Sunday - Chilly Half Marathon - be aware of where the traffic will get messy

By Staff

February 29th, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It’s race weekend in Burlington Downtown! As a reminder to those of you coming to cheer on your family and friends, there will be road closures, a free shuttle bus, lots of places to stop for a hot beverage, snacks and lunch at one of our many restaurants.

Here is the race route:

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Talk about diversity and the changes that will come with it - CDH sponsoring an in person event March 18th.

By Pepper Parr

February 29th, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Whenever the 29,000 homes that have to be built for the 120,000 new residents that are going to become part of the population comes up one word always stands out – diversity.

The ethic make up of the city will change – where they come from is unknown – all we know is that they are coming.

Rishia Burke – Community Development Halton

Community Development Halton, (CDH) a regional organization, much changed in the past year when Rishia Burke was brought in as the Executive Director, has been hosting ZOOM sessions on diversity.

CDH has decided that it is time for an in person event that will take place on March 8th in Milton.

One of the things CDH did under Burke’s leadership was to move away from what was really a Burlington centric operation.

The “home” address is now in Action where they share space with a community church.

The event is free – but they need registrations no later than March 14th –  no later than 4:00 pm.

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Watching city staff and Council work through what will take place at RBCC when it opens in 2025

By Pepper Parr

February 28th, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Earlier in the month Denise Bears, Senior Manager Community Planning with Recreation Community and Culture (RCC) reported to Council on what she had done to date on engagement on the former high school, the Live and Play Plan, and the Direct Delivery Program review.

Our focus in this report to readers is on the engagement that has taken place on the Robert Bateman Community Centre.  Beard said that “community sentiment and comments have been consistent regardless of what the community was being engaged on..

That same could not be said about how her dialogue with Council members went.  Beard reported that specific to the former high school staff held four community visioning sessions and attended Food for Feedback and the Appleby Line Street Festival to gather the community’s visions for the former high school. Staff also launched the Request for Expressions of Interest to assess what business or not-for-profit interest there might be for exclusive uses within the building.

There were 71 expressions of interest. More than 50 people attending in person sessions (which is really not an impressive number)  and 67 ideas added to the Get Involved page.

Denise Beard, Senior Manager Community Development

There were four public events:

  • August 22 at Appleby Arena,
  • August 23 at LaSalle Pavilion; and
  • October 18 at Tansley Woods Community Centre
  • October 19, 2023 virtual

Those who did attend the public sessions had a lot to say. They offered the following:

    1. Space for STEM programming
    2. Access to Tool Shop/Library
    3. Black Box Theatre (similar to Queen Elizabeth Park CC in Oakville)
    4. Theatre Rehearsal Space
    5. Indoor Bike Park
    6. Sports and Recreational Programming for Children and Youth
      1. Drop-in and Program
    7. Living Wall Atrium
    8. Repair Café
      1. Household items to be repaired by local makers/artisans.
    9. Pickleball Programming/Courts
    10. Apartments for the Homeless
    11. Dedicated Art Space/Gallery
    12. Open Gym Time for Youth
    13. Cooking Classes/Kitchen Space
    14. Flex Space for Community Use
    15. Newcomers Programming
    16. Craft Programming Space
    17. Art Programs/Classes
      1. Drop-in Studio for Youth/Children
    18. Soundproof Room
    19. Indoor Cricket
    1. Family Programs
    2. Inclusion Programming
    3. Art Collective
    4. Daycare Space
    5. 50+ Resources and Training Centre
    6. Community Job Café
    7. Dancing Lessons
    8. A Re-Use Emporium
    9. Kids Game Night
    10. Clay, Fibre, Drawing, Painting and Mural Art Space
    11. Community Garden Plots
    12. Extended Learning Centre
    13. Dog Training
    14. Squash Courts
    15. Office Space for Organizations
    16. Coffee Shop or Restaurant
    17. Alzheimer’s Support Spaces

Some of the ideas reflected program that were already being given at other city facilities; what was evident was that people had ideas – good ideas.

A rendering of the Robert Bateman Community Centre as seen from New Street

The challenge was how to make them work in the community centre that will open phase 1 in September of 2025 when Brock University students will show up for classes on the second floor of the building.

In a feature article we published earlier this week you get to read how members of city council dug in and talked about what they wanted and didn’t want.

It is a three part feature, the third on is lengthy – but if you want to get a really good feel for how council members think on the fly; how they begin to reveal what they want this city of yours to be as we work our way to the point where we have 29,000 new homes and, as Councillor Sharman said, 121,000 new people from around the world – do click on the links and read on.

Recreation, Community and Culture (RCC)  staff are not academics, they are not social scientists; they are bureaucrats (a word that is sometimes used as a slur – not in this instance).  They are working to make the community they live and work in better knowing that the rate of change is so rapid that it is hard to keep up.

Reacting on the fly and pressing council members to be clear on what they want the RBCC to do for the residents of the city.

The RCC department, led by Executive Director Emily Cote, who directed Denise Beard, as she worked her way through meetings where the sentiment was not always clear.

There was some good work done – I urge to take the time to read all three parts – the pilot program is not the kind of thing one sees at the municipal level very often.  No idea how it will work out.

We get told on occasion that we put too much attention on insisting members of council and city staff be both transparent and accountable.  They were certainly transparent when they talked their way to a point where they realized the work was not yet done.  This is one of those Receive and File reports you can expect to see a lot more of.

Link to the article

Part 1 Early engagement

Part 2 – The pilot project plans.

Part 3: Figuring out what they wanted and didn’t want.

 

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Integrity Commissioner Rejects Conflict of Interest Complaint against Councillor Kelvin Galbraith

By Pepper Parr

February 28th, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

,

A complaint that ward 1 Councillor Kelvin Galbraith had a Conflict of Interest that he did not declare related to the 1062-1072 Cook Boulevard was dismissed by Principals Integrity.

There have been 39 occasions when the Integrity Commissioner has met with a member of Council.  Most were the Council member asking for advice on a matter that could have Conflict of Interest concerns or Council Governance Code of Conduct matters. Councillor Galbraith met with the Integrity Commissioner more than any other member of Council.

Mayor Meed Ward and Councillor Nisan have met with the Integrity Commissioner as well.  Ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte was sanctioned by eh Commissioner and docked five days pay.

The most recent complaint was that on January  8, 2024 Councillor Galbraith participated in consideration of a development proposal at Committee of the Whole relating to 1062-1072 Cook Boulevard. The complaint argued that in doing so Galbraith was in a conflict of interest.

In a disposition report Principles Integrity, the Integrity Commissioner hired by  the City of Burlington said:

“The complainant argued that Galbraith’s ownership of 3 properties at the northwest corner of Plains Rd. West and Waterdown Rd properties would raise a conflict of interest contrary to the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act (the ‘MCIA’).

“As part of our review process, and in accordance with the tenets of procedural fairness, we forwarded your complaint to the Councillor for his response. We have now had an opportunity to obtain and review that response as well as to review a map of the area delineating the area covered by the required Planning Act notice from the property at 1062-1072 Cook Boulevard. We are attaching that map to this disposition, for clarity.

“Our past advice to the Councillor regarding managing perceived interests created by his ownership of the Plains Rd./Waterdown Rd. properties has been that the planning notice distance of 120 m can be used as a proxy (a rule of thumb) for when a disqualifying interest arises (a conflict of interest).

“The Councillor’s properties are located at 15 Plains Road West, and 1016 and 1018 Waterdown Road.

Analysis

“Our analysis, regarding allegations of conflict of interest arising out of property ownership by a member of Council, focuses on the potential for pecuniary interest, as contemplated by the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act (MCIA). Any matter which has likely financial impact (positive or negative) on the Member’s own property constitutes a pecuniary interest to the Member. A pecuniary interest, although not defined, is understood to mean a financial impact.

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

“Out of that case law has evolved the reliance on the 120 m notice distance mandated under the Planning Act – the distance from any planning application within which all properties lying in that radius receive notice of the application. This distance is utilized because, for planning legislation purposes in Ontario, it has been historically accepted that properties within that radius might reasonably be financially impacted by the development. This is the basis for using the 120 m distance as a proxy for whether a member whose property is located near a planning application is considered to have a pecuniary interest in the matter.

“It must be recognized that the 120 m distance has been arrived at through case law consideration of the MCIA; departing from this ‘rule of thumb’ requires some justification based on particular facts which can be considered to countermand its applicability.

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

“In that case, member’s father and family had been assembling properties for some years, in anticipation of redevelopment (along Yonge Street in North York). The nine (9) properties had been acquired over the preceding years, which stood to be significantly impacted by redevelopment of the Yonge Street corridor. Some of their properties were adjacent to and abutted some of the lands subject to the development proposals for the Yonge Street corridor.

“The court determined that the member’s participation on the large and comprehensive development proposals on the Yonge Street corridor triggered a conflict of interest for the member, even beyond 120 m, for which the member had failed to obtain advice and failed to declare an interest.

“Certainly, where a member has a significant investment (in that case, 9 properties) in a land assembly awaiting redevelopment (as in Greene and Borins), and those properties are immediately adjacent to and abutting a large and comprehensive development proposal, it would be reasonable to consider that a strict reliance on the 120 m distance is countermanded.

“The facts in this complaint are significantly different. One of Councillor Galbraith’s 3 properties is the building from which he operates his fitness business. While it might be fair to characterize the other two as awaiting redevelopment, they hardly constitute a sizable land assembly. They are not immediately adjacent to the development application; and the development application cannot be characterized as a large and comprehensive redevelopment proposal. Finally, and significantly, Councillor Galbraith has sought, obtained and relied on the advice of the Integrity Commissioner in regard to conflicts of interest.

“The nearest of his properties is beyond the 120 m ‘as the crow flies’ to the property subject to the development application in which he participated on January 8, 2024. This can be confirmed by looking at the site map provided. A cursory review of the map reveals that the Councillor’s  property which lies nearest to 1062-1072 Cook Boulevard is beyond the radius delineated by the 120 m planning notice distance, and on the opposite side of Waterdown Road. It is also evident that there are 4 intervening properties which lie between the farthest point of the 120 m radius and the nearest of the Councillor’s properties.

“Although you may not agree with application of the planning notice distance of 120 m as the ‘rule of thumb’, and while there may well be circumstances in which it is not appropriate to rely on that rule of thumb, we are satisfied that the facts of this case do not support a finding of conflict of interest.

“Your complaint asserts the common law concept of conflicts of interest which is captured by reference in the Burlington Code of Good Governance. The common law does extend the statutory concept of conflicts of interest by recognizing, through case law and judicial inquiries, that it may not be necessary to identify a pecuniary interest (direct or indirect) under the MCIA in order for there to be a perception that there exists an interest sufficient to disqualify the member from participating. For example, if the member’s best friend were the applicant, the member would be expected to recognize a disqualifying interest (a conflict of interest) based on the relationship, regardless of the member having no personal pecuniary interest in the matter.

“The common law concept does not, however, change the jurisprudence and, in our view, it would be an error to determine that, despite the clear establishment of a pecuniary interest for proximity to a development application being 120 m, the common law allows Integrity Commissioners to arbitrarily establish a different distance.

“Finally, while there is no doubt that the Councillor’s property may benefit from redevelopment in the downtown area, these benefits would accrue to most if not all property owners across the downtown and therefore we would consider that to be an interest in common as defined by the MCIA and as interpreted by the case law.

“In our view, the Councillor did not breach the MCIA in participating on consideration of this application. Applying the ‘rule of thumb’, his properties are not sufficiently proximate to the property subject to the development application to trigger a conflict of interest.

“We are satisfied that the Member has adhered to best practice in regard to obtaining and following the advice of the Integrity Commissioner. Accordingly, we will be closing our file. Our disposition will be shared with the Member.”

The complaint was taken to the Integrity Commisioner by Pepper Parr, the publisher of the Burlington Gazette.

In May of 2023 the Gazette published an article on the same Galbraith properties (on the east side of Waterdown) which are directly across the street from 1029 – 1033 Waterdown Road where a 29 storey development application has been made.  That development is currently before the Ontario Land Tribunal.

Link to that story is HERE

 

 

 

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We know a lot more now about what RBCC will look like inside and what you can expect to be able to do - still a lot to be learned.

By Pepper Parr

February 28th, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

Part 3 of a three part series on engagement about Robert Bateman Community Centre

Denise Beard, Senior Manager of Community Development at Parks, Recreation and Culture spoke to Council recently asking: “We would like to hear if there’s anything you do not want to see in this facility because our next steps are really to start to work with the community to prioritize those indoor uses.”

Beard was talking to Council about the meetings she had with people who were interested in using space at the Robert Bateman Community Centre (RBCC).

“The reason we’re doing this right now is because the design of phase two really needs to be determined now; it will be us working with the partners and the business owners in the not for profit sector on how they’d like to see the space used as we start negotiations. So it’s important for us to know this now so we can be ready for the official opening.

Robert Bateman Community Centre – a work in progress. Ambulances on site after an accident.

Beard said she needed to have those discussions now and prioritize now to help us design for phase two. We like the idea of trying to run a social anchor pilot at Tansley Woods. We are intrigued with the idea of watching what can happen and “eager to see how that takes off and in hopes that we meet community demand in the in the future at Bateman.”

Beard added: “We will be also be launching the engagement on outdoor uses of the site in the next quarter, to talk to community about their visioning of the outdoor spaces. What does that look like? Where do they have influence, where do they not have influence? We will be doing a few things this spring with the community prioritizing the indoor uses and then also talking about the visioning of the outdoor spaces all to help influence the next round of phase two design for (RBCC)

At that point Beard began to listen to what Council members thought.  It was surprising to learn just how little Council Members knew about what was being done in terms of engaging with community groups and how the space will be used. The mood was that it was going to be great – everyone would love it.

We know what the outside of the Community Centre is expected to look like – the inside – not so clear yet. The ground floor area is expected to be wide open and adaptable to a number of different uses.

For those who felt nothing was happening in terms of community engagement – a re-think is needed. There is work being done by the Parks and Recreation people – it just isn’t as public as some people might like it to be. What did people want in terms of engagement?  Loads of people meeting in a huge space listening to others talk at them?– or going the route Denise Beard and her colleagues have taken;listening carefully and picking up on the good ideas..

Taking part in the Committee meeting virtually Senior Manager Community Planning Denise Beard had a lot of ground to cover.

Explaining to Councillor Sharman what the space was going to mean for people  Beard said: “We want the space to be flexible and accommodating so that they’re not specifically built for something in particular; that you have opportunities to adapt and flex as a community’s needs and interests change. So we don’t want to be too specific on the purpose built pieces.

“There were some themes that council or committee may consider – that they want us to look at that are specific , but overall I’d say we like flexible, adaptable spaces. That’s really what we’re hearing in the Live and Play plan and that’s what we’re hearing also in community through the community engagement on this project.”

Mayor Meed Ward asked: “I’m wondering about diversity, equity, inclusion being part of all of this. I’m sure you’ve heard it. I’ve heard from groups that are new to Burlington or even the country; in some cases people who’ve lived here a long time like our indigenous residents who are looking for possibly dedicated space but none of the groups that I’m aware of have the capacity to be able to do an RFP or fund or rental or do any of that. So the way arts and culture in the report are described seems to be very much on sort of performance culture or, creative arts as opposed to more generally culture which is how I understand diversity, equity inclusion; I think that’s a missing piece. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts around how that would be included in this space.

Beard: I agree with you 100%. It wasn’t really captured; we need to figure out that balance, as you said, some of these emerging groups are just coming to a more formal arrangement. I would agree with you that maybe we ensure that there’s certain spaces available, flexible, accommodating to drive that kind of desire and need into this community center because we didn’t hear it through the engagement. But I think there’s definitely an interest. When I’m out in community talking I need to make sure we’re open enough to include that as we move forward because it is an emerging area. We are open to having those conversations as groups approach us.”

Renting space to commercial interests were heard during the engagement with the private sector. A dentist wanting to open an office was one example. Mayor Meed Ward made her feelings known. “That would be a hard no for me.”

Councillor Bentivegna liked the idea of space being available for small groups that just want a place to be able to meet – right now they are meeting in coffee shops.

Counsellor Bentivegna: There’s things on the website that has Mums groups that meet just because they want to meet and talk about common interests; things to do with their one or two year old that can’t go to school. Can’t go to babysitters. They can sort of make their own little program.

Councillor Kearns who was Chairing the meeting, mentioned a “memo we got back in 2022 looked like it allocated about 42,000 square feet. I think it is for lobby area corridor space. These are supposed to be passive/interactive/community building spaces. And yet we’re being asked in this report, I believe, to comment on phase two, which is quite simply just 11,000 square feet.

“That entails the westerly part of the floor plan, which is the old shops, that are a kind of an icky area to be honest, and then maybe some additional passive use when we can have it which is the gymnasiums..  I didn’t know we gave up all three, but those represent 11,000 square feet as well. So if I don’t know what’s been determined for phase 1 how might I comment appropriately for what should be prioritized in phase 2 ?”

Beard: “The gyms are not part of the 11,000 square feet. Those were those are outside of the 11,000. The three shops are not included in the 11,000 either, so you have fairly significant spaces within the building right now. You’ve got the three shops which could be shops or not shops moving forward. You have the gyms that are not included in the open space.”

What was never made clear was:  How much gym space has been allocated to Brock and how will whatever balance there might be get shared?

Beard continued: “There is this vast open space that you’re referring to as a communal courtyard area or lobby area, it is a significant footprint that we have the opportunity to shape and style up however we choose to –  if we wanted to have a black box or if we wanted to have a gallery – there’s lots of space still available to have those discussions in addition to that lobby space.

Executive Director Alan Magi appears at times to be the lead on the refurbishment of the former Bateman High School. He has had problems in the past using the word asbestos.

Executive Director Alan Magi added: “There is considerable lobby space and that’s meant to be more of a social interacting space that is non exclusive. In general terms there could be an event or something like that, that takes up some of that space, but it’s meant to be sort of a mixing area between the different uses that are there between Brock students, library users, people that are coming to use the gym, maybe mom and dad  jumping on the food theme. That space is intended to be a flexible area. That is gives us a lot of potential for programming in the future.”

Kearns: “Can we have a map at some point to identify the progress in terms of programming?  This report is putting in scope the three shop areas which are on the westerly side of the of the property, and kind of icky and then the 11,000 of the potential 42,000 square feet of community space which is that open flex space. I don’t know if that means? Can use 500 of that for a community pantry?  If we’re building in any sort of space that’s just going to be open space with programming.  I just feel like I need to see two maps or two floor plans with where these potential pieces are. And I’m especially concerned about the gym space because we’ve encouraged the community to talk a lot about what gym facilities and gym activities they want to see without the benefit of technically having jurisdiction over deploying the use of that. I don’t know when and how much we’ve given to Brock. I don’t know if we’ve seen that – I don’t know that. So I feel like the expectations are high from the community and I’m not able to appropriately scope the first phase nor can I determine much about the second phase. I don’t have the the information I need –  Why?”

Allan Magi  – Yes, certainly. We can come back with plans that that show that you know the different space areas and as you get a better appreciation spatially where these are,

Ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte brings a cautious approach to what the programming at the RBCC will be – wants to be assured that special interests don’t take over the space.

Councillor Stolte wanted to be sure she fully understood what they were being asked to decide. “Are you asking us as to decide whether or not we want to proceed with no exclusive use. Is that what you need some clarity on? And do you need clarification on restricted space with the gyms?  There are already some promises made to Brock based on that space.

“Are you looking for feedback from us as to what proportion you would like some direction on as far as 50% exclusive use and 50% open flexible space, or 70/30?  What is it that you’re looking for at this point? Some direction on the proportion that council thinks the community is looking for?

Beard: “Great question. I’m not looking for a percentage but I would like your instincts on that.  We don’t want it 100% exclusive or licensed out – we do want some guidance  but we’re not looking for hard and fast numbers. What is your gut  saying? No, we’d like this open flexible space idea that’s accommodating can meet, evolve with the community. I would like that kind of direction moving forward?

Recreation, Community and Culture Director Emily Cote added:  “It is a bit of a shell game right now,as you know.  I don’t have to explain to council you’re quite smart. The balance between exclusive use which is guaranteed revenue, and then the balance between ad hoc rentals, which is not as guaranteed. Finding the balance between the two in terms of the social enterprise with a certain percentage of guaranteed revenue which you get from an exclusive use.

Councillor Stolte: ” I would hate to see it exclusively designated for exclusive use. I think that would be a shame based on what we’ve heard from the community. There  could be a little bit more exclusive use; if we were to use that flexible space and create some really interesting spaces – maybe do what some churches and our faith communities do – have family rooms that have couches and coffee tables that could be used for kids games nights, it could be for community groups that want to use it. It could be rented out by a family who wants to hold a baby shower or a family reunion. It would be a different kind of space than what we have at a Tansley Woods where it’s more of a just a big empty room with some chairs.”

Mayor Meed Ward: “I think where we are hung up is on this use of the words exclusive use. When I think about arts and culture exclusive use, I think about a blackbox studio that anybody could rent.  It’s exclusively for people that want to record stuff. So exclusive use in that way. But anybody who wanted to go and record a Christmas album “and I won’t be doing that”  could rent that space – it’s more than just an empty classroom with with chairs and a table it actually is a purpose built space.

“If what you are intending is a single theatre group would be given the arts and culture space to run their programs – I don’t want their programs.  I’m a little less comfortable now with this set of categories because I thought you were asking us about what would you like the space to be used for.  Anybody, should they choose, could participate in that activity.  I love social services stuff. I love the skills trades. People coming in using those workshops, you know booking arts and theatre for  whatever they want. So I need to understand what it is you’re asking of us right now because that will change my feedback as well.

Meed Ward added: “I’m not looking for more revenue here. We’ve got tons of capital and revenue already coming in from the other parts.”

Beard: “That’s exactly the questions we need from you. We have had theatre groups say they want the space for themselves. I will just use the black box as the example because it just keeps coming up. They want the black box for themselves. But if Council and other theatre groups coming forward saying  – I don’t want exclusive use of the black box, but I want one available to use it for rehearsals or try something in a sound booth to do recordings.

“If if council or committee doesn’t want exclusive renters that’s one thing and that’s one question that we have here around these expressions of interest because that’s those are people saying to us, I want exclusive space dedicated to me. I will pay you a lease to run it so I can run my program versus we want to see a black box in this area and anybody but we want it to be available and open for anybody to use it. You don’t have to be affiliated with a certain organization to be able to permit that black box.”

Mayor Meed Ward: Okay, and so I’m leaning towards the latter part there. We would just rent it out on an allocation basis the way we do to various groups that use our current community centers.  I feel a lot more egalitarian about that part.

Councillor Kearns asked: “At what point can we see if any commitments have been made thus far for the phase one versus the phase two, so that we can get a better and stronger sense of what we can fit where and the types of overlays?

“I wish we could have seen something and maybe this is available or not that you can give to counsel to say, here are 10 styles, can you rank what is most important to you? And that would be things like is it revenue generating?

Pickleball players are expected to want significant use of gymnasium space

“Is it more play for more people or more access for more people? The pickleball folks, please do not freak out, you know, a whole gym for an hour with four people if it were only be for pickleball players versus a whole gym for two basketball teams playing each other. As an example. Is the guiding principle more play for more? Looking back at the financial matters, nowhere in here does it talk about how we’re looking to stream out cost cost offsets for operational costs and or potential capital. And if that’s something you’re asking Council to take into consideration I need to know more about that.

“If we had another overlay again on the particular areas that have already been committed  and what that flex space could look like; how we’re actually planning to program with partners, so you know, the whole piece about the childcare I mean, that is a big conversation to even see in a report like this. That’s a whole strategy and financing plan and operational plan with the region. If that’s the case. I can give you one very easy hard no and that’s quite simply not to any commercial folks. Work with our business development people and we’ll find you something and no, you won’t get a cheaper rate just to work for profit. So I mean, if that’s something we can agree on –  great.

“I’m not comfortable with this report. I think we’re getting portions of it. But from a holistic view, I think I need more to be comfortable to say. Yes. Let’s take the next steps. I’m not quite there yet. So I can’t refer it back to staff because we’re in committee. But I might think about doing something like that to get that next piece and bring those pieces closer together. So those are those are my thoughts at this point. Feeling very hesitant about it, but also extremely encouraged by how exciting the community is asking for new new opportunities to connect with each other. It just feels so huge  – is a referral to staff back to bring us back a part two.

“What do you actually want us to prioritize a possibility or would that be helpful?

Emily Cote Director Recreation, Community and Culture.

Emily Cote: “We’ve employed the same process and allocating space and then and community engagement that we typically do when we create a new building. First we say who’s interested in exclusive use, then we kind of go okay, what kind of interest do we get? What do we get for the community and it is a bit of allocating of space also, while we’re figuring out that design, which is a huge component here. We can’t really build if we don’t know what the interest is. So it is a bit of a balance. We’re still in that balance stage. None of those things have been committed. They’re all for phase two. So when you know Councillor Kearns, you ask what does that 500 square feet get used for? Can it  be for the food pantry? We don’t know yet. We’re just starting to have those conversations. The expression of interest was literally an expression of interest. There’s no contacts, no financials, none. No business plans were submitted from any of those folks. It was just like, hey, do you have an idea? It is very so conceptual. So, you know, in the interest of wanting to move forward I will ask Denise to kind of jump in – perhaps agreeing that no offices, no, you know, professional services. Let staff carry on with that and then perhaps report back in the same timeline as the outdoor engagement. We can be a little bit more concrete on what is starting to shape out. I just want to table that and then see if Denise wants to jump in.

Senior Manager Community Planning, Parks, Recreation and Culture

Beard: The point of this report was what was community’s vision we’re just sharing with you what we heard from community and what we heard from potential service providers. And if there are non starters, if there’s a non starter opportunity that’s been presented here that you would like us not to pursue.  That’s the start of the conversation if there’s something on the tables, we’re hearing commercial entered enterprise offices as a not, like an area we don’t want to explore we’ll make sure that when we talk to community about prioritization, because that’s our next step, that everyone understands. We’re asking council or committee right now. What don’t you want to see?

“And then we’ll take that off the table when we go out back out to community. That helps us to prioritize the space that’s remaining and asking the community  – what is the most important. You need to help us figure out what the most important exercise looks like? We will be reporting that back – community is going to help us prioritize what we can and cannot fit within the building and then start to design it from there. This is all very high level conceptual at this stage.  That’s that’s helpful feedback.

Sharman: “Thank you very much. For all of this: no offices, no businesses. No commandeering space for locked in usage forever. That said we’ll figure out the money in the budget and we’ll figure out fees and we’ll work all that out. I’m not stressed about that. At the moment. I’m thinking about how we build a community that is suitable for the human beings who will be coming here. And with 120,000 people, many of them will be immigrants and they’ll be from all over the world. So diversity in culture is going to be dramatically needed and we need to be on top of that and thinking about stimulating it.

“I think of the library doing more with respect to technology, you know, because books may be less of interest than perhaps the use of technology. And you know, we live in a world where the whole very, very world that we live in our intellectual capital and our knowledge and the way we communicate, you know, is changing.

“My point is we do need to have facilities in there for people to be able to do those kinds of things. We do need to have those facilities in there that people can cook if they wish to and have cooking lessons. So without taking over all the space but maybe we could have ideas of use by by by invent investing in some of the kinds of amenities that we need that to make it viable but yes, seniors and yes us. You know, we’ve got to have something flexible and usable and people can book it. By the way, I think he did a great job. This is the right way play. So well done.

Mayor Meed Ward:  “I’m wondering about the recommendation which directs you to explore and excute exclusive use space to a limited number of categories and I’m not there so I’m just wondering if we should either take that language out entirely or and just receive and file this.  The report is now a Receive and file – no action is being  taken.”

Meed Ward continues: “I think it’s really important to distinguish between uses and users. And that’s where I get hung up on uses.  I want to see a broad range and some of it can be very specific use.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward has been THE cheerleader for the project – says there is all kinds of money available.

“We don’t need to earn revenue from this.  I see this as a public service. It’s a community center. It’s a public service, we’ve already subsidized it, not looking to get more revenue. One of the biggest requests I get, and I’m sure you do too, is for free meeting space. I am completely cool with that. Maybe we have one or two rooms. Those are the rooms for if you’re if you got a group and you want to meet and get together, knock yourself out do it.

“Same with some of our nonprofit sports organizations, our Hall of Fame group looking for for a home but but I don’t want dark space. That’s why you know if you do exclusive use and somebody only needs it two days a week it’s blocked and dark for the rest of the time. We don’t want that.

“Been really eye opening talking to you Emily recently and hearing just how much unused capacity we already have in facilities – the barrier is cost. People can’t or don’t want to you know pay when they’re just trying to get a group of friends together to talk about whatever they want to talk about. So anyway, I think you’ve heard us loud and clear – , there’s a lot of creative ways to use this space. And we shouldn’t limit ourselves to those that are able to sign a lease and give us revenue that that’s the least of our concerns.”

Councillor Stolte: “I’m glad that we’re distilling this down. It’s less about exclusive use. And it’s more about themed spaces that can be used, whether that be performance space, whether that be community kitchen space, it’s themed spaces that can be used by a variety of different organizations. The only one that I kind of still can’t wrap my head around is not giving a bit of exclusive use to, and maybe this is part of the workshops, is I was really keyed in when I was part of the community engagement sessions was about the Repair Cafe and the reuse Emporium because those really speak to our environmental goals that we’re trying to reach as far as having some exclusive use where people who have broken appliances rather than going to the dump, if they still want to use those appliances, they can come and have them repaired and take them home again. If they have no use for them. They can donate them they can be repaired and then put into this reuse Emporium for somebody else to use. So I do like the idea of a tiny bit of space that’s designated for certain other goals that we’re trying to reach like that.

Councillor Lisa Kearns chaired the meeting that saw all kinds of ideas and viewpoints on the table.  She got the meeting to the point where it would end as a Receive and File – with a lot more work to be done.

Councillor Kearns:  “I think it’s really a huge demand that we’re trying to satisfy for trying to be everything to everybody. And I think that we can do that with very, very careful planning and proper sequencing, which is why it was first between phase one versus phase two. We heard a lot about this flex space and it’s sounding like we’re adding more empty space which is not what we want to do, to the Counsellor Stolte point  – you know, can we find little cabinets that can be you know, for Repair. Can we find that living wall atrium? Absolutely?  And then you have a drop in horticulture group that learns about it.

“Can we have the cooking areas one of the biggest challenges with the food banks is that once people get the food, they don’t know what to do with it. So if we want to actually tap into some of those systemic issues around community health and well being we need to teach people bring them along, as you said, break bread build culture. That’s how you do it. Seasonal cooking classes can help really maximize that.

“I don’t want to have a huge conversation around free, pure free, because I think you still have to add some value. I find that if people get something for free, they don’t value it. So very, very low accessible cost I think is as more the line that I want to see. Sometimes on Facebook marketplace, you can’t give something away for free you make it $2 And someone is banging down your door in 10 seconds. It doesn’t make any sense but that’s human nature. I like the ideas of the open gyms I really want to understand how much gym space we have. And if I were to be able to share my number one priorities it would be around you know, health and well being; mental health, physical health and community connections.

An indoor outdoor connection to a community garden, the Repair Cafe piece, super important.  Arts and culture, whether it’s passive art and again this is why I wanted to see the footprints because we can have passive art that people can engage with and then we need active art and understand how that interplays with our own arts and culture here and the art gallery, and then around that, that last piece of you know, where do we go from here?

I think we need a lot more discussion. And I’m glad that it’s a receiving file. This is not our final blessing on this yet. I think we need to do a little bit more to scope it and get the guiding principles set in place and then encourage those operators to fall in within those guiding principles. So that’s it. Thank you,

Councillor Galbraith didn’t have much to add to the ideas that were being floated – he did however mention an Aldershot area program that could be repeated at the Robert Bateman Community Centre.

Counsellor Galbraith: “Lots of great ideas being thrown around. In Aldershot we have a community kitchen where chefs go and train once a day. I think it’s every Saturday you can go for a community breakfast for $2; knowing that you’re getting a chef and training cooking for you but it’s a community social space and they do lots of events that are that. I think something like that would be ideal just in hearing the conversation here.

“In a location like this, it brings the community together and they you know a lot of the food they make and training they donate to food banks and churches to hand out so something like that would be a great idea. I think we’re headed in the right direction and keep up the good work.”

Chair Kearns got them to voting to Receive and File – there is more work to be done – good progress was made – the public has been involved in getting to this point and Council has made it very clear what they want and don’t want.

It became clear that there is still a lot Council doesn’t know.  The use of the property at the rear of the site; a decent set of floor plans with detail – council members were not sure as to what was going to be possible and where.

A lot of open space and a willingness to try new ideas to learn what works and what doesn’t work.  It was a decent half days’ work.

Related news stories:

Part 1 Early engagement

Part 2 – The pilot project plans.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tax Adjustments Applications

By Staff

February 27th, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

 

 Property owners in Burlington may apply to adjust their taxes to reflect a significant change in their property under Sections 357 and 358 of the Municipal Act, which governs property tax adjustments.

Can you get property taxes reduced? Might be worth a try.

How to apply

To apply, download and complete the City of Burlington’s Tax Adjustment Application Form. Submit your completed form to us by email at propassmtmb@burlington.ca, by fax to 905-337-7877, or by mail at:

City of Burlington
PO Box 5080, 426 Brant St.
Burlington, ON L7R 4G4

Download Tax Adjustment Application Form (PDF)

Deadlines

We must receive applications under Section 357 by the last day of February of the year following the change.

We must receive applications under Section 358 between March 1 and Dec. 31 for taxes in one or both of the two years preceding the application year.

Eligibility

Examples of eligible criteria include:

  • Changes in how you use the property, which may change the tax classification
  • Changes in how you use the property, so the lands have become exempt from taxes
  • Fire or demolition has razed or damaged structures
  • There has been a “gross or manifest error” in the assessment
  • You are repairing or renovating the property to prevent you from using the land normally for at least three months

We give consideration only to clerical or factual errors resulting in overcharges and not to errors in judgment in assessing the property.

 

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Oakville students elected as HDSB trustees

By Staff

February 27th, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Kaitlyn Hou and Charlie Ochu were elected by their peers as Student Trustees for the next school year (2024-2025).

These students were the successful candidates elected to the role by their peers through an online election that took place on Thursday, Feb. 22. This year’s election included 24 candidates and a total of approximately 5,400 students casting votes – nearly doubling the number of votes cast last year.

Hou is a Grade 10 student at Abbey Park High School and Ochu is a Grade 10 student at Oakville Trafalgar High School in Oakville. The new term of office officially begins on Aug. 1, 2024. In recognizing the results of the Student Trustee election, Trustees of the Halton District School Board welcomed Hou and Ochu to their roles as Student Trustees for the 2024-2025 school year. Hou and Ochu shared the following thoughts about their upcoming terms as Student Trustee.

Kaitlan Hou; Abbey Park High School student.

“What drew my heart into campaigning for the role of student trustee was not only the prospect of advocating for thousands of student voices, but the desire to empower more students to advocate for themselves,” says Hou. “In running for this position, I aimed to be a voice for my younger self – the girl who was unfamiliar with the concept of a trustee, harbouring many ideas without a platform to express them. By giving every HDSB student a platform to engage in decision-making regarding their education, I hope to increase engagement, embody the change I wished to see and ensure that every student has a say in their education.”

Charlie Ochu; Oakville Trafalgar High School student.

“When I first heard of the Student Trustee role, I was enthralled with the idea of being able to speak on behalf of 67,000 people and change schools for the better,” Ochu says. “Ever since I was elected, I’ve been on cloud nine. I’m waiting for someone to say “Gotcha!” and reveal that this was all an elaborate prank.

But until that happens, I will do my absolute best in this prestigious role. I’m excited to work with Kaitlyn, the board, and my fellow students to leave Halton in an even better state than our predecessors left it while fulfilling my promises to the students who put their trust in me.”

 

 

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A Section of King Road will Close to Allow Jefferson Salamanders’ to Begin their Breeding Migration.

By Staff

February 26th, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

 

As temperatures rise, the annual migration of a local endangered species across King Road begins.

The City will close a section of King Road to allow for Jefferson salamanders’ breeding migration.

Starting on Monday, March 5, King Road, from North Service Road to Mountain Brow Road, will be closed so the salamanders can cross the road safely and find a mate. Local traffic for all properties between North Service Road and the escarpment will be maintained. King Road will reopen for through traffic on Tuesday, April 2, once the salamanders are expected to finish their annual crossing.

The Jefferson Salamander was the reason an Ontario Municipal Board hearing decided not to grant an extension to a license.

Burlington has closed this section of road since 2012 so the salamanders can cross safely. They are a nationally and provincially protected endangered species.  They are also the species that brought an application to extend the license to mine the Nelson Quarry to a screeching halt.

About the Jefferson salamander

In Canada, the Jefferson salamander is found in Southern Ontario in select areas of deciduous forest, mostly along the Niagara Escarpment.

Properly promoted the creature could become a viral reference for Burlington.

Jefferson salamanders spend most of their lives underground. As the weather warms up and the spring rain starts, the salamanders surface and begin their voyage to breed in temporary ponds formed by run-off. They lay their eggs in clumps attached to underwater vegetation. Adults leave the ponds after breeding. By late summer, the larvae lose their gills, become air-breathing juveniles and leave the pond to head into nearby forests.

Adult salamanders migrate to their breeding ponds during wet rainy nights. They are drawn to the pond where they hatched and can be very determined to reach it, sometimes crossing busy roads to get back to their birthplace.

Burlington is a city where people, nature and businesses thrive. Sign up to learn more about Burlington at burlington.ca/subscribe and follow @CityBurlington on social media.

Quick Facts

  • The Jefferson salamander is protected at both the provincial and national levels. It was added to Ontario’s endangered species list in 2011.
  • Jefferson salamanders have a grey or brown-coloured back, with lighter under-parts. Blue flecks may be present on the sides and limbs.
  • Adult Jefferson salamanders are 12 to 20 cm long. The long tail makes up half this length.
  • Females tend to be larger than males. The males have swollen vents during the breeding season.
  • Unlike most small animals, Jefferson salamanders can live a very long time; up to 30 years of age.

Lesley Matich, Manager, Science and Monitoring, Conservation Halton
“For over a decade, Conservation Halton has partnered with the City of Burlington to ensure that the Jefferson Salamander can safely make the trek across King Road, towards their spring breeding ponds. These efforts have a direct impact on this endangered species’ capacity for survival and long-term recovery. We are proud to partner with the City of Burlington again this year to support the salamanders’ spring journey and protect biodiversity in our watershed.”

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Joan Ford: Let it be a sweet and lengthy retirement

By Pepper Parr

February 25th, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Joan Ford, the former Chief Financial Officer of the Corporation of the City of Burlington has gone on to a well-earned retirement.

Her last six months were not what she had hoped they would be – which is unfortunate for the city.  As the CFO – she was the best this city has had in more than a decade.

This is the Joan Ford we admired and respected. She didn’t speak of profits or losses – instead spoke of favourable and unfavourable variances. She grew a department that was innovative in the way they presented financial information. She once gave Councilors the budget on a memory stick that they could manipulate the data on to look at changes they might want to make – and see the impact.

Her department was probably the best run in the city – they all knew what they were doing and did their jobs very well.

Asked who would serve as the interim – Communications said:

After Joan retired, all finance managers started rotating on a monthly basis as the Acting Executive Director & Chief Financial Officer. The job responsibilities have been divided up amongst the managers.

 

 

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800 Grade 4 - 8 elementary students will showcase their skills i

By Staff

February 26th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

Halton Skills Competition returns ready to host hundreds of HDSB students at popular event over two days in March

The 32nd annual Halton Skills Competition will take place over the course of two days ‒ March 1, 2024 at West Oak Public School (2071 Fourth Line, Oakville) from 9:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. and March 5, 2024 at the New Street Education Centre (3250 New St., Burlington) from 10:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.

More than 800 Grade 4 – 8 elementary students will showcase their skills in collaborative groups across various disciplines including robotics, animation, construction, mechanical engineering and TV/video production.

“Due to overwhelming interest, this year’s elementary competition will span two days. The competition engages students in solving authentic problems and fosters collaboration-based critical thinking. It also determines qualifying teams to advance to the provincial Skills Ontario Competition scheduled for May 6 in Toronto.”

“Participation in the Halton Skills Competition goes beyond the immediate thrill of the competition and highlights its contribution to student development and helps”  students see future opportunities in the skilled trades, fostering innovative approaches and bridging the gap between theoretical learning and hands-on practical real-world scenarios” said Sarah Patterson, Instructional Program Lead – STEM Assessment and Instruction.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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One Fare Metrolinx starts today.

By Staff

February 26th, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

 

That One Fare program Metrolinx has put in place starts today.

As announced earlier this month, the province – in collaboration with Metrolinx and local transit agencies – is working to connect communities across the region. Through Ontario’s One Fare Program, transferring from one transit system to another will be simpler, more convenient and more affordable.

Ontario’s One Fare Program allows transit users to only pay once when traveling between the TTC, GO Transit and participating transit systems like Brampton Transit, Durham Region Transit, MiWay and York Region Transit.  

When travelling between systems, the discount will be applied automatically when you tap a PRESTO card, credit or debit, or PRESTO in Google Wallet to connect between GO Transit, TTC and all participating transit systems.

What you need to know:

  • Free transfers: For trips between the TTC and GO Transit, your TTC fare is free, regardless of travel direction and the cost of your TTC trip is discounted from your overall trip cost. For trips between the TTC and other local transit systems, the second fare of your trip is free.
  • Transfer flexibility: Transfers are valid for two hours when trips start on local transit and three hours when you tap on a GO bus or train.
  • Proof of payment: The payment method you use to tap is your proof of payment. Customers paying with PRESTO in Google Wallet, credit or debit card, must tap on and off with the same card.

For an adult who commutes five days a week, the One Fare Program could save them up to$1,600 per year.

You can learn more about Ontario’s One Fare Program here and watch a step by step video on our YouTube channel.

 

 

 

 

 

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An ice rink plus a hotel close close to the Aldershot GO station - does this look like an early first step to an NHL frnachise

By Pepper Parr

February 26th, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The interest in the development plans Alinea  has for their King Road  property has been remarkable.

There is a lot more to tell.

The information we have is from the Burlington Economic Development Corporation.

A delegation will be made by an Alinea  representative early in March who will undoubtedly expand on what we know so far.

Included in the renderings that are now available is a recreation – entertainment area that includes a hotel and ice rinks.

All that ice + a hotel. Is this the early stage of another attempt to bring an NHL franchise to Hamilton? Go station is part of the property.

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Surplus at year end was $1,136,504; they aren't going to give it back and there is no such things as a dividend in municipal finance

By Staff

February 25th, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Expect this report that will be before Council next week to slip through as a Consent item.

Council seldom likes to talk about just where they tax money they collect goes.

Set out below is the surplus during the year – they used to call it the “positive variance” during the days when Joan Ford was the Chief Financial Officer.

There was no formal announcement on when Joan decided someone else could do the job (not as well we might add) and the city appointed an Interim CFO – without saying who does the job on an interim basis.

The Operating budget performance report as at December 31, 2023 goes to Council as a Receive and File finance department report that instructs the Acting Chief Financial Officer to allocate the 2023 retained savings based on the strategy outlined in a finance department report.

The 2023 retained savings is $1,136,504 subject to the year-end audit.

As is usual practice, accounts payable, year-end accruals and year-end transfers to/from reserves funds have been made in 2023.

The following tables provide information regarding transfers to and from reserve funds for the City’s net zero operations:

Development Application Reserve Funds

In 2005, the Engineering Fee Stabilization Reserve Fund, the Building Permit Stabilization Reserve Fund and the Planning Fee Stabilization Reserve Fund were created to ease budget pressures should development revenues slow down due to economic and/or market conditions.

As of December 31, 2023, the following year-end transfers were made prior to the calculation of the year-end retained savings.

Engineering Fee Stabilization Reserve Fund

The increase in Subdivision Administration Fees has resulted in a provision of $83,156 to the reserve fund. The reserve fund will be used over the next five years to phase out our reliance on this funding source in the budget.

Building Permit Stabilization Reserve Fund

Building permit services are based on a “Fee for Service” model that is not supported by municipal taxes and is in full compliance with legislation. The intent behind establishing a Building Permit Stabilization Reserve fund is to provide municipalities with a sustainable tool for providing and maintaining building permit and inspection services throughout a fluctuating construction industry and overall economy. The Building Permit revenues for 2023 are $5,660,977. These revenues are offset by expenditures (both direct and indirect as per the Bill 124 model), resulting in a provision the reserve fund of $1,325,379. Building experienced higher than budgeted revenues as a result of record high permit activity for new townhouse blocks compared to previous years.

Planning Fee Stabilization
Planning fee revenues experienced an unfavourable variance of $1,373,444. High interest rates, market conditions and other external factors led to a significant reduction in application volume in 2023. In addition, instability in terms of the legislative and regulatory environment contributed to application reduction. Homeowners opted to re- invest in their homes through renovations, additions and creation of Additional Residential Units. The unfavourable variance in revenues was offset with a draw from the Planning Fee Reserve Fund.

Recommended Retained Savings Dispositions

The 2023 unaudited retained savings are $1,136,504. It is recommended that the funds be allocated as follows: (Note: Where reserve fund balances are provided, they reflect the balance prior to recommended disposition).

$1,000,000 Provision to Multi Year Community Investment Plan

 The Multi Year Community Investment Plan (MCIP) estimates capital infrastructure requirements related to master plans completed to date (Parks Provisioning Master Plan, Integrated Mobility Plan, Fire Master Plan, etc.) as well as land requirements that may facilitate some of these infrastructure developments. The preliminary MCIP was presented in April 2022 (CM-03-22). Phase 2 of the Plan was presented to Council in December of 2023 (F-26-23) and highlighted capital infrastructure needs of approximately $1.1 billion over the next 25 years. The 2024 Financial Needs and Multi-Year Forecast recommended a provision of $2,200,000 to a reserve fund to begin a funding plan towards these needs. Through budget deliberations, this provision was reduced to $975,871. The allocation of

$1,000,000 in retained savings towards the MCIP will assist the City in executing on its master plans.

$136,504 Provision to Tax Rate Stabilization Reserve Fund

 It is recommended that $136,504 be set aside to finance one-time expenditures. Over the last few years numerous spending commitments have been placed on the Tax Rate Stabilization Reserve Fund. This transfer amount will replenish prior one-time funding drawn from the reserve fund and serve as prudent planning to absorb any future potential unbudgeted expenses. The uncommitted balance in this reserve fund is $3,403,530.

The Tax Rate Stabilization Fund gets treated as a “piggy bank” that Council can dip into when there is a project they like.  The idea that it might be applied as a refund to tax payers has never been considered.

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Sound of the Clock Ticking getting louder: Millcroft bracing for the start of OLT hearing and letting the MPP know that her seat could be at risk

By Staff

February 25th, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Millcroft Greenspace is an early, state of the art example of Green Infrastructure for stormwater management in Burlington, Ontario.

The floodplain, known as the Millcroft Golf Course, is currently designated as Major Parks/Open Space and was engineered to integrate creeks and naturalized ponds, allowing natural drainage from the nearby escarpment. The greenspace acts as a buffer before runoff continues through southern Burlington to Lake Ontario. The fairways are designed to be 2.5 metres below the rear lot lines of the neighbouring homes, which now benefit from decades of tree coverage and vegetation growth to slow the flow through the channels.

The concern for the community is that should the proposed development proceed the millpond will disappear which changes significantly the way storm water will flow through the Millcroft community south to Lake Ontario passing through other communities where the damage could be severe.

Burlington has already seen what severe flooding does to individual homes.

Managing of the storm water is a very real problem.

The community argues that if the storm water management infrastructure is changed it may not be possible to handle the flows they way they are now managed.

The community has been struggling to convince the province that a Ministerial MZO (Ministerial Zoning Order) should be put in place.  Mayor Meed Ward has said, frequently, that she is working with the provincial government to bring this about.

The water comes very close to the edge of the house; the drainage system (seen in the bottom left in the picture on the right) works very well.

Most recently the area MPP, Effie Triantafilopoulos met with MPP Matthew Rae (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing), Hannah Anderson (Director of Stakeholder and Caucus relations)  in an effort to get the issue before Paul Calandra, Minister of Municipal Affairs who is kind of busy dealing with the fallout from Greenbelt scandal.

MPP Effie Triantafilopoulos, the MPP for the Millcroft community would like to see the Minister of Housing, issue a Minister’s Zoning Order to stop the Millcroft Greens development on the Millcroft Golf Course lands, or, alternatively declare a provincial interest at the Ontario Land Tribunal hearing starting on March 5.

The two organizations have made the point that the seat Triantafilopoulos holds in the provincial legislature could be at risk

The meeting was via a Zoom call, not the best circumstances the press an argument.

The Ontario Land Tribunal is scheduled to hear the Millcroft Greens, the developer that has appealed a City Council decision.

There are two community groups opposing the development; both are raising funds – about $70,000 each, to cover the cost of professional witnesses. The focus of the arguments being put forward by each group are not the same: one MGA is focused on the storm water issue while the other is focused on the 98 homes the developer wants to build.

The community is concerned that the City has not made all the information it has available which means that it is not likely to get before the OLT hearing

The OLT hearing is scheduled to begin March 5th – the sound of the clicking clock is getting louder.

Related news articles:

Community relationship with City Hall has nor been all that healthy

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King Road development will mean positive and fundamental changes to what Burlington will look like in a decade

By Pepper Parr

February 25th, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It might turn out to be the most imaginative development City Hall has seen, something that could change the focal point of the city.

Today Ground Zero for Burlington is Spencer Smith Park and the intersection of Brant and Lakeshore Road.

That just might change.

Set out below are some of the renderings that will be presented at a Council Standing Committee next week on the development plans for the lands at 1200 King Road.

Much more to come – here is where it is all going to start.

The property sits between Hwy 403 on the north and the railway line on the south; between the Aldershot GO station on the west and King Road on the east.

 

The rendering is conceptual at this point. A lot of green space.

Could the Sound of Music be located here?

 

 

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How Bonuses and Loyalty Programs Help Casinos Attract and Retain Gamblers

By Mila Gonzales

February 26th, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

Online casinos are fun and accessible because of the huge volume of games they provide and availability 24/7. However, online platforms also attract users by providing bonuses. This article explores how casinos use bonuses for successful marketing.

It’s a well-known fact that today, many players prefer gambling at online casinos. There are several reasons for this trend when players choose platforms like PinUp casino, some of which include a wide range of games, accessibility, mobile play, and bonuses. However, it’s also because of successful marketing tactics that provide players with bonuses and loyalty programs.

This article explores how casinos, like Pin Up Casino Online, use psychological tactics to attract players with bonuses and rewards. You will learn about some interesting personalized tactics that reward players for their loyalty.

Reward System and Client Retention Marketing

We all indeed love gifts; we also enjoy it when, instead of getting exactly what we paid for, we get more. That’s why using bonuses and loyalty programs helps attract new players and retain the existing ones on gambling platforms like Pin-Up Casino.

Here are a few examples of bonuses used by gambling platforms:

A player chooses a casino that provides the the kind of bonus the appreciate the most.

A welcome bonus. It’s a promotion for creating an account and making the first deposit. It could be a deposit bonus, free spins, or other gifts, as in the example with Pin-Up online casino.

No-deposit bonus. It is one of the biggest appeals for players because you get a gift without paying money. Today, these promos have wagering requirements to dispel the so-called bonus hunters who take advantage of online platforms.

Free spins or chips. Many casinos provide free spins for slots or chips for card and table games.

Loyalty programs. These are VIP clubs with different reward systems. Some clubs focus on all loyal players and offer to complete tasks for rewards. Other clubs target high rollers and provide the best conditions so that they would keep gambling.

As a result, a player chooses a casino that provides these bonuses.

Now, all casinos offer promotions because players wouldn’t use their services. These promotions have a similar effect on our brain as gambling in general — we get a dopamine rush for getting a reward.

Personalized Marketing

Casino offers personalization that improves your gambling experience.

Suppose you have a favorite online store and a personal account. The store collects information about you whenever you visit their website and buy something. At some point, you may receive an email with offers similar to those you bought. That’s how this online store uses personalized marketing to entice you to buy more. It’s okay, because you usually get offers on things you need.

Casinos offer similarly. They analyze your behavior and patterns. If you prefer online slots, the gambling platform may send you a promo code for free spins. If you love betting, the platform will offer some bonuses on sports. Thus, the casino offers personalization that improves your gambling experience.

Conclusion

The reward-based system triggers positive signals in our brains. We all like praise and rewards, and bonuses at online casinos play into our desire to receive gifts. It’s not a bad thing that online platforms entice us with their gifts because we get a better experience when engaging in common behaviors, like gambling.

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This is what City Councillors were paid in 2023 - you get to decide if you got your money's worth.

By Pepper Parr

February 25th, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It is a requirement of the Municipal Act that a report be submitted to Council on remuneration and expenses paid to Councillors and appointees to local boards by March 31, of the following year.

Accordingly, under the provision of the Municipal Act,  the attached itemized statement is submitted disclosing remuneration and expenses for each Member of Council and Appointed Members of our Local Boards and Committees for the year ended December 31, 2023.

In 2023, each Councillor had a budget of $10,000 to cover expenditures such as meetings, printing, mileage, newsletters, postage, professional development, telephones, and advertising.

In 2023, the Mayor had a budget of $31,087 to cover similar expenditures to those listed above, excluding the costs of leasing a vehicle for business use.

In 2022, Council approved the implementation plan for the recommendations arising from the Council Renumeration Review Working Group. Through this report by-law 45-2022 was enacted to establish a Council Special Initiatives Reserve Fund. Annually deposits to this reserve fund are made reflecting unspent discretionary funds in the respective Mayor and Councillor budgets. These funds can be utilized by Council members for special initiatives as approved by the Executive Director & Chief Financial Officer.

In 2023, a draw of $1,630 was approved by the CFO for special initiatives in Ward 2. A year end a contribution of $23,139 was transferred to the reserve fund representing the total unspent discretionary budget of Council. The total balance of this reserve fund at the end of 2023 was $71,097.

Members of City Council are also members of Regional Council.  They earn salaries from the Regional Level as well.

Regional data for 2023 is not yet available.

Regional Councillors received anywhere from $7,073 up to $71,933.

Burlington Ward 3 City and Regional Councillor Rory Nisan, who was elected as the Board of Directors’ Vice President at Large last month, took home the biggest pay among councillors at $71,933.

Burlington Ward 6 Regional  Councillor Angelo Bentivegna ($69,220).

 

City Council meeting

 

 

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It was brisk weather - but Matt Wickham put in the 10 hours to make it a Sleepless Night in the city.

By Pepper Parr

February 24th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Sleepless in Our Cities is a fundraising event that aims to raise awareness around the issue of poverty in our local communities, by asking participants to sleep in their cars overnight as they raise money for our friends and neighbours who need our support.

Ten hours in the vehicle – and no the engine was not left running.

Event participants will sleep overnight in their cars on Friday, February 23 from 10 PM to 8 AM the following day. This form of participation is an act and gesture intended to raise awareness of poverty in our local communities.

On Friday Matt Wickham slept in his car – no word yet on what he was able to collect in the way of donations.

Along with his day job of Senior Vice President and General Manager, Sales & Operations at Cogeco Matt is the Chair for the 2024 United Way Drive to raise $12,500,000.

That would be defined as “above and beyond”.

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Days away from a critical OLT hearing Millcroft residents get a meeting with Municipal Affairs MPP

By Staff

February 22, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

 

MAD executives met with MPP Matthew Rae (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing), Hannah Anderson (Director of Stakeholder and Caucus relations), MPP Effie Triantafilopoulos, and Millcroft Greenspace Alliance to encourage the Minister of Housing, MPP Paul Calandra, to issue a Minister’s Zoning Order to stop the Millcroft Greens development on the Millcroft Golf Course lands, or, alternatively, to participate with a provincial interest at the Ontario Land Tribunal hearing starting on March 5.

MAD provided a detailed report outlining the reasons why this development must not proceed, along with our flood and wildlife Google drive files and Community videos.

Millcroft Greenspace Alliance expanded on the stormwater issues.

We would like to thank MPP Effie Triantafilopoulos for her strong support, as well as for setting up this meeting. Effie encouraged MPP Rae to use any tools in their toolbox to stop this development.

While we are hopeful that the Province will take action, we must be prepared to participate at the OLT hearing starting March 5. To this end, Allan Ramsay, the planner MAD has hired to represent them at the OLT hearing, has submitted a Reply Witness Statement in response to the new material provided by Millcroft Greens.

In a media release MAD said: “Now that we are closer to the OLT hearings and our professional advisors have provided us with more certainty in our strategy, MAD has developed a revised budget, which requires that we increase our fundraising goal from $40,000 to $70,000. The key reasons for the increase are:

Many feel, and their is evidence to support their concern that property values could decrease by 20% if the Millcroft Greens development is allowed to proceed.

“For Allan to complete the reply witness statement and respond to the City of Burlington draft plan conditions.

“For Allan to attend Millcroft Greens’ expert witness testimonies and all other parties’ witnesses that precede him.

“For the increased costs related to Allan Ramsay’s revised witness statement.”

The meeting that MAD was able to set up is something Mayor Marianne Meed Ward said she could get done many months ago.

The support from City Council on this file has been very thin.

Related news story.

Mayor says she can get the problem solved.

 

 

 

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Sound of Music has climbed into bed with the Performing Arts Centre - one is presenting the other.

By Pepper Parr

February 22, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

 

And just what does this mean?

The Sound of Music is a Not for Profit organization with an board that is appointed rather then elected.

The Performing Arts Centre is an arms length from the city organization that uses property owned by the city.

More questions than answers about the joining of forces at this point.

Now that we know who the players are – they seem to be on the same team.

Steve Cussons, no slouch as an entrepreneur He is the Chief for a large printing that makes significant use of technology – does much more than putting ink on paper.

He is remembered for taking several large strips off Rick Goldring when he was running for re-election in 2018.

His involvement with Sound of Music, where he is the Chair is new.  The SoM Programming Director is Tammy Fox who is the Executive Director at the Performing Arts Centre.

Quite what “Presented by …” actually means isn’t clear at this point.

Tammy Fox has extensive background as agent and representative for a number of prominent people in the the music and stage performance sector.

Much more to learn about this undertaking.  At this point – it seems to have more upside than downside.

 

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