Disaster relief fund donations reach the $120,000 level. Committee to manage the distribution of those funds still being put together. Why is it taking so long?

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

August 20, 2014

This is not going to be easy. The people who are going to have to manage the distribution of flood relief funds have a mammoth task on their hands and it is vital for them to ensure that what they do is totally transparent even though they are dealing with some very personal information about the people who have lost so much due to the flood.

The immediate good news is that the public fund raising is coming along. The amount donated as of 5:00 pm on Tuesday was $120,000. $10,000 of that came from CUPE Local 44.

FLOOD basement blur couch

The damage for hundreds of homes is extensive. The fear is that some families may not be able to recover from the flood. Local fund raising is vital.

The Burlington United Way is serving as the main collection point – they will hold the funds and accept donations through their secure website. Once the Disaster Relief fund is established – and the province requires that this committee be created, they will set out the policies and procedures that will determine what is available for distribution and who gets funds.

There will be situations where the damage to a house was severe but the occupants were fully insured – would they get any funding? Take a neighbour two doors down who was also badly flooded and they also had insurance coverage but the deductible was very high – would they get funding. And then the household that had insurance but the insurance company decided there would be no payout – what would that household get.

Add to that the concern many people will have about the personal details of their finances being trotted out for the whole world to read about.

Colleen Mulholland, president of the Burlington Community Foundation, an organization that donated $15,000 to the Disaster Relief Fund, lives in a house that was badly flooded. Many will ask – isn’t there a conflict of interest here? Mulholland doesn’t see it that way. She is totally focused on pulling together the committees that will do their very best to help the people in Burlington take care of each other.

She is currently working at creating the various committees that will be needed to get the financial help out to people. At this point the thinking is to create three levels within the Disaster Relief committee; one will focus on the corporate sector seeking additional funding.


It was a nicer evening and a better time for Colleen Mulholland when she posed with the BCF Masquerade Ball Honorary Chair Angelo Paletta

For every dollar that is donated the province can match that on a two for one basis. While no one is certain yet as to exactly what the need is – the sense is that the community is going to have to come up with more than $1 million which would bring in $2 million from the province for a total of $3 million. Will that be enough?

A second committee will focus on working with the numerous agencies that are going to be involved in a task that Mulholland believes will become the legacy of the BCF. Not sure if this is the time to be talking about legacies but she makes a point. The Burlington Community Foundation is going to be the group that pulls this thing together so that the needs of the people that need help are met.

A third committee will focus on the “grass roots” which hopefully turns out to be people from those pockets in the community that were hit so very hard.

A concern that has been raised is the number of people involved – while it is vital that this be a community effort – with 22 different agencies at the table it could become the equivalent of trying to herd cats.

While working on a story with the Samaritan’s Purse we wanted to take a close look at the work they were doing helping people who need help. “Let me see how the house we are working at now feels about pictures being taken” said our contact. ”These people are feeling very emotional right now and their dignity has to be maintained.”
There is a delicate balance to be maintained and a mammoth task to complete.

The announcements from Mulholland as to the makeup of the committees should be available sometime this week.



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Citizens deal with disastrous flooding and soothing words from their political leaders. One local church delivered cheques within 36 hours.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

August 9, 2014


When there is a disaster in a community the province has a program that requires the community to raise funds locally which the province will match on a two for one basis.

Donations may be made by phone at 905-635-3138, by email at uway@uwaybh.ca and in person at 3425 Harvester Road, Unit 107, Burlington. More information can also be found at www.uwaybh.ca.It’s a sort of ‘if you will help yourselves – we will join you’.  You can donate online to the United Way

It seemed to take a little longer that one would expect for the city and the United Way to get together and create a Burlington Flood Relief Fund.  Everyone knew how bad things were by Tuesday morning but it was Friday before there was any announcement about the plans to solicit donations which the province will match.

FLOOD man walking in water Harvester Road signA number of people have commented on the paucity of information available to the public Monday evening – other than requests to stay off the roads and stay inside your homes.  Tough for those who had water several feet deep.  There wasn`t much more information available on Tuesday either.

Burlington had much the same problem with the ice storm last December.  There was very poor communication between the city and the different media outlets – turned out that the city media people didn’t have an up to date data base and weren’t able to get information out.

For those who were not caught in the storm it is difficult to grasp just how bad it was.  Some television footage tells part of the story.

FLOOD red SUV rushingWell managed cities have contingency plans that were written, tested and sitting on a shelf ready to be implemented in hours.  Imagine how much relief those dealing with flooding would have felt, had they known that come the next morning the city would have the wheels rolling.

We didn’t see wheels rolling in this town until Friday, when there was what amounted to a photo-op for the Mayor and the Regional Chair.

Earlier in the week ward 5 candidate James Smith urged Council to declare a state of emergency and get a disaster relief program rolling.  It might take months to get funds into the hands of people, who have gone through several floods in the past and seen their insurance cancelled or capped at $10,000 when they face a restoration cost of $150,000.

Burlington has massive reserves; funds set aside for specific situations.  Was there anyone at city hall on Friday pouring over the rules and looking for ways to loosen up some of those reserves and make funds available to people who need the help now?

Burlingtonians are generous people – the donations will flow and the province will eventually cut a cheque – but that will take time.  Why can’t the city loan a couple of hundred thousand dollars to the relief fund the United Way is going to set up and have funds move into the hands of that family on Stanley Drive, where they were up to their knees in feces.

Ted McMeekin, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, said that Burlington must declare a “disaster area” for the purposes of the ODRAP program.  That apparently isn’t going to take place until the Council meeting on Thursday – why the wait until close to the end of next week?

A large congregation in the east end of the city had senior staff members driving to the homes of the members of the church with cheques in their hands within 36 hours of the flooding.  If a church can move this fast – city hall should be able to do so as well. .

The Ontario Disaster Relief Assistance Program is intended to ease the hardship suffered by private homeowners, farmers, small business enterprises and non-profit organizations, whose essential property has been damaged in a sudden and unexpected disaster, such as a flood. The program provides funds to those who have sustained heavy losses for essential items such as shelter and the “necessities of life.”

Jeff Valentin, CEO of the United Way said: “The families of at least 1,000 homes in Burlington are struggling to get their lives back to normal following the storm, and some do not have the means to make this happen. The United Way is here to help direct the generosity of people in Burlington toward their neighbours into a fund that can help the people who need it most.”

The City of Burlington has been working with Halton Region to clean up following the storm on Aug. 4, repairing, reopening and cleaning roads and sidewalks, and clearing debris in creeks and parks. Nearly 200 millimetres of rain fell in three hours. The high-intensity short-duration storm caused creeks to overflow and resulted in road closures and flooded basements in many areas of the city.

“We are very grateful to the United Way for setting up a community flood relief fund to help the people of Burlington affected by the flood,” said Pat Moyle, Interim City Manager with the City of Burlington. “The creation of a community-based fund is crucial to the success of securing provincial funding support for the residents impacted by the flood. For every dollar raised locally, the province has the ability to double that amount through its Ontario Disaster Relief Assistance Program.”

FLOOD - basement - stuff floating“I have spoken to hundreds of people since Monday’s storm. Everyone is doing the best they can to return their lives to normal, clean up their homes and to try to make it work financially,” said Mayor Rick Goldring. “This is truly a very serious situation for the people of Burlington. I look forward to our provincial partners helping the United Way help those in need.”

Halton Region announced that it will support the City’s request for provincial assistance through the Ontario Disaster Relief Assistance Program (ODRAP). The provincial program provides assistance for those who have experienced extraordinary damage due to a natural disaster. The City will adopt a resolution next week requesting funding from the program. To strengthen the request, the Region will provide a letter to support Burlington’s request for Provincial assistance.


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More shenanigans at the air park site; this situation bounces from tragedy to comedy; only to become a farce.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

May 17, 2014


It just goes on and on.

During the consistent rain last week there was a lot of run off on portions of Appleby Line.  Want to guess which parts of that road were flooded?  Just past the south gate of the air park.  City engineers visited the site, took photographs but then had to pass the file along to the Regional government – Appleby Line is a Regional Road.  Residents along that road want to know who is going to pay for the clean-up.

In the libel notice legal counsel for the Air Park sent to members of the Rural Burlington Greenbelt Coalition (RBGC) they said: “No neighbours have suffered excessive run-off or silted wells as a result of any activity of the Airport.”   That letter was sent to the RBGC after the rain.

Airpark aerial used by the city

The graphic shows the extent of the air park properties. There is a second runway that is not easily seen in this picture.

Now the residents learn that King Paving is working on the air park property.  One resident commented:  I think its concerning that the Airpark will not submit to the Site Alteration Bylaw as ruled by Justice Miller, but plans to continue work on the runway/taxiway.  How can Mr. Rossi ‘cherry pick’ which parts of the ruling can apply?  I think the City needs to be pressured to continue to enforce the stop work order unless Rossi is complying with ALL parts of the ruling.”

Another resident asked:  “How is it that Rossi is allowed to appeal Miller’s ruling, whilst selectively complying only with the parts he likes of it.  How wrong is that?! “

 The city has an injunction in place and residents wonder: “what does the City’s injunction enforce?  Doesn’t it allow him to work on his main runway/taxiway (and to only bring in asphalt grindings)?

As well they want to know:

1) exactly what type of work?

2) what equipment will be used?

3) what materials will be used and how/when will it be transported to the site?

Heavy equipment - View 2 from backyard June 15, 2013

Residents want to know if equipment like this is going to be parked a stones throw from their kitchen windows while upgrades to a runway are done.

5) what is the start date?

6) what is the completion date?

7) what will be done to mitigate the dust, dirt and noise for the neighbors?

The city’s engineering department will be inspecting this work to “ensure compliance with good engineering practices and respect to the local residents.”

Vince Rossi, president of the Burlington Executive Air PArk and beleived to be the sole shareholder of the private company, met with north Burlington residents.  He took all the comments made "under advisement"..

Vince Rossi, president of the Burlington Executive Air Park and believed to be the sole shareholder of the private company, met with north Burlington residents,  took all the comments made “under advisement” and then found himself in court where he learned he did indeed have to comply with a city bylaw.  He has appealed that decision.

One Appleby Line residents sets  out the situation very clearly:  “We agree that work at the airpark should remain at a standstill.  Vince Rossi has chosen to use the courts and nothing should happen until the next round of legal procedures is complete. Without a clear picture as to how the bylaws apply, and without a proper site plan and drainage plan, any work related to drainage can only be a short term fix.  It is not possible to hold a short meeting at the edge of the dirt cliff and quickly develop a repair plan for the drainage.  Drainage problems exist at all boundaries. The drainage plan must be carefully planned and Vince Rossi must accept the fact that the repairs will be costly.”

Cousins - north corner 1 showing culvert with stones

The pile of landfill, dumped on the airport property without a site bylaw plan, drains into neighbouring lands flooding fields that cannot be farmed.

“The airpark has direct access to the Bronte Creek watershed from its property. It does not have to rely on neighbouring properties to remove its water.  I certainly hope that the City of Burlington’s Engineering Department clearly comprehends the scope of this issue.”

It’s an ongoing battle for residents in the immediate area and of significant concern to all the residents of rural Burlington.  There is a water table at risk that cannot be fluffed of by the protestations of the air park owner and his legal counsel.  Citizens have seen what the protestations from oil line operators amounted to.  Once a water table is damaged – it take years to recover.  The citizens of Walkerton, Ontario learned that lesson the hard way.

They call this kind of thing libel chill.  Quite how the RBGC is going to get the Spectator to publish the apology the Air Park wants should be an interesting exercise.

It just goes on and on.

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A product recall – a marijuana recall? Purple Kush didn’t meet the quality standards – it is all going to go up in smoke.

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

April 24, 2014


  The Harper government is having one helluva time getting its stuff past the Supreme Court.  Last month it was dealt another blow.  More like ‘smoked’ than ‘blown’ actually, as another piece of Mr. Harper’s psychedelic puzzle for controlling whacky-tobaccy went up in smoke and got knocked into the ash can of Canadian drug history. 

  I can understand the PM’s fears.  If sick people, whom a doctor has determined require access to the medicinal herb, continue growing their own, as they have been doing legally, it might lead to chaos.  Gangland killings will become as commonplace as they are in Mexico; children clipping buds off their parent’s pot plants will get hooked for life; food prices will skyrocket as dopers feed their munchies; and Rob Ford will do another Hollywood in an Etobicoke apartment.  Oh wait – that was crack-cocaine!

 So our sober-faced PM, who claims to never have experienced the pleasure of a toke of nirvana, decided to axe all the private mom and pop grow-ops in one fell swoop.  Only commercial outfits would henceforth be allowed to grow the heavenly herb, under the ever-watchful eye of Health Canada.  There is even a rumour that some chemist called Heisenberg will be brought up from New Mexico to monitor weed quality.  Marijuana, like lettuce, spinach and tomatoes, is susceptible to moulds and bacteria after all, so you can’t let just any backyard gardeners grow their own.  

Marijuana Medical use only -

There are tens of thousands of people using marijuana under prescriptions from doctors for medical reasons

 And pesticides are a definite no-no.  Dope-heads learned that lesson the hard way back in the 70s’ when the US drug enforcement agency (DEA) was forcing the Federales to aerial spray Mexican crops with a lethal herbicide, never thinking that the farmers were going to harvest and sell the pot anyway.  As that velvety smooth Acapulco Gold made it’s way to markets all the way up here, the DEA got a whiff of what it had done and started freaking out. 

So the middlers and dealers were asked to send some of the evil weed for government testing.  And sure enough, almost a quarter of the samples had been contaminated by that deadly pulmonary toxin, Paraquat.   Well that was enough to make you stop smoking your ‘shit’.  No wonder Clinton never inhaled.

It is estimated that the Canadian market for medical mary-jane in the next few years could reach almost half a million users.  So why not turn this growing enterprise into a big corporate business?  That way taxes could be collected to help keep dope smokers in the expensive new private prisons which Mr. Harper’s government is building for them?  Increasing the commercial supply of grass makes perfect sense for a government, otherwise committed to stamping out reefer madness.

Marijuana - lady smoking

Managing pain is one of the reasons people get a prescription to use marijuana for medical reasons.

 Then one of the new commercial grass-growing ops, with the almost hallucinogenic inducing name of Greenleaf messed up.   Whether it was pesticide use, bacterial contamination, or unintentionally over-strength THC (the fun component) hasn’t been confirmed.  But if you or your buds ordered your medical buds from Greenleaf – stuff with the cool handle of ‘Purple Kush’ – yeah you read that right – you have to send it smack back and the company will ship you a bag of fresh ganga in return.  

 Then Health Canada tells us that if you’ve already “bogarted” all your Purple Kush – and not blown your mind yet – don’t sweat it because it’s no big deal.  Is it any wonder the Tory attack ads tell us that Justin Trudeau’s stand on marijuana legalization lacks judgement?

Rivers-direct-into-camera1-173x300Ray Rivers writes weekly on both federal and provincial politics, applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking.  Rivers was a candidate for provincial office in Burlington where he ran against Cam Jackson in 1995, the year Mike Harris and the Common Sense Revolution swept the province. He developed the current policy process for the Ontario Liberal Party.


  Background links:

Court Decision      Recall

Purple Kush

 Quality Product

  Medical Marijuana     Colorado Grow Your Own    Paraquat     More Paraquat     Market Potential


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It really isn’t about just coloured eggs – is it ?

opinionandcommentBy Staff

April 17, 2014


The kids love them, grandparents have a great time hiding the coloured eggs and parents learn to deal with the sugar high that follows that Friday morning fun.

It’s something we do – harmless but at some point those children should hear the story and let them decide as they grow what they choose to believe.

But there is another culturally historic story behind those Easter eggs.

Easter egg hunt

It’s not the forty loaves story is it?

Easter eggs, also called Paschal eggs, are decorated eggs that are often given to celebrate Easter or springtime. As such, Easter eggs are common during the season of Eastertide. The oldest tradition is to use dyed and painted chicken eggs, but a modern custom is to substitute chocolate eggs, or plastic eggs filled with confectionery such as jelly beans. Eggs, in general, were a traditional symbol of fertility, and rebirth.

In Christianity, the celebration of Eastertide includes Easter eggs symbolizing the empty tomb of Jesus: though an egg appears to be like the stone of a tomb, a bird hatches from it with life; similarly, the Easter egg, for Christians, is a reminder that Jesus rose from the grave, and that those who believe will also experience eternal life.

One can argue for years over the concept of a risen Christ – but the facts are, there was a man who was crucified – his name was Jesus.  The rest of the Christian tradition is a matter of faith.


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North Burlington residents petition the MOE – but they don’t make their demands public.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

April 16. 2014


While the current city manager is out looking for new digs in Calgary as he transitions from one city to another, the business of the city still has to move forward.

The Development and Infrastructure Committee released their 12th Update on Air Park matters earlier in the week.  The appeal by the Air Park to the decision handed down in Ontario Superior Court will be heard on June 11th – quite a few people from Burlington will be trooping into town for that event; we understand that most of the ward 6 candidates will be in that courtroom in Toronto to take it all in.

Airpark aerial used by the city

How much of the landfill on the Air Park property is toxic and how toxic? – are questions both the city and the residents want answered. The answers to those questions are tangled up in Privacy red tape.

While all this is taking place both the city and north Burlington residents want to know – just what is in all that landfill that was dumped on the site in the past five years?

Everyone suspects there is some level of toxicity in that landfill.  The city hired Terrapex to do some tests and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment got onto the property and did tests of their own.

In their appeal the Air Park took significant exception to the reports provided to the city by Terrapex and challenged some of the data.

At some point there will be a decision on what the Air Park has to do – at this point there is a decision from a judge saying the Air Park has to comply with the municipal by law.  That decision stands until a higher court overturns it.

Will the city require the Air Park to remove all of the landfill or just some of the landfill or maybe the city will decide it can all stay in place?

What will determine the direction the city takes, assuming the Air Park appeal is lost depends on just what is in all that earth.

And other than the Terrapex report – we don’t know.

The Ministry of the Environment did testing but they haven’t released the information.  Why?  Privacy issues.  Someone, believed to be the Air Park, has taken the position that the information is private and cannot be released without the permission of the person whose privacy is being harmed.

Many in the community find this both incredible and close to unbelievable. But it is a real problem for the city who now have planners working their way through the privacy process.  Planner Mike Crowe started out by asking the MOE for the information; they said no and the city used the Freedom of Information process to get the information.  When the MOE continued to say no – the city asked for a mediation – and that is where things are at the moment.

If a mediation fails the city can up the pressure and ask that their Freedom of Information request be adjudicated.  It does get messy and very bureaucratic.

DEAD fish in pond  at shore - longer view April 2014 (5)

Are these dead fish victims of a hard winter – or was there something in the pond water that did them in. The owner of the property is very anxious and wants to know why previous landfill testing results are not available. They see this as a matter of opublic health and not individual privacy rights.

She called the Ministry of the Environment who had some of their people out on the property testing within a day.  The belief in north Burlington is that the landfill is toxic, that the MOE knows it is toxic but can’t say so publicly because of the privacy mess.

But a request for testing of pond water that had hundreds of dead fish will give both the MOE and the property owner some additional data.

View of pond against north fill hill April 2014 (2)

That rise of land behind the pond on an Appleby Road property is not a natural feature – it is a 30 foot + hill made up of landfill that was placed on the land without proper approvals. Water seeping through that landfill flows into the pond.

North Burlington residents aren’t stopping there.  They have prepared a petition and sent it along to the MOE people.  The petition is from the Rural Burlington Greenbelt Coalition (RBGC), but they aren’t releasing the contents of that petition.  One of the things they do want is better transparency from the MOE. 

The MOE is prepared to meet with the community – but until the privacy issues are cleared up – there isn’t all that much they can do.

What we have is two level of bureaucracy fighting with each other over test data that is critical to understanding what the problems really are – with the owner of the property using privacy rules to keep the information confidential.


The north Burlington locals don’t help their cause all that much when they withhold the contents of their petition to the MOE.  What is it they want and is it reasonable?

Background files:

In the beginning the buck got passed around.

Record length city hall debate on Air Park site.

Air Park digs in its heals.

City seeks an injunction to stop landfill dumping.

Air Park sues the city – city takes off the gloves.

City wins Air Park court case


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A “fishy” story – people are being hurt and a part of rural Burlington may have a badly contaminated water supply.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

April 11, 2014


Was it the cold winter that resulted in hundreds of dead fish floating on the pond of the Appleby Line property that is surrounded on three sides by the Air Park land fill or is the death of the fish the result of toxic and silt filled water now in the pond?

The argument as to whether the land fill was going to do any real damage has been simmering in the background.  Some testing was done but the

Dead fish in Sheldon pond

A spring fed pond with hundreds of fish – normally. Today wasn’t a normal day on the Appleby Line property. Hundreds of dead fish were floating n the water this morning.

 Ministry of the Environment got involved in a struggle over who was entitled to the information from their testing results – privacy issues came into play and the privacy officers at every level of government seem to be taking the time they feel they needed to determine just who can see what.


The spring fed pond is yards away from a mountain of landfill that was never properly tested when it was dumped on the property. Runoff from the landfill is now getting to the water table – dead fish are showing up in the pond.

Some of the evidence may have come to the surface – literally, for one resident.  Hundreds of dead fish were found floating on her pond this morning.  That pond is yards away from a 30 foot high pile of landfill that is in place in violation of the city’s site alteration bylaw.

The property owner advises that the Ministry of the Environment will be on her property later today to test for contamination in the pond.

That crane sits atop a 30 foot high wall of landfill that is yards away from a pond that had hundreds of dead fish floating on it this morning.

That crane sits atop a 30 foot high wall of landfill that is yards away from a pond that had hundreds of dead fish floating on it this morning.

No one will be surprised if it is contaminated – they fully expected this to happen.  It is the result of thousands of tonnes of untested landfill being dumped without the required permissions.

Everyone will feel badly for the property owners – but no one is going to fix the underground water course that may be damaged for decades.

A win of the appeal of the court case in which the city won its case – their bylaw is valid and the air park is bound by that rule – isn’t going to bring the dead fish in that pond back to life.

There is more damage to come as well.  Individual livelihoods are being damaged here.  What is this going to do to our best small city to live in reputation?



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Nelson Youth Centre to benefit from bank donation.

News 100 redBy Staff

April 4, 2014


It’s hard to keep up with the different colours used by the corporate community and community organizations to signify interest in what they are doing. I think it all started with that American pop song: “Tie a yellow ribbon round the old oak tree” to celebrate the return of a person who wasn’t at all sure he would be welcome.

I thought that pink was taken by the CIBC bank  people and their Run for the Cure to raise funds for  cancer treatment but pink is also being used to recognize International Day of Pink


Set in the east end of the city on New Street the Nelson Youth Centre has been serving youth since the 1980’s

Each year on the second Wednesday of April, millions of people wear pink to remember that positive actions make a difference. On Wednesday April 9th, RBC will make a donation to the Nelson Youth Centre in Burlington to support their efforts to eliminate bullying and discrimination.

Nelson Youth Centre is an accredited Children’s Mental Health Centre that offers treatment programs for at-risk youth in Halton. Reconnecting Youth is a community based program focused on helping youth develop effective social/emotional skills, coping strategies and effective learning skills to transition into adulthood and become successful and independent. The program works with youth, families, schools and the community and provides mental treatment and support for youth between the ages of 14-17 who are experiencing moderate to severe mental health issues which significantly impacts their ability to cope.

 Day of Pink is an international day against bullying and discrimination supported by RBC.  Last year, more than 16,000 RBC employees wore pink to show support for this great cause; this year the bank is  encouraging employees to wear pink and in Halton South we are also making a donation to the Nelson Youth Centre in Burlington.

The Nelson Youth Centre has a program called Reconnecting Youth that provides individual and group counseling for youth struggling with self-esteem, social/emotional issues and poor peer relationship issues.

Next week we will take a look at the people and programs at Nelson.

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Smoking in public parks and recreation locations illegal as of today – it is to be self-enforced. Right.

By Staff

April 1, 2014


Starting today, right now actually you have to butt out in any city park.  Burlington passed a bylaw in November of 2013 ,  to ban smoking in city parks and recreation facilities. Exceptions to the bylaw include LaSalle Park Pavilion; Discovery Landing; Paletta Mansion; and Tyandaga Golf Course. Smoking at these locations will be allowed in designated areas.

A leisurely smoke in a park – comes to an end in Burlington today.

Those locations generate revenue for the city.

It will be interesting to see how this works during RibFest.

Weed rules are bending – expect to smell this at the Sound of Music.

The Sound of Music will be different – at that event a different kind of smoking takes place and it looks as if the weed will become fully legal at some point.

The city says its parks will become smoke-free, joining a province-wide movement to create healthier outdoor spaces. . “Like our neighbouring municipalities, we wish to provide a place where people can enjoy their recreation time without the health hazards associated with smoking.”; except for those exceptions – hypocrisy rules!

Hamilton and Oakville put in place smoke-free parks and recreation bylaws in the summer of 2012. According to the Play, Live, Be Tobacco-Free website, 121 Ontario municipalities have adopted an outdoor smoke-free bylaw or policy.

Enforcement in Burlington will be self-regulated and self-enforcing, as it is in many municipalities.

We’d like to hear how that works out; I don’t think I’m going to tell some bruiser of a biker to but out at RibFest and apparently there isn’t going to be a bylaw enforcement officer roaming around to do any enforcement.

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Measles: If you were at any of the locations listed below on the dates shown you may have been exposed to measles.

By Staff

March 31, 2014,


There has been another outbreak of measles that has the capacity to impact people in Burlington.

Persons who have visited any of the following locations may have been exposed to measles:

Saturday, March 22, 2014:

The Queen’s Head (pub), 400 Brant Street, Burlington, 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Sunday, March 23, 2014:

Milestones Restaurant, 1200 Brant Street, Burlington, 7 p.m. to midnight

Wednesday, March 25 – Friday, March 27, 2014:

Joseph Brant Hospital, 1230 North Shore Blvd., Burlington

March 25, 7 p.m. to March 26, 9:30 a.m.

March 26, 3:30 p.m. to midnight

March 27, 11:15 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Halton Region Health Department is following up individually with patients and individuals accompanying them who may have been exposed at Joseph Brant Hospital.

“Measles is preventable through immunization with two doses of measles vaccine,” stated Dr. Monir Taha, Halton Region Associate Medical Officer of Health. “Persons who have measles need to isolate themselves while they are ill and for four full days after the rash first appears. Always call ahead before going to a health care setting.”

Measles starts with cough, runny nose, red, watery eyes, and fever, and after about four days a rash begins on the face and moves down the body. There may be white spots inside the mouth. Measles spreads easily to persons who are not immune. Infants under one year of age, pregnant women, and persons with weakened immune systems can get very ill with measles. Complications of measles can include middle ear infections, pneumonia, croup, and inflammation of the brain. Learn more at www.halton.ca/measles.

If you think you may have measles and need to see a doctor, you must call ahead to the doctor’s office, walk-in clinic, or emergency department. This will allow health care staff to give you a mask to wear when you arrive and take you straight to a room in which you can be isolated. In a doctor’s office you may be given the last appointment of the day.

For more information, dial 311 or call the Halton Region Health Department at 905-825-6000, toll-free 1-866-442-5866 or visit www.halton.ca.

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Keith Braithwaite wants you to enjoy what he maintains are the best spaghetti and meatballs in town.

By Staff

March 20, 2014


St. Luke’s Church Annual Spaghetti Dinner!

In the Parish Hall 1382 Ontario Street, on Saturday April 5 with continuous servings of the best spaghetti & meat balls in town from 5:00pm to 7:00pm.

Tickets Adults $10.00

Children 12 & under $5:00

They want you to reserve – call 905-634-4345.

Cash bar serving Wine, Beer & Soft Drinks  – these ARE Anglicans!

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Imagine That! – good idea. The hotel level service is a smart idea.

By Staff

March 9, 2013


Cute name, conveys the message, and it might meet the needs of busy people with significant parent and child care responsibilities.

Imagine That offers a service that includes back-up care when there is a temporary disruptions in child, adult, or elder care that prevents them from fulfilling work obligations.

The reality of bustling city life: the commute, the traffic, the long work day of meetings and juggling multiple projects, the cell phone calls, emails, texts, and then of course family needs are thrown into the mix.   Finding time for everything is a challenge, especially for those who have children, or are in need of adult or elder care.

 Imagine That, originally a child care services operation, has expanded to offer back up care for individuals of all ages – children, adults and seniors, under the umbrella of Imagine That Family Care Services. 

 The services, a first of its kind, means employers can now set up Imagine That Corporate Family Backup Care for their employees.

Managing that work life balance usually requires involving outsiders – where do you find the people who you can trust – and afford?

 “Our services offer employers and employees alike with that added piece of mind. Through the support of our professionally trained staff, employees now have the opportunity to utilize back-up care services like no other so that they can meet necessary work commitments.”

Anne Bonfigli, Director Sales & Marketing for Imagine That Family Care Services, explains it this way: our extensive services for family care are about supporting employees while helping keep work absenteeism to a minimum”.

“People out there want to excel in their careers and now have access to a support system that covers employees from all walks of life –from the trades and labour, to professionals, and all the way to Bay Street.”

The family care services are cost-effective and flexible and they are offered round the clock, 365 days per year. 

Imagine That Family Care is a division of Bartimaeus Inc.  Bartimaeus was founded in 1988.  It is a Canadian-owned and operated company, committed to providing the highest quality services to individuals of all ages.  The services of Imagine That were first offered in 2001.  The expansion into Imagine That Family Care Services is a result of the company’s dedication to the highest quality of services that are safe, engaging, and professional.

 Imagine That Family Care provides high quality child care, adult care and elder care to individuals, families and employers in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area. Their  Corporate Family Backup Care service is made available to employees, through their employer, often incorporated into their wellness programs. Their Hotel Family Care service is available to guests staying at premium Toronto hotels, whether they are visiting for leisure or business, and need a quality care for their child or senior who may be travelling with them. The  Direct Family Care service is available to family members of all ages. The care providers arrive to an individual’s home, prepared with age-appropriate activities.

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Mainway accident victim succumbs: 75 year old dies with family at his side.

By Staff

March 9, 2014


An accident on Mainway in Burlington earlier in the week was more than an Oakville resident’s body could handle; he died at the Hamilton General Hospital at around 3:30 pm yesterday.

Detective Constables from the Halton Regional Police Collision Reconstruction Unit (CRU) continue to investigate the matter.  Police have not released the name of the victim and to date no charges have been laid against the driver of the vehicle.

This is the second traffic fatality to be investigated by the CRU in 2014, and the first in Burlington.

Background links:

Evening accident sends Oakville resident to hospital.

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The making of a community activist: Emily Ferguson, all 5 feet 2 inches of her took on the big guys.

By Emily Ferguson

March 8, 2014


My name is Emily Ferguson and I am the sole individual  behind Line 9 Communities. (This is a blog Ferguson writes about the communities along the path of the Enbridge Pipe Line 9 that runs from Sarnia to Montreal.)

  I graduated from McMaster University with Honours BA Geography & Environmental Studies and a minor in Political Science.

Emily Ferguson mapped every yard of the pipeline so that communities along its path could know just what was beneath the ground.

I first heard about Line 9 at a climate conference in Ottawa in 2012. My interest led me to attend information sessions in Hamilton and surrounding area in early 2013. At one meeting in particular, I asked for a Line 9 information package which had been provided to Council. Although there were extra packages after the meeting, an Enbridge official denied my request and asked “Who are you working for”? The Enbridge team then proceeded to ask myself and a fellow community member for our driver’s licenses and said they would mail a package. Something about the encounter just didn’t feel right and we walked away without the information.

Emily Ferguson – National Energy Board intervener, geographer.

That was the turning point. I went home that night with so many questions. Why was I being denied access to information at a public meeting? What were they trying to hide? Why didn’t they want me to know where the pipeline was?

So I took it upon myself to map Line 9. Throughout an unimaginable number of late nights, I compiled satellite images, integrity data and publicly available information to create detailed maps of the 639 km pipeline.

I did it because they said no.

I did it because I felt the need to inform the public.

If Enbridge wasn’t going to adequately consult … who would?

For Burlington – this is where the pipeline was located.

I contacted multiple City Counselors along the line and sat down over coffee with many to discuss the proposal. The lack of information provided to municipalities shocked me. I proceeded to canvass neighbourhoods along the line to poll residents and provide details about open houses and how to get involved.

Line 9 Communities gained instant attraction. Although I blogged about the application, past spills, and changes to federal legislation, viewers wanted one thing … MAPS! Essentially they wanted to know, where is the pipeline and why don’t I know about it?

Emily Ferguson mapped ever foot of the pipeline from Hamilton to Montreal and learned that the thing ran underground right behind her elementary school – the pipeline had always been a part of her life – She didn’t even know it was there.

During the map creation, I found out that Line 9 crosses right through the small community where I grew up. The pipeline is located directly behind my public school playground in Glenburnie, ON, just north of Kingston. It also passes behind Seneca College in Toronto which I attended for three years. I had literally been living beside the line my entire life … and didn’t even know it existed. All of a sudden, things became very personal.

I felt compelled to learn everything I could about the project. My biggest supporter along the way was Eva Simkins – my Grandma. Although diagnosed with cancer in 2009, two weeks of radiation treatments gave us the gift of four extremely memorable years. We traveled, talked politics, did puzzles, celebrated, smiled and laughed. Through it all though, I knew there was that big question in her mind. Why me?

I wondered the same thing.

She held my hand as she peacefully passed away at sunrise on Earth Day of this year … just three days after I applied to be an NEB Intervener.

In my opinion, we accept the status quo far too often. At a Line 9 open house, an Enbridge official told me, “if we say it’s safe, it’s safe”. But I must question the safety of this pipeline. At almost 40 years old and only meeting the engineering standards of 1971, why is the NEB even considering the application? Enbridge has cited over 400 integrity digs (cracks, corrosion, dents) along the line in 2013 alone! They have also acknowledged that their in-line inspection tools do not detect all defects and that their Edmonton control center cannot sense pin hole leaks. With the current application before the Board, Enbridge is proposing to ship Bakken crude and diluted bitumen laced with drag reducing agent (DRA) chemicals – which include known carcinogens such as benzene – through our communities.

I have never had any malicious intent towards Enbridge. As a citizen of Canada and student of environmental politics, I have always been interested in energy issues, climate change, and a sustainable future for our planet. I believe in the strength of communities working together to achieve great things.

My mission through this entire process has been to raise awareness and promote a community discussion. We are living in a critical time. Will we continue to accept the status quo, or will we start asking the tough questions and demand a better future?

Editor’s note:  I had an opportunity to interview Emily while she was thinking about applying to be an intervener at the National energy Board hearing.  She wasn’t sure what she was going to do then and she needed quite a bit of encouragement to send in her application, which was an experience in itself.  But on October 16th, 2013, Emily Ferguson, all 5’ 2” of her stood before one of the most powerful regulators in the country and gave “the best speech of my life”

Background links:

Burlington doesn’t take to the idea of a change in the flow of the Enbridge pipeline

National Energy Board give Enbridge a green light – with 30 conditions.

The Emily Ferguson maps.

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Garbage removal supervisor sent to jail for 45 days for not properly supervising safety of workers.

By Staff

March 7, 2014


A company engaged in garbage removal and hauling, and a supervisor have been found guilty of failing to ensure the safety of a worker who fell off a roof. The company was fined $75,000 and the supervisor has been sentenced to 45 days in jail. A company representative has also been fined $2,000 for obstructing a Ministry of Labour investigation.

The incidence took place in October of  2008, when workers were sent to an address to remove shingles from a one-storey bungalow. One of the workers was tossing loose shingles from the roof toward a bin and stepped back, then slipped. The worker rolled off the roof of the house and landed on a walkway. The injury resulted in permanent paralysis of the lower body. A Ministry of Labour investigation followed the incident.

No safety harness for these workers. You can get sent to jail for that in Ontario.

The injured worker testified to not being trained in the use of fall protection equipment, nor was any such equipment provided in the company-supplied truck used for transportation to and from the job site. As well, the worker indicated that the practice for payment for work was cash and that work was provided on an on-call basis. The worker identified J.R. Contracting Property Services as the employer and Teisha (Tina) Lootawan as the supervisor.

The court determined that the worker was an employee under the definition of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), and that J.R. Contracting Property Services was the employer. The court also determined that Lootawan was a supervisor under the OHSA. As such, she failed as a supervisor to ensure that a worker wore protective devices as required by law, and failed as a supervisor to take the reasonable precaution of ensuring that an adequate form of fall protection was provided where a worker is exposed to a fall hazard of more than three metres.

As the Ministry of Labour investigation proceeded, the company was requested to provide documentation that included employment and telephone records. A company representative, Andrew Joshua Haniff – who accepted the call from the Meadowvale Road homeowner requesting the company’s services – attended a meeting on December 23, 2008, but refused to answer any of the inspector’s questions. He was convicted by the court of obstructing an inspector.

The jail sentence and fines were imposed by Justice of the Peace Mary A. Ross Hendriks. The court heard seven days of testimony over 2011 and 2012; judgment was passed April 18, 2013.

The investigation, the court case and the decision point to the responsibility corporations and their senior staff have for the safety of their workers.

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Enbridge Line 9 decision to be released in Calgary late Thursday afternoon. Pipeline runs through Burlington north of Sideroad #1

By Staff

March 6, 2014


The National Energy Board will release its decision in Calgary Thursday on Enbridge’s controversial plan to increase flows in Line 9 that runs between Sarnia and Montreal and across the top of Burlington, to  ship bitumen from the Alberta tar sands through the 39-year old pipeline.

The NEB decision is expected to respond to demands from the Ontario government and cities like Hamilton that the proposal be subjected to an independent engineering assessment and that Enbridge be forced to conduct hydrostatic testing.

The pipeline that Enbridge wants to use to ship bitumen to Montreal runs right through the top of the city.

Other issues raised in the hearings conducted last fall included Enbridge’s request for maximum operating pressures 50 percent greater than at any point in the last decade.  The company has admitted  that nearly a third of Line 9 leaks.   There is  widespread concern about the difficulties in cleaning up a spill of bitumen and the toxic diluents released when a rupture occurs.

Since the hearings concluded media investigations have revealed multiple spills that Enbridge failed to report to affected municipalities, and hundreds of Line 9 defects that have been found by the company since it filed its application. It’s unclear if these revelations will be considered by the NEB.

The route of the pipeline is clearly marked.

One wonders what the severe weather is going to have when the frozen ground north of Sideroad # 1 begins to thaw and the ground starts to heave.

Hamilton 350, an advocacy group said in a statement that:  “It is clear that we must wean our society off fossil fuels. The minimum first step is stop making things worse. When you find yourself in a hole, the first rule is to stop digging. Therefore, at minimum, no increase in the extraction or transportation of fossil fuels should be contemplated.”

Hamilton 350 also questions the fairness of the NEB process that required detailed application forms from anyone wishing to even submit a written comment to the Board. And they suggest that the credibility of the board’s independence is undermined by its failure to require notification to even the city government for flow expansion last year in another pipeline running parallel to Line 9.

Burlington filed a submission expressing its opposition to any changes to the line.  Sometime after the letter of opposition the Burlington Fire department accepted a donation from Enbridge for the development of a simulation lab.

Background links:

Burlington opposes any change in direction of pipeline flow.

City opposes change to pipeline flow then its fire department accepts a $7500 donation.

Burlington tells NEB a pipeline leak would be a disaster for the city.

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How’s your GDP? Turns out we may be measuring the wrong thing. Does it matter? Suzuki thinks it does.

By Pepper Parr

February 28, 2014


My friend Amy Schnurr, Chief Cheese over at Burlington Green, sent me a piece by David Suzuki that made enough sense for me to pass it along.  When we great people, we usually ask them how they are doing.  Ask a business person how they are doing and they might tell you THE GDP is up and that they are part of it.

Suzuki suggests that measuring progress with GDP is a gross mistake

Governments, media and much of the public are preoccupied with the economy. That means demands such as those for recognition of First Nations treaty rights and environmental protection are often seen as impediments to the goal of maintaining economic growth. The gross domestic product has become a sacred indicator of well-being. Ask corporate CEOs and politicians how they did last year and they’ll refer to the rise or fall of the GDP.

It’s a strange way to measure either economic or social well-being. The GDP was developed as a way to estimate economic activity by measuring the value of all transactions for goods and services. But even Simon Kuznets, an American economist and pioneer of national income measurement, warned in 1934 that such measurements say little about the welfare of a nation. He understood there’s more to life than the benefits that come from spending money.

The GDP: It’s complex, it’s seen as a standard – and it might be totally useless.

My wife’s parents have shared our home for 35 years. If we had put them in a care home, the GDP would have grown. In caring for them ourselves we didn’t contribute as much. When my wife left her teaching job at Harvard University to be a full-time volunteer for the David Suzuki Foundation, her GDP contribution fell. Each time we repair and reuse something considered disposable we fail to contribute to the GDP.

To illustrate the GDP’s limitations as an indicator of well-being, suppose a fire breaks out at the Darlington nuclear facility near Toronto and issues a cloud of radioactivity that blows over the city, causing hundreds of cases of radiation sickness. All the ambulances, doctors, medicines and hospital beds will jack up the GDP. And if people die, funeral services, hearses, flowers, gravediggers and lawyers will stimulate GDP growth. In the end, cleaning up the Darlington mess would cost billions and produce a spike in the GDP.

Extreme weather-related events, such as flooding and storms, can also contribute to increases in GDP, as resources are brought in to deal with the mess. Damage done by Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy and the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico added tens of billions to the GDP. If GDP growth is our highest aspiration, we should be praying for more weather catastrophes and oil spills.

The GDP replaced gross national product, which was similar but included international expenditures. In a 1968 speech at the University of Kansas, Robert Kennedy said, Too much and for too long, we seemed to have surrendered personal excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things …Gross national product counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for the people who break them. It counts the destruction of the redwood and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl. It counts napalm and counts nuclear warheads and armored cars for the police to fight the riots in our cities … and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children.

“Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country. It measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.”

We deserve better indicators of societal well-being that extend beyond mere economic growth. Many economists and social scientists are proposing such indicators. Some argue we need a “genuine progress indicator”, which would include environmental and social factors as well as economic wealth. A number of groups, including Friends of the Earth, have suggested an Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare, which would take into account “income inequality, environmental damage, and depletion of environmental assets.” The Kingdom of Bhutan has suggested measuring gross national happiness.

Whatever we come up with, it has to be better than GDP with its absurd emphasis on endless growth on a finite planet.

Thanks for that Amy.

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Seedy business at St. Christophers Anglican church; hope springs eternal for the gardeners – winter will end.

By Staff

February 25, 2014


If you are one of those who believes that there is an end to this winter and that Spring will arrive and the flowers will bloom and you are thinking about the work to be done to get your garden ready – there is a place you want to be:  Saturday, March 1, from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. at St. Christopher’s Anglican Church 662 Guelph Line for the Halton Seedy Saturday.

A large variety of garden seeds will be for sale at the Halton Seedy Saturday.

A $2 entrance fee will give you access to a day full of swapping seeds at community seed exchange tables, buying from heirloom and organic seed vendors, learning from garden experts, and garden craft fun for kids. You can also discover community garden opportunities in Burlington and Halton. Food and drink from Family First Organic Meals will be available for purchase.

Featured guest speakers: at 11:15 a.m., Karen Walsh, a Halton Master Gardener, will discuss starting vegetables indoors; at 12:15 p.m., Fran Freeman, an Urban Beekeeper, will present urban beekeeping and attracting pollinators; at 1:15 p.m., Linda Crago, an heirloom vegetable farmer from Tree & Twig will discuss exciting vegetable varieties for your garden; and at 2:15 p.m. Sarah Hemingway from Sarah’s Kitchen Garden, will present growing, cooking and preserving herbs.

Confirmed vendors and exhibitors thus far include: BurlingtonGreen, Greening Sacred Spaces, Oakville Sustainable Food Partnership-Growing & Sharing Food in Halton, Burlington Horticulture Society, Urban Harvest Seeds, Days to Harvest, The Plant Lady, Matchbox Garden & Seed Co., Sarah’s Kitchen Garden, Tree & Twig, Urban Beekeeper, and Halton Master Gardeners.

Additional information can be found at Burlingtongreen.  Event proceeds will support Halton community gardens. Non-perishable food items will also be accepted for food bank donation.

Halton Seedy Saturday is brought to you by BurlingtonGreen, Greening Sacred Spaces (Halton-Peel), and Growing & Sharing Food in Halton, with funding support from the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

Background links:

Burlington opens its community garden.

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If you thought snow was a problem – wait until you have a flood. Rise im temperature to 4C has the potential to bring on floods.

By Staff

February 20, 2014


We can’t win.  Week upon week of snow and now we are to get rain and need to watch for flooding! The city has 12 crews clearing snow and ice from catch basins and culverts throughout the city,” said Cathy Robertson, director of the roads and parks maintenance department. “They will keep at it until later this evening and then continue again on Thursday.”

Temperatures are predicted to rise to 4 C.  How many days ago was it when there were snow plows driving up and down our streets putting piles of snow at the end of our driveways

Residents are asked to assist by checking and clearing storm drains and culverts in front of their homes if they are able to do so.

If there is flooding please call 905-333-6166 between 8:45 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. or email rpm@burlington.ca.

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Clearing the snow off sidewalks is a city responsibility. Citizens eases her walker right outside city hall.

By Pepper Parr

February 14, 2014


While city council meeting as a Standing Committee, was listening to delegations on everything from culture, to economic develop and the removal of snow – older people who need walkers, pushed their devices through slush and snow on the sidewalk outside city hall.

Sidewalk clearing outside city hall a little on the patchy side. Sidewalk across the street, outside a commercial location didn’t have as much as as snowflake on the ground.

While at the same time, on the other side of the street, directly across from city hall, outside a commercial establishment there wasn’t as much as a snow flake on the sidewalk.

The yakety, yak, yak, yak puts pay cheques in the bank account of the more than 25 city hall bureaucrats who were in council chambers – but for some reason no one was able to find or direct even one of the 1000+ employees to get a shovel and clear the side-walk.

This citizen isn’t smiling. Was she one of the hundreds that were basically locked in their homes during the five days of heavy winter weather because streets were not cleared?

It would be nice to say that words are cheap – they actually cost us quite a bit.  The action was so easy but you see most of the senior bureaucrats, and the politicians for that matter go out a different door, the back door and they don`t see the state of Brant Street  because their cars are parked right outside the building.  The bureaucrats have to walk across the road to the indoor parking lot.

We heard during the delegations that clearing of the sidewalks is a city responsibility.  Yeah right!

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