Heath department advises residents not to swim in either Beachway Park or LaSalle – blue-green algae found.



August 29, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON. Halton Region’s Health Department is advising residents to avoid swimming and wading in the waters at Beachway Park and LaSalle Park in Burlington and Bronte Beach Park in Oakville because blue-green algae (BGA) have been identified at these locations.

Residents are also advised not to eat fish caught in these areas and not to let pets play in or drink the water.

Halton’s drinking water is not affected and continues to be safe.

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

Some BGA have the potential to produce toxins or skin irritants. Adverse health effects from BGA are mainly related to ingestion of BGA-contaminated water or skin irritation and itching from skin contact with BGA-contaminated water.

Wave action brings the algae close to shore.

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

“Conditions at the beaches can change from one day to the next,” stated Dr. Monir Taha, Halton Region Associate Medical Officer of Health. “We encourage residents to visit our website for up to date information.”

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

Hamilton put up these lines in an attempt to hold back the algae in parts of their waterfront.  The picture was tweeted from Hamilton

Algae is something that is in the water most of the time.  Run off from heavy rains will flush phosphates into the streams and hot sunshine causes the algae to breed just that much faster.

It’s natural – its there – at times it just gets a little out of control.

For more information, dial 311 or visit the Region’s website.  

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BurlingtonGreen one of five groups in the run for part of $100,000 – but YOU have to vote.



August 19, 2013

By Staff.

BURLINGTON, ON.   This is the time to get the clicker – no, not the TV remote – that key on your computer or the mouse you use to bring the cash home.

Almost like an election campaign poster – but this time there is a real winner – the community.

The BurlingtonGreen Environmental Association has been chosen as one of five Canadian organizations competing for votes in the 2013 Jamieson Laboratories  Call for the Wild! contest.

They were selected from 150 applications to participate in the Jamieson Laboratories people’s choice donation program that divides $100,000 between five wilderness and wildlife organizations based on the number of public votes received on the company’s voting page (Facebook is not required to vote) between August 19 and midnight on September 15th.

Call for the Wild! was launched three years ago to increase awareness about protecting, preserving and rehabilitating the wilderness and wildlife across the country. Throughout the four-week Jamieson Cares Facebook campaign, visitors can learn more about the important work of each organization and ask questions through social media. As they learn about the unique contribution of each wilderness/wildlife organization, Canadians will be invited to cast a vote for their favourite. Every vote will translate into a proportional donation from Jamieson Laboratories.

A tireless advocate for the environment – Amy Schnurr puts out the word every chance she gets – this time she wants your vote – and she isn’t running for public office. Why doesn’t she run for city council. Ward 6 would love her.

Amy Schnurr, Executive Director of BurlingtonGreen said: “We are honoured to be selected to participate in this nation-wide contest as it provides us with a rare opportunity to showcase to Canadians how a small but dedicated citizen based agency can achieve positive, impactful results to protect and to improve the health of our “urban wild,” She added that  “We hope our supporters will vote every day during the 28 day contest period so we can realize much-needed funds to support our programs and to expand our reach so we can have an even bigger impact.”

As an added bonus, BurlingtonGreen is including a “Help us win and you could win too!” component to their campaign. Along with voting for their agency on the Jamieson Call for the Wild! on-line voting page, their supporters will be invited to enter a draw for a chance to win a bike valued at more than $1,000 thanks to the generosity of Mountain Equipment Co-op.

Once you’ve voted, and you can vote once every day, you can then enter your name in a draw for the bike.

BurlingtonGreen is making remembering to vote once every day easy – they will send you an email.

BurlingtonGreen has had an exceptional year as an organization.  They were chosen as the community Jane Goodall launched her national drive to improve environmental awareness. That 2012 event filled the Performing Arts Centre for both an afternoon and an evening event.  Then the organization won a grant from the province to plant more trees on along Beachway Park.  Those funds were the result of a visit the then Minister of the Environment paid to Burlington during the annual CleanUp – Green Up event BurlingtonGreen organizes.

The annual CleanUp-GreenUp campaign Burlington Green organizes ends with a gathering of the environmental clan at city hall. One of these years it isn’t going to rain on the CleanUp-GreenUp day.

BurlingtonGreen holds the annual CleanUp-GreenUp campaign that rids the city of tons of trash.

Amy Schnurr, BurlingtonGreen’s executive Director was then chosen as the Environmentalist of the year in the annual Burlington’s BEST awards.

Not on the BurlingtonGreen mailing list? Join here today to get your helpful daily vote reminder.

Call for the Wild! is Jamieson Laboratories’ annual community investment program that grants a total of $100,000 each year to registered non-profit organizations involved in the protection of Canada’s iconic wilderness and wildlife.

Every year, five organizations are selected to participate in a public voting campaign on Facebook. At the close of each campaign, Jamieson Laboratories awards a donation to each organization based on their percentage of votes cast.

Jamieson Laboratories, Canada’s oldest and largest manufacturer and distributor of natural vitamins, minerals, concentrated food supplements, herbs and botanical medicines celebrates its 90th anniversary this year from a position of strength, market leadership earned by consistently providing innovative products of the highest quality, purity and safety.

“Starting Monday, we will be sending a daily vote reminder to everyone on our mailing list. The reminder will include the voting link along with a link for you to enter the awesome bike draw  – Help us win and YOU could win too!

You can easily unsubscribe from receiving the daily reminders at anytime by clicking on the SAFE UNSUBSCRIBE link located at the bottom of the mail you will receive from us….BUT we hope you will stay with us and support this amazing and rare opportunity to help BurlingtonGreen and our important efforts to help the planet locally in many impactful ways.”

Jamieson Laboratories’ decided to do what Kraft Foods did for the hockey community – look for a neat way to draw traffic and award cash prizes to the community that gets the most votes.

The Burlington Lions Optimist Minor Hockey Association BLOMHA)  won $20,000 for the getting its people out and voting.

BurlingtonGreen wants to motivate its members to do the same and has gone one step further – they have added in a draw for a bike – with a retail value of more than $1000.

When BuringtonGreen takes on a project – they go all out.

The green guys are in very good company on this one.  Last year the David Suzuki Foundation competed for Ontario.

The contest is being run on the Jamieson Facebook page – but you don’t have to have a Facebook page of your own to vote.

It all begins today – August 19th and runs to September 15th, 2013.

https://www.facebook.com/jamiesonvitamins. You can vote once a day every day from August 19th to September 15th, 2013. You do NOT need Facebook to vote.

Mountain Co-op has put up an MEC bike as part of the enticement to get people to vote for BurlingtonGreen’s chances to take home a large part of the $100,000 that is on the line.

Thanks to the generosity of Mountain Equipment Co-op, voters will have a chance to win an awesome bike valued at over $1,000.  

To be eligible for the bike contest you must FIRST vote at Jamieson’s and SECOND enter the draw on BurlingtonGreen’s website.

A bit confusing – but the prize is there – the more often you vote, the more opportunities you have to enter the bike draw. Vote every day during the contest period and you will have 28 chances to win the bike!

If BurlingtonGreen people cast 50% of the ballots counted – they would get half of the $50,000 – and that isn’t chump change.   Every vote will translate into a proportional donation from Jamieson Laboratories.  BurlingtonGreen has a reputation for stretching a buck a long way as well.

While the contest has the potential to pull in a significant amount of money it is also a rare opportunity to show the people of Canada that our not-for-profit Association is making a positive difference to help the planet locally. BurlingtonGreen has achieved a great deal in the last five years realizing significant benefits to help the environment but they maintain they have a lot more important work to do.

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Mini beach at foot of Brant is safe but the Beachway isn’t – what a bummer.

By Staff

August 15, 2013

BURLINGTON, ON.  It is usually the foot of Brant Street that has the high E.coli count but this weekend it is the Beachway Park that has the higher count.

During the summer months, the Regional Health Department monitors water quality at selected recreational beaches.  Beaches are selected for testing based on their use for swimming and other water sports. Monitoring is done once a week or more if necessary.

Beachway – the biggest waterfront beach in Burlington is reported to have a high E.coli count

A pilot project is being undertaken at Beachway Park for the 2013 beach sampling season to examine potential factors influencing water quality. Therefore, Beachway Park will be sampled more frequently.

Sign at foot of Brant Street: Not the clearest sign you’ll ever read – but the water has been tested. Swimmers are still advised to swim at their own risk.

A beach is considered unsafe to swim if water tests show high amounts of E. coli bacteria.  Conditions posted are based on samples taken from the previous day.

The posting of a not safe notice for the Beachway is really unfortunate – this is the weekend that the Beachway Park will be flooded with people – the Children’s Festival is taking place.

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Two perfect days for families and children – all on the waterfront and all FREE.

By Staff

August 15, 2013

BURLINGTON, ON.  Burlington’s Annual Children’s Festival, now celebrating its 20th year is a festival that’s all about kids having FREE fun – circus style!

This two day event takes place on the waterfront with Day 1 focused on the Beachway Park and Day 2 focused on Spencer Smith Park.

Lots that were registered are marked out – waiting for keen competitors to show up.

The Sand Castle competition is one of the most popular events.  So popular that the city put together a process that allows people to reserve a space to build their sand castles.  For years families have been gather along the Beachway and building their castle – with a keen eye on what their neighbours were doing.

This competition fills up fast! Great prizes in all four categories including a sandcastle trophy and participation gifts for child and family categories! Pre-register to compete as only pre-registered entrants are guaranteed a spot. Those interested in participating on event day are first come, first served and spaces are limited.

This was a family event and these people were serious competitors.

Close out Day 1 by returning to the Beachway with your lawn chair and blankets  and take part in the outdoor screening of a circus movie! Cozy up afterwards in front of a 25 ft. outdoor screen on the beach. Movie starts at 8:30 p.m!

The Day 1 schedule:

Vote for your favourite creation in the People’s Choice Award. Judging begins at 4 p.m followed by an award ceremony on the beach at 5 p.m.

Day 2 schedule:

Day 2 takes place at Spender Smith Park where it is usually packed – but great fun. Starts at  10:00 am  end at 6 p.m.  The park will be overrun by circus performers and animals, themed around circus fun.  Children will enjoy great activities:  Live Entertainment; Play Zones; Circus Inflatables;     Character Meet & Greet; Themed Shows and a Kids’ Marketplace.

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Lions get behind the drive to raise part of the $60 million for hospital redevelopment and expansion.



By Staff.

BURLINGTON, ON.  August 14, 2013.

Joseph Brant Hospital Foundation inched itself a little closer to their $60 million goal to complete the redevelopment and expansion of the hospital.

The Burlington Lions Club has committed $75,000 over the next 5 years towards getting the job done.

Burlington was told by the provincial government that it has to come up with $120 million of the $300 million + it will cost to upgrade the hospital. The project is the first major upgrade to our hospital in over 40 years.

The city took on half of the $120 million – that part is shown on your tax bill.  The rest has to be raised by subscriptions from the community.

Burlington Lions showing their support for the redevelopment and expansion of the Joseph Brant Hospital – $75,000 over five years.  First installment ready for deposit.

The Burlington Lions Club is one of over 45,000 Lions Clubs throughout the world. All clubs are members of Lions Club International, a non-profit organization made up of men and woman who volunteer their time for fundraising activities to benefit their communities. Chartered as the Lions Club of Burlington on April 27th, 1925, the group is currently known as the Burlington Lions Club; a group of passionate service people, 36 members strong.

The Burlington Mall Farmers Market, operated by Burlington Lions Club members began in 1960. The Market is open from May to October, Wednesdays (8am-2pm), Fridays (8am-4pm) and Saturdays (8am-2pm). The vendors carry a variety of locally grown fresh produce, baked goods, meats, cheese, eggs even some small craft items. Shopping at the Farmer’s Market lets you get fresh food and support your community at the same time.

When completed, the hospital will take on the look and feel of a campus with its entrance re-oriented to LAkeshore Road. The first phase is the construction of the new McMaster Family Medicine facility that will bring 10 new family practitioners to the city. Three levels of parking will be built above the medical offices.

Anissa Hilborn, JBHF President explained that the hospital foundations “ partnership with the Burlington Lions Club is an excellent example of how Community members and organizations can engage and contribute to our Hospital’s fundraising goals. The Burlington Lions Club holds an excellent weekly Community event, and has shown their passion and philanthropic commitment by donating funds back to our Community.”

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First human case of West Nile Virus found in Halton Region. North Burlington residents concerned.

By Staff.

Burlington, ON. August 14th, 2013. 

The Halton Region Health Department has been notified by the Public Health Ontario – Toronto Laboratory of Halton’s first probable human case of West Nile virus (WNV) illness for 2013: a female in her fifties from Oakville.

Exposure to WNV was possibly local, but it may have been during travel outside Ontario.  At the same time, Health Department staff report a batch of mosquitoes trapped last week in Milton tested positive for WNV, the first batch for Milton this year. WNV has now been detected in all four Halton local municipalities – Burlington, Oakville, Milton and Halton Hills.

“This case of human illness and the additional positive mosquito trap underscore the need to protect yourself from mosquito bites from now until the hard frosts of fall set in,” said Dr. Monir Taha, Halton Region’s Associate Medical Officer of Health. “This message is particularly important for older adults or those with underlying illnesses because they are at higher risk for more serious West Nile virus illness.”

In Halton, the months of highest risk for human WNV illness are August and September. About 80% of people who become infected with WNV do not experience any illness, while about 20% will develop West Nile fever. Less than 1% will develop inflammation of the brain or its lining, or a type of paralysis.

This is how West Nile virus is transferred to human beings.

Mosquitoes are the transfer agent for the virus.

A batch of mosquitoes trapped last week in Burlington has tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV). This is the first batch of WNV positive mosquitoes for Burlington this year, the third positive batch for Halton including two batches previously found in Oakville. Additionally, an animal in Halton Hills tested positive for WNV.

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

Cover up. Wear light-coloured, long-sleeved shirts and pants with tightly woven fabric.

Avoid being outdoors from early evening to morning when mosquitoes are most active and likely to bite, as well as at any time in shady, wooded areas.

Reduce mosquito breeding sites around your home by getting rid of all water-filled containers and objects. Change the water in bird baths at least once per week.

Use an approved insect repellent, such as one containing DEET.

Make sure your window and door screens are tight and in good repair.

For people in north Burlington close to the Air Park construction work the West Nile Virus is a very serious concern because there are large pools of open water due to the construction that was taking place.  In a report to an Appleby Line resident the Region advised that the mosquito larvae collected on July 12, 2013 from the Burlington Airpark  property located next to 5199 Appleby Line in Burlington were identified  as  vector species (species that can potentially carry  West Nile Virus). This  means that the standing water sites must be treated with larvicide or  remediated to reduce the risk of WNV.

According to residents in north Burlington – that remediation work had not been done by sunset of August 13th.

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Beachway Park water is just fine – should be a great weekend.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON. August 8, 2013.  The little beach at the bottom of Brant Street is iffy but everything along the Beachway Park is great for swimming.

The Regional health people have posted their reports.

Bottom of Brant – iffy – rest of Burlington beaches are good to go – grab your towels.

Brant beach is considered unsafe to swim if water tests show high amounts of E. coli bacteria.

That water run off pipe is what results in part of the problem with the small beach at the foot of Brant Street. That plus the geese that foul the water. There is always a sign on this beach that tells you if the water is safe.

Conditions posted are based on samples taken from the previous day.

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Judge OK’s agreement that has the Air Park ceasing to dump landfill until at least October 4 – region tests well water.



By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON. August 5th, 2013.  Barbara Sheldon, the Appleby Line resident with mountainous piles of landfill on the north, south and east sides of her property that are part of the landfill work being done by the owners of the Air Park wasn’t sure if last Friday was going to be a good day for her or not.

Regional staff prepare to test the water in the well on the Sheldon property on Appleby Line. The background view is to the west – the only one not blocked by huge piles of landfill.

The Regional Health people were going to be on her property to test the well water and attempt to determine if there was any damage being done to the water in her well as a result of the run off from the landfill  which slopes onto her property.  She was told she would see the results in two weeks.

Sheldon believes the data from documents inspected by Terrapex Environmental, a company hired by the city to make some sense out of all the testing reports given to them by the Air Park,  confirms that there are contaminates in the water on her property and that of a neighbour to the north.

The view from the north side of the Sheldon property. At one point Sheldon could see Rattlesnake Point from her house

She felt the city should have moved to have the well water in properties immediately adjacent to the Air Park land tested, but the city did nothing.  Sheldon worked her way through the Regional bureaucracy and the provincial Ministry of the Environment (MOE) to get the testing done last Friday.  Sheldon wonders where her Council member was on all this; not a word of support from Blair Lancaster on what residents could do.

The southern view from the Sheldon property – that 30 foot plus pile of landfill wasn’t there when the property was purchased.  If the owners of the Air Park get their way this part of their land will become a helicopter landing and take off area.  There goes the neighbourhood.

With the well water testing done, Sheldon headed for Milton to sit in a Court room and hear how the city and the Air Park were going to work their way through a couple of procedural issues. 

A few weeks ago the city and the Air Park planned a meeting at the airport to talk through the issues.  At the last-minute the Air Park cancelled that meeting and served the city with a document that was to get them both in front of a Judge.

The Air Park was asking the Courts to declare the Air Park rights under the Constitution Act, the Aeronautics Act, and the regulations within those acts are valid.

The Air Park wanted the Court to declare that the city’s  Topsoil Preservation and Site Alteration By­ law does not apply to the Air Park’s operations  and  construction  of aerodrome facilities on its premises;

The Air Park also wanted a judge to declare that the order to comply with that bylaw, issued by the city,  on or about May 3, 2013,  is null and void and of no legal effect;

The Air Park also wanted an injunction that would prevent anyone acting on the city’s behalf from interfering or attempting to interfere with the Air Park’s operations and construction of aerodrome facilities on its premises.

The city was surprised at those moves and concluding that the friendly talks were over quickly moved to apply for a permanent injunction restraining the Air Park from placing or dumping fill, removing topsoil or otherwise altering the grade of the land by causing, permitting or performing any other form of site alteration on the land.

The city also asked for an interim injunction restraining the Air Park from placing or dumping fill, removing topsoil or otherwise altering the grade of the land by causing, permitting or performing any other form of site alteration on the Property.

The city added to that a request for a mandatory order requiring the Air Park to remove the fill deposited on the land in contravention of Table 1 of Ontario Regulation 153/04.

These two applications to the Court were to be heard on August 28th.  The first thing that had to be done last Friday, was to put these on hold and to have the judge certify an agreement the city and the Air Park had reached on what could be done and what could not be done while all the legal wrangling went on.

The city and the Air Park had come to an agreement on how things should work out on the site while the lawyers did their talking.  City hall was now very wary over the Air Park’s behaviour; they thought they were meeting to talk about the problems a few weeks ago,  while the Air Park was preparing documents to get in front of a Judge – so rather than rely on a verbal agreement the city asked that the agreement be taken before a judge and endorsed which meant the verbal agreement had the clout of a Court order.

The Judge endorsed an agreement that the arguments that were to be heard August 28th were to be moved to a date sometime after October 4th.

Between now and then the Air Park “will not bring any fill on its land other than gravel and pairings grindings for runway base only and not to be mixed with other fill and asphalt for pairing to allow completion of runway widening and taxiways”.  The judge added that these “terms will continue to apply until the disposition of this application”.

So, the city in effect has its injunction and north Burlington residents can rest assured that there will be no landfill dumped on the site until the October 4th hearing.

The Air Park sits in the middle of the eastern part of north Burlington and has operated as a small dirt runway operation for years. Vince Rossi purchased the operation and began his quest to develop it into almost a regional air park with little if any input from the city of the region. Economic development was in the hands of an independent entrepreneur who believed he had found away to avoid complying with city bylaws.  The city didn’t see it that way.

The Air Park claims they are regulated by federal government rules and are not subject to municipal bylaws.  The city agrees that the running of the airport is regulated by the federal government but what the air park does with land fill and changes to the grading of the land and how water runoff is handled is regulated by the municipality.

During a council chamber foyer conversation city manager Jeff Fielding made it very clear to Glenn Grenier that the city did not share his view that the Air Park did not have to comply with city bylaws. Grenier had positioned himself as a leading expert in aeronautical law and that the city should respect their rights. The city doesn’t believe the Air Park actually has the rights they say they have.

Stopping work at the Air Park until the differences of opinion are heard by a judge had the potential for Air Park to lose what is left of the construction season

Where does all this leave Barbara Sheldon?  She will know in two weeks if the water in her well is damaging her health.

And, on October 4th , after four hours of deliberations she will know if a Judge sides with the city and says they have the right to impose their rules on the Air Park or if the Air Park comes under federal jurisdiction and does not have to comply with municipal bylaws. 

Should the Air Park prevail, this idyllic setting will cease to exist – there will be helicopter pads less than 75 yards away.

If the Air Park argument prevails Sheldon sees a quiet life on her property coming to an end.

And if the Air Park prevails Burlington is going to have to do a big think on just what is going to happen in terms of development in the rural part of the city should they be told that their bylaws have no impact on the Air Park.  That’s a huge issue for the city.

Whatever the decision – expect it to be appealed.  This case has ramifications for every municipality across the country – it’s a fight that has been brewing out there for some time.  Burlington looks as if it is the city that will be taking this one on.

Should a Judge tell the Air Park that their aeronautics operations do indeed come under federal jurisdiction but what they do that relates to the way they grade their land or manage water that runs of land they own is subject to the bylaws of the city, then the Air Park is going to re-think how they are going to get along with city hall and the Region.  No more thumbing their noses at the city.

That kind of a decision could have a very significant impact on the operation Vince Rossi runs and could put his $5 million investment – and then some – at significant risk. 

We got a hint of what the argument is going to be about when one of the lawyers representing the Air Park commented last Friday that for “many years the city has agreed that its regulations and bylaws did not apply to the Air Park”.  If there is documentary evidence to support that argument the city could have a problem.

The city didn’t pay nearly enough attention to what the Air Park was doing for the past five years.  They seemed content to go along with the Air Park’s claim that they were federally regulated and they could do whatever they wanted with their land.  When the city got a look at just how much grading was being done – they began to take action and since then have been very aggressive.

Vince Rossi at his only meeting with north Burlington residents since the issue of what he was doing with his Air Park once the extent of his landfill work was clear.

The city has also been much more forthcoming with information.  They have posted copies of the documents served on them by the Air Park and have posted copies of documents they served.  Burlington has not seen this level of transparency in the past.  Healthy to say the least.

Had the city been on the ball they would have seen the signs and begun to monitor what was going on up there.  The Mayor knew they were doing something; planners were at least apprised of what was happening and the Economic Development Corporation was aware – as to just how much they knew and what they did with what they knew will prove to become an issue in a court room.

The Air Park for its part should have been more forthcoming, less arrogant and been prepared to work with the city and be good neighbours.

The city’s failure to be on top of this file and the arrogant approach the Air Park used in their dealings with the city is what got both of them into a Court room.


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Where the measles came from and how the Region MOH tracked it down.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON. August 3, 2013.  Burlington has reported an abnormal number of measles cases this year – six so far when the number has not been higher than two for the past eight years and often there were no cases reported.

Measles just isn’t a communicable disease we see very much of in Canada and that is because most of the population is immunized.

There was a time when many communities saw notices like this posted.

Dr. Monir Taha, the deputy Medical Officer of Health for the Region, talked earlier in the week about how the six cases of measles broke out in Burlington.  The first was traced to a family with three children who were in British Columbia passing through the Vancouver airport.   Someone with measles passed closed to these children, who had not been immunized and they picked up the communicable disease.  How does Dr. Taha know that?  Turns out there was a case of measles reported in British Columbia and that person was also in the Vancouver airport at the same time.  Good medical detective work arrived at the conclusion that the Burlington residents picked up their measles at the same airport.

When those children got back to Burlington they passed what they had picked on along to other people who had not been immunized.  The Regional Health people tracked where these children had been and published that information which advised the public that if they had rashes and had been in any of the location mentioned on the dates indicated – get to a doctor.

Getting this kind of information out to the public is what electronic media are in place for.  News can get published instantly and read whenever people decide they want to know what’s going on.

We live in a world where people travel.  There are tens of thousands of people in other countries who travel and are not immunized and can be communicable disease carriers.

Halton has a very good student immunization rate – 93% of students are immunized.

The trick is to ensure that your immunizations are up to date.

Halton has an exceptionally high immunization rate.  93% of the student population is immunized.  The Region only has records of the student population.

Of the remaining 7% the Region has no data on 1%;  4% are not immunized for various reasons, religious or otherwise; 2% are opposed to immunization.

There are some fears out there about immunization explains Dr. Taha who said “it is the safest way to prevent communicable diseases and it works.”  There are some that believe there is a link between immunization and autism – Dr. Taha thinks the medical community has shown all too clearly that there is no link.  The one doctor who put forward that theory has lost his license to practice and the journal that published the paper has withdrawn it.

Immunization for measles is best done at the age of 1 for the first dose and then at about the age of four for the second dose.

Taha explains that the demographic that are at some risk are those born in the ‘70’s – when immunization was not as thorough as it is today.  Some of that demographic explains Taha may not have gotten that second needle.  If you get both doses – you’re covered for life.

Measles spreads easily – and there have been recent occasions when it got close to pandemic proportions.  In Europe in 2011 there were 26,000 cases with 14,000 of those in France.  Within the same time frame there were 700 cases of measles in Quebec.

The six cases found in Halton are described as a cluster which suggests there is no underlying problem but each Region has a Medical Officer of Health (MOH), each province has a Medical Officer of Health who supervises the Regions who are in place to oversee public health and to communicate with each other when there is as much as a suspicion of a problem.

Nationally there are several organizations that coordinate what goes on with each province.  The MOH has a lot of authority.  They have the power to quarantine an individual home, a whole street or a community if necessary.

Hers of cattle have had to be slaughtered because they had foot and mouth disease.

When we were experiencing SARS in 2003 some hospitals were closed to the general public.  In the 50’s some ranches in western Canada had to destroy thousands of head of cattle due to an outbreak of foot and mouth disease.

Public health is serious business – in Halton we had people who were able to quite quickly trace the development of measles and assure the public that we did not have an epidemic happening.  Government at its best.

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Measles seems to be getting a grip in Halton; Regional Health Department reports another case.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON. July 30, 2013. Regional Associate Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Monir Taha, reports  another case of measles in a Halton adult. This brings the total number of measles cases in the cluster to six. This new case may have led to exposures in public, retail and health-care settings.

Boy with measles – the signs are very clear. You will want to have mad sure a child looking like this does not go outdoors ad does not mix with other people.

“To avoid spreading illness to others, we cannot stress enough the importance of staying home and not exposing other people when you are ill,” stated Dr. Monir Taha. “Measles is contagious from the beginning of the illness until four days after the rash first appears.”

The Health Department is also recommending that persons born 1970 or later who are unsure of their measles vaccination status discuss this with their doctors.  Vaccination is the best way to prevent measles.

For those susceptible to measles, there was a risk of exposure at the following sites if you were at these locations during the times shown:

July 21: Trafalgar Presbyterian Church, 354 Upper Middle Road, Oakville, 9 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

July 21: Sunnyside Grill, 450 Appleby Line, Burlington, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

July 22: TD Canada Trust, 3471 Wycroft Road, Oakville, 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

July 23: Home Depot, 3300 South Service Road, Oakville, 9 a.m. – 12 noon

July 24: Home Depot, 3300 South Service Road, Oakville, 9 a.m. – 12 noon

July 24: North Burlington Medical Centre Walk-in Clinic, 1960 Appleby Line, Burlington, 6:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.

July 26: North Burlington Medical Centre Walk-in Clinic building, 1960 Appleby Line, Burlington, 12 noon – 5 p.m.

July 27: Tansley Woods Community Centre, 1996 Itabashi Way, Burlington, 9 a.m. –

July 28: Hopedale Presbyterian Church, 156 Third Line, Oakville, 9:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

July 28: Walmart, Appleby Line & Dundas Street, Burlington, 1 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

A severe case of measles.

New measles cases are possible in non-immune people who have been exposed to this case as late as August 18.

Updated information on any new cases or new exposure sites can be found at.

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Water at the foot of Brant Street not safe for swimming. Water run off pipe might be the reason.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  July 25, 2013.  The Regional government does regular water testing for all the beaches in Halton and report on what is safe and what is not safe.

We noticed that in the report for this week they advise that the Beachway Park water is safe for swimming but that the water at the foot of Brant Street is not safe.

View of the mini-beach at the foot of Brant Street where people like to swim. Notice the large pipe on the right hand side in the top part of the picture. The rain run off from that pipe might be what is making that water unsafe for swimming. The geese that like that part of the waterfront don’t help either. Region might want to consider a warning sign in that area.

Given that the two are quite close together we asked the Region “why” and they replied that the Manager of Healthy Environments explains that if “water samples collected have e.coli counts above the guideline, the beach is posted as unsafe for swimming.

“The e coli results for Brant Street beach were not within the acceptable guidelines while Beachway results were. There are various factors that affect bacteria counts in water including wave action, currents, wind, water depth, storm water outfalls and the amount of waterfowl in the water and on the beach. Ultimately, it is difficult to determine the exact factor or factors that caused the difference in the water sample results.”

That made sense because there is a pipe that runs from under the Waterfront Hotel area right into the mini-beach that was created when the pier was built.  Also, geese and other waterfowl love to walk along that mini beach and people tend to feed the critters – and you know what geese do when they eat don’t you?

Might not the Region post a sign in this area advising people that it is prone to having e-coli counts higher than normal and is therefore not a safe place to swim – especially for very small children.

Other than a few beaches in the Region it looks like it is going to be a healthy weekend to go swimming.

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Air Park legal team sues the city; so we all trot off to a court room. City’s pier court case being held in the same Court House.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  July 18, 2019.  Are we seeing a whole new level of transparency on the part of the city?  Are we also seeing a significantly and very welcome difference in the way city hall responds to problems its citizens run into?

The city posted a copy of the Writ served on them by the lawyers for the Air Park; not the kind of thing they have done in the past – they certainly didn’t handle the pier problems this way.

When the ship is about to sink you throw everything overboard. Air Park owner Vince Rossi puts all its chips on the table and waits to see how the dice play out.

With city hall now on a summer schedule and more people away than those at their desks it is difficult for those putting in the hours to stay on top of everything.

The city was preparing for a meeting with the lawyers representing the Air Park people while the Air Park legal team was focused on the wording of a Writ they served on the city earlier today.

The Air Park is seeking a number of court orders including:

A declaration of its rights under the Constitution Act, 1867 and the federal Aeronautics Act;

This is what the fight is really all about; does the Aeronautics Act trump a local bylaw?

A declaration that the City of Burlington’s Top Soil Preservation and Site Alteration By-law does not apply to the airport’s operations and construction of aerodrome facilities at the location;

For the sake of all of us – that had better turn out to be the case or municipalities across the country have real problems to deal with.

A declaration that the city’s order to comply is null and void and of no legal effect;

                  They wish is the only comment one can make on that one

An injunction to prevent the city from interfering with its operations and the construction of aerodrome facilities at the site; and

The city isn’t interfering; it is doing what is it required to do.  The only fault on the part of the city and the Region is that they didn’t tackle this one years ago.

Costs against the city, including HST.

               The upside of this one is that the city doesn’t pay the same level of HST as the rest of the world.

The one consistent thing about the Air Park’s behaviour throughout this real mess is their tendency to bully and intimidate. The piece of equipment was parked overnight less than 50 yards from the home of an Appleby Line resident. It sat on top of a 35 foot + pole of landfill that should have never been put on the land in the first place.

That is a very ‘ballsy’ move on the part of the Air Park.  With the Environment Ministry buzzing around and the federal ministry of transport suggesting that the airport people do have a responsibility to adhere to some of the city’s rules and regulations and the Region in a position to have their Medical Officer ask some embarrassing questions and demand that the property owners do what has to be done to protect public health  – the smartest move for the Air Park was to get out-of-town and into a court room where they can ask for delay upon delay.

The injunction they have asked for could backfire – the city might well ask for an injunction and should that request prevail the Air Park would find themselves under an injunction and involved in a court case that will last years – if it gets to the point where there is actually a trial date.  If there is a trial there is going to be some very impressive legal counsel arguing before a judge in a Court room in Milton..

While all this happens the people in north Burlington, especially those whose property has been directly impacted, and wondering if they are going to get sucked into this legal black hole.  And what if papers are served on them?  They don’t have the deep pockets the city has to fight this fight.

For a city that started out the week with what they felt was a strong consultants reports to find themselves with a Writ in their hands and a date with a judge – it can’t be looked upon as a win.

However, it is far from a loss.  Desperate people do desperate things

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Did city hall find a smoking gun in the Air Park soil testing reports? Many hope so.

By Pepper Parr.

BURLINGTON, ON.  July 15, 2013.  It was going to be a quiet slipping into the summer season Council meeting – but then a couple of things changed.

Much to the surprise of many the Private Tree Bylaw went off the tracks during the Community Services Committee meeting.  While the staff report didn’t satisfy anyone, there were those who felt that good debate would flush out what the issues were and that the right decision would get made.  That didn’t happen – Council voted 5-2 to basically shelve the matter. So expect to see significant debate on the Private Tree Bylaw decision that will come out of the committee report.

The major item should be the announcement the city made on Saturday – that there is a report from Terrapex Environmental Ltd. That will be released at the Council meeting.

City hall has wanted to know just what is in this landfill. A report to city council this evening is expected to reveal all. Was a smoking gun found?

Terrapex was hired to review the soil test reports that were submitted by  Burlington Executive Air Park.  Many thought there was something lacking in both the number of reports that were made available to the city and the content of the reports.  The results of the review were sent to the city Friday afternoon.  In the municipal world things tend not to happen very quickly – that wasn’t the case with this one.  As soon as the city had the report they decided to bring it before Council and let the public know what the city has learned.

It should prove to be an interesting report.

The rate and level of development at the Air Park facility on Appleby Line wasn’t showing up on the city’s radar set but when Vanessa Warren appeared at a city council meeting to delegate on the problem the wheels were put in motion very quickly and the city has been all over this issue.  They brought in the consultants needed to get details and hired very eminent legal counsel to guide them through the process of brining a developer to heal.  The speed with which the city has worked on this is very impressive.

Terrapex describe themselves on their web site as: “a dynamic and fully integrated Canadian engineering and geosciences company, providing specialized environmental consulting services.  Established in 1995, Terrapex has grown to a staff of more than 50 with offices in Toronto, Burlington and Ottawa, Ontario.

“Our primary areas of expertise include: site assessment, facilities decommissioning, contaminant management, environmental regulatory compliance and management systems, air quality services and waste management. Since inception, Terrapex has completed thousands of engineering and environmental projects for a wide range of private- and public-sector clients.”

Just what is underneath that piece of heavy equipment? Where did the landfill come from and was it properly tested?m Has the city finally got a solid grip and can now get some control over what happens at the Air Park?

Being located in Burlington was a plus – these people will know a lot about the local environment; where landfill comes from who the ‘no- gooders’ are and the tricks that get used to slip around the rules and regulations.

The city, for reasons that have not been explained, is not going to release the report until it gets presented to Council.  It would have been useful for north Burlington residents to know what the report has to say and also have a chance to think about what is reported and prepare some thoughts.  Local people will have wanted to delegate.

Is this report the smoking gun the city needs to clamp down hard on the Air Park people?  Or is it just a lot of consultant type baffle gab that fills pages to justify the invoice the consultants will send the city.

The meeting Monday evening is the last for this Council until September 3rd.  It would have been very easy for the city to keep the report under wraps and let it come out when everyone is back from vacation.  For this – kudos to city hall.  They are actually engaging and informing their citizens.  Having access to the report would have been nice.  As one wag on Appleby Line put it: “there is a council member who will have been on the phone to Rossi the moment the report was in her hands.”

In emails sent to anyone the city thought would be interested city hall said: “Burlington City Council will hear a presentation on the review of the available environmental testing reports of fill materials at the Burlington Executive Airport. Copies of the report will be available at the meeting. The council meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. in Council Chambers on the 2nd level of City Hall, 426 Brant St. Burlington.”

Should be an interesting meeting; the city certainly wants you to be there.

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Three confirmed measles cases in Burlington; local retail outlets may be source.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON. June 18, 2013 The Halton Region Health Department has reported three related cases of measles in Burlington.

Persons who visited the any of the following locations on June 8 may have been exposed to measles:

SportChek in Burlington Mall, Guelph Line and Fairview Street, at 1 p.m. until approximately 4 p.m.

The Collector’s Vault, near New Street and Guelph Line, at 10 a.m. until 1 p.m.

Al’s Source for Sports, 3485 Fairview Street, at 1 p.m. until 4 p.m.

The Halton Region Health Department has followed up individually with persons who may have been exposed at a health care setting or at an organized event.

“Measles is preventable through immunization with two doses of measles vaccine,” stated Dr. Bob Nosal, Halton Region Medical Officer of Health. “Persons who have measles need to isolate themselves while they are ill and for four full days after the rash first appears.”

Measles starts with cough, runny nose, red, watery eyes, and fever, and after about four days a rash begins on the face and moves down the body. There may be white spots inside the mouth. Measles spreads easily to persons who are not immune. Anyone born 1970 or after who has not had two doses of measles vaccine is considered susceptible to measles. Infants under one year of age, pregnant women, and persons with weakened immune systems can get very ill with measles. Complications of measles can include middle ear infections, pneumonia, croup, and inflammation of the brain.

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

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

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Mountain bike races at Kelso start May 21st; registration open now.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON. May 9, 2013   The weekly Mountain Bike series at Kelso Conservation Area is back this summer with races starting on May 21 and running every Tuesday until the Finale Event on August 27 (last series race August 20).

With 14 races in total and multiple distances/categories this is a great addition to your training program with some of the best climbs in southern Ontario, or a fun way to challenge yourself to achieve a personal best.

Great trails for many different ability levels on some of the best climbs in southern Ontario.

The series is now in its fifth season and often sees over 200 riders of all ability levels from all over southern Ontario and beyond. The staff at Kelso keeps the focus on fun, and has nurtured a strong and supportive community of riders over the years.

Registration is now available online, and in the Visitor Services Centre at Kelso, Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Riders can also come out on May 14 from 4 to 8 p.m. to preview the trails and register on-site for the series.

Riders can pick up a discount coupon to save an extra $10 on your series registration from one of our many great sponsors, who are listed on the race webpage. Sign up for the series (14 races and the finale event) and choose to race as many as you want; or sign up for individual races whenever you want.

We encourage everyone to sign up for the series as it’s such a great value. Once again a safe, fun, challenging and free kids course will be offered at the base of the hill, so be sure to bring the little ones out for a taste of the action.


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We say we know all this stuff – take five to check it out anyway. Make your BBQ a safe place.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON. May 2, 2013.  BBQ time.  Fill the tank and look for deals on burgers and buns.

If you haven’t used your barbecue in a while, now is a good time for a quick safety check. Of course you know all this stuff – but the teenager doesn’t – so get him or her to read this stuff over – then give them a quick quiz; let them know whose boss.

At this point you have cleared the area and called 911.

Test for leaks: Check gas tank hose on propane and natural gas barbecues for leaks.  Use a 50/50 mix of soap and water on the hose. If you see bubbles, tighten the connections and check again

Check for spiders: Spider webs and insect nests can clog tubes and cause a fire

Transporting propane cylinder: Ensure all valves are closed and plugs or caps are in place. Transport the fuel cylinder in an upright position and secure it in vehicle.

 Keep it outside:  Keep at least one metre away from the house or cottage.  Never store propane tanks in the house or in an attached garage. This includes tanks that are attached to a barbecue

Barbecues on apartment balconies: Propane or charcoal barbecues should not be used on apartment balconies.  Fire that starts on the balcony can rapidly spread into an apartment and is often difficult for firefighters to reach.  Most leases, agreements or condominium rules prohibit the use of barbecues on apartment balconies.

Safe use of your barbecue: Always open the lid to the barbecue prior to lighting; Always fully open the tank valve during use and fully close it when you’re  finished; Always barbecue outdoors in a well-ventilated area and never in a garage or shed

If a fire starts:  If the fire is near the tank shut-off, do not try to put out the fire. Get everyone away from the area and call 911. Only close the tank valve if it can be done safely.  If you are unsure, call 911.

 Pretty sure we have seen the last of the snow – Great grillin!

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Organic Farmer’s Market shifts schedule and will operate on Sunday’s – opens May 11th –

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  April 30th, 2013.  The Organic Farmer’s Market will open for the first time this season on May 11th and operate on Sunday’s from 9 to 12ish.

Traffic last year was decent but many people found the Friday a difficult day; people who worked weren’t able to stroll over and enjoy the setting.

Last season tables were laden with fresh vegetables, organically grown  Expect to see an even wider selection this season.

Barry Imber, the energy behind this project said “ the hope is that the hood will stroll over in the mornings and take their time to enjoy the people and the various things that local farmers have to offer.

“We will also have a few new vendors in addition to possibly a breakfast vendor and Tamp Coffee doing his specialty pour over coffee for the crowd. We’ll have the picnic benches out and will encourage everyone to chill out and take their time.

The Chef’s Shootout last year.  A light rain didn’t stop the event – the food was delicious.

Burlington Tourism is looking for ways they can get behind the project. While the market is hosted in a commercial location, in the parking lot behind Centro’s on John Street, the net result is a place for community and Imber hopes it is cherished and embraced as well as promoted to make it stronger.

The closing event last year was a great idea – A Shootout between two Chef’s from Spencer’s on the Waterfront – took place even though it was raining.  The Chef’s did a great job and the 40 or so people stood there with their umbrellas enjoying the food.

Wet but fun.  Hopefully Imber will hold at least one of these Shootouts this year.

The market is set up behind Centro’s on John Street.  Downtowners can just stroll on over and nosh.

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Burlington tells National Energy Board that an Enbridge pipeline leak would be “catastrophic” for the city.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON.  April 29, 2013  The National Energy Board has received nearly 200 applications to participate in the hearings on the expansion and flow reversal of the Enbridge Line 9 pipeline that could also be used to export diluted bitumen from the Alberta tar sands. While most are individuals, like Burlington’s Sarah Harmer, many of the applicants are representing citizen groups, private corporations, industry groups, municipalities, or the provinces of Ontario, Quebec and Alberta.

A Enbridge Pipeline monitoring station on Walkers Line, between Sideroad #1 and #2 will monitor the flow of diluted bitumen of the National Energy Board approves a flow reversal application. The city of Burlington has gone on record as being opposed – call the possible consequences “catastrophic”.

The controversial process imposed by the federal Conservative government requires formal applications to participate from even those who only want to submit a letter of comment, and gives the NEB the authority to choose who will be heard and in what way. Local applicants include the cities of Hamilton and Burlington, federal NDP MPs, the Hamilton 350 Committee, the local chapter of the Council of Canadians, Burlington Green, the Burlington office of Environment Canada, and numerous individuals.

Most only intend to submit a letter to the hearings currently scheduled for late August, but others are seeking intervenor status that gives them the right to speak, cross-examine, and call witnesses and present final arguments to the NEB.

The applications from Hamilton and Burlington city councils seek only to provide written comments, but both emphasize the serious impacts of potential pipeline ruptures or leaks. Burlington notes that “a major spill of heavy crude mixed with diluents within city limits would be catastrophic”.

Several applications focus attention on Enbridge’s plans to ship diluted bitumen (dilbit) through the 38-year-old pipe and point to recent disastrous spills of this material, such as in Kalamazoo, Michigan in 2010 and on Good Friday in Mayflower, Arkansas.

Singer Sarah, a consistent supporter of the environment and a leader in the battle to prevent Nelson Aggregates from obtaining a permit to open a second quarry on the Escarpment has applied to appear before the National Energy Board to speak against approving the flow reversal of the Enbridge Pipeline that runs across her family’s farm.

Singer Sarah Harmer, applying for intervenor status on behalf of herself and her family, notes the Enbridge pipe traverses 400 metres of their Mt Nemo property and has been subjected to blasting effects from the Nelson quarry “at least twice weekly for the entire 38 year of its existence” that has cracked drywall, shaken windows and is “akin to an earthquake repeated a few times each week” at their home. Harmer and others were recently successful in blocking a new Nelson aggregate operation, in which she “engaged expert scientists, planners and government experts in the study of this area” over the last eight years.

There is a public event on Thursday evening at the Baltimore House, 43 King William Street, in Hamilton,  starting at 6:30 pm that will include speakers from several communities affected by Line 9 including Six Nations.

We are grateful to CATCH – Citizens at City Hall –  for the bulk of this report


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Did we miss something? How come Joe Brant isn’t on the list? No opportunity to show our appreciation for the doctors at the hospital..

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  April 26, 2013.  There probably isn’t a week of the year when we aren’t celebrating something.  Every cause there is wants its fifteen minutes of fame and the doctors we rely upon to keep us healthy are no different from the Association for Unwed Mothers or the Society to Preserve the real Conservative Party in Canada.

The Region’s Physician Recruitment Initiative has asked the media to take part in the 10th annual Halton Physician Appreciation Week

Events are to be held at each of the hospitals in the Region with the Mayor of each municipality leading the parade. 

Oakville in the Physician’s Lounge  Monday April 29 – lunch at noon.  Nice touch – offer a meal and it’s surprising how many media show up – an Open Bar and you’ll have everyone who was ever given a pencil showing up.  Oakville has a really strong story to tell and with a new location under construction there isn’t going to be much negative news during that get together.

An architectural rendering of the Joseph Brant Hospital re-build. Management opted for a re-branding of the hospital for a new corporate look. when the hospital is complete it will change the way the city sees and uses Lakeshore Road; in the meantime 25% of the existing space can’t be used because the hospital says the government hasn’t given them the dollars they need,

Milton gets it call onto the stage Friday May 3 – 7:30 a.m. in the Physician’s Lounge.  They too have a story to tell with the plans for a significant addition underway.  Good news there.

Georgetown will do their thing on Wednesday May 1 – 7:30 a.m. in the Boardroom of the Georgetown Hospital.

Do you see where this is going?

A more direct view of the re-built hospital based on an architects rendering. The parking lot on the left, which will have the Family Medical Clinic on the ground floor will be the first part of a much larger plan,

Not a word about the opportunity to show our appreciation for the doctors at Joseph Brant Hospital.  How come?

Well you see – they are in the middle of a $300,000 re-branding exercise and they are struggling with the need to cut back – by as much as 25% – on the service they offer the public.  There are billboards, newspaper ads and all kinds of media presentations – but they aren’t ready yet to make themselves available for questions.

The hospital is still  smarting over the $9 million C Difficile insurance settlement that was agreed upon and they are working through the painful process of arriving at an amicable relationship with the city of Burlington who is in the process of plucking $60 million from their taxpayers pockets to pay for half of the $120 million the public has to come up with for the very significant re-build the hospital is in the process of embarking upon.

One would have hoped, and the community deserved, a public apology on the C Difficile settlement.  That matter was closed by having the insurance company write cheques.  The problem was at and with the hospital at the time and while there is a new management team in place – thy can’t just sweep this under a rug.

The first part of the re-build at Joseph Brant is a building for the Family Medical Clinic that will be an extension of the McMaster University medical operation that will be on the ground floor of the structure – with two floors of parking on top of the medical offices.  Parking has become the grandest of cash grabs for hospitals and this building is being designed to take on an additional two floors of parking. 

This is what the Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital “campus” is going to look like when all the construction is completed in 2017-18 The front entrance will be oriented to the lake. That red circle on the lower right, near the number 4 will become the new entrance. There will be several entrances to the hospital. The emergency entrance will remain where it is. The Family Medicine clinic and the parking garage are at the bottom # 2 There will be a roadway through the “campus” – that’s where the number 8′s are.

The hospital in Burlington doesn’t seem prepared to let any media crawl through the place asking all kinds of embarrassing questions.  So much for appreciating the crowd over there – and so much for the physician recruitment program the Region has in place.  Oakville is going to get the best and the brightest.

Old Joe Brant must be wondering what they are doing to the land over on Lakeshore Road he was given by the British.  Fortunately there is still that Brant Trust.

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There is a reason to oppose the Enbridge pipeline flow reversal – pipelines leak.



By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON. April 17. 2013.  There are reasons for people wanting to oppose the changes Enbridge Pipeline wants to make to its Line 9b – the one that runs right through the Escarpment part of Burlington – pipelines leak.

There is that now significant leak in Mayflower, Arizona that has oil pooling at the end of people’s driveway.  The media picks up on the big leaks – the small ones are rarely reported publicly – but they are noted by the National Energy Board –which is where we learned of the very small leak between February 15 to March 15 in a filing pipeline companies are required to make.

Just north of Sideroad #1 – this pipeline crosses every creek and stream in the northern part of the city.  If it does leak – the least we should expect is that there be a real mitigation program in place.

It was a small oil leak from Line 9 near Westover but it adds to the controversy around Enbridge’s proposal to increase the flow rate in the cross-Ontario pipeline and begin using it to transport diluted bitumen from the Alberta tar sands. The company’s plans are also hampered by outrage over the National Energy Board (NEB) requirement that residents complete an application form before being allowed to submit written comments on the Line 9 plans.

The newly revealed NEB rules were imposed by the federal government as part of its omnibus legislation last spring, and have generated media incredulity and even an editorial denunciation from the Globe and Mail. Local organizations like Environment Hamilton, the Hamilton 350 Committee and BurlingtonGreen  are urging individuals and groups to submit the application form as a way of challenging the restrictions and forcing the NEB to either approve applications or confirm that its review process is largely off-limits to the public.

The Ontario NDP is demanding a provincial environmental assessment; the Liberal government has said it will be an active intervener in the NEB process.

The Westover leak was reported to the NEB by Enbridge in a required monthly review of the company’s construction work associated with the reversal of flows in the Sarnia to Westover 9A section of the pipeline approved last summer by the NEB. It was discovered when exposing a portion of the pipe where a “stopple plug” was to be installed.

Enbridge’s 38-year-old Line 9 pipe is approved to operate between 585 and 805 psig(pound-force per square inch gauge),   between Sarnia and Hamilton. Its application to the NEB is to increase the flow volumes to 300,000 barrels a day and reverse the flow direction to allow shipment of western crude oil products including diluted bitumen.

While the company insists it only wants to use the Sarnia to Montreal Line 9 to service refineries as far east as Quebec City, others believe their objectives include export of bitumen through New England to foreign markets – a plan that Enbridge unveiled in 2008 but has since withdrawn.

The Enbridge pipeline monitoring site on Walkers Line – looking west. Enbridge can control the flow of oil through this location from their control rooms in Edmonton. Does that make the line safer? The satellite dish in the upper left handles the signals

The work currently underway at Westover was approved by the NEB in July last year and includes “infrastructure additions and modifications” at Enbridge’s Westover terminal, North Westover pump station, and at a “densitometer site 4.12 km west” of the pump station.

The circled area is where the pipeline runs. The only thing separating that part of the city and established neighbourhoods is the 407. Can you imagine what that would look like covered in a three inch oil slick?

Pipelines leak; always have, always will.  The danger for Burlington is that the pipeline Enbridge wants to make major changes to is very old and so far the community has not heard any oil leak mitigation plans that sound very re-assuring.  At this point the only thing that will slow any oil leak down is Highway 407 – not very re-assuring .

If your neighbours ask you to take part in this protest –sign on.  If you want to make your voice heard send the mayor an email and talk to the people at Burlington Green.

What are the chances of winning this? Next to none – Enbridge will be given the permit they are asking for – there is a national interest involved here.  The federal government wants that Alberta oil to flow east – a large part of our economy depends on that oil being sold.

We won’t be able to prevent that BUT if enough noise is made the NEB could insist on more than enough testing to ensure the line is as safe as possible and that there be real mitigation plans in place.  Maybe we can get Enbridge to report directly to all the municipalities along the line as well as the federal agencies.

Can we look to our MP, Mike Wallace to write letters and copy the Mayor on them?   Sure.

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