Last week Council went for a $39million spend to build a new Skyway Arena - Stolte chose fiscal prudence and voted no.

By Pepper Parr

August 8th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

This is a long article.  It focuses on one new arena but sets out how this council is going to spemd to provide the infrastructure it thinks the city needs.  See it as a cautionary tale.

Council met on Thursday to decide if they were going to go forward with the construction of a new Skyway arena in ward 5.

Referred to as the Skyway Arena – the structure in place now was taken out of commission WHEN because it no longer met the rules related to Freon.

The rink was small.

The city did a lot of planning on this project – it was to be carbon free, solar panels on the roof, two regular size ice pads, pickle ball courts, community rooms and a walking track.

The new Skyway arena will be to the north of the proposed 6 story Lakeside Plaza development. Not a word was said about the development plans during the decision to spend $37 million

Way back when Councillor Paul Sharman was first elected he tried, in vain at the time, to get in touch with the owner of the plaza that had seen better days. It took a couple of years but eventually there was a development proposal that included eight structures.

During that time the Burloaks Park was completed – it is one of the better parks in the city that is seldom crowed that way Spencer Smith Park is.

The community amenities will include pickle ball courts, meeting rooms and a Walking Track.

This is the background behind the decision to spend twice as much as was originally planned on the Skyway arena.

The decision was to a contract for the construction of the new arena to Norlon Builders London Limited for $37,021,769.55

Staff asked that Council

Approve the revised total budget of $39,433,100 with revised financing proposed.
Authorize the additional funding of $2,000,000 from Tax Supported Debt; $403,000 from the Corporate Accessibility Implementation Project and $4,710,100 from the infrastructure renewal reserve fund.

Significantly looking structure for an arena – walking track, community meeting rooms and pickle ball courts make it more of a community hub. Something badly needed in the community.

What makes the development awkward is that it is a 1.4 km and a quarter away from the Bateman high school site that the city is in the process of buying – the public will not know much about the cost until sometime in September when the deal is expected to close.

The figure of $500 million was mentioned by Councillor Stolte, who was sanctioned by the Integrity Commissioner for revealing information that was discussed in a closed session of Council. The figure Stolte made public was, as she explained it, an approximation.

The Bateman and the Skyway arena are all about creating more in the way of space for a growth in population that will add three new communities to the city around the GO stations.

The Bateman and the Skyway development are in the south east sector

Lisa Kearns Councillor for ward 2 asked a procurement question, wanting to know how far into the process was the tender?

Staff had already decided who should be getting the job – all they needed was approval from Council to go forward.

Jennifer Johnson on the left, listening to a resident when public feedback was being gathered about the residential plans.

Jennifer Johnson, the staff member who oversaw the redevelopment of the WHICH ONE explained that three compliant bids and were ready to give the contract to Nolan for $37 million plus.

Given that Councillors are in the middle of an election Kearns wanted to be seen as being on top of everything said: “I’m looking to understand or hear what within the bid tender document and or agreed upon by those compliant bids would potentially help the city in a situation where the vendors work fell short or compliance with specs was not met. Those types of things. I want to understand what our insurance plans are, so to speak, so that we can be very much guaranteed that we have the best quality for our you know, the best quality when this work gets undertaken?

Johnson explained that “through our pre-qualification, we went through two rounds for general contractors where we asked them to qualify, electrical, mechanical and landscape because those were a very big component of the project. So they actually had to name the consultants they were using and had to close the bid with them. So through the pre-qualification process, we knew who those trades were, they were local trades, good trades. And basically, we pre-qualified five general contractors prior to even releasing the tender documents.

Solar panels on the roof will cover a lot of the electricity costs?

“Our specifications were very tight, because we tried our best to include designs that were all locally sourced. We also went through a review process with the consultants to ensure that all the equipment that we included in the design and specifications were still able to be sourced without you know, extended lead times. Contractors, are obligated to fulfill their contract under that lump sum.

The Skyway arena is in ward 5, Sharman territory. He said: Just slightly more than half of this cost is more than the city expected, but this is not a unique situation- that’s happening to everything. The question raised from time to time is should we wait for things to get better? The Staff report concludes that it’s going to be at least five years before the current pressure on costs decreases.This is not going to get better. If we don’t do it now.

It’ll just get worse and where does that leave us? It raises all sorts of concerns about improving the infrastructure in the city and increasing the infrastructure in the city. And we’ll have to cross that bridge when we come to it. But for now, I believe that we’re doing something that is badly needed by the city. We need the ice pads and the community rooms and the walking track.

Bateman won’t solve the ice pad problem, it won’t provide the walking track for the seniors who live in the immediate arena. And the pressure to build the pickle ball courts. So we’re going to be there. This is a wonderful addition to our recreation facilities in Burlington. Much needed, much appreciated. And we can just hope that cost isn’t going to be with us as a problem for ever.

Ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte took a much different position. “I’ve certainly brought up concerns before about the commitment to projects located 1.4 kilometers away from each other. We’ve made a huge commitment to debate and project and I just feel very uncomfortable with as Councillor Sherman has brought up the increasing cost of this which I know is realistic. I know that costs are going up across the country. We’re all aware of that. But the reality is too is that by utilizing the limited funds that we have available to us and the limited room that we have in our debt capacity limit, we’re committing most of our eggs into two baskets that are in the southeast corner of Burlington and I’m just not convinced that that’s an appropriate decision for us to be making at this time.

That walking track and a community rooms would be nice. I think that we could scale this project back to ensure that we have the ice rinks and I think that we could make sure that we have transportation options available to seniors to get them up to the proposed community rooms that we hope to have at the maintenance project. And that would leave us some funding available to ensure that we are able to take care of other infrastructure projects and that we have other opportunities to use our debt capacity limit because there certainly are a lot of a lot of other projects around the city that need attention. I wasn’t in support of this before. I’m still not. I know that it would be a great project if money were no object, but money is an object and I won’t be able to support this today.

Ward 3 Councillor Rory Nisan said: “This is a higher price than we anticipated. No doubt about it. We’ve made the Skyway a priority for a long time. I believe we can still pursue upper level government funding and I’m sure we will but we can’t just bring everything to a standstill.

Ward 1 Councilor Kelvin Galbraith said: “I’m in support of this. I am part of the ice user group that knows there is a big need for another ice rink. It’s the ice users have been hurt for the last couple of years now that Skyway has been taken out of the inventory and replacing it with a full size rink is very important and will be very valuable to the ice user groups.

“I think the city needs more of these type of facilities and the longer we wait, the more expensive it will get. I think the time is now and I’m prepared to support this today.

Lisa Kearns put her financial concern, chase down the details spin on the building of a new arena.

Lisa Kearns joined what was now a majority of Council and said: “I think the whole conversation we’re having here is really reflective of the petulance that I’m starting to see around some of these really, really big ticket items. We know that we’ve already committed to prioritizing Skyway community centre and it feels a lot like this is one of those projects that we’re so far into that is difficult to turn around in, in response to escalating prices. Now, in my view, there are two things to look at here. One is of course the community value which we can’t put a price tag on it’s clear we do need more ice rinks. And in fact, we need the type of ice rinks that can host and hold tournaments and things of that nature so that we can really capitalize on those additional tourism dollars especially in light of having our municipal accommodation tax now ushered in so we do need to look at this really big picture.

“It’s one thing to award a tender. It’s another thing to award a tender with really strong terms that despite escalating costs still puts the city in the driver’s seat around ensuring the diligence used around those funds. Those are many types of causes like clawback clauses, there’s the dispute resolution, there’s payment terms certainty of terms limitations of liability. I want to be really really sure that when we are embarking on projects this high visibility and this high of a price tag we have covered all our bases.

The table below shows the change to the Total Project Cost over the last three years. The lowest compliant bid has resulted in an increased construction cost to $36.7 million, including soft costs, and project contingency, the new total project cost is estimated at $39.4 million (including the parks revitalization component). This is an increase of 22% from the Class A, most recently completed in March 2022 or $7.1 million.

It’s really important that we don’t have bumps along the way from today’s meeting where we’re proving this to when we can actually open the doors and welcome our residents across the city into a facility like this. I do want to also put on record and echo the comments of Councillor salty in that I am worried about our debt limit and our debt threshold. We still have a really big ticket in very similar proximity that hasn’t even had its capital costs disclose to the public yet. And that will no doubt require some support from our tax base and of course from our infrastructure renewal reserve fund so that fun will quickly be dwindling and it’s I’m hopeful that they’ll be a lot left for some of the other areas where we are really putting a focus on growth.

I am supporting this today with caution. And you know putting everyone involved in this in this project on notice that we want it to be an absolute and true success and we want it to be handled with the greatest level of diligence as possible.

The project was short 7 million – they dug into reserves and pushed $2 million onto the backs of the taxpayers – by taking out a 15 years debenture at 4.5%. Don’t you wish you could get that interest from your bank

Councillor Sharman added later in the meeting before the vote saying he recognized that his comments about money were made the way they were said because I think that it’s just a fact of life that cost is increasing. The arena had to be closed because the Freon system became illegal. Otherwise, we would have continued to have Skyway arena open, but it was grossly inadequate. It was built in the 60s. It was no longer up to standard in terms of installation and efficiency and effectiveness and it was undersized so it needed to go. So it’s going to be built. I think that’s one point with respect to money or No, I have a fairly reasonable understanding of money and my view of the world is very oriented towards future cash flow and where it’s coming from.

Paul Sharman: “I have no concerns about money.”

“I have no concerns about money, it will be resolved and especially in Parkland dedication, even if I do think it’s a bit rich it’s going to pay for a lot of stuff. We will still be building within the urban boundary. We will have the cash to pay for the facilities we need for another 70,000 people in the course of the next 30 years. And if anybody’s thinking differently than I ask you to talk to me, because planning and cash flow forecasting is an important way of thinking and I have no concerns about the money. And that’s about it for me. I’m delighted that we’re getting on with this.

Mayor Meed Ward decided it was her turn to take a kick at the can. “I am really looking forward to the ground-breaking in October. We know that we need more community facilities for our growing population period full stop – we are at capacity, we are bursting at the seams. This will be a facility that is used and loved by people from across Burlington the ice pads the community meeting space the parkour out front and also it will be really the future of how we build community facilities in Burlington. It will have solar panels on the roof. It will be a low carbon building, that is the future and we are not done yet. Our community amenities our parks or community centers have not kept up with the growth that we have seen in population in Burlington – this is one more opportunity to not only refresh what was there before, but expand it. The Walking Track is was really important.

It’s not so much about what we spend, it’s what we spend on and this there’s no question in my mind that this has been a priority. And so we just need to get on with it. We need to because the price isn’t gonna get any cheaper. And the cost escalation that we have seen is due to factors that are outside of the city’s control for sure and there’s no time like the present to get going.

This will put us at 11% debt ratio, our city imposed ratio is 12 and a half so we’re still well below that. The province imposes a debt ratio of 25%. Tax supported debt is only one of many sources of funding. We have reserved funds – revenue from users that will come back to us. I know the pickle ball courts will be very well used and played.

We have just increased and really level set the development charges that we will be charging for new growth and our Parkland dedication fees we were way behind, leaving money substantial amounts of money on the table.

I’m enthusiastic about finally getting on with this centre and we will mean we need more we’re not done we are not done yet with parks and community centres. Because we still have a lot more growth coming and we still have some catching up to do. And we have the money. We have the money to do it.

We do need a recorded vote on this. So I will turn it over to our clerk to take the recorded vote.

Councillor Bentivegna had some interesting questions and concerns about what was going to happen to the taxpayer.  His views will be covered in a seperate article later in the week.

Councillor stuck to her guns; the only Council member to talk about fiscal prudence.

City Manager Tim Commisso sat in on the meeting – didn’t say a word

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The 8th anniversary of the flood went by without a word. It was an occasion when the city really pulled together

By Pepper Parr

August 7th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

I almost forgot.

Thursday of last week was the eighth anniversary of the flood.

At what point did the vehicle just stop.

It didn’t get a mention anywhere.

Lot’s of talk about Climate Change – which is basically the message the gods were sending us in 2014

I wonder how many people are still recovering from that disaster – and how many lives were changed forever because of the flood that devastated some neighbourhoods and left others bone dry.

 

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West Nile Virus returns to the Region

By Staff

August 6, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The 7th wave of Covid19 is reported to have peaked.

Monkey pox infections have increased

Rabid bats have been found in Oakville

West Nile virus has retuened

And it is blistering hot.

A batch of mosquitoes trapped this week in Oakville has tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV). This is the first batch of WNV positive mosquitoes for Halton this year.

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

Most individuals infected with WNV do not develop any symptoms while some may develop fever, headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rash. The majority of these individuals will recover completely but a few of them can go on to develop severe illness affecting the central nervous system such as encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord). Individuals with certain medical conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease and individuals over 50 years of age are at higher risk for severe disease.

Residents can take the following steps to protect themselves and their families from mosquitoes:

• Cover up when going outside between the hours of dusk and dawn (when most mosquitoes feed). Wear light-coloured, long-sleeved shirts and pants with tightly-woven fabric.
• Reduce mosquito breeding sites around your home by getting rid of all water-filled containers and objects, where possible. Change the water in bird baths at least once per week.
• Use an approved insect repellent, such as one containing DEET or Icaridin.
• Make sure your window and door screens are tight and without holes, cuts or other openings.

Locations of standing water sites that have had larvicide applied this year is available on the West Nile Virus page on halton.ca.

 

 

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Another motorcycle fatality

By Staff

April 6th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

On August 6, 2022 at approximately 3:09pm Halton Regional Police attended the area of Waterdown Road and Craven Avenue in the City of Burlington for a motor vehicle collision.

A motorcycle travelling southbound on Waterdown Road struck a northbound Honda SUV. The motorcycle rider was pronounced dead at the scene.

The Collision Reconstruction Unit has taken carriage of the investigation.

Any witnesses to the collision who have not yet spoken with police are asked to contact the Collision Reconstruction Unit at 905-825-4747 ext. 5065.
Read this article on our website.

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St. Christopher's kicks off drive for back pack donations

By Staff

August 5th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Open Doors at St. Christopher’s is kicking off their yearly backpack program in partnership with Food4Kids Halton, Compassion Society and Burlington Together.

What in heavens name do they put in those back packs? Do they carry that many books?

The backpack program provides new backpacks and supplies to students from JK to grade 12 to help Burlington families reduce the financial strain of back-to-school season.

Beth Martin, Resource and Communications Coordinator at Open Doors.

“This year, we are aiming to be able to support 300 students with new backpacks that include hygiene products and high-quality supplies,” said Beth Martin, Resource and Communications Coordinator at Open Doors.

“Because our focus is on the more expensive – but necessary – items like reusable lunch bags, metal water bottles and scientific calculators, we are asking the community to support if they can by donating to the program.

We would be thrilled to receive a fully-packed backpack, but are also very happy to receive donations of individual supplies.

Every little bit helps set students up for success.”

Open Doors is most in need of new, high-quality backpacks for JK – grade 12 students, hygiene products and high-quality reusable water and lunch containers. Grade-level shopping lists, posters and up-to-date info can be found on the Open Doors website at opendoorscommunity.ca/backpacks.

Donations can be dropped off throughout Burlington at St. Christopher’s Anglican Church, Sims Square, Rocca Sisters Team offices, Chickadee Kids Company and Happy Beginnings Daycare.

Drop off locations are constantly being added, so please check the interactive map on the website for a location near you.

Additionally, Open Doors is partnered with Rocca Sisters to ensure donations can be made on Saturday, August 13th at any of the three Kids’ Fest locations – Brant Hills Park, Cumberland Park and Millcroft Park.

The last day for donations is Sunday, August 14th. Find up-to-date information on the program at www.opendoorscommunity.ca/backpacks

 

 

 

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Is the city now asking people to file a Freedom of Information request and pay a fee to get what in the past has been on the city web site and available to anyone ?

By Pepper Parr

August 5th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

On the matter of it getting harder to get public information from city hall – try this one.

A citizen who is active in civic matters; has delegated at city hall, appeared at Ontario Municipal Hearings and knows his way around public issues.

He wanted to check on something related to a former development application; there was some information related to wind studies and traffic projections that he wanted to review again. That information was online at the old city web site. Is there a reason why the same information wasn’t on the new web site? And if there is a reason, when is the public going to get wind of it?

The city communications people have explained that: “we are still in the process of updating these development webpages and configuring our website. Some site configurations, like the development projects pages, can’t be fully completed in a staging\testing environment so they need to be done on the live site. We are in the process of migrating supporting documents for applications, this is a extensive process as there are almost 60 application pages with at times over 20 large documents for each application.

“If you require specific documents please reach out if you do not yet see on the site.”

What we are getting from the communications people is reasonable – it would have been more professional of them to have alerted both the media and the public on what to expect as the changeover to a new web site design takes place.

What we are getting from the communications people however is not what the public is getting when they call their friends in the planning department.

In the back and forth communications set out below we are not identifying the city planner or the Gazette reader.

We don’t believe the planner is telling people on his own that the public should use FOI’s to get information. Our belief is that the planners have been told to explain this to the public

Our reader put in a call to a planner that he thought he had a decent working relationship with – and finished the call wondering what was going on.

In a nut shell he was told that if he wanted information on a development he could file a Freedom of Information request.

His comments about the state of engagement with city hall were blunt and direct – “It’s a sham.”

From the planner who was explaining how to use the FOI process.
https://www.burlington.ca/en/council-and-city-administration/freedom-of-information.aspx

The Gazette reader learned from the old city web site that: Most requests for information can be resolved without the formal use of the Act. We release certain types of records in response to an informal request as part of our routine disclosure. Fees for requests for information under routine disclosure are based on our Rates and Fees Bylaw (By-law 061-2021).

The Gazette reader wonders if the by-law and ” Fees for request for information under routine disclosure has been changed and adds that “If you follow the suggested process to find readily available planning docs you get the following:

“Information and material that is required to be provided to the City under the Ontario Planning Act is available to the public.
“You can request records with the Committee of Adjustment by phone at 905-335-7777, ext. 7629. You can direct all other planning record requests to 905-335-7777, ext. 7642 or planning@burlington.ca.

“Applicable fees will apply.

The Gazette reader: “I think this may give you everything you may need without me sharing my source. The question that comes to mind immediately is: Who is telling planners to stop being helpful and direct them somewhere else?

“Does this mean that public data is going to require an FOI request – for which I will pay a fee?’

It had a very very short term impact: City Hall didn’t like it and wanted changed made. Council voted unanimously to Receive and File the report

Burlington has been down this path before. In 2010 former Mayor Walter Mulkewich and the late John Boich wrote a report that was called Shape Burlington.

Current Councillor Paul Sharman was on the committee that wrote the report.

A link to the report is set out below.

The issues in 2010 were about city hall not providing the information the public wanted. Nothing changes – there is a mindset within the municipal sector that has them believing that they do not have to respond to what the public wants. And with Council members that do not make it clear to the city manager that staff are in place to serve the public nothing is ever going to change.

Link to the Shape Burlington Report – 2010

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Freeman Station to be open on Saturday - posters on Lakeshore Road will be in place all weekend

By Pepper Parr

August 5th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Lots to do in the weekend ahead of us.

Station will be open on Saturday

The Freeman Station is going to be open from 10 am to 3:00 pm on Saturday.   They will be accepting Food items for the Food bank; keep that in mind when you do your shopping.

Heritage week is coming to a close – the collection of signs depicting the city’s past will be up all weekend – word is they might be around for part of next week as well.

When David Craig came up with the idea for the large posters few thought they would be so popular.

When awards are being handed out for the bright ideas one has to go to Craig.

One of the best ideas in some time. The public got to see the historical routes of the city.

 

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Jeffrey Graham is missing

By Staff

August 4th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) is seeking the public’s assistance is locating Jeffrey Graham (56) of Burlington.  He was last seen at approximately 9:00 am on August 3, 2022 in the area of Torrance Street and Lakeshore Road in Burlington.

Jeffrey Graham – missing

Jeffrey was driving a white Dodge Ram at the time he was last seen.

Jeffrey is described as:

• Male
• White
• Approximately 5’7” tall, 170 lbs. (slim build)
• Dark grey hair (buzz cut) with a beard
• Wearing a white or grey shirt, beige shorts, black baseball hat, thick/round glasses and blue and white New Balance running shoes.

Police and his family are concerned for his well-being and are asking anyone with information about him or his possible location to contact police through 9-1-1 or via the non-emergency line at 905 825 4777.

Tips can also be submitted anonymously to Crime Stoppers. “See something? Hear something? Know something? Contact Crime Stoppers” at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or through the web at www.haltoncrimestoppers.ca.

A person can be reported missing at any time – there is no 24 hour waiting period. If you are concerned for someone’s immediate safety, call 9-1-1. Otherwise, you can report a person as missing to the Halton Regional Police Service by calling the non-emergency number 905-825-4777.

 

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Halton Region Public Health confirms rabies in a bat found in Oakville

By Staff

August 4th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Covid19, then Monkey Pox, then close to unbearable weather and now bats have been found in Oakville with rabies.

Just seeing one of these would case death by fright

Halton Region Public Health confirmed that a bat tested positive for rabies. The bat was found in the West Oakville neighbourhood, south of Speers Road and east of Fourth Line. This is the first confirmed case of animal rabies in Halton Region this year.

Rabies is a viral disease that causes severe damage to the brain and spinal cord and, if untreated before symptoms appear, can lead to death.
The virus is spread through the saliva of an infected animal such as a raccoon, skunk, bat, dog, fox, or other wild animal, usually through a bite or scratch. Rabies illness in humans can be prevented by the use of a rabies vaccine, which is extremely effective, but only if it is administered before symptoms occur.

Although rabies in bats is rare, bites from rabid bats have caused almost all human cases of rabies in Canada over the past several years. Bats have small, needle-like teeth, and their bites easily go undetected. If you have been bitten, scratched or exposed to bat saliva, wash any wounds thoroughly with soap and water and seek medical attention immediately.

It is not always possible to identify if a bat has rabies, however rabid bats may move slowly, lose the ability to fly, remain active during daylight hours or be unresponsive to loud noises. If you find a bat in your home, do not attempt to move it and contact your local Animal Control Services.

There are a number of ways you can protect your family and pets from rabies:

• Wash bite or scratch wounds from any animal with soap and water and seek medical attention immediately.
• Report all animal bites or scratches to Halton Region Public Health by calling 311.
• Warn your children to stay away from any wild, stray or aggressive animals.
• Do not touch, feed or move wildlife, including young, sick or injured animals.
• Avoid animals that are behaving strangely.
• Do not keep wild animals as pets.
• Do not touch dead or sick animals.
• If you find a stray animal, report it to your local Animal Control Services.
• Make sure your pet’s rabies vaccinations are up to date.
• Keep your pet on a leash when off your property.
• Have your pet seen by a veterinarian if it has come in contact with a bat or other wild animal.
• Animal-proof your home by filling any holes that could allow animals to enter.

 

 

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HRPS to Launch eTickets Pilot Project

By Pepper Parr

August 4th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Mike Burton is a Sgt with the Halton Regional Police Service.

He has something to tell you – to be more precise, Mike wants to tell you how the Regional Police are going to issue you a ticket the next time you have earned one.

They will be doing t electronically.

The Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) is launching a new Electronic Tickets, or ‘eTickets’, pilot project in its 3 District (Burlington) on August 9, 2022.

You won’t see the ticket being written up this way in the future.

Officers in the 3 District Response Unit, which focuses on Traffic Enforcement, will pilot the project, with the District Response Units in 1 District (Milton/Halton Hills) and 2 District (Oakville) joining the pilot in early fall 2022. The HRPS expects to have eTickets adopted by all frontline officers by early 2023.

eTickets are digitally filled out, with the aid of a licence reader, and printed from HRPS officers’ mobile work stations. While the tickets (Provincial Offence Notices) have a completely different look, they hold the same weight in court as the previous format and offer clear, easy to read instructions to members of the public.

“For members of the public, eTickets just simply look different, but behind the scenes, eTickets offer many efficiencies and advantages to our officers,” says Deputy Chief Roger Wilkie. “eTickets streamline the entire ticketing process, meaning our officers can spend less time on paperwork and more time in the community focused on safety and well-being.”

The eTicketing solution provides officers with convenient pre-populated menus of common charges, and has the flexibility to enter less-common offences and warnings as required. The eTicket solution also integrates directly with the Halton’s records management system, Niche. This means increased accuracy and efficiencies in record keeping, compared to carbon-copy tickets which are hand-filled.

Want to know more about this latest introduction of technology into your life? Click HERE for the video.

 

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Milton Mayor faces an unknown in the October municipal election

By Pepper Parr

August 4th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It is now official.

Milton Mayor Gord Krantz sitting in his office – which is just off the entrance to the Town Hall – little in the way of security. Krantz doesn’t think he needs any security.

Milton Mayor Gord Krantz is going to have to run a campaign but it won’t be against a member of his Council.

Saba Ishaq has announced she will be running for the office of Mayor.

As the incumbent Krantz has a very strong head start.

When you attach the word “incumbent” to Krantz you are talking about decades.

We weren’t able to learn very much about Saba Ishaq during our short call earlier today.

A sleepy voice answered the phone and said that yes she was running for Mayor – could we call back tomorrow or in the evening.

And that was it.

Other than a reference to a place of employment:

“Saba Ishaq. Director. 9 years of consulting experience, working with both senior executives to define strategic direction and team leaders to implement …”

there isn’t much more at this point.

We were not able to obtain a recent photograph of Saba Ishaq

For Ms Ishaq to have even a chance she is going to have to run a whirl wind of a campaign and hope that a fairy with a magic wand is on her campaign team

Gord will still be out there doing what he does quite well – telling the people of Milton what he has done for them.

 

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Remembering to drop off some needed items at the Food Bank will help

By Staff

August 4th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Tummies don’t don’t know how to take vacations. Shelves are close to bare the the Food Bank.

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The Region may have a very low crime rate - but there is still a lot of crime taking place. High end car theft is close to rampant in Oakville

By Staff

August 4th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

We reported yesterday that the Region of Halton had the lowest ranking on the Crime Severity index in all of Canada and that Halton has held that position for the past 24 years.

A lot of the reasons behind that statement is the geography and the social makeup of the city.

A lot of poor people in Hamilton – a lot of crime as well

Peel Region to the east of Halton has a very mixed diversity which often has high rates of crime.  Not always.

Population mix, income and education levels are critical measures.  The COVID-19 pandemic continued to impact Canada’s economy, health care system and society in general throughout 2021, changing how people interact, socialize, learn, work and consume. Overall, while police-reported crime in Canada, as measured by the Crime Severity Index (CSI), was virtually unchanged in the second year of the pandemic, there were notable shifts in the nature of reported crimes.

For the first time since 2006, the year-over-year changes in the Violent and Non-Violent CSIs moved in opposite directions. These shifts provide important insight into the way in which crime in Canada changed following the onset of the pandemic.

The Violent CSI rose 5% in 2021, reaching a level higher than that before the beginning of the pandemic. The increase in violent crime compared with 2020 was attributable in part to higher rates of level 1 sexual assault, harassing and threatening behaviours, and homicide, among others.

Additionally, the number of hate-motivated crimes reported by police increased by 27% to 3,360 incidents. Higher numbers of hate crimes targeting religion, sexual orientation and race or ethnicity accounted for the majority of the increase.

In contrast, the Non-Violent CSI—which includes, for example, property offences and drug offences—continued to decline (-3%), after a 9% drop in 2020. These two consecutive decreases follow five years of increases. Much of the decline in 2021 was because of lower rates of breaking and entering (-10%) and theft of $5,000 or under (-4%).

The overall CSI changed from 73.9 in 2020 to 73.7 in 2021. This follows a 7% drop in the CSI in 2020, the first decrease after five years of successive increases. The CSI measures the volume and severity of police-reported crime in Canada and has a base index value of 100 for 2006. The police-reported crime rate, which measures only the volume of crime, was 5,375 incidents per 100,000 population in 2021, up 1% from 2020.

Police-reported metrics include only those incidents that come to the attention of police, either through reporting by the public or proactive policing. As a complementary measure, results from the 2019 General Social Survey (GSS) on Canadians’ Safety (Victimization) showed that just under one-third (29%) of violent and non-violent incidents were reported to police. Similarly, just over one-fifth (22%) of incidents perceived to be motivated by hate were reported to police.

Across the provinces and territories, there were contrasting annual changes in the CSI. From 2020 to 2021 in Canada, six provinces and Nunavut reported increases in their CSI, while the other provinces and territories reported decreases. Among census metropolitan areas (CMAs), or large cities, 22 of 35 reported increases, while the remainder reported decreases or no change in their CSI.

Among the provinces, Quebec (+5%) and Ontario (+1%) reported increases in their CSI in 2021 and therefore had the largest upward impact on the change in the national CSI. The rise in Canada’s two largest provinces was because of relatively large increases in level 1 sexual assault, as well as growth in general fraud in Quebec and an increase in homicide in Ontario.

In contrast, the CSI in the provinces of Alberta (-7%) and British Columbia (-5%) had the largest relative downward impact on the national CSI. The violations driving these decreases were breaking and entering; theft of $5,000 or under; and, to a lesser extent, general fraud. As was the case at the national level, both provinces also reported relatively large increases in level 1 sexual assault.

Sharp rise in the rate of police-reported level 1 sexual assault

The rise in Canada’s Violent CSI in 2021 was primarily driven by an 18% increase in the rate of level 1 sexual assault. This rise accounted for over one-third of the increase in the Violent CSI. In contrast, the rates of police-reported level 2 and 3 sexual assault decreased 5% and 13%, respectively. In total, level 1 sexual assault accounted for 98% of police-reported sexual assaults in 2021.

Sexual assault is classified in the Criminal Code in three separate categories, depending on the nature and severity of the incident: level 1 involves assault of a sexual nature that violates the sexual integrity of the victim; level 2, sexual assault with a weapon or causing bodily harm, involves sexual assault with a weapon, with threats to use a weapon or causing bodily harm; and level 3, aggravated sexual assault, involves sexual assault that wounds, maims, disfigures or endangers the life of the victim.

Overall, there were 34,242 police-reported sexual assaults (levels 1, 2 and 3) in 2021, representing 90 incidents per 100,000 population. This marks the highest rate since 1996. Before a decrease in 2020—the first year of the pandemic—the rate of sexual assault had risen steadily for five years. All provinces reported an increase in 2021, whereas all territories reported a decline. Similarly, of the 35 CMAs, 29 reported increases.

Despite considerable public discussion of issues around sexual violence in recent years, the number of sexual assaults reported by police is likely a significant underestimate of the true extent of sexual assault in Canada, since these types of offences often go unreported to police. For instance, the most recently available self-reported data from the 2019 GSS on Victimization show that 6% of sexual assault incidents experienced by Canadians aged 15 and older in the previous 12 months were brought to the attention of police.

Pandemic-related lockdown conditions, particularly in the first year of the pandemic, could have exacerbated the underreporting of sexual assaults. Inversely, the later easing of restrictions might have led to an increase in reporting to police, either by victims or by third-party individuals or services.

Through constant and continued public warnings and the offering of places people who are threatened can call and turn to for help – Halton has been able to keep a bit of a lid on some of the more violent incidents and keep the public aware that there are options that wil get them out of dangerous situations.

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5 Canadian Side Hustles - Worth Looking Into

By Eszter Ivan

August 4th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Looking for the next money-making side hustle you can utilize while in Canada? Look no further, in today’s article are going over the top 5 Canadian side hustles you should consider today!

The ultimate side hustles in Canada that can amount to up to $22 an hour.

Food Delivery
Food delivery has become one of the ultimate side hustles in Canada that can amount to up to $22 an hour. That’s pretty good considering in the best Canadian cities you can even complete deliveries with just a bicycle.

Although quite the physical task to do on a bike it’s the best way to maximize profits. Motorbikes are the second best alternative but will require fuel costs and a licence apart from an actual motorcycle. Besides that, the next alternative would be to do it by car but this has its own problems like getting stuck in traffic and parking issues.

Overall food delivery services are quite easy to get started, sign up with companies such as Uber eats and boom you’re pretty much ready to go after acceptance. Plus you get to work your own hours with such companies and basically, you’re your own boss.

Professional Gambler
Although this sounds like more of a gamble than a hustle, gambling can actually be a fun way to make a quick buck. Today finding an online casino in Canada is quite simple, making a profit is the hard part.

Many have heard the phrase the house always wins, but what if you’re not playing against the house? Games like poker do not involve the house in any of the gaming done except for the dealer and cards provided.

Poker is a game played against other players on the table, finding a live online casino table can also mean having a real-life dealer handle the cards instead of RNG.

Arts
A lot of “intellectual” politicians will argue that art produces no monetary value, while at the same time purchasing pieces of art for almost stupid prices in packed rooms at Art Galleries.

Poppies stained glass piece highlights the red leaves on the tree outside the studio.

Art has always been thrown down the well when it comes to money talks and has always been tough to monetize. Since art is based on taste, what looks great to me and inspires millions of others can look horrid and dissatisfying to look at.

Thankfully today artists no longer require the use of Art galleries to get famous, although art galleries will still hold massive importance in the art communities today many artists can create digital art and sell it for a profit online.

Photography
Not much to be said in this chapter, just like physical art, photography has long been thrown under the bus. Thankfully today in the digital era where content and marketing are essential the need for photographs has risen drastically.

Thankfully today many companies also pay a pretty penny for photos that can be used on wallpapers and other home decors.

Leaf raking and yard clean up is a repeat business that is assured by great customer service

Landscaping
Landscaping in Canada is a huge untapped market. Although typically done by the younger generation with little investment this side hustle can turn into a full-on business. The job will usually entail mowing grass lawns and cleaning up the trees and bushes found outside the home. In Canada, landscaping service needs spike up during winter times due to snow and the need for snow to be ploughed!

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If there is ever going to be affordable housing decision makers need to know more about where people are living now.

By Staff

August 3rd, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Community Development Haltom is a non-profit organization that focuses on community wide issues within the Region of HAlton.
They provide data that aids decision makers at the Regional and municipal level.

The number of people living in a household, i.e., household size, can have various social and economic implications. For example, smaller households will increase the demand for more housing, most likely in the form of apartments or condominiums, and more household items like furniture and appliances. Financially, smaller households can have fewer wage earners and possibly lower household incomes. The opposite is true for larger households. In addition, members in larger households can enjoy some household economies of scale in the consumption of goods and services.

For decades, households were getting smaller due to lower fertility rates, higher separation and divorce rates, and more people remaining single.

However, there are signs that the decline is slowing or even levelling off.

The growth has taken place in Milton – they had greenfield land left. Now that the housing growth will be in high rise – there may be changes in where the growth happens. Burlington is going to create three new communities in the next two decades around the GO stations.

In Halton municipalities, with growth and demographic changes, household size trends might vary from the provincial or national patterns. The average household size for Halton Hill and Oakville has been at 2.9 for the last two decades. Burlington’s household size dropped in 2006 and levelled off at 2.5. Milton’s household size rose from 2.9 in 2006 to 3.3 in 2021.

The share of households by size varies among the local municipalities. In 2021, Burlington had the highest proportion of 1- person and 2-person households and the lowest proportion in the other categories.

Milton had the highest proportion of 4- and 5+ person households accounting for over 45% of all households within the municipality.

Large families were in houses – as high rise apartments appear – where will the large families live?

The following chart shows the percentage of the population in various sizes of household. In all municipalities, less than 10% of the population live in

This data is what is going to have to be fully understood – what is it telling us?

1- person households. Over one quarter (27%) of Burlington’s residents live in 2-person households. In Milton, only 4% of Milton’s population live alone. About one-third (33%) live in 4 person households compared to 16% in Burlington. Milton also has the highest share of the population living in 5+ households.

This data cannot remain the same – there aren’t going to be any new single family dwellings in Oakville and Burlington.

About 80% of Halton’s households lived in houses as compared to Ontario’s 68% and Canada’s 64% respectively. These percentages change with the size of households reflecting the affordability and availability of housing. For example, among the 1-person households, over 60% lived in houses in Milton and Halton Hills, 50% in Oakville and only 40% in Burlington (60% in apartments).

Community Development Halton/Source: Statistics Canada, 2021 Census Table 98-10-0040-01

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What is private information and what is public information: Where you ward councillor lives appears to be private.

By Pepper Parr

August 3rd, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Has the issue of personal privacy gone a little too far or is it that the City Clerk doesn’t understand the job he has.

A candidate for public office has asked the City Clerk for a copy of Form 1 – the document that every candidate for public office has to complete when filing their nominations.

The candidate was told that the form could not be released because there was private information on the form; one of which is the candidates address.

A portion of the nomination form

Does that mean that a voter does not get to know if the candidate running in the ward actually lives in the ward.  For many people – this is a defining issue – ‘if you don’t live here how can you represent me?’

The disturbing part of this situation is that all the data is archived and on line.

Set out below is a list of the forms that can be accessed.  Data for the current election is of course not yet archived..

The location on the provincial web site for archived municipal election data.. Nothing private.

At the end of an election every person who was on the ballot is required to file a Financial report setting out how much money they spent and where that money came from and to provide the donors address.

Nicholas Leblovic serving as Chair of the Waterfront Advisory Committee that was sunset by the city. Leblovic was not a happy camper

During the 2018 campaign Nicholas Leblovic, 126 Birett Drive, Burlington L7L 2S9 donated  $80.00 on 2018-07-24,

He had previously donated  $500 on 2018-05-05 from 1335 Ontario Street, Unit 11, Burlington, ON

It is all public information.

Full disclosure: Leblovic once sued the Gazette, that was known as Our Burlington at the time.  He sued the company, the publisher and the Directors for $1 million – then failed to follow through on his Statement of Claim

Quite why the City Clerk has an issue with releasing a copy of the nomination information is a little more puzzling.

There are other issues on getting information from city hall.  A planner appears to have told a citizen that he could get information that used to be on the city web site by filing a Freedom of Information request.  It usually takes some time to get these applications processed and there is often a fee involved – a very stiff fee at times.

Anne Marsden is a candidate for Mayor in the October municipal election.  She points out that the nomination documents are available for inspection and copies are available. They just will not publish on line because, we were told they have address information on. These are public documents that can be obtained if requested so why not publish on line so folks can see everything is above board with the nomination papers.

Our question stands:  Does anyone who wants to see the papers have to trot down to city hall to look at what is public information.  There is something in the water at city hall that makes some of the people who toil there do really really stupid things.

 

 

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Still a lot of questions over the public spectacle the Mayor made of herself over an apology

By Pepper Parr

August 3rd. 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

With this great weather we get out into the community more often – at least once a day we get asked about the 14 minute spectacle that took place in June.

We excerpted the squabble between the Mayor and the Councillor over just when an apology was going to be said in a public session of Council

One reader took me aside and asked what impact does the Mayor and Council have on who is hired and who is fired.

City Manager Tim Commisso runs the administrative side of the city and acts on directions from Council. Anything that happens – administratively, happens because Tim Commisso wants it to happen.

City Council hires one person and only one person – the City Manager hires everyone else EXCEPT in those situations where he has delegated authority to one of his Executive Directors.

If that is the case said the person I was talking with – why was the Mayor permitted to speak to a situation that involved a Staff member?

Why did Tim Commisso not cut in – he would do that by asking the Clerk to give him the floor – and advise the Mayor that this is a staffing matter and he will take care of it.

The more we listen to the 14 minute back and forth between Mayor Meed Ward and Councillor Stolte – the more concerned we become over just what has happened to a Council that was the bright hope for most people in 2018

That 14 minutes is HERE

On the day of the Council meeting Mayor Meed Ward took part virtually – she was in London, Ontario attending her daughter’s graduation ceremony and was not always fully aware of what was happening in the Council Chamber.

Links to the event:

The Mayor comes out swinging – Councillor ducks and leaves the room

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Region has the Lowest Crime Severity Index Among all Large Municipalities in Canada for the 24th Straight Year

By Staff

August 3rd, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Crime in the Region of Halton has the (lowest) crime severity index among all large municipalities in Canada for the 24th straight year, and we also have the highest rate of solving crimes!

There are a number of reason for this – the Region does not have communities that are made up for the most part of financially disadvantaged people.

And the police service has access to some of the top crime solving tools in the country.
The police officers are also well trained.

The Halton Police Board is committed to ensuring that policing actions and consequences are aligned with Community needs, values and expectations.

These results clearly illustrate the alignment and global effectiveness and efficiency of our dedicated officers and civilian staff. These results also reflect the essential partnership between our Community and its Police Service – these results can only be possible with a supportive community engaged proactively in crime prevention and actively cooperating with police investigations and other activities.

About the Halton Police Board

The Halton Police Board is a seven-member civilian Board that provides strategic oversight to the Halton Regional Police Service. Under the Police Services Act, the Board has legislated responsibility for the Police Service’s operating and capital budgets; strategic planning; policies and priorities. The Police Board’s fundamental responsibility is to ensure that adequate and effective police services are provided to the citizens of Halton Region.

 

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Why is critical information on pending developments no longer available on the city web site ?

By Pepper Parr

August 2nd, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

FOLLOW UP:  We received the following from the city after the story was published:

Sharing we are still in the process of updating these development webpages and configuring our website. Some site configurations, like the development projects pages, can’t be fully completed in a staging\testing environment so they need to be done on the live site. We are in the process of migrating supporting documents for applications, this is a extensive process as there are almost 60 application pages with at times over 20 large documents for each application.

If you require specific documents please reach out if you do not yet see on the site.

 

That new look web site turns out to be hiding much of the information that was available on the older version.

We will take you through the changes – the question before we start is who determined what the changes should be and at what level were they approved..

I think this one is going to smell quite a bit.

It was possible with the old web site to go to the page with the developments taking place in a ward.

The only thing you can now learn about this project – next to Joe Dogs on Brant is that is has been appealed to the OLT.

You could scroll through each of the developments.

You could look at and read the Planning Justification reports, the Parking Study, the Storm Water study – everything that the developer was required to submit.

None of that data is available on the new web site.

This is critical stuff for both those who stay on top of development issues but also those people who are looking to buy an property and do their homework rather than believe everything the real estate agent tells them.

Why was that information removed?

Do the members of council know about this?

Does the Mayor know about this ?

If they do – why did they not ask that the information remain on the various development sections of the city web site?

If they do – what the heck is going on at city hall?

It seems that almost every time you turn around there is more and more information that is no longer available.

This from a city staff that brags about how much engagement they do with the public and at the same time take steps to remove the information that citizens need to be engaged.

City communications department is getting back to us with an explanation.  We’ll pass that along to you.

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What do storage units tel us about the apartments that are being built.

By Pepper Parr

August 2nd, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

What does this promotional bill board

Under construction and coming soon on Guelph Line just north of the QEW

Have to do with this web site announcement?

The Berkely at John and Maria – some very small units

In the world of residential housing  they feed each other – they make each other possible

The apartment units now in the planning stage for the significant number of high rise towers that are going to be built in Burlington at some point – because the province said we have to grow the population.

Many of the units are small – very small – many in the 650 sq foot range.

Not much room in that amount of space for much more than a bed, a kitchen table and a stand for the big monitor that will stream movies.

The story the builders tell is that these units are just what a segment of the population is looking for – they will live alongside the GO station and will be living their social life in Toronto – and will just sleep in Burlington.

City Council wants to see more two and three bedroom units – there will be some – how many – no one is sating very much at this point.

What the public does hear from the developers is that they support the idea of affordable units – but again – nothing firm.

Carriage Gate promised a specific number of units in the Berkely development on John at Maria – that sort of didn’t happen.

Human beings need space – crowding families, even individuals into 650 sq. ft. boxes is just plain unhealthy.

Storage space is non existent. In the past developers offered a storage unit in the basement – it wasn’t much to speak of – but it was space.

The need for a place to put the ski’s or the summer play stuff became a market the storage people were quick to fill.

This part of the structure under construction tells you it is going to be a tall building.

Dymon Storage, an Ottawa based firm is building a very large storage facility on Guelph Line just north of the QEW.  In their promotional materiel they tell a story that fits in perfectly with what those who buy small condo units.

This tell you the structure is going to have hundreds of storage units.

Think of Dymon Storage as an extension of your life. We do.
Here’s where we can help

Short-term storage for your renovation

Moving to a new home with less storage space

Storage for your seasonal items

Declutter your home for staging

Garment or wardrobe storage

Student move-out storage

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