.

Cohousing Renovate or purpose build

Top house was renovated to become a cohouse. Bottom was purpose built to be a cohouse.

She created an organization called Solterra that works with people who want to be part of a co-housing property.  She looks for properties that can be used, works with architects to build the homes, markets them and then works with owners to get them set up with the services they want and need.  Much more information on their web site.  Tell Shelly you read about her in the Burlington Gazette.

People share the ownership of a building. Each resident has their own private space and share common space – kitchens, living room and perhaps gardens.

Co housing six unit set up

Floor plan for a six unit cohouse.

Typical “co-houses” have four to six owners. Each owner has title to their portion of the house which can be sold on the open market. They share the taxes, the heating and electricity, maintenance.

Cohousing Kitchen - purpose built - Brechin ON

The kitchen area of a cohouse in Brechin Ontario

There is also the potential to share household services as well – which many of the cohousing operations do. Someone comes in and does the cleaning; some have a person who comes in and does the cooking and meal preparation. There are various levels of service that are possible. The owners decide what they want and can afford.

Most of the units have small walk outs to a private yard in some cases or a common area in others. Parking, transportation – and what about pets.
The basic rule is usually no pets but the owners of the units are the “board of directors” and they can make any decision they like.  “One cohousing operation voted to try a pet for a short period of time” explained Raymond. Sally, the dog is now the star of that house and has put in twenty pounds.

The biggest part of co-housing is the “co” part – decisions are made in common and people fashion the kind of community they want.

Cohousing - Sample set up

Owners bring their own furniture and set up their home the way they want.

How does one know that cohousing will work for them? Most of the cohousing organizations have a three month trial period. You move in – you pay “rent” and try it out. If you find that the people are your kind of people and the level of service is what you need – then you can buy your share of the house.

What are the advantages of cohousing? Financially they are incredible. Heating, electricity, taxes, maintenance are all shared by the people living in the home. And those people are not residents – they are the owners. The difference is that they share the ownership of the property. The house is not a nursing home – it belongs to the people who live in it.

They are purchasing a percentage interest in a home, freehold that is individually saleable on the open market, registered on title as Tenants in Common. It is a private residence in which you maintain your privacy and control

The Burlington Community Foundation recently published their third Vital Signs report in which they said “There will be greater emphasis on shifting care to the community and supporting aging in place. Home Care and Community Support Service agencies will support more elderly people with complex and often inter-related health and social care needs to remain in or return to their homes, especially after a hospitalization.

The report suggested Coordinated Care as an approach that will bring together patients, teams of health professionals including specialists, community partners, to ensure not only a positive health outcome but also a quality of life outcome for patients.

If current trends persist, there will continue to be a shortage of long-term care beds and this will result in more seniors staying in their homes out of necessity rather than personal choice and need. The hope is that substantially more spaces in long-term care homes will be created so that waiting lists and wait durations get smaller rather than larger.

Co housing - Two house on one property

The layout, scope and size of a cohouse is limited only by the imagination of the developers ad the people who want to live in these homes.

Neighbourhood planning and building design will take into account the accessibility needs of seniors both in terms of mobility and to reduce the isolation of seniors. This will continue as part of the movement to develop age-friendly communities; something we have not heard very much from the Planning Department.

Co housing - The sales pitch

This is what cohousing is all about. It is one of the more imaginative and financially viable ideas to come along in some time.

And that is exactly where Shelly Raymond is going with her Solterra concept.

When she spoke recently in Burlington there were a number of women in the room who met with her after and asked – “How can we do this now?”

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Vital Signs report points out opportunities to be a city we can all feel at home in.

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

December 1, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The report gets put out every year – the most recent is the third released by the Burlington Community Foundation. It is a snapshot of where we are with the issues the Foundation feels are important to the city.

This year the Vital Signs report gives more attention is given to transit and mental health as well as, surprisingly, culture.

In the 2014 update, independent research continues to confirm that Burlington is truly unique among mid-size Canadian cities. Employment rates, new community gardens, improved waste management programs and dropping crime rates are among the many great livability highlights of this year’s report .

Aerial from west over SSP

Are we a city “we can all feel at home in?” Not everyone can feel truly at home – we have some work to do.

As the BCF revisited 11 key areas of community life, a few areas with emerging issues were also uncovered. For instance, as our city becomes more built up, the city is experiencing more traffic, vehicle collisions and related property damage . There’s also a shortage of housing options. The current rental vacancy rate of 1 .9% is well below the 3% benchmark that is considered necessary for adequate competition and supply .

Established in 1999 as a centre for philanthropy, the Burlington Community Foundation exists today because local people had a clear vision for our city’s future .

Arts and culture:
The report suggests Burlington has a strong and diverse arts and culture scene; that should be seen as more of a wish. The arts have been a part of Burlington for a long time; culture is something that is emerging.

VS 2014 Marketing sector -library use

There are enough companies in the marketing field for the city to be seen as a place where good creative work can be done,

Vital Signs refers to a rich variety of cultural attractions that will engage people as “go to” places, accessible and affordable to all . Burlington will be home to and will showcase a wide variety of multicultural artists, spanning many types of art: from “traditional” art forms to emerging art forms .

“Burlington will be seen as a city that attracts, inspires, encourages and is home to creative thinkers.” We are not there yet.

If seen as part of the 20 years out projection a vision could have Burlington seen as an arts and culture travel destination: people will come to visit Burlington because of the quality and variety of its arts and cultural experiences within a context of recreational, retail, and culinary options. People come to Burlington now because of the geography and out festivals.

Anne Swarbrick, the Interim Executive Director, Art Gallery of Burlington hopes that the arts will be valued for their contributions to economic development and for the creative thinking and skills that they teach.

In a survey of Burlington residents, 76% said culture is “essential” or “highly important” in their daily lives. There are many types of cultural experiences. For Burlington residents, the top 6 are festivals (86%), museums and local history (81%), art galleries (78%), going to the theatre (75%), public art (69%) and family heritage and traditions (69%).

Burlington is home to 33 community cultural organizations, which together support:

624,000 visits to local festivals, events, productions and exhibitions, of which 535,000 visits are free to the public
89,000+ hours of cultural programming offered to all ages
650+ workshops
1,400+ residents engaging as volunteers.

Impressive numbers.

VS 2014 Burlington is working

Burlington is not keeping up with the work force growth the Region is experiencing. Some research and analysis of this data is needed. who will do that research and analysis? Economic Development Corporation? Someone should do it.

Employment
The statistics the kind of employment available in Burlington is not as impressive. The Economic Development Corporation is constantly looking for companies they would like to see move to Burlington and create high added value and high paying jobs; the reality is that we are adding relatively low paying retail sector jobs in a city where apartment rents are higher than other communities in the GTA and rental availability is considerably below the standard

There doesn’t appear to be a strategy that will work. “Creating a high performance economy depends on the right blend of businesses, a highly qualified workforce, and motivated business investment”, says Mayor Rick Goldring. The Burlington Economic Development Corporation is taking a more direct, proactive and strategic approach for a short and long-term development strategy to retain and attract business. This strategy will be focused on creating a dynamic ecosystem conducive to business growth for Burlington’s long-term fiscal capacity, now and in the future.”

Statements like this amount to bafflegab – they say nothing.

Burlington has historically had stronger employment levels than Ontario as a whole . Updated information from Halton Region’s 2013 Employment Survey shows continued strength: the number of jobs is up 7% from the 2012 Employment Survey, and the number of businesses is up 4%.

However, job growth has been lower in Burlington compared to the rest of Halton Region. The types of jobs in Burlington are changing. Notably, in the 2012 Employment Survey, manufacturing was the largest sector by number of jobs, but in the 2013 survey it had dropped to second place behind the retail sector.

A portion of the Phase 2 Final Report on Employment Lands said: Over the next twenty years, a number of the conditions which underpinned the City’s past economic successes are expected to change.”

VS 2014 Types of jobs

The drive for high quality well paying high tech jobs is not being reached; there are more people in retail now than in manufacturing – and Burlington isn’t exactly a shopper’s mecca.

“Ontario’s manufacturing-based economy has entered another period of transition, as manufacturers come to grips with increased global competition, changing patterns of foreign investment and an aging labour force. Fuel costs are rising and congestion on the 400 series highway network is increasing. Locally, the availability of land for new greenfield development is expected to become scarcer as Burlington approaches its build-out.”

That is not good news and suggests a significant re-think is needed as to what we want to be from an employment point of view is needed.

VS 2014 They travel by car

These are not good numbers. The city does not seem prepared to develop options that make it possible to travel by anything other than a car. Longer term this is very bad news for Burlington.

Transit and transportation:
The challenge of easing traffic congestion will increase due to population and employment; the call is for more use of alternate modes of transit. The people of Burlington don’t yet have any appetite for getting out of their cars
Build more roads ? – our options are limited: Widening existing roads or building new ones, in most circumstances, will encroach on private property, impact mature trees and green space or compromise the existing public spaces.

A more sustainable transportation strategy is to move more people per kilometer by walking, cycling, via transit using high occupancy vehicles.

15% of all trips within Burlington are by transit
30% of all eastbound trips leaving the city are by transit
10% of all westbound trips leaving the city are by transit

Sustainable local environmental practices
Burlington will have strong local food security and a strong local food economy. There will be significant local food production and processing.

Residents will have ready access to local food through farms, community gardens, farmers’ markets, grocery stores, and restaurants.

Neither of these is the case today

VS 2014 What is put in the garbage

Lot’s of room for improvement here.

Michelle Bennett, Grow To Give Garden Coordinator, BurlingtonGreen Environmental Association, says the dream, the vision and provincial policy call for Burlington and Halton Region to protect its urban and rural green spaces, agricultural lands and woodlots . The Niagara Escarpment lands, flora, and wildlife have to remain preserved from greenfield development, expanded aggregate extraction and highway expansion.

Residents will be engaged and have as much say as developers, business and city planners in how land is used and developed in Burlington .

Burlington’s drinking water from Lake Ontario and groundwater aquifer sources will be clean and healthy for all.

Burlington will have a community energy strategy that effectively conserves energy use, emits less greenhouse gases, and is increasingly reliant on renewable sources.

These were correctly set out as dreams; it is going to take leadership and vision to make them a reality.

There are also competing interests at play; the people who own large swaths of land north of Dundas didn’t buy it to grow hay for horses.

A city where people enjoy the outdoors
Burlington has 1,472 acres of city-owned parkland, and the city each year takes care of 60,000 trees, plants 600 new trees, and maintains 796 acres of grass. Most residents are within a 10-minute or less walk from green space.

VS 2014 Air quality

With steel plants across the bay – our air quality is surprisingly good.

Burlington operates three community gardens, two of which opened in 2014. “Community Gardens are shared spaces where people gather together to grow fruit, vegetables, and/or flowers collectively. Community Gardens provide health, economic, educational, social, and environmental benefits to participants and the community at large

VS 2014 Prosperous - income levels

We are prosperous, we are generous. Are we going to be able to make the allowances for those that are not as well of? If the prosperous want cleaning ladies – they will learn to make the needed allowances.

Burlington is a giving community.

In 2010, 30% of Burlington tax filers reported charitable donations, which is higher than for Ontario as a whole (24.5%). Collectively, Burlington tax filers donated $63 million to charities. (Community Development Halton, Charitable Donations in Halton, Community Lens Bulletin #91)

Many renters experience financial difficulty
When compared to other Regional Municipalities in the Greater Toronto Area, Halton’s average monthly rent is the highest.
According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, housing is considered affordable if shelter costs account for less than 30% of before-tax household income. If shelter costs exceed this threshold, it can become more difficult to afford other essentials such as food, clothing and transportation.

VS 2014 Higher density

The data shows close to radical changes. Are we planning this type of change or is it what developers want to build and the city planners go along with the projects? Is this good planning? Does it reflect the Official Plan?

In Halton Region, over 41% of renters are spending more than 30% of their income on housing. The problem is even more severe among recent newcomers to Canada living in Halton, with 48 .5% spending more than 30% on shelter.

VS 2014 Low income residents

Are these numbers to be concerned about? Close to 20% of residents are part of a low income household.

Not only are rents high but there is a shortage of rental properties. The rental vacancy rate improved a bit from 1 .3% in 2012 to 1 .9% in 2013 . However, it is still well below the benchmark vacancy rate of 3% considered necessary for adequate competition and supply . It is also well below neighbouring Hamilton’s 3 .9% vacancy rate .

An application of community mobilization to policing – mental health:
“A lot of mental health issues have become policing issues because either there is no one else to call or they don’t know who else to call.” In the community mobilization approach, partnership with mental health organizations is critical.

VS 2014 Crime severity index

Burlington is a safe place to live. Is that because of superior policing or geography?

Halton Regional Police Chief Steve Tanner says “We will always be the emergency response for mental health where someone may be violent or when someone is suicidal. We will always have the intervention, but then we should very quickly be able to hand it over to people who can deal with it better on a long-term basis.”

Canada’s age profile is getting older and Burlington is one of the city’s leading this change. The trend will continue for several decades into the future. For example, the proportion of people 65+ years of age in Ontario is expected to grow from 14 .6% of the population in 2011 to over 23% by the year 2036 .

Burlington’s age profile has historically been older than that of Ontario as a whole, and the difference has been increasing over time . As of 2011, 16 .9% of Burlington’s population was 65 years of age or older, compared to 14 .6% of Ontario’s population

The Burlington Community Foundation concludes that: “Potential is a word that sums up our city’s future. As a prosperous and affluent community, individual, household and family median incomes in Burlington are higher than the Ontario average. We are in a very fortunate situation.”

Looking ahead, a broad mix of employment opportunities – including more highly-skilled, well-paying jobs – will enable even more people to work and live here.”

“It is anticipated that the growing local food movement and urban gardening will both have a very positive impact on sustainable local environmental practices. Our close connection to nature will only increase with more urban and rural green spaces being protected from Greenfield development and aggregate extraction.

“Increased recycling and reuse initiatives have already helped to reduce garbage. However, we still have a way to go as 44% of materials currently being put in household garbage bins could have been recycled or composted.”

With less land available, more families will move into high density structures – the Halton Region Official Plan calls for half of all new housing units to be town-houses or multi-storey buildings and 30% to be affordable or assisted housing. Moving away from traditional single family homes will require new solutions and ideas to help us maintain the sense of community and scale that we all enjoy.

VS 2014 Age profile

Does Burlington want to be a city of older people? Has our city council taken us in this direction or did it just happen? And is it good planning? More importantly, is it sustainable?

The demographics of our community have and will continue to change. With many boomers choosing to retire, a strategy to build stronger connections with millennials will be important. Young workers who establish work and family roots in our community are critical to ensuring a healthy and sustainable workforce. At the same time, a greater emphasis on community-based health care and supporting aging in place will assist our older residents who already face a shortage of long-term care facilities.

The 2013 Vital Signs identified an opportunity to improve mental wellness. In 2014, the Foundation organized three Roundtables to start conversations about mental wellness across our community. Leaders from mental health organizations, corporations and institutions, civic leaders, practitioners and community members, donors and fund holders as well as individuals who have experienced mental health challenges are all involved.

The next step is the creation of an action plan – supported by collaboration and community partnerships – to improve future mental wellness and mental health care in Burlington.

Collaborating with individual donors, public and private organizations to build endowments, give grants and connect leadership, the BCF is now the centre for philanthropy in the city. The 2014 Vital Signs report demonstrates the many opportunities Burlington has to continue to be a city that we can “all feel at home in.”

Related articles:

2012 Vital Signs report

2013 Vital Sign report.

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Learn more about synchronized swimming and try some of the moves - Centennial Pool - Saturday.

Event 100By Staff

November 29, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON

 

If you haven’t got your weekend plans worked out and you are looking for something different to do with the kids – what do you think about Synchronized Swimming ?

The Burlington Synchronized Swimming Club (BSSC) invites families and friends to join us for a FREE family swim as part of the Burlington Sports Festival. Celebrate the power of sport that builds strong communities and get active with BSSC!

Synchronized swimming

Join the Synchronized Swimming Club at the Centennial pool to learn more about synchronized swimming and try some of the moves.

Did you know that synchronized swimming is a hybrid form of swimming, dance and gymnastics, consisting of swimmers performing a synchronized routine of elaborate moves in the water, accompanied by music?

Join us to learn more about synchronized swimming and try some of the moves.

SATURDAY, November 29, 2014 from 3:00 – 4:30 P.M. at the Centennial Pool, 5151 New Street,

Have fun with a FREE family swim that includes a “try it” session offered by BSSC

 

 

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What if there is an oil spill from Enbridge's line 9 when it begins to transport oil from the tar sands? There donot appear to be firm plans in place.

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

November 24, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The National Energy Board (NEB) has made it very clear to Enbridge that the pipeline they want to reverse and pump Alberta tar sands bitumen to eastern Canada is not going to be as simple as they thought it was going to be.

The NEB recently told Enbridge that their Line 9 plans failed to meet the requirement that shutoff “valves shall be installed on both sides of major water crossings”, and also challenged the company’s definition of what constitutes a major water course (WMC).

The Board has demanded a new company submission “at least 90 days prior to applying for the final leave to open” the pipeline which significantly sets back Enbridge’s previously announced intention to start shipments later sometime in November.

Creeks map

There are seven creeks that run from the Escarpment into Lake Ontario. We know how volatile those creeks can get when they are flooded. They would carry an oil spill right out into the lake threatening our water supply.

“The Board notes that only 6 of the 104 MWCs identified by Enbridge to date appear to have valves installed within 1 km on both sides of the water crossing, while the majority appear to have valves installed more than 10 km from the water crossing on at least one side,” explains the NEB letter to the company. “The Board is of the view that Enbridge’s criteria for determining MWCs are not adequate.”

One of those major water crossing is Bronte Creek. Hamilton has a community committee that has done their homework and are on top of the issue. Burlington isn’t as fortunate. BurlingtonGreen has some expertise but not much in the way of profile on this.

Eenbridge-9-looking-west-at-Walkers-Line-1024x5592

The location of the valves – underground – that are controlled from the Enbridge office in Western Canada. Are there enough of these in place?

The city’s engineering department has a small group monitoring but they don’t appear to have focused on those water bodies that are within our boundaries. Hamilton is pressing very hard to ensure that the required shut off valves are installed so that if there is a spill the flow can be stopped.

We don’t hear about Burlington banging their fists on the table to make sure that the seven creeks that flow through are city have the protection needed.

Burlington is going to have to be at the table pushing for what our problems are. Sam Sidawi, Senior Engineer with the city said “we are part of a thing called the Municipal Liaison Group”, and seemed content to leave it at that. Hamilton is a part of the same group and they aren’t leaving the protection of their Major Water Crossing in the hands of others.

The Conservation Authority is in there somewhere but try getting a map from them delineating all the creeks that run from the Escarpment to the Lake and they will tell you there are GIS licensing concerns. Balderdash.

We did get a copy this morning after months of asking

Kalamazoo oil cleaning

Enbridge was sucking oil out of the river and creeks that had oil from the spill in them four years after the spill. Burlington could not go that long.

At this point Burlington doesn’t have a problem – nothing is running through Line 9 – but when they get the clearance they need – we could have a problem – that line is close to 40 years old.

Kalamazoo Michigan had an oil spill that sent an estimated 800,000 gallons of crude oil into Talmadge Creek and the river. Nearly four years later since the spill was discovered July 26, 2010 near Marshall, the Canadian pipeline company is wrapping up the cleanup.

 

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Burlington packaging firm fined $70,000 for failing to appoint a competent person as supervisor.

News 100 redBy Staff

November 18, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON –

 

Samuel, Son & Co., Ltd., also known as GO Packaging, has pleaded guilty and has been fined $70,000 after a worker suffered fractures and other injuries after being caught in machinery.

On June 7, 2013, a worker was learning how to thread multiple strands of plastic strapping material at the company’s workplace at 735 Oval Court in Burlington. The worker was participating in peer-to-peer job advancement training with a senior, experienced operator who was also a lead hand. The task involved running four strands of plastic strapping repeatedly back and forth the full distance of the production line to allow the hot, freshly extruded plastic strapping to cool by air.

The trainee worker was instructed to shut down the machine and, while reaching for a side stop control panel near exposed rollers, one hand and forearm became entangled in plastic strapping. As the worker tried to use the other hand, it also became caught.
The lead hand witnessed the event and stopped the machine. Co-workers used a hack saw to cut through the accumulation of strapping material and extricated the worker. The worker suffered bruising, sprains and bone fractures as well as amputation of the tip of one finger. A Ministry of Labour investigation followed.

Samuel, Son & Co., Ltd. pleaded guilty in court to failing to appoint a competent person as supervisor when it appointed the lead hand as the supervisor.

A ‘competent person’ is defined as a person who is qualified because of knowledge, training and experience to organize the work and its performance; is familiar with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the regulations that apply to the work; and has knowledge of any potential or actual danger to health or safety in the workplace.

The employer had not made the lead hand familiar with the Occupational Health and Safety Act or the Industrial Establishments Regulation, which applied at the workplace; the lead hand was thus not a competent person as defined by law.

Samuel, Son & Co., Ltd. was fined $70,000 by Justice of the Peace Eileen Walker in Provincial Offences Court in Burlington. In addition to the fine, the court imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.

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Councillor Craven bush-whacks hospital president at Standing Committee meeting. Why?

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

November 19, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON

Boy – did he ever bush whack the guy!

Eric Vandewall, president of the Joseph Brant Hospital strode into a city council Standing Committee meeting with great news. The company that was going to build the new hospital had been selected; the financial advisors were in place and the province was on side.

It had been quite a haul from the day that a Minister was supposed to show up with a cheque in hand got stuck in traffic and Vanderwall was left sucking his thumb.

 

An architects rendering of the new entrance to the Joseph Brant Hospital whch will now face the lake.  The entrance will be off LAkeshore Road with the new parking lot just to the west of the hospital.

An architects rendering of the new entrance to the Joseph Brant Hospital which will now face the lake. The entrance will be off Lakeshore Road with the new parking lot just to the west of the hospital.

Yesterday Vandewall was telling Council how far the hospital had come with the redevelopment project. Something called the Integrated Team Solutions (ITS) will design, build and finance the hospital’s redevelopment and expansion project.

EllisDon will do the actual construction; – Constructor; Fengate Capital Management – Financial Advisor; Parkin/Adamson Architects Limited – Architects in joint venture.

Vandewall was there to justifiably boast about the new seven-storey patient care tower; 172 new beds; a new Emergency Department, nine new operating rooms, a post-anaesthetic care unit, a new and expanded Cancer Clinic, expanded ambulatory care programs, a renovated level 2B Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit, expanded Diagnostic Imaging Services, expanded medical, surgical and outpatient services and a new main entrance.

It was a summy summer day and a provincial government minister was on her way to Burlington with what everyone thought was going to be a cheque for the hospital in her purse.  She didn't arrive - then there was an election and that Minister lost her seat - still no money.  But the cheque did arrive on Friday and the smile hospital CEO eric Vandewall was wearing this sunny summer day is the smile he is wearing today.  These things take time.

It was a sunny summer day and a provincial government minister was on her way to Burlington with what everyone thought was going to be a cheque for the hospital in her purse. She didn’t arrive and hospital president Eric Vandewall sent all his guests home. 

Few realize just how much Vandewall has done since he first got the funding needed to re-build a hospital that had a terrible reputation and was nowhere near the standard the public needed and expected. He had more than a fair share of stick handling to get to the point he was at Tuesday when he told Council he expected to see shovels in the ground Spring of 2015.

That’s when Ward 1 Councillor Rick Craven began asking questions: Were you aware asked Craven “that the final site plan is not in yet?” Without site plan approval a building permit can’t be issued.

ITS is responsible for that was Vandewall’s response

MTO has not signed off on the interchange advised Craven. A building permit can’ be issued until MTO signs off.

Were you aware of the neighbourhood issues asked Craven; drive ways on the north side of the hospital property as well as visuals.

Craven wanted to know if Vandewall was aware of the procurement for three different designs

Craven closed his questions by reminding Vandewall that a public meeting was required and that hospital approval was un-delegated – which meant approval comes from Council – not staff.

Vandewall agreed that he and Craven should get together and talk. That is going to be some conversation.
The re-development of the hospital is the biggest project the city has on the go and while it is located in ward 1 – it is a city wide concern.

For the ward council member to bush whack the president of the hospital in public like that is very unusual to say the least.

Where is the Councillor getting his information and why did he have to put Vandewall on the spot like that?

Vandewall and his team had additional good news.  The hospital foundation part of the fund raising is going very well; they have raised 65%  of their goal and have $40 million in hand.

Taxpayers are putting up half of the $120 million the province said we had to raise and the Joseph Brant Hospital Foundation is raising the rest.  Vandewall said the hospital will open sometime in late 2018 or early 2019.

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Family Health Centre is open - parking lot as well. JBH gets ready to move into phase two of redevelopment.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

November 8, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON.

 

The parking garage the Joseph Brant Hospital wanted the city to pay for is now open and doctors have begun moving into the Halton McMaster Family Health Centre (HMFHC) which is part of Phase One of the Redevelopment and Expansion Project.

The opening of the structure, located on the south west corner of our hospital site, accessible from Lakeshore Road, marks the completion of Phase One of the Redevelopment and Expansion Project.

Family Health Centre + garage

A little landscaping, a couple of trees and the new Family Health Centre will look just fine. Let’s hope the parking prices don’t send people to a cardiac unit.

The Halton McMaster Family Health Centre (HMFHC) which is part of Phase One of the Redevelopment and Expansion Project, is located on the south west corner of our hospital site, accessible from Lakeshore Road. The Health Centre opened its doors to patients in late September and is home to the Burlington Family Health Team.

Lucy - the doctor is inThe Burlington Family Health Team (BFHT) is made up of a team of family physicians, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, social workers, dieticians and other professionals who work together to provide health care for their community. The vision of a Family Health Team is for physicians, nurse practitioners and other health care professionals to practice together, sharing and benefiting from the complementary knowledge and skills of their colleagues.

The construction of the Halton McMaster Family Health Centre marks Joseph Brant Hospital as a designated clinical education campus of McMaster University, with students learning such specialties as emergency medicine, surgery, obstetrics and family medicine.

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One of the final beams signed by staff and dignitaries is part of the Family Health Centre now opened and operational.  Phase One of the Redevelopment is now complete

The designation of a clinical education campus also helps increase the hospital’s ability to recruit and retain new physicians and attract healthcare learners to the community. Doctors at the Family Health Clinic will learn alongside Joseph Brant Hospital physicians and healthcare teams.

The four-storey parking facility, which was designed to accommodate two additional storeys in the future, can accommodate more than 820 vehicles. It will support the patient first philosophy by increasing the availability of parking for patients and families.

 

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THAT is a green bike lane - will it make a difference, will it make them safer?

News 100 blueBy Staff

November 6, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON.

 

Will we make the Guinness Book of Records for this – having the first green bike lanes in the province?

They are being installed this week at the intersections of Fairview Street and Guelph Line and Prospect Street and Guelph Line.

Green bike lanes

That’s not grass – that is green paint intended to help car drivers understand the road is to be shared and to let cyclists know it is safe for them to use the bike lanes.

The green bike lanes are intended to help highlight the bike lane portion of the road, reminding motorists and cyclists to be aware of each other and drive with caution.

This is especially important at intersections where cars must cross over the bike lane to make a right-hand turn.

The new road markings are being installed as part of the resurfacing project on Guelph Line and Fairview Street.

Robert Narejko, a former chair of the city’s Cycling Committee is delighted with the road colouring and said: “Bringing awareness to cycling issues is a positive step forward for the safety of all road users.

Narejko Rob-with-bikes

Rob Narejko, a former Cycling Committee chair looks forward to streets with green bike lanes.

“In our car centered culture, the green lanes will provide an ever present reminder of extremely vulnerable road users whose only protection is the vigilance of the car driver. Just as a cyclist wants to come home safely, no car driver wants the memory of clipping a cyclist causing injuries that may never heal.”
“The green lanes are a good addition to Burlington’s cycling infrastructure, helping its citizens, cyclists and drivers, feel safer on the road.”

Let’s see how the public takes to the new colour scheme – they are not going to be easy to miss.

 

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These situations are policy failures says Edwardh - single mother sees nothing but wait lists.

opinionandcommentBy Emma Delmore 

November 4, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON

 

“I find myself becoming more and more appreciative of what Canada does for both its people and those coming here to improve their lives or find safety for their families.

“I am a single mother, my mother was a single mother, and I am afraid of what that might mean for my own daughter one day. Being a single mom means constant stress, fear for tomorrow, and terror when looking any further into the future.

I am a single mother, my mother was a single mother, and I am afraid of what that might mean for my own daughter one day.“I want a future for my child, and I want to start building that now. My biggest issue is child care; I have had to turn down potentially good jobs because of it. When my daughter started school I searched for work, I found work as a dog groomer, than went to find subsidized child care. I was told it was wait listed, stressed and not knowing what to do I admit I let some frustration out on the worker I was dealing with at the time, I looked at her and said; What am I supposed to do, I need to work to provide for my child? The answer she gave me has become a familiar one, – Ontario Works.

“I refuse” say Delmore “to let this be my answer. The Canadian Women’s Foundation reports that “a single mother with one child can earn as little as $14,829 on Ontario Works,” – what kind of life is that. As a parent I am contributing to raising the next generation of young people, – what chance do children of single parents have to be successful Canadians and contributors to our communities under these circumstances?

“I tried finding child care independently in my community that was affordable. I made a choice I am to this day deeply ashamed of.

Joey Edwardh, Executive Director of Community Development Halton, knows this story all too well.

Edwardh-Joey

Joey Edwardh – one of the best advocates for the under privileged in a Region that has so much more than other parts of the province.

“This story is not new”, she said, “ it is repeated over and over again. It is impossible for this woman and her child to live in safety and dignity with access to opportunities to be full participants in the economic and social life of their community.

“This is a story of the failure of public policy to provide early education and child care for our children. We all know that a child that grows up in poverty has unequal futures as a little person of today and as an adult of tomorrow.”

“This story also demonstrates the deep poverty that our government establishes for people living on Ontario Works, Ontario’s social assistance program. A single Mom and her child living on approximately $23,038 per year are deemed poor or low income. But on Ontario Works the support received totals approximately $12,600. This is a gap of $8, 584 and leaves this woman and her child unable to meet the necessities of life. We relegate then to destitution in a community and province that has so much.”

“I chose instead to have inadequate child care up until her safety was on the line; I did so because I felt I was left without choices.

I also felt that educating myself could potentially change my situation and offer me the future I desired while also making me a better role model to my child.“Searching for a way to break a cycle and improve our situation I decided the answer might lay in gaining an education that I did not have. I spent two years at St. Lawrence College, taking a Social Service Worker course. It was something I believed in, and that I thought was a way to act as a change agent in improving situations for people that knew what it was like to feel hopeless; after all I have been there.

“I also felt that educating myself could potentially change my situation and offer me the future I desired while also making me a better role model to my child. I received excellent marks, graduated with distinction and for the first time since becoming a parent felt I had a place for me to be myself outside of being someone’s mother.

“I loved the work I was doing both in class and in the community as part of my placements until graduation day. I worked for non-profit agencies that I admired, but like many non-profits there was no room in the budget for added employees. I went to interviews that I researched hoping to improve my chances of working but those with experience got the jobs. I decided to come home to Burlington after nine years in hopes of finding better opportunities.

“I had a better support system in Burlington and saw it as a wonderful place to raise children. I had friends and could be closer to my aging grandparents and enjoy the time I have with them and build an invaluable relationship between them and my child.

Single Mom poor

For many single Mothers – it is about going without and wait listing.

“As the rules go when it comes to subsidized childcare, first you have to get the job, than the subsidy, it is unnerving to say the least. And so I did, I was offered an amazing opportunity in my new field, a chance to build upon my future, provide for my child, and make a difference in my community. Right away I looked into childcare, a before and after school program at her school Tom Thomson Public School, wait listed, then called about getting it subsidized, that too, wait listed. And again I said in frustration, what am I supposed to do? And again came the Ontario Works Speech.

“Constantly mothers are expected to make the choice between work and a better future and our children’s well being, why? I hate living in poverty, I hate what stress has done to my life and to my child’s life, I hate that time and again my sweet child has approached me with sad eyes and her piggy bank trying to make my life easier when it is my job to make her childhood wonderful and carefree.

“I believe in responsibility, both to ones work and to our families, but why does it always have to be a choice. Women make up the largest percentage of underpaid, minimum wage, part-time employees because we feel the greatest responsibility to provide and protect our families.

Beth Hudson

Beth Hudson formed INCITE – had to close it down because they could not get charitable status without which donations just did not flow.

Beth Hudson launched INCITE A Single Moms Support Group. Single moms are women-in-need; generally living at or below the poverty-line; that have been left alone to fend for themselves with little to no support.

INCITE offered a variety of programs to help these women make informed choices, learn, grow, have fun and give back with their Affordable Advice Program. INCITE had a team of over 50 volunteers, including professionals, that helped,  offering one-on-one counseling in areas of financial, legal, mental health.

INCITE had a very exciting and rewarding short tenure helping single moms, but unfortunately, after almost 4 years in operation, INCITE had to close its doors. The nail in the coffin was being declined as a charity from Ottawa. They felt, “There was not a specific need for Single Moms.”

Delmore explains that “we need help, we need more support, and we need to feel that there is hope, that our children do not just deserve better but that they have a right to better, the question is, is who out there is going to help give us a means to do this? Child care services? Employers? Government services? Maybe more Pressure on our male counterparts?

“I am sick of relying on a subsidy that is never there when it’s needed, and being unemployed or underemployed. At this point I am in heavy debt due to student loans, and I am not sure how my bills are going to be paid. I am not searching for temporary solutions but rather long term ones, and I am sure I believe that someone needs to look at the personal side of single parent issues, ask single parents what they want, and work towards making changes.that I am not the only one who is frustrated with a faulty system! I believe that someone needs to look at the personal side of single parent issues, ask single parents what they want, and work towards making changes.”

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Halton Regional police ask: Keep your Thumbs Up and off the cell phone; keep your head up and on the road and Be Alert.

News 100 redBy Staff

November 1, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON.

 

The Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP) hold an Annual Crime Prevention Week campaign. This year, the Halton Regional Police Service is focusing on the increasing issue of Distracted Driving.

One only has to drive around to see the number of distracted drivers either talking on their cell phones or with their heads down, texting in their laps.

In 2013, distracted driving caused more deaths than impaired driving in Ontario. It is also a direct cause of 30-50 percent of collisions, yet people continue to ignore the warnings and choose to drive distracted putting not only their lives at risk but everyone around them.

Texting map

The markers on the map will show how many people in each community actually signed the pledge on line – were you one of them?

Halton Regional Police issued a total of 6,857 distracted driving tickets in 2013. From January through to October 2014, 6,916 tickets have been issued. Drivers are not getting the point.

Our “Thumbs Up Against Distracted Driving” campaign is an educational initiative that serves to create awareness and encourage dialogue between drivers of all ages in hopes of getting people to take the pledge to put the phone down.

High School Liaison officers will be engaging youths in high schools around the Region to break the habit and put their phones down while driving. A thumb band with the reminder “W82TXT” will be handed out to be worn.

The Regional police are going close to all out on this educational initiative and have set up a section of their web site where people can “take the pledge” not to text while driving.

They have created a map showing how many people in each community within the Region have taken the pledge.

thumb-bands1“We encourage people to go to our website and take the pledge. A friendly challenge between municipalities can be followed on the map. Take the HRPS Pledge and watch the numbers in your municipality grow” suggest the police.  Click here to take that pledge.

Let’s all help make Canada’s, more specifically, Halton’s roads the safest in the world!

Follow @HaltonPolice on Twitter and join the conversation using the following hashtags: #HRPSPledge and #W82TXT.

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Seasonal influenza (flu) immunization clinics just for high-risk individuals.

element_healthservicesBy Staff

November 1, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON.

The Halton Region Health Department’s seasonal influenza (flu) immunizations clinics began on October 14, offering vaccine for high-risk individuals only. The clinics will be held at various seniors’ centres throughout the Region. Nurses will be screening residents to ensure they meet the high-risk criteria.

High-risk individuals include:

those at high risk for complications of the flu; for example, those over 65 or with certain underlying health conditions and pregnant women
• those who may spread the flu to high-risk people; for example health care or other care providers
• those who provide essential community services; for example, paramedics or police officers
High-risk individuals can also receive influenza (flu) immunizations at doctors’ offices and walk-in clinics.

 

sdwr

It doesn`t hurt!

The Health Department’s community influenza clinics for all residents aged six months and older are scheduled to begin the week of October 27 in Halton. Flu immunization will also be available at doctor’s offices, walk-in clinics, and, for those aged five years and older, at many pharmacies throughout Halton.

Getting the influenza vaccine every year is the most important way to protect against the flu. It also helps to prevent the spread of the virus to those who are vulnerable to complications of the flu. Influenza immunization is recommended for all those six months of age and older.

Most healthy people recover from the flu within a few days; however, influenza infection can lead to pneumonia, hospitalization, and even death, especially in the elderly, those under five years of age, and those of all ages with certain chronic health conditions.

In addition to getting vaccinated, you can take everyday precautions by washing your hands frequently, using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water is not available, and avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth because the influenza virus enters your body through these routes. If you are sick, stay home from work or school to prevent spreading your illness to others, and see your doctor if your illness continues to worsen or does not begin to improve after a few days.

For more information on the flu, including all clinic dates and locations and those considered high-risk, visit the Regional web site – just click here  or dial 311.

 

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Citizen wants city hall staff to help flood victims fill in forms that are complex and confusing

opinionandcommentBy James Smith

October 24, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Red Cross identified more than 200 homes that were severely damaged.  The city asked the Burlington Community Foundation to take on the task of raising funds from within the community and handle the processing of flood relief applications.  Aid is available only to the people who had no insurance or were under insured.  Many of those who did not have insurance were unable to buy insurance because of past flood claims. To date there are something in the order of 40 applications received by the Community Foundation.  James Smith knows of at least five people who do not understand the forms and believes there are others.  He wants the city to lend a hand.

Open Letter

Mr. Patrick Moyle, Interim City Manager, The City of Burlington

As you may know I am a candidate for Burlington’s Ward 5 in Monday’s municipal election but this is not a political message. Rather this is an urgent request to the civic administration, on behalf of the many people who have had their lives and property damaged by the storm of August 4th.

The City of Burlington needs to help, advise and offer direction on the process of how to make claim through the Ontario Disaster Relief Plan (ODRAP) that the Burlington Community Foundation (BCF) is managing.

The process is almost unknown to a large number of residents who had their homes damaged by the events of August 4th. The form, as developed by the BCF may be thorough, but is only readily available from the BCF’s website, and many seniors do not readily have access to the internet, the form is also 13 pages long and fairly complex. Add to these hurdles, the process is not well understood by many.

Here’s what thousands of residents of Burlington’s South East need, and need right away:

Train a handful of City Staff, (15-25) from any department, and familiarized these City Staff members with the ODRAP process, the forms produced by the Burlington Community Foundation (BCF) and how to fill out the forms and how to deal with questions from those who will apply.

Organize staff into teams to hold small scale meetings in a large number of locations across the South East of the City, in City facilities but also in non traditional locations such as: Places of Worship, Stores, Restaurants, Work Places and even private residences.

Use whatever means possible to let those who’ve been damaged know about when and where meeting will take place. Do not simply rely on Advertising in local media and city websites and social media. Old school methods should include flyers, door-to door canvas, mobile signs and posters on utility poles.

Organize meetings that are part information and part working meetings with greeters directing the public to either information or intake workers.

These meetings need to be working meetings that focus on having these members of city staff to assist residents fill out & and accept forms and documentation, and follow-up with those who apply or who need further information.

As a city, I feel we owe this kind of effort, at the very least, to those in our community who have been damaged by the events of August 4th.

I trust you agree with me and will find the resources to accomplish this without delay or direction from council because; it is the right thing to do.

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Flood relief claim forms available - Town Hall meeting being held to learn how to fill them out - only 40 have been filed.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

October 23, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Fortinos store sign

There is no doubt that Fortinos got behind the flood relief effort in a big way. Program will run to the 30th of the month.

With fundraising for Burlington Flood Relief entering the final weeks of the 100-day campaign, the Claims Committee is focusing on assisting those who qualify for financial assistance prepare their claims.
A Town Hall meeting with the Claims Committee and Cunningham Lindsay, the insurance adjuster supporting the initiative, is planned for November 4th to answer questions and provide support to those interested in making a claim.

“We know there are hundreds of Burlington families who will qualify for financial assistance and are concentrating our efforts to communicate with those folks and help them through the process,” said Colleen Mulholland, President and CEO of the Burlington Community Foundation.

Fortino Flood cashiers Oct 22-14 010

Every cashier, every employee in the Fortinos supermarket wears the red Flood Relief T shirt.

“We are also communicating with the provincial government to understand its position on providing financial assistance so we can be crystal clear on how much funding we have to disperse.”
Since the Application for Losses and Damages became available on September 30th approximately 40 claims have been filed. The Claims Committee has set a deadline of December 14, 2014 for all Applications for Losses and Damages to be submitted. Disbursements will begin over the following eight weeks after the deadline.

“Our Committee is committed to assisting everyone who needs help in submitting their claim forms,” said Mulholland. “We encourage people to attend the Town Hall on November 4th or to connect with the BCF office by phone or email.”

As of noon today, the Burlington Community Foundation Flood Disaster Relief Committee has raised $780,000 in cash.

Flood thermometer OCt 22-14

Long way to go – not all that much time left – three weeks.

Ron Foxcroft, Chair, BCF Flood Disaster Relief Committee said: “We are in the final stretch our 100-day fundraising campaign and our Committee and a roster of dedicated volunteers continue to seek support from our community”. “We are working on some significant gifts and hope to have details to share shortly. Burlingtonians will continue to have an opportunity to donate to flood relief when shopping at retailers throughout our city and we are confident these efforts will make a big impact.”

Link to find Application for Losses and Damages or call: (905) 639-0744 ext 221

More donors are encouraged to continue supporting the campaign by:

Cheque – make cheques out to “Burlington Community Foundation” with a memo reference to Flood Relief Campaign – mail or drop off at Burlington Community Foundation, 3380 South Service Road, Unit 107, Burlington, Ontario, L7N 3J5

On-line donations – Click on the DONATE NOW button. 

The Town Hall meeting will take place on:
Tuesday, November 4th, 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Burlington Seniors Centre, Port Nelson & Wellington Rooms

 

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Open Letter to Regional Chair, Gary Carr

opinionandcommentBy Halton Residents Against Sewage Backup and Flooding

October 22, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON.

 

Dear Mr. Carr:

Eleven weeks have passed since the Aug. 4th flood and majority of Burlington residents are still wondering what happened on that day when tens of thousands of liters of raw sewage and overflow from creeks entered into their homes, causing millions of dollars in damages and a plethora of issues from insurance battles to health risks to stolen repair deposits.

Below are questions and concerns from the residents of Burlington which HRASB compiled over the last several weeks. Health and Safety.

As you are well aware, there is a sizeable elderly population in Burlington and many live alone or with their domestic partner of many years. Several of these elderly folks did not have their homes cleaned out within the recommended time frame for a sewage backup. Also, the Ontario Environmental and Safety Network (OESN) mentions that fecal matter trapped in weeping tile and drains can release methane gas, not to mention when affected areas of the home are not adequately cleaned and tested (which OESN found in every case), then bacteria and viruses could grow and overt health effects could occur to otherwise healthy individuals. Why not bring in the Public Health Department to inspect homes?

Follow-up by the Region
We are aware of at least two residents who reported sewage backup flooding to the Region but were not contacted. Of those residents who were contacted by the Region, some reported missed appointments by Regional staff which resulted in delayed reconstruction or pressure from insurance companies for installation of the backwater valve system. Many residents still have storage pods in their driveways.

Burlington Flood Relief Foundation
Why did the representatives from the Burlington Flood Relief Foundation decline two invitations to attend sewer backup meetings thereby missing opportunities to connect with 350+ residents who were directly affected by sewage backup?

Wastewater Capital
Wastewater capital investment for new development in Oakville is 368.4 million dollars from 2012-2016 and a mere 6 million dollars for Burlington in the same time frame. Residents understand that Oakville is experiencing growth; however, Burlington east wastewater pumping stations were identified as ‘poor condition’ and the ‘highest priority’ (in Halton) as per RV Anderson and Associates engineering study provided in 2012 to the Halton Region. Why so little capital investment in Burlington when there are known issues?

Backwater Valve and Subsidy Decisions
Some residents will receive full coverage for the installation of back water valve and sump pump system while others will not. What exactly are the criteria for full subsidy and who oversees the program?

Construction by Year-End
If the Region is waiting for the results of a flood report expected in July of 2015, why are there plans to begin construction by year- end in some neighbourhoods? What knowledge does the Region have currently regarding the sanitary sewer infrastructure which has not been made public?

New Development
Residents feel that developers have ‘no business’ proposing high-rise apartments downtown, at Appleby Mall, or any other area of Burlington significantly impacted by sewer backup/flooding. Until the major infrastructure problems are identified, made public, and ultimately fixed, there will be significant push back by the residents.

We look forward to your response.

Sincerely,
Members of the HRASB
www.hrasb.com

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Minister of Health says: safety of Ontario's health care workers, patients and the public are our top priority.

element_healthservices-74x74By Staff

October 15, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON.

The Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, Dr. Eric Hoskins and Dr. David Mowat, Interim Chief Medical Officer of Health, said in a statement: ““We know that Ontarians may have concerns related to the ongoing challenges in West Africa and recent events in the United States regarding the spread of the Ebola virus.

“Let us assure you that the safety of Ontario’s health care workers, patients and the public are our top priority.

Joseph Brant hospital rendering

A “new” Joseph Brant will be easier to keep clean – but cleanliness is an attitude.

“We are confident that Ontario is prepared and ready to contain and treat any potential case of Ebola virus in our province — protocols are in place and we’ve seen the system work well in Ontario hospitals.

With the experience and lessons learned from the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) epidemic, our health care facilities now have sophisticated infection control systems and procedures to protect health care providers, patients and all Ontarians. They are fully equipped to deal with any potential cases of Ebola.

“But all health care workers, especially those providing care to patients, must be safe and protected. This is why we are working with health care employers to ensure they are providing appropriate training for their staff on the proper use of personal protective equipment and other occupational health and safety measures. We are also continuing to work with health care workers and employers to further strengthen protective measures and ensure they’re in place at all times.

“Our health care workers are on the front lines and it is times like these when we are all reminded of how critical their work is in protecting the public. We want them to feel safe.

We will be reaching out to our health care partners to ensure they have the maximum protection possible and plan to release revised guidelines by the end of the week.

“The government, in collaboration with our health system partners, is monitoring the Ebola situation and is continually assessing our state of readiness should a case of Ebola ever occur in Ontario.
Burlington has experience with communicable diseases.

Brant - hospital settlement

A Class Action suit was settled for $9 million – $4860,453 went to the people who died or suffered from Clostridium difficile.

Between May 1, 2006 to and including December 31, 2007, more than 90 people died while at the Joseph Brant Hospital from Clostridium difficile. A class action suit was filed that resulted in a settlement of $9 million.

Of that amount just $4,860,453 went to the survivors and those who suffered from the virus but did not die and family members.

Confidence in the public health system is vital – but it takes more than statements from Ministers and senior public officials to instill that confidence.

The Joseph Brant hospital is in the process of being basically completely re-built. It will be easier to keep a new building clean – but – cleanliness is an attitude which the hospital is going to have to instil in every staff member. That wasn’t the case in the second half of 2006.

Ebola is also a much different disease.

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