Determining what the tax increase will be for 2024 is going to be an experience that will be remembered. If you see the Mayor entering the Council Chmaber with a rabbit and a hat - don't be surprised.

By Pepper Parr

October 25th, 2023



It is going to be a different budget because Mayor Meed Ward has Strong Mayor powers which means she is required to propose the budget for the municipality each year by February 1.

The head of council must share the proposed budget with each member of council and the municipal clerk, and make it available to the public. If the head of council does not propose the budget by February 1, council must prepare and adopt the budget.

This is the view the public gets when Council meets. The practice for Burlington is to make all meetings virtual events. This is your Council and no – they are not waving at you.

After receiving the proposed budget from the head of council, council can amend the proposed budget by passing a resolution within a 30-day review period.

The head of council then has 10 days from the end of the council review period to veto any council amendment.

To veto a council amendment, the head of council must provide written documentation of the veto and rationale to each member of council and the municipal clerk on the day of the veto.

Council then can override a head of council’s veto of a council amendment with a two-thirds majority vote, within a 15-day period, after the head of council’s veto period.

There are mechanisms in place to enable council and the head of council to shorten their respective review, veto and override periods. For example, council could pass a resolution to shorten their review and override period, and the head of council could provide written documentation to members of council and the municipal clerk to shorten the veto period.

At the end of this process, the resulting budget is adopted by the municipality.

That’s the complex schedule.

That document gets presented by Staff to Council on December 30th.  It is described is as an “informative” document meant to inform the Mayor where spending should take place and where revenue is likely to come from.

A tax increase of close to 8% was being tossed around – the Mayor had said that she was thinking in terms of something less than that.

In the past year the city has borrowed $54 through this issuance of two debentures.  The rate was above 5% for the most recent.

Related news stories;

How much has the city borrowed.

Mayor Meed Ward didn’t have to accept the Strong Mayors powers she was given on Canada Day

Will the increase be above 8%


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Will the toilets work ? Yes - but it is going to cost and expect some road closures when the work is done

By Pepper Parr

October 24th, 2023



We live in very stressful times; the close to last thing people want to hear about is the population density of high rise towers that are going to be built around the Burlington GO station.

Getting the kids to their soccer games, figuring out how all that really expensive hockey equipment is going to be paid for and listening carefully where the elementary teachers are with their strike vote.

Add to that the condition of the mortgage on your house – something in the order of 35% of the variable rate mortgages are reported to be due for renewal in 2025, and most people take a pass on big housing development issues.

So the map set out below would be something that doesn’t matter to anyone living within the boundaries shown.

Those reds lines are where the sewer as it exists now will not be able to hand the flow from your toilet to the Water treatment facility in Lakeshore Road

That may not be completely true.  The red lines are for parts of the sanitary sewer system that is beneath the road on every street in the city.

If nothing happens when you press the lever – you will want to howl. The need for upgrades to the waste water treatment pipes is being worked out.

The red lines indicate parts of the waste sewage system that might not be able to handle the flow when all the development projects have been completed.

Some of the internal piping installed during the expansion to the Skyway Treatment plant on Lakeshore Road.

Will the toilets work?  Messy if they don’t – but they will.  The consultants brought in by the Region pointed out where the problems will crop up – they also gave a rough idea as to what it will cost and when the work will have to be done.  It is a complicated expensive process.

Additions to the capacity of the Skyway Treatment plant took place between 2011 and 2015.

The total budget for the expansion is $158.8 million with the province and the federal government providing $51.5 million each and Halton Region funding the remaining $55.8 million.


Aerial view of the Skyway Water Treatment plant. A lot of sophisticated technology – one of the sites where sewage is tested for Covid19

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The Great Candy Crusaders are on the prowl - lolipop, lolipop Oh loli lolipop - the secret is in the lolipop

By Staff

October 25th, 2023



The Burlington Downtown Business Association has come up with a fun event that has a major sugar hit attached to it.

Life in Downtown Burlington is oh so sweet – literally! With so many amazing treats hiding around every corner, the possibilities for sweetness feel endless.

Rumour has it that THREE super sweet, treat-filled giveaway baskets have hidden themselves somewhere in our downtown, determined to keep their tasty treasures all to themselves, and we can’t let that happen, right Burlington?

It’s The Great Candy Crusaders!

We’re celebrating the last week of October with an oh-so-sweet candy hunt.

The treat-filled giveaway baskets are hiding in one of our downtown businesses, and we need YOU to find them! Starting today, follow our BDBA Instagram** stories for clues on where to find the giveaway baskets.

Submit one guess per day, and we will DM you back if you’re correct. If you’ve figured it out and we’ve confirmed you’re correct, head on down to that business and pick up one of 9 giant lollipops*. Each lollipop has a unique number on it, so don’t lose it! We’ll update our stories after every lollipop is claimed, so stay tuned! These 9 lollipops will be entered into a random draw to win one of THREE giveaways.

On November 1st, we’ll do a special Instagram post to announce we have our winners, and the winners will be DM’d to claim their prize! What makes these treats so sweet? Here’s a little sneak peak:

    • $50 Burlington Downtown Gift Card
    • Treats & Sweets
    • Burlington Downtown merch!


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3-Week Loose-Leaf Collection Program Begins Monday, Nov. 13

By Staff

October 25th, 2023



The loose-leaf collection program starts on Monday, November 13.

Check the leaf collection schedule and zone map. Each collection zone will have only one pick-up week. Loose-leaves placed after the zone start date will not be collected.

Their is now a new interactive Collection Tracking Map to keep residents informed of progress made by collection crews as they make their way through each zone. The map will be updated each day by 7 p.m. to show routes completed that day.

The Tracking Map is an interesting feature.  The head of IT services has brought a lot of energy and new ideas to the department.  A very welcome benefit – Kudos to the department and who ever created the application.

Residents planning on using the service are reminded that this program is weather dependent. Freezing rain or snow can cause delays or even cancel the program. Always be prepared to bag your leaves for Halton Region’s Yard Waste Pick-up or mulch them to help your lawns and gardens grow.

If the collection is delayed or cancelled due to weather or other circumstances, residents can call 905-335-7777 for updated information. Updates will also be posted on

To ensure the safety of collection crews and avoid damaging equipment, please keep the loose-leaf piles free of debris and sticks. Leaves mixed with debris and waste will not be collected. Please help prevent flooding by keeping catch basins and ditches clear of leaves.

To ensure a successful pick-up, residents can:

    • Rake leaves to the edge of the curb or roadway in a loose pile no more than two days before your pick-up date
    • Do not place leaves in bike lanes or on sidewalks or pathways
    • Prevent flooding by not placing leaves over storm drains
    • Remove basketball nets, cars and other obstructions from the road during pick-up dates
    • Avoid placing garbage bags, bins, blue boxes or green carts on top of loose-leaf piles

After the collection program is complete, any remaining leaves should be placed in yard-waste bags for curb side collection by Halton Region.

As a greener alternative, residents can mulch their leaves with their lawn mower to help feed the soil for the spring.

Enrico Scalera, Director of Roads, Parks and Forestry points out that ““The City’s leaf collection program is now even more convenient with the launch of an interactive Collection Tracking Map to keep you updated on our collection progress. Stay informed about your zone’s pick-up week and be sure to follow updates on our webpage and the City’s social media channels for any weather-related delays or cancellations.”

Links and Resources






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NDP will present its approach to building the badly needed housing today. Wants a public housing agency

By Pepper Parr

October 24th, 2023



So far she has always stepped right into whatever the problem was and got results.

Marit Stiles: NDP Leader of the Opposition.

It was a letter from NDP Opposition leader at Queen’s Park who wrote the Provincial Auditor General asking for an investigation that resulted in a very damaging report on what the Ford government had done when they took a significant number of properties out of the Greenbelt.

She followed that up with another letter to the Provincial Integrity Commissioner who named names and said it was “a process that was rushed, non-transparent and almost reckless” – words that may have been the beginning of the end for the Ford government.

Today Stiles introduced a solution intended to get the province back in the business of building housing.

The NDP has tabled a motion in the Legislature that would call for the establishment of a new public agency – Homes Ontario – which would build at least 250,000 new affordable and non-market homes over ten years, to be operated and/or constructed by public, non-profit or co-op housing providers. 

“With a housing crisis of this scale, we have to find big solutions that can help people find a home they love in the community they want to live in,” said Stiles. “The Ontario NDP are going to get the province back in the business of building housing with Homes Ontario – and we’re going to do it together, so that everyone in Ontario has a place to call home.”  

Auditor General Bonnie Lysak with her report – it opened up a huge can of works that resulted in an RCMP investigation.

The Ontario NDP has also been calling for real rent control, an end to exclusionary zoning and clamping down on real estate speculation.  Today’s announcement is one more step in the NDP’s plan to solve the housing crisis. 

Homes Ontario is just the next piece of the comprehensive plan that the Ontario NDP is assembling with the input from housing researchers, trades, labour, municipalities, non-profits, and other stakeholders. 

Don’t expect the government to line up and support the NDP plan – how the government explains that they are working on the problem and will have their own bill ready real soon will be the art of politics at its best.


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Not for profit sector to hold a Congress in November - first one ever held

By Pepper Parr

October 24th, 2023



The Not for Profit sector has always been an important part of the way things get done in the four municipalities in the Region. They are the organizations that step in to provide a safety net where the municipal administrations don’t.  They are closer to the people that need help and they are usually closer to a grass roots understanding of just what the problem is.

Think about the Food Bank, Burlington Green, the Compassion Society and Burlington Foundation to name a few.

Volunteer Halton, part of Community Development is working with the City of Burlington, Town of Milton, Town of Oakville, and Town of Halton Hills and holding the first -ever Halton Non-Profit Congress on Saturday November 18, 2023. 

The event will take place in Milton Sports Centre for what is being described as “a transformative event tailored to non-profit leaders and change-makers in arts, culture, heritage, recreation, and sports.”

The intention is to give participants and opportunity to explore strategies, build connections, and gain insights to boost your impact in community.  Dive into topics like Empowering Communities, Governance, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Data-Driven Management, and Volunteer Engagement. 

The line-up of speakers for this event so far include key-note speaker Rosita Hall, education session leaders Erin Spink of spinktank, Hanadi Almasri of HMC Connections, Heather Kaufmann from the Town of Halton Hills, and Candice Zhang from the Ontario NonProfit Network, to name just a few. 

There will be a Funder Panel Discussion featuring speakers from Jumpstart, KidSport Ontario, the Region of Halton, and the Community Foundation of North Halton to share information about funding opportunities for your organization.

Registration is now open and Early Bird rates are in effect until October 31! Prices goes up November 1.

Saturday November 18, 2023
8:30am – 4:30pm
Milton Sports Centre: 605 Santa Maria Blvd, Milton, ON


Register HERE

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New Neighbourhood Community Matching Fund in place

By Staff

October 24th, 2023



Burlington as taken to the idea of giving groups of people funds to do something in their community.

While they don’t tell the really good stories about what people have done – they have grown the idea and are now at the point where some remarkable changes are taking place.

Think big, Burlington! Community-led projects could receive up to $10,000

The City of Burlington is now accepting applications for the Neighbourhood Community Matching Fund (NCMF). Approved community group-led projects could receive 50 per cent of their funding up to $10,000. The neighbourhood or community group must match this funding with an equal contribution made up through any combination of:

  • Volunteer hours
  • Donated services
  • Donated materials and supplies
  • Other funds raised, such as cash donations

The deadline for submissions is Feb. 29, 2024.

The fund is to inspire community-led projects with a goal of improving neighbourhoods by creating a sense of belonging, community pride and building meaningful connections.

The city supported the setting up of local hockey rinks – it worked – needs a bit of a boost to get more rink requests.

Burlington residents are encouraged to submit community-led project with a focus on small projects within parks, gardens, buildings on public lands or on lands that are accessible to the public. Projects can increase walkability, promote beautification, encourage recreational activity, build social connections and improve safety or accessibility. These projects are to be planned, led and implemented by the community in a public setting.

Residents interested in applying for funds are encouraged to visit to learn more about the application process, guidelines and past projects.

Denise Beard, Senior Manager of Community Development:  There’s lots of opportunity for groups to come together to create something that the community needs. As a City, we often don’t know of the little things that can add a great deal of value to a favourite, local spot. This is where residents can have an impact, get involved and champion a change.”




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Let us help you Your Worship: T-R-A-N-S-P-A-R-E-N-C-Y. Now that you can pronounce the word - try using it

By Pepper Parr

October 24th, 2023



The Gazette is driven by the mantra – Informed people can make informed decisions.

Add to the task of holding those who were elected or appointed to work for the betterment of the wider community the holding these people accountable and transparent.

A Gazette reader sent the following along to us – it was published on May 14th, 2019 and sent out by the Mayor’s Communications specialist John Bkila, who actually is a journalist who earned his stripes at the Burlington Post.

Marianne Meed Ward was never a journalist, she was an editor and a panellist on both radio and television.

In the article that the Gazette did publish Meed Ward said:

Hi – I’m your Mayor

“As many of you know, before I entered politics, I spent 22 years as a journalist. I worked with employers and clients including the Toronto Sun, Vision TV, CBC, CHCH News, Chatelaine, Ryerson University and more — committed to keeping people informed about the issues that impact their lives. It helped me prepare for my role as Mayor in many meaningful ways and provided me with a deep appreciation for the value of transparency and communication from our public officials in upholding democracy and being accountable.

“This blog is one of my favourite ways to keep you informed and ensure you know where I stand on the issues that matter to you and our city. It started out as “A Better Burlington” ( before I was a City Councillor. I was looking for a free and accessible way to share important news and issues with my fellow citizens. Over time, as my career changed, it evolved into what it is today: — a place where I can share information with you as often as possible, and always let you know “My Take” so you are clear on where I stand. It’s also a place for you to share your thoughts with me.

“Of course, that’s not the only way you can stay informed or connect with me. I am active on social media, and you can connect with me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat. I often share information on events I am attending, local causes of interest, and newsworthy information about timely topics like road closures, living with coyotes and more. My goal there is to keep you informed on the channels you are already using so that you can be connected and engaged to City Hall and our community as easily as possible.

Big on providing services. Political enough to be on the winning side?

Big on providing services earlier in her political career which started as a Councillor.  She first ran in ward 1 where Rick Craven trounced her.

“You can reach me via email or telephone if you have a specific question or idea that you feel is relevant to the Office of the Mayor. I am not always in the office as I’m often in meetings, at events or travelling, so my team does an amazing job of reviewing these emails and will frequently loop in other staff or departments at the City of Burlington to get you an answer as quickly as possible. I am updated by my team on a regular basis on those questions, issues and resolutions — and I get directly involved when necessary. My email is and my telephone number is 905-335-7607.

“I also still get letters from the community, and you’re always welcome to send me something through good old-fashioned mail as well, at 426 Brant Street, Burlington, Ontario, L7R 3Z6.

“I have a Mayor’s page on the City of Burlington website where you can find information on initiatives I am leading, your City Council, events and more at

“I also work with local media and have a great appreciation for their role in asking the tough questions to keep you informed through traditional journalism and other channels. I was, after all, on that side of the table for many years.”

A little transparency here Your Worship.  You have never held a “traditional” media event where you were open to questions from media.  You do programs on radio and television where you are never challenged.  In the media work we call those puff ball events.

When you were running for the office of Mayor we did do an interview with you.  It went well and if memory serves me correctly, you called to amplify on a comment you had made.

To say that you work with media is just plain dishonest.

Your full time job seems to be to get your picture taken as often as possible and hope that “being seen” will be enough to keep voters believing you are doing a great job.

“You can read a monthly column I submit in the Burlington Post (online at, watch my regular TV segments on our local cable station YourTV (Cogeco), and call in to Global News Radio’s AM 900 CHML each month and ask your own tough questions when I am a guest on the Bill Kelly Show (the call-in number is 905-645-3221 and you can find out more information at

“Since becoming Mayor in December 2018, I have done interviews with the Burlington Post, WEST of the City magazine, CBC Radio, snapd, The Globe and Mail, and CHCH News, just to name a few. I do my best to respond to media inquiries as much as my schedule permits to further share my views and connect with you in addition to all the other ways I’ve listed above.

“I share press releases with the media on a regular basis and participate in press conferences (You do indeed — but these are not events where media can ask questions) and they, (media) in turn, often share those with you in their stories.

That she does but she is never available for follow up questions.

“My team and I work in close partnership with the broader communications team here at the City of Burlington. We really are a team and I’m thrilled at how we collaborate and find ways to leverage all of our channels to keep you better informed. From the Burlington.cawebsite to their own media releases and social media channels on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, they do an amazing job and find truly creative (and often funny) ways to get important messages out there for you.

Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward made her presence known to Council well before her election to office.

“And, of course, you can often find me at community events and local shops on the street for even more ways to ask your questions and hear my points of view. I have more conversations than I can count when I’m joining our community at a charitable event, festival or celebratory occasion.

“As both a councillor, and since becoming Mayor, I have received so many positive comments from the public about how much you appreciate and enjoy my monthly newsletters, social media posts, and other communications. It’s a busy job being Mayor and it’s good to know that the time and effort put into these initiatives by myself, my team, and our colleagues at City Hall is worth it for our community. Keep your feedback and questions coming. Hearing from you — the people of Burlington — is the most important part of my job.”

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With wars that threaten the democracy we have remembering those who lost their lives is more important than ever

By Staff

October 23rd, 2023



A little early for this event to be announced but Remembrance Day gets kind of busy – we wanted to give people a chance to know what is taking place.



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How to protect the pay cheque - convince the province that you are worth what you are getting paid.

By Staff

October 23rd, 2023



The Motion didn’t get discussed at the October 18th meeting of the Regional Council – it was deferred to a future meeting.

That the idea is on the table – why it’s on the table.

City Council at work; Councillor Nisan did not take part

Regional Councilors get paid by both the municipality they hold a council seat in and an additional amount for serving as Regional Councilors.

For the seven members of Burlington City Council what they get from the Region amount to very very close to 50%.

Keeping public money in your pocket.

Were the Regional Council to disappear – the six Burlington ward Councilors would find that they couldn’t live on the basically $60,000 they earn as Councilors.

Read the motion with that information in mind.

Support for Regional Government in Halton

Burlington City Councillor Rory Nisan serves as the spear carrier for embers of Regional Council – the objective is to save the Regional part of their pay cheques.

WHEREAS, in November 2022 the Government of Ontario announced a review of Ontario’s regional municipalities (Durham, Halton, Niagara, Peel, Waterloo, York) and the County of Simcoe through government appointed facilitators; and

WHEREAS, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing wrote to the Chair of the legislature’s Standing Committee on Heritage, Infrastructure and Cultural Policy recently requesting the committee take over the work originally proposed for facilitators; and

WHEREAS, the Province has asked the Standing Committee, among other things, whether changes to municipal governance structure would enhance local services and/or provide better value to taxpayers; and

WHEREAS, the Province has stated one of the key drivers for undertaking a review is to examine whether the current municipal structure supports the construction of new homes; and

WHEREAS, the Region and its local municipalities support the Province’s goal to deliver at least 1.5 million homes by 2031 and are committed to working together to support the Provincial housing pledges; and

WHEREAS, the Region is focused on providing essential water and wastewater infrastructure to support the construction of new homes in support of the housing pledges; and

WHEREAS, a governance review would be disruptive as it would take significant time and attention away from the Region’s goal to deliver infrastructure to support municipal housing pledges; and

WHEREAS, the Province has already implemented significant changes through Bill 23 last year, with respect to the elimination of Regional planning as a means to ensure effective governance and better value for the Halton taxpayer in line with the key drivers of regional review; and

WHEREAS, over the last 50 years since the creation of the Region of Halton, the City of Burlington, Towns of Oakville, Milton and Halton Hills have always worked cooperatively on advancing the needs of all its constituents; and

WHEREAS, Halton and all of its member municipalities, agencies, boards and committees have continuously worked on efficiencies and have saved taxpayers millions of dollars through the Halton Cooperative Purchasing group, including the Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS), the Conservation Authorities and School Boards; and clear definition of roles and responsibilities; and

WHEREAS, Halton and our four Local Municipalities are committed to providing high quality services, keeping costs as low as possible for our residents and ensuring financial sustainability of our municipalities; and

WHEREAS, 97 per cent of residents are satisfied with the quality of Regional services provided; and

WHEREAS, Halton is a model of municipal efficiency through service agreements between municipalities and the Region and 98 per cent of Halton residents rate their quality of life very high; and

WHEREAS, Halton Region has been effectively managed and held an AAA credit rating for 35 years; and

WHEREAS, Halton has been recognized as one of Canada’s Safest Communities over the past 15 years; and

WHEREAS, each of the 4 municipalities in Halton has been highly ranked in the MoneySense “Best Place to Live” feature; and

WHEREAS, a change to the structure in Halton by the Provincial Government would be disruptive and wasteful given they would be trying to fix something that is not broken;


THAT Regional Council endorses Halton’s effective two-tier system of municipal government as it has evolved on mutual agreement with our partner lower municipalities since its foundation in 1973;

THAT the Regional Chair write to the Premier and Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing indicating Regional Council’s support for the current Local and Regional structure, emphasizing Halton’s stellar record of governance;

THAT Regional Council requests the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing expedite the Proclamation of Bill 23 in order to able the full transition of planning services from the Region, as a means to ensure effective governance and better value for the Halton taxpayer in line with the key drivers of regional review;

THAT the Halton Region CAO work collaboratively and expeditiously with the CAOs of the lower tier municipalities to look for additional efficiencies and cost savings with our municipal partners, the Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS), the Conservation Authorities and School Boards, including potential areas for downloading to lower tier municipalities or uploading to Halton Region;

THAT Regional staff continue to review and identify land owned by the Region that may be appropriate for new assisted housing opportunities;

AND THAT this resolution be forwarded to the Premier, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Halton’s Members of Provincial Parliament, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, and Halton’s Local Municipalities.

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If you thought Canada was doing on OK on climate issues - look at the data - not so good

By Staff

October 23rd, 2023



An American,  Kristina Karamo,  Chair of the Michigan Republic Party, said “We need to be good stewards of our planet. But that doesn’t mean I need to do away with my gas vehicle and drive an electric vehicle with a battery from China.”

It would be tempting to dismiss Ms Karamo as an irrelevant crank, but she is not irrelevant. She represents an extreme wing of a movement that is gathering pace around the world: a backlash against pro-climate policies. One of its more familiar cheerleaders could be America’s next president. On September 27th Donald Trump said: “You can be loyal to American labour or you can be loyal to the environmental lunatics but you can’t really be loyal to both…Crooked Joe [Biden] is siding with the left-wing crazies who will destroy automobile manufacturing and will destroy our country itself.”

How serious an obstacle is all this to curbing global carbon emissions?  The world’s biggest emitter, China, understands the need to decarbonise and is investing massively in solar and wind. The second-biggest emitter, America, has taken a green turn under Mr Biden. Brazil has sacked a rainforest-slashing president; Australia has ditched a coal-coddling prime minister. Nearly a quarter of emissions are now subject to carbon pricing. And the pace of innovation is impressive.

Geography isn’t the only thing we share with the Americans – we seem to see the climate change the way they do.

The political undercurrents are less reassuring. Voters are realising that remaking the entire global economy will be disruptive. Some—a minority—dispute that man-made climate change is under way. Others object to certain policies deployed to tackle it, because they impose costs on ordinary citizens, or add hassles to their overstretched daily lives.

Some, particularly the elderly, do not like change at all, especially when it means fuss today in return for benefits they may not live to see. Even among those who accept that action is needed, views differ as to who should shoulder the burden. Many would prefer it to fall on someone else.

Awareness of the dangers of climate change seems to have risen over the past wildfire-charred decade. In polls of 12 rich countries by Pew, an American think-tank, the share of respondents who said it was a “major threat” rose in every country except South Korea, where it was already high. Clear majorities everywhere bar Israel agreed with this description. Yet this does not mean they are willing to pay more taxes to help prevent climate change. In a survey of 29 countries by Ipsos, a pollster, only 30% of respondents said they would be willing to cough up.

Crowding out

Perhaps most alarmingly, a partisan gap has opened even on scientific questions. In all of the 14 rich countries surveyed by Pew in 2022, people on the political right were less likely to see climate change as a major threat than those on the left   . In Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden the gap was very large: between 22 and 44 percentage points. In America it was a gobsmacking 63 points. And a new poll by YouGov for The Economist found that whereas 87% of Biden voters believed that climate change was caused by human activity, only 21% of Trump voters agreed.

Why don’t people want to pay for what they know is necessary?

In democracies such divisions have consequences. In rich democracies, especially, divisions over climate are aggravated by populist politicians, who take real problems (such as cost and disruption) and exaggerate them, while claiming that the elite who impose green policies don’t care about ordinary motorists because they cycle to work.

Populism tends to undermine effective climate policy in several ways. First, populists are often sceptical of experts. When people say “trust the experts”, suggests Ms Karamo, they really mean: “You are too stupid to make decisions about your life.”

Second, populists are suspicious of global institutions and foreigners. “Every subsidy we award to an electric-vehicle manufacturer is really a subsidy to the [Chinese Communist Party], because we depend on them, like a noose around our neck, for the batteries,” says Vivek Ramaswamy, a Republican presidential candidate. Such attitudes are bad for climate mitigation, argues Dan Fiorino of the American University in Washington, DC, because “climate policy is as much a matter of foreign relations as it is of economic policy.”

Third, populists encourage people to believe that the elite are plotting against them, thus adding paranoia to public life and making compromise harder. Mr Trump frames policies to promote electric cars as a threat to the American way of life, and does so in ways that make his fans bristle with rage and laugh out loud.

“They say the happiest day when you buy an electric car is the first ten minutes you’re driving it, and then, after that, panic sets in because you’re worried. Where the hell am I gonna get a charge to keep this thing going? Panic!” he told workers in Michigan. “If you want to buy an electric car that’s absolutely fine…But we should not be forcing consumers to buy electric vehicles…There’s no such thing as a fair transition to the end of your way of life.”

If Mr Trump is re-elected in 2024, he would once again pull out of the Paris Agreement on climate change. He would also roll back executive orders on such things as methane emissions. He would probably not be able to repeal Mr Biden’s big climate law (misleadingly called the Inflation Reduction Act), which involves huge subsidies that are popular with recipients in red states as well as blue ones. But he would appoint bureaucrats who could obstruct its implementation. At a minimum, America would cease to offer leadership on climate change at a crucial moment, says Mr Markey. “You cannot preach temperance from a barstool. You cannot tell other countries to do the right thing if you as a country are not.”

The data is valid – we just aren’t paying any attention to the data.

The right way?

In Germany this year the hard-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) has risen in the polls—and did well in state elections on October 8th—by lambasting the energy policies of the ruling coalition, which includes the Green Party. It says they will “impoverish” the country. The AfD is ostracised by mainstream parties, but the centre-right borrows its talking-points.

The Greens hurt their own cause with a plan to make green home-heating almost mandatory before there were enough skilled installers to install heat pumps. Householders struggled to book tradesmen. The government backed down in September and extended the deadline—but the political damage had been done.

Now in Germany it is not just the hard right that bashes the Greens. Their rallies have been pelted with stones, eggs and insults. Martin Huber of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the main centre-right party in Bavaria, told The Economist that all the Greens do is make Verbotsgesetze (laws that forbid things). At a rally in Andechs, a pretty village 40km from Munich, the head of the CSU, Markus Söder, drew guffaws from a beered-up Oktoberfest crowd with a series of jabs. When the lights suddenly brightened he quipped: “So at least they are still sending us electricity from Berlin.” An elderly supporter said: “I heat my house with wood. How can I afford to change this, and why should I in my old age?”

Not their cup of tea

In Britain, the Conservative prime minister has adopted the main populist themes. In a speech last month, Mr Sunak stressed that he favours curbing emissions, but decried the way Britain’s climate goals had been set “without any meaningful democratic debate about how we get there”. (His party has been in power since 2010.) He also lamented that green policies “will impose unacceptable costs”. He named specific, frightening sums. “For a family living in a terraced house in Darlington, the upfront cost [of a heat pump] could be around £10,000 ($12,200).”

He vowed to scrap plans that have never seriously been considered: “taxes on eating meat…compulsory car-sharing [and] a government diktat to sort your rubbish into seven different bins”. And he played the nationalist card. “When our share of global emissions is less than 1%, how can it be right that British citizens are…told to sacrifice even more than others?” (Brits are less than 1% of the global population.)

“Rishi is playing with fire,” says Michael Grubb of University College London. Businesses crave predictable policies in order to plan for the long term. “Making climate change part of a culture war will undermine investor confidence.”

Nitrogen is not a greenhouse gas; the problem is that big intensive Dutch farms produce enough of it (from fertiliser and cowpats) to threaten important nature reserves. The government wants to buy out farmers, leading to a reduction in the number of livestock of between a fifth and a half. Such bossiness has provoked rustic rage, with tractor protests and farms across the country flying the national flag upside down. The Farmer-Citizen Movement took 20% of the vote in provincial elections this year—in a country where only 2.2% of people farm. At a general election on November 22nd the more eco-friendly parties are expecting a thumping.

Sowing discontent

In most developing countries, net-zero targets are far in the future and voters have not yet been asked to make big sacrifices to reach them. For many, the harm wrought by climate change itself is a bigger worry. A massive 74% of Indians, for example, say they have experienced the effects of global warming, up from 50% in 2011, according to a survey by Yale University. “We’ve lost crops because of extreme heat and rains and it has got worse in the past few years,” says Shiv Kumari, a farm labourer in Delhi whose fields were flooded this summer. Such trauma translates into greater support for green policies: 55% of Indians say India should reduce its emissions immediately without waiting for other countries to act, up from 36% in 2011.

We know the direction we have to go – we just don’t want to pay the price – and we aren’t thinking clearly about the consequences.

Globally, innovation will eventually ease the grumbles that drive so much of the anti-climate backlash. “The clean is already cheaper than the dirty in many parts of the economy, and those parts will just get bigger and bigger,” says Nicholas Stern of the London School of Economics. But it matters immensely how fast this happens. Many green technologies require hefty upfront investment, which is harder when interest rates are high. This particularly affects the poor world. “Look at Africa. If you pay 15% interest, wind and solar are not cheaper than fossil fuels for generating electricity, though they are cheaper at 7% or 8%,” says Professor Stern. He suggests supercharging multilateral lenders to crowd in other sources of finance. “The most unrealistic and dangerous thing of all would be to go slow,” he says.

Plenty of clean technologies are cheaper in the long run but have stiff upfront costs. Many voters in rich countries will need help with these. So will developing countries, where the high cost of capital still makes many green projects unaffordable. Globally, politicians who care about the climate should take the backlash seriously. That means being honest with voters about the inevitable disruption, and striving to minimize the pain.

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Beachway Park Master Plan updated - five homes yet to be acquired and a lot more studying to be done

By Pepper Parr

October 22nd, 2023



The Region issued an update on changes that have been made or will be made on the Beachway Waterfront Park.

The report covered the ongoing implementation of the Master Plan for the Burlington Beach Regional Waterfront Park, and sought Council’s approval of modifications to the Master Plan as well as next stages of implementation.

The first look the public got of the long range plan.

The latest stage of work involved the completion of a comprehensive set of technical feasibility studies to define constraints and opportunities relative to the natural environment that will inform detailed design and construction plans. The Feasibility Study process is now complete and has resulted in nine specific modifications to the Master Plan that are being recommended for approval by Council through this Report.

These row houses are part of the holdouts – they have no interest or desire to move and have their homes town down.

The report also provides includes an update on the status of the 2015 Acquisition Strategy. Of the privately owned lands identified for acquisition to accommodate the Burlington Beach Master Plan, six properties remain in private ownership.

Both homes were acquired by the Region, rented to the owners for a few years and then torn down.

The next stage of the project is the design and construction planning phase. Activities will be focused on detailed design of amenities as well as the environmental restoration and this work will be initiated in the Fall of 2023.


This report provides an update on the implementation of the Burlington Beach Regional Waterfront Park approved Master Plan, and seeks Council’s direction on amendments of the Master Plan that have resulted from the Master Plan Feasibility Studies as well as direction on the Hydro Tower relocation. The last update on the Burlington Beach Regional Waterfront Park, commonly referred to as Beachway Park, was provided in October 2020 through Report No. LPS88-20 re: “Burlington Beach Regional Waterfront Park Update”.

The Master Plan for the Burlington Beach Regional Waterfront Park was developed in partnership with the City of Burlington and Conservation Halton and was approved by Regional Council in May 2015, which established a plan for securing the necessary lands needed to implement the Master Plan based on a willing buyer/willing seller program.

As part of the 2016 Budget and Forecast, Regional Council approved a detailed financial plan to implement the Master Plan and the Acquisition Strategy that budgeted $51.8 million over a 20-year period. Through the 2019 Budget and Business Plan, the financial plan was adjusted to $62.0 million to reflect revised market conditions and support an accelerated property acquisition strategy allocated as follows;

$23.8 million for park development, $12.2 million for hydro tower relocation and $26.0 million for property acquisition. Through the 2021 Budget process, the Hydro Tower component was adjusted to reflect the mid-level cost estimate identified of $23.0 million.

The 2015 Master Plan is divided into six distinct park character areas.

The specific timing and staging of works was envisioned to focus on implementation of Areas 1 through 4 in the first 5-10 years, followed by Areas 5 and 6 once property acquisition was completed.

Since the Master Plan was approved in 2015, activities to implement the Master Plan have been focused on Halton’s efforts to:

Advance enhancements in the Spencer Smith portion of the park that received Federal funding under the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program;
Complete of a set of feasibility studies for Beachway Park.

The next stage of the project is the design and construction planning phase, activities will be focused on design of amenities and will include building resilience of Beachway Park to the impacts of flooding and erosion. The design and construction planning phase will be initiated in the Fall of 2023.

Flooding and erosion were subjects that got little in the way of discussion in 2015 – today both are top of mind.

Technical feasibility studies have been underway over the last several years which were completed in May of 2023, and are now at a point to provide recommendations for updates to the Master Plan.

Feasibility Studies

The latest stage of work involved the completion of a comprehensive set of technical feasibility studies to define constraints and opportunities relative to the natural environment that will inform detailed design and construction plans. These studies were required to identify and mitigate potential construction and long-term maintenance risks, inform the preparation of detailed design documents, and position the project to obtain relevant permits and approvals for construction.

Collectively, the findings of the studies confirmed whether the features of the 2015 Master Plan can feasibly be implemented and provide a road map for how best to restore the natural environment and improve Beachway Park as intended.

The Master Plan as it stands today – more work to be done – more spending as well.

In coordination with the project steering team, the consultant for the project developed an Indigenous Peoples Engagement Plan. The Indigenous Peoples Engagement Plan identifies relevant Indigenous and First Nations stakeholders and proposes an engagement strategy to involve these communities in the development and implementation of Burlington Beach. The Indigenous Peoples Engagement Plan is meant to remain a living document throughout the project and may need adjustments from time to time as the overall project progresses. Engagement will ensure meaningful engagement with the key Indigenous stakeholders identified.

It is locations like this at Beachway Park where the vegetation is sparse and the sands constantly shift that shrubs and flora native to the sands will be planted Saturday April 20th. Flooding concerns are going to require some re-thinking.

A key finding of the feasibility studies is the susceptibility of Beachway Park to increasing flooding and erosion. The natural beach and dune environment of Beachway Park is a rare ecosystem and without appropriate management approaches, it will remain extremely sensitive to disturbance, and ultimately habitat loss.

The Park shoreline occurs along Lake Ontario, known to have large storm events (1972) and extreme water levels (2017, 2019) which have impacted adjacent development periodically.

The spatial extent of the Flood Hazard Limit for existing conditions was mapped at Beachway Park. The results of the flooding analysis highlight the flood vulnerability of not only the beach and dune environment at the park, but also Lakeshore Road and the interior lands proposed for the park expansion.

*The term “XX-year flood ” is used to describe the recurrence interval of floods. The 100-year recurrence interval means that a flood of that magnitude has a one percent chance of occurring in any given year. A 100-year flood, although less frequent than a 10-year flood, is deeper and far more destructive. For this reason, the 100-year flood is now more commonly used as a baseline for risk planning.

The foundation for the implementation of the Master Plan includes physical works to restore, and protect from future impacts, beach and dune areas as well as restoring vegetation to secure the beach and dune ecosystems. The Beach and Dune Restoration Plan provides the details of a nature-based solution to restore the foredunes at Beachway Park and along with engineered headlands at the north end of the park.

Restoring the dune system can build the necessary resiliency of the Park against erosive forces that occur during periods of high lake levels and severe storm events. Dune rehabilitation can also generate multiple co-benefits, including protecting infrastructure from coastal hazards, reducing maintenance costs associated with wind-blown sand, enhancing the beach for recreation, enhancing the ecosystem and maintaining beach width during periods of high lake levels. The flood risk was re-evaluated based on the dune restoration in the beach management plan. The 100-year flood is contained on the beach and the interior flood risk is significantly reduced, as seen in Figure 2.

Feasibility of the Features of the 2015 Master Plan:

To assist in advancing elements of the 2015 Master Plan to detailed design, the technical feasibility of planned improvements to Beachway Park have been assessed. There are modifications to the approved Master Plan that are necessary to address feasibility challenges that have been identified as summarized below. The modifications proposed for the Burlington Beach Master Plan are included as Attachment # 2. Through this report, staff are seeking Council’s approval of the proposed modifications to the Master Plan.

Burlington Green, using saplings paid for by the federal and provincial governments, planted what will grow into the trees needed to improve the resiliency of the dunes.

Although the proposed modifications alter the positioning of some features, the intent of the 2015 Master Plan in terms of intent and function is maintained. For this reason, staff recommend that the Master Plan be modified as described below:

Implementation of Master Plan Features & Next Steps:

Similar to other Regional waterfront parks, a phased approach is proposed, where Master Plan Features will be bundled into a number of work packages for detailed design and construction. The work packages will have a spatial focus and align with the five zones within the 2015 Master Plan.

The Cobble Beach Feature (formerly ‘The Living Shoreline’):

The construction of the armour stone engineered headlands is proposed to be advanced first as this work underpins and supports restoration of the beach and the backdune areas and could take multiple construction seasons to complete. The headlands are a stone feature which are engineered to prevent beach erosion and is consistent with the shoreline to the north including Spencer Smith Park which is almost entirely armoured. Detailed design is expected to begin in 2024. The anticipated construction schedule will be informed by input from the Region and Partners and consider the current use of the Park.

The Strand and the Wind Beach Features:

The construction of Master Plan elements associated with The Strand and Wind Beach are proposed to be advanced together given similarities in the physical works to be advanced and the integrated nature of such works. Detailed design could take place in between 2024 and 2025. A schedule for The Strand and Wind Beach will require further development.

The Commons Features:

The schedule for advancing key Master Plan elements associated with the Commons, in particular a re-aligned Lakeshore Road, is contingent on acquiring properties to support proposed works. Given that the road re-alignment will influence how other Master Plan elements in this area are designed and constructed, it is assumed that design of Master Plan elements associated with The Commons, are not advanced until property acquisition is sufficiently complete.

The Skyway and Federal Pier Features:

Advancing the Master Plan key elements associated with the Skyway (i.e., pier upgrades and new road from the Skyway to the Canada Centre for Inland Waters (CCIW) is contingent on the development of an agreement with Hamilton Oshawa Port Authority and acquisition of remaining land needed to build the road.
As such, the schedule for implementing The Skyway identifies efforts focused on land acquisition and the development of an agreement with Hamilton Oshawa Port Authority. It is assumed that, pending resolution of access considerations, a schedule for the design and construction of specific Master Plan elements associated with The Skyway, will be developed and the Master Plan Implementation Schedule updated accordingly.

A preliminary location of the southern terminal junction has been identified within the Wind Beach character area in the 2015 Master Plan. This area is envisioned to be a passive naturalized area, showcasing the natural dune environment and trails. The 2015 Master Plan would need to be revised to accommodate a terminal junction in a manner that responds to the objectives of the Master Plan.

This would result in the loss of 4900 square metres from the park and Master Plan features intended for this area. Further, easements around the structures and underground transmission cables will be required along the entire beach corridor and are still to be determined. In order to pursue this option with these significant easement requirements, the Master Plan would require significant revisions to reflect a potential underground route while competing with planned park amenities. HONI has indicated its willingness to work with the Region to ensure there is due consideration for park activities that can reasonably occur within the easement area, with considerations for safety, operational and maintenance access needs, however the amount of area required for the easements is substantial.

The location of the northern terminal junction at the intersection of Elgin Street and Brock Avenue is dependent on the availability of the land owned by the City of Burlington, which is currently used to support public parking and a small park. Should it not be possible to acquire a suitable off-site location, the park would have to further accommodate the second terminal junction with the same space and buffer requirements identified above.

Timing: Initiatives to support Master Plan Implementation such as the Feasibility Studies, and Acquisition Strategy have advanced to a stage where the detailed design and construction phase of Master Plan features can begin.

The first phase of Master Plan implementation will focus on increasing the resilience of Beachway Park to erosion and flooding impacts. In advance of detailed design, gaining closure with respect to the alignment of the HONI transmission corridor becomes critical. Should Regional Council decide to pursue under-grounding the transmission lines the work will be subject to a multi-year approval and construction process.

Based on the complexity of this project, the approval and construction process of two and a half to over four years can be expected. Given that under grounding of this infrastructure would impact the entire length of the park, Master Plan implementation would largely be paused during this time.

Following extensive work and investigation, the underground option has been identified as the only potentially feasible option available to reduce the visual impact of the HONI towers at Beachway Park.

Given the barriers identified through the study completed, staff are recommending that Council no longer pursue the relocation of the hydro towers.

Alternatives for Relocating the Hydro Towers in the Long-term:

Through the review of the “Hamilton Sub-Region Integrated Regional Resource Plan” prepared by the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) dated February 25, 2019, it was identified that as part of the Middleport Area Bulk Transmission Planning Study, replacement options for the Beach Transformer Station autotransformers will be investigated. The Beach Transformer Station autotransformers are located in Hamilton and provide power transfer between the 230kV and 115kV transmission systems. Since the study will be considering the bulk system in the area, including the transmission corridor through Beachway Park, there is a possibility that it could result in a change to the requirements of the existing alignment.

The study is intended to be initiated in 2027 (as per the 2019 IESO plan) and is unlikely to result in the implementation of the alignment options studied to date. However, if an opportunity exists for optimizing a transmission corridor such that it would make this waterfront section redundant this could be pursued at that time.

Update on Other Initiatives and Activities at Burlington Beach

While the Feasibility Studies and Master Plan Implementation Plan were being developed, there have been other initiatives and activities that have continued to advance at Burlington Beach. This section provides an update on those initiatives and activities.

• Status of Property Acquisition Strategy: As outlined in the Burlington Beach Acquisition Strategy, staff estimated that the original market value estimate for the properties identified by the program would experience year over year market growth. The actual market growth seen in the Burlington area was notably higher than anticipated year over year which has led to acquisition costs being higher than anticipated. The 2015 Acquisition Strategy has led to the successful acquisition of 21 properties in the Burlington Beach area.

Federal Pier: The City of Burlington is working with the Hamilton Oshawa Port Authority towards an agreement for public access of the pier. Hamilton Oshawa Port Authority’s position is that they will carry out repairs, and the City will assume subsequent repairs, along with all operations. Hamilton Oshawa Port Authority will be undertaking a navigational dredging program at the Burlington Canal adjacent to Burlington Beach Regional Waterfront Park in 2023. Dredged material will be transported and disposed in the water adjacent to Burlington Beach and will help replenish the eroded beach area.

Once the use agreement for public access to the pier between the City and Hamilton Oshawa Port Authority is finalized, the design and construction of pier features can be planned as part of the Skyway work, as mentioned above.

• Parking: A request was made for Halton Region and City of Burlington staff to coordinate to provide additional parking options in the Burlington Beach Waterfront Park area to address historical deficiencies. These discussions were initiated in the Spring of 2023, and identified an option to temporarily assign parking ahead of the design and construction of the park features that are identified for these locations. As this is a short term solution to increase parking, this may result in the need to identify long term options to increase parking at Burlington Beach. Regional and City staff will work in partnership to support an assessment of long term options which can be completed as part of detailed design stages. Any proposed modifications to the Master Plan will be brought forward for Regional Council consideration.

• Archaeological Field Work: One of the key deliverables of the project was to create a Cultural Heritage Assessment and Stage 1 Archaeological Assessment. In accordance with the 2011 Standards and Guidelines for Consultant Archaeologists, the Stage 1 assessment determined that the study area included areas of archaeological potential, areas of no archaeological potential and previously assessed lands of no further concern. All identified areas of archaeological potential proposed to be disturbed as part of park development were subject to a Stage 2 property assessment. Completion of fieldwork to support the Stage 2 Archaeological Assessment began in Fall 2021 and resumed in Spring 2022.

• As a result of the Stage 2 assessment, one site was identified to be of further cultural heritage value or interest and will require Stage 3 site-specific assessment. The procurement process to initiate a Stage 3 assessment closed in May of 2023, with field work to commence in 2023

• Dune Grass Pilot: The beach features a pilot sand dune restoration site where native grass species have been planted to aid in the stabilization of the foredune from erosion. In late May 2023, four concrete base sign holders were installed in front of the Fall 2021 and Spring 2022 foredune restoration sites. The beachgrass is surviving as anticipated and sand is accumulating in the foredune as desired to restore the dune structures. Further work on this pilot study will continue into Fall 2023.

Where are they now:

Since the last update report to Regional Council in July of 2022, staff and project partners have been working to finalize the feasibility studies and lay the groundwork for key Council decisions which will direct the next stage of work on the implementation of the Burlington Beach Regional Waterfront Park Master Plan. With technical feasibility studies complete, work will focus on design and construction of the restoration of the natural environment. From there, the design and development of the park features and amenities will begin. Once direction is provided by Council on the hydro tower relocation option, staff will advance the next stages of work on this project.

Financial/program implications

Staff will continue to monitor and provide updates on the financial requirements of the implementation of the Burlington Beach Regional Waterfront Park Master Plan.

When it comes to land acquisition, staff will continue to secure the necessary lands required to implement the Master Plan as identified through Report No. CA 09-23 / CS 09-23 – re: “Burlington Beach Regional Waterfront Park Update”.

As a result of the proposed modifications and changes, including what was budgeted for the removal of the Hydro Tower Relocation, it is proposed that the 2024 Budget and forecast be updated as follows:

 Staff will address and further refine capital and operating impacts related to the Burlington Beach Waterfront Park Master Plan and land securement through the 2024 Budget process and future staff reports if required.

This is a project that seems to have lost its way.

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A fix is needed at the municipal level – fast.

By Pepper Parr

October21st, 2023


To make inroads in the housing crisis plaguing our cities, we must focus squarely on systemic issues, particularly at the municipal level.

Getting construction crews to this point – the paper work has to get through municipal planning departments – a challenge that is not being met.

Some of the best minds in the province are doing their best to get the message out – those messages seem to get stalled at the door to municipal Council Chambers across the province.

Richard Lyall told participants at a recent Residential Construction Council of Ontario (RESCON) event that in order “to make inroads into the housing supply and affordability crisis plaguing our cities, we must address and focus squarely on systemic issues, particularly at the municipal level.

He went on to say: “Lengthy wait times for residential development applications are stymieing the building of new homes and condos. It has become increasingly difficult for developers to put shovels in the ground on projects.

Jamie Tellier, Director of Community Planning in Burlington has managed to make some changes in the way planning staff handle their projects – pushing them to take some risks and make decisions.  So far he has only been able to apply that on small development projects. 

“Building departments are behind the times. Our permitting system must be digitized, standardized and streamlined across the province. Presently, up to 45 different government bodies and agencies can be involved in the decision-making process on a new project. Far too many. It only gums up the wheels of progress and leads to lengthy and unnecessary delays on projects.

“Our country ranks 34th out of 35 Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries in the average time it takes to obtain regulatory approval for a construction project.

“Obtaining a building permit in Canada is often a protracted process. We are demonstrably behind the times. One could grow old waiting for the bureaucracy to approve a building permit in this country.

“The disturbing reality, though, is that housing starts are trending in the wrong direction. CMHC reported that the annual pace of housing starts in Canada edged down 1% in August compared with July.”

An Ontario leader in the thinking being done on how the problem at the municipal level commented on the issues as she saw them in Burlington said: The problem in Burlington is that there is little in the way of creative thinking at the Council level and a City Manager more concerned with creating an organization and a Strategic Plan.  The person asked that she not be identified saying “I have to work with these people.

Mike Moffatt, Senior Director of Policy and Innovation at the Smart Prosperity Institute.

Mike Moffatt, an economist and Senior Director of Policy and Innovation at the Smart Prosperity Institute, spoke at a housing summit and indicated that “Ontario needs to build 170,000 homes a year over the next decade, but without substantial reforms, the province will likely see 100,000 or less built a year”. He said we won’t get where we need to be with minor tweaks.

Municipalities in the GTA are among the lowest-ranked regions in Canada when it comes to the approvals process, time it takes to get a project approved, and government charges per square foot on new low- and high-rise housing.

Marlon Bray, Senior Director of Cost Consulting at Altus Group.

Marlon Bray, Senior Director of Cost Consulting at Altus Group, told the housing summit that there is no use nibbling at the edges as we are in immediate need of big plans and reforms. He stressed the need for quick action as 65% of new housing construction is high-rise, which takes years to build.

We are at the crossroads of a generational crisis in housing, one that is unprecedented. When you get to the point that the middle class can’t afford housing, you know that you have a serious problem.

Fixes must be found.

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Regional business gets very little attention

By Pepper Parr

October 21st, 2023



What do they do at Regional Council meetings?

The tend to zip through their agenda pretty quickly.

Their were items on the agenda that were not discussed.

– no one asked any questions or made a comment.

Chair Carr, reading from the Agenda :

Next one is item three is – the Fall debenture issue. Any questions or comments? Seeing none Chair Carr moves on

The Region had just approved the borrowing of $20 million on behalf of the city of Burlington at an interest rate of 5.4% over 1-15 years.

The Region does the borrowing for the four municipalities.

The chart sets out the amount the Region has the authority to negotiate the interest rate and the terms of a debenture. It sets out what was actually borrowed during the Spring and Fall debt that was issued. Burlington borrowed $54,740,000

In the Staff report that didn’t get discussed the comment was:,

Bond yields have moved sharply higher (more than 100 basis points since April), increasing the attractiveness of bond investments. In this context, there was solid investor interest for the Region’s serial debenture issue. The Region’s last debenture issue was completed in May 2023 for a 1- 15 year serial debenture at an average net borrowing cost of 3.954%.

Apparently – no one from Burlington wanted to comment on the debt they racked up – letting taxpayers carry that one.


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Get rid of the stuff you don't need and get stuff that needs a fix up at the Repair Cafe

By Staff

October 21st, 2023



The Fix it guys –

Today –  Saturday – an opportunity to take the stuff you want to get rid of but aren’t quite sure where to take it.

And while you are there – you might want to take advantage of an opportunity to get some of the things you have and want to keep – that need a small repair.

The Repair Cafe will be setting up inside the Burlington Centre just out side the Hub – a space that the Centre administration make available for public use.


The Repair Cafe will be open as well.

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Designed as a complete community with everything within walking distance - including the GO Station

By Pepper Parr

October 19th, 2023



It is a whopper of a development. Eight high rise, some going up to 30 storeys.

Despite the height the development is designed as a place where all the amenities are provided; lots of room for people to move around, lots of retail space and a short walk to the GO station.

Several of the towers will be 30storeys high

Yards away from the Appleby GO station, the development settled the case that was before the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT).

The development application was before the OLT ; a settlement offer was made and accepted by the City at its meeting on October 17, 2023

As part of this approval, Council approved the recommendation that the planning analysis be released publicly and posted on the City’s webpage while retaining solicitor/client privilege over the balance of this matter in its entirety.

When the province says squeeze then in – you make home a high rise.

The settlement between the City and Branthaven resolves the issues in dispute between the City and Branthaven on the basis these parties will seek OLT approval of a revised development proposal and related Official Plan and Zoning By-law Amendment for the site. The revised development proposes the following:

        1. Remove the extension of Oval Court to the north;
        2. Removed the Oval Court Plaza from within limits of Sherwood Forest Park;
        3. Increased the setback from below grade parking structures to the east lot line to ensure the protection of the cedar hedge located in Sherwood Forest Park;
        4. Increased the stepback above the 3rd storey to 3 metres for buildings fronting on to Fairview Street;
        5. Establishes a pedestrian promenade linking Sherwood Forest Park to the proposed development; and
        6. Provide design flexibility of the proposed towers while limiting height and location of towers abutting Sherwood Forest Park
        7. Establishes Urban Design Guidelines for the site.

      Use the cursor to enlarge the right hand image

No firm dates on when each phase will begin.

No vehicular traffic – but provision for fire trucks.


A copy of the planning analysis of the revised proposal is available on the development application webpage, along with a copy of the conceptual site plan for the revised development.

How does this impact the hearing scheduled to commence on November 20, 2023?

The Parties to the hearing will be requesting that the OLT convert the hearing that is scheduled to commence on November 20, 2023 to a settlement hearing should all parties reach a settlement with Branthaven.

If the hearing is converted to a settlement hearing, the Parties will be requesting that that the OLT approve the revised Official Plan and Zoning By-law amendments to permit the revised development plan.

The internal walking traffic areas are large – meant for people – not cars.

The development will be home – a place that includes space for people to congregate.

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Burloak Waterfront Park - a gem

By Pepper Parr

October 20th, 2023



The city of Burlington has two Regional Parks – the Beachway, which is very much in the development stage and the Burloak Waterfront Park that is close to completion.

A quiet part of the park where you can sit and watch the sun rise or set and chat with a friend.

The Burloak Park, way over in the east end of the city, is a very pleasant place.  Compares very favourably with Spencer Smith Park that is a Burlington city park that blends into the Beachway Park that is going through a bit of a design change.

Climate change has meant paying more attention to Lake Ontario water levels.

That storey is covered elsewhere in the Gazette.

City Council did its best to convince the Food Truck Festival to move from Spencer Smith to Burloak – the Festival organizers looked at the space – said it didn’t meet their needs and decided that they would take their event to an adjacent community.

That story is covered elsewhere in the Gazette.

For those interested in a quieter park – a trip to Burloak is worth the drive.

A layout of the park and its amenities is set out below.  Move cursor over the image to enlarge.


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Which highway are you talking about ? Where does it go?

By Pepper Parr

October 20th, 2023



There are so many highways that are planned it’s difficult to keep up.

The map set out below makes it pretty clear.

It was prepared by the people at Narwhal – an aggressive not for profit on-line newspaper that you might want to have a look at.  Click HERE for a look at what they are doing.  Some really good stuff.


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First four new Armoured Combat Support Vehicles were officially accepted by the Canadian Army

By Pepper Parr

October 19th, 2023



No matter how they describe it – it is an ugly machine.  Army will take possession of 360 of the things.

Today, the Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of National Defence, and General Wayne Eyre, Chief of the Defence Staff, visited Garrison Petawawa where the first four new Armoured Combat Support Vehicles (ACSVs) were officially accepted by the Canadian Army.


Minister Blair and General Eyre toured the newly-arrived armoured vehicles, which represent the first of 360 Armoured Combat Support Vehicles that will be delivered to the Canadian Army over the coming years.

These first four vehicles are the ambulance variant, which will be equipped with medical supplies and an internal layout that will allow for the treatment of a wide range of injuries.

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

By Staff

October 19th, 2023



Halton Region Public Health has confirmed that a bat found at LaSalle Park in Burlington on October 9, 2023 has tested positive for rabies. Any Halton resident or their pet who may have had direct contact with this bat or another suspicious wild animal around this location and date should seek medical or veterinarian attention immediately.

Rabies in bats is uncommon, bites from rabid bats have caused almost all human cases of rabies in Canada.

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, cat, fox, or other wild animal, usually through a bite or scratch. Rabies illness in humans is exceedingly rare, and can be prevented by the use of a rabies vaccine following exposure, which is extremely effective, but only if it is administered before symptoms occur.

Although rabies in bats is uncommon, bites from rabid bats have caused almost all human cases of rabies in Canada. 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, as 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. To report a wild animal that you suspect may have rabies, follow the steps on

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

  • Know what to do when exposed to a bat or any other animal:
    • Call Animal Control Services. Do not touch dead or sick animals with bare hands.
    • Collect the contact information of the animal’s owner/custodian where applicable (their name, address and phone number).
    • Immediately wash all bite or scratch wounds with soap and water and seek medical attention.
    • Report all animal bites or scratches to Halton Region Public Health by calling 311.
  • Other prevention and safety measures include:
    • Educate 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.
    • If you find a stray animal, report it to your local Animal Control Services.
    • Do not keep wild animals as pets.
    • 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.

For more information on rabies, visit or contact Halton Region Public Health by calling 311.

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