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 www.blood.ca 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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Hospital foundation given a $10 million donation from Michael Lee - Chin. Campaign goal now at 60%

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

September 15, 2014



The Joseph Brant Hospital Foundation has announced that Michael Lee-Chin and his family have made a $10 million dollar donation at its 14th annual Crystal Ball Gala.

The donation is the largest ever made in the City of Burlington and the largest made to the Joseph Brant Hospital. This gift brings the total raised for Joseph Brant Hospital Foundation’s Our New Era campaign to $37M – more than 60% of campaign goal.


Michael Lee-Chin – hospital’s biggest donour.

“There is no greater investment than in our health and the health of our community” said Lee-Chin. “We are embarking on a new era of health care in Burlington and I’m proud and honoured to be a part of it.”
Joseph Brant Hospital Foundation’s Our New Era campaign is on target to raise $60M by 2017 and will help enable the Hospital’s Redevelopment and Expansion Project which includes the construction of the new, state-of-the-art, seven-storey patient tower, scheduled to break ground in spring of 2015.

“We are so thankful to Michael Lee Chin and his family for their incredible generosity and for supporting our vision of a new era of health care in Burlington” says Brenda Hunter, Chair of the Joseph Brant Hospital Foundation Board. “This gift is a true testament to the family’s philanthropic spirit and to their commitment to ensuring our community has access to exceptional care, in a state-of-the-art facility”

Joseph Brant Hospital’s Redevelopment and Expansion Project includes the construction of the new patient tower which will house a 28,000 square foot Emergency Department, nine additional operating rooms, an expanded Cancer Clinic and Intensive Care Unit, a renovated special Care Nursery (level 2 NICU) and expanded medical, surgical, diagnostic and outpatient services.

The Hospital, which recently celebrated its 50 year anniversary, has not undergone a major renovation in 4 decades.



Shovels will go into the ground next year for a new seven storey tower that will be named after Michael Lee-Chin who donated $10 million to the hospital foundation.

The Joseph Brant Hospital Foundation is in the middle of a $60 million Capital Campaign, the largest in the Hospital’s and Burlington’s history, to support the local share component of the Redevelopment and Expansion Project.

The city of Burlington levied a tax on its citizens to raise an additional $60 million.

This campaign will be the most significant health care development in Burlington’s history and will ensure that our Community’s residents have access to quality care in the years ahead.

While it may not be all that polite at this point to mention, the hospital has had its problems in the past when more than 90 people died from complications related to c-difficile that resulted in a very significant insurance settlement.

There has yet to be a public apology from the hospital administration for the harm done to the community from that event.

Joseph Brant Hospital is a community hospital serving the City of Burlington and surrounding area since 1961. The hospital provides a range of services including medicine, surgery, emergency, maternal/child, mental health and rehabilitation/complex continuing care.

Joseph Brant currently operates 245 inpatient beds and accommodates over 170,000 patient visits, 13,512 admissions, 47,389 Emergency visits and 1,165 births each year. Its team includes 175 physicians, 1,400 full- and part-time professional health care staff and more than 600 active volunteers.

The hospital, its Foundation and Infrastructure Ontario are partnered on what will be the hospital’s first major redevelopment in 40 years. The design, build, finance project will include the construction of a new, seven-storey patient-care tower and significant renovations to existing space.

Past problems however should not take away from the incredible Lee-Chin donation; the new seven story tower will be named after Michael Lee Chin.

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City provides a detailed overview of what happened August 4th - and gives us a peek at what we could be in for in the future.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

September 11, 2014



Everyone knows what happened – a lot of rain came down and the pipes underground couldn`t handle it – which is true.

But there is more to the story than that – and understanding the more is, what will get the city and the Region to the point where they can figure out what they have to do to handle the next big storm. Everyone on this file seems to have assumed that we have not seen our last big rain storm.

City staff prepared an elaborate presentation that set out the full picture – and as ugly as it was – it is a look at what we might be facing for the next 50 years.

Flood presentation - map showing area of rainfall

Weather Network map of the part of Burlington where all the rain fell. The rain came over the city in three waves.

The rainfall began to approach the city from across the lake at around 1:00 pm and was the first of what is reported to have been three different rain storms.
The 1:00 pm storm was followed by another at 4:00 pm and a final blow at 9:00 pm; the storms basically followed one another.

Flood presentation - Burlington creeks

The 191 mm of rain worked its way into the creeks and roared into the city – heading for a storm water system that couldn’t deal with the volume.

As the rain blew in off the lake and approached the Escarpment the water made its way to the extensive creek structure that drains into Lake Ontario

Members of city council, who are all now in full election mode, tell people that we were not equipped to handle a storm of this size.

The city has creeks, storm sewers, culverts, catch basins, storm ponds, roads and swales to handle large sudden amounts of water. Unfortunately for all of us – we have let the swales and the creeks get away from their intended use and, when we needed them, – they didn`t do the job they were supposed to do for us.

Who is to blame for this – because there are a lot of people in this city who want to blame someone? Ward 5 Councillor Sharman held a meeting at the Pineland Baptist Church that he wanted to characterize as a private meeting. Sharman appears to have an understanding of what the problem was and is – but that didn`t wash all that well with the 30 some odd people who were in the church.

A decent grass roots community has evolved and they are gathering information – but don`t seem to have a sense as to what they want to do. Is there anything they can do?

Councillor Sharman commented frequently that the Region wasn`t anywhere near as forthcoming as they had to be with the homeowners – but he didn`t stress that he was running not just as a city Councillor but as a Regional Councillor as well.

Flood presentation - damage to the creeks - water flow

Creeks had far more vegetation than they were designed for – the Conservation Halton policy of letting the creek beds be as natural as possible – may have been a mistake. Those tree limbs got pushed and began to form dams that prevented the water from flowing into the lake. Water takes the path of least resistance – which turned out to be the streets of the city.

To his credit Sharman did manage to get the Region to agree to do a detailed study of the storm water problem at a July meeting of the Region; little did he know then that his ward was to be deluged with rain fall less than three weeks later.

Flood presentation - clearing a creek

Contractors were brought in to clear the debris from the badly damaged creeks. Watch for this expense to get reflected in the budget that gets put forward in the New Year,

Sharman doesn`t have the political touch that Councillor Jack Dennison has and struggles with many of his constituents. Some of those constituents are flaming mad – one walks about with a thick file of papers urging people to think in terms of a class action suit.

These people are hurting – the financial burden to most of them is exceptionally difficult – and their homes cannot be sold. No one is going to want to live in those communities for some time.

How the city manages this crisis seems odd at times. City hall is focused on the infrastructure – they don’t seem to have anything for the citizens. Any help a citizen is going to get will come from their member of council.
What the city has done is outsourced the raising of funds to help people get at least some of the financial support many of them are going to need. The Burlington Community Foundation has taken on the task of raising funds that they hope will be matched by the province on a two for one basis under a provincial program called ODRAP –Ontario Disaster Relief and Assistance Program.

No one is certain just what the status of that application for help is at this point in time. When the BCF announced how they were going to manage the distribution of funds Mayor Goldring mentioned that this might take a long time – which doesn’t create much comfort or assurance for the people who need help.

The BCF has said they will begin to issue grants of up to $1000 for those people who are desperate and need some cash to cover the daily necessities. They are going to distribute funds even though they don`t know when or even if the province is going to match what the community raises on that two for one program.

Burlington is about to see just how slowly provincial bureaucrats move.

The city did see how fast people can get things done when they are committed, focused and motivated. The Samaritan’s Purse was in the city repairing homes the day after the storm.

Flood presentation What we looked like in 1998

This is what Burlington looked like in the late 1990’s. Trees weren’t all that big and there were few swimming pools.

Flood presentation - What we look lime today

Same streetscape as above – see all those swimming pools – what did they do to the natural flow of rain water. We know now what they did.

During the briefing given at Council on Monday, city staff explained that the problem lies with changes that were made in the Ontario building code and how storm water pipes and sewage pipes were put in place.
Homes built prior to 1968 had to meet a code that called for pipes being put in one way – homes built after 1969 called for a different set up.

Much of the problem rests on weeping tiles and downspouts and where the water that passes through these two parts of a house actually goes.

City staff talked of the “new norm” and how we can prepare for that change. That new norm has been around for more than a decade – In Peterborough there was 193mm of rain on July 15th, 2004. Hamilton got 110mm on July 26th of 2009. Thunder Bay got 91 mm on May 28, 2012.

Peterborough didn’t get a dime from the provincial government – which does not bode well for Burlington’s chances of getting all that much from the provinces ODRAP program. Not much has been heard from MP Ted McMeekin who represents Flamborough just to the west of us. No one is sure that he is at his desk all that much.
The city activated its Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) at 9:00pm on August 4th. Roads and Parks Maintenance people responded to 103 calls and the city called former city general manager Kim Phillips, who had retired a month earlier, back to city hall to help out. Both the city manager and the Mayor were out of the city and didn’t get back until the following day.

Flood presentation - sub division registration dates

The colours tell the story. The older sub-divisions adhered to a different building code. There is a direct correlation between the older subdivisions and the flooding.

Scott Stewart, City general manager for Development and Infrastructure, was left to handle everything on his own. Interim city manager Pat Moyle referred to Stewart as the “man of action” which he certainly was on this occasion.  Stewart lost out to Jeff Fielding when Burlington went looking for a new city manger three years ago.  Fielding thought the grass was greener in Calgary and he departed in month 26 of a 60 month contract.  Many thought Stewart should have been made at least interim city manager then but because the Kim Phillips retirement was in the works, Council decided to bring in someone to oversee projects and add some stability to the senior management level.

Flood presentation - 407 flooded

The 407 – engineered not that long ago – wasn’t able to handle the water that flowed into it. The water roared down the creeks – and found that the 407 was a barrier.

Stewart will in all likelihood apply for the job again when it is opened up – that will happen once the municipal election is a done deal.  If Stewart doesn’t get the nod this time around – heck he might join Fielding in Calgary; the two of them worked very well in Burlington.
While city hall is doing as much as it can to take care of the infrastructure – much of the problem lays in the way we have managed that infrastructure. The creeks are the responsibility of the Conservation Authority that has a policy of letting the creeks be as natural as possible. That meant they didn’t get all that much done to them in terms of maintenance – which resulted in tree limbs being left in the creeks. Those tree limbs became dams which resulted in serious damage because the water flowing into the creeks couldn’t flow properly.  That water backed up and flooded into streets.

In a photo feature to be done soon - city staff will point out what can and should be done with down spouts and catch basins.Downspouts that have been set up so that they drain into the storm water system added to the problem. The spouts could not handle the amount of water that was landing on roofs.

The Red Cross was out on the street going door to door 36 hours after the scope of the flood was evident; they made 10,970 calls and did 1,532 assessments and determined that 501 homes will require some form of financial aid. They reported that 271 home had partial or no insurance.

The average cost of restoring homes was set at $18,000 – if you can find a contractor. City general manager Scott Stewart commented that the market for contractors is “red hot” right now.

Red hot is a phrase that some 24 homes in this city will not be using – there are that many homes in one part of the city that may not have furnaces in place before December 1.

Earlier this week Calgary had its first snowfall.

Hard times may be ahead for some of our neighbours. 

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Blue-green algae makes Beachway and LaSalle Park no go swimming areas – so says Medical Officer of Health.

News 100 redBy Staff

September 5, 2015


It has been one of those summers – floods, awkward weather, there were a couple of good weekends but the environment on the whole has not been good to us.


Blue green algae tends to float near the surface and wave action brings it close to shore.  Its colour makes it very easy to identify.  Exposure to the algae causes skin irritation.

Blue green algae tends to float near the surface and wave action brings it close to shore. Its colour makes it very easy to identify. Exposure to the algae causes skin irritation.

Add to the woes is the news from the Halton Region’s Health Department advising residents to avoid swimming and wading in the waters at Beachway Park and LaSalle Park in Burlington because blue-green algae (BGA) have been identified at these locations. Residents are also advised not to eat fish caught in these areas and not to let pets play in or drink the water.
Halton’s drinking water is not affected and continues to be safe.

“Some blue-green algae have the potential to produce toxins or skin irritants,” explained Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Halton Region Medical Officer of Health. “Adverse health effects from the algae can be caused by drinking BGA-contaminated water. Additionally, skin irritation and itching can result from skin contact with BGA-contaminated water.”

As a precaution, signs have been posted to warn beach users.

If you have been swimming or wading in these waters and feel unwell, please visit your physician or walk-in clinic.


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Street that was left

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

September 1, 2014



Communities organize themselves in various ways. Almost a month ago many of the people in Wards 4 and 5 were scrambling to save as much of their possessions when their basements were being flooded.

Flood  UpCreek fod lines

The food lines wound their way back and forth on Elwood Street. The Bake Sale was a hit and the T- shirts also did very well. That little red head, with blonde Mom behind her gets the hair from a grandmother.

That was a month ago and there has been a lot of anguish, despair and hard kitchen table conversations about the financial impact since then.
Many had insurance that covered their situation but just as many, perhaps more, had insurance that is proving to be inadequate. All have homes that are less today than they were August 3rd.

Each household works through its situation differently, some talk to immediate neighbours, some work with their extended families. The placement of homes in suburbs is such that community is different. People aren’t always as close. Burlington has districts, but it doesn’t have neighbourhoods with strong sense of identity.

There are few large apartment buildings where people gather in a party room.

For those in that pocket of Burlington, west of Walkers Line and north of New Street – a short, short walk to Tuck Creek that over ran its banks and did serious damage to the infrastructure – their sense of humour came to the rescue and they organized a street party.

Nicholson Glenn organized UPcreek event on Elwood

It seemed like a good idea to Glenn Nicholson, the Elwood Street resident who came up with the idea of holding an event for his neighbours. He then watched it grow to the point where he was able to get the Burlington Teen Tour band and CHCH television coverage. Not bad for a local kid.

Glenn Nicholson, an Elwood resident decided to organize an event for his neighbours. It was going to be small – just for the people on the street at first – but when the name of the event got around – the occasion grew like topsy.  “I have about 35 volunteers and we expect somewhere between 1000 to 2000 people.

Nicholson did get loads of support from his ward Councillor. Jack Dennison made phone calls and got permit fees waived and someone got the Burlington Teen Tour Band out on the street for some marching band music.

We don’t know yet how much Nicholson and his volunteers managed to raise – we will report that when it is available.

Flood Up Creek T shirt yellow

The T shirt says it all for a lot of people.

They called it “Up the Creek” which reflected just how many of the people flooded felt as the struggled to save their homes with little in the way of support from the city corporately.

City hall decided to outsource the resolution to another organization and asked everyone else to take on a task while the city worked on recovering as much as it could from the province for the damage done to its infrastructure.

Dennison + Mayor and wife at Up Creek

Ward 4 Councillor Jack Dennison chats with Mayor Goldring and his wife at the Elwood Street Up the Creek event. The Mayor apparently chose not to wear one of the Up the Creek T shirts.

While Calgary is a much bigger city and the flood it was hit with this year was bigger – there wasn’t a day that the citizens of Calgary did not see and hear from there Mayor. Naheed Nenshi, Calgary’s Mayor was everywhere.

Yes Calgary has better media than Burlington ; we are squeezed between Hamilton and Toronto – but a little creativity on the part of the media people at city hall could have had video done and posted on the city web site and loaded up to YouTube.

The Mayor could have gone into communities and meet with people. He did this the once – to great effect. Handling people and their issues seems to be within the Mayor’s comfort zone; certainly not the case with Gary Carr the Regional Chair.

McMahon at Up Creek - side view - smile

Burlington MPP Eleanor McMahon is everywhere. She is being referred to as a “rock star” by Ron Foxcroft, chair of the Disaster Relief fund.

Would it have been different were Goldring being opposed in the municipal election for the job of Mayor? Most certainly – but while it isn’t too late for someone to step forward – those who hold their breath waiting for another name to appear on the ballot are going to have health issues.

For those who felt they were left “Up the Creek” – they will work things out and come away with a different understanding as to what their municipal level of government is doing for them.


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West nile found in the Region - Oakville at this point - but these mosquitoes move around. Take precautions.

News 100 redBy Staff

August 25, 2014



The first official data on mosquitos that are carrying West Nile Virus was released by the Region this morning.

A batch of mosquitoes trapped last week in Oakville has tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV). This is the second batch of WNV positive mosquitoes for Halton this year. In Halton, only one other batch of mosquitoes from Milton tested positive for WNV this year.


This is how West Nile virus is transmitted.

“We know West Nile virus is here in Halton and it’s usually just a matter of time before we begin to see more positive results,” stated Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Halton Region Medical Officer of Health. “Halton residents should always protect themselves against mosquito bites and get rid of mosquito breeding sites.”

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

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

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

A map showing the locations of standing water sites that have had larvicide applied is here.

To report standing water or for more information about West Nile virus, please visit Halton.ca/wnv, dial 311, or call Halton Region at 905-825-6000 or e-mail wnv@halton.ca.



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Red Cross volunteers check on more than 10,000 homes going door to door. Some tragic stories

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

August 23, 2014

“We should have the door to door work wrapped up in a few days” said Peter Hodgson, lead Red Cross person on the task of learning just how many homes were damaged in the August 4th flood, and the extent of that damage.

Flood - Hodgson Peter - flood maps

Peter Hodgson, lead Red Cross volunteer points to maps that show how many homes were damaged and where they are located.

The volunteers will have covered in excess of 10,000 homes, explained Hodgson. Their data gets sent to the Region, where it is plotted on maps, which will allow the city to quantify the damage.

Mayor Goldring had explained at the city council meeting earlier in the month that “we need to know how extensive the damage is”.  It is extensive and it is tragic.

For Hodgson the story is much more than numbers on a map. There are some truly tragic situations out there. “We were working with a man who had an extensive “collectibles” collection in his basement. “This was his retirement – and it was gone. The man valued it at more than $1 million.”

Flooding - Regional map houses

The dots indicate a house that was flooded. This was not a small disaster.

There was an apartment building that had some affordable housing units in it. The owner of the building had moved a tenant with little in the way of personal means into a basement unit a few days before the flood so he could renovate the unit they lived in. All was lost.

There was an elderly couple who had suffered extensive damage to their house – all of which was more than they could cope with – but they didn’t want to leave their home.

Hodgson wasn’t able to say, but the sense is that there may be some homes that have to be torn down.

Flood Red Cross class - volunteers

Red Cross volunteers get training on what to do at eah house they call on.

“We don’t talk about poverty in Burlington, but it is there” said Hodgson “and it is situations like this that bring these people to the surface – they have no resources to fall back on. The Red Cross is able to help out but just for a very short period of time.”

“We have people sleeping on air mattresses on the floor in some places” said Hodgson. “We opened up Evacuation Centres but they didn’t really get used – but we had them in place if needed.
The Red Cross has a Memorandum of Understanding in place with the Regional government- which allows them to move into a community on a couple of hours’ notice.

Their volunteers were on the streets within hours doing the door to door work. At the same time the Samaritan’s Purse had crews ripping carpet out of flooded basements and doing power washing, while the fire department put a calendar up on their website showing times, when fire fighters were available to help people with the clean-up.

While all this was going on, citizens were making donations to the disaster relief funds – the total on Friday was $140,000


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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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