Police report in Toronto - 34 vehicles stolen every day (or) one every 40 minutes. What are the Burlington numbers?

By Pepper Parr

March 18th, 2024



When news like this is published we are close to living in a society where the criminals rule.  That’s the situation in Haiti.

In revised guidance issued Thursday, Toronto police told residents to add security cameras or a home security system, put security film over windows, install multi-point door locks and avoid posting to social media when on holidays.

Images of different people in the process of stealing an automobile

According to the Toronto Star “The chief went on to say that thanks to the provincial carjacking task force, which includes collaboration with the Ontario Provincial Police, police have arrested 121 suspects, laid 730 charges and recovered 157 stolen vehicles as of last Friday.

According to Toronto police data, thieves managed to steal more than 12,000 vehicles in the city in 2023 — a startling 250 per cent increase since 2015, to a level just shy of a post-amalgamation record.

In total, those cars were valued at $790 million — “that’s 34 vehicles stolen every day (or) one every 40 minutes,”

Do you get the feeling that no seems to have a solution to the problem. The Doug Ford solution “give me judges that will lock them up with no bail” is not a solution.  It is the beginning the end of a society governed by the rule of law – laws that are fair and just.

The problem we have today started years ago when the criminals were young boys and were denied opportunities because of their race or colour.  So the created opportunities of their own.



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Winning the fight to be the leader of the Ontario Liberals was the easy part for Bonnie Crombie

By Pepper Parr

March 18th, 2024



Bonnie Crombie has yet to say where she will run for a seat in the provincial Legislature. She is reported to be very close to making a decision – the numbers at this point would be very tough for Crombie to win the Milton seat – what she cannot afford is a loss or even a close win.

Expect Bonnie Crombie to take a pass on running for the Milton seat in the Legislature – risk is far too high.

Watch for her to take a pass on Milton – and somehow put a positive spin on that decision.

Crombie has taken a strong position on Climate Change and announced that “a carbon tax will not be part of my plan.”

In announcing that decision Crombie was almost giddy saying: “Climate change is the biggest threat to our province and to the health and safety of future generations. Yet this Conservative government has taken us backwards. They have no plan to fight climate change, and have made things even worse.

Looking for a seat that she can win and win big. Taking a pass on Milton is an option.

“I’m thrilled to share that we have put together a Climate Action Panel, which will be led by Mary-Margaret McMahon, our fantastic caucus critic for the Environment and Climate Change.

“This expert panel will lead our consultations and form our climate action plan, as part of Ontario Liberals’ grassroots policy process, and our upcoming thinkers’ conference.”

Crombie wants aggressive action to build up transit; invest in electric vehicle infrastructure; reform land-use planning to build livable, walkable communities; to protect our water and nature; to green our energy grid; support our farmers; and, most importantly, to find ways to help families save money by helping all our households become more energy efficient.

Winning the fight to be the leader of the Ontario Liberals was the easy part.


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Council is reminded that policy is pretty clear: We don’t give grants to charitable organizations.

By Pepper Parr

March 18, 2024


Part 2 of a three part series on funding BurlingtonGreen.

This cover policy  -anything else  pick up parts of conversation that could be repeated here

Especially the bit where Tim speaks up and how finance finds money

Burlington Green rents the Pump Station in the Beachway from the city.  The rent was reported to be $1000 a month.

During the debate on what to do about the financial support being asked for by BurlingtonGreen there was some mention of policy.  There is a policy in place directly related to providing funds to registered charities.

Here is what we were able to dig out policy wise:

In its Policy Statement the City believes that residents want to contribute to the quality of life in Burlington.

The policy was first approved in 2015, reviewed in 2021 and was due for a review September 30, 2023

Residents have great ideas about how to create both vibrant neighbourhoods and/or communities and may require support from the City for implementation of initiatives.

The City provides support for these initiatives with one-time funding for events, programs or projects that build community capacity:

    • The work the volunteers do is great community building, great environmental practice – but is the $50,000 annual ask the best way to fund it?

      To a registered not-for-profit corporation or a group of neighbours

      For areas within the geographic boundaries of the City of BurlingtonFor projects, events and activities that occurs on City of Burlington propertyProgram and services that benefit the residents of the City of Burlington andOrganizations that do not receive any other financial support from the City of Burlington

The following principles are taken into consideration when investing in the community:

      1. Community members want to contribute to their quality of
      2. Community members have great ideas on how to enhance their quality of life in the public realm.
      3. Community groups can be informal or organized (e.g. a group of neighbours on a street or a legally incorporated not-for-profit organization).
      4. Community groups sometimes need financial assistance to launch a program, project or event and the City agrees to support with one-time funding, provided that the group is not receiving any other financial assistance from the City.
      5. A community group can only receive funds once every five
      6. The funding program (approvals, amounts) will be at the discretion of the Manager of Community Development Services as identified in the


 Properties governed under another body, agency or business (e.g. school board, board or agency)

      • Private Property
      • Individuals
      • On-going financial support such as operating grants
      • Organizations whose purpose is related to political or religious activity
      • For-profit organizations
      • Foundations
      • Schools, hospitals and public agencies
      • An activity or project that conflicts with existing City policy
      • Annual fundraising events/projects
      • Organizations or groups of individuals organizing an event, program, project or activity that is in furtherance of a position either for or against an issue over which the City is a regulator or may have a legal interest
      • An event, program, project or activity that conflicts with City policies, Council decisions or directions

Policy Guidelines

 There are two streams for funding

Community Capacity Building Projects*
Application Period Accepted at any time Accepted once a year
Review Team Community Development Section with subject matter experts as required Cross department team to review feasibility of the proposal. May evolve to include community members as neighbourhood committees are developed
Review Period Once per month Three months
Criteria for Review ·    Completeness of the application including organization/event budget

·    Meets the eligibility criteria requirements

·    Demonstrates need

·    Linkage with the City’s strategic plan

·     Completeness of the application

·     Meets the eligibility criteria requirements

·     Linkage with the City’s strategic plan

·     Will provide a public benefit

·     Demonstrated community interest

·     Feasibility

·     Demonstrates on-going maintenance and upkeep

·     Ability of the community match the financial contribution from the City

·     Realistic budget

Implementation Project must be completed within one year. Project must be completed within one year of the contract



City Council shall:

      • Approve Community Investment Policy City Manager / City Treasurer shall:
      • Establish budget guidelines for the fund

Director of Parks and Recreation (or designate) shall:

      • Annually review how the Community Investment Fund was spent and identify areas that may require targeted engagement; and
      • Ensure service owner compliance with the Community Investment Policy and
      • Prepare the transfer of funds to the Community Investment Reserve if


The service owners for Organized Sport Support Services, Art and Culture Services, Environment and Energy Services and Recreation Services are accountable for adherence and direct administration of the Community Investment Policy, including communication to users and user groups.

The Manager of Community Development Services is accountable for the execution of the Community Investment Policy process.

Community Development Section to meet monthly to evaluate, review and allocate community investment for community capacity building and event initiatives.

Cross-department team made up of staff from public safety, maintenance, leisure, design and build and internal support and administration; annually review the project submissions. Other subject matter experts will be included in the review depending on the nature of the project.

The Manager of Community Development Services holds final responsibility over the Community Investment Policy including the assignment of designates and subsequent administrative processes.

Councillor Sharman consistent asked that attention be paid to policy and to be sure that they were not creating any new precedents.

During the debate Councillor Sharman expressed considerable concern saying: “I’m going to sound a little contrarian. We don’t give grants to charitable organizations. I appreciate that we have a high regard for BurlingtonGreen and we have some sympathy and I sense that we’re inclined to find a way to fund them where we wouldn’t fund most people, especially grant charities. And I find that a little disturbing, it seems somewhat hypocritical.

He later said: “I’m concerned about the precedent we are setting in the context of it, it would be inconsistent. We need to make sure we know what we’re doing for everybody. I’ll leave that with you.

Sharman’s last words on any grants were:  “Just to be clear, I’m completely happy with giving  BurlingtonGreen more money. I just want to make sure that we are doing it in the right context within the same set of procedures and policies.”

City Manager Tim Commisso pointed to decisions that had been made in the pat that would that might let Council decide to provide grant funds to BurlingtonGreen.

City Manager Tim Commisso seemed prepared to find a way around whatever policy there might be when he said: City Manager: “ We do allow in our procurement bylaw where services are unique. They really are exclusive and we have a history here; a one year track record of having this program delivered through community development funding. I do think it’s a bit unique, but I leave it to council to make the determination.”

Commisso later added:  “I would suggest given that, you know, we have counsel that you give us an opportunity to look at that, but I think the intent would be to report back on the potential for a grant in lieu of rent. So I think you should vote on something today. So it gives us direction.”

On Tuesday Council will be faced with:  $50,000 once or $70,000 a year forever. Maybe waive the $12,000 annual rent for the Pump House.

Allan Magi, the Direct the Executive Director of Environment, Infrastructure and Community Services   is expected to come back with some revisions and the City Solicitor Blake Hurley is expected to provide an opinion.  Will that be enough to let Council get away with skirting the policy in place?

The part that caught our attention is:  A community group can only receive funds once every five years.

This council seems prepared to put a line in the budget that basically puts Burlington Green on the payroll for life.

Part 1 of a three part series


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Canal lift bridge to limit traffic to one lane March 21 to August 30th

By Staff

March 18th, 2024


Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC)  advises users of alternating lane closures on the Burlington Canal Lift Bridge for continuing work on a major rehabilitation project during the following period:

  • Thursday, March 21, to Friday, August 30

Deck of the bridge undergoing major repairs and upgrades.

During this period, 3 lanes will be closed and 1 lane will remain open for alternating traffic, controlled by traffic lights. Motorists should expect delays.

Cyclists and pedestrians may cross the bridge using the available pathways. Marine traffic will not be affected.

The 2024 Around the Bay Road Race will also not be affected.

These lane closures are required to complete the second phase of the bridge deck replacement project, which includes rehabilitating the approach spans. The project remains on schedule to be completed by fall 2024.

PSPC encourages users to exercise caution when travelling on the bridge and thanks them for their patience.

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Tent encampment exist in different parts of the city while the Region tears down perfectly good homes.

By Pepper Parr

March 18th, 2024



Burlington may not have tents set up in Spencer Smith Park with homeless people making the best of the financial situation they are in – there are, nevertheless, homeless people living in tents in the City.

They know that if they to set up in any of the more public areas they would be rousted by the police almost immediately.  While it isn’t policy the current city council does not want them seen by the general public and would explain that social welfare is a Regional issue and leave it at that.

The light house serves as a reference as to where the tent encampments are located.

One of the many people that serve as “spotters” for the Gazette has been keeping an eye just how many and where these homeless people choose to live.

The “spotter” who proved these pictures of the three tents  in a small enclave along with a photograph with the East pier lighthouse for reference as to where they are.

“Nobody about so I couldn’t talk to them.

“The other encampment on the QEW overpass at Guelph Line is gone.  I almost don’t want you to post these as they will be evicted.


These houses in the Beachway will be torn down.

“I’ve included some interesting shots of boarded up and demolished house’s same location.”

The Regional government has bought these homes on a willing seller, willing buyer basis and will tear them down to make way for the upgraded Beachway.

Related news stories:

Homes being torn down for a new park community in the west end

Long term plan is to destroy a community and create a new park


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Support BurlingtonGreen by ordering solar eclipse glasses at their web site. Delivered to you by Canada Post

By Staff

March 17th, 2024



On April 8th, 2024, North America will experience a total solar eclipse! Many community members will be visiting Burlington’s Beach to enjoy the eclipse so be sure to pop on by BurlingtonGreen’s headquarters to say hello, learn about our many impactful Spring opportunities, and you can even deposit your cardboard eclipse glasses into our Terracycle recycling box, following the eclipse!

The eclipse’s path (starting in Mexico, moving through the USA, and then into Canada), mirrors the eastern migration route of the monarch butterfly!

The student-led The Monarch Butterfly Eclipse Project is selling ISO-certified solar eclipse glasses, and if you purchase your solar eclipse glasses HERE 20% of the gross sales will go directly to support BurlingtonGreen’s year-round Nature-Friendly Burlington program!

The Monarch Butterfly Eclipse Project will also use the net proceeds from the sales of the ISO-certified solar eclipse glasses to fund other initiatives that protect the habitat and overall population health of monarch butterflies.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness a total solar eclipse.

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Great organization - funding it is reasonable - city council seems to want to throw money at them - Lousy policy management

By Pepper Parr

March 17th, 2024


Part 1 of a 3 part series on how BurlingtonGreen is probably going to be on the public payroll for a long time.

BurlingtonGreen went to Council asking for $50,000 to cover the cost of services they have been providing the city for some time.

The Staff report suggested:

Approve one time funding for 2024 in the maximum amount of $50,000 from the Tax Rate Stabilization Reserve Fund as a fee for services provided by BurlingtonGreen summarized in environment and energy report EICS-01-24; and

Direct the Executive Director of Environment, Infrastructure and Community Services to execute a Memorandum of Understanding between the City and BurlingtonGreen outlining the services to be provided in 2024, including performance measures in a form satisfactory to the Executive Director of Legal Services and Corporation Counsel; and

Consider an ongoing fee for services approach with BurlingtonGreen in the amount of $50,000 per calendar year during the Mayor’s 2025 budget process.

Before the meeting was over Council was getting close to recommending $70,000 and giving the organization that amount every year as part of the Mayor’s 2025 budget.

Not everyone was on board for this – but the sentiment was that BurlingtonGreen was an organization that should be given ongoing financial support.

Here is how the debate went:

Chair Lisa Kearns: We’re now moving on to BurlingtonGreen fee for service item.

Lynn Robichaud, Manager of Environmental Sustainability.

Lynn Robichaux, Manager of Environmental Sustainability, author of the report was both brief and direct saying:  “We’re very pleased to present this report today, I think Jamie summed up a lot of the work that they’re doing in the community supporting our environmental objectives. I’ll keep this short, I think it’s time the city increased their financial support for BurlingtonGreen recognizing all the positive benefits they bring to the community. I’ll leave it at that.”

Mayor Meed Ward responded: “Thank you. Short, sweet, it’s awesome. To the point. Did we hear you correctly yesterday – the actual work  they do is closer to $70,000 annually, and that they are absorbing the full amount if we don’t approve this right now? What effectively is the city work that we’ve asked them to do by 2024 if the amount is $50, 000?”

Lynn Robichaud:  ” that’s correct. I think we were trying to be cognizant of the budget constraints that council has been dealing with. But $70,000 is probably what BurlingtonGreen would like to see funding support.”

Mayor: Okay, “:So we could fix that today if we wanted?”

The Mayor then asks  Lori Jivani, (Member of finance team) if there is  any other reserve like an environmental initiatives reserve or some other thing that could be deployed for the one time amount. “We can  consider the ongoing when we get to budget discussions later in the fall.

Lori  Jivani: “We do have a green initiatives reserve fund, that might be an option. As an alternative, it would allow for  both green infrastructure as well as green programming. So I can see this on a one time basis being used for that with consideration then again, if you’d like to make this a more permanent program.”

Mayor:  “Just to follow can you tell us what the balance?”

Lori Jivani: “It is in today’s package, under the Financial Status Report. The balance is $548,000.”

Meed Ward announces that she will have an amendment to the Staff recommendation..

Bentivegna: That $50,000 becomes another $200,000 that we’re committing to long term.

Counsellor Bentivegna: “After rereading the report and hearing the delegation yesterday I appreciate everything  BurlingtonGreen does. But we didn’t discuss this ask from 2024 to 2027; We didn’t get into that conversation. That $50,000 becomes another $200,000 that we’re committing to long term – can you walk me through that. Which is March? Let’s say it’s going to be half the year? And are we committing to the 50,000 from 2024 to 2027 as well if we approve this report?”

Jivani: “ We are recommending the funding for 2024. And for consideration for the ongoing funding to the mayor’s budget in 2025.”

Lisa Kearns, who is chairing the meeting. “I was concerned yesterday, when I heard from the delegate  that an offset of lease cost for their facility, which is a city owned facility, would be considered a precedent. My bigger concern is creating a precedent where we are engaging in fees for service with volunteer groups.

“Safestreets, Halton does a lot of work. We don’t give them funding. There’s a lot of other community culture groups that do a lot of volunteer work that we don’t give funding to them.   And I’m just wondering if within the framework of agencies, boards and commissions, where do we see an organization like this appropriately landing from a governance model?”

Magi: “ I think that we see that there are some differentiations, in terms of the services that BurlingtonGreen is providing, they provided it last year through the Recreation Community Development Fund, and they were quite specific in terms of the program areas and I guess it’s a question about  whether we forego that lease payment and reduce the fee for the services or just keep it clean and have them pay the lease.”

Kearns: “ My second question is –  I went through the appendix, which is the BurlingtonGreen new proposal around services for fee. And it doesn’t look like a proper contract with KPIs or metrics or even a scope of work. I’m wondering if there’s an opportunity that we have to bring back better clarity for what we’re actually purchasing, whether it’s by hours or by event, or by, you know, community engagement, number of people, anything to that effect, I think we have a huge theme around KPIs happening at the city right now. And I’m wondering how we leverage that into contracts with our delivery of service partners?”

Councillor Sherman moves the report. Questions are asked;

Councillor Bentivegna says: “ I’ll be honest.  I’m starting to see a little trend here that I’m not comfortable with.   What concerns me here is we’re doing this pre budget. And when the mayor decides what she wants to put her budget  – this is already in the system. And it gets lost. I’m going to keep bringing this up  – I’m going to back off until I get more information on this  – I will not support this.”

Meed Ward: I’ll try an amendment – and see where it goes.”

Mayor: “I’ll try an amendment – and see where it goes.  Amend the amount in 2024, as well as the potential in the 2025 budget to $ 70,000.  So the 2024 amount at $70,000.  I certainly understand the Bentivegna concern and hesitation with the sort of lock and load or front loading the budget, before you have a chance to see it in context, This kind of test the water and see if  Council has an appetite for this, which greatly helps me when I put together the budget.

Councillor Sharman: “I’m going to sound a little contrarian.”

Councillor Sharman: “I’m going to sound a little contrarian. We don’t give grants to charitable organizations. I appreciate that we have a high regard for BurlingtonGreen and we have some sympathy and I sense that we’re inclined to find a way to fund them where we wouldn’t fund most people, especially grant charities. And I find that a little disturbing, it seems somewhat hypocritical.

“The other thing is when it comes to us buying services, engineering, road surfacing, for example, we have contracts – but here we are wanting to give some money to BurlingtonGreen without measurements or metrics. And by the way we have not gone through the contracting process?  The City Manager reminded me earlier about buying practices. Would we be willing to buy services from other not for profits under some sort of purchasing regime?  I’m unlikely to support going for more right now.  I do want to see some feedback from staff about how we’re going to bring order to this in the context of everything else. I won’t be supporting this.”

Councillor Stolte: “Report in general, but specifically to the amendment that I will 1,000% being supportive. When we balance all of the priorities across the city I look at the  $35,000, plus on 30 minutes of firework display, I know that’s a cultural activity. I know it’s fun, and it’s wonderful for the community. But if we’re happy to spend $35,000, plus for 30 minutes of fireworks, I really don’t struggle with the idea of spending twice that for long lasting environmental benefits that are year round, and that benefit all of the Burlington community and into the future. So I see this as a small spend,  I would like to see it move forward in the mayor’s budget but in a more organized way. I will support this amendment at this time.”

City Manager: “ We do allow in our procurement bylaw where services are unique.

City Manager: “ We do allow in our procurement bylaw where services are unique. They really are exclusive and we  have a history here; a one year track record of having this program delivered through community development funding. I do think it’s a bit unique, but I leave it to council to make the determination.”

Galbraith: “I’m happy to support this. In listening to the delegate yesterday, it seems that much of their time is spent hustling other levels of government just to get a shoestring budget, this is not a lot of money for the amount of work they do.

“Everything can’t wait until budget time. It just unrealistic to think that it can. We have the stabilization reserve fund for opportunities like this and to keep other organizations afloat until the next budget cycle. So I really don’t have an issue with that. And I think this money will be well spent on good work done.”

Kearns: “I would encourage staff to come back with an option around waiving the lease fee for the pumphouse, because it’s being used as a city service as opposed to a not for profit. They’re not  running private workshops, they’re not collecting revenue. I would encourage you to find more funding to help offset their costs. If anyone is amenable to $50,000, from the Green Initiative Fund, I would support that. We don’t just fund not for profits, because we don’t give any money to other ones that are equally noble.”

Kearns: “The Clerk asks that separate votes be taken:  one from the funding source and one for the amount. The first vote will be to approve one time funding for 2024 and the maximum amount of $70,000. All those in favour. All those opposed? That does not carry.

“Now we’ll go to approve one time funding for 2024. And the maximum amount of $50,000 from the green initiatives reserve fund for services provided by BurlingtonGreen summarized in Staff report.  Just the change. Okay, so now you have the vote before you: All those in favour?

The vote isn’t taken – there is a question.

Mayors says she is “happy to throw the $12,000 (rent money) into the mix as a grant to their rent as a further amendments. So we will grant them back their $12,000 in, in rent.”

Chair Kearns: Consider an ongoing fee for service approach with BurlingtonGreen in the amount of $50,000 per calendar year

Kearns: “I’m wondering if we want to have that come back for counsel with any type of legal considerations around it at all?”

City Manager: “I would suggest given that, you know, we have counsel that you give us an opportunity to look at that, but I think the intent would be to report back on the potential for a grant in lieu of rent. So I think you should vote on something today. So it gives us direction.”

Kearns: “Okay, but not necessarily be definitive?  Do you want me to refer it take the whole thing to council? We’ll do the $50,000 right now and then we’ll refer the balance to council or do you want us to be more explicit?”

City Manager :I would suggest you be explicit about the amount so the amount is $12,000 in rent; report back on the exact amount,  sorry through your chair.”

Kearns: “Ok perfect.  Make it: “Direct the Executive Director of Environment Infrastructure and Community Services to report back on a waiver of the pump house lease cost in the approximate amount of $12,000.”

They took a recess – they return

Kearns: I want to make sure we’ve voted entirely on the first paragraph, the green initiatives. So I’m going to take the first vote on the amendment, which is to approve the one time funding for 2024 in the maximum amount of $50,000 from the green initiatives reserve fund on a fee for services provider with BurlingtonGreen.

Kearns: “All those in favour, All those opposed? Carries – Bentivegna was opposed.

“The next paragraph is to consider an ongoing fee for service approach with BurlingtonGreen in the amount of $50,000 per calendar year during the mayor’s 2025 budget process.

“The last piece is to Direct the Executive Director of Environment, Infrastructure and Community Services to report back to the March 19 2024 Council meeting on options to forego or waive the approximate $12,000 2024 lease payment by Burlington green for the pump house. All in favour?


Sharman: “Just to be clear, I’m completely happy with giving BurlingtonGreen more money. I just want to make sure that we are doing it in the right context within the same set of procedures and policies.”

Kearns: “We have a question from Councillor Sharman: “ I’m back to my charitable donations and grants. When will that be addressed? When this comes back? We don’t do that. Of course, I think we can include that when it comes back to council on the 19th. We are asking – how we treat local boards relative to serving charitable organization grants. We can deal with it as best we can.”

Kearns: “Maybe I can help here –  to waive or amend the approximate $12,000. So maybe we can see a change in the amount.”

Sharman: “ Just leave it with staff.”

Magi: “Just to clarify –  we do have a number of city owned facilities that we have joint venture agreements with – it’s a different type of organization, but it is a city asset. And we’re just allowing a community group to utilize that asset is how I would view that.”

Sharman: “I’m concerned about the precedent we are setting in the context of it, it would be inconsistent. We need to make sure we know what we’re doing for everybody. I’ll leave that with you.

“That can come back and council including any requirements for closed session as well.”

Kearns: :Okay, so we’ll vote for the report back  – no report back.  All those in favour.

“That carries.  So now we will vote on the main motion as amended, which is everything. On the main motion as amended. So a mover please.

Councillor Stolte: “Just very briefly, one of the reasons I am supportive of this and I do understand your concerns Councillor Sharman. I think they’re quite valid. And we have to think about them.”

Mayor:  “I see BurlingtonGreen as delivering services that that we’ve asked them to do –  like the Clean up Green up.”

Mayor:  “I see BurlingtonGreen as delivering services that that we’ve asked them to do –  like the Clean up Green up, which is a very different thing than, say the gun club, not to pick on them.  But they’re in a city facility. And they’re different. I don’t know what the incorporated status is of all our JC’s   I’d be surprised if not one of them was a charitable organization. That’s how I see a  difference between BurlingtonGreen and say a community organization that is organic, that was formed if they’re not incorporated, don’t have a board of directors don’t have legal requirements for reporting and some of those other checks and balances.”

“I see BurlingtonGreen as quite different than any of those groups that do have all of those checks and balances. I think a lot of the services  they provide could not be done – there is absolutely no way the city could deliver the services and programs for less than this. That is why I’m comfortable with it. I’ll leave it there. And I’ll probably put $70,000 in  my budget in 2025.”

Sharman: “Just to be clear, I’m completely happy with giving veterans and BurlingtonGreen more money. I just want to make sure that we are doing it in the right context within the same set of procedures and policies.”

Councillor Stolte: “I totally agree we need to tighten it up and make sure it’s concrete and organized.

Councillor Stolte: “I totally agree we need to tighten it up and make sure it’s concrete and organized. And I totally agree that they’re doing work that we would otherwise be spending a lot more money to do. And it’s valuable work and I fully support this.”

Kearns: “ I can’t move this without making a comment that again, yes, of course, it’s easy to agree that Burlington green is making an impact of their engaging youth. They’re helping to support our environmental and climate initiatives and goals. It’s the administrative piece that is glitchy for me. And the governance piece in the not for profit subsidizing not for profits is not the way that the city should be using its tax generated funds.

Kearns: “It’s the administrative piece that is glitchy for me.

“We need to have the structure tightened, the MOU solidified. And if we’re buying services, then that’s actually a supplier relationship and partnership. It is not subsidizing and not for profit. So that is my piece around the governance and the administration of a pay for use service that should be equitably applied across all of our vendors and our vendor portfolio. So my issue is not at all with BurlingtonGreen, you can plug and play with the name of the organization, we have so many in our community that are doing amazing work and you know, helping to round out the city’s vision and goals and initiatives. But you have to do that in a way that’s structured appropriately for value for money and is aligned with all of our financial bylaws and otherwise, so my issue is not Burlington green. wholeheartedly support Amy the team Gloria kale, everyone you’re doing amazing work. But we have to be mindful of process here and that’s really what this boils down to.”

The Pump House has become a BurlingtonGreen EcoHub.

Kearns: “All in favour on the motion as amended. Opposed?

It carries.

What they do with it at Council on Tuesday is one of those unknowns.  $50,000 once or $70,000 a year forever.  Maybe waive the $12,000 annual rent for the Pump House


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Mayor faces a council on Tuesday that wants her head on a pike

By Pepper Parr

March 17th. 2024



They finally turned on her.

It was a fractured, toxic environment that on occasion drew in the City Manger.

Find a movement that the public wants to be part of and turn it into a campaign committee.

The bickering, the manufactured pleasantries, the degree to which the Mayor wielded her Strong Mayor powers along with her need to be the focus of attention grew to the point where they didn’t want to take it anymore.

What was the issue that brought Councillors Galbraith and Nisan to work with Councillor Stolte will take some time to work its way to the surface.  Whatever it was, it had to be deep enough to have Stolte climb in bed with Nisan and Galbraith; the two Councillors who filed a complaint with the Integrity Commissioner who docked Stolte five days pay for making public how much money had been spent on the refurbishing of the former Bateman High School..

Marianne Meed Ward on the other side of the podium.

It will all be on display at the City Council meeting on Tuesday the 19th.  Will the public fill the Council Chamber?

How will the Mayor handle the Motion when it is tabled?  What will her response be?

The fabled Meed Ward ability to read a room and convince the audience that she could be trusted has been dripping away for the last 18 months.

There were some wins in the first term; the second terms has been a consistent  disaster.

When the vote on the Motion takes place on Tuesday – expect it to be unanimous with the Citizen Mayor perhaps abstaining.

Sworn in.  Power reveals

Does she have it in her to rise above the mistakes; give Councillors and the City Manager the power she she took away from them as slickly as a pickpocket takes your wallet.  The Councillors took becoming Deputy Mayors more seriously than the Mayor.  It was close to a “Let them eat cake” moment.

Will she apologize?

The decisions Marianne Meed Ward comes to during the next two days will determine what she has left in the way of a career in politics.

Power reveals.

Salt with Pepper is the musings, reflections and opinions of the publisher of the Burlington Gazette, an online newspaper that was formed in 2010 and is a member of the National Newsmedia Council.



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Kearns will vote with three other Council members to strip Mayor of some of her Strong Mayor powers

By Pepper Parr

March 16th, 2024



Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns made her position on the Motion to strip the Mayor of the Strong Mayor powers she holds and uses.

Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns: Her vote will be for the Motion to strip Mayor Meed Ward of some of her Strong Mayor powers.

In a note to the Gazette she said:

“Only three elected officials can advance the same item outside of Council business – after that it is considered quorum and requires a Clerk.

“It is not customary to see three movers on a single motion – this certainly sends a message that the will of Council to move the matter is strong.  It would likely require only one vote to pass.

“My colleagues have done an excellent job of setting out the rationale to delegate the Strong Mayors powers back to Council and Staff.

“I will be registering my vote in support at Council on March 19th.”

Mayor Meed Ward checking her monitor to determine who the next speaker should be.

With the Kearns vote – the Mayor is toast.

It will be interesting to see how the Mayor handles this one.  It is a Council meeting – which she Chairs

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Motion to strip Mayor of some of her power clears the city administration

By Pepper Parr

March 16th, 2024



When a Motion is filed with the Clerk as something the Motion movers want on the Agenda – the Clerk has to follow a strict procedure.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward in front of City Hall

The Motion filed wants to strip the Mayor of some of the powers she acquired on July 1st.  It has gone through the following steps:

Approved as per form by the City Clerk,

Reviewed by the City Manager – In accordance with the Code of Good Governance, Council-Staff Relations Policy and an assessment of the internal capacity within the City to complete the work based on a specific target date (quarter/year).

Reviewed by the Executive Director of Legal Services and Corporation Counsel to confirm references to legislation.


City Clerk: none

City Manager: none

Clerk saw no problem with the Motion

City Manager saw the Motion as something Staff could handle.

City Solicitor saw no problems with the legislation referred to in the Motion.

It will be interesting to see how this gets handled Tuesday morning.

One of the serious public concerns is that notice that the Motion was on the Council Agenda wasn’t available to the public until Friday afternoon.

Related news story:

Three Councillors decide to take on a Mayor they think is out of control

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Mayor faces a revolt from three City Councillors

By Pepper Parr

March 16, 2024



The Motion brought forward by Councillors Stolte,Nisan and Galbraith asks that:

Shawna Stole, left, joined Councillors Galbraith (center) and Nisan to curb the power in the Mayor’s hands. Ironic – Galbraith and Nisan joined forces in filing a compliant against Stolte with the Integrity Commissioner.

That Council request the Mayor to delegate to Council the powers and duties assigned to the head of council under Section 284.5 of the Municipal Act, with respect to the City Manager; and

That Council request the Mayor to delegate to the City Manager the powers and duties assigned to the head of council under Section 284.6 of the Municipal Act, with respect to:

  1. determining the organizational structure of the municipality; and
  2. hiring, dismissing, or exercising any other prescribed employment powers with respect to any division or the head of any other part of the organizational structure;

That Council request the Mayor to delegate to Council the powers and duties assigned to the head of council under Section 284.7 of the Municipal Act, with respect to prescribed local boards or local boards within a prescribed class of local boards; and

That Council request the Mayor to delegate to Council the powers and duties assigned to the head of council under Section 284.8 of the Municipal Act, with respect to prescribed committees or committees within a prescribed class of committees; and

That the Executive Director of Legal Services and Corporation Counsel for the City of Burlington be directed to consult with external legal counsel on the current state of any legal challenges to strong mayor power in Ontario and whether a legal challenge would have any chance of success.

The Mayor has been clear that she does not intend to use the Strong Mayor powers, stating in an interview that what municipalities actually need are “strong city powers,” adding that those can then be exercised by the majority of one’s council, building consensus. The motion solidifies this commitment, enshrining our commitment to local democracy and the principle of majority rule. The delegation of these powers is consistent with best practices for corporate boards, where majority rule exists.

The co-movers are bringing this motion now because a recent article in a local newspaper has noted that numerous municipalities have already delegated many of these powers

Marianne Meed Ward being sworn in during her first term of office.

Specifically, the delegation of the same powers that the co-movers are requesting be delegated has evidently already occurred in Aurora, Chatham-Kent, Guelph, Innisfil, Kingston, Oshawa, Richmond Hill, Sault Ste. Mari, Stouffville and Kitchener.
Strong mayor powers introduced by the Province through amendments to the Municipal Act are dysfunctional and antidemocratic for several reasons:

1. They provide powers to mayors not elected in 2022 to enact those powers.

2. They create a scenario of minority rule for budgets and certain legislation (bylaws), which is antithetical to the democratic principle of majority rule with minority rights and for which there may not be any comparable power in western democracy.

3. The veto power erodes local decision-making authority by only allowing strong mayors to utilize a non-budgetary veto on provincial priorities; as a result, the legislative veto can only be used to enhance the province’s priorities but not those of the municipality unless they are the same as those of the province.

4. The budgetary veto concentrates power of the purse to the mayor, leading to widespread control over capital projects and staffing each year at budget time. The mayor can thus defund initiatives they do not support.

5. For further clarity, the powers noted in points 2-4 can be overruled by 2/3rds +1 of council, meaning the mayor can exercise this power with a minority of council members (two plus themselves in Burlington).

Is Mayor Meed Ward still leading the parade? And is her City Manager (centre in white shirt) following her lead?

6. The power to hire and terminate the city manager, previously the jurisdiction of council, is now in the hands of only the mayor. As the chief administrative officer of the corporation, the city manager would be at risk of being influenced in their decision-making by the oversight of a single individual able to terminate them at any time without cause.

7. The rationale for point 6 above also applies to senior staff, previously the exclusive jurisdiction of the city manager. As a result, all senior staff are, generally, influenced to do what a mayor demands or fear the consequences. This significant latent power reduces democratic decision-making as decisions at the city or often binary and a majority of council may not agree with a strong mayor.

8. The ability to change the organizational structure of the municipality is another potential way to exercise power over staff.

9. The above rationale also applies to board and committee powers which are currently concentrated in the hands of the strong mayor.

The Government of Ontario has provided for some of the above powers to be delegated but not others. The present motion requests the delegation of those powers which can be delegated as per the Municipal Act. Should the motion pass and the mayor accepts the motion request and delegates the powers as requested, issues 6, 7, 8 and 9 and partially issue 1 would be addressed.


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Unstoppable PWHL Toronto Wins Nine On The Bounce As They Continue To Gather Momentum

By Leslie Gouin

March 15th, 2024



Toronto’s Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL) team, now on a winning streak of nine games, beat Montreal in a hotly contested and physical game last Friday. The contest was marked by several scuffles, with six players sent to the penalty box for roughing. Toronto’s Rebecca Leslie scored a double, while Hannah Miller and Emma Maltais also scored to seal the win.

At this point the six teams do not have names. The name of the city they represent is what appears on their jerseys.

Toronto’s latest win was their third straight against their rivals; the physicality and intensity of their rivalry were on full display.

Toronto’s Rebecca Leslie was checked hard into the boards in front of Montreal’s bench by Sarah Lefort, which led to a series of skirmishes and punches being thrown by players from both teams at one point. Leslie later doubled Toronto’s lead in the third period with her first goal of the season. The physicality of the game was likened to playoff hockey by Leslie, who said she expected the “tough stuff.”.

The Toronto team has been very strong – faces challenges from the Montreal team – creating a great rivalry.

“It’s a hard-fought game, that’s a really good hockey team and so I think that’s playoff hockey,” Leslie was quoted as saying.

“There’s going to be some tough stuff going on and obviously it felt good for my line to contribute in that way (offensively).”

While it is a cause for concern, the physicality across the PWHL makes for more excitement and could see added interest, with sports betting already becoming an avenue through which fans can invest in the games.

Montreal’s star player, Marie-Philip Poulin, admitted that payback would be in mind when the two teams face off again on March 17. She was obviously disappointed with the loss and said that the team was looking to avenge the losses they’ve suffered against Toronto this season. Poulin also commented on the lack of discipline she reckons is evident throughout the league and not just in Friday’s game.

“Obviously it’s going to be in the back of our mind, no doubt about that,” she remarked. “It’s been three games that we lose against them.”

Toronto forward Natalie Spooner spoke about the rivalry between the two teams, saying that it dates back quite a while, stemming from the now-defunct Canadian Women’s Hockey League. She pointed out that both teams were physical and fast and that this was evident in their style of play. Spooner also suggested that Montreal was probably their biggest rival so far in the new season.

“We’re both pretty physical (and) fast teams and I think today you saw it out there, the little scrums and everything,” she said. “The Toronto, Montreal rivalry even in the CWHL (now-defunct Canadian Women’s Hockey League), I think dates back quite a while so I’m sure there’s still some of that blood kicking around a little bit, too.

“New league, new season, and I think it’s probably our biggest rival so far, for sure.”

Toronto’s Hannah Miller and Emma Maltais also scored in the game, with Maltais sealing the win with an empty-net goal with 1:06 left in the game. Montreal’s head coach, Kori Cheverie, conceded that Toronto had capitalized on their chances while Montreal had not. Cheverie also commented on a hit by Toronto’s Brittany Howard on Montreal’s Catherine Daoust, which caused her to stay down for a bit before going to the bench under her power. Cheverie was disappointed that the officials did not call the hit and said that she had asked for an explanation from them.

“They didn’t see it,” she said. “I just said, ‘when one of our players is coming back to the bench with a face full of blood with a cage in women’s hockey, something happened.’”

Montreal’s Marie-Philip Poulin scores against Toronto goaltender Kristen Campbell (50) during second period PWHL hockey action in Montreal, Saturday, January 20, 2024. CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Montreal’s Poulin said that the game was physical and that the teams were trying to find that balance of staying within the rules while playing a hard, fast game. Toronto’s assistant coach, Rachel Flanagan, agreed with Poulin, saying that the game was more physical, and that the teams were all trying to find that balance between playing hard and staying within the rules.

“The game is more physical and we know that,” she offered. “We’re all trying to find that balance of where do we stay within the lines of the rules and play a really hard, fast game.”

The rivalry between Toronto and Montreal is still alive and well, even in the Professional Women’s Hockey League. Toronto’s winning streak now stands at nine games, and Montreal will be looking for payback when they meet again on March 17.

When the Toronto – Montreal teams meet in April at the Bell Centre in Montreal the crowd could exceed that of one of the NHL games

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We lost John Boich 13 years ago

By Pepper Parr

March 15th, 2024



It has been 13 years – yet I can still hear him bellow: “Ya think?”

Boich passed away on March 15, 2011.

The Gazette would not have been started were it not for John.

John Boich dressed for Canada Day.

I met him at an early campaign meeting when Marianne Meed Ward had decided to run for the ward 2 Council seat.  He was sitting to my right; one of us said something about the Habs and that was it.  From that point on we talked every couple of days.

John had a very tight relationship with then Mayor Cam Jackson.

At the time John was involved with David Auger and his efforts to get a radio station operating in Burlington.  At one point the station was going to be located in the Freeman Station building that was still looking for a home.  No one wanted the building – the city couldn’t even sell it for scrap wood.

John was having difficulty getting a business plan out of Auger.  During our frequent walks; John and Arlene had three shiatsu’s that had to be walked a couple of times a day.

John Boich with the little sweetheart who lived across the street.

During one of those walks I had said to John that the business plan he wanted could be written on the back of an envelope.  Saying that was a mistake. Boich said “then do it”.

When I began to think about a radio station, I knew that it wasn’t possible.  You need a license from the CRTC and convincing them to issue a license was close to impossible.  The CRTC does issue local permits, usually to universities: McMaster has one.

At the time the Shape Burlington report was about to be released.  It was a document that shook up city hall. Several of the General Managers (at the time that was the title for what are now Executive Directors) wanted the document withdrawn and changes made before it was made public.

The report was written by John Boich and Walter Mulkewich. They were given the task by Cam Jackson.

It was accepted and endorsed by Council unanimously. A link to the report is HERE I doubt that the city has a copy of the document – even in their archives.

From the Shape Report:

Transforming the culture at City Hall – City Hall must reinvent itself.

As social, technological and demographic trends alter the face of every community, municipal governments are struggling to adapt their long-established practices to meet the challenges of an ever-evolving new world.

Burlington is experiencing a period of rapid growth and change. Citizens are more literate, more educated and more connected than ever before. They are also busier, more distracted and require more from those who represent them, develop the policies and provide the services in their community.

Engagement: Transform the City Hall culture to promote active citizenship and civic engagement

Promoting active citizen engagement and meaningful public dialogue requires a culture shift at City Hall. A crucial first step is the development an Engagement Charter – a plain language policy document developed with public involvement that incorporates benchmarks and accountabilities, and describes the value, purpose and opportunities for citizens to influence city policies.

The charter would explain how to navigate City Hall and its services. It should stipulate best practices for various kinds of public consultation and affirm the city’s commitment to inform citizens and respond to their ideas and contributions. It would address the question of reaching out to a diverse population.

The sorry story of the Engagement Charter is HERE

Plus ça change.

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Changes to Downtown Parking Fees Begins April 2nd

By Staff

March 15th, 2024



The City has introduced new parking fees in high-demand lots and all on-street metered parking spaces on Saturdays.

Users will need to pay for parking in three out of the 14 municipal parking lots and metered on-street spaces on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Parking is free after 6 p.m. (Users with a valid accessible parking permit or City issued Veteran Parking Permit may still park in any space for free if the accessible spaces are occupied.)

New Saturday Parking Fees Are As Follows:

The three lots are: 1, 4 and 5. Users will need to pay for parking in these lots and metered on-street parking from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Lot 1 – Pearl Street Lot, 431 Elizabeth St.

Lot 4 – Elizabeth Street Lot, 421 John St.

Lot 5 – Brant Street Lot, 391 Brant St.

Parking is free in most other Downtown Burlington lots, including the Waterfront Parking Garage at 414 Locust Street, on weekends and holidays.

For the first time in 10 years, all downtown metered on-street parking spaces, and lots will see a rate increase of $0.25 per hour. The rate increases will help fund lot maintenance, infrastructure and resurfacing and are:

  • Hourly rate increase from $1.75 to $2 per hour
  • Daily maximum parking fee increase from $14 to $18
  • Monthly permits increase from $83 to $91 and from $132 to $151
  • Hourly and daily users can pay their parking fees through the HONK mobile app.

Users do not have to download the app but can scan the QR code on parking lot signage to pay for parking. Monthly permit holders will receive a letter outlining their increases, renewal, and payment options.

Hourly and daily users can pay their parking fees through the HONK mobile app. The City also accepts coins and credit cards at all parking machines.





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Burlington hasn't had a visit from the Premier in some time.

By Pepper Parr

March 14th, 2024



Barrie, Caledon and Guelph – they are getting visits from the Premier and Cabinet Ministers.

Why – because they are building homes.

Premier with the Mayor at Joseph Brant Hospital.

The Premier has been to Burlington – met with the Mayor while he was here.

Rob Flack, Associate Minister of Housing, will be joined by Annette Groves, Mayor of Caledon, to provide an update on Caledon’s progress toward its housing target.

Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, announced Ontario is providing Guelph with $4,680,000 in funding through the Building Faster Fund after the city made substantial progress towards meeting its 2023 housing target, breaking ground on a total of 1,287 new housing units last year.

“I applaud the work being done by Guelph making substantial progress toward their 2031 housing targets,” said Paul Calandra, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “My message to mayors across this province is that we must continue to work together and build on our progress on making home ownership a reality for everyone. We will give you the tools you need to succeed in our shared goal.”

Premier Doug Ford will be joined by Paul Calandra, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, and Alex Nuttall, Mayor of Barrie, to provide an update on Barrie’s progress toward its housing target.

Friday, March 15, 2024

Remarks at 10:30 a.m.
Photo opportunity only.

Premier dances with his daughter at her wedding reception.

The Planning department puts out all kinds of numbers showing some progress – but not the kind of numbers the province wants to see.

Maybe the Mayor doesn’t want the Premier in the city – the last time he was in town it was to marry off his daughter at the Pearle Hotel and Spa  – and look what that led to!  Packages with instructions that detailed properties that could be taken out of the Greenbelt and used for housing developments were passed along as the Premier danced with his daughters.

It was the kind of thing you used to see in the mobster movies.

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The Pride Flag has evolved - Burlington hasn't done as well - these things take time

By Pepper Parr

March 13th, 2024



There are places in the city where the LGBTQIA2-S Pride Flag is not welcome.

It has been a long journey; sometimes you have to look back to appreciate just how far you have come.

The flag serves different parts of the community in different ways.

Flags are sociopolitical symbols of community membership, unity, and visibility. Over the years, the Pride flag has evolved to promote greater inclusion and recognize the many communities that celebrate Pride.

The flag has been updated and expanded to represent the intersectional diversity of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, and Two-Spirit (LGBTQIA2-S) communities.

Before rainbow-striped Pride flag, many LGBTQIA2-S communities used a pink triangle as visual representation. This was adapted from badge that gay prisoners were forced to wear in Nazi concentration camps.

In the late 1970s, Harvey Milk –the first openly gay man elected to public office – asked his friend Gilbert Baker to design a symbol to represent (what was then referred to as) the gay community. Baker collaborated with his friend Lynn Segerblom (also known as Faerie Argyle Rainbow) to design the rainbow-striped flag with eight colors.

The flag was first seen at the Gay Freedom Day Parade in SF in 1978. Each of the original eight colors had their own unique symbolism. Hot pink: sex; Red: life; Orange: healing; Yellow: sunlight; Green: nature; Turquoise: magic and art; Indigo: serenity; and Violet: spirit. The original flag’s hot pink and turquoise stripes were soon removed because of difficulty manufacturing and/or dying the fabric, resulting in the six-color rainbow flag we are familiar with today.

Mayor Meed Ward has always let people know where she stands on the flag issue.

Many groups within the LGBTQIA2-S community have their own Pride flags. There are specific flags celebrating the identities of transgender, bisexual, lesbian, pansexual, asexual, and other communities. Still, the rainbow-striped flag has historically been the most used and recognized symbol representing Pride for the LGBTQIA2-S community overall.

There were other revisions – Burlington chose the six colour version and placed them at several crosswalks in the city.



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Burlington Foundation: $126,000 in grant funding given to 17 Burlington-serving charitable organizations.

By Staff

March 13th, 2024



The Burlington Foundation announced $126,000 in grant funding to 17 Burlington-serving charitable organizations.

The grants will enable community organizations to foster connections among seniors, empower young people, provide access to arts and programming, add more nutrition programs in Halton schools, celebrate Burlington’s Black History Month, and more. Collectively, these grants will provide vital resources to community organizations working to advance the well-being of Burlington.

Megan Tregunno, CEO of the Burlington Foundation: she has a story to tell behind those baking trays.

“Megan Tregunno, CEO of the Burlington Foundation said “We are proud to provide funding to these extraordinary organizations and their teams. These 17 organizations are all contributing to creating a strong sense of belonging in our community. Grants from the Burlington Community Fund are particularly special because the Fund is made up of contributions from community donors.”

The Burlington Foundation’s annual granting program provides grants through its Burlington Community Fund – a dedicated unrestricted endowment Fund established to support the greatest needs of our community. Community organizations are eligible to apply for a grant up to $10,000. Over 70 applications were received, of which 17 received funding.

  • Dare To Be Youth Charity: To develop the online curriculum for the Emotional Resilience & Wellness Program for young people.
  • Refugee Women’s Network: To support the growth of the Women Helping Women program – a supportive community for Afghan women settling in Burlington.
  • The Women’s Centre of Halton: To support a new initiative aimed at helping young women in Burlington build emotional resiliency and understand how to create healthy relationships, unique to the needs of women ages 14-18.
  • Halton Black History Awareness Society: To support the Halton Freedom Celebration Festival in 2024.
  • Myriad Ensemble: To support the establishment of the Myriad Artistic Fellowship and Education Program.
  • Royal Botanical Gardens: To support the expansion of the Green Angels Subsidy Program, to include adults and seniors.
  • A lasting effect for the community.

    Halton Down Syndrome Association: To support connection within the local Down Syndrome community.

  • The Burlington Symphony Orchestra: To provide free access to high quality symphonic concert experiences to Burlington residents who face financial barriers to attendance.
  • Halton Learning Foundation: To support the Eliminating Barriers program – a program that addresses poverty faced by students and their families in Burlington.
  • The Salvation Army Burlington Community & Family Services: To support the International Cooking Program – a program designed to teach culturally appropriate cooking skills to clients.
  • Wellington Square United Church: Supporting the Community Food Program and the expansion of more Comfort Kits.
  • Halton Food for Thought: To support the addition of two more breakfast programs in two Burlington schools.
  • Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra: To support the expansion of the Music for Wellbeing Program in partnership with the Burlington Public Library.
  • Acclaim Health: To support the “Promoting Mental Wellness for People Living with Dementia through Art” initiative at the Burlington Adult Day Program.
  • Calvary Burlington: To support the installation of a main floor, mobility-friendly coffee preparation area as part of the Seniors’ Lunch program.
  • Sending Sunshine: To support the social connection and well-being of Burlington senior residents through the art of written cards and pen pal connections with youth volunteers.
  • Hamilton/Burlington Cycling Without Age (CWA) Chapter; New Hope Community Bikes: To enable 450 accessible bike rides for seniors in Burlington, promoting connection, well-being and activity.

A private Grantee Celebration will be held at Burlington Public Library (Central Location) on April 10, 2024 at 10 AM. Media are invited to attend.

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Building Bridges in a Polarizing World - can the state of public discourse be improved ?

By Staff

March 13th. 2024



The Halton District School Board is again hosting the Director’s Panel, as a virtual session on the issue:  Building Bridges in a Polarizing World

Curtis Ennis, Director of Education for the Halton District School Board.: “These sessions provide opportunities to engage in thought-provoking discussions on how we as a community can come together and work towards a collective goal”.

Families, students, staff and community members are invited to attend an upcoming session as part of the Director’s Panel Series. Each session in the series explores issues and themes impacting students and education today.

Sessions are led by Director of Education Curtis Ennis and Human Rights & Equity Advisor Pardeep Nagra.

Panelists featured in the Director’s Panel Series may include HDSB students, parents/guardians and subject-matter experts.

The upcoming session in the series will be:

Building Bridges in a Polarizing World

Tuesday, March 19 from 6 – 7 p.m. 

This will be a virtual event with the livestream linked on the HDSB website (hdsb.ca).

Registration is not required.

Building Bridges in a Polarizing World delves into the ways in which we can lead with respect and understanding as we navigate conversations around diverse perspectives.

Take this opportunity to explore how we can hold space for opposing ideas to develop mutual respect and understanding of each other as we forge a way forward together.

Joining the session as a panelist will be Dr. Steven Katz, Professor of Applied Psychology and Human Development at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto. Dr. Katz has extensive expertise in the areas of cognition and learning, evidence-informed decision-making for school improvements and leadership for system change.

Those interested in attending the event can submit a question to the panel before or during the session through this Google Form: https://bit.ly/49KsYeU

Future sessions will be announced at a later date.

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$485 million for bike lanes - no road widening

By James Portside

March 13, 2024



On December 4th, 2023 council met to discuss the “Phase 2 Multi Year Community Investment Plan”. This plan calls for $1.145 billion in future infrastructure spending. This spending is for new projects, not the maintenance of existing infrastructure.

The spending plan covers 25-years; that works out to about $50 million in spending a year. The largest item in the investment plan is called the Integrated Mobility Plan (IMP), coming in at $485 million: the plan is largely for bicycle lanes.

Council is all in on this plan. Mayor Meed Ward commented on how municipalities need a new taxation framework to support infrastructure spending. Meed Ward is chair of Ontario’s Big City Mayors (OCBM), a group of municipalities that lobby the federal and provincial governments for a larger share of our tax dollars. Here is a recent quote from Meed Ward “We shouldn’t have to beg the province and the federal government for these things; after all, there is only one taxpayer.”  https://ottawacitizen.com/opinion/meed-ward-ontarios-municipal-taxpayers-need-a-better-deal-from-the-province-and-the-feds

Maybe the electric cars will be small enough to use the bike lanes.

Both the federal and provincial governments are currently spending far more than they take in. Providing more money for municipalities requires some combination of more debt, more taxes or less spending by higher levels of government. What are we willing to trade off for more bike lanes? Billions are being spent on battery plant subsides. Without roads to drive on maybe we don’t need electric cars. Maybe the electric cars will be small enough to use the bike lanes.

Here are some of the details from the Integrated Mobility Plan (IMP). Other master plan items will be covered in future articles.

The IMP was presented to council on October 31, 2023 by K. Edgcumbe, Manager of Transportation and Parking who said “The fundamental assumption that underpinned the philosophy of our IMP was the directive from council that there were to be no new road widenings for the sole purpose of adding additional auto capacity.”

Translation: The plan is to grow the population by about 65,000 people, over the next 25 years, without widening any roads. As we all know the growth is coming through the intensification of existing neighbourhoods. In Burlington’s schizophrenic world of roads, the region manages Brant St. from Dundas to Fairview and may well make that stretch of road three lanes in each direction with dedicated transit lanes. Meanwhile Burlington council won’t widen any roads.

Here are some key points from the IMP.

“Consider the future conversion of general-purpose traffic lanes, or, in limited circumstances, consider widening existing streets to create dedicated transit corridors. “

Translation: Add dedicated bus lanes to existing four lane roads, for example Plains Road, effectively reducing the lanes available for cars and trucks to one lane in each direction.

Shift how people move through the city by “Developing a spine network of high-quality cycling facilities designed to serve cyclists of all ages and abilities by building new and improving existing cycling infrastructure.”

Translation: six people in 100 will be riding bikes to work, school maybe even Costco.  Being realistic our climate does not really lend itself to relying on cycling for transportation. On hot days you need to shower when get to work, rain, ice, snow … are also problems. Another issue is that about 25% of Burlington residents are seniors and about 15% are under the age of 15.

This is a list of the “Budget planning estimates for the seven catalyst projects total a cost of $315 million including a 40% contingency.” There are many other bike lane projects but these are considered the critical projects to get us out on our bikes.

Councillor Galbraith asked if these costs were for road work and cycling lanes and staff answered “those are just costs related to the cycling facilities, they do not include the road renewal requirements”.

Councillor Nisan: “Amazing”

Councillor Nisan commented “pretty cool to see it coming through … amazing” and went on to request that the 19 new hires, the staff needed to implement this plan, be budgeted for 2024.

There are also significant annual costs associated with snow removal, cleaning and upkeep of bike lanes that are not included in the costs shown here.

On the positive side the plan does call for traffic light priority and queue-jumping lanes for buses. Queue jumping lanes will be added on streets like Lakeshore Road where road widening for dedicated transit lanes will be either too contentious or too expensive. Imagine Plains Road with dedicated bus lanes and one lane each direction for everyone else and the traffic lights turn green when the bus approaches instead of being timed to allow traffic to flow.

Queue jumping lanes graphic.

Edgcumbe did state that 25% of the car trips through the city are cut-throughs, commuters bypassing traffic on the QEW and 403. There is nothing in the IMP to address this issue, offering bicycles to commuters is unlikely to help.

Council and staff could lead by example and start riding their bikes to work.

Jim has lived in Burlington for much of his life and has watched the city change and grow over the years. With over 1,000 people working for the city there is a lot going on. As a now retired, successful business owner, Jim is interested in exploring and sharing some of what our local government is working on. You can reach Jim by emailing Jim.Portside@gmail.com


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Art chosen for Skyway Community Centre

By Staff

March 13th, 2024



The City of Burlington has commissioned an artist to create a sculpture for the new Skyway Community Centre.

A citizen jury shortlisted three artists to submit design proposals.

Rendering of the Skyway Community Centre

Skyway Community Centre Public Art Projects Goals:

  1. Create a contemporary sculpture that is part of the new community centre.
  2. Act as a beacon to help guide visitors towards the main entrance of the building.
  3. Reflect on the theme of sustainability through the artwork materials and/or artwork subject matter.
  4. Complement the design of the community centre.

Xiaojing Yan with some of her work

The City has selected Xiaojing Yan’s proposal entitled ‘Ephemeral Reverie’ for the Skyway Community Centre Public Art Project.

Over 500 residents submitted comments which were used to help inform the jury’s final selection.

Artist Statement, Xiaojing Yan

Crafted from different hues of coloured concrete.

“In the heart of Skyway Community Centre, ‘Ephemeral Reverie’ is an art installation that not only whispers of environmental urgency but also binds the community’s heartbeat. Crafted from different hues of coloured concrete, it paints a melancholic picture of melting icebergs, echoing the climate’s distress call.

Each shade woven into the concrete mirrors diverse facets of nature, aligning seamlessly with the community centre’s redesigned values of sustainability. This multicolored beacon not only ignites discussions on our planet’s environmental challenges but also emphasizes the shared responsibility of the community to act.

Guiding souls towards the Skyway Community Centre, this artwork stands tall, acting as a beacon to help guide visitors toward the main entrance. Furthermore, it acts as a testament to the community’s commitment to sustainability and innovation. Its vivid design complements the centre’s fresh architecture, serving as both a reminder of our bond with nature and our duty to protect it.

Crafted with an eco-friendly and recyclable type of concrete, ‘Ephemeral Reverie’ narratives the community centre’s ethos of reducing carbon footprints and embracing green initiatives. As its story unfolds, the installation can be reborn, its materials repurposed, emphasizing the continuous cycle of community renewal and rejuvenation.

Beyond its aesthetic charm, ‘Ephemeral Reverie’ stands as a community emblem, echoing the values of the reimagined Skyway Community Centre. It serves as a poignant reminder of our collective duty to tread lightly on Earth, fostering a legacy of care, unity, and sustainable vision.”

The artwork will be installed in Fall 2024.



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