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



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



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



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.

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



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



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.


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



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


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



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.


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



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



“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.


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



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


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.



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



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



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



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.

Members of the HRASB

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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


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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Council candidate looks to both the Regional and the city government to pay for some of the flood expenses.

council 100x100By Carol Gottlob

Candidate ward 4

October 12, 2014


Each week, until the ballots are cast on October 27th, we are going to follow the tales and travails of a single candidate.  We have chosen Carol Gottlob, running in ward 4 against a well entrenched incumbent.  Gottlob has no experience in civic government, has never campaigned before.   Following this candidate is not an endorsement; Gottlob will win on her own merit.

Thanksgiving holiday marks the 10 week point since the flood hit Burlington on August 4th. In the final weeks of this year’s municipal election campaign, I find myself walking up to houses in all parts of Ward 4; some still have bins in the driveway, and many are patiently waiting for the contractors to show up.

The physical clean-up is virtually complete in terms of removing debris and cleansing, but the social and emotional rebuilding still has to happen and confidence in our government needs to be restored.

Flood weather network bridge

Creeks couldn’t handle the volume of water because they were left in a “naturalized” state which meant broken limbs and fallen branches were not regularly cleaned out

During this severe rain storm, our municipal systems that combine storm water and raw sewage into the same pipeline were exposed to more volume than they could handle, and the result was sewage backup spewing out into basements and other low lying drains. As we now know, sanitary sewer overflows which were caused by that huge downpour, created a severe problem to the environment, to public health and significantly, to many homeowners, wreaking havoc on many Burlington homes, causing thousands of dollars in damage to floors, walls, furniture, appliances and electrical systems.

This situation also threatened our Public Health because these overflows were comprised of raw sewage before it reached our waste water treatment plant, and it contained disease-causing bacteria, floating human waste, toxic pollutants, pesticides, and other contaminants that threaten public health and the environment, contaminate drinking water sources, and damage buildings.

Those unfortunate Ward 4 residents who found themselves in this terrible situation were not alone, we now realize. With heightened awareness, we are now learning that the increase in the number of homes connected to already aging sewage systems has contributed to rapid and repeated increases in sanitary sewer backups, flooded basements and overflows in our community.

Flood Fairview plaza

The flood waters sparred no one – home owners and commercial sections of the city all had water in their premises.

In addition, the problems of the adversely affected Ward 4 homeowners were, in many instances, also negatively impacted by nearby creeks, such as Tuck Creek which became blocked by fallen trees and debris, consequently overflowing and further flooding many residential basements via windows and portals.

Generally, the creeks and waterways in Burlington are under the jurisdiction of Conservation Halton. The storm water system comprised of storm water sewers and culverts is under the jurisdiction of the City of Burlington. Sanitary sewers and waste treatment is under the jurisdiction of the Halton Regional Government.

The question before us is this; are these governments taking sufficient initiatives and offering appropriate financial and other assistance to the adversely affected homeowners?

Apparently, Burlington is making grants to affected citizens to offset the cost of building permits and Halton is offering a lump sum towards the cost of the installation of a back-flow valve.

In this regard, I must point out that it is unacceptable to me that our municipalities are also making it a condition of such nominal payments, that a homeowner formally release the municipality from any other claims they may have. The only statement that may, in my view, be required from any recipient is that such payments shall not be deemed an admission of liability by the government and that if a claim against the government is subsequently successful, the government shall be credited with the payment received.

In my view, this extraordinary, but rare, negative situation deserves an extraordinary response from our municipal governments. Provincial and community fundraising contributions notwithstanding, the municipalities should exercise their authority under the Municipal Act to make a financial grant to the affected homeowners and the municipalities would together, upon a formula agreed between them, fund such grants to compensate for the following:

a) the full cost of the purchase and installation of a sewer back-flow valve;

b) the cost of cleaning out and disposing of the sewer backup sludge, the damaged walls, floors and household contents;

c) the cost of removing mold, cleaning and restoring the basement walls, foundation and main floor where affected;

d) the cost of replacing the interior walls and floors of the basement and main floors damaged by the storm and sewer backup;

e) an interest free loan to cover the costs of restoring the basement and its contents, as well as the main floor where affected and not covered by the compensation listed above.

Certainly, the foregoing compensation would be subject to several process and claim procedures, including the homeowner being able to establish to the governments his or her losses and damages, as well as evidence that none of their claims were covered by private insurance coverage. Clearly, the governments would not be obliged nor able to compensate the homeowners for the loss of intangibles, computer data, electronic media and related records.

It may be argued by some, that the compensation outlined above for the affected homeowners is a precedent to be avoided and that, generally, it is too expensive to be paid for by the governments.

As one homeowner pointed out to me, if a municipal water main erupted and caused damage to nearby homes, would the municipality not be responsible? My response is that such compensation to our neighbours is a precedent which should be set, as it is entirely in the public interest that the few citizens among us affected so adversely by such a storm should not have to bear alone and alone assume all of the negative costs of this storm due to the failure of our municipal infrastructure to handle such a storm. As one homeowner pointed out to me, if a municipal water main erupted and caused damage to nearby homes, would the municipality not be responsible?

How is this event any different, other than it being on a much larger scale? The responsibility still rests on the municipalities, and those homeowners who are experiencing repeated floods are no longer eligible for private insurance. Someone has to step up.

Gottlob -with pier in background

Carol Gottlob – running for the ward 4 council seat and a seat on the Regional government; two bikes, one car.

Furthermore, due to the fact that we can anticipate other significant storms in the future, these expenses are justified in so far as they will remove the public health threat to these citizens whose homes are vulnerable, without such improvements, to being subjected to subsequent sewer backups.

If the municipalities in the past refused to foresee the necessity to rebuild an infrastructure to handle such storms within the context of regional development, why shouldn’t they now assume the cost of paying the affected homeowners for the consequence of such prior government decisions?

All the more reason to learn from this and use the technology we have and the foresight we need to exercise, to plan and build for 100 years out if we want a stable and viable infrastructure and move away from costly damage control.

As the evenings close in on us and the weather turns cooler, I am thankful for the warmth emitted from my furnace, however I am sadly reminded that some of my neighbours are not so fortunate, through no fault of their own, and we owe it to them to provide the basic necessities through community assistance as well as good government that takes responsibility for those provisions.


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Blood donations at a critical low - 4000 appointments needed between now and the end of October.

News 100 redBy Staff

September 26, 2014



Every minute of every day, someone in Canada needs blood—in most cases, blood from more than just one generous donor.

Someone undergoing treatment for leukemia, for example, may require blood and blood products from up to eight donors a week. That’s why Canadian Blood Services continues to work with partners and members of communities from coast to coast to Rally Together to Save Lives, because collectively, blood donations have a positive impact on patients and their families.

Blood donour sign Kristen

Kristen McEachern, territory manager for Canadian Blood Services in Burlington needs to book 4000 appointments between now and the end of October. Help her out.

Making a blood donation this fall helps ensure an adequate supply for patients. Bring a friend or family member to donate with you. You can book an appointment online at or by calling 1 888 2 DONATE (1 888 236-6283).

Last week, the Burlington Blood Donor Clinic has hit an all-time low in terms of booked appointments. They have 807 spots to fill – just 400 have been filled thus far Canadian Blood services is putting out the call to remind people from across the region who are eligible to donate to come in and donate.

Between now and the end of October they need to have over 4000 appointments booked to keep up with demand. They need donors to come to Burlington Clinic to help meet the need of patients. Key dates: Monday September 29th 8am-12pm, Tuesday September 30th 11am-7pm & Thursday October 2nd 11am-7pm.

Higher than expected cancellations and no shows have put a strain on the national inventory – patients rely on this supply.

In the longer term they would like to book group appointments to help us fill the gap. Between now and the end of October they need to have over 4000 appointments booked to keep up with demand.

Contact Kristen McEachern at 905-546-7203, if you are interested in booking group appointments. Complimentary transportation provided for group.

They need the Burlington community to rally together; it takes many donors to help save a hospital patient. Every donor makes a difference.


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Ward 6 candidate tries to change the format of a debate she has yet to confirm she will attend.

council 100x100By Pepper Parr

September 22, 2014



The Burlington Gazette will host its first ever candidate debate in ward 6 on Wednesday September 24th at 7 pm in the theatre at the Hayden High school in Alton

There is something appropriate about our holding this debate. It was the Gazette that first told the story of the trucks that were taking loads of fill into the Air Park property. That story was the result of a call from a Lowville resident.

The north Burlington community formed the Rural Burlington Greenbelt Coalition and we came to know Vanessa Warren who has proven to be a superb delegator and a fine researcher as well. Ms Warren decided to run for the ward six council seat because she could not tolerate the way the incumbent, Blair Lancaster was doing her job.



Councillor Blair Lancaster.

As it turns out, eight other people thought Lancaster was doing a poor job and they filed nomination papers. The expectation is that there will be 10 candidates on the theatre stage.

We have received confirmations from all the candidates except for Lancaster and Jennifer Hlusko who is not sure if she is going to be able to get away from a Board of Education meeting; Hlusko is a school board trustee.

During the past week there has been considerable communication on the approach and format the Gazette is going to use in this debate.

We got a call from a Brenda McKinley who wanted to talk about the format and the role I was to play as moderator – she didn’t want me to be the moderator; she wanted someone from the Chamber of Commerce to moderate.

We declined that opportunity partly because we did not know who McKinley was representing – she would not reveal that information.


Miss Photo Op - never misses a camera opportunity - but then so do most of the otrher Council members.  Councillor Blair LAncaster in the center with Burlington Olympians

Miss Photo Op – never misses a camera opportunity – but then so do most of the other Council members. Councillor Blair Lancaster in the center with Burlington Olympians.  Her husband is on the left

McKinley called a number of the other candidates asking them to support her position. Several of those candidates called the Gazette to say they supported the approach we were taking.

It didn’t take all that much effort to learn who McKinley was calling on behalf of – what we didn’t know, until a reader sent us along the information below, was why she was calling.

Here is what we found in our mail box last week:

You probably already know this, but Brenda has been tied to Breast Cancer Support Services for a number of years according to her LinkedIn account she is
Chairman and director of Breast Cancer Support Services from January 2002 – November 2004 (2 years 11 months)
Moved the organization from a small group of employees operating in donated premises to a viable entity which owns its own building in a thriving commercial area of the city. Was instrumental in hiring a full time Executive Director.
Not surprised by her attempt to maneuver the setup for the debate. This is typical Blair Lancaster who seems to want to control everything she gets involved in.
Keep up the great work; I’m very impressed with your support for the Flood Relief efforts. They are benefiting significantly from your publicity and promoting!

Blair Lancaster is listed as the Executive Director of Breast Cancer Support Services in Burlington.

There you have it!  Puts the Breast Cancer Support Services people in a very poor light doesn’t it?  That organization provides a vital service for people going through a very difficult time in their lives – it should not have been abused this way.



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Money talks - does it have the last word? And who should people running for office accept campaign donations from?

council 100x100By Pepper Parr

September 20, 2014



Money talks.

Last week envelopes appeared on the desks of each council member, and we believe on the desk of the Mayor as well. Inside there was a cheque for $750, the maximum that can be donated to an election campaign in a municipal election.

The funds came from a developer; a good developer actually – a company that has done some excellent work in the downtown core.

Councillor Marianne Meed Ward returned the donation. Her view is that members of council running for re-election should not accept donations from corporations that have or can be expected to have business before the city.

Does this make sense?

Candidates are required to file financial statements setting out how much money they spent and where it came from.

Peter Rusin, running against Mayor Goldring has said he will fund his on campaign and not accept donations.  When former Chief of Staff to Mayor Goldring was thinking about running for office he said that he would probably pay for his own campaign.  But most people are not in a position to spend $5,000 – maybe $10,000 or as much as $15,000 to get themselves elected.

Running an election campaign is expensive. Is a cheque for $750 really going to sway a member of council?

When everyday people have business before the city – say a Committee of Adjustment application or a proposal to sell services to the city – should they refrain from donating to campaigns?

What if they made their donations via personal cheque?

It will be interesting to see what, if any debate there is on this issue.

What do you think?

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