What did the Mayor do: she buckled - gave back some of what Council didn't think she should have taken in the first place.

By Pepper Par

April 13th, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward told council in March that she needed time to think about the request Council members had made related to her Strong Mayor powers.  She took the time she needed, got the lay of the land and realized what she was up against and issued three orders that gave council much of what it wanted.

Councillor Angelo Bentivegna: Working through a very hard month.

Kudo’s to Councillor Angelo Bentivegna’s and his insistence that this whole business go to Council on April 16th.  The Gazette has no idea what members of Council will have to say – the Mayor has made public what she has done.  It all comes into effect on April 22nd when Hasaan Basit starts his new job as City Manager.

Councillor Kelvin Galbraith: The decisions the Mayor made get him out of the very uncomfortable position he found himself in. Doesn’t appear to have the kind of grit needed to perform at this level.

The decisions the Mayor made gets Councillor Galbraith off the hook – he was having an awkward time of it.  Now he can vote with the Mayor which takes away the majority the rebelling councillors had.

This is complex stuff, not something a parent trying to get the kids to the soccer pitch has time to think about.  They are nevertheless important decisions.

Earlier in the week members of city Council made the Mayor’s day a very uncomfortable one.  She wanted Council to support her decision to hold a Speakers event that she said was not going to cost the tax payers a dime.   Council members asked how much time would the Mayor’s Staff, paid for the tax payers, be used to get the Speakers event underway?

It should have been a humbling experience for the Mayor but she isn’t paying all that much attention to how a majority of the Council feel these days.  More on that in a seperate news story.

The decisions Mayor Meed Ward announced are:

# 1 Mayor Meed Ward delegated the following duties to the Chief Administrative Officer:

Determine the organizational structure of city hall Staff.
This Mayoral Decision comes into effect on April 22, 2024.

# 2  As Mayor and Head of Council I hereby delegate the following duty to the City Manager/Chief Administrative Officer:

 to hire, dismiss, or exercise any other prescribed employments powers with respect to the head of any division or the head of any other part of the organizational structure.

This Mayoral Decision comes into effect on April 22, 2024.

The following positions, relevant to the City of Burlington, are excluded:

1. the clerk or deputy clerk
2. a treasurer or deputy treasurer
3. an Integrity Commissioner
4. an Ombudsman
5. an Auditor General
6. a registrar for lobbying matters, as described in section 223.11 of the Act
7. a chief building official, as defined in the Building Code Act, 1992
8. a fire chief, as defined in the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997
9. other officers or heads of divisions required to be appointed under the Municipal Act, 2001, the City of Toronto Act, 2006, or any other Act
10. any other persons identified in regulation

# 3
The delegation of decisions regarding existing committees
I hereby delegate the following duties to Council related to existing committees:

1. Establish or dissolve committees
2. Appoint chairs and vice-chairs of committees
3. Assign functions to committees.

This delegation is subject to the following guidance in accordance with the Municipal Act.

1. That any recommended change to chairs/vice-chairs be discussed first with the existing chair/vice-chair, and is subject to their agreement regarding the change, subject to Guidance section 2 below; and
2. That any finding or recommendations arising from an Integrity Commissioner (IC) investigation of a violation of the Council Code of Good Governance overrides Guidance section 1, and would be dealt with in the normal course of Council dealing with an IC report and recommendation;
Decision Number: 07-2024
3. That any establishment or dissolution of existing committees or change to their functions require a reconsideration vote of 2/3 majority prior to tabling the item, per our procedure bylaw for reconsideration of Council decisions.

Decision regarding new committees
Council may wish to create new committees for the balance of this term.

I hereby delegate the following duties to Council related to establishing new committees:

1. Establish or dissolve committees
2. Appoint chairs and vice-chairs of committees
3. Assign functions to committees.

This delegation is subject to the following guidance prior to proposing a new committee in accordance with the Municipal Act.

1. That the City Manager/CAO confirm capacity exists among staff to support any new committee; and
2. That should capacity not exist for a new standing committee of Council, the City Manager/CAO has the option to suggest alternatives to achieve the objectives of the proposed committee(s).

This Mayoral Decision comes into effect on April 22, 2024.

Mayor is pressed by Councillors as to when she will respond to their request that she relinquish some of her Strong Mayor Powers

Full details on the decisions Mayor Meed Ward made that delegated various authorities to the City Manager and Council.

Return to the Front page

Cutting Red Tape to Build More Homes Act to streamline approvals for garden suites, laneway housing and basement apartments

By Staff

April 13th, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Yet another government plan to get housing built.

A bill was introduced to the Legislature on Wednesday designed to streamline government permit processes, make it easier for universities to build student residences, improve transparency around the controversial minister’s zoning orders (MZO) framework and eliminate parking requirements for higher density housing developments near transit stations to lower costs.

Housing Minister Paul Calandra includes a “use it or lose it” provision in the bill to allow cities to withdraw building permits for stalled housing developments.

“ These measures recognize the struggles that our municipal partners have faced in building homes and are targeted at removing those obstacles”, said Housing Minister Paul Calandra.

The Cutting Red Tape to Build More Homes Act enshrines — and prioritizing new infrastructure such as roads and waterworks for ready-to-go projects — and further streamline approvals for garden suites, laneway housing and basement apartments.

The Tories will not mandate as-of-right four-plexes across Ontario despite calls from Liberal Leader Bonnie Crombie to do so in the name of “gentle density.”

Bonnie Crombie calls new legislation a ““a random grab-bag of small-ball measures”.

Crombie blasted the legislation as “a random grab-bag of small-ball measures the Ford government could have done years ago if they were serious about building housing.”

NDP Leader Marit Stiles said it was “a weak bill from a government lacking in the bold vision and leadership that is needed in order to do what they should have done years ago: build at least 1.5 million homes by 2031.”

Green Leader Mike Schreiner said “with this bill, the Ford government is effectively admitting defeat after five years of housing failures.”

The Act includes amendments to the provincial building code to promote mass timber buildings, which are faster and cheaper to build, and modernize Ontario’s standards to be more in line with national construction codes. Currently, only 12-storey “advanced wood” buildings are permitted, but that will change to 18 floors.

NDP Leader Marit Stiles said it was “a weak bill from a government lacking in the bold vision and leadership that is needed in order to do what they should have done years ago.

The province will also allow cities to revamp development charges on condos and many other projects by eliminating a previous five-year phase-in of hikes; as  of June 1 there will finally be exemptions from or discounts of such fees for builders of affordable housing. These are designed to spur construction and increase revenues to municipalities that had been concerned about previous Tory moves.

Calandra told reporters the government has “listened to our municipal partners” and will ensure civic revenues aren’t affected by the changes to development charges.

In what is seen as a bid to curb NIMBYism, the government will be “limiting third-party appeals to the Ontario Land Tribunal” to get quicker approvals for housing. Some 67,000 housing units, which began being built between 2021 and last year, are being thwarted by third-party appeals of official plans and rezoning.

The proposed changes would also allow proponents to appeal to the Ontario Land Tribunal when a municipality refuses an application or does not make a decision on a settlement boundary change outside the Greenbelt area, ensuring that decisions over boundary changes are subject to an independent and neutral process.

Ontario’s 23 publicly funded universities will join colleges in being exempted from Planning Act restrictions when it comes to building student housing on campuses and on land they own elsewhere. All universities and colleges will be required to improve accessibility to student housing.

None of the people named in various public documents have been interviewed yet by the RCMP

The legislation arrives on the six-month anniversary of the RCMP launching a criminal probe of the $8.28-building Greenbelt land swap scandal comes as the Tories risk missing their target of 1.5 million new homes by 2031.

The government needs to build an average of 150,000 new homes annually to meet its goal.  110,000 were built in 2023,  73%  of what’s needed each year.

 

 

Return to the Front page

Where do the people who want to get elected to serve the public come from?

By Pepper Parr

April 13th, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Burlington seems to have a pattern when it comes to electing their City Council.

They elect a council that has more than half as first term Councillors.  When it is time to re-elect four years later – the citizens tend to re-elect all of them.  When that second term ends – the boot out a majority.

Is this what we might be looking at in 2026?

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward speaking at a public event.

We know this – the Mayor is in trouble – but she has close to two years to recover and she will need every month of it if she is to continue to wear the chain of office.

Four of the current council members are at least eyeing the Office of Mayor.  Both Stolte and Galbraith have talked openly about liking the idea of being the next Mayor.

We will talk about the merits of each at some other point.

Right now the question we have is – where do new candidates come from?

Is the city at the point where a group of people – six to eight would be an optimum size, gather and begin the search for new candidates.  They would not be running for office – but they would be tapping people on the shoulder and asking if they might be interested in running for office.

For some reason people wait until about 10 months before an election to begin to create a public profile; look for ways to let the public know who they are and what they think city council should be doing.

Municipal politics doesn’t run on political party lines.

Municipal budgets are much different than the budget process used in the corporate sector. Very few people fully understand the procedures; as a result there is no one to critique how the city is spending the money raised through taxes. The example from 2018.

Municipal government is complex – they are creating policy for a $500 million corporation that doesn’t follow the financial pattern of a corporation in the private sector.

Voters are not shareholders – every question has to be answered and every complaint responded to – quickly.

Municipalities cannot have a loss – they create reserve funds that are in place to cover those situations where the budgeted amount doesn’t cover the actual costs.

They do not a Profit/Loss statement nor is there a balance sheet.   The budget document in the past ten years has run in excess of 700 pages.

Probably the best candidate for public office at the municipal level would be someone at least 50 – that was an upper level manager – better yet a director who has come to realize that he or she is not going to be made a partner in a profession – legal, accounting.

They want something that is a little slower where the focus can be on serving people and not on being riveted to constant demands to increase revenue.

There are times when the demand is heavy but it isn’t heavy all the time.  Lots of time for family, six weeks off during the summer.  Great benefits and if you run for three terms you leave the scene with a 12 year pension that is very comfortable.

You want to learn to be able to give your constituents a polite no – I can’t do that, I don’t want to do that.

Photo ops are the most cost effective way to get your name before the public and unfortunately those people who do bother to cast a ballot settle for a name and picture they have seen again and again.

The public would, we believe, want to hear from people who have ideas, experience and a desire to engage with the public.

Photo ops are the biggest tool used by members of Council. It is an opportunity to put their best foot forward. On this occasion Burlington is being awarded by the United Way Hamilton Halton.

This kind of person is out there.

Someone has to do the asking around.

It is a little like a congregation that is looking for a new pastor or minister.  They advertise – the city doesn’t do that – nor should they.  Finding the people that are interested in running for office is a citizen responsibility – city hall has to butt out and let the citizens work it out.

Burlington has to learn to take responsibility for who runs for office.

That process should have started by now.

 

Return to the Front page

Burlington is #9 out of a list of 35 in rental rates

By Staff

April 13th, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Burlington finished 9th out of 35 cities in the rental increases list for the  month of March.

The average 1 bedroom rent was $2145, which was a -2.2% decrease month-over-month, and -1.6% decrease year-over-year, while the average 2 bedroom rent was $2589, which was a -0.1% decrease month-over-month, and a 1% increase year-over-year.

Is this good news?

Return to the Front page

Those advertisements that were popping up on your computer monitor - we managed to get rid of them

By Pepper Parr

April 12th, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

 

A little celebration and a deserved pat on the back for the people who take care of all that code in our Press Room.

The problem was in there some where.

For the past four to five weeks advertisements that we knew nothing about; advertisements that didn’t produce any revenue for us and advertisements that were so out of character with what we publish each day – were popping up.

It took weeks of scrubbing code, checking the various plug ins we use to determine who the ads were coming from – and why were they ending up in the pages of our newspaper.

Earlier today the miscreant was identified and sent to the place in the sky where bad code goes.

There were complaints – more than one and they were justified.  It took far longer than we expected to determine where the problem was and how it came to be.

That experience is behind us.

Your patience was appreciated

Return to the Front page

Getting messy when people selected to serve on an agency board need governance and integrity advice.

By Pepper Parr

April 12th, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It started as a question.

Regarding agencies board and commissions and Integrity Commissioner advice? Would Counsellor Bentivegna like to speak to his motion?

Councillor Angelo Bentivegna gets caught up in a Performing Arts governance problem – mostly because he wasn’t kept informed on some of the decisions being made.

I’m not sure. Do I need to read it? No, I don’t need to but I would like to speak briefly about it. I guess learning from experience that sometimes when we’re on boards or different elements that we’re exposed to and not intentionally, you know, we vote on certain issues and again, with all good intentions, and sometimes we get to a situation where there’s an unintended consequences that occurs when we get to this horseshoe (Council Chamber) in terms of having to make a decision or a vote, whether it’s financial or otherwise.

All I’m asking here is for some clarity for us through the Integrity Commissioner so that the governance of what we’re doing is being properly  followed.  I guess that’s really what I’m hoping  – that we’re going to get support for this and I want to thank staff for helping me out on this and putting us on the right path.

Emilie Cote, Director of Parks, Recreation and Culture represents the City on the Performing Arts Board.

Mayor Meed Ward commented: I really support the work that you’ve done Angelo to bring this forward. This has been an issue that has vexed us since, I started in 2010. And my only question would be, and maybe this is already contemplated, would be really for you, Emily, around would there be value in engaging a governance and independent governance person as well on these matters? I know some of the advice I’ve gotten from governance folks is very helpful. It is different than Integrity Commissioner – both are important. So it’s not an either or here and wondering if that is something that you will consult in and bringing back recommendations.

Cote responds:  Absolutely. So that’s the intent, to kind of marry the two together to get some advice from a governance expert and then have the Integrity Commissioner also speak to some of those recommendations.

They then voted on the Motion memorandum regarding agencies boards and commissions and Integrity Commissioner advice. The Motion was in the Agenda but never displayed during the meeting.

All those in favour and any opposed?  And that carries.

 

What in heaven’s name were they talking about?

There was a point at which Councillor Bentivegna represented the City on the Performing Arts Board.  His term was over and he was replaced by Emilie Cote who is the Director of Parks, Recreation and Culture.

This is the first time we recall a Staff member replacing an elected person on the Performing Arts Board.

The issue Cote had to deal with was the shake up taking place at Performing Arts where, for a period of time it didn’t appear that the organization had a functioning board.

Performing Arts Executive Director Tammy Fox

Performing Arts Executive Director Tammy Fox had explained to Council in November just what she was having to deal with.

Given that the city puts a significant amount of money into BPAC they wanted to get to the bottom of the issue and ordered that an independent consult be brought in, at BPAC expense, to put forward a series of recommendations.

That happened.

It was a thorough Governance Review that Council accepted and wanted to see put in place. This was all done on the QT.  No public involvement.

Then there was a call for new directors that closed February 16th.  No word yet on how that is working out.

Biggest free event festival in the country.

Executive Director Tammy Fox is busy making the Sound of Music part of the Performing Arts Centre even though there is no mention of that happening in the current Strategic Plan.

A decision to have the Performing Arts Centre as the presenter of the Sound of Music (SoM) and to invest some cash into the event is not small potatoes.

There are many really good reasons for aligning the SoM with the Performing Arts organization.  The biggest one being that the BPAC stages are not used all that much during the June SoM events.  Makes all the sense in the world to bring the two closer together.

Surely someone did a thorough risk analysis and ask all those pesky cost benefit questions.

Sound of Music Chair Steve Cusson with BPAC Executive Director Tammy Fox who is expected to make the SoM event an even bigger success

The Strategic Plan in place currently covers a period that ended in 2023.    The words Sound of Music don’t event appear in the current document.

One of the more immediate benefits is that Tammy Fox, the BPAC Executive Director knows the entertainment business better than anyone else in this city.  She is on a first name basis with anyone that matters.

Fox is reported to have said on November 16th, 2023 that substantial resources have been invested in updating the strategic plan, including the board’s best practices.

There is a full Board in place but there are no co-ordinates to reach any of them.

That is not a healthy situation – the people who make the decisions have to be available if transparency is to have any meaning.

Don’t blame this on the Executive Director – she has to work in what must be an awkward situation – not that she is ever going to say that.

 

Return to the Front page

Just what has happened at City Hall and is there even more to come?

By Pepper Parr

April 12th, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Mayor has had a busy past 30 days – and the hecticness is not over yet.

Hassaan Basit starts his new job on the 22nd. He is far from an unknown entity.

Comment has to be made on the claim that the new City Manager who moves into his office on the 22nd is the Mayor’s Sock Puppet.  People who make that kind of comment haven’t done their homework

The much anticipated April 16th Council meeting at which the Mayor committed to telling her colleagues what she would do in terms of sharing her Strong Mayor powers  may not be as exciting as many expected.  She set all that out in an Open Letter to Council members on Thursday.  One does wonder if the Mayor actually speaks to her colleagues on a one-one one basis.

Some comment has to be made on the toxic environment that front desk people have to work within. The reports are more than disturbing – this kind of rot tends to start at the top.

And, with all the political infighting one has to ask: What kind of a council will the citizens elected in 2026?  How many of the current Council members will choose to challenge Meed Ward?

All this will be in the Gazette – some today – more tomorrow.

 

Return to the Front page

United Way Halton & Hamilton reaches historic $12.5 million target

By Staff

April 12th, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

During last night’s Evening of Celebration, United Way Halton & Hamilton honoured community donors and partners following a fundraising campaign that raised $12,500,000.

This year’s fundraising campaign marked a historic milestone, with the largest amount ever raised for our community’s vital programs and initiatives.

The target was reached!

The atmosphere was electric at the Burlington Convention Centre, where over 600 attendees came together. Local leaders, labour partners, supportive organizations, and dedicated non-profit agencies from across Halton and Hamilton celebrated growing together to support the community as this year’s fundraising campaign came to a close.

In its first year, the Local Love Community Match helped propel the incredible generosity of the Halton & Hamilton community. For every $4 donated to this year’s campaign, an additional $1 was matched by supportive community members and organizations. This collaboration helped to increase support for vital programs aimed at improving lives and strengthening our communities.

“I’m truly amazed by the overwhelming generosity of our community this year. With the most vulnerable among us facing immense challenges, these funds will play a crucial role in supporting critical programs,” remarked Brad Park, President and CEO of United Way Halton & Hamilton. “The unwavering support we’ve received from our donors is incredibly inspiring, particularly during these challenging times for nonprofits. We are deeply grateful for their care and commitment to making a positive impact in our community.”

The night’s virtual event was hosted by Chris Mai, former Weather Network personality and current media teacher, with an appearance by Matt Wickham, Senior Vice President, Sales and Operations at Cogeco and United Way Halton & Hamilton’s 2023-2024 Campaign Cabinet Chair.

Claude DeMone, Regional President, Southwestern Ontario, RBC

The incoming Cabinet Chair for next year’s campaign was also announced at the event. Claude DeMone, Regional President, Southwestern Ontario, RBC, was thrilled to share his excitement for helping lead next year’s campaign.

“Our community showed up in a big way, helping us reach a historic fundraising milestone. With last year’s assistance to over 143,000 individuals, we’re highly motivated to extend our reach even further. Despite a 68% increase in demand for social services programs, and over 50% of agencies having wait lists, we’re hopeful these funds will help increase critical support to those who need it the most,” said Park.

Throughout the evening, United Way presented the Step Up for the Community Award, The Game Changer Award, Leading the Way Award, Champions of Change Award, Inspiring Local Love Award, the Labour of Love Award and the Leading the Way in Philanthropy Award, in recognition of the profound influence of this community’s generosity over the past year.

Return to the Front page

That pledge city council unanimously agreed to is now seen by some as a mistake

By Pepper Parr

 April 11th, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Who’s counting and why are they getting different totals.

The counting got serious when Burlington signed the pledge.

When they agreed to build 29,000 housing units by 2031 Mayor Meed Ward got Strong Mayor powers which she promptly used to wring the necks of most of her council members.

That part was easy – the majority of this council are just not in the same category as Meed Ward when it comes to strategic thinking.  For the Mayor the strategy is to have the biggest basket and keep all the eggs in that basket,

Mayor Meed Ward needs a math upgrade: 29,000 divided by seven does not equal 2,900

Earlier today she explained that in order to have the 29,000 units by 2031 – would mean 2,900 units each year.  How did she arrive at that number?  This is 2024 – 2031 is seven years away – 2900 a year will not get us there.

As to counting – well what counts.  Is it when a building permit is issued?  Having a permit in hand does not mean there will eventually be a home.

Maybe it counts when the developer’s contractor starts building.  That sounds like a good way to count.

But it’s not the way CMHC counts and because they are one of the biggest players in the housing game the way they count really matters.

The number of units in this high rise at Pearl and LAkeshore will not count until construction has reached grade.

Turns out the fact that matters for CMHC is when the development reaches grade.  When a single family dwelling or a four story apartment is being built grade is reached quite quickly.

When a 30 story tower is being built grade isn’t reached until anything between four and seven of underground parking is completed – then construction is at grade.

Complex.

At the Pipeline to Permit monthly meeting today the Information Technology people released the data report.

Most recent Pipeline to Permit data

Return to the Front page

Low Pressure System will bring Widespread Rain across Southern Ontario starting Overnight Tonight

By Staff

April 10th, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Conservation Halton advises that Environment Canada and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry’s (MNRF) Surface Water Monitoring Centre (SWMC) are forecasting that a low pressure system will bring widespread rain across southern Ontario starting overnight tonight and ending Saturday morning. Currently, forecasts indicate that 25-45 mm of rain is expected, with higher local amounts associated with thunderstorms possible on Thursday afternoon and evening. The anticipated rainfall combined with increased runoff from wet soil conditions will likely result in elevated water levels in rivers and streams within our jurisdiction.

Widespread flooding is not anticipated, however, fast flowing water and flooding of low-lying areas, natural floodplains, and areas with poor drainage may be expected.

Heavy rain pushes creek banks beyond their capacity.

Conservation Halton is asking all residents and children to keep a safe distance from all watercourses and structures such as bridges, culverts, and dams.  Elevated water levels, fast flowing water, and cold water temperatures combined with slippery conditions along stream banks continue to make these locations extremely dangerous. Please alert children in your care of these imminent dangers.

Conservation Halton will continue to monitor stream and weather conditions and will issue an update to this Watershed Conditions Statement – Water Safety message as conditions warrant.

This Watershed Conditions Statement – Water Safety will be in effect through Saturday April 13, 2024.

For further information or questions regarding this message contact:

Ben O’Reilly, Flood Duty Officer, Engineering

T: 905-336-1158 ext. 2258

Return to the Front page

Is Mayor Meed Ward feeling the heat and talking about a reset of the Strong Mayor powers - looks that way

By Pepper Parr

April 10th, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

Mayor Meed Ward had several opportunities to speak to City Council when they met for most of Monday and Tuesday of this week.

She appears to have taken a pass on that opportunity and decided instead to write an Open Letter.

It is all there, for you to read.  Nothing has changed, but that is an opinion you should reach on your own. The complete OPEN LETTER can be reached HERE

The question we have for the Mayor is:

Have you met individually and personally with the four members of Council that are, to date, rock hard in their view that they want you to relinquish some of the Strong Mayor powers you hold. In the news letters that members of Council send out none, other than ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns, have made public comments on what you have done.

In your Open letter you point out that:

Of the 44 municipalities that have received the additional powers and duties under the legislation, 12 Mayors delegated all duties that could be delegated, 16 delegated none of the duties, and 16 delegated some of them.

I read that information, that you made public, to mean that most municipalities have shared the Strong Mayor powers.

Your colleagues are waiting to hear what you have to say at the scheduled April 16th meeting of City Council.

Use the word “reset”.  I can hardly wait to learn just what you mean by that.

That you chose to send the Open Letter suggests you are feeling the heat.

I see that as a good sign.

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.

 

Return to the Front page

18 projects given Arts and Culture Fund grants - $75,000 distributed

By Staff

April 10th, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Burlington Arts and Culture Fund (BACF) provides grants to local artists, multicultural groups and arts and cultural organizations to:

  • Encourage social cohesion, enhance quality of life and stimulate cultural and economic development through direct investment
  • Enrich how Burlington residents experience and engage with arts and culture
  • Foster creativity
  • Nurture the quality and capacity of the arts and culture sector in Burlington

The program recognizes and supports diverse identities, perspectives, languages, cultures and artistic practices. Funding must be used to further an applicant’s not-for-profit activities and grants are intended to support a specific activity or event taking place from April to March.

This year’s approved BACF funding allocation is $75,000 total for the 18 projects. Each applicant could apply for up to $7,000 in funding.

Art With Heart: Reflective Art Workshop Series

Applicant: Lena Sharda

The Art with Heart: Reflective Art Workshop Series is a series of five workshops designed to engage community members in creative expression and self-discovery in order to build resiliency and improve overall mental health. Led by multidisciplinary artist, facilitator and therapeutic arts instructor Lena Sharda, the workshops combine therapeutic art exercises and mindfulness practices to foster self-reflection and wellness, while supporting participants to develop skills in: healthy coping, positive interpersonal dynamics, resiliency and self-confidence. A selection of the artwork created during the workshops will be displayed as part of a community art exhibit at the Burlington Public Library to share the importance of mental health and how the arts play a pivotal role in wellness.

The Artist’s Mark Juried Exhibit

Applicant: Burlington Fine Arts Association

The Burlington Fine Arts Association (BFAA) is an artist collective of approximately 180 local artists and the largest of the seven guilds of Arts Burlington. The Artist’s Mark will provide an eighteen-day juried art exhibit. The exhibition brings original art out of the gallery and into a more accessible community space to provide a unique celebration of local, contemporary art. Throughout the exhibition, participating BFAA artists will give talks about their work and artistic process. The Artist’s Mark will also feature focused artist presentations and outreach that includes an art display and workshop at local senior retirement residences throughout Burlington. The project provides a continued celebration of creativity and supports local artists from the Burlington community.

Authors in Your Neighbourhood

Applicant: Sylvia McNicoll

Sylvia McNicoll,

Authors in Your Neighbourhood encourages children to have fun interactions with local writers and illustrators to foster a love of reading and writing. This year, Authors in Your Neighbourhood has expanded to include four local authors: Lana Button, Jennifer Maruno, Sylvia McNicoll, Anitha Rao-Robinson and illustrator Jennifer Faria. They will each demonstrate and teach their craft in six two-hour workshops. Children will have the chance to learn about writing dialogue, describing characters and settings, structuring plots, and learning drawing fundamentals. Workshops will be hosted by the Burlington Public Library and reach over 250 children. This year Authors in Your Neighbourhood will also include parents and guardians in a dedicated family literacy workshop.

Brushstrokes of Bravery

Applicant: Lara Kirschner

Local artist Lara Kirschner has partnered with Shifra Homes and the Halton Women’s Place to offer paint classes to pregnant at-risk women and new moms. The classes will involve creating a personal interpretation of a pre-planned acrylic painting on stretched canvas and each class will present a new theme to help foster a sense of accomplishment. Learning opportunities for the project include developing a new skillset to boost self-confidence, working outside of one’s comfort zone to promote mental and emotional growth, the development of interpersonal skills in a group learning environment and exposure to a variety of painting techniques. The project provides a vulnerable population with access to creative teaching and skill development.

Burlington Latin Festival

Latin Legacy: a musical lineup of salsa, reggaeton, merengue, bachata, cúmbia, mariachi, jazz and samba.

Applicant: Latin Legacy Association

The Burlington Latin Festival is a cultural celebration that brings together a diverse range of artists, activities and vendors to promote the creativity, innovation and cultural exchange of the Burlington Latin community. The festival will showcase various forms of artistic expression including music, dance, Latin wellness classes, workshops and a parade. The festival will take place in Central Park on Aug. 24, 2024 and will feature a musical lineup of salsa, reggaeton, merengue, bachata, cúmbia, mariachi, jazz and samba. The dance program will present contemporary dance, traditional folk dances from Latin America and a parade. The festival is free and will include art workshops highlighting the different art and crafts of Latin American culture.

Celebrate! Holidays of the Global Village – Free Livestream Concerts for Burlington Schools

Applicant: Chris McKhool, Sultans of String

Three-time JUNO Award nominees and Billboard charting band Sultans of String will present a series of livestream concerts for Burlington elementary schools. Inspired by world travel, the project celebrates Canada’s multicultural mosaic with songs about the Buddhist Bodhi Day, Quebec’s Carnival, Chanukah, Chinese New Year, Christmas, Diwali, Eid, Halloween, Pan-African Kwanzaa, Ramadan and Winter Solstice. Celebrate! will provide young audiences with a glimpse into different customs, celebrations and festivities enjoyed in Canada. The concert lineup features core Sultans of String members: Chris McKhool on violin, Kevin Laliberté on guitar and Drew Birston on bass, as well as global musicians Maryem Hassan, Ernie Tollar, Qui Xia and Andrew from Silk Road Music, Ts’ymshian Elder Shannon Thunderbird, Suba Sankaran and Dylan Bell, and Aviva Chenrnick.

Celebrating the Cultures of the Silk Road

Applicant: One Burlington

One Burlington is exploring the historic Silk Road to showcase the intermingling and exchange of cultures through contact and commerce. As the traders travelled with their goods, they exchanged stories, songs and ideas with people from many other countries and regions. Celebrating the Cultures of the Silk Road is a family friendly afternoon featuring a variety of events for attendees to participate in. First, on stage in the BPAC Studio Theatre, five dance performances will feature music and storytelling from the four different regions covered by the Silk Road: China, Middle Asia, South Asia and the Middle East. Three workshops will take place in the lobby where participants can learn about embroidery techniques, tea ceremonies and rug making. The event will also feature a presentation on the history and cultural significance of the Silk Road followed by a question-and-answer period.

 

Elizabeth Gardens Art Walk

Applicant: Elizabeth Gardens Creative Collective

Fourth Annual Elizabeth Gardens Art Walk.

The Fourth Annual Elizabeth Gardens Art Walk is a free one-day event that features thirty to forty local, multi-disciplinary artists, artisans, makers, designers, musicians and arts facilitators. The event is free, accessible to all ages and has tents and booths showcasing various artists’ work. Twenty interactive and collaborative Art Experience Stations will be hosted by local artists and include: pottery, paint pouring, ink, drawing, chalk murals, hydro dipping, up-cycled art, bookmark and button making as well as musical, dance and storytelling performances. The project helps the community learn about the many talented artists and makers that live in Burlington. Participants can immerse themselves into new artistic practices in a safe, supportive environment, while learning about the importance of art, and the value of connecting as a community.

 

Focus on Your Future

Applicant: Latow Photographers Guild

Established in 1971, the Latow Photography Guild is a member of Arts Burlington with approximately 90 members. The guild aims to help members develop their photography skills and offers a variety of programs, guest speakers and evaluations. Aimed at photography students and emerging photographers, Focus on Your Future is a portfolio review event that will provide participants with an opportunity to obtain personalized feedback on their work, recommendations and resources to improve, and tips on next steps in their future in photography. Reviewers are members of the Latow Photographers Guild and special guest reviewers will include nationally and internationally recognized photographers, jurors and instructors.

 

Halton Freedom Celebration Festival

Applicant: Halton Black History Awareness Society

The Halton Black History Awareness Society (HBHAS) is dedicated to implementing cultural education into the public mindset towards appreciating the values of equity and inclusivity. HBHAS develops programs to erode racism, prejudice and stereotyping, while increasing knowledge of Canadian history and its cultural landscape. The free, one-day Halton Freedom Celebration Festival brings together musical acts, children’s and youth activities, cultural art, food, crafts, heritage, historical and genealogical vendors, while promoting inclusivity and community. The multicultural festival will offer cultural crafts, art in the park, cultural fashions and accessories, food and music including the best in Canadian R&B, Reggae, Soul, Funk, African, Cuban, Jazz Fusion, Soca and Pop. The Halton Freedom Celebration Festival will take place in Spencer Smith Park on Aug. 3, 2024.

 

The Journey Around the Sun

Applicant: Lowville Festival

The Lowville Festival was founded in 2015 with the vision that arts and nature are perfect partners in creating unique cultural events in the natural beauty of the Niagara Escarpment. In 2024, the festival will continue with the celebration of both the Winter and Summer Solstices and the Spring and Fall Equinoxes. The Solstice events will be performance-based events and the Equinoxes festivals will be interactive family fun events. The events will take place on June 20, Sept. 20, Dec. 21 and March 20 on the Summer Solstitium, Autumnal Equinox, Winter Hibernal and the Vernal Equinox.

 

Lunar New Year Celebration Gala

Applicant: Redleaf Cultural Integration

The Lunar New Year Celebration Gala is an event to celebrate the beginning of the new Lunar Year, one of the most important festivals in Asian countries. The event connects people, shares diverse cultures, and celebrates the Lunar New Year. The celebration features a half-day, free cultural exhibition showcasing multicultural displays of Chinese watercolour painting, calligraphy, traditional sugar painting, a tea ceremony, Indian Henna painting, and a Korean culture display. The main event includes performances of a selection of songs and dances from various cultures and a magic show on the Burlington Performing Art Centre’s main stage. Redleaf Cultural Integration is a non-profit cultural organization that works with people of diverse cultures, backgrounds and ages to enhance the quality of life in Burlington.

 

Music Across the Cultures

Burlington Symphony Orchestra

Applicant: Burlington Symphony Orchestra

Music Across the Cultures is a full orchestral concert featuring special guest artists offering a variety of cultural performances. While Western Classical Music continues to be the foundation of the Burlington Symphony Orchestra (BSO), this concert provides an opportunity to expand these boundaries and connect with a variety of cultures through non-Western music and performances. The concert will feature the full-sized 55-member community orchestra and include special performances by members of the Canadian Arabic Orchestra, members of the Sampradaya Dance Creation Company, as well as a Burlington guest violinist performing Czardas.

 

RISE: An Immersive Community Wellness Celebration

Two members of the CinnaMoon Collective.

Applicant: Exisst SoulCare

Existt SoulCare is an artist-driven wellness initiative that aims to elevate collective consciousness, creativity, mindfulness and community building. RISE 2024, An Immersive Wellness Community Celebration will take place at the Lowville THiNKSPOT in Walt Rickli’s Sculpture Garden. This unique location will host transformative community wellness workshops, a traditional cacao experience and a dynamic forest dance performance by CinnaMoon Collective. The event will feature an opening community connection circle, breathwork and a mindful meditation workshop and community celebration with the live musical styling of DJ Magda Arturo.

 

Somewhere That’s Green

Applicant: Charles Cozens

Charles Cozens

Somewhere That’s Green is a live concert of environmental music performed by the Charles Cozens Chamber Music Ensemble with conductor Maestro Charles Cozens. Charles has written compositions for chamber orchestra with the theme of our environment and surroundings. Selected compositions will be performed in conjunction with several visual artworks by Burlington artists. Each composition will be descriptive of each artwork. The artwork will be displayed in front of the orchestra and by a video projected on a screen to magnify the imagery. Selected visual artists include Victoria Pierce and Janet Horne Cozens, and photographer Chris Hominuk. During the concert, the artists will provide a description about their artwork.

 

Stitching Together: Cross Cultural Encounters through Embroidery

Applicant: Creative Community Collective

The Stitching Together Community Embroidery project features lectures and hands-on demonstrations to learn embroidery. Workshops will be hosted at five different locations across the city. All of the individual embroidered pieces created at the workshops will be assembled as a single community piece, symbolizing the diversity of cultural heritage among the residents of Burlington. Embroidery has roots in ancient civilizations, has many variations and allows participants to interact during the creative process.

 

Telling Tales Festival returns to the Royal Botanical Gardens’ Hendrie Park.

Telling Tales Festival

Applicant: Telling Tales

The 16th Annual Telling Tales Festival returns to the Royal Botanical Gardens’ Hendrie Park. The event is free and visitors can participate in educational activities led by a diverse group of authors, illustrators, musicians and storytellers. The program is culturally diverse and committed to showcasing fresh, local talent alongside internationally renowned personalities. Guests can listen to the stories behind a book’s creation, learn writing tips and meet local authors. Participants can explore interactive workshops, express their creativity in the craft tent with story-based art and explore the park’s sculpture collection.

 

Theatre Workshops for Adults

Applicant: Theatre Burlington

Theatre Burlington was created in 1952 with the mission to provide opportunities for Burlington residents to learn about the direction, production and staging of plays. This workshop series will be coordinated by local writer and playwright Evelyn Principato, and be presented by members of Theatre Burlington. The series will cover the basics of live theatre production and participants will be mentored in the production and staging of one-act plays. The final workshop will include the presentation of one-act plays to friends and family. Participants will get first-hand experience in core areas of live theatre production including: directing, stage management, set design and construction, props, lighting, sound, costumes, acting including voice projection, stage presence and nerve management. Through the final theatrical performances, the attendees will apply skills learned in the workshops.

Return to the Front page

Staff harassment complaints: more than 1 a week - 17 staff people had to take time off as a result. A very toxic, fearful, degraded environment.

By Pepper Parr

April 10th, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

 

During the two day Council meeting Chris Kroes, Manager, Health, Safety & Wellness reported on Employee Health, Safety and Wellness.  Not much in the way of good news in the document.

Disturbing was the number of public to staff harassment complaints.

There were 58 such reports in 2023 – that’s more than 1 a week.  Of the 58 – 17 required a staff member being away from work.  The 17 lost time incidents in 2023; was up from 10 in 2022

The city is a self-insured employer. What this means is the city does not pay insurance premiums but rather pays for all injury and illness costs plus a WSIB administration fee to administer the claims.

Based on some feedback from senior leaders the City introduced a mechanism for senior leaders to be notified if a WSIB incident occurs in their service area. This allows them to be aware of it and to inquire with their groups. We’ve enhanced our corrective action process for better tracking, trending and ultimately to ensure completion of those corrective actions to ensure that we prevent re-occurrence.

Chris Kroes was reporting on the 2023 Human Resources report said:

“It is important for City Council to have an awareness of Employee Health, Safety and Wellness matters.

“In recent years, we’ve been tracking incidents of harassment and violence more closely. We have successfully increased reporting and follow up on these incidents; this supports compliance with the Occupational Safety Act.

A “citizen” getting something off his chest at a public meeting. Former Mayor Rick Goldring and a now retired staff member Vito had put up with it.

“In 2023, there were 58 incidents reported: a note – this is public to staff interactions and does not include staff to staff cases, that’s handled separately and not tracked here.”

City Manager Tim Commisso later added that 17 of the 58 became lost time incidents.

A general review of the data suggests that around 79% are categorized as harassment in nature, and the majority are verbal interactions. 24% of incidents involve some form of violence.

Kroes continues: “The work done by the legal and clerk’s departments on new public conduct policy has also provided for consistency in dealing with misconduct. It should be noted that management of corporate security has been identified as a resource gap city wide and we are looking to make improvements in this area to ensure risks are adequately mitigated to keep staff and the public safe and secure.

Chair Nisan:  Thank you, Chris for your diligent work keeping us safe. Mayor Mead Ward has a question.

Mayor Meed Ward:  ”I’m very concerned and startled by that number of 58.  I want to clarify that number and follow up

Chris:  “Yes, these are members of public to the staff. That’s the interaction types. We do have a relatively low threshold of reporting, which is which is by it that’s done intentionally and it’s based on our customer service guidelines. Those incidents are members of the public to city staff and there was 58 of those reported.”

Mayor: Can you give us an indication are these and some with violence, which is really terrifying and my heart goes out to anyone who’s experienced that it’s completely unacceptable. So are some of these online harassment or would all of this be? I mean is some of it email? Is it verbal? Or a mix?

Chris: It includes any type of interaction that sort of falls within the customer service guidelines would generally say level two or level two or level three of the customer service guidelines.

Staff who work behind the counters at City Hall are the front line people that are experiencing rising levels of personal abuse.

So those interactions could be in person they could be over the phone that could be via email, just incidents that are conduct that’s harassing in nature. And again, it’s a relatively low reporting threshold and not all of them may actually meet that strict definition in the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

But they are reporting and we are ensuring that there’s adequate follow up and that our eyes are on it from health, safety and wellness as well, to make sure those employees are supported through that interaction.

I will point out that we also focus on how the employee feels after that interaction. So it you know, someone may not have intended something but as we know that that’s not always how it’s received by staff. So again, it’s our primary focus is to look at how they’re feeling and ensuring they’re supported after those incidents.

City Manager Tim Commisso: This is the fourth year we’ve reported out on our safety.  I’m really trying to come to grips with this. I do want to thank Council though, over the last five years for adding more human resources particularly around safety and wellness.

Relative to the number of interactions we have given the work we do every day this is still relatively low, but we will strive to keep that lower. This year, we didn’t do an update on staff turnover. We still have a relatively low turnover level across the organization. And in our management team, our objective is 5% and I’m just waiting to hear back on those numbers.

Mayor Meed Ward: “”I’m very concerned and startled by that number of 58.”

Mayor:  With respect to our front line staff customer facing who may be facing some of us harassment that showed up on the last slide. Do you think there may be more measures that we could take to mitigate reduce that are there some practical steps that you would be able to look into to bring back to us that we might be able to endorse to ensure that we provide excellent customer service, but that we protect our staff at the same time?

Chris:  I think there’s I think it’s a multifaceted approach and it’s based on an assessment of each individual work area, customer facing work area to make sure that they have the training they need in terms of being able to de-escalate and, and sort of, you know, mitigate those interactions from going you know, to a point where it poses a hazard.

Also looking at the customer service counters and making sure that they’re adequately secured and there’s places that people can go to sort of as a as a shelter area so they can get away as needed, obviously there’s emergency protocols like lockdown, hold insecure procedures that we’re looking at improving and enhancing. Ultimately security as a whole and workplace violence risk assessments as a whole.

There’s a lot of work we still need to do and ultimately, there may be some things that we need down the road that we identify and those assessments.  I don’t want to I don’t want to list those out now before we before we get to doing a comprehensive assessment but definitely need to take a closer look and making sure that we’re assessing and controlling these workplace violence risks.

Mayor: Do you have any, do you have an idea how often a like a front line staff would be getting on the on the receipt of bad language for example, or you know, excessive negativity? Do you ever do a line on that? Because of these are not all not all those will be reported obviously.

Chris: This is why we we’ve introduced a very low threshold for reporting. So when interactions are happening that are inappropriate and aggressive and you know, swearing and yelling and that sort of thing.

Chris: We’re definitely encouraging those to be reported and it’s very clear that those need to be reported in our policies and procedures. I would say that, that the lion’s share or the or the majority of the 58, there would be those types of interactions. That would be the majority of it. So it’s verbal interactions that are yelling, swearing, unfortunately, sometimes somewhat threatening. That’s, I would say the majority of the 58 would be would be the yelling and the swearing and that sort of thing.

Mayor: I’m curious around what are processes for reporting. So what you know, somebody feels they’ve been harassed in any way. Whether it meets the OSA definition or not, is there a portal do they come talk to you do they talk to their supervisor what’s what do we tell folks to do or invite them to do if they experience this?

Chris: There is a reporting protocol. It’s handled the same way as any workplace incident, whether it’s a hazard or an injury, incident with injury; our direction has been to report it the same way

It goes to the supervisor first. Again, the supervisor looks at the customer service guidelines and sees you know if the interaction is within those different categories, and then ultimately, there’s an online portal that we have for all incident reports and that the supervisor will log into that portal. They will submit information and particulars about the incident they’ll do a preliminary investigation so that they can report it. That report once they hit submit the entire health safety and wellness team is alerted that something has occurred. And then we have safety advisors that will follow up with the supervisor and dig into it more. Depending on the severity and ensuring controls are placed in place to prevent it. If it if it does, if the activity or the conduct does potentially fall into misconduct as defined under the Public conduct policy, then it’s up to the supervisor and again they consult with us as well to refer for review under the misconduct as misconduct under the Public conduct policy. So that’s sort of the after the initial reporting is done and review is done.

Then there’s a there’s a decision on whether it needs to be reviewed as misconduct under the Public conduct policy and that’s a separate process, as you know, where that gets reviewed by either a director or a committee depending on the department and then steps are taken as a result of that review if needed.

Mayor: Okay, so I’m just thinking about how we because you talked about under reporting, and that notwithstanding some of these might not reach the threshold of what the statute says is harassment.

Nevertheless, they create a very toxic, fearful, degraded environment for people to work in.

You’re asking people to report right so how do we encourage people if you know they’ve got something that is just making them feel threatened, making them feel degraded as an individual? You know, we’ve all seen the we’ve all gotten emails like that personally, our staff certainly have – they take it on the chin more than anyone in terms of very derogatory personal comments, etc. and so forth. So maybe not an  WSIB payable offence, but certainly not a nice way to start your day. So how can we support people to still come forward with those things?

Chris: That’s why we’ve ensured that it’s a low threshold  – so essentially, you know, if you feel uncomfortable if someone was aggressive if someone was yelling someone who was swearing let your supervisor know that’s the first step.

That would would trigger the next steps. We regularly talk about this in safety talks. To say okay, here’s our respect in the workplace policy. Here’s our customer service guidelines. Here’s our incident reporting guidelines. We and supervisors are essentially reminding staff fairly regularly, you know, that if these interactions happen, you need to let me know as a supervisor, and then so I can make sure that’s looked after

So, Mayor, in terms of seeing the numbers increase over the years. I do you believe we’re being effective in encouraging that that reporting and ensuring psychological safety on the part of the staff member to feel comfortable escalating that to a supervisor. I think I think we’re definitely making some progress there. And I’m optimistic that we’re definitely heading in the right direction there.

Councillor Rory Nisan, Chair of the Committee that heard the Wellness report.

Chair Nisan:  Mayor, would you like to move the report?  Do you have any comments?

Mayor: I do. Thank you, Chris for all of your work on this. It ultimately does land on our table as the council as the directors of the corporation. That’s a very significant duty and responsibility on our shoulders to ensure a respectful safe harassment free workplace wherever that harassment is coming from.

And I you know, wheels are turning in my mind around how I can support my own team, because we get this a lot. I say to folks, we’re public servants. We’re not public Punching. Bags. We’re not here for others sport and amusement. We’re here to do a job and serve and that needs to be done in a respectful environment. We all deserve that. The good news is  I read this report and the previous one together. We don’t have any trouble attracting people to come and work for us. So it’s great to see the positions that we funded in the last budget, getting filled and people really wanting to join our team and when they put their trust and faith in us and they come to work for us, and as Tim said, we have a fairly low turnover rate, but we’ll get those numbers. People want to be here and we want to make sure that it’s safe and enjoyable for them to be here and to stay and that they know that we’ve got their back.

Chair Nisan: Thank you, Mayor. I don’t see any other comments I’ll just add my own. I am concerned that it is far more common than the reporting so that the numbers in the report indicating an increase doesn’t necessarily reflect what’s going on on the ground. So maybe you and I can take it offline with the responsible Executive Director as well and talk further about that. I witnessed harassment City Hall, myself late last week.

And it appears to me to be a very common occurrence. So that’s my concern – that there may be an ongoing and an increase in the culture of harassment of a small minority of residents who are not being respectful of people who are here to serve them. I look forward to talking more about the issue and how we can root it out.

With that. I don’t see any other comments. I will call the vote all those in favour. Any opposed?

That item is carried.

Return to the Front page

Decisions made by the Mayor that returned some of her Strong Mayor powers to the City Manager and Council

By Staff

April 10, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The following are three decisions Mayor Meed Ward made under the authority she has with Strong Mayor powers.

Decision Number: 07-2024
Mayoral decision
References: MO-03-22 – Appointments to standing committees, boards, committees, agencies and Deputy Mayors
Mayoral Decision 07-2023 – To establish Committee Structure options
I, Marianne Meed Ward, Mayor of The Corporation of the City of Burlington, hereby issue Mayoral Decision 07-2024 as follows:
Decision regarding existing committees
In accordance with Part VI.1 of the Municipal Act, 2001, subsection 284.8 and subsection 284.13 (1), and Section 6 (1) of Ontario Regulation 530/22, as Mayor and Head of Council I hereby delegate the following duties to Council related to existing committees:
1. Establish or dissolve committees
2. Appoint chairs and vice-chairs of committees
3. Assign functions to committees.
Per the legislation, this delegation applies only in respect of existing committees comprised solely of Council members.
This delegation is subject to the following guidance in accordance with subsections 284.13(2) and 23.1(2) of the Municipal Act, 2001:
1. That any recommended change to chairs/vice-chairs be discussed first with the existing chair/vice-chair, and is subject to their agreement regarding the change, subject to Guidance section 2 below; and
2. That any finding or recommendations arising from an Integrity Commissioner (IC) investigation of a violation of the Council Code of Good Governance overrides Guidance section 1, and would be dealt with in the normal course of Council dealing with an IC report and recommendation;
Decision Number: 07-2024
3. That any establishment or dissolution of existing committees or change to their functions require a reconsideration vote of 2/3 majority prior to tabling the item, per our procedure bylaw for reconsideration of Council decisions.
Decision regarding new committees
Council may wish to create new committees for the balance of this term. As such, the following delegation and guidance applies:
In accordance with Part VI.1 of the Municipal Act, 2001, subsection 284.8 and subsection 284.13 (1), and Section 6 (1) of Ontario Regulation 530/22, as Mayor and Head of Council I hereby delegate the following duties to Council related to establishing new committees:
1. Establish or dissolve committees
2. Appoint chairs and vice-chairs of committees
3. Assign functions to committees.
Per the legislation, this delegation applies only in respect of committees comprised solely of Council members.
This delegation is subject to the following guidance prior to proposing a new committee in accordance with subsections 284.13(2) and 23.1(2) of the Municipal Act, 2001:
1. That the City Manager/CAO confirm capacity exists among staff to support any new committee; and
2. That should capacity not exist for a new standing committee of Council, the City Manager/CAO has the option to suggest alternatives to achieve the objectives of the proposed committee(s).
This Mayoral Decision comes into effect on April 22, 2024.
Dated at Burlington, this 10th day of April, 2024.
Original Signed by
Mayor Meed Ward
____________________
Signature of Mayor Marianne Meed Ward
Decision Number: 07-2024
Background and Rationale
The Municipal Act, 2001 (the “Act”) Part VI.1 and Ontario Regulation 530/22 assign special powers and duties to the Mayor, as the Head of Council;
Section 284.8 of the Act (committees) assigns to the Head of Council the ability to:
3. Establish or dissolve committees
4. Appoint chairs and vice-chairs of committees
5. Assign functions to committees.
Section 284.13 (1) of the Act, provides that the Head of Council may delegate these abilities regarding committees;
Section 6 (1) of Ontario Regulation 530/22 provides that the Head of Council may delegate this duty only to Council;
Section 4 of Ontario Regulation 530/22 states that the prescribed committees referred to under Section 284.8 of the Act are those that “consist solely of members of Council.” In the City of Burlington, this would include only Standing Committees of Council comprised solely of Council members, namely:
1. Committee of the Whole, and its sections (Community Planning, Regulation and Mobility; Environment Infrastructure and Community Services; Corporate Services Strategy Risk & Accountability)
2. Budget
3. Council Workshop
Committees that include a mix of Council and citizen members are not subject to the provisions of 284.8. In Burlington there are two: Audit and Pipeline to Permit. Additionally, Citizen Advisory Committees and Specialized Committees are not subject to the provisions of 284.8.
Council has already, by unanimous vote, approved the committees, functions and chairs/vice-chairs for this term, through Mayor’s Office report “Appointments to standing committees, boards, committees, agencies and Deputy Mayors” (MO-03-22, December 5 &13, 2022). This was modified by Mayor’s Decision 8-2023 to align the budget chair role with the Deputy Mayor for Strategy & Budgets portfolio.
Council also by unanimous vote approved Mayor’s Office motion “Review of Standing Committee Structure” (June 26 & July 11) which directed the Clerks department to review the Standing Committee system, to streamline the decision-making process. Clerks presented their report “Standing Committee Structure Options” (CL-18-23, October 4 & 17) that outlined the new Committee of the Whole structure, chairs/vice
Decision Number: 07-2024
chairs and functions, for Council deliberation and feedback. Council voted unanimously on the report October 17. Mayoral Decision 07-2023 implemented that vote

 

Decision Number: 08-2024
Mayoral decision
References: none
I, Marianne Meed Ward, Mayor of The Corporation of the City of Burlington, hereby issue Mayoral Decision 08-2024 as follows:
In accordance with Part VI.1 of the Municipal Act, 2001, subsection 284.6 (2) and 284.13 (2), and Section 6 (2) of Ontario Regulation 530/22:
As Mayor and Head of Council I hereby delegate the following duty to the City Manager/Chief Administrative Officer:
1. The duty of the Head of Council under subsection 284.6 (2) of the Act to hire, dismiss, or exercise any other prescribed employments powers with respect to the head of any division or the head of any other part of the organizational structure.
This Mayoral Decision comes into effect on April 22, 2024.
Dated at Burlington, this 10th day of April, 2024.
Original Signed by
Mayor Meed Ward
____________________
Signature of Mayor Marianne Meed Ward
Decision Number: 08-2024
Background and Rationale
The Municipal Act, 2001 (the “Act”) Part VI.1 and Ontario Regulation 530/22 assign special powers and duties to the Mayor, as the Head of Council;
Section 284.6 of the Act (organizational structure) subsection (2) (employment matters) assigns to the Head of Council the ability to hire or dismiss the head of any division or the head of any other part of the organizational structure;
The following positions, relevant to the City of Burlington, are excluded, under Section 284.6 (3):
1. the clerk or deputy clerk
2. a treasurer or deputy treasurer
3. an Integrity Commissioner
4. an Ombudsman
5. an Auditor General
6. a registrar for lobbying matters, as described in section 223.11 of the Act
7. a chief building official, as defined in the Building Code Act, 1992
8. a fire chief, as defined in the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997
9. other officers or heads of divisions required to be appointed under the Municipal Act, 2001, the City of Toronto Act, 2006, or any other Act
10. any other persons identified in regulation
Section 6(1) of Ontario Regulation 530/22 provides that the Head of Council may delegate this duty to Council or the Chief Administrative Officer. The City Manager/CAO shall be responsible for:
a) Exercising general control and management of the affairs of the City of Burlington for the purpose of ensuring the efficient and effective operation of the City in accordance with section 229(a) of the Act; and
b) Performing such other duties as have previously been assigned or delegated, and as may be assigned or delegated, to the City Manager by the Mayor and/or Council, and specifically, such duties as are described in Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) By-law No. 132-1991

Decision Number: 09-2024
Mayoral decision
References: none
I, Marianne Meed Ward, Mayor of The Corporation of the City of Burlington, hereby issue Mayoral Decision 08-2024 as follows:
In accordance with Part VI.1 of the Municipal Act, 2001, subsection 284.6 (1) and subsection 284.13 (1), and Section 6 (2) of Ontario Regulation 530/22:
As Mayor and Head of Council I hereby delegate the following duty to the Chief Administrative Officer:
1. The duty of the Head of Council under subsection 284.6 (1) of the Act to determine the organizational structure.
This Mayoral Decision comes into effect on April 22, 2024.
Dated at Burlington, this 10th day of April, 2024.
Original Signed by
Mayor Meed Ward
____________________
Signature of Mayor Marianne Meed Ward
Decision Number: 09-2024
Background and Rationale
The Municipal Act, 2001 (the “Act”) Part VI.1 and Ontario Regulation 530/22 assign special powers and duties to the Mayor, as the Head of Council.
Section 284.6 (1) of the Act (organizational structure) assigns to the Head of Council the responsibility to determine the organizational structure of the municipality.
Section 284.13 (1) of the Act, provides that the Head of Council may delegate this duty to determine the organizational structure.
Section 6 (1) of Ontario Regulation 530/22 provides that the Head of Council may delegate this duty to Council or the Chief Administrative Officer. The City Manager/CAO shall be responsible for:
a) Exercising general control and management of the affairs of the City of Burlington for the purpose of ensuring the efficient and effective operation of the City in accordance with section 229(a) of the Act; and
b) Performing such other duties as have previously been assigned or delegated, and as may be assigned or delegated, to the City Manager by the Mayor and/or Council, and specifically, such duties as are described in Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) By-law No. 132-1991

Return to the Front page

Lakeshore resident wants his Councillor to tell him what the fuss with the Mayor is all about

By Staff

April 9th, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Some Councillors are very focused on how they relate to their constituents.

Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns was one of the first to go online to meet with her community during the pandemic.  She understood the technology and knew how to use it effectively.

Lisa Kearns: At times wickedly funny

She also learned how to be relaxed and authentic and at times wickedly funny.

For a bunch of reasons she has put her meet the community event on hold.

A vocal resident said he thought the fight with the Mayor over strong mayor powers would be something that would call for a meeting with constituents so that we could hear what the fuss is all about and hear our counsellor’s thoughts and position.

He adds: “Please bear in mind that’s 50% of the purpose of, and time at the update meetings was to hear her constituents’ concerns and respond to their questions. By pausing or eliminating the update meetings, those who do attend are being disenfranchised. The update meetings are just as important whether just one or one hundred people attend. It’s vital that constituents have direct access to the counsellor in a public forum.

“As I understand it, the fight with the mayor by the six councillors is being pitched as a question about democracy being down-trodden. The update meetings represent democracy in its basic grassroots form where a constituent can have direct access with his or her representative in a public forum. The public forum aspect allows constituents to hear the concerns of other constituents and the responses of their representative.

“Our immediate past & present MPPs have been heavily criticized for hiding from their constituents (on Ford’s orders). That is not good for democracy.

“In addition to the fight with the mayor, there are other more mundane questions that crop up. Here are a few issues that in my view need addressing with residents.”

*  Why do the markings at our crosswalks, not only the rainbow crosswalks but all crosswalks, disappear so quickly and need it would seem frequent refurbishment?”.  Crosswalks in other countries like in the UK do not seem to suffer the same problems. It would seem to be a contractor &/or materials issue.

*  On the subject of crosswalks, why has it taken over 2 years to install a crosswalk at the location where the Centennial Pathway crosses Guelph Line? The pedestrian traffic island gives all the impression of a crosswalk and a pedestrian right of way. But that is not the case. It is not a crosswalk. It is not a pedestrian right away. Vehicles rarely stop to allow pedestrians cyclists and others to cross there. The incorrect appearance and the difficulty for pedestrians and others to cross makes it a very dangerous spot. I suggest both Counsellor Kearns and Counsellor Stolte get on staff’s case to get the approved crosswalk installed ASAP.

Food Truck Festival was very well attended.

* I believe residents would like to hear from Councilor Kearns as to what ideas or suggestions she might have to address & mitigate the traffic congestion along Lakeshore Road between Brant Street and Guelph Line? What powers does City Council have in this regard to maybe divert traffic, close off the road, either temporarily or permanently?

*  What steps are being taken to fix the very rough pot holed road surface on Guelph Line between Lakeshore Road and New Street?

* Why did Council bow to pressure brought by the vocal minority, being the downtown business association, to disallow the Food Truck Festival access to Spencer Smith Park? The Food Truck Festival was obviously popular with both residents and visitors.

I’m sure other residents have many other questions &/or concerns that deserve to be heard and shared broadly.

I urge Counsellor Kearns to reinstate the update meetings and allow democracy to reign.

 

Return to the Front page

Burlington was one of the best places to be for a perfect eclipse experience

By Staff

April 9th, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

 

If you watched the eclipse from Burlington you got the full Monty.

Eric Stern and Denis Gibbons covered the Eclipse for the Gazette locally.

Stern was at Central Park where he estimates there were 200 plus people. “The kids at times didn’t seem all that interested – they wanted to play on the slides.  But it was fascinating for th adults.”

Denis Gibbons, an experienced, season reporter covered the event at Spencer Smith Park where the crowds were amongst the biggest he has ever seen in Burlington since the gathering of people at the waterfront more than 30 celebrate a massive fireworks display more than 30 years ago to celebrate the twinning of Itabashi and Burlington.

It was a very pleasant 73 degrees F in their hometown of Lima, Peru on Monday, so the Valderrama, Ascuna, Jauslin and Gallardo families, who now reside in Burlington, had to bundle up with the chilly 46F temperature by Lake Ontario to watch the eclipse. Photo by Denis Gibbons

It would be difficult to put a number to the crowd.  The took over the pier and stretched west along the Naval Promenade.

Monday’s eclipse of the sun could be viewed in the South Pacific, Mexico, the central United States and Eastern Canada, with Burlington’s Spencer Smith Park one of the prime watching spots.

It was no coincidence, then, that most of the spectators the Burlington Gazette reporter interviewed had international backgrounds.

While they now make Canada their home, viewers interviewed originated from far-off places like Korea, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Peru and England.

Carole Panton (left) and Carolyn Swinson met for the first time in high school in the town of Leek, Staffordshire, England, 68 years ago. They got together again to view the eclipse when Panton came from her new home in Halifax to visit Swinson in Toronto and the pair drove out to Burlington after reading in the newspaper what a nice town Burlington is. They are sisters in law. Photo Denis Gibbons

Clouds covered the sky in the morning and early afternoon, but the sun started to break out, and people put their glasses on to see the eclipse.

The eclipse began in the early afternoon at 2:04 reaching full coverage at 3:18 p.m. and begin gradually dissipating, wrapping up by 4:31.

It was dark enough at the peak of the eclipse for the city street lights to come on.

Keira Hansen (left) and Nicole Boudreau of Burlington take a dip in Lake Ontario every Sunday year-round, so nobody was surprised when they decided to view the eclipse from the little sandy beach at Spencer Smith Park. Asked what they thought of it, they said, “It was so cool.” And with the water temperature at 38 degrees F, they weren’t kidding! Photo Denis Gibbons

A couple of daring women donned swimsuits and waded into the water at the little beach to view the eclipse, in spite of a frigid water temperature of 38 degrees F.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward recalled seeing a previous eclipse from North Carolina in 2017 and revealed that her son Nick is an avid astronomer.

No accurate figures on attendance were available, but most could not remember such a large crowd at the park since the City of Itabashi, Japan, staged the Friendship Fireworks more than 30 years ago.

 

Immigrants from Sri Lanka, Kesinan Sabapathy and his wife Jayanthy Kesinan brought their two children Kaveen and Kirusiny all the way from Brampton after reading about the special eclipse viewing gathering online. Kesinan now works in building maintenance. Photo Denis Gibbons

Nine-year-old Jaeyune Kim took advantage of a PD day at Orchard Park elementary school to join his father Sunil with his telescope in Spencer Smith Park. Sunil was an amateur astronomer during his university days in Korea. He now works as a computer programmer in Canada. He said he was looking forward to the eclipse so much, he bought his special pair of glasses more than a year ago. Photo Denis Gibbons

When the total eclipse did take place everything was very quiet.

An eerie quiet settled on the crowd. Photo Denis Gibbons

 

Return to the Front page

Convergence of Video Gaming and Casino Entertainment in Burlington

 

By Daniel Fraser

April 10th, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Burlington from the air.

Burlington has always had a diverse economy and embraced many types of industries to continue its success and economic growth. It’s in a prime location within the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, and its economic diversity is shown by the fact that there isn’t one business that dominates employment or GDP.

While various industries, such as business services, transportation, electronics, and food processing, have had a long-standing in the area, we are also seeing new business opportunities thrive, with some interesting convergences. Two of these are video gaming and casino entertainment and below, I’ll take a look at how these industries are growing and the opportunities Burlington residents have for these forms of recreational entertainment.

The Rise in Popularity of Video Gaming and Casino Entertainment

So, is there a convergence in Burlington and are we seeing increased activity in these industries? The evidence certainly points that way, with a range of related businesses continuing to experience success, including online casinos, esports, brick-and-mortar casinos, and gaming venues.

Increased Interest in eSports and Online Casinos

Burlington residents have access to loads of online casinos, where they can play slots, table games, live dealer games, and more. But not all sites are designed the same, for example, payment methods can vary from site to site¾with platforms like Daily Spins Casino accepting a variety of digital and cryptocurrencies, while others might have purchasable currency from their online store. Always seeking to expand and embrace new trends in technology, there is always a constant influx of new casinos trying to carve a space out for themselves online.

Some of the events are huge – do they have the potential to become Olympic level events?

The same can be said for esports too, and while esports as a career is becoming more viable for the younger generation of Canadians, Burlington residents also have access to a range of esports betting sites that are one of the most direct convergences of video gaming and casino entertainment. Here, you can place wagers on popular games like CS:GO, League of Legends, and StarCraft 2.

Although laws are still developing for online gambling activity in Canada, there’s certainly been a huge development in this industry. From this, as you will see below, other offshoots and establishments are also being created that use the principles of online casinos, esports, and video gaming to create hybrid entertainment for Burlington residents.

Brick-and-mortar Casinos In and Around Burlington

While online casinos and esports are becoming a major source of fun for Canadians, so is the availability of brick-and-mortar casinos. Indeed, Burlington and the surrounding towns and cities have a plethora of brick-and-mortar establishments if you prefer a physical experience as opposed to an online one. These include

Elements Casino, Brantford
Elements Casino, Mohawk
Elements Casino, Flamboro
Delta Bingo & Gaming, Burlington
Rocky Mountain Jackpot, Burlington
Gate Casino, Burlington
Rama Gaming House, Mississauga

The Elements Casino brand is one of the most popular in the area, with three establishments around Burlington. These casinos are known for their huge table game floors, plus their food and drink options. You can make a trip to the casino a day out and they are perfect for things like birthday celebrations.

Burlington itself has a handful of venues, too, including Delta Bingo & Gaming, Rocky Mountain Jackpot, and Gate Casino. Many of these establishments also feature video game elements, with their games and the inclusion of classic arcade games, and this is another area where we see an overlap in the industries.

Gaming Opportunities In and Around Burlington

Video gaming, arcade games, and games utilizing new technologies are also seeing a boom in Burlington. There are some incredibly interesting establishments that utilize features from casino entertainment, such as bright lights, epic sound effects, and immersive experiences, together with elements of video and arcade gaming. Three particular examples spring to mind

  • Gametime Social, Burlington
  • Activate, Burlington
  • Zero Latency, Burlington

Gametime Social is a huge, dedicated venue complete with a bar and restaurant, but the main feature is the epic games floor. Here, you can find an endless array of classic arcade games, slot machines, and more. It’s an assault on the senses, but in a good way, and there’s also pool and 9-ball tables too.

In contrast, Zero Latency in Burlington gives customers a free-roam virtual reality experience. The huge room gives you freedom of movement, which is often lacking in home VR setups, and you can embark on amazing VR experiences with up to seven of your friends simultaneously. This shows the adoption of new gaming and casino technologies in Burlington.

Zero Latency in Burlington gives customers a free-roam virtual reality experience.

Could These Industries Continue to Thrive in Burlington and Ontario?

As you can see, casino gaming, video gaming, and esports are booming in this region of Canada, and Burlington residents have an amazing range of brick-and-mortar casinos, video gaming establishments, and online gaming opportunities.

We expect this to only improve and develop further as technologies like VR and online casinos become more widely available. Because of this, we can also expect more overlap between these different industries as they do share many similarities.

Return to the Front page

Can you see yourself in this incredible eclipse gathering

By Staff

April 8th, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

 

How did Burlington react to the eclipse?

A crowd too large to count descended on Spencer Smith Park

A picture is worth 1000 words – which the reporting team is putting together before they call it a day.

A sneak peak at what they have to tell you.

Can you see yourself in this incredible gathering? Photo by Denis Gibbon

 

Return to the Front page

Me and my Eclipse

By Pepper Parr

April 8th, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Me and my eclipse.

Well, I didn’t feel any emotional change.

It never got dark where I was – up in Mountsburg, a couple of km north of Waterdown.

Pepper Parr – taking in an eclipse. It didn’t get dark but the moon did cover the sun.

The chickens were walking around picking works, the clouds seemed to stand still, the temperature lowered and if I wore my eclipse glasses I could watch the moon covering the sun – but it didn’t get dark.

The coyotes and the foxes that roam the property were nowhere to be seen.  The deer that show up on occasion were nowhere to be seen either.

But there was an eclipse and people did have their experience.  Mine was kind of bland.

The Scotch that was poured was as good as the wine and Ray does know how to BBQ a steak – so the day was not a total write off.

My colleagues elsewhere in the city had different experiences.

Return to the Front page

Premier wants paper bags available at LCBO locations - watch how fast that happens

By Staff

April 8th, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Premier made it really clear:

How many trees are we going to have to cut down to keep the Premier happy on this one?

“I’m requesting that you take immediate steps to reverse the decision to remove paper bags from the LCBO’s retail locations,” the premier wrote Sunday in a terse letter to George Soleas, president and CEO of the company.”

He added:“At a time when many Ontario families are already struggling to make ends meet, every additional expense counts. That includes charging customers for reusable bags instead of the free paper bags that the LCBO previously offered,” wrote Ford.

“This change has left people stuck openly carrying alcohol in public when leaving a LCBO store,” added the premier, a teetotaler.

LCBO wasn’t able to say how soon the public would have those paper bags available – but you can bet it won’t be very long.

 

Return to the Front page