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

By Staff

February 25, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Background links:

Burlington opens its community garden.

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

By Staff

February 20, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON.

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

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

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

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

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

By Pepper Parr

February 14, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Some Tory’s still spooked by innovative approaches to eliminating poverty; having difficulty with a 75 cents an hour wage increase.

By Ray Rivers

 February 6, 2014

 BURLINGTON,ON.

There is at least one academic study which claims that increasing the minimum wage would make poverty worse – but the authors note that the result is not statistically significant.   And the study is so full-up of assumptions that changing any of them might flip the result.  Nevertheless, those opposed to minimum wages hold this up as proof that minimum wages kill jobs and increase poverty, rather than reduce it.

A raise in the minimum wage of 75 cents an hour isn’t going to produce much – $30 a week at best.

Those who support increasing minimum wages disagree and produce their own studies to show a host of benefits.   The President of the United States is apparently in that camp and so is Ontario’s Premier.  Taking her cue from the Ontario Minimum Wage Advisory Panel, which she appointed last year, she has raised the provincial minimum wage and tied its future to the cost of living.  And, she has credibility on her side, since the provincial Liberals’ poverty reduction strategy claims to have lifted almost 50,000 children out of poverty between 2008 and 2011. 

Less than ten percent of Ontario’s labour force work for a minimum wage, about half a million workers. Still, less than ten percent of Ontario’s labour force work for a minimum wage, about half a million workers.  And not all those living below the poverty line are employed, so it will take more than raising minimum wages, if solving the poverty problem is our end goal.  Raising the income and dignity of those whose only choice is to accept a low-paid job is an important outcome, however, for a government which cares about all residents and not just the well-off.  However, eliminating poverty would require a more substantial initiative, including revamping our tax system and some leadership by the federal government.  

In the 1970‘s both Canada and US ran pilot projects testing something called a ‘negative income tax’ or ‘guaranteed annual income (GAI)’.  The idea was to ensure  everyone received a livable income from their work, or would be matched with a government grant if they didn’t.  Don’t be alarmed, this concept is somewhat comparable to the existing HST rebate, which goes to lower-income households.  The Canadian pilot projects were aborted before the results could be fully evaluated, victims of unusually high unemployment rates, high budgetary deficits and newly elected Conservative governments eager to uproot socialism. 

 Some of the early results indicated that there would be only a modest impact on labour markets but significant changes to how people use their time – mothers doing more child  care, greater family leisure time and enhanced educational activity.  Demographics have changed considerably since the 70‘s so the results may not be very useful for implementation today, even were today’s conservatives willing to overlook their oft-recited Protestant creed – ‘the Lord helps them who help themselves’.  

But not all conservatives are spooked by innovative approaches to eliminating poverty. But not all conservatives are spooked by innovative approaches to eliminating poverty.  Senator Hugh Segal is a proponent for GAI and argues that such a plan could be funded entirely from the resources being poured into the existing patchwork of poverty reduction programs.  In addition, existing welfare programs perversely discourage recipients from looking for work, while GAI would encourage them to top-up their incomes by accepting low paid work – at least until better opportunities come available. 

 Hugh Segal has spent most of his working life as a Progressive Conservative in some capacity or other, including senior aide and chief of staff for Premier Bill Davis and PM Brian Mulroney, and seeking public office himself.  He was appointed to the Senate by Liberal PM Paul Martin in a rare moment of non-partisanship, as if Martin was somehow anticipating Justin Trudeau’s recently articulated appointment policy.    

 But Senator Segal is very much a voice in the wilderness on this issue among the political movers and shakers.  Though he may not be too far ahead of the general public, which recent polling shows is becoming interested in, and supportive of, the concept of a guaranteed annual income.  Still no political leader seems to have made this a priority.  In the meantime I guess we’ll have to settle for Premier Wynne’s inflation-proof minimum wage.

While on this topic I don’t understand why today’s wait-staff (liquor servers) get treated like something out of a Dickens novel.  Their minimum wages are set conservatively at about a dollar less than that of other eligible workers, making them reliant on the archaic practice of begging for tips -‘To Insure Prompt Service’.   In New Zealand, for example, tipping is infrequent and unexpected because the restaurants there pay their staff decent wages up-front.  Even here, some restaurants slap on a mandatory service charge, which presumably goes to the wait-staff and avoids that annoying tipping. 

Wouldn’t it be nice if the next time that attractive person waiting on your table flashes those big brown eyes, you know it’s because he, or she, is interested in something other than what’s in your wallet.

Ray 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:

Minimum Wages Study

  Policy Alternatives Study

Forbes View

Globe and Mail View

Financial Post View

US Minimum Wage

Minimum Wage Advisory

Canada’s Minimum Wages

Star View

 Ontario’s Poverty Reduction

 Canada’s Poverty

 Guaranteed Annual Income

 Poll on GAI

 Wait Staff

  Hugh Segal

 

 

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Connecting the dots and keeping people on their feet – a challenge in parking lot 4 yesterday.

By Pepper Parr

February 5, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON.

I like his idea of service based accountability.  I take it to mean that the person responsible for the service is the person accountable – to me.  Have I got that right?

So how would this work?

Anyone having to walk along this stretch of sidewalk to put coins in the parking meter is a brave soul.  This view looks north to the meter.

Let’s try snow removal – specifically the removal of snow from the city parking lots where we pay directly to use the parking spots – the pieces of which went up 25 cents an hour in January.  I can live with that.

Now I know there are people in the parking lot every couple of hours checking the meters because on occasion I have found a piece of paper under the windshield wiper inviting me to have an up close and personal with the cashier at city hall who is going to smile as I remove some cash or a credit card from my wallet.

The view looking south in lot 4 off John Street – notice how they managed to clear the sidewalk in front of the meter but not for the path to the meter.

The meter man will certainly know how icy the lot and the little sidewalk is – but he isn’t accountable for the salting and removal of snow.  But could he not put in a call to which over department is responsible and say: “Hey guys – the pathway in lot 4 is iced over”.

How do I as a citizen know who is accountable and knowing who that person is – what do I do?  Is the city going to give us the telephone numbers for all these people?   A couple of years back General Manager Kim Phillips made it very clear the public would not be given names or phone numbers.  Let’s not have the riff raff getting in the way of all the civil servants beavering away on our behalf.

So – just how is accountability going to work itself down to my level and my concerns?  It is one thing to say that we have an acronym that makes it all very clear;   I just want to know what I can do without having to be on the phone for ten minutes – tying up one of those civil servants working so hard for me.

Call your ward councillor – and if you live in ward 2 – that works; Marianne Meed Ward has been known to slip out of her house on Christmas Day to pick up some garbage left on a street.  Many have found that they don’t actually have to live in the ward to get service from her.  Ticks off the other council members no end when she crosses those ward boundaries.

The service based approach to budgeting makes sense – what isn’t clear is how to connect that service dot and that budget dot to me.

And when that’s done give me some value for the coins I put in that meter.

To be fair, and a more balanced, as some suggest, the Roads and Parks Maintenance people are swamped and there are a lot of roads and sidewalks to be covered.  Do they not have contingency plans for situations like this?  This is Canada, this in Ontario – we do snow!

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A single citizen, a single voice: a major change with perhaps lives saved.

By Pepper Parr

February 1, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON.

In April 2013 Burlington resident Denise Davy spoke as a delegation at the city’s Community Services Committee, urging the city to take responsibility for the safety of pedestrians at railway crossings. City Council directed staff to consult with community stakeholders to research rail safety.

This was the situation in Burlington before Denise Davey delegated to city council for a change.

A rail line safety and awareness stakeholder committee was formed to bring the various groups together to review the issue and develop strategies to prevent rail line deaths. The committee included representatives fromGO Transit, CN, VIA Rail, CPCOAST, ROCK, Canadian Mental Health Association, theNorth Halton Mental Health Clinic, Halton Police, Region of Halton Public Works, Transport Canada and theTransportation Safety Board.  The review resulted in a number of short-term strategies and long-term opportunities.

Today there is appropriate fencing and protocols in place to ensure that the city tells the GO people and other authorities that the fence has been breached.

It was not quite this easy when Denise Davey first took on the task of making the railway tracks safer by blocking crossing that were not properly secured.  Davey’s son, Ryan, was 18 when he was killed by a train in March of 1998.  Here is how she tells her story:

“Many more people have been killed by trains going through Halton since then and the numbers over the last year have increased at an alarming rate. In a six-month period, from August 2012 to February 2013, six people were killed, including a 23-year-old Hamilton man.

“That’s a huge increase from previous years and it speaks to the need for better safety measures to prevent further deaths. The area of major concern is along Fairview and Cumberland where many people have been killed by trains.

“It’s wide open and also extremely close to one of the busiest shopping plazas in Burlington. Although there are “Danger” signs posted, the well-worn footpath is a testament to how few people heed them. The same problem exists with the tracks that run between Appleby Line and Burloak, by Sherwood Forest Park.

“Not only are there openings in the fence by the park, but in many areas the bottom part of the fence has been pulled up where people have obviously crawled under. Finding out who is responsible for safety along the tracks was so difficult, however, that even after several calls to rail officials, I’m not completely clear on it.

“Indeed, it seemed even rail officials weren’t clear on it. Transport Canada and the Transportation Safety Board were quick to deflect all blame for any deaths or injuries and talk about the public’s responsibility.

“And there is truth in that. The public needs to be responsible around the tracks. But at some point, the people who run the trains also need to take some responsibility. I can think of several stories I’ve covered as a reporter in which a person was killed crossing the street illegally but a stoplight was later put in place to prevent further deaths or injuries.

“Not only are rail officials quick to deflect blame, they’re tight-lipped when it comes to statistics on train-related fatalities and injuries. After several calls to the GO media folks I was told they don’t have statistics on the number of people who have been killed by GO trains along the Halton tracks.

“How can it be?” I asked the GO spokesperson, “You’re telling me that you don’t know how many people have been killed by the service you run?” I was quickly put on hold then told I needed to talk to someone else. I never got the number from GO.

“I was eventually told by Halton police (who told me earlier they didn’t have the numbers) that five of the six recent deaths in Halton were a result of GO trains.

“I will be talking to members of Burlington city council about changes I think need to be made to areas along the tracks. They include fencing, surveillance cameras, motion sensitive lighting and noise barriers, the same type you see along the QEW in Grimsby.

“I figure if they’re deemed important enough to buffer noise for residents who live close to the highway, they should be considered important enough to save a life.”

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

It was an uphill fight for a long period of time but at a city council meeting in January Bruce Zvaniga, director of transportation services said: “The various stakeholders came to the table prepared to discuss and make changes,” said Zvaniga, and  “I would like to thank them for their responsiveness, action and commitment to safety.”

The committee has already put in place a number of short-term strategies, including:

A communication protocol where city staff share information with rail operators regarding fence damage and footpaths near the rail line. Rail operators are also to share information with roads and parks maintenance staff regarding fence damage on city-owned properties

Rail operator “high rail” reviews that exchange information about identified outcomes

City fencing improvements in five different locations where chain fences will be installed

Rail line safety and awareness in 11 public schools and seven catholic schools as part of the schools’  safety awareness programs and under the leadership of Operation Lifesaver

Site specific strategies have been implemented by GO Transit and the Canadian Mental Health Association

“I am very proud of the work done by the stakeholder committee,” said Mayor Rick Goldring. “ The committee has created a set of best practices for the entire country. If what we have set in motion can save one life, than it has well be worth it.”

An annual stakeholder review process is now in place. The stakeholder group will meet each year to look at the outcomes of previous strategies, identify possible new strategies and discuss long-term opportunities. In 2014, the committee will invite the Catholic and public school boards to participate.

Somewhere along the way the woman who had lost a child to a rail line accident got forgotten as all the bureaucrats who should have been on top of this issue from the beginning did nothing until Denise Davey delegated.

The power of one person with a voice and the courage of their convictions is immense and magnificent.

Background links:

City staff directed to start asking questions.

Three deaths in seven months.

Parent wants better rail line safety – death level intolerable.

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Burlington neighbourhoods – eclectic, chaotic and cannot be constrained but they can’t thrive without funding.

By Pepper Parr

January 28, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON

It started as a pilot project in North Burlington during 20131 that proved to be a remarkable success.  At that time the city gave Community Development Halton (CDH) $86,000 to strengthen community at the neighbourhood level by actively engaging community members and agencies and to continue increasing access to recreation and culture within neighbourhood spaces.

The measurables are remarkable.  CDH took the money and leveraged it to bring in $40,000 in kind and recorded 3130 in volunteer hours.  Few organization can talk in terms of that number of volunteer time.

The pilot did more than that – it brought out a response from the faith communities who have opened their doors and their arms and hosted events.  One of the early offerings was community dinners which irked some because they felt city money was being used to feed people dinner – that’s not where the dollars went.

How does a social planner explain what they do?  Listen to Riva

The dollars went to fund a community social planner who managed to convince a sports team from Hayden High in Alton to prepare and serve one of those dinners.  The socioeconomic differences between these two groups – North Burlington residents and Hayden high students creates an understanding, a tolerance and an appreciation of each other.

Community Development HAlton Executive Director Joey Edwardh at an AGM

Joey Edwardh, CDH Executive Director, explains that neighbourhood development is not a social service.  Vibrant neighborhoods is a formative pillar in the city’s Strategic Plan.  The social planner that was hired is on the ground working with people in the community to “connect the dots”.  A city is more than bike paths and roads that are in good repair – the city is its people says Edwardh with some gusto.

The pilot project now has many of its dis-advantaged people serving lunches to seniors in faith community settings.

Neighbourhoods are the first point of contact for members of council – and this city has neighbourhoods that are not visible – much the way it took city council some time to become aware of the vibrant art and culture groups in the city – few knew they were even there.

One of the harder realizations for people who work in disadvantaged communities is spotting the lack of aspirations on the part of these young people.  Their parents cannot afford to put their children into hockey programs, they can’t pay for tickets to Performing Arts events – lunch money is a stretch most of the time.  Joining the Burlington Teen Tour Band is totally out of the question.

Each of these would be said to be what defines Burlington and that wouldn’t be a false statement – but for many, far more than most of us realize, being part of these defining groups is a hard reality for the disadvantage.

Is community development a city responsibility?  If the city is to be “vibrant” development has to be done at the community level and that is easier to do in some communities that it is in others.

Some feel this kind of service gets done by the Regional government.  The Region delivers and over sees services mandated by the province and includes services that are more effectively and economically delivered by the Region.

Community Development Halton has a rich history in the field of community development.  It grew out of social councils that were operational back when Roly Bird Walter Mulkewich were Mayors and current provincial Minister of Community Services Ted McMeekin was employed as the Executive Director of the original social council in Burlington.

Some ground breaking reports came out of CDH and some now very successful community organizations were incubated at went on to become a part of the fabric that keeps the city together.  Food for Thought – a program that ensures students who are not being fed properly get the meals and the nutrition they need.  Today we wouldn’t think of not having Food for Thought.

What do you get for $86,000 – what do you think of this for a process. Can you see your city in there?

Shuffling the papers as she prepares to speak Community Development HAlton Executive Director Joey Edwardh delivers the message

With the funding Edwardh is seeking for 2014  community development at the neighbourhood level could begin in  South East and Central Burlington.

The business case submitted to council’s budget review process  fits well with the city’s Leisure Services Policy and Community Development Policy. It is similar to the approach taken regarding Community Gardens. This business case is based on a 1% increase over the city’s investment in the pilot project in 2013. Mid year and end of year reporting to the City of Burlington will be expected.

There is some additional work to be done at the city/Regional level  clarifying a “place based” neighbourhood strategy that meets the needs of the City of Burlington and the Region of Halton, considering each level of government’s service responsibilities. The City will have completed service business plans and will be ready for service based budgets in the 2015 budget.

Community is eclectic, chaotic and doesn’t grow with constraints.  Community is people – they come in all sizes shapes and colours.

The argument for funding this program will be delegated on February 4th – the decision will say a lot about the kind of city we really are.

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Hospital and the province now begin to negotiate with consortiums for the construction of the redeveloped and expanded hospital.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.

January 20, 2014

Progress: actual, real, certifiable progress – the Joseph Brant Hospital nudged forward a couple of inches last week when the province and the hospital announced a short list of three groups that are going to bid on the hospital redevelopment and expansion.

weIf you were near the hospital in December and had a coat on – you got to sign the beam that is part of the Family Medical facility now under construction.   Parking garage will be part of the Centre with a direct link to the hospital when the redevelopment and expansion is completed in 2018

A few weeks ago everyone with a coat slipped out of the hospital to the western side of the site to sign a beam that was hoisted into place for the Family Medical Clinic and the three storey parking garage that is currently under construction.

Don’t confuse the hospital redevelopment and expansion with the Family Clinic which is an offshoot of the McMaster operation that has the Region’s name attached to it.

The hospital itself is a bigger and a much-anticipated development. It is a sort of joint venture with the hospital corporation and the provinces Infrastructure Ontario working together to get the hospital into the 21st century.

The three short listed teams will design, build and finance the Hospital’s Redevelopment and Expansion Project. The new hospital construction is expected to start in early 2015 and the hospital is expected to be open in winter 2018/19.

  innovaCARE Partners

  • Kasian Architecture Ontario Inc.
  • Graham Walsh Joint Venture
  • Scotiabank

 Integrated Team Solutions

  • Parkin Architects Limited
  • EllisDon Corporation
  • Fengate Capital Management Ltd.

 PCL Partnerships

  • HDR Architecture Associates, Inc.
  • PCL Canada Inc.
  • TD Securities Inc.

Assuming all the paper work gets done – construction of the redevelopment and expansion of the Joseph Brant Hospital should begin early in 2015.

The project includes the construction of a new seven-storey patient-care tower, modern Emergency Department, Intensive Care Unit and significant renovations to the existing space. This will provide the growing community with improved access to a larger, more modern hospital and a hospital-wide average of 70 per cent single patient rooms to meet the highest standards for infection prevention and control and quality of care.

The hospital recently announced a settlement with the families that lost members to the c-difficile outbreak that resulted in more than 90 deaths at the hospital – the highest number of death from the virus anywhere in the country.

 Highlights of the project include: additional acute inpatient beds, nine modern operating rooms, expanded diagnostic services, a modern post-anaesthetic care unit, expanded ambulatory care programs, an expanded Cancer Clinic, renovated Special Care Nursery, a new main entrance and  expanded medical, surgical and outpatient services

While the province is all over this project – we need their money, the facility, which will remain publicly owned, publicly controlled and publicly accountable.

Infrastructure Ontario is a crown agency of the Province of Ontario that delivers large, complex infrastructure renewal projects.  They have the expertise that in the recent past has been applied to 83 major projects valued at approximately $38 billion.

Burlington citizens were told by the province in 2011 that they had to come up with $120 million to pay for the redevelopment and expansion.  Citizens are providing $60 million by way of a levy on their tax bills and the Joseph Brant Hospital Foundation is raisin the other $60 million by way of public fund raising.  To date the Foundation has raised in excess of $16 million.

Background links:

How the hospital Foundation got to $16 million.

Getting that first cheque from the province was not easy.

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Incidence of flu high in Quebec, Alberta and BC – the stuff travels – still time to get a free flu shot.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON.

January 8th, 2014

The Province, the Region, the city and even the local drug store – all want you to get your flu shot – and do it now.  While the incidence of flu in Ontario is not high – it is surprisingly high in Alberta and British Columbia, and the stuff travels.

The flu shot is free – and it doesn’t hurt THAT much.

The Chief Medical Officer of Health for Ontario, Dr. Arlene King, is reminding Ontarians to protect themselves from influenza by getting the flu shot.  She stresses the importance of getting immunized – particularly with an increased proportion of laboratory confirmed cases of the 2009 H1N1 flu virus in the province and across the country this year.

This strain of influenza affects people of all ages, but children under five and those age 20 to 64 years old appear to be most susceptible.  To date, children under five appear to be most at risk of hospitalization.  Deaths have been reported in adults and the elderly.

The flu vaccine is safe and the best way to keep you and the people around you healthy during the flu season.

The Region announced today that that the last two regularly scheduled influenza (flu) immunization clinics will be held on Wednesday, January 8 and Wednesday January 15, both from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the auditorium at the Halton Regional Centre in Oakville.

The H1N1 influenza virus is currently circulating in Halton and this strain of virus is included in this season’s vaccine. It is not too late to get your flu shot to protect yourself and to prevent spreading the virus. Residents can still get their flu immunization from many pharmacies, clinics and doctors’ offices.

The free flu vaccine is available at doctors’ offices and is also available for those five and older through specially trained pharmacists at close to 2,000 pharmacies across Ontario – three times as many pharmacies as last year.  Rexall pharmacies in Burlington offer the service as well as others.

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Skating pond at Spencer Smith Park opens this Friday afternoon.

December 12, 2013

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON. All that cold weather we have been experiencing will begin to pay off for us Friday afternoon.

The pond at Spencer Smith Park will open at 4:00 pm where the skating is free to everyone.

Pond opens to the public Friday afternoon.

The pond is open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. with patrollers working on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and on weekdays from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The holiday schedule includes:

Christmas Eve, December 24th : 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

CLOSED Christmas day

New Year’s Eve December 31st  10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

New Year’s Day January 1st  10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

 Please remember that you must wear skates to be on the ice and children 6 years of age and under must wear a helmet.

 You can call the Pond hot line for  ice conditions –  905-634-7263 or visit the web site   for temporary closure information, updates on pond conditions.

 

 

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Joseph Brant hospital tops off Family Medical Centre; announces schedule for hospital construction.

December 8, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  It has been a good year for the Joseph Brant Hospital. Not as good a year for old Jo Brant himself – the Pooh-Bahs at the hospital decided to drop the word Memorial from the official name and came up with a spiffy new corporate logo as well.  Times change.

The hospital did a topping off ceremony for the Halton McMaster Family Health Centre (there’s a name screaming for something shorter) and announced how well the fund raising program has been doing.  Incredibly well is the best way to describe the $16.5 million that has been raised.  The target is $60 million the hospital foundation has been tasked to find.

In the world of fund raising “seven digits” is what you go looking for – it’s sort of like the single malt of the fund raising world – and these are not easily come by.  Romancing seven digits calls for a skill set few can bring to the table.  Anissa Hilborn, president of Burlington’s  Joseph Brant Hospital Foundation has done a remarkable job.  The rate of donations is “unheard of”,  which is a testament to both the Foundation and the generosity of the community.

Today there is $16.5 million in campaign commitments – achieved in less than two years’ time.

The Molinaro family brought $1 million to the table, the Hogarth clan followed with an additional million.  The Sante/Peller family added $500,000.  Before any of this happened the Boards and Senior leadership at the hospital put their names down for $23.5 million.

Burlington’s four Rotary Clubs put themselves down for $1 million.  Before anyone got out a cheque book however the hospital auxiliary committed to $3.5 million

Ambassador Giving Societies and Circles were launched in January of this year. The Crystal Ball Gala will be held on September 14 of 2014.  It is all rolling out rather well.

The public phase of the campaign will be launched when $45 million of the $60 million goal has been reached.  All of this is no small achievement and is a significant credit to the Campaign Cabinet made up of 20 community and business leaders.

The Family Medical Centre will be in the structure under construction on the left – with the parking garage on the right.  There will be a passageway from the parking garage right into the hospital.  No word yet on the parking prices.

With the fund raising well in hand – hospital CEO Eric J. Vandewall  talked about the progress and the construction schedule.  First piece of good news was that the provincial government put a little more money on the table.

Next: the hospital has settled on three consortiums who are going to bid on the construction of the building which will be an additional story higher than originally planned:  seven floors instead of the six in the original thinking – however the building is going to look a lot bigger than just seven floors of space for people to get better in. 

They have a timeline in place – now to keep everyone fully informed.

There will be an additional two floors above the actual hospital which will house all the electrical and mechanical equipment making the building look like a nine story structure which will be a couple of hundred yards from the edge of the lake and will dominate the western side of the city.

In the very near future Burlington’s sky line is going to experience a radical change with the Bridgewater condominium/hotel in the middle of town soaring to a height of 22 storeys and the hospital reaching up nine storeys.

The hospital site will take on a campus like setting with the buildings oriented to the lake.

The project is being headed up by Infrastructure Ontario – they work hand in glove with the hospital scoping out just what is needed, where value engineering can be used to get the best for the dollars being spent.  It is at this level that Vandewall  shines.  The work he did in Mississauga  prepared him for the Joseph Brant challenge.

What was originally going to be the renovation of an aging hospital that was well past its best before date, and carrying a nasty reputation as well, has morphed into basically a rebuild with a brand new facility set off to the western side.

Vandewall does remarkable work – he is unfortunately not as well served on the communications side.  The hospital is filled with great good news stories that don’t get told.  Their media relations are terrible.

Entrance to the hospital will be from either the parking garage which will be on the west side of the hospital connected by a passageway or from the street level entrance that will front onto Lakeshore Road.

The new tower will have 172 new beds; there will be a new Emergency department; a new intensive care unit, a renovated Special Care Nursery.

While the focus is on the hospital, contractors have been working away at the Halton McMaster Family Health Care Centre that will attract ten new family practice doctors.  Attached to the Health Care Centre will be a three level parking garage with capacity to have an additional two floors of parking added.

The hospital site will take on the look and feel of a campus – it will be a much different site than the collection of services out there now.  All the construction work gets done while the care givers and the surgeons continue to go about their daily work.

Background on hospital development:

Paying the CEO

Parking garage – how it got paid for.

Getting the Family Medical Centre

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Province decides to add another floor to the hospital along with more beds and operating rooms.

November 26, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  The way Mayor Goldring saw it – Burlington is basically getting a new hospital.  The provincial government announced today that funding increases will amount to “hundreds of millions” more for the rebuild of the hospital

Health Minister Deb Matthews was in Burlington to announce major changes to Joseph Brant Hospital’s expansion project, but wouldn’t talk money or exactly how much the province will contribute to help fund those changes.  What was a $312 million project is being re-scoped – up.

While the real number of beds being added along with the number of operating rooms wasn’t clear Mayor Goldring reported that beds were going to be 172 up from the previously planned 92 and nine new operating rooms.

Architects rendering of what the re-build of the Joseph Brant Hospital will look like. The angle is looking east into the city. The structure has had an additional floor added.

$60 million of that $312 is coming directly out of the taxpayers’ pockets – it shows up on your tax bill with another $60 million being raised by the hospital foundation that has done rather well in the recent past.

Matthews and hospital officials said they can’t be specific about how much more money the province is giving the hospital expansion because it would tip the hands of the construction companies bidding for the work.  That’s a bit of a stretch – the major contractors are a lot closer to the people who determine those numbers than the taxpayers whose pockets the money comes out of

The hospital announced the plan’s major upgrades mean adding another storey to what was originally a six-storey newly constructed tower, adding beds although it was unclear how many are additional rather than revamped or what the hospital called “renovated” beds. The changes will also mean the emergency department and three floors of current surgical beds will move to the tower now.

Matthews and hospital officials said the changes essentially allow parts of the project that were to consist of renovations to now be built brand new, such as in the case of the emergency department.

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.

“As planning got underway, the hospital realized it would get better value to build new rather than renovate,” Matthews said. The new emergency department for example, will be state of the art in meeting the needs of the community”, she said.

“The emergency department is the public face of the hospital…It’s better value (to build new) and it will better meet the needs of the community,” she added.

Jo Brant CEO Eric Vandewal said the main benefit of a new emergency department will be reduced waiting times — the same benefit mentioned when emergency renovations were talked of as part of this major expansion, and again in 2001 during a $12.6 million expansion and enhancement of the emergency department and cancer clinic.  Clearly saying that wait times will be reduced is what the public wants to hear.

Joseph  Brant Hospital CEO Eric Vandewal

Vandewal, who has an earned reputation as a hospital builder, did very good work in Mississauga before he came to Burlington.  One could almost imagine the arguments he took to Queen’s Park telling them he could deliver much better value if he was to build new rather than upgrade an older facility.

The hospital will hold a “topping off” event very early in December to mark the completion of the first phase of the Halton McMaster  Family Medicine  Centre structure, which is to have medical facilities on the ground floor with three parking levels above.  The structure is being built to allow for an additional level of parking at a later date.

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Burlington MPP rolls up her sleeve to lead by example: flu season is approaching, McKenna prepares.

November 1, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON. Doctors will tell you that children under five are at the highest risk for serious illness from influenza. With the weather cooling off and a new flu season fast approaching, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Arlene King is asking parents to make sure their children get the flu shot.

The highest numbers of flu cases are in the one to four-year old age group. Dr. King stresses that the sooner kids get the flu shot the better since it takes about two weeks to become fully effective.

Burlington MPP Jane McKenna gets her annual flu shot from Anita Sahu at the Rexall Pharmacy on Guelph Line.

Children between the ages of six months and four years old can get their flu shot at doctors’ offices and at public health or community flu immunization clinics.

Burlington MPP Jane McKenna gets her annual flu shot from Anita Sahu at the Rexall Pharmacy on Guelph Line.

For parents, caregivers and children aged five and up, thousands of Ontario pharmacists will also be offering free flu shots as part of the Ontario government’s Universal Influenza Immunization Program, designed to make it more convenient for people to protect themselves and others from the spread of influenza.

This year, pharmacists at almost 2,000 drug stores across Ontario will be fully trained and ready to deliver free flu shots – roughly triple the number of pharmacy locations as last year.

Jane McKenna, MPP for Burlington, and one of the healthiest people we know, got herself over to the Rexall pharmacy on Guelph Line where pharmacists Anita Sahu did the deed and ensured that the MPP will be able to continue standing in the provincial Legislature barking away at what the government isn’t doing to make the province economically healthy.

McKenna, a first term parliamentarian, quickly became an ideologue and bought into every word the provincial Tories wrote in the Change Book. .

How Blue is Jane McKenna? As she was filling in the forms to get her flue shot she asked aloud – “What’s the date today? November 1st replied her daughter Taylor who was with her. “Oh – today is Tim Hudak’s birthday”replied McKenna.

McKenna is now the Progressive Conservative critic for Economic Development, Trade & Employment; one of the weightier portfolios that usually has an experienced parliamentarian with some depth in business. McKenna plans on holding a Round Table on the Economy sometime in the New Year.

The flu shot is now available in Ontario and Rexall is one of the pharmacies that has made it easy and convenient for Ontarians to receive the vaccine by offering it at any store, at any time, any day – no appointment necessary.

Last year was the first year pharmacists were able to administer immunizations in Ontario and, and according to Rexall, 80% of flu shots given by pharmacists were at a Rexall.

According to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, the flu and its complications result in up to 1,000 hospitalizations and 1,600 deaths in Ontario each year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A ‘flu shot’ is not the only way to beat the bug. Naturopaths recommend herbal medicines to combat flu.

October 18, 2013

By Dr. Jeremy Hayden.

BURLINGTON, ON   In light of the looming cold and flu season, I am interjecting with a brief mention of a promising, true and tested approach to improve one’s health (and I’m talking about thousands of years here folks, not a time frame to take lightly). Granted traveling south for the winter may be the most attractive option, running from those pesky winter viruses and bugs won’t ultimately fix what may already be broken. We all should know that a whole person approach to a healthier more robust system should be first and foremost, yet it’s often quite evident that what we know is best for one self, due to lack of time, motivation, commitment and effort, is, for some, sometimes a lot easier said than done…

 

Reference to fighting a cold or flu is often a primary focus for many. The immune compromising winter season is one which too often places unnecessary and  undue stress on our bodies. One may argue that getting sick or catching colds build the immune system and is beneficial, which to an extent may be true. However wouldn’t you prefer to reap the same benefits by doing so without ever needing to get sick? Within the Naturopathic Medical (and Natural living) realm, the realization of this can be achieved, and often with simple ease; strengthening our innate and adaptive immunity whist keeping happy and healthy throuOne may argue that getting sick or catching colds build the immune system and is beneficial, which to an extent may be true.gh it all. Why position ourselves to have to fight these bugs, when we can utilize and take advantage of their unwanted effects to better our overall health?

 

Herbal medicine is a practice that will help achieve this common goal

 

Herbalism is utilized to incorporate the vaccination stimulating effects of cold and flu viruses in order to ramp the immune system while simultaneously building immunity to those pesky cold and flu season bugs. Think of it similar (relative perspective here) to getting a vaccination shot; the bug or virus enters the body, provides a stimulus to our immune system, enough to create a resistance to its current and future presence, yet without the effects of making us sick. Enter the herbal medicine perspective; Cold and flu bugs are inhaled and enter the body day-to-day from those around us who may be infected by a cold or are sick. Specific herbs taken prophylactically allow the body’s immune defenses to become stimulated and build immunity to various cold and flu strains, yet due to the stimulation and balancing effects of concentrated herbals, the immune system is strong enough not to allow these ‘bugs’ to take over and make us sick.

 

Herbal medicines are not injected – they are swallowed.

Basic facts about herbal medicine for a better immune

Most immune herbals are safe when used as outlined on the bottle.

Little to no contraindications exist when using these herbs (contact a licensed natural health care practitioner if and when in doubt or if complicated health issues may exist)

·        Herbal tinctures (liquid herbal form) are often the best option for many people as they concentrate the active constituents of a herb and allow for better therapeutic effect.

·        Immune herbals often have long-lasting therapeutic immune effect.

·        Liquid herbals are considered food type medicine; they are in whole form, grow naturally, and are unadulterated, but concentrated naturally, so our bodies recognize and utilize them best

·        Herbals work well as individual (single herb) extracts, however will work to a greater synergistic effect when combined together

·        Look for Canadian companies that represent true certified organic, pure herbal tinctures (all are not created equal!)

 

        Top immune prophylactic herbals are:

Astragalus root, Siberian ginseng,codonopsis, schisandra, reishi and licorice root.

 Look for herbal liquid tinctures that contain some or all of the above immune herbals. Effective herbals exist for acute immune compromise as well (existing cold), so don’t hesitate to use an Andrographis, Baptisia, Echinacea, Thuja herbal combination to ‘beat the current bug’ (discontinue other immune herbals until the acute virus has been eradicated). A minimum of three-month prophylactic treatment is always best, however supporting your immune system at any point will help your body remain healthy, build immunity and prevent that nasty cold or flu.

Finding a supplier that is reliable is not always easy in a market that is not that tightly regulated.  People in the naturopathic field are always very comfortable recommending products from St Francis Herb Farm

What is a naturopathic doctor?  Where an MD focuses more time on pharmaceutical medicine, NDs also study pharmacology and its drugs, however extensive training in natural medicine (such as botanical, Oriental, nutritional, physical, and homeopathic medicine as well as lifestyle, counseling and herb-drug interactions) is adjunctively studied as well. In Ontario, a naturopathic doctors is considered a primary care physicians. NDs cannot prescribe pharmaceutical medications in Ontario as MDs are able to, and are only covered under extended health plans and not OHIP billing, however they are able to employ conventional laboratory testing and diagnostic imaging as necessary.

Jeremy Hayden, Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (ND).    ND is a professional medical designation earned following an undergraduate pre-medical degree and four years of post-graduate medical training at a fully accredited (CNME) naturopathic medical college. All licensed Naturopathic Doctors practicing in Ontario have been fully regulated under the Drugless Practitioners Act.


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Eat this, don’t eat that! Wow – all these rules. Will they make a difference?

October 8, 2013

By Dr. Jeremy Hayman

BURLINGTON, ON.  On the heels of my last submission on food as medicine and its real impact on all aspects of health, I now find it necessary to give readers a glimpse into food as choice and exactly what it is we are feeding ourselves, our children, and our loved ones each day. I’m not lecturing those of you who chose to eat a certain way, or those who consume certain foods by what I refer to as “dietary default”. My intention rather is to put what we know about food, on the table, and remind us all about the importance, impact and value of not only what we put into our bodies, but what we ultimately leave out.

I’m referring to those who consume foods without truly thinking about what or why they consume the foods they do. The term “dietary default” refers to a multitude of references when it comes to our association and relationship with food. Within the context of this discussion, I’m referring to those who consume foods without truly thinking about what or why they consume the foods they do. And out of fairness, it also stoutly refers to foods the average population so simply shy’s away from and leaves out. To delve into this even further, it refers to those who almost automatically follow a routine eating regimen, eat the same foods week to week, and most importantly, rarely, if ever, truly think about the impact of what they eat, or how it will ultimately consume them in the short and long haul with respect to health.

Advertising plays a large role in what we decide to east.

It has become glaringly obvious that societal impact grossly influences the choices and food we ultimately serve on our plates. Yet, with the ever so abundant “way of life” when it comes to our choices (or lack of) with respect to diet and food, the unmistakable contrary reflection also positions itself just as clear and states: “those who do choose what and how they wish to live in harmony with food, do so with absolute clarity and passion, and make it a way of life in order to maintain and pursue continued improvement toward better health”.

We know food affects health. We are also becoming more and more aware of which foods are most important, which are not, and which of the same foods contend as healthier choices over others. Some of us default to the convenient way and eat within the “fast food peril” of life. While others, albeit a smaller, yet ever-growing movement of people, place food and its nutritional value as one of  the most prominent elements in life. These people live “against the grain” in terms of what society dictates we should eat. These are the people who won’t simply surrender to the “conveniences” of today’s living, and make it a true effort to do what is necessary in order to preserve the short and long term health of themselves as well of those they love. What do I mean by this? Well let’s serve it up in the most simple, succinct, digestible way…

... you can and will feel better, stress less, live healthier ...With the overwhelming amount of mass media making use of its privilege to feed us its messages on what/what not to eat, how to eat, when to eat, why to eat, where to eat etc., it’s no wonder there’s an endless endeavor to try and figure it all out. Let alone pressures from others on our way of eating, we end up living in a whirlwind of relentless persuasions about what is best for ourselves and others.  I’m here, as a Naturopathic Doctor, within a profession strictly to support and better the health of those that can be reached, and without alternative motives, to do what I can to lay it out, in plain English, what it is we need to begin allowing our lives to let in, in the most natural and least invasive way.

There is almost no limit to the food that can be bought at a Farmers Market.

We’re all aware that balance in life is a precious gift, and one we, at some level, strive for (some more than others) each day. However, today’s message is that food, and food alone, can and will impact that balance to a more positioned and eloquent equilibrium. There’s no question many of us know what to eat and what not to eat, yet most of us either don’t know how or are lost in terms of where to start. Well, the truth is that it’s not always easy, there’s not one simple answer, and we’re all moving at various paces and levels within the food-life conundrum, yet by recognizing a few simple and effective “food-life rules”, you can and will feel better, stress less, live healthier, and learn that food truly is one of our most precious resources. We all need to treat food as food, and as a living entity, not as a product, a skew, or packaged commodity. So here’s where we’re at, a simple, realistic checklist of where to start, and a reinforcement to those that are already there:

·        Follow the Dirty Dozen Plus & Clean 15 when it comes to buying conventional and organic.

·        Become aware of GMO’s (Genetically Modified Organisms) and which foods contain them (use 1 less GMO per shopping trip per month – a GMO pepper is proving much riskier than a non-GMO organic pepper)

·        Add one new vegetable per month (to start), preferably organic, into your meal routine

·        Eat a vegetable (you know, that stuff that grows from the ground?) at most meals

·        Try an outing to a local farmers market. Local food is great, however local pesticide, herbicide and anti biotic free is even better. You and your children will enjoy the excursion.

·        Eat less meat. And spend the money on more healthy, clean meats

·        Make more of an effort to drop in at your local health food store. They’re local small businesses. Do your duty and provide your support

·        Realize that fast food and eating out essentially supports only your busy, unplanned schedule, it adds no value to your life. It will catch up with you, unless of course it already has

·         Drink organic herbal tea. It curbs cravings and adds endless benefit to your health

·        Begin thinking of food in terms of its nutritional impact. To eat for the simple value of being hungry or for calories is like living in terms of simply “eating to survive, not thrive”

·        If you are not happy with your current weight, either accept you will remain like this and continue to allow your health to regress, or stop making excuses and commit to the effort of making a change

·        Figure out a way to realize that spending more on healthy food now costs you much less than fighting for your health in the years to come

·        Combine lean protein, vegetables and healthy fat within each meal

·        Plan for goodness sake. We’re all busy, yet some of us still make time for our health. It won’t take care of itself

·        Seek out support if you don’t know where to begin. You’re spending enough on unhealthy choices already, it’s time to commit to putting that spending money toward better value

·        Naturopathic Medicine and other natural health professionals are here to help. Our ultimate goal is to make our planet and those within it healthier.

·        Drink clean water. 2L minimum per day to start

·        Make yourself proud. Do something for your health that in the way of better food choices that most wouldn’t have the nerve to try. Trust me, everyone will admire you in the end, yourself included.               

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Remember the Happy Gang? “We’re happy, we’re healthy – the heck with being wealthy.” Well we are certainly wealthy.

October 1, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  It wasn’t hard to figure out what the major message was behind the 2013 version of Burlington’s Vital Signs report is: there are many in the community who just don’t have enough – and it isn’t just the “poor” people that are going without.

The Burlington Community Foundation, around since 1999, released, along with 26 other communities across  Canada, a report that touched all the usual bases and added in a significant push on the pressing needs for better access to mental health services.

The Vital Signs report is data driven and uses graphics very effectively to make the point.  The cartoon cover page is Burlington: there’s the gazebo (I met my wife for the first time there) there’s Pepperwoods, there is  Benny’s and the gas station.  The drawings are all in colour and attractive in their own way.  Cute – it isn’t until you get to the second page that the point is made.  Well – compare the two versions and you know in an instant what the report wants to talk about.

The report is the second published by the Community Foundation.  The 2013 report covers eleven key areas of focus, including physical and mental wellness, poverty, youth, and seniors.

 “This year’s report again emphasizes that Burlington is a city of contrasts. We are a prosperous community, with higher than average levels of income and education, with remarkable environmental features such as our escarpment and waterfront. Yet, there are people struggling in our community, in ways that are often unseen, as we drive and walk through our neighbourhoods”, said Burlington Community Foundation (BCF) President and CEO, Colleen Mulholland.

Who are the people that collect all the data and tie the different strands that are woven into the tapestry that is our city?

Established in 1999 as a centre for philanthropy, Burlington Community Foundation is a local knowledge broker and one of the most reliable partners in the non-profit sector. They collaborate with donors to build endowments, give grants and connect leadership. Responsive to their donors, the  grant making experts help people give, build legacies, address vital community needs and support areas of personal interest. The Foundation helps people, agencies and corporations improve the city’s vitality.

Cover: 2013 Vital Signs report commissioned by the Burlington Community Foundation.

Take away the good stuff, the nice stuff and the picture is that of a different Burlington – not one we all get to see.

The report argues that “connections are critical to community vitality” but how do you do that?  You’ve heard it before and with a municipal election just over a year away you will hear it again from every one of the rascals running for office: – Burlington is ranked as the top mid-sized city in which to live in Canada.

We drive – everywhere, in part because local transit has yet to develop to the point where it serves the community as well as it is going to have to. Biggest reason – we like our cars.

And we drive our cars – to everything.  79% of Ontarian’s commute to work by car, truck or van.  That number is 86% for Burlington where we have an excellent, frequent train service that has three stops in the city with plenty of parking – free. 

We vote – in the last federal election 66.5 of us voted while the  Ontario average was 61.5%.  Didn’t do much for us in terms of the quality of our elected members though did it?

We have one of the best educated populations in the province.

We are a well-educated community – check out the charts.

Burlington is doing better at both the number of people with jobs and the number that are unemployed.  But there are other indicators that reveal serious problems.

Our people are employed – they need to be – our housing is amongst the most expensive in the province and rental accommodation is not easy to come by.

Median household income levels are 24% higher in Burlington than the provincial average but according to Statistics Canada, almost 1 in 10 youth under 18 lived in a low-income household.

In 2012, 36% of all items circulated by Burlington public libraries were in the child or youth category. Attendance at children and youth programs at Burlington libraries was 35,195.

Overall, the age profile of Burlington is getting older and more so than the Ontario average – in 2011, there were 29,720 seniors 65 years of age or older living in Burlington, comprising 16.9% of the population vs. 14.6% in Ontario.

Young people in Burlington are preforming well in school compared to the Ontario average but there are some opportunities for improving the lives and outcomes for our youth, starting as early as kindergarten. Some issues we need to tackle  as a community are obesity, bullying and mental health.

Burlington residents are better educated than the population of Ontario and Canada. 67% of Burlington adults 25 years of age and over have completed some form of post-secondary education, compared with 60% of the population of Ontario.

Among Burlingtonians 25–64 years of age, 95% have completed high school – this is a big positive change in a 10 year period: in 2001, 79% had completed high school.

In 2011, there were 143,510 people 15 years of age or older in Burlington. Within this age range, 93,030 people were employed and 5,755 were unemployed for a total labour force of 98,785.

Burlington has stronger employment statistics than Ontario as a whole. The employment rate among people 15–64 years of age was 65%, compared to 60% for Ontario. Burlington’s unemployment rate was 6%, compared to 8% for Ontario.

For the past 10 years, the rate of unemployment in Burlington has been consistently lower than elsewhere in Ontario and in other communities across Canada.

Here are some quick facts about jobs and businesses in Burlington, according to the Halton Region 2012 Employment Survey, released in June 2013:

The City of Burlington has 4,638 businesses providing 74,216 full and part-time jobs.

While Burlington accounts for 35% of the 15–64 year olds living in Halton Region, jobs in Burlington accounted for nearly 40% of Halton’s total employment.

Approximately 80% of jobs were in the service-based sector – the leading ones  being  the  retail  trade, professional,  scientific  and  technical services, and health care and social assistance.

Can we blame the air quality problems on Hamilton?

Air quality good – but could be better

Burlington has good air quality, compared to downtown Hamilton. Hamilton has more poor to moderate air quality days (22%) than does Burlington (16%).

However, Burlington’s location in southern Ontario – in Canada’s manufacturing heartland and downwind from the industrial centre of the U.S.   – increases the number of poor to moderate air quality days relative to more northern parts of Ontario and cities in other parts of Canada. For example, in each of Sudbury and Ottawa only 8% of the days in 2012 had poor to moderate air quality compared to 16% in Burlington.

Price increases are great if you own property – tough market to get into for first time buyers.

The average price of a home in Burlington in the first half of 2013 was $486,669 – up 7% from 2012.

Similar increases were seen in the neighbouring cities of Hamilton (+6%) and Oakville (+7%), with Burlington housing costs continuing to be intermediate between these two cities

Burlington’s rental market is tight – far too tight. The city thought it had a hope recently with close to 100 affordable units coming on line – but that one got away on us.

People looking to rent – particularly those with more modest incomes – can find it difficult to find affordable rental housing in Burlington. In fall 2012, Burlington’s rental vacancy rate was 1.3%. For reference, a vacancy rate of 3% is considered necessary for adequate competition and supply. By comparison, Hamilton’s vacancy rate was 4.2%, and in Ontario as a whole it was 2.5%.

In 2011, Halton had a higher percentage of households (4.6%) on waiting lists for affordable, rent geared-to-income housing than was the case for Ontario as whole (3.2%). Further, the demand for this housing greatly exceeds the supply, as only 0.5% of Halton households were living in affordable, rent- geared-to-income housing in 2011.

In Halton, between 2010 and 2011 there was a 47% increase in households waiting for rent-geared-to-income housing. Families with children are the hardest hit.

The kids think they are getting the exercise they need – caution, this is “self-reported” data.

Residents of Halton are more likely to rate their overall health as “very good” or “excellent” (72%) compared with Ontario residents as a whole (61%).  Moreover, positive health ratings increased from 2011 (66%) to 2012 (72%).

Over 75,000 Burlington residents 18 years of age and older are overweight or obese based on their self-reported height and weight. That’s just over half of the adult population who have an increased risk of certain health problems, including Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, coronary heart disease, gallbladder disease, obstructive sleep apnea, and certain cancers.

Mental health is now at least being talked about – it isn’t something we hide the way we used to – that was an improvement for the better.  Now we have to address the problem and it is not going to be cheap.

“Mental health concerns cut across all socioeconomic levels, all races, both genders and across all age groups in our culture. In fact, 70% of all mental health disorders experienced in adulthood have their onset before the age of 18.”  The Canadian Institute for Health Information tracks the performance of  over 600 health care facilities across Canada on a variety of indicators of effectiveness of treatment, patient safety, appropriateness of treatment, and accessibility. JBH is either at or better than the Canadian average on all of  the indicators.

Seniors need different services. The city currently has one Seniors’ Centre and at least five high schools. Will we need additional Seniors’ Centers that can be converted to high schools 30 years down the road? There are some significant problems to need solutions and we don’t have a lot of time to find the answers.

Canada’s age profile is getting older, and this 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.

Burlington has more of the Region’s senior population – do we have well thought out plans to meet their needs?

Based on Statistics Canada measures of low-income from the 2006 census, 5.6% of Burlington seniors have low-income after tax. However, the prevalence of low-income is particularly acute among female seniors in Burlington: this prevalence is higher than the Ontario average, and higher than other Halton region communities.

In 2006, about 1,800 senior households in Burlington spent 30% or more of their total household income before tax on mortgages, electricity, heat and municipal services. Of these, almost 500 spent 50% or more of their income on housing, which leaves very little money for food, medications, or other necessities.

In the Age-Friendly Communities Forum: A Seniors’ Perspective – an initiative of the Elder Services Advisory Council In Halton Region – the Burlington participants identified a need for affordable housing as one of the top 3  issues for seniors in Burlington, and noted that “some people are moving out of the community as they cannot afford to live here.”

We love the place.

Burlington residents tend to see the quality of life in the city as improving: 27% said the quality of life in Burlington has improved over the past two years, compared to only 11% who said it has declined.

Survey respondents were asked which factors had the greatest impact on quality of life in their city. What set Burlington residents apart particularly was the importance of a low crime rate, and a strong sense of community.

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%), museum & local history (81%), art galleries (78%), going to the theatre (75%), public art (69%) and family heritage & traditions (69%).

Benefits to Burlington from community cultural organizations include:

624,000+ visits to local festivals, events, productions and exhibitions

89,000+ hours of cultural programming offered to all ages

Burlington residents spend 37% of their cultural time in Burlington, and the remaining time in other cities such as Toronto and Hamilton.

These numbers are the reality for many.  A person cannot live on the minimum wage – it has to be close to doubled – and that’s not something a municipality can do.

Ontario has a legally mandated minimum wage of $10.25 an hour. However, a person working full-time at the minimum wage rate will be living in poverty, as they will earn less than Statistics Canada’s Low Income Cut-off.

The concept of a “living wage” is motivated by the following question: What does a family working full-time (37.5 hours a week, year-round) need to earn in order to pay for the necessities of life, to enjoy a decent quality of life, and to be able to participate fully in the economic, political, social and cultural life of the community?

 The answer to this question depends on family composition and on where you live. Community Development Halton has tackled this question for the Halton Region, including Burlington.

What is included in a living wage, and what is excluded? “A living wage isn’t extravagant. It doesn’t allow families to save for retirement, to save for  their children’s education or to service their debt. But it does reflect the cost of affording the basics of life – something the minimum wage doesn’t do,” states the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

Community Development Halton considered three types of Halton households: a family of 4 (two parents, two children – a boy age 10, and a girl age 14), a single-parent family (mother age 30 and a boy age 3), and a single person (male age 32). In each household, each adult is working full- time,  year-round.  The  calculation  of  living  wage  reflects  the  typical  costs  in Halton, as well as taxes and benefits.

The number of youth have grown since 2006 but the senior population has grown more.

The number of youth in Burlington has increased since 2006, but at a slower rate than older age groups. As a result, the overall age profile of Burlington is getting older.

Burlington is an affluent community, but not everyone is well off. In the 2006 census, 7% of all residents lived in low income households. However, this was greater for youth under 18, where 9% – almost one in 10 youth – lived in a low income household.

This is what students have said they did in terms of getting the physical education they need for balanced growth.

According to the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology, youth 12–17 years of age require at least 60-minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity activity per day.

In the Halton Youth Survey, two–thirds of Burlington Grade 7s claimed to meet the 60-minute-per-day guideline, but only just over half of Grade 10s claimed to meet the guideline.

Girls in the Halton region were much less likely than boys to report meeting the physical activity guideline, with only four in ten Grade 10 girls meeting the guideline.

This is not a healthy number.  Why in a community where genuine financial need is not pervasive?

The Halton Youth Survey, conducted by the Halton Our Kids Network, developed an indicator of involvement in criminal activity based on four self- report questions asking about vandalism, carrying a weapon, selling drugs, and group or gang involvement, and these define what is meant here by “criminal activity”. Note that because this is based on self-report, it includes not only youth accused of crime but also youth who “got away with it”.

Our girls are at very serious risk: do we understand why and do we have programs to help them deal with the depression they are experiencing?

One in five people in Ontario experiences a mental health problem or  illness. Because mental illness can affect people in all walks of life, this is as important an issue in comparatively affluent communities like Burlington as it is in other less affluent communities. When you take into account family members and friends, almost everyone is affected in some way.

The childhood, teen and young adult years are a critical period for the onset of mental health problems. The number experiencing mental illness peaks at over one in four young people during the teen years and among people in their 20s.

Mental illness affects people at all life-stages. However, one of the most significant characteristics of the onset of mental health problems is that, unlike many other illnesses, they are more likely to first emerge and affect people early in their lives.

According to a Mental Health Commission of Canada report, the potential negative effects of mental illness on the lives and prospects of young people are considerable:

“Mental disorders are the most common medical conditions causing disability in young people. Most mental disorders begin before age twenty- five and tend to be chronic, with substantial negative short and long-term outcomes. They are associated with poor academic and occupational success, economic  burden,  personal,  interpersonal  and  family  difficulties,  increased risk for many physical illnesses and shorter life expectancy.”

Early detection and treatment of mental health problems is vital for the young people in our community and for the future health of our city.

 “Recent research in areas like diagnostic imaging and immunology point increasingly to the biological nature of mental health disorders. In other words, mental health disorders are truly health disorders similar to diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, etc.”  Access to youth mental health services is not what it needs to be

Only one-third of those who need mental health services in Canada actually receive them.

71% of family physicians ranked access to psychiatrists in Ontario as fair to poor.

While mental illnesses constitute more than 15% of the burden of disease in Canada, these illnesses receive only 5.5% of health care dollars.

ROCK reports that due to mental health funding gaps, as of March 2013, youth and families were waiting for just over 1,000 various services they offer. Wait times for these services range from months up to 2 years.

 

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people in Canada. One of the most important causes of youth suicide is mental illness – most often depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and substance abuse.

The effects of youth suicide go beyond the deceased, impacting those who survive their death – their parents, friends, peers, and communities.

Do our students feel their schools are safe?

A survey conducted by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health found that in response to the question, “In the last 12 months, did you ever seriously consider attempting suicide?”, 7% of Ontario Grade 7s and 12% of Grade 12s answered “yes.”

The Halton Youth Survey asked a somewhat different version of the question, focusing on teens who “sometimes, often or always” had thoughts of suicide in the past 12 months. While the question is somewhat different the results are similar: one in twenty (5%) Grade 7s in Burlington had thoughts about suicide in the past 12 months, increasing to over one in ten (13%) by Grade 10.

Depression is a mood disorder characterized by intense negative emotions and feelings, that negatively impact on people’s lives leading to social, educational,  personal  and  family  difficulties.

The Halton Youth Survey created an indicator of being at risk for depression, based on a person saying they “always” or “often” had experienced the following four emotional states in the past week: feeling sad, lonely, depressed, or like crying.

 The percentage of Burlington students at risk for depression increases from Grade 7 to Grade 10, and by Grade 10, one in 10 teens are at risk for depression.

This increase in risk for depression from Grade 7 to Grade 10 is occurring primarily among girls. By Grade 10, one in seven girls is at risk for depression.

In the qualitative research project, Halton Youth Voice Road Show (2011), participants suggested the following causes for depression in youth:

Being bullied, which was seen to lead not only to depression but also suicide

Different social groups within a school bullying one another

The fact that sometimes youth were just mean to each other

Technology, since youth don’t actually need to connect to each other on a personal level any more

Images and expectations portrayed in the media

The pursuit of material possessions, with participants saying that it would be better if youth just spent time hanging out instead of shopping

Stress

Not having friends

Being pressured to do drugs

 Youth mental health trends at Joseph Brant Hospital

Trips to the hospital emergency department because of a mental health issue represent the tip of the iceberg for youth mental health and substance abuse issues in Burlington. Emergency department visits can occur when mental health or substance abuse issues are undiagnosed, or are untreated, or treatment is not working. Youth visits to the JBH emergency department because of mental health or substance abuse problems show:

Emergency department visits for mental health or substance abuse issues spikes upwards for youth 18–24 years of age.

The annual number of youth under 25 years of age going to JBH emergency because of mental health or substance abuse issues has increased 30% over the last 3 years.

The rate of increase has been even higher among the subset of youth under 18 years of age – showing an increase in emergency visits of 43% over the past 3 years.

JBH operates the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Consultation Clinic, which provides support to children/youth under the age of 18 years. The case load for the Clinic increased by 16% from 2010–11 to 2011–12, and the average wait time for assessment increased by 31%, to 47 days.

The Community Foundation serves us all well – now the community has to look at the data, talk about it and figure out where we can shore up the weak spots and ensure that we continue to do what we have done well.

Collen Mulholland plans to hold a Roundtable on Mental Health early in 2014.  How about ensuring that every grade 10 student in the Board of Education’s high schools be given a copy and make it the focus of a civics class.

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Do you put your best foot forward when you can and should be putting your best food forward?

September 24, 2013

By Dr. Jeremy Hayman

BURLINGTON, ON.  So we all strive to put our best foot forward in raising our children to live the best lives possible, correct? No problem; give them a stable home-life, welcoming and supportive social environment, love, nurturing, guidance, opportunity, compassion and understanding, a balanced active lifestyle and good food. Done, it’s as easy as that. We raise our children the best way we see fit. They grow up happy and healthy, flourish and succeed in life. The next successful generation begins. Agreed?

Is this child’s mood the result of a problem at school or due to the food that he was fed?

Well… let’s see you say that while looking me straight in the eyes and without your fingers crossed behind your back. A simple endeavor, maybe for an outsider looking in at the delicate balancing act of being a parent, but as a parent, it’s often a different story. So where do we begin as well-intentioned parents wanting to provide “the best” for our children from day one? Well, a little of each, if possible, but even that vision can sometimes fall short and derail. It’s not by choice or from lack of trying, but it’s often due to the simple fact of life and its multitude of impressions constantly being offered up to our children.  

And we certainly can’t forget about children themselves, they too have a mind and vision of their own! So, short of equipping our children with everything they need in life in order to be healthy and live happily, it seems like there’s quite a division of extremes in fulfilling what we need to do as parents, and to not blame ourselves or point fingers at others in the end. So if you’re not a perfect parent, don’t strive to be one, realize there is no such thing, and still can’t quite seem to fill in the missing pieces, then putting your best “food” forward and feeding your children then, properly, may be  a good place to start.

What is this parent dealing with?  An adolescent going through a stage or a child that didn’t eat properly?erft

Would you believe it if you were told a bag of candy each night may be the reason your child “decides” not to fall asleep for three or more hours after putting him or her to bed? How about feeding your child a bowl of marshmallows before sending them off to school with no food in sight remaining, only to find out from the teacher that he or she “just doesn’t seem to be listening, cooperating, or focusing throughout the day”? How about being told that feeding your child an overwhelming amount of “midway” “grub” may have been a strong contributing factor to him or her getting sick while on that high velocity amusement park ride? The list goes on.

Well, we believe ourselves when we remain rigid on not feeding our kids too much red meat due to the risk of causing high cholesterol and cardiovascular concerns (which, by the way, I utterly disagree with, so stay tuned for an upcoming perspective on that!). What about that “the tryptophan in the turkey is what put us all to sleep”, or that “the one small piece of raw broccoli must have been what put my child’s digestive system over the edge with that horrible and gassy stomach ache” (of course it wasn’t the other processed food or drink they’re fed on a day-to-day basis…of course not that!). So why is it that we often “believe” to a default that healthy food that affects our children and causes them “strife”, but the unhealthy food we fill our children’s diets with have no effect on them at all? It’s a social and culturally embedded oversight, that I realize, but what we all need to accept is that food, healthy or not, affects us all, children and adults alike.If sugar laden processed food before bed can potentially keep our child up at night, then why do we suppose it stops there? Can’t this exact food wreak even deeper havoc on our children’s personality, emotions, energy, focus and health? Well here’s the answer: It does!

They aren’t Oreo cookies but that food is healthy.

And beyond the overabundance of legitimate literature that supports the effects of food on children’s health as well as the effective use of food as medicine and on health, we, as parents, accepting or not, know that food, to whatever degree, somehow affects our children. So let me tell you this; deprive your child of any food for any great length of time, and tell me he/she won’t waiver on some extent of grumpiness, upset, irritation, tiredness, ‘wildness’ or otherwise (need I go on?). Yet fulfill and satisfy these emotional and biological reactions with food, and what happens? You guessed it; your children’s mood changes, and usually for the better.  And here’s a hint, feed your child nutrient dense, tasty, satisfying foods (yes it is very possible to do this!) and guess what? You guessed again, mood improves even more. Feed them calorie dense, nutrient depleted, processed, high sugar foods, mood will artificially improve, for the short-term, before taking a nose dive once again. So what’s the point here? Well if no food causes alterations in our children’s mood (as is clearly evident), then isn’t it possible that food itself may cause changes and effects as well?

What’s wrong with this picture?  It’s not a LED television set?wev

<>Our bodies accelerate on an insurmountable number of chemical reactions, all at the mercy of vitamins, minerals and cofactors. Yes, one can argue we physiologically create some of these on our own, however many, essential components, are only created by way of the nutritional content from food. Consider it like this; would you tend toward a healthy, youthful vibrant individual who eats primarily nutritious and healthy food, or prefer to put your money on a person who simply survives on calories alone from any food source to get by?  Well the body and its physiology is an amazing entity, but to stress toward the unhealthy option, I mean, eventually, the body will give out, so why give the option to start our children down that path at all? Well here’s how I, as a Naturopathic Doctor, and parent,  see it; as parents, we all attempt yet struggle to provide the absolute best for our children’s lives. When pondering the unanswerable parental question of “what am I doing wrong?”, we clearly realize that we cannot possibly change each and every aspect of our child’s lives once the multitude of life’s influences have already begun to unfold. Therefore, what we know from our discussion so far is that food, yes food, can play a vital and impactful role in the lives of our children. We haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of the literature available to us, however when we opt to present our children with more healthy snack and meal options, we know from our discussion so far, that there has to be some sort of effect, and most likely positive, within their lives.

It’s clear, at this point, that within medical science, foods contain many of the precursors to mood, stability, and emotions of our children via the brain and otherwise (take one of serotonins – the “feel good” neurotransmitters  precursor, tryptophan, for example), yet we always tend to wonder “why is my child not happy, why do they act the way they do, why don’t they listen, why can I do everything for them yet they still seem not to be assimilating into a happy healthy life?”.

Well, multiple consideration are possible, however although a grade of “A” can be given to all those parents who try so hard to provide as much as they can for their children, there still seems to be something lacking when it comes to overall happiness and health. Ever wonder, just by chance, that one of those missing pieces just may be healthy, nutrient dense food? Unhealthy, non nutritious type “foods” do interfere with the assimilation and use of nutrients from healthy foods, so it’s no wonder an eating plan unfocused on health can interfere with our child’s overall constitution. Our children’s foundation of overall health is built on a few simple yet obvious pillars; and along with enough rest and a proper balance of stress, providing healthy eating options is certainly one of the most effective ways of putting our best foot…and food forward.  

Dr Jeremy Hayman is an Ontario and Board licensed Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine, practicing at Back On Track Chiropractic and Wellness Centre in Burlington Ontario where he maintains a General Family Practice with special interest in Psychiatric as well as Pediatric health. Dr Hayman can be contacted at send me an email

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Another problem to deal with while raising children who are on the internet more than you would like them to be.

September 25, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  It has come to this: we now have a Cyber Tip Awareness Day when we focus on the sexual exploitation that is perpetrated against our children when they use the internet.

 

There is some help in understanding how the pedophiles lure your child.

Cybertip.ca  is Canada’s national tip line for reporting the online sexual exploitation of children. Since  its inception in September 2002, it has responded to more than 94,000 child sexual exploitation reports.  In Halton, ten such tips have been investigated since 2012.

Last year, on the 10th anniversary of Cybertip.ca, the Canadian Centre for Child Protection announced the inaugural Awareness Day to focus on this critical service for reporting the online sexual exploitation of children and for obtaining important educational material.

What is sextexting and how do you prevent your children from getting involved?

On September 26th police services hope to raise the awareness of the web site where people can report their concerns about a child being sexually exploited and encourage them to access ‘cybertip.ca’ for a new educational booklet entitled, ‘Parenting Tweens and Teens in a Digital World’.

The web site is worth a few minutes of your time.

The Halton Regional Police Service is a member of the Provincial Strategy to Protect Children from Sexual Abuse and Exploitation on the Internet.

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Some of the most imaginative and amazing beds raced up Brant Street last Sunday.

September 22, 2013

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON.  It was the 4th Annual.  They shut down the lower part of Brant Street to let it happen and happen it did.  The Amazing Bed Race, a fund-raiser for the Joseph Brant Hospital’s redevelopment saw a number of new entrants.  Smith Funeral Homes took the Best Entry prize for an imaginative entry.

They called themselves the Overtakers and along with earning the Best Entry prize they got into the quarter finals as well. The knocked off the Mike Wallace Tories in an elimination race only to be knocked off by the Jane McKenna Tory’s in the next elimination. Great fun.

Not only did the “vehicle” tell the corporate story but it made it to the quarter finals as well.  Calling it a bed was a bit of a stretch though.

The crowd for this event – well it could have been bigger because it was good entertainment.  The teams push and they push hard.  As the elimination races began to take place there was a run off between “beds” from two landscaping outfits – and they were competing in every sense of the word.

The event is a fund-raiser but one got the impression there was a lot of corporate image on the line.  The Tories were all over this event as well.  MP Mike Wallace, looking very trim, lead his team while Jane McKenna, who was away at a Tory provincial convention, was led by a team done up in major blue costumes.

There wasn’t a Liberal or a New Democrat to be seen.  The Greens weren’t to be seen either.

The McKenna Tory team, in their sleek blue costumes, edged out the Smith Funeral Overtakers in the elimination races.

This one wasn’t a race – it was more of a route. The patient looks pretty concerned about the runner

Leggat Mazda had to push past the 007’s to get themselves to the finals – which they did.

The BayHawks Soccer Team beat out the team from the hospital and went on to give the automotive people who were eventually the two finalists a very good run.

Mike Wallace has probably never run as hard in his life. Valiant effort but the Overtakers laid the Wallace team to rest.

That looks like a tie – but it didn’t end that way. The bank lost out the hospital team.

The tone for the event was set by the judges who apparently didn’t take themselves all that seriously.

If you pushed a stroller – you were a winner.

Good clean starts

The finalists getting out of the starting gate. Acura on Brant beat Leggat Mazda in a well run race.

The races begin with time trials.  Each “bed” runs the short course twice, which then sets them up for the races that lead to one final event which for Burlington this year came down to two automotive dealers racing against each other.  The McKenna bed and the Smith Funeral bed hung in right to the end.

Good clean fun – with a camera crew coming uncomfortably close to being wiped out on more than one occasion.

The rules require each bed to stay in its lane, which, given the steering mechanism on these “beds”, made that somewhat difficult.

With four years’ experience behind then – this could become an even more significant event, with the high schools running against each other, the political parties fighting for supremacy and the city’s corporate sector out there in force.

Could city hall challenge the Region?  Could Roseland challenge Aldershot?  Could some of the golf clubs challenge one another.  Lots of room for growth on this one.

The Stroller races were a delight – there was one girl who figured out quickly how to get her stroller up that course quick,quick, quick.  She tilted her stroller back onto the rear wheels and let it fly.

For the 2013 Amazing Bed Race it came down to Acura on Brant beating LeggatMazda in the final race.

The event is presented by Scotiabank and organized by the Joseph Brant Hospital Foundation and the Rotary Club of Burlington North. In its first three years the event raised over $272,000.

Teams are formed and either makes their own bed or rents a bed from the organization then they get out and do their fund raising.

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Predicted rainfall has the potential to flood – caution advised. We can never tell what weather is going to do anymore – can we?

September 20th, 2013

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON.  These days you just never know – do you?  Conservation Halton issued the following Watershed Conditions Statement – Flood Outlook today at 3:30 p.m.

Environment Canada is advising a period of extended rainfall over the next 24 hours due to the train of a slow-moving cold front. The rain is expected to begin this evening and continue overnight and into tomorrow morning. Rainfall accumulations of 15 to 25 mm are expected across the watershed along with the potential for some isolated thunderstorms which could increase the rainfall values.

One of the several reservoirs in the Region:

15 to 25 mm are expected across the watershed along with the potential for some isolated thunderstorms which could increase the rainfall values.As a result of the rainfall our rivers and streams will result in higher than normal water levels and flows, creating dangerous conditions. Widespread flooding is not currently anticipated. Our reservoirs are still in range of our seasonal levels and have storage capacity available. 

 Conservation Halton is asking all residents and children to stay away from all watercourses and structures such as bridges, culverts and dams.  Elevated water levels, fast flowing water, and slippery conditions along stream banks continue to make these locations extremely dangerous.  Please alert children in your care of these imminent dangers.

Conservation Halton will continue to monitor stream and weather conditions and will issue further messages as necessary.

This Watershed Condition Statement will be in effect through to Sunday September 22, 2013.

 Note: A Watershed Safety Statement – Flood Outlook is an early notice of the potential for flooding based on weather forecasts calling for heavy rain, snow melt, high wind or other conditions that could lead to high runoff, cause ice jams, lakeshore flooding or erosion.

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