A Promise Made is A Promise Kept

By Ray Rivers

December 5th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

A promise made is a promise kept is Premier Doug Ford’s mantra. Back in 2018, Mr. Ford promised a bunch of developers that if elected he would break up its boundaries and allow development in the Greenbelt. With that, the most popular premier in Ontario’s history, Bill Davis, must have turned in his grave.

Former Premier Davis, after all, was the father of Ontario’s Greenbelt. Back in 1973 he created the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act. Even back then he was determined to preserve Ontario’s valuable natural land from the threat of exploitative development, mainly quarry activity and urban sprawl.

Ontario’s Greenbelt, the world’s largest permanently protected green space.

Even Mike Harris, who nobody could mistake for an environmentalist, created the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan in 2001, protecting 90% of the moraine. That included almost a half million acres of land protected from development activity of one sort or another. Ultimately the government of Dalton McGuinty folded both of these tracts and another million acres of prime farmland into Ontario’s Greenbelt, the world’s largest permanently protected green space.

Premier Doug Ford.

As Ford got into his 2018 election campaign, he must have forgotten what he had promised the developers because he made another election promise to Ontario’s voters that he would keep the Greenbelt intact. And he must have meant it because he repeated that promise four years later as he breezed into his second election victory.

But it seems that all promises are not equal. Because less than six months, after winning his last majority government, he passed an act to fracture the integrity of the Greenbelt, thereby green lighting more urban sprawl. In fact some of the developers had purchased even more acreage in the Greenbelt in anticipation of the inevitable. After all, a promise made is a promise kept.

Ford’s not apologizing for any of this. Justin Trudeau had proclaimed that half a million immigrants would be coming to Canada annually. And that became Mr. Ford’s get-out-of-jail card, he thought. The province forecasts as many as 300,000 immigrants a year will be coming here and they’ll all live in the Greenbelt, or so it seems.

Of course Mr. Ford could take a page out of fellow Quebec Premier Legault’s book and say no to the PM, whose immigration policies will create so much more disruption to Ontario’s housing market. But Ford has embraced the immigration numbers as proof that he needs to open up the Greenbelt.

And to add insult to injury and further confuse the public, Ford is playing a shell game with the Greenbelt – adding new replacement land which is not under development threat. Robbing Peter is still theft even if Paul gets paid.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau welcoming newcomers to Canada

In the end what is most likely to be built are more multi-million dollar estate homes. What else would one build so far from main trunk sewers, water mains, transit and employment? That is exactly the kind of urban sprawl the Greenbelt was created to prevent. And that will hardly make a dent in the supply of more housing, affordable housing least of all.

Do the math on Ford’s deal. He’s taking out 7400 acres of previously undeveloped land. That would build 740 ten acre estate homes, or 7400 one-acre homes, the minimum development tract for most rural municipalities. That is a long way from the 1.5 million homes the Premier is talking about. None of this makes sense – it just stinks to high heaven.

People keep pointing out that there is all kinds of underdeveloped land in the current urban footprint. Ford, if he was serious about satisfying the demand for housing, could consider all the empty brownfields in the GTA for a starter. And that land already has sewer, water, hydro and road infrastructure.

Schools are sitting vacant in old established areas that are ripe for redevelopment. Research conducted by the CBC confirms that a great deal of land is already available in both Halton Region and Toronto; for example 6,000 and 118,610 housing units, respectively, have been approved but not built. But the easy money is in developing virgin land.

It is difficult to see what Ford is doing as anything but catering to the economic interests of the developers, many of whom are also significant political donors. What is it called when a politician in a position of power changes the rules to help associates, contacts and/or friends to make big money? And it was Mr Ford who had falsely accused Premier Wynne of corruption.

In short, Ford has prioritized the economic interests of a handful of land developers over the rights of the rest of us to preserve our living environment for future generations. That says a lot about the Premier. There may be good reasons for a politician to break his trust with the public. But lining the pockets of the developers he knows should not be one of them.

Ray Rivers is a contributing editor who from time to time writes on matters of significant public interest.  A former federal government economist, Rivers has run for public office and has served on advisory committees at both the municipal, provincial and federal levels.

 

 

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Travelling with Technology: what gear should you take and what do you need to know about where you are going

By Craig Lebrau

December 4th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

With so many options available, choosing the right technology to bring along on your next trip can be overwhelming. Whether you are looking for Vik hotels or just scrolling through social media deciding on your next destination. Fortunately, by following these six essential tips, you’ll know exactly what you need to know about travelling with technology for your next trip anywhere in the world.

Photo by Héctor Martínez

Six essential Tips For Travelling With Technology

1) Bring Extra Cables and Power Adapters

Bring extra cables and power adapters. The more you have, the better. You never know what will happen to your device while travelling, and having an extra cable or power adapter can be a lifesaver. However, some countries may have different plug types so make sure you know what type of plug your devices use before you leave home.

2) Get Travel Insurance

If you’re travelling with technology, it’s important to be prepared for the worst. That means having a plan in place for when your device breaks or gets stolen and for how you’ll get home if you don’t have any of your belongings with you. Luckily, there are travel insurance plans that can help protect you from some of these potential disasters. You’ll want to carefully review your coverage limits and think about what level of protection is right for you before buying anything.

3) Create backups of important files

It’s always a good idea to backup your important files before travelling with technology. A good way to do that is by using an online storage service like Dropbox or Google Drive. Backup any information you’ll need while travelling and save the file on the computer and in the cloud. When it comes time to leave, pack up the device with its charger, cords, cables and all other related items so it will be ready for when you return home.

4) Use encryption

Use encryption to protect your data. This is a key step for any traveller, but especially those who travel with their technology. Whether you’re using a laptop, tablet or smartphone, encrypting your device and the data on it can help prevent your information from being accessed by others in the event that your device is lost or stolen. There are plenty of different encryption tools available for both personal and business use; some are more complicated than others, so do some research before choosing one that’s right for you. Protect yourself online when using public WiFi connections. Public WiFi connections can be convenient when travelling but also present a security risk due to the lack of protection they offer you against hackers looking to steal your data and identity.

5) Keep devices charged

Different procedures exist in different countries when it comes to charging your electronic devices

Make sure your devices are charged and have enough battery life for the duration of your trip. Bring a charger with you if you’re going to be away from an outlet for an extended period of time. This is especially important when travelling internationally, as many countries use different types of plugs and outlets. If you’re bringing a tablet or laptop, make sure it has enough memory space and storage available for storing photos, videos, music and other media files while you travel.

6) Be aware of local laws and customs

Understand the laws and customs of your destination country, as they can vary widely from region to region. You may be tempted to share your vacation on social media, but in some countries this can violate local laws. Keep in mind that different countries have different restrictions on what you are able to take into or out of their borders. If you are visiting a country with an airport, it is essential that you know what items you are and are not allowed to bring through security screening checkpoints. It’s important to note that these rules and regulations change often, so be sure to check the current guidelines before travelling.

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Has the ward 2 Councillor taken on more than anyone should attempt

By Pepper Parr

December 4th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

In a recent newsletter Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns set out for her constituents the job she has undertaken for this first year of her second term as a city Councillor.

It is both impressive and daunting and, one might ask, possible?

Lisa Kearns is :

Deputy Mayor for Community Engagement & Partnerships: Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns

The portfolio will include:
• Reviewing our current community engagement models, including our advisory committee structure, with a view to community capacity building.
• Liaising with our partner agencies/boards/committees on governance, and ensuring strong connections with the city, and council
• Co-sponsor with the Deputy Mayor for Recreation & Community Services on community funding opportunities at the City and Region and private sponsorship opportunities for city projects.

City level appointments:
Deputy Mayor, Jan – April 2023
Chair, Budget
Vice Chair, Environment Infrastructure & Community Services
Downtown Parking Advisory Committee
Audit Standing Committee
Art Gallery of Burlington
Burlington Downtown Business Association
Burlington Sound of Music Festival
Burlington Public Library

We emphasize the budget chair – the city is facing a very challenging year financially as a result of changes the provincial government has made in park land dedication and development charges issues.  Kearns certainly has the smarts to handle the job – she has the sharpest mind on the current council, but like the rest of us all she has is 24 hours in any one day.

Yet to be determined is the role she will play at the Regional level.

Add in – the two children.

Can one person do all this ?

Should one person even attempt to do all this?

And if the answer to both is yes – the third questions is: Effectively?

And let us not forget all those photo ops that are seen as so necessary for Councillor Kearns.

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The Developer that started it all with three towers on Lakeshore is feeling like an underdog.

By Staff

December 3rd, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The following was posted on the Molinaro Group web site.

There was a time when the Molinaro’s had a very strong, positive working relationship with the Mayor, most of city council and the planning department. They were seen as one of the more responsible developers in the city – the group that gave Lakeshore Road the look it has when they built Buntins Wharf, Harbour View and 360 Pearl. Things appear to have changed.

How Paradigm Grand became an Underdog Story

The original vision behind Paradigm Grand can be condensed into a few simple concepts, all of which now seem prescient in retrospect. The Molinaro Group saw underdeveloped land in an underrated midtown area of a still unheralded mid-sized city, and believed a master-planned lifestyle community was the right fit. Very few people agreed, at first.

With 2023 on the horizon, a swirl of emotions is coursing through the leadership team at the Molinaro Group as they prepare to flip the calendar and watch The Grand Finale of the Paradigm project march toward completion.

Putting the base in place called for tonnes of re bar and concrete. The cost of both has created a serious sales and marketing problems.

“We’re feeling joy, excitement, gratitude, and perhaps the slightest hint of redemption,” said Sam DiSanto, Managing Director of the Group.

While most of those emotions are obvious, “Redemption” requires some background.

Sam continues: “Back in 2008, apart from us, there were very few believers in a residential project on Fairview. That whole area was meant to be big box land. We had a vision for something entirely different. But it took a lot of work to get others to see it, too.”

And as Group President Vince Molinaro has shared, “We definitely saw something other developers, and even the city, just didn’t see… but we knew our concept would work. So, it feels great to know how well buyers and the city, as a whole, have gotten behind our concept at this location.”

Site supervisor keeping an eye on the pouring of concrete as the Paradigm development reaches grade level.

Location, in this case, was more than just a piece of land. It was also the site for a massive investment to create a transit hub, including GO trains and bus service.

“The transit element is a very European approach, and because all three of us have travelled throughout Europe together, we saw this kind of residential development in a lot of cities,” said Robert Molinaro, Executive VP at Molinaro. “It just made sense to bring this idea to Burlington.”

Even Great Ideas Face Opposition

Despite its being an ambitious, long-term, high value development, the likes of which the city had never seen before, Paradigm faced various degrees of resistance; what some might call NIMBYism. Oddly, the backyard for Paradigm was a railway corridor.

“Objections often come from being ill-informed or misinformed so, we made a huge effort to share the vision and to detail its many benefits to the city,” said DiSanto. “And even that wasn’t always enough.”

Now, almost 14 years since inception, it feels strange to see the real estate industry and governments at all levels, under fire for not building enough housing of all kinds to satisfy the demands and needs of buyers.

“We have pent-up demand from new Canadians and the frustrated offspring of current homeowners anxious to fulfill their own dream of home ownership, pinched by a market with too little inventory and daunting prices throughout the Golden Horseshoe and beyond,” said Linda Davies, Founding Broker of Davies Condos, the Molinaro’s long time exclusive broker for Paradigm.

“We’re the last people to say ‘we told you so,’” said Robert Molinaro. “Far from it; but we were convinced Burlington was a diamond in the rough with untapped potential as a vibrant, desirable place to live, work and raise a family.”

And it would be on a vacant lot, in what the Molinaro Group actually named ‘midtown,’ that the perfect spot existed to execute a grand vision. One that would see an ultra-modern condominium development that would come to be a new standard for Burlington.

Sam DiSanto says the driving force behind the origins of Paradigm can be distilled to a single word: patience.

“When we started looking at that property it was 2007. We knew transit was going to be extremely important,” he said. “So, we strongly encouraged the landowners to have the site re-zoned for mixed use and residential. At first, they disagreed but eventually took our advice. And when the zoning was in place, they reached back to us and we jumped on the deal. The rest is history.”

A Done Deal, Almost Undone

The three towers at the back of the development were sold out very quickly. Delays have kept construction starts low – with costs and mortgage increases creating a difficult situation.

History had to wait. As the first Phase of Paradigm sold out, consisting of three towers at the north end of the property, plans were already well underway – and mostly approved – to begin the launch of the remaining two towers that would front onto Fairview.

But the election cycle in local politics took over and more delays were put in place that delayed the launch of Paradigm Grand for over two years.

It’s pure speculation, but one has to wonder how that delay impacted the market of eager buyers then who are now facing higher prices and equally higher financing costs.

“These things happen and while they are frustrating, we stayed focused on the future and kept working with the city to move the final phase forward,” said Robert. “And that patience paid off when we got the green light to move ahead about a year ago.”

Solving the current housing crisis will take even more resolve and imagination in the years ahead. Based on today’s media headlines, it seems certain demand will only rise.

“The vision we had 15 years ago wasn’t based on a precise prediction about what’s going on today,” said Vince. “But we always look ahead, so our concept at Paradigm was right back then and now, with Paradigm Grand moving forward, it’s even more so now.”

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Mayor proposes making every member of Council a Deputy Mayor: an interesting initiative that could have a significant upside.

By Pepper Parr

December 4th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

At the beginning of each term, the Mayor provides recommendations to Committee and Council for appointments for Committee Chair & Vice Chair; Deputy Mayor rotation; and Agencies, Boards & Committees.

This term Mayor Meed Ward has found a way to allow members of council to grow their skill sets. In the past she had some difficulty getting her colleagues on side with a plan to make the role of Deputy Mayor more than what was a ceremonial fill in for the Mayor.

She has created the role of Deputy Mayor with portfolio, to leverage the skills, backgrounds and interests of council in specific areas of focus that align with the city’s Vision to Focus Strategic Plan and ongoing initiatives and priorities.

There will still be a need for the regular Deputy Mayor rotation for ceremonial events and emergencies, should the Mayor not be available.

Outlined below are:
1. Deputy Mayor with Portfolio proposals for the term
2. Deputy Mayor for Emergencies/Ceremonial rotation for the term
3. Chair/Vice Chair rotations for the term
4. Proposed appointments to Agencies, Boards and Committees for the term.
1. Deputy Mayor with Portfolio:

The Deputy Mayor with Portfolio is a new model of governance for this council.

The roles will evolve as the term progresses. Each member is encouraged to make the role their own and build on it, in conversation with the Mayor. The Deputy Mayor will lead on initiatives and work closely with the Mayor and the Mayor’s Office on the areas of focus in their portfolio, and with other Deputy Mayors where their portfolios include complementary activities.

Whatever the Deputy Mayors propose it is clearly going to have to meet the Mayor’s agenda – nothing new there.

All roles will include:
• being the point person for community liaison on these items
• leading on motions or resolutions to committee & council
• participating in intergovernmental meetings & delegations

Kelvin Galbraith

Deputy Mayor for Business & Red Tape Reduction: Ward 1 Councillor Kelvin Galbraith
This assignment builds on Councillor Galbraith’s extensive experience as a business owner, and the Co-Chair with the Mayor of the Red Tape Red Carpet Task Force established in the last term of council. The portfolio will include:
• Reviewing progress from the Red Tape Red Carpet Task Force – those meetings have already begun
• Co-sponsor on planning process improvements & legislative changes (with the Deputy Mayor for Housing), to get more housing, built faster at our strategic areas like aging retail plazas and our GO stations
• Cutting red tape for all businesses, and our rural area, to ensure a robust agricultural economy.
• Participating in intergovernmental advocacy on planning and legislative changes related to housing, economic development and quarries.

Lisa Kearns

Deputy Mayor for Community Engagement & Partnerships. Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns
This assignment builds on Councillor Kearns’ experience in resident’s groups even before being elected, her professional experience in corporate stakeholder management, and her Institute of Corporate Directors governance designation. The portfolio will include:
• Reviewing our current community engagement models, including our advisory committee structure, with a view to community capacity building.
• Liaising with our partner agencies/boards/committees on governance, and ensuring strong connections with the city, and council
• Co-sponsor with the Deputy Mayor for Recreation & Community Services on community funding opportunities at the City and Region and private sponsorship opportunities for city projects.

Rory Nisan

Deputy Mayor for the Environment: Ward 3 Councillor Rory Nisan
This assignment builds on Councillor Nisan’s experience bringing the Climate Change Emergency Declaration last term of council, and his advocacy on transit. The portfolio will include:
• Implementation of our Climate Action Plans

• Implementation of our Integrated Mobility Plans, including transit, cycling and walking
• Restarting discussions with the school boards on free transit for students, which was put on hold during COVID.
• Participating in intergovernmental advocacy on transit and quarries.

Shawna Stolte

Deputy Mayor for Housing: Ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte
This assignment builds on Councillor Stolte’s passion for attainable housing, and her experience as Chair of the community Working Group on Housing this past term. The portfolio will include:
• Implementation of our housing strategy which includes affordable and attainable housing
• Building on the work of the Burlington Lands Partnership to leverage new land acquisition for housing, where appropriate, including surplus school sites
• Liaison with Halton Region on assisted housing
• Co-sponsor on planning process improvements & legislative changes (with the Deputy Mayor for Business & Red Tape Reduction), to get more housing, built faster

Paul Sharman

Deputy Mayor for Strategy & Budgets: Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman
This assignment builds on Councillor Sharman’s extensive experience as a professional accountant and internationally known instructor for strategy and business process improvements. The portfolio will include:
• Oversight of implementation of our Vision to Focus strategic plan
• Development of Key Performance Indicators and progress reports so we know how we’re doing
• Guidance on process improvements and culture change across departments
• Expert advice and assistance with multi-year budget preparation

Angelo Bentivegna

Deputy Mayor for Recreation and Community Services: Ward 6 Councillor Angelo Bentivegna
This assignment builds on Councillor Bentivegna’s decades of volunteerism in our community, including with the hospital, sports clubs, and the Gift of Giving Back – Canada’s largest youth-led food drive. This also builds on his work on our Accessibility Advisory Committee and Inclusivity Advisory Committee. This portfolio will include:
• Involvement in the review and implementation of our Recreation and Cultural Master Plan, which will occur this term. This review will determine park needs and community amenity needs going forward
• Liaising and support to the charitable sector, and connecting non-profit organizations with City Hall and City Council

• Promoting community pride and inclusion. This includes new ways to support all our diverse communities and cultures within our city and region
• Co-sponsor with the Deputy Mayor for Community Engagement & Partnerships on community funding opportunities at the City and Region and private sponsorship opportunities for city projects.

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Toronto Mayor shows just what can be done when you have power - will Burlington's Mayor behave the same way?

By Pepper Parr

December 4th, 2022

BURLINGTON, O N

OPINION

Here is how it worked in Toronto.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward – already a strong Mayor. As Councillor Stolte if you have any doubts.

In his first substantive use of the expanded powers granted his office by the province, John Tory has used his “strong-mayor” authority to appoint a new city manager.

The city announced Friday that Paul Johnson will be Toronto’s top bureaucrat, effective immediately.

Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward has said she is not interested in having strong Mayor powers and so we take her at her word at this point.

But if she ever acquires those powers – this is what the city has to look forward to.

Not to worry – Mayor Meed Ward already has a city manager that will do he bidding plus a communications department that gets her message out.

 

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Public School Board holds 4th Human Rights Symposium - December 8th and 9th

By Staff

December 3rd, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Halton District School Board is hosting the fourth annual Human Rights Symposium on Thursday, Dec. 8 and Friday, Dec. 9, 2022 to engage in vital conversations and challenge thinking.

This year’s theme is Environmental Rights, which explores the interconnectedness of globalization, environment, Indigenous Rights, human rights and our collective responsibility to protect our planet.

The symposiums were introduced when Stuart Miller was the Director of Education; they had a bumpy start with Covid19 interesuptions – the event is niw a important part of the zzz that the Board of Education delivers to the community.

The Human Rights Symposium will feature two keynote speakers and will be a virtual event for HDSB students (Grade 7-12) and staff. Registration is not required and information on how to access the event will be shared with students and staff.

Sheila Watt-Cloutier a member of the indigenous Inuit of Arctic Canada, Watt-Cloutier began her career working for social institutions that served Inuit communities. This led to a lifetime of activism and advocacy for the rights of Inuit people, and the realization that the survival of Inuit people and culture is inexorably linked to the survival of their Arctic environment, especially its cold climate.

Keynote speaker on Dec. 8 (9 – 10:30 a.m.): Sheila Watt-Cloutier is a Nobel Peace Prize nominee, climate change and human rights advocate, TEDx speaker, author, former Canadian President and International Chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Council. Sheila speaks with passion and urgency on the issues of today — the environment, the economy, foreign policy, global health and sustainability — not as separate concerns, but as a deeply interconnected whole.

Kehkashan Basu, founder of the Green Hope Foundation, says the transition to renewables creates opportunities to provide electricity to countries and communities that are not well served by existing utilities and grids. “It’s just kind of logical to use clean energy as a tool to help empower them instead of going the usual route of fossil-fuel powered electricity,” she says. “In this way, we’re leaving no one behind and we are creating a positive impact on the planet.

Keynote speaker on Dec. 10 (9:30 – 10:30 a.m.): Kehkashan Basu, global influencer, educator, environmentalist, champion of women and children’s rights, TEDx speaker, Climate Reality Mentor, author, musician, peace and sustainability campaigner. Kehkashan is the
Founder-President of global social innovation enterprise Green Hope Foundation, which works at a grassroots level in 26 countries, empowering over 400,000 young people and women in the sustainable development process through education.

Throughout the week, students and staff are encouraged to share what they are learning on social media with the hashtag: #EnvironmentalRightsHDSB.

“The Human Rights Symposium supports the Board’s Environmental Leadership and Indigenous Perspectives and Awareness work, two key areas of focus in the HDSB Multi-Year Strategic Plan 2020-2024 and our Human Rights Equity Action & Accountability Plan: The Way Forward,” says Curtis
Ennis, Director of Education for the HDSB. “The important work underway at the annual Human Rights Symposium serves as a reminder of the value of bringing students, staff and community partners together to address common issues.”

“The HDSB is proud to celebrate and recognize Environmental Rights at the Human Rights Symposium,” says Margo Shuttleworth, Chair of the HDSB. “The Trustees are honoured and excited to encourage you to engage, question and reflect on conversations surrounding environmental rights. Through proactive engagement in vital conversations, we are able to challenge traditional thinking and engage in focused learning about environmental rights and sustainability.”

“Environmental Rights and protection is our collective responsibility,” says Jennie Petko, Superintendent of Education with responsibility for Human Rights, Equity, Inclusive Education and Indigenous Rights. “This year’s Human Rights Symposium provides an opportunity for our HDSB community to discuss issues related to environmental preservation, Indigenous Rights and the interconnectedness of our planet.”

“We recognize the importance of participating in vital discussions to challenge our thinking. The Human Rights Symposium provides an opportunity for educators and students to come together to examine important issues and drive actionable change.”

Trent University students on an environmental field trip

The HDSB Human Rights Symposium (Dec. 8-9, 2022) aligns with Human Rights Day on Dec. 10, which is observed annually to recognize the day on which the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. The principles originally enshrined in the Declaration are still relevant today.
If you want to follow up on this event reach out to the Board at symposium@hdsb.ca.

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Library wants to know if they are getting it right - you can help shape the direction they take - do the two minute survey

By Staff

December 2nd, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Lita Barrie, Chief Executive Officer

Lita Barrie wants your help in helping her and her Board shape the future of the library!

They have chosen a public survey approach with a survey that they say will take two minutes

Barrie adds: “We have made some changes based on your feedback from our last Customer Satisfaction Survey. Let us know if we are heading in the right direction.
“Whether you’re a frequent user, only visit occasionally, or haven’t checked out a book in years, your opinion matters to us.

This survey closes December 14th.

Take survey now

 

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The relationship between mental health and regular exercise is positive - make it work for you.

By Staff

December 29th,2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Is there a relationship between mental health and regular exercise – the pro’s say there is and they list the five types of exercise that will contribute to better mental health and why.

The five mental fitness strategies and workouts:

1. Primal movements are based on actions humans had to do to survive over the centuries – pull, push, squat, lunge, hinge, rotate and walk. They build strength and stamina that can boost confidence, clear your mind and generate endorphins improve mood.

2. Boxing and martial arts help release tension, pent-up anger and negative emotions. Punching and kicking plus footwork is good for mind-muscle connection and reinforcing memory and brain power.

3. Hot yoga, Pilates, yoga-fusion. Focusing on your breathing while you hold poses is good for stress release, as well as muscle strength and flexibility. This kind of focus increases mindfulness, helping you disconnect from stressful thoughts and ground yourself in your body movements.

4. Dance-inspired fitness helps improve neuroplasticity and activates the part of the brain responsible for emotions and memory. Most kinds of dancing help build strength and flexibility, plus cardiovascular endurance.

5. Low-intensity training (LIIT) workouts have all the cardio and strength benefits but without the bouncing and jumping that can damage your joints and ligaments.

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121 children identified as having been sexually exploited; 107 charged in province wide investigatiom

 

By Staff

December 1st, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Hundreds of charges have been laid across Ontario, a snapshot of the work done by investigators and analysts that make up the Provincial Strategy to Protect Children from Sexual Abuse and Exploitation on the Internet (Provincial Strategy).

The results of the investigations completed in October, named Project MAVERICK, were announced in a video release showcasing members of the Provincial Strategy. During the month, the 27 policing partners conducted 255 investigations, completed 168 search warrants and seized 1,032 devices. In total, 428 charges were laid against 107 people. During the investigations, 61 victims were identified and referred to appropriate community-based resources for assistance, while an additional 60 children were safeguarded. There are 175 ongoing investigations where additional charges may be laid.

The Provincial Strategy includes two ministries (Attorney General and Solicitor General) and 27 participating police agencies: Barrie, Belleville, Brantford, Chatham-Kent, Cornwall, Durham, Greater Sudbury, Guelph, Halton, Hamilton, Kingston, London, Niagara, North Bay, Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), Ottawa, Peel, Peterborough, Sarnia, Sault Ste. Marie, Thunder Bay, Timmins, Toronto, Waterloo, Windsor, Woodstock and York.

Additional partners that participated in these investigations included OPP Digital Forensics, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Canada Border Services Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Homeland Security. The BOOST Child and Youth Advocacy Centre, the Children’s Aid Society and the Canadian Centre for Child Protection provided victims’ support and education.

Since the Provincial Strategy began in 2006, it has completed 65,564 investigations and laid 24,608 charges against 6,540 people. A total of 3,470 victims have been identified worldwide.

The video outlining the investigation is available on Twitter (@OPP_News) and Facebook (@ontarioprovincialpolice).

A full list of charges for Project MAVERICK is HERE.

The investigations continue and anyone with information on these or any child exploitation investigations are asked to contact their local police. Report any instances of online child abuse to police or cybertip.ca. If a child is being harmed, call 9-1-1.

QUOTES

“The Halton Regional Police Service is committed to working closely with our partner agencies to continue the fight against child exploitation. It remains our utmost priority to protect those most vulnerable, and lead them to safety while holding those responsible for these crimes accountable. I’m extremely proud of the tremendous work done by our officers as part of Project Maverick.”

-Halton Regional Police Service Inspector Chris Newcombe, Regional Investigative Services

OPP Chief Superintendent Kari Dart, OPP Investigation and Support Bureau said “These numbers are shocking, but they provide hope by showing the lengths our teams are willing to go to protect children. I would like to express gratitude for the hard work of the Provincial Strategy members, and our partners, in keeping children in this province safe and holding those who want to harm them accountable.”

OPP Detective Sergeant Jamie King, Provincial Strategy Lead added:   “The work done by the Provincial Strategy members take us to some of the darkest corners of society and exposes the horrific crimes committed every day against children. This is not a crime that can be combatted by our members alone and we ask that everyone out there recognize the importance they play in protecting children. Report these crimes, remain vigilant and educate yourself.”

Who was arrested?

 

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Those Charged by Provincial Police as a result of the month long investigation.

By Staff

December 2nd, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Twenty seven 27 policing partners conducted 255 investigations, completed 168 search warrants and seized 1,032 devices during a month long investigation.

In total, 428 charges were laid against 107 people. During the investigations, 61 victims were identified and referred to appropriate community-based resources for assistance, while an additional 60 children were safeguarded. There are 175 ongoing investigations where additional charges may be laid.

 

 

The Police Services involved in project Maverick

The following information was released by the Ontario Provincial Police setting out the name, age residence, charges laid, Court Status and date.

A person charged with a criminal act is assumed to be not guilty until a Court determines and finds them not guilty.

A significant number of those charged are not named.  We have asked the OPP why some are named while others are not.  There is no response yet.

Adult Male:  49
Collingwood, Ontario
• Invitation to Sexual Touching x3 First Appearance on November 21, 2022 – Originally held for bail.

Adult Male: 54
Barrie, Ontario
• Possession of Child Pornography x2 First Appearance on November 30, 2022 – Originally held for bail

Adult Male; 28
Victoria Harbour, Ontario
• Luring a person under 16 x3 Court Date is First Appearance on December 5, 2022 – Originally held for bail.

Adult Male: 36
Chatham, Ontario

Possession of Child Pornography
• Distribution of Child Pornography x2
• Failing to Comply with Release Order Remanded in custody, no bail plan in place at this time.

Jordan SANDERSON- BROWN: 30
Cornwall, Ontario

• Possession of Child Pornography
• Make Available Child Pornography
• Accessing Child Pornography Released on Undertaking, First appearance November 29, 2022

Benoit BOURGUIGNON: 26
Cornwall, Ontario

• Possession of Child Pornography
• Make Available Child Pornography
• Accessing Child Pornography Released on Undertaking, First appearance December 13, 2022

Adult Male: 19
Oshawa, Ontario

• Possession of Child Pornography
• Accessing Child Pornography
• Distribution of Child Pornography Released on Form 11 October 31, 2022, First appearance November 14, 2022, Next date to be determined

Adult Male:  49
Oshawa, Ontario

• Possession of Child Pornography
• Accessing Child Pornography Remanded in custody, next appearance November 23, 2022

Adult Male:  20
Courtice, Ontario

• Possession of Child Pornography
• Accessing Child Pornography Released on Form 11 October 27, 2022, next date to be determined

Adult Male: 24
Pickering, Ontario

• Possession of Child Pornography
• Accessing Child Pornography Released on Form 11 October 13, 2022, next date to be determined

Young Person:
Oshawa, Ontario

• Possession of Child Pornography
• Accessing Child Pornography Released on Form 11 November 1, 2022, next date November 29, 2022

Adult Male;  24
Bowmanville, Ontario

• Possession of Child Pornography
• Accessing Child Pornography
• Distribution of Child Pornography Released on Form 11 October 28, 2022, next date to be determined

Adult Male;  22
Oshawa, Ontario

• Possession of Child Pornography
• Accessing Child Pornography Released on Form 11 October 21, 2022, next date to be determined

Adult Male;  39
Courtice, Ontario

• Fail to Comply with Release Order Released on Form 11 October 20, 2022, First Appearance October 24, 2022, next date to be determined

Adult Male;  41
Oshawa, Ontario
• Fail to Comply with Release Order Remanded in custody, next appearance November 28, 2022

Adult Male: 25

Oshawa, Ontario

• Possession of Child Pornography
• Accessing Child Pornography
• Distribution of Child Pornography
• Fail to Comply with Release Order Released on Form 11 October 28, 2022, latest date November 14, 2022, next date to be determined

Adult Male:  51

Whitby, Ontario

• Possession of Child Pornography
• Accessing Child Pornography
• Distribution of Child Pornography
• Making Child Pornography Released on Form 11 October 25, 2022, next date to be determined

Adult Male:  34
Whitby, Ontario

• Fail to Comply with Release Order Released on Form 11 October 25, 2022, next date to be determined

Adult Male: 44

Oshawa, Ontario

• Possession of Child Pornography
• Accessing Child Pornography Initial held in custody for seven days, released on Form 11 with Bail supervision program conditions November 9, 2022, next date to be determined

Rick RANGER: 46

Greater Sudbury, Ontario

• Making Child Pornography (Written) 163.1(2) Remanded in custody, bail hearing December 22, 2022

• Fail to Comply with 161 CC Prohibition Order 161(1)(d)x3
• Breach of Probation Order 733.1(1) x3

Adult Male:  38

Guelph, Ontario

• Possession of Child Pornography x2
• Agreement or arrangement — sexual offence against child (172.2)
• Counselling Offence not yet Committed (464a)

First Appearance December 9, 2022
Lance CRAWFORD
49 Burlington, Ontario • Possession of Child Pornography x2
• Accessing Child Pornography Released, next court date December 7,
2022
Leigh YERXA
86 Georgetown, Ontario • Possession of Child Pornography x2
• Accessing Child Pornography Released, next court date December 20,
2022

Matthew PHILLIPS:  32

Burlington, Ontario

• Possession of Child Pornography x3
• Make Available Child Pornography
• Accessing Child Pornography
• Breach of Probation
• Voyeurism

In custody, remanded to December 8, 2022

Terry MANSLEY: 41
Milton, Ontario

• Possession of Child Pornography x2
• Accessing Child Pornography
• Voyeurism x3 Released, next court date December 12, 2022

Daniel ZAI: 43

Burlington, Ontario

• Possession of Child Pornography x2
• Accessing Child Pornography Released, next court date November 30, 2022

Kyle DUNCAN:  47
Milton, Ontario

• Possession of Child Pornography x4
• Make Available Child Pornography
• Accessing Child Pornography Released, next court date November 28, 2022

Robert DERHAM:  73

Burlington, Ontario

• Possession of Child Pornography x2
• Accessing Child Pornography Released, next court date November 23, 2022

Gerald (Jerry) MATHIAS:  43

Georgetown, Ontario

• Possession of Child Pornography x2
• Accessing Child Pornography Released, next court date December 12, 2022
Kenneth MCCLYMONT
44 Burlington, Ontario • Possession of Child Pornography x2
• Accessing Child Pornography Released, next court date November 30,
2022

Joseph MACNEIL
30
Kingston, Ontario • Possession of Child Pornography x7
• Accessing Child Pornography x6
• Make Available Child Pornography x6
First appearance December 15, 2022

Tyler HUSSEY
42
Kingston, Ontario • Possession of Child Pornography x3
• Accessing Child Pornography x2
• Make Available Child Pornography x2
First appearance December 5, 2022
Adult Male
25
Kingston, Ontario • Possession of Child Pornography x2
• Accessing Child Pornography x2
• Make Available Child Pornography x2
To be determined

Christopher LAHAY

22

London, Ontario • Making sexually explicit material available to child
• Possession of Child Pornography x2
• Distribution of Child Pornography
First appearance December 7, 2022

• Accessing Child Pornography
• Luring a person under 16
• Making Child Pornography
• Extortion
• Utter Threat to Cause Death

Michael BLUNTE- DITTMER

31

London, Ontario • Possession of Child Pornography x2
• Distribution of Child Pornography x2
• Making Child Pornography x2
• Luring a person under 16 x2
• Non-Consensual Distribution of Intimate Images
• Indecent Act x3
• Mischief to Property Under
• Publish Obscene Material for Distribution
x3
• Sexual Assault
• Voyeurism
• Distribute Voyeuristic Material

First appearance, January 16, 2023
Ethan GILES
21
London, Ontario • Possession of Child Pornography
• Accessing Child Pornography First appearance, November 30, 2022
Adult Male

47

Welland, Ontario • Voyeurism under 16
• Sexual Interference
• Possession of Child Pornography
• Making Child Pornography
In custody, next court appearance November 29, 2022

• Incest
• Sexual Assault on a Person under 16
Adult Male
38 Niagara Falls, Ontario • Possession of Child Pornography
• Accessing Child Pornography Next court appearance December 16, 2022

Adult Male
58
Welland, Ontario
• Possession of Child Pornography Next court appearance November 25, 2022

Adult Male
38 Port Colborne, Ontario
• Fail to Comply with Probation Order x2 Next court appearance November 30, 2022
Adult Male
57 St. Catharines, Ontario • Possession of Child Pornography x2
• Accessing Child Pornography Next court appearance November 30, 2022

Adult Male

31

Grimsby, Ontario • Possession of Child Pornography x2
• Make Available Child Pornography x2
• Making Child Pornography x2
• Personation to Avoid Arrest/Prosecution
• Public Mischief
• Fail to Comply with Prohibition Order x2
• Fail to Comply with Probation Order
• Counselling a Summary Offence Which is not Committed

In custody, next court appearance February 6, 2023

Adult Male
21
North Bay, Ontario • Make Available Child Pornography
• Possession of Child Pornography
• Fail to Comply with Probation x2
In custody

• Assault with a Weapon
• Uttering Threats
• Criminal Harassment

Adult Male
23
Mississauga, Ontario • Possession of Child Pornography
• Accessing Child Pornography
• Make Available Child Pornography
Warrant Issued

Adult Male
51 Mississauga, Ontario • Accessing Child Pornography x2
• Making Child Pornography Released on bail, court date pending

Adult Male
41 Mississauga, Ontario • Accessing Child Pornography
• Possession of Child Pornography Released on bail, court date pending
Adult Male 39 Mississauga, Ontario • Possession of Child Pornography x2 Released on bail, court date pending
Adult Male
44 Mississauga, Ontario • Possession of Child Pornography
• Make Available Child Pornography Released on bail, court date pending

Adult Male
61
Mississauga, Ontario • Possession of Child Pornography
• Accessing Child Pornography
• Making Child Pornography
Released on bail, court date pending
Adult Male 18 Brampton, Ontario • Possession of Child Pornography Released on bail, court date pending
Adult Male 26 Mississauga, Ontario • Possession of Child Pornography Released on bail, court date pending

Adult Male
32
Peterborough, Ontario • Possession of Child Pornography
• Distribution of Child Pornography Released on bail with conditions, next court appearance December 6, 2022

Greg PEARCE
31 Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario • Make Available Child Pornography
• Possession of Child Pornography Released on conditions, court date pending
Joseph SCOTT
40 Thunder Bay, Ontario • Accessing Child Pornography
• Make Available Child Pornography Next court date of November 25, 2022

Kelvin PELLETIER

31

Thunder Bay, Ontario • Possession of Child Pornography
• Making sexually explicit material available to child
• Luring a Child under 18 x2
• Communicate with Person under 18 to Obtain Sexual Service

Next court date of January 5, 2023

Connor JOHNSON

21
Thunder Bay, Ontario • Possession of Child Pornography
• Making sexually explicit material available to child
• Luring a Child under 18
Next court date of November 28, 2022

Adult Male
27 Thunder Bay, Ontario • Sexual Assault x2
• Voyeurism Next court date of December 12, 2022

Onur OZBEK
30
Toronto, Ontario • Accessing Child Pornography
• Possession of Child Pornography x2 Released on bail, court date pending
Brendan ECKSTROM
40
Toronto, Ontario • Possession of Child Pornography x2
• Accessing Child Pornography x2 Released on bail, court date pending

Tennyson JOHNSON
34
Toronto, Ontario • Accessing Child Pornography
• Possession of Child Pornography
• Make Available Child Pornography
Released on bail, court date pending

Mahir KHADEM
22
Toronto, Ontario • Accessing Child Pornography
• Possession of Child Pornography x2 Released on bail, court date pending
Young Person
Toronto, Ontario • Accessing Child Pornography
• Possession of Child Pornography Released on bail, court date pending
Randy PAQUETTE
49
Toronto, Ontario • Possession of Child Pornography x2
• Accessing Child Pornography x2
• Make Available Child Pornography
Released on bail, court date pending

Roman KOZAK

51

Toronto, Ontario • Possession of Child Pornography
• Accessing Child Pornography
• Telecommunication Agreement to Commit Specific Crime with Individuals under 14

Released on bail, court date pending

Ian MELAMUD

50

Toronto, Ontario • Accessing Child Pornography
• Possession of Child Pornography
• Making Child Pornography
• Export Child Pornography
• Import Child Pornography

Released on bail, court date pending

Adult Male

33

Toronto, Ontario • Invitation to Sexual Touching
• Sexual Interference
• Sexual Assault
• Making Child Pornography
Released on bail, court date pending
Adult Female 35 Toronto, Ontario • Abandon/Expose Child under 10 years Released on bail, court date pending

Vishnu KRISHNA
26
Toronto, Ontario • Possession of Child Pornography x2
• Accessing Child Pornography
• Import Child Pornography
Released on bail, court date pending

John WILSON
55
Toronto, Ontario • Possession of Child Pornography x2
• Accessing Child Pornography x2
• Make Available Child Pornography
Released on bail, court date pending

Joseph NUNES
69
Toronto, Ontario • Accessing Child Pornography
• Possession of Child Pornography
• Make Available Child Pornography
Released on bail, court date pending

Ryan MORRIS
46
Toronto, Ontario • Accessing Child Pornography x2
• Possession of Child Pornography x2
• Make Available Child Pornography
Released on bail, court date pending

Alexander SCHNURR
22
Toronto, Ontario • Possession of Child Pornography
• Accessing Child Pornography
• Fail to Comply with Probation
Released on bail, court date pending

Richard SPURLOCK

21

Toronto, Ontario • Possession of Child Pornography
• Accessing Child Pornography
• Non-Consensual Distribution of Intimate Images
• Distribution of Child Pornography
• Make Available Child Pornography
• Criminal Harassment

Released on bail, court date pending
James FRASER 53 Stouffville, Ontario • Accessing Child Pornography Released on bail, court date pending

• Possession of Child Pornography
• Make Available Child Pornography

Ahmed KARRAR

27

Toronto, Ontario • Luring a person under 16
• Invitation to Sexual Touching
• Possession of Child Pornography
• Sexual Assault x3
• Sexual Interference x3

Released on bail, court date pending
Yanshen HUANG
45
Toronto, Ontario • Possession of Child Pornography x4
• Accessing Child Pornography x3 Released on bail, court date pending
Young Person
Toronto, Ontario • Luring a person under 16
• Extortion Released on bail, court date pending
Nicholas DEMITRO
32

Toronto, Ontario • Accessing Child Pornography x2
• Possession of Child Pornography x2
• Make Available Child Pornography
Released on bail, court date pending

Adult Male
39 Cambridge, Ontario
• Possession of Child Pornography x2 Release order, next court date December 8, 2022

Adult Female

39

Cambridge, Ontario • Possession of Child Pornography x2
• Make Available Child Pornography
• Agreement or arrangement — sexual offence against child (172.2) x2
• Making Child Pornography
Release order, next court date December 7, 2022

Adult Male
33
United Kingdom • Taking Indecent Photographs x2
• Distributing Indecent Images x3 Initially remanded, current status unknown

• Sexual Activity with a Female Child Family member under 13
• Sexual Activity with a Male Child family member under 13
• Intentionally Encourage/Assist in Commission of an Offence
• Publish Obscene Article

Adult Male

38

Cambridge, Ontario • Possession of Child Pornography
• Making Child Pornography
• Make Available Child Pornography
• Agreement or arrangement — sexual offence against child (172.2) x3
Release order, next court date January 10, 2023
Adult Male
38
Kitchener, Ontario • Possession of Child Pornography x2
• Make Available Child Pornography Release order, next court date December 12, 2022

Adult Male
25 Cambridge, Ontario
• Possession of Child Pornography x2 Release Order, next court date December 14, 2022

Randall FRICKEY

43

Windsor, Ontario • Possession of Child Pornography x2
• Accessing Child Pornography x2
• Distribution of Child Pornography x2 Charged, next court date December 7,
2022

Adult Male
45 Amherstburg, Ontario
• Luring a person under 16 x4 Charged, next court date January 13,
2023
Kyle LAMBIE
27

Windsor, Ontario • Possession of Child Pornography x6
• Accessing Child Pornography x6 Charged, next court date December 1,
2022

• Distribution of Child Pornography x6
• Fail to Comply with Undertaking x2
Adult Male
26
Woodstock, Ontario • Possession of Child Pornography
• Accessing Child Pornography Release order, next court date January 10, 2023
Adult Female
34
Woodstock, Ontario • Possession of Child Pornography
• Accessing Child Pornography
• Distribution of Child Pornography Release order, next court date November 29, 2022

Kalin ARMSTRONG

33

Peterborough, Ontario • Make Available Child Pornography
• Distribution of Child Pornography
• Possession of Child Pornography
• Accessing Child Pornography
Next court date of December 14, 2022

Michael PILATO
65
Richmond Hill, Ontario • Make Available Child Pornography
• Possession of Child Pornography
• Accessing Child Pornography
Next court date of December 14, 2022

Nicholas COOPER

43

Aurora, Ontario • Distribution of Child Pornography
• Possession of Child Pornography
• Accessing Child Pornography
• Fail to Comply with Recognizance x3
Bail Hearing December 1, 2022

Mark O’DOWD

36

Vaughan, Ontario • Making Child Pornography
• Make Available Child Pornography
• Possession of Child Pornography
• Accessing Child Pornography
• Luring a Child under 18

First appearance, November 24, 2022

• Extortion

Dimitre FILIOS
20

Vaughan, Ontario • Make Available Child Pornography
• Possession of Child Pornography
• Accessing Child Pornography
First appearance, December 14, 2022

Thomas HIGGINS
61
Beeton, Ontario
• Luring a person under 16 Orangeville Court to set date November 29, 2022

Adult Male
28
Sudbury, Ontario • Agreement or arrangement – sexual offence against child (172.2) x2 Sudbury Court to be spoken to December 21, 2022

William MCVITTIE
32
Huntsville, Ontario • Possession of Child Pornography x2
• Make Available Child Pornography Bracebridge Court to be spoken to November 29, 2022

Mark V RICHARDSON
42
Barrie, Ontario • Possession of Child Pornography
• Make Available Child Pornography
• Accessing Child Pornography Ontario Court of Justice First appearance December 8, 2022

David HOWARTH
59
Caledonia, Ontario • Possession of Child Pornography x2
• Accessing Child Pornography x2 Next court date January 10, 2023 to be spoken to

Adult Male

25
Sandy Lake, Ontario • Making Child Pornography x2
• Possession of Child Pornography x2
• Make Available Child Pornography
• Accessing Child Pornography

Remanded
Adult Male 48 Timmins, Ontario • Possession of Child Pornography x2 Court date of November 29, 2022

Zachary PERROTT 24 Port Hope, Ontario • Possession of Child Pornography x2 Court date of November 30, 2022
Ian BERGER 43 Trent Hills, Ontario • Possession of Child Pornography Court date of November 23, 2022

Kristian LUCAS
29 Belleville, Ontario • Possession of Child Pornography
• Accessing Child Pornography First appearance December 22, 2022

Doric LATREILLE:  23

Ottawa/Cornwall, Ontario

• Possession of Child Pornography x2
• Make Available Child Pornography
• Counsel an Uncommitted Indictable Offence
• Luring a Person under 18 years of age
• Distribution of Child Pornography
• Making sexually explicit material available to child x2
• Luring a person under 16

Out on bail, house arrest with GPS bracelet. Court date set December 8, 2022 for plea.

Jennifer LALONDE- MEDEIROS:  22

Ottawa/Cornwall, Ontario

• Possession of Child Pornography x2 Out on bail, strict conditions, no court date (adj)

Dennis George WOOD:  67
Ottawa, Ontario

• Possession of Child Pornography x2
• Making Child Pornography Out on bail, no court date (adj)

Adult Male:  37
Ottawa, Ontario
• Possession of Child Pornography Out on bail – next court date December 9, 2022 (to be spoken too)

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Integrity Commissioner decides to close the file on a conflict of interest complaint filed by a constituent

By Staff

December 1, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The following is the Integrity Commissioners disposition of a complaint made by Tom Muir against Councillor Kelvin Galbraith

Mr. Muir,

Re: Conflict of Interest Complaint against Councillor Kelvin Galbraith

We are writing in response to your complaint to us filed on October 25, 2022. You have complained that Councillor Galbraith had, on multiple occasions, participated in consideration of certain planning matters before Council and its committees while in a conflict of interest contrary to the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act (the ‘MCIA’). You have asserted that the interest arose because of four non-residential properties he owns, and have alleged as a result that the Councillor breached the MCIA.

The allegations particularized in your complaint can be summarized as follows:

  • during 2018, you specifically asked the Councillor how he would manage his potential interest (his ‘conflict of interest’) because of his ownership of several properties located within the Aldershot/GO MTSA area
  • the Councillor advised that he would seek guidance and advice from the Integrity Commissioner as required
  • in March 2019, the Councillor failed to declare an interest with respect to the Interim Control By-Law for the Burlington GO Station Study Area and opposed that By-law
  • between 2019 – 2022, the Councillor failed to declare an interest with respect to four separate planning applications for properties located with the MTSA, where development approvals on these properties would potentially influence future development decisions within the MTSA, and thus affect the Councillor’s other properties in the area
  • between 2019 – 2021 on the numerous occasions when the Councillor did declare an interest with respect to planning applications for properties within the Aldershot GO/MTSA, he only referenced proximity to his personal residence as the basis for his interest, and failed to identify that ownership of multiple properties within the MTSA which also gave rise to an interest
  • in declaring his interest, the Councillor characterized the nature of his interest as based on “proximity”, rather than identifying it as a pecuniary interest

Kelvin Galbraith being sworn in for his second term of office

As part of our review process, and in accordance with the tenets of procedural fairness, we forwarded your complaint to the Councillor for his response. We have now had an opportunity to obtain and review that response and your additional submissions and supplementary materials. We have conducted a detailed review of materials, Council minutes and archived meetings, the City’s Conflict Registry, and other relevant documentation.

Background:

In the circumstances of Councillor Galbraith, the 3 properties he owns (aside from his own residence) are adjacent and abutting, at the northwest corner of Plains Rd. West and Waterdown Rd. The Councillor has declared an interest each time there has been a planning matter before Council or its committees involving a property within 120 m of his residence and each time a planning matter involved a property located within 120 m of any of his Plains Rd. or Waterdown Rd. properties.

He did not declare an interest on planning matters before Council or its committees involving properties within the general vicinity in the Aldershot GO/MTSA area but beyond 120 m. of his properties

In February 2022 the Councillor sought our advice regarding managing perceived interests created by his ownership of the Plains Rd./Waterdown Rd. properties. Our advice can be summarized as follows:

  • if a matter before Council may potentially impact the Councillor’s property, this raises a pecuniary interest; the planning notice distance of 120 m can be used as a proxy (a rule of thumb) for when this interest arises
  • in the context of the Aldershot GO/MTSA discussions, in which the Councillor owns properties, a potential conflict of interest is triggered when proposed changes in land use come before Council which could affect the potential redevelopment of these properties

Analysis

While our analysis focuses on the MCIA provisions, we note that the Burlington Code of Good Governance quite properly also mandates Members to avoid conflicts of interest. Therefore, even though your complaint was filed beyond the 6-week statutory deadline under the MCIA, we have considered the matter in a robust and comprehensive manner, recognizing that conflicts of interest are appropriately prohibited by the Code. Given the recent public attention generated by this particular matter, it was important to give the matter due consideration and full explanation.

The relevant provision of the MCIA states as follows:

  1. (1) Where a member … has any pecuniary interest … in any matter and is present at a meeting of the council … at which the matter is the subject of consideration, the member,
    • shall, prior to any consideration of the matter at the meeting, disclose the interest and the general nature thereof;
    • shall not take part in the discussion of, or vote on any question in respect of the matter; and
  • shall not attempt in any way whether before, during or after the meeting to influence the voting on any such question.

A pecuniary interest, although not defined, is understood to mean a financial impact. Any matter which has likely financial impact (positive or negative) on the Member’s own property constitutes a pecuniary interest to the Member.

The MCIA does not provide guidance on how to recognize an interest arising on planning applications in relation to the Member’s own properties. Each conflict of interest must be assessed on its own merits, and such assessment requires a close review of the facts. There is a significant body of case law which guides Integrity Commissioners on the proper interpretation.

One of the leading cases dealing with recognizing a pecuniary interest in circumstances of property ownership is Greene and Borins1.

Greene and Borins references the Planning Act notice distance of 120 m as a proxy for potential financial impacts on a Member’s property interest. In that case, the court found that where the Member’s father and family had been assembling properties for some years, in anticipation of redevelopment (along Yonge Street in North York), the Member’s participation on large and comprehensive development proposals in the vicinity – even beyond 120 m – triggered a conflict of interest for the Member for which he failed to obtain advice and failed to declare an interest.

The 120 m distance is somewhat arbitrary and although it is relied on as a ‘rule of thumb’, much depends on the particular facts of a situation: certainly, where a Member has a significant investment in a land assembly awaiting redevelopment (as in Greene and Borins), the potential affect of a large and comprehensive development application must be considered to extend beyond 120 m.

In Greene and Borins, the closest of the Member’s father’s properties to the developments proposed before Council was 220 m. The nine (9) properties acquired over the preceding years stood to be significantly impacted by redevelopment of the adjacent Yonge Street corridor.

By contrast, with respect to Councillor Galbraith’s three properties, one which is his fitness business, the distances to the planning applications in which he participated are well beyond 120 m and beyond the 220 m. which the court found significant in Greene and Borins:

40-70 Plains Rd.                      240 m

53-71 Plains Rd.                      350 m

92 Plains Rd.W.                      450 m

1120 Cooke Blvd.                   650 m

 

In our view, the Councillor did not breach the MCIA in participating on consideration of these planning applications. In our opinion, he did not have a conflict of interest merely because the

1 Greene v. Borins (1985), 1985 CanLII 2137 (ON SC), 50 O.R. (2d) 513, 18 D.L.R. (4th)

planning applications pertain to properties within the MTSA. As we advised, where matters before Council or committees pertain to changes of land use affecting his own properties (such as changes to land use designations applicable to his properties), his interest will be triggered. The planning applications in which he participated do not trigger his interest because Council’s decision regarding those applications does not, in and of itself, affect his own properties.

We also find that, though individual planning applications in the general vicinity might cumulatively encourage increased redevelopment in the area, individually, no single one of these planning applications raised a conflict of interest for the Member merely because he owns properties in the general vicinity. They are not sufficiently proximate to his properties to trigger his interest.

With respect to the Interim Control By-law for the Burlington GO Study Area, there was no conflict of interest when the Member participated in this matter. None of his properties are located within this study area. You have provided supplementary material to indicate that the Member’s failure to bring a motion (or indicate support for a motion) to extend the Interim Control By-law to include the Aldershot GO/MTSA is evidence of further conflict of interest. Given that no such motion was made, it is merely speculative. That said, in our view, the effect of such a motion being to pause all planning applications on every property within a large defined area, and given that no applications by the Member on any of his properties were in the works and ‘paused’ by such theoretical Interim Control By-law, it would be reasonable to consider the Member’s interest (in such circumstances) to be an interest in common, in which case he would not be precluded from participating.

Kelvin Galbraith

You have raised concerns alleging that the Member has not conducted himself with transparency. It is important to recognize that Members are not required to report to constituents when they have consulted with Integrity Commissioner or obtained advice, nor are they required to share advice provided. The Municipal Act encourages Members to obtain advice, and provides the assurance of confidentiality around that communications. The sole exception to that confidentiality occurs if a Member releases part of the advice, but not the advice in its entirety, in which case the Integrity Commissioner may release the advice.

We are satisfied that the Member conducted himself with integrity, sought advice when required, followed that advice, and in fact released a copy of our advice to him in its entirety.

Accordingly, we will be closing our file. Our disposition will be shared with the Member. Thank you nevertheless for bringing this matter to our attention.

Sincerely,

Principles Integrity,

Integrity Commissioner for the City of Burlington

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Were developers tipped of about the plans to opening more Greenbelt lands for housing.

By Staff

November 30th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Reproduced from the Toronto Star

Ontario’s embattled Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister, Steve Clark, insisted proper procedures were followed but refused to say “no” when repeatedly asked if developers were tipped to the opening of more Greenbelt lands for housing.

The question from New Democrat MPP Jessica Bell followed an investigation by the Toronto Star and the Narwhal that found eight of the 15 areas of the Greenbelt where development will soon be allowed have been purchased since Premier Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives were elected in 2018.

A growing furor over the controversial plan to build more housing on protected lands prompted Green Leader Mike Schreiner to file a complaint with the provincial integrity commissioner seeking an investigation into the property deals.

“Over half the parcels of land being opened for development in the Greenbelt were purchased after Premier Ford was elected and some of those parcels of land were purchased as recently as September of this year,” Schreiner said.

“This doesn’t pass the smell test … we need to clear the air.”

Schreiner’s complaint came three days after New Democrat MPP Marit Stiles (Davenport) wrote the provincial auditor general requesting a probe of the land deals. Neither the auditor nor integrity commissioner have commented specifically on the requests.

Clark was under pressure in the legislature again Tuesday.

“I asked the minister very clearly three times if they talked to developers in advance and gave them a heads up,” Bell (University-Rosedale), her party’s housing critic, said after the daily question period.

Environmental Defence provides a map showing where the hot spots are.

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Adi Developments to resume building and selling new homes: settlement reached with the Home Construction Regulatory Authority (HCRA)

By Staff

November 30th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Adi Developments announce today that a settlement of all outstanding regulatory issues has been reached with the HCRA. Tariq Adi, CEO of Adi Developments, said, “We are happy to have this behind us and look forward to completing our existing projects and bringing more high-quality homes and communities to the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area (GTHA) market.”

Adi Developments, a developer with a 15-year record of building successful housing projects in the GTHA, was notified of the HCRA’s intent to revoke Adi’s building and vending licences on August 25th, 2022.  Adi appealed this to the Ontario License Appeal Tribunal.

At the same time, Adi initiated discussions with the HCRA aimed at resolving the issues outside of the appeal process. Today’s announced agreement is the culmination of those discussions.

The settlement encompasses the following key elements:

(i)               The resolution of all issues in the HCRA’s proposal to the satisfaction of all parties.

(ii)              No findings or admissions as to any Adi entity having provided altered or false  information or documents to the HCRA nor as to any Adi   
                  entity having obstructed any HCRA inspection or investigation.

(iii)              An admission by one of the Adi entities, Adi Lakeshore, that it failed to return purchaser deposits within 10 days of cancellation as it was 
                  required to do under its licence and applicable legislation. As a  result, Adi Lakeshore will be levied an administrative penalty of $60,000
                  which will also include an additional approximately $2,500,000 monetary benefit component to be returned to affected purchasers. This   

                  benefit component represents the total amount of interest that Adi Lakeshore had already begun paying to affected purchasers starting in 
                  May 2022.

(iv)            The return of all deposits to affected purchasers, which Adi Lakeshore completed on November 14, 2022.

(v)             Most importantly, all current and future Adi companies licensed by the HCRA can operate as builders/vendors subject only to mutually                           agreed upon  conditions on their licences.

The Nautique: currently under construction

The Lakeshore project at the centre of the HCRA’s action was the first cancellation in Adi’s 15-year history, driven by a dramatic increase in construction costs which seriously jeopardized the project.

“These are unprecedented times for the development industry,” said Tariq Adi.  “We were facing cost escalations in the range of $43M which the project simply could not absorb. As a result, we had to seek additional financing and reconfigure the project in order to be in a position to complete it. Regrettably, however, the situation forced us to cancel purchase agreements, which we hated to do because our customers are the most important part of our business.”

For purchasers who opted to stay with the Lakeshore project, Adi mitigated the impact of the cancellations by allowing them to re-purchase their units at approximately 20% below market prices and crediting them with $10,000 per unit in décor dollar upgrades. The project is currently 85% sold with construction actively underway and going strong.

For purchasers who opted not to enter into a new purchase agreement, Adi, as a gesture of goodwill, began paying them 6% interest on their deposits in May 2022, something Adi did not have to do. This will result in more than $2,500,000 being paid directly to affected purchasers.

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Council corrects a mistake - mumbles an apology and takes 600 Brant off the Heritage Registry.

By Pepper Parr

November 30th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

I was a very short meeting – 27 minutes

And unless we misread the background of the room each member of council was sitting in – there wasn’t one member of Council sitting in the Council Chamber.
Councillors Nisan and Galbraith were reported as absent.

The Special Meeting of council was to: hear a report on the potential demolition of heritage registered properties at 600 Brant Street who had a demolition permit application and a site plan approval application for construction of a new 3-storey office building.

Staff cautiously estimated that 600 Brant Street could be demolished any time after November 29, 2022. Demolition can only be avoided if City Council first consults its municipal heritage committee then issues a notice of intention to designate the properties. Thus the emergency meeting of the Heritage Burlington Advisory Committee (the “HBAC”) and a special Council meeting.

The failure, and it was an abysmal failure on the part of the planning department, was in notifying the owner of the property that there were heritage issues.

That was compounded by the fact that letters sent to the owner of the property were sent via regular mail to an address where there was no one in the house.

The meeting this evening, Tuesday was to clean up the mess.

Unfortunately, no one, except for ward 2 Councillor Kearns offered an apology – she did mumble the words.

The Staff report read: The purpose of this report is to provide Council with analysis, background information and recommendations regarding the potential demolition of heritage registered properties at 600 Brant Street. The owner of 600 Brant Street has submitted a demolition permit application and a site plan approval application for construction of a new 3-storey office building.

Shahab Tabash

Shahab Tabash the business man who owned the property and wanted to demolish the building and build a three storey dental facility delegated to Council saying:

“So dear mayor and councillors. Thanks for having me back to delegate one last time hopefully.

“Tonight, I wanted to be present to ask directly that our property is 600 brain Street, be removed from the Heritage registry as per the recommendations of the Heritage landscape study. That would I assume we’re all in? We’re all holding. That was done on November 17 2020. To the 27th page report that was done since the last time we saw each other in the case of 600 brain does not meet the thresholds to be considered as a heritage site.

“And as you can see in I hope you’ve seen in the report it says quote unquote, based on the available information, it’s determined that 600 Brant Street does not sufficiently meet the criteria contained in the Ontario heritage act. It’s my understanding that the heritage Burlington advisory committee that met last week is also recommending that our property be removed from the Heritage registry.

“I want to speak just quickly about the impact of being placed on a heritage registry and want to speak just quickly about the impact of being placed on heritage registry and of the city’s protocol for doing so. And to drive home. What I hope is an important point. Mayor Mead Ward and the entire council your extraordinary power and your decisions have a very profound effect on local businesses and on local families. And to me it really seemed like that decision of July 2022 to add us to the registry would have would have been better done if the studies would have been done before the designations and as a property owner as someone who’s very diligent and following up and making sure that we met all of the requirements of the city.

“ It was quite shocking to be placed on that list without you know that there’s some debate as to how we were notified or if we were notified, but without any study. And I can’t overstate the extraordinary costs. And sleepless nights that this puts on the local business owners and local families. And Council Chairman wasn’t wrong when at the last Council meeting when he stated that one of the steps of the thing happens especially in the backdrop of a global recession, real estate issues increasing interest rates point in time where local businesses are under extraordinary pressure. Decision to heritage without a study being done is it was extremely stressful.

“And I hope that tonight with the recommendation of the heritage committee and the study that’s been done that you look at removing us from that list. As a local business we really have committed our time and our money and our futures to this and I just hope that in the future that communication can be better. So the local business owners and I understand that I’m a local person, I want appropriate heritage designation. I want appropriate growth. But I think that it could have been done better. I won’t take up too much more of your time. I thank you for the opportunity and I ask that you follow the recommendation of the Heritage Burlington Advisory Committee and the heritage study and removing us from the from the Heritage registry. Thank you for your time.”

The property can now be demolished and replaced with a three story dental facility.

The building located at 600 Brant Street was constructed in 1912, shortly after the subdivision of land in that area from farmland into a residential subdivision. While no known images or descriptions exist from the time the property was constructed, fire insurances plans for the area from 1924 provide details on the residence as it was originally built.

The Burlington Heritage Advisory Committee reported that:

  • The property is not a rare, unique, representative or early example of a style, type, expression, material or construction method
  • The property was dramatically altered between 2009 and 2011, which changed the appearance of the central dormer and making it even less classifiable as a recognizable style
  • Within its historic subdivision, there are better preserved, and more architecturally distinguished examples of residential buildings from the early 20th century
  • It is not associated with any significant historical figures or communities

It is not a landmark and does not stand out in the street.

Council directed Direct the Director of Community Planning to remove the property from the Heritage Register.

In closing the meeting Mayor Meed Ward said:  “I just wanted to again, thank our heritage staff for bringing this forward and allowing us the opportunity to have a fulsome conversation. They one tricky thing with heritage is that once it’s gone, it’s gone. And if we don’t have the opportunity to learn these stories, and determine if there is that cultural or architectural significance, then we can go back to almost like one of those Measure twice, cut once. And I think it’s really important that we somehow find a way to also preserve these incredible stories I found so much value and just learning about the history from this presentation of that particular property and its connection back to apple orchards and who lived there and so while it might not qualify, it still helped to shape our tissue hub.

You know, thank you for going through this process with us. It is the right process. And we thank you very much for your patience and apologize for the stress that might have caused you and your family. We’re always committed to process improvement and we will continue to do our very best to make make the heritage process something that you know our residents are well informed about. And that you know, we can help to standardize and make it a lot easier on our staff so that we can get that out in the right in the right manner. So thank you so much for going through that journey with us. Just wanted to say that I will be supporting the staff recommendation. And thanks again to him for everyone that has worked very hard to bring this into a quick turnaround.

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Mayor appears to be using the air waves to get her points across

By Pepper Parr

November 29th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

An Aldershot resident sent the following email.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

“I was just informed that Mayor Meed Ward was reportedly “ranting” about the complaint, similar to the Spectator Opinion, on CHCH TV last Friday November 25.

“Once again she is using her political influence to involve herself directly in the public media about the conflict of interest complaint. I didn’t see it.

“She is usurping the credibility of the independence, no politics involved, of the Integrity Commissioner process, who knows that she can bury their recommendation report, and already looks to be trying to rig the Council vote before you have even done your investigations and prepared the report.

“I could say more, but I will say that this is looking like a big reason why the province passed conflict of interest laws for politicians, and regulations or whatever they are called, saying that every municipality must have independent Integrity Commissioners to investigate such complaints.

“This situation is a classic example for what can happen when the politicians are left to themselves.”

Related news stories:

The Integrity Commissioner told the Ward 1 councillor what he could and could not do.

What happens when there is a tie vote?

Rants seem to be what the Mayor uses regularly

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Millions of records, a couple dozen hits - Trooper will be on Stage February 23rd - tickets available to non - members December 2.

By Staff

November 29th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

There is a reason for being a member of the Performing Arts Centre. You get to be in the ticket line before most people – and with shows like this – you want to be sure you will be able to get tickets.

It goes like this: millions of records, a couple dozen hits, a Juno Award (Canada’s Grammy) for Band of the Year and ongoing sold-out shows across Canada. Universal Music acknowledges them as “one of Canada’s top five selling bands of all time” and the Vancouver Sun has called them “Canadian rock heroes of the first order … the best performing band in Canada”.

And they are on their way to the Performing Arts Centre.


Thu Feb 23, 2023 at 8pm
Main Theatre
Regular: $79.50 – $99.50 (All-in)
Member: $74.50 – $94.50 (All-in)

“We’re Here for a Good Time (Not a Long Time)”, “Raise a Little Hell”, “The Boys in the Bright White Sportscar”, “Two For the Show”, “Pretty Lady” – just a few of the Trooper hits that, according to writer Ryan Sparks, “have woven their way into the fabric of this country like no other bands have been able to do.
Tune into any radio station from Vancouver to St John’s and you’re bound to encounter one of their dozen hit radio anthems that are still featured in heavy rotation to this day.”

Tickets on sale to BPAC Members only: Wed Nov 30 at 12 noon.
Tickets on sale to General Public: Fri Dec 2 at 12 noon.

Visit our Box Office at:
440 Locust Street,
Burlington, Ontario L7S 1T7

Box Office Hours:
Tuesday to Saturday from 12pm to 4pm, and one hour prior to a performance.

Payment: Cash, Interac/Debit, Credit Card (VISA, MasterCard, AMEX), Gift Certificate.
All ticket sales are final. No refunds or exchanges. Programming subject to change.

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For those who wanted more about the volunteering opportunities - read on

By Staff

November 29th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

A Gazette reader read the piece about the city inviting people to serve as volunteers on boards and committees.

In the story we mentioned there were 18 boards and committees.  We didn’t have the answers at our finger tips and put the request on the “things to try and get done”

Michelle Dwyer, Manager of Engagement and Volunteers: Corporate Communications and Engagement saw the comment and provided us with the following.  Nice to know that Ms Dwyer has such an interest in what we do.  We appreciate all the help you can give us.

Council-appointed advisory committees

The City of Burlington has nine Council-appointed advisory committees that provide feedback and input to Council.

Burlington has always had a small group of citizens who make a point of being involved. In that regard we are fortunate.

Accessibility Advisory Committee
Agricultural and Rural Affairs Advisory Committee
Cycling Advisory Committee
Downtown Parking Advisory Committee
Heritage Burlington Advisory Committee
Inclusivity Advisory Committee
Integrated Transportation Advisory Committee
Seniors’ Advisory Committee
Sustainable Development Advisory Committee

Boards

The Office of the City Clerk assists with recruitment to some of the following local boards, while others conduct their own recruitment process:

 

Art Gallery of Burlington
Burlington Economic Development
Burlington Hydro
Burlington Performing Arts Centre
Burlington Public Library
Conservation Halton

Transit Advisory meeting.  This was a committee that city decided it no longer needed.

Joseph Brant Hospital
Museums of Burlington
Tourism Burlington

Other committees
Committee of Adjustment
Council Remuneration Review Working Group
Greater Bay Area Sub-committee
Joint Compliance Audit Committee

The City of Burlington, the Town of Oakville, the Town of Halton Hills, and the Regional Municipality of Halton have established a Joint Compliance Audit Committee.

Mundialization Committee

If you want to dig a little deeper and learn more about each committee click HERE

 

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Political wisdom is out there for the taking; several quotations that should be in the reading list of every member of Council

By Pepper Parr

November 28th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

From time to time the Gazette has made reference to several well known quotes.

A favourite is that Lord Acton quote:

Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

A week or so ago I came across another as I was reading my Sunday New York Times.

“Power reveals” Indeed is does.

A third one that strikes more than a chord:

“Politics changes politicians more than it changes society.”

Politics is power, used wisely it can and has brought about change.

Adapting to having power calls for more than the current city council has managed to display.

Few have taken to heart the words of Jim Young who said in a delegation that the power the Councillors had was given to them by those who voted. Young went further, adding that the power every voter has is given to those elected in trust and they are expected to be seen as trust worthy

Burlington 2022 – 2026 City Council. Councillor Stolte did not take part: Covid19 complications

There is still an opportunity for the seven to reflect and consider what they are doing and why.

 

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When did four Councillors decide to focus on the interests of each other rather than the interests of the people they were elected to serve ?

By Pepper Parr

November 28th, 2022

BURLINGTON, ON

 

They did win – we have to give them that.

What we got out of the election exercise is a council where two members, Nisan and Galbraith, took a complaint against a third member, Stolte, to the Integrity Commissioner.

The Commissioner found against Stolte and docked her five days pay.
Then, Kearns “inadvertently”, spoke at a BDBA meeting about what has been budgeted for outside counsel to defend the city’s position on the redevelopment of the Waterfront Hotel site.
Kierans was taking part in a Burlington Downtown Business Association meeting as the council liaison person.

Also taking part were two men who were candidates running against Kearns for the ward 2 council seat.

The Gazette has not been able to get a copy of the BDBA agenda and thus we do not know why the subject of the hotel redevelopment plans were discussed.

We do know that Kearns did say the city was budgeting $500,000 for legal expenses. One of the participants in the ZOOM call asked a question about the funds.  Kearns panicked realizing that there were other people on the call during which she blabbed about how much the city has budgeted for outside counsel ($500,000.)

Knowing she was offside she ran to the city manager to explain the crime she had committed (speaking publicly about matters discussed in closed sessions of council is a Code of Conduct crime.)

She then apparently got herself in front of the Integrity Commissioner to tell her side of the story.

Then, days before the votes are cast for the 2022 municipal election it comes to light that Galbraith (one of the two that fingered Stolte) is himself before the Integrity Commissioner,

Four of the seven members of council have spent some of their time either registering complaints about other members of council or dealing with complaints about their own behavior.

This is what 27% of the population elected on October 24th ?

The story gets better. This is as good as that Energizer bunny – it just doesn’t stop giving.

In the Friday edition of the Hamilton Spectator there was an opinion piece written by Mayor Meed Ward, Councillors Galbraith, Nisan and Sharman taking offence to a column written by Spectator columnist and former city councillor Joan Little.

Quite why Councillor Galbraith having his signature on a letter that relates directly to his issues with the Integrity Commissioner is seen as appropriate is hard to understand. What is very clear is that the Mayor and three Councillors are going to do everything they can to ensure that he remains a city councillor.

It was always my understanding that Councillors were in place to look after the interests of the public and not the interests of each other

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