There will not be a city sponsored fireworks display on Victoria Day

By Pepper Parr

May 19th, 2023



Burlington’s city council made it clear sometime ago that they were not big fans on firework.

Mayor Meed Ward was quite comfortable saying – NO – not in Burlington if you don’t mind.

Knowing that wouldn’t hold Council kept fireworks displays to one a year – on Canada Day – July 1st.

Only on Canada Day


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Burlington may have the wittiest Council in Ontario.

By Blair Smith

May 19th, 2023


My liege, and madam, to expostulate
What majesty should be, what duty is,
What day is day, night night, and time is time,
Were nothing but to waste night, day, and time;
Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit,
And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,
I will be brief.…
                         (Hamlet, Act-2, Scene-2, lines 86–92)

Well, to be a bit of a wag about it, judging from the Council meeting of May 16th, Burlington may have the wittiest Council in Ontario.

The actual business part of the meeting lasted less than an hour and the end was greeted with great good cheer by all those around the horseshoe table – and that was everyone except the absent Shawna Stolte. She is becoming more like Ophelia every day.

During this very brief but apparently extremely productive time:

• 3 items were approved from the May 2nd Community Planning, Regulation and Mobility Committee
• 9 items were approved from the May 3rd, Corporate Services, Strategy, Risk and Accountability Committee
• 5 items were approved from the May 4th Environment, Infrastructure and Community Services Committee
• Burlington Council’s support to the AMO proposed Legislative Amendments to Improve Municipal Codes of Conduct and Enforcement (keep our Councillors safe please) was approved, and
• 3 by-laws were approved

City Council moved to a virtual mode during the pandemic and has decided to continue doing virtual meetings which has changed the tone of Council meetings and significantly reduced the number of delegations made.

And all this was done with no debate, no delegations, no questions, virtually no comment and in total unanimity.

Does this not speak volumes of the total alignment of our representatives, how all wards (with some jostling around the space currently allocated to ward 2) have lined up in happy unison answering the municipal muster?

Or is it more a reflection of the rather disappointing fact that all these items were put on the Consent Agenda and none were considered complex or uncertain enough to deserve further discussion?

The types of items that generally appear on the Consent Agenda are non-controversial or routine items that are discussed at every meeting. They can also be items that have been previously discussed at length where there is group consensus. However, to have twenty substantive items marshalled into Consent is highly unusual. It also has the effect of ensuring that there is no further public debate. Matters on the Consent Agenda do not generate or invite delegations.

This may come back to haunt Council if any of these items – so summarily swept into the “done” margin – come back, as several surely will, to suggest that due diligence was not performed.

The ability to communicate with not only the people in her ward when she was Councillor forward ward 2 but with almost everyone in the city made it possible for Marianne Meed Ward to become Mayor. That capacity to communicate so effectively no longer seems to be there.

I imagine that the response from Council will be something to the effect that “all the discussion was done at the Standing Committee level so there was no need for further debate”. But I think that this is misguided.

When it comes to public policy, more open conversation is always better. Particularly, when the subjects include such things as the proposed changes to the Jo Brant Board of Directors (where there is clearly a difference of viewpoint between the Mayor and Councillor Kearns), very expensive sole source purchases or the status of the LaSalle Park negotiations.

Brevity may, indeed, be “the soul of wit” but the absence of complete and open dialogue is most certainly the ‘enemy of an informed public’.

Related news story:

How Council decided it wanted to work with the hospital after it no longer had a seat on the Board

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JBH Healing Garden Enhances Mental Health and Addiction Care

By Staff

May 19th, 2023



The Joseph Brant Hospital (JBH) has transformed a courtyard outside its Mental Health and Addictions Unit into a healing garden to improve the care experience for patients.

The project was a collaborative effort by the hospital’s clinical and redevelopment teams, and JBH’s Mental Health and Addictions Patient Family Advisory Council (MHA PFAC).

“We believe the garden allows us to provide an enhanced level of person-centred care. We always strive to meet the care needs each person on an individual level,” said Jack Mahoney, a Recreational Therapist who works in the inpatient unit.

“Having the garden available to our patient population allows us to tap into this set of interests in a meaningful way. In the process of empowering the population we serve; the garden provides an opportunity for a sense of autonomy among our clients pertaining the space they occupy.”

Jack Mahony: Recreational Therapist who works in Joseph Brant Hospital’s Mental Health and Addictions inpatient unit.

The new healing gardens creates an environment that promotes wellness and provides patients with an opportunity to engage in goal-oriented activities. Last summer patients grew tomatoes, zucchinis, radishes, chard, marigolds, kale, chives and cabbages. The space also features a gazebo with seating for relaxation and socializing, a calming water feature and benches, as well as plants that are indigenous to the area.

The MHA PFAC, an advisory council that was established in keeping with JBH’s commitment to patient and family engagement, made the recommendation to build the garden as part of its role to enhance patient-centred care at the hospital.

“The recent project to convert the courtyard into a healing garden is a great example of volunteers and hospital staff working together,” said John Reynolds, Chair of the MHA PFAC. “We felt it was vital to the recovery of patients to have access a natural setting and the message of hope it provides.”

Joseph Brant Hospital’s Mental Health Services program provides a Full-Continuum Model of Care, planned and designed according to needs of the patients in our community and in alignment with provincial and regional mental health priorities and directives.

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Splash pads open tomorrow

By Staff

May 19th, 2023



In time for the Victoria Day long weekend, the City’s nine splashpads will be open by Saturday, May 20.

It doesn’t get much better than this!

The splash pads will stay open until the fall.

Splash pads are located throughout the city and are free to use. To find a splash pad near you, visit

Outdoor Pools

Nelson Pool and Splash Park (4235 New St.) will be opening June 3 with a modified schedule of select weekday morning and weekends until daily programming starts on July 1.

LaSalle Wading Pool and Splash Park (50 North Shore Blvd.) will be opening on June 17, with modified hours of 12:30 to 4 p.m. until June 30 when daily programming begins.

Mountainside Pool and Splash Park’s (2205 Mount Forest Dr.) revitalization will be completed in time for the summer. Reopening plans will be announced soon.

Updated swim schedules can be found at

This is how you spell summer.

Renee Kulinski-McCann, Manager of Recreation Services:   “We have plenty of outdoor water play activities for kids and adults alike. LaSalle and the splash pads are great options for smaller kids while the full-sized pools offer fun swims, lap swims and lessons for kids and adults. We’ve also got our four indoor pools open in the summer to give our community lots of options to stay cool and enjoy this summer.”

Links and Resources



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Everything You Need to Know About a DUI Arrest in Canada

By  Milorad Radak

May 17th, 2023



DUI refers to any offence related to driving under the influence, be it from alcohol, drugs or anything that impairs judgment and dexterity.

If you have been charged with DUI in the U.S., this can make entering Canada difficult even if your conviction was expunged or sealed. There may be ways around this however; including applying for Criminal Rehabilitation and getting a Temporary Resident Permit.

DUI arrest in details can be complicated and there are many potential consequences for those who are convicted. It is important to understand your rights and the consequences of a DUI charge in order to make informed decisions about your case.

What is a DUI Arrest?

The RCMP can pull you over and ask you to step out of the car and ask you to walk a straight line. If they are not satisfied they can issue you a ticket or call a tow truck and put your car in a car pound.

DUI (driving under the influence) arrest is an offense in Canada and conviction will result in criminal records, fines and jail time – in some cases even your driver’s license could be suspended or even cancelled.

Criminal convictions can make entering Canada challenging, even if you have since made amends and committed no further offenses. Canada takes DUIs or driving under the influence offences seriously and often deny entry to foreign nationals who have had such convictions in their past.

At Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), any conviction of DUI, DWI, OWI, or DWAI on your record – regardless of when it occurred – can prevent entry to Canada despite being admissible. An experienced admissibility lawyer can help those individuals obtain either a Temporary Resident Permit or Criminal Rehabilitation to gain entry.

What Happens During a DUI Arrest?

DUI (driving under the influence) in Canada is an extremely serious crime that may lead to jail time or other severe penalties, including fatalities and injuries every year from impaired drivers. Border agents recognize this problem and often inquire if US citizens have been arrested or convicted for drunk driving in the past year or so. When answering such inquiries honestly is key – being dishonest will only aggravate matters further.

DUIs and similar charges can take various forms, including DWI, OUI, OWI or DWAI charges in Canada. No matter their name or classification, DUI is often an offence which renders an American inadmissible due to criminal considerations.

Police in Canada are very strict about DUI driving. Scenes like this are very frequent, especially during holiday weekends.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police or RCMP can detect DUI arrests and convictions from American records, even if the arrest or conviction took place years ago. They can look back as far as 40 years to see what crimes have been committed.

What Are the Penalties for a DUI Arrest?

DUI penalties in Canada can be severe; indeed, they often make entry difficult if there’s been an arrest for this offence. Border officials have complete discretion in their decision about granting entry based on how old the conviction is and can make their decision depending on how old it is.

As long as your DUI offence occurred more than 10 years ago, it is possible to enter the country with one. You will need either to secure a Temporary Resident Permit or be found Criminally Rehabilitated before entering. Since this can be a lengthy process, having a professional lawyer guide you is highly recommended.

Failure to do the breathalizer test will mean immediate arrest and the impounding of you vehicle.

Canadian courts will impose both fines and jail sentences upon repeat offenders who cause no injuries; even first time offenders who cause no physical damage could face imprisonment if circumstances escalated further. You could lose your driving privileges and may need to install an interlock device after conviction.

What Can I Do After a DUI Arrest?

Many Americans may be shocked to learn that even minor DUI offences such as traffic tickets can prevent entry to Canada despite having been misdemeanours, since Canadian laws define DUI as “dangerous operation”, not simply alcohol or drug intoxication. This means someone could be stopped at the border even if they do not intend to drive; similarly civil DUI infractions like DWAI or OWI may prevent entry as well.

Criminal Rehabilitation can also prevent admittance into Canada. Although there are ways around this restriction, such as applying for a Temporary Resident Permit or Criminal Rehabilitation permit, both are time consuming processes which require advance planning in order to be successful. It is advisable that legal representation handle these processes from start to finish to meet all their stringent requirements successfully.


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Just how far does Google reach into your pocket or purse? You may not want to know

By Pepper Parr

May 18th, 2023



Just how far does Google reach into your pocket or purse?

Most people know what Googles does – but I suspect most people don’t realize just how much they do – or put another way – how deeply into your pocket their hands go.
Something to keep in mind is that Google is an advertising company.

They need to know as much about you as they can so they can direct advertising that will appeal to you.

They are able to do that because every time you use one of their services they are collecting information about you.

What can you do about that?

Not very much on an individual level. Governments at the highest level are really the only people that can make changes.

The real changes that are being made are in Europe where the European Union – a level of government that has representation from most of the European countries – the big exception is the UK – which pulled out when the vote on Brexit too place. Brexit is short for Britain exiting.

All more than you think you need to know.

The only hope we have is that Canada will begin to follow the lead that the Europeans are showing. Hard to do when our neighbour to the south is home to some of the best software the world has seen.

That will leave you with something to think about.

Think about the number of zeros in a billion.

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Council wanted some leverage on hospital spending and service - insisting the CEO keep residents informed would be a good place to start

By Pepper Parr

May 18th, 2023



The Joseph Brant Hospital Board of Directors had sent the City Clerk a notice setting out governance changes the hospital Board had made that they wanted the city to endorse.

In a written notice to the City Clerk they asked:

THAT Council for the City of Burlington endorse the Joseph Brant Hospital Board of Directors decision to discontinue the Municipal Representative seat on the Hospital Board and THAT the Hospital commits to continuing its engagement and ongoing positive relationship with the City of Burlington.

That was the piece of business before a Council Standing Committee that then proceeded to squabble for more than an hour on how the they should respond and what they should do to ensure that as a Council they had some control and perhaps leverage when dealing with hospital matters.

To fully understand how the conversation you need to understand that every member of Council is also a Deputy Mayor with a specific portfolio. There is an additional kind of Deputy Mayor as well – in place to serve when the real Mayor is not available for Ceremonial events. Confusing – you bet it is.

Barbara Elliott board vice chair Joseph Brant Hospital was available to answer any questions members of Council might have had about the changes the hospital made and they endorsement they were seeking.

City Council was not happy with the report the hospital sent to the City Clerk. They wanted quite a bit more input and influence than the hospital was suggesting. However, Council didn’t want that input and influence to be all that public.

With the report in front of them Committee Chair Galbraith then asked: “ Are there any questions for Barbara or for staff? Seeing none, he asked: “will a member like to move this item?

Councillor Sharman moved the report, which was before Council as a Read and File

“Are there any comments? Asked the Chair

Councillor Kearns: “I’d like to table the amendment that I’ve circulated to the Clerk.

And that is when the meeting got interesting. Council appears to have decided that they would have to go along with what the hospital board wanted but they were going to put in place a series of required meetings that would allow council to stay close to the Hospital board and be able to have both input and influence.

The single annual meeting, which the hospital suggested, was not what this council had in mind.

Getting to the point where they had a response the hospital request was torturous.

Councillor Kelvin Galbraith: Chaired the meeting.

Would you like to read that amendment into the record Councillor Kearns asked Chair Galbraith?

The amendment was:

To direct the office of the mayor to conduct, on a biannual basis, a joint meeting with the hospital board Chair, Vice Chair and CEO with the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor of Recreation and Community culture to discuss any pertinent matters; Angelo Bentivegna is the Deputy Mayor for Recreation Community and Culture.

Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns put an amendment on the table and did her best to ensure that it didn’t get too watered down.

“The rationale behind this is” said Kearns, “about opportunity to discuss pertinent matters outside of the cycle of reporting into Council.

“I view this as a transitional approach to the change. The ex officio seat on the hospital board which Mayor Meed Ward served on when she was a Council member; the position has also been held by myself, and Councillors Sharman and Bentivegna, who is the current council representative.

“We should keep the conversation going while still recognizing the efforts in good governance that the board has brought forward to us by way of this report.

Chair: There are a couple of questions coming. We’ll start with Councillor Sharman who said: I really appreciate the amendment. Might I make a suggestion that includes the mayor and council. The reason I’d say that is because every single one of us, as deputy mayors have a significant interest in what’s going on.

“And as we move into the stage of growing the community substantially over the next 20 to 30 years we need to make sure our community is looked at it from a healthcare perspective. And I think we have a significant reason to want to talk to them in general.”

Councillor Bentivegna; He is the current city representative on the hospital board – that was about to come to an end.

Councillor Bentivegna pointed out that there was a time when the Joseph Brant Foundation and the Hospital Auxiliary were on the Board.

In determining what they would set up as a meeting structure Council had to ensure that it was not bumping up against the number of councillors taking part – more than three would constitute a quorum (that would be four members) which would make it a public meeting – which wasn’t what this council wanted to see taking place.

Kearns in her usual zippy use of language said: We can meet up to three without busting quorum.

Mayor Meed Ward at one point said she was not going to support an amendment – it would damage her reputation.

Mayor Meed Ward added: “We could modify this amendment to have a biannual meeting and make sure that the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor for Recreation Community and Culture and whoever the deputy mayor is for ceremonial be invited to that meeting; that might be a way to thread the needle and I would offer that language then as an amendment to the amendment.

Chair Galbraith: I actually do like the mayor’s amendment. I have the hospital in my ward and I certainly deal with a handful of situations; resident issues surrounding the hospital, and I don’t really have that sort of conduit to communicate with the hospital – I’m definitely open to being included in in a couple of meetings a year.

Kearns: Happy to support a friendly amendment that includes and ceremonial and that would give everyone a turn at an appropriate time while maintaining the consistency of one be the mayor as well as the mayor. So if everyone’s fine with that, as well as the hospital of course I’m happy to move this forward.

Sherman. “I’ve been thinking about the need for everybody to be there all the time. I actually believe that the healthcare system is changing so dramatically and will have such a profound effect on our community over the next 30 years. That we need to take a leadership role on this as well.

“I would I would suggest that the mayor be there and invite others as necessary. And if she needs a Clerk there, she can get a Clerk there. That would be my suggestion.

Meed Ward: “I’m very interested to hear from the Clerk about what we might be able to do. My sense is that if there is a full counsel present, then those meetings are, would have to be constituted in a very formal manner and public and recorded and all of that and it notwithstanding a Clerk being present, I don’t know that we can have the same kind of dialogue.

“So we’re talking kind of about two separate things, one that’s kind of a touch base meeting which is not a Council meeting and then there’s the twice a year touch base meeting that includes all of Council.”

City Clerk Kevin Arjoon

Clerk: The response to your question, Mayor, through the Chair. Yeah, if there is a majority of council at a meeting, it would constitute a council meeting.

Mayor: Maybe we could refer this to legal counsel and have the clerk work on some language. Think it through. In general I’m okay with the idea. I just think it needs some improvement.

Kearns.”So this should be very simple – it is before you right now. Everyone has the opportunity to reach out to the hospital for their own interests or concerns. These are high level conversations around any pertinent matters. If anyone has a project or customer based or logistics operations they can be supported directly with the help of the CEO or patient services. They have always maintained a very strong open line of communication. I see this as a transition and I’m looking for some additional oversight.”

It didn’t get any better.  It looked as if they were going to be able to settle it and move on.

Kearns: It’s all very simple.

Chair: I’m happy to take the vote at any time and if it fails, we can look at it again at Council

They weren’t there yet

Mayor Meed Ward: “So the only way today, if we want to try to get closer to consensus is, that it’s the mayor, the deputy mayor and then one additional member of council to be determined based on the needs that are being discussed at the time.”

Kearns: “I can modify it once again.”

Kearns: “I can modify it once again.”

Direct the office of the mayor to conduct a biannual basis on a biannual basis a joint meeting with the JBH, Board Chair, Vice Chair and CEO with the mayor and the Deputy Mayor of recreation and community culture, and the ceremonial deputy mayor and any additional council members depending on topics to discuss any pertinent matters.

Chair asks: “Is that how you wanted it to read Councillor Kearns?”

Kearns: “I think Mayor Meed Ward wants to change it actually.”

Meed Ward: “Okay, so I won’t be supporting not getting a ceremonial deputy mayor because that allows for equity and rotation which was the point in the first place. So dropping that and just making pointed members based on topics will squeeze out anyone that may not have an opportunity otherwise.

“I’m not interested in putting my reputation on the line to violate the municipal act and closed door meetings and open meetings.”

City Clerk Yeah, I think passing an amendment is great

Kearns: I think this might help bring us closer to consensus. We can all agree that it was very important that you have the opportunity to serve on the hospital board. In light of this governance change that is no longer possible.

Sharman: “Well, I hate to drag this on.

Sharman: “Well, I hate to drag this on. I have the greatest regard for both council members. This is amendment that will last forever. This makes no sense to me. I’m happy that the Deputy Mayor of   Recreation Community and Culture be there for the term he would have had, but it makes no sense to be allocating roll into an amendment. So So I would say we’re going to save for the next term or what I it’s, I’m sorry, this is not working for me. The inclusions that roll unless you put it in for the next, you know, to end at the end of 2026. So I just leave that back with you.”

Meed Ward: “If I could just jump in I kind of share that. That concern. I’m not quite sure one person is being signalled out here. I just don’t get it but I sort of had the same concern. So pass that back to you Councillor Kearns.”

Kearns: Thanks, happy to put it to 2026. Also note we have a massive review of agencies, boards, commissions and all functions in and around those coming up. So anything on the table can change at that time. With our agencies, boards and commissions are in perpetuity, apart for the sake of speeding this along, I’m happy to include for this term.

Meed Ward: “ I support that too. To have a term limited and I would just suggest the Clerk make it clear that it’s so after the Deputy Mayor of Recreation, Community and Culture for the balance of the 22 to 2026 term.

“I’m looking around the room and I think we’re all nodding so we may well have landed this awesome.”

Chair: So now to call the vote on item 4.1, as amended regarding amendments to the Joseph brand hospital administrative bylaws.

Sharman: ” We had talked about whether or not we wanted an official briefing in public session during a council meeting twice a year or once a year. I’m open to either but we would need another amendment for that if council wants to have two briefings in council setting for the public So if no one feels the need for twice a year formally in council, then we can just leave it and carry on. And I’m not tabling that because I’m not I’m not seeing hands.

Chair. Seeing no further comments. I will now call the vote for item 4.1 Regarding amendments to Joseph Brant Hospital administrative bylaws

Making sure she controlled as much as she could Councillor Kearns said:”My apologies chair. I got caught up in amendment discussion and forgot that I did have comments on the overall piece which I will make now.

Kearns:”My apologies chair. I got caught up in amendment discussion and forgot that I did have comments on the overall piece which I will make now.
The board has a governance oversight responsibility and absolutely needs to be a skills based board based on the strategic plan and master plan of the hospital at any given time. So I think there is perhaps some additional conversation we can have with the community about the role of the board and the role of Patient Relations and where the city and city council members fit in.  So we’ll continue to have those conversations both formally informally and at Council. And I just want to assure the public that nothing is lost in this transition.

Sharman: “But in terms of the relationship between the city and the board we shouldn’t be at that level. We shouldn’t be involved. The hospital is capable of doing that all by itself and it does a wonderful job so I’m not there for that for that, but when it comes to the overall community and how it’s developing, which I think is going to be significant in the next few years. So we have to be involved for in a different way. And that is the way we represent our community into that board. I do have access and I do have conversations already. That’s not my concern. My concern is not me it’s about the city and the community. And that was why I’ve been speaking the way I have but I am satisfied with the outcome.

Chair: Seeing no further comments, I will now call the vote. All those in favour reminder to raise your hands.

After more than an hour of offering amendments to amendments of the recommendation that would go to Council the following was passed with a vote that was unanimous.

Approve the recommendation regarding a recent Ontario Not-for-Profit Corporations Act (ONCA) compliance exercise, and proposed amendments to Joseph Brant Hospital Administrative By-laws; and

Endorse the Joseph Brant Hospital Board of Directors decision to discontinue the Municipal Representative seat on the Joseph Hospital Board; and
Adopt a practice of inviting the Joseph Brant Hospital Board Chair and Chief Executive Officer to annually to a Council meeting to provide updates on the Hospital and its future directions; and
Direct the office of the Mayor to conduct on a bi-annual basis a joint meeting with the JBH Board Chair, Vice Chair and CEO with the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor of Recreation and Community Culture for the balance of the 2022 – 2026 term plus one additional member of council to discuss any pertinent matters.

And – it was done.  It is difficult in a written report to appreciate the tension between Councillor Kearns and the Mayor.

What is even more difficult is that when the matter got to council there was not a single word said about telling the public what had changed and why – and what Council had done to keep their finger on the scale to ensure that the hospital didn’t forget that the public, represented by Council needed a voice.


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Community Development has announcements: moving and a new Executive at the Helm

By Staff

May 17th, 2023


Community Development Halton is going through yet another change.

No hard information at this point but the notice of the meeting mentions new locations and the chance to pick up some gently used office furniture that needs a new home!

Meet their new(est) Executive Director, learn about our new offerings through Social Planning and Volunteer Halton.

Bonus for those who come in person:

To register for the on-line event click HERE

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City Clerk washes his hands over looking into the extraordinarily high bank charges reported by Ward 1 Councillor

By Pepper Parr

May 17th, 2023



A follow up on the bank charges story we published earlier this week.

The Clerk didn’t get back to us – he passed us along to Communications who came back with:

City Clerk Kevin Arjoon: Not my responsibility

The issue identified falls outside the scope of the jurisdiction of the Clerk to review. In terms of the process, we review the form to ensure that it has the appropriate auditor report (if required) that the candidate does not owe any money to the municipality, and attest the oath on page 1 of the form.

At the end of the day, the onus falls back on the candidate – or contributor, as case may be, to be accountable. If there are questions from members of the public, an application filed by an elector of the municipality with the Compliance Audit Committee seeking an audit of the candidate’s financials.

A candidate appears to be able to say anything they want, just is as long is as they attest to what they put on the form.

The Municipal Act is clear. A bank account for an election campaign is a must. Councillor Galbraith does not appear to have created a bank account set up strictly for the purposes of handling the funds received and used in an election campaign.

If he did – he might want to explain why his bank charges were higher (five time higher) than any other candidate.

Councillor Bentivegna also appears to not have opened a bank account; his election was funded by his family who put in $1000 each from four people.

If you want to complain – reach out to the Compliance Audit Committee. You must be an elector to file a complaint – but you don’t have to live in ward 1 – anywhere in the city will do.

Link to the Compliance Audit Committee is here

You have until September 2nd to file a complaint.

Interesting to note that if you don’t like the decision that Committee makes you can appeal it to the Ontario Court of Justice.

Related news stories:

Part 4: Why were the bank charges so high for Ward 1 candidate?

Does what a candidate does during an election matter; it’s all about winning isn’t it.

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Burlington Green holds a very successful Electronic recycling event

By Pepper Parr

May 17th, 2023



It’s a not for profit organization that has proven to be very adept at getting grants from the Trillium Foundation.

They have a superb reputation and a very clear mission – Save the Planet and take care of the environment.

Kale Black, second from the right. The amount of items to be recycled was significant – obviously meeting a need.

They have managed to attract several of the world leaders on environment issues: David Suzuki and Dame Jane Morris Goodall have both taken part if Burlington Green events in Burlington

Their mission, their focus and their activities resonate with the people of Burlington who turn out in the thousands every year to clean up and green up the city.

They recruit hundreds of young people who do the dirty work after major events at Spencer Smith Park where they help clean up the park and make sure the garbage is readied for a trip to a dump.

Burlington Green head office – located in a part of the city they have done some very significant environmental work.

The now have a “head office” located in the heritage Pump House at the edge of the lake in the Beachway.

They seem to have found a new niche that the public finds very useful. Last weekend they held am electronic recycle collection – loads of stuff was dropped off – far more than was originally expected.

A group of Environmental Warriors get their picture taken is as they pack up electronic items that were dropped off.

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The Conflict in ward 1 is within the Councillor who does not appear to fully understand his Oath to represent the people of Aldershot

By Pepper Parr

May 17th, 2023



Part 4 of a series

On the morning of October 20th, 2018 Kelvin Galbraith sent Tom Muir an email which Muir made available to us.

Fully two days before the election, Galbraith clearly described the way he saw himself as a candidate, as an Aldershot businessman and as a resident of Ward 1.

Although it is lengthy, we include the full text of the email because it is totally transparent and very clear.

“Hi Tom

“With regards to intensification in Aldershot, I have been consistent in my discussions with people that there is more coming and there is very little that this new council will be able to do in terms of stopping the progress. I have instead, taken the position that I will work with the developers—- to give our ward 1 residents what they have been missing – which is adequate retail and food operations.

“Currently the new official plan zones the south side of Plains road from Lasalle to Filmandale at 6 stories and the new mobility hub has a variation of zoning that allows for higher density as the distance from Plains increases. Currently very few candidates or past councillors have objected to this zoning as we will need to grow somewhere moving forward and have run out of green land in which to cover with urban sprawl. I have consistently said that our 6 story cap should be honoured on Plains road as these projects back on to our residential neighbourhoods.

“The new official plan changes at the Solid Gold site and allows for higher density (11 stories) due to its proximity to the GO station/mobility hub. I am uncomfortable with this height on Plains road but I want to be realistic with people and let them know that a project of that size, close to the mobility hub, will likely pass at council whether I vote for it or not.

“Should council not approve that project specifically, then I’m sure that the new LPAT ( OMB) will certainly overriding our councils decision as they have many times in the past. (The OMB became LPAT which in turn became the Ontario Land Tribunal)

“Currently national homes has already filed with LPAT for the bingo hall site to protect their plans from the new council presumably.

“What I have been advocating for during this campaign is for better retail options on Plains road. Having chaired the Aldershot BIA for the past 11 years, we have seen a diminishing retail sector. Every new development promises main floor retail and when it’s complete we release just how small and inadequate it really is. I want to fight for larger store sizes, better parking options, and more food operations (grocery, restaurant, pub and coffee shop). Zoning that requires food operations can be implemented into specific sites as I have learned from meetings with Marianne Meed Ward. We need more vibrant spaces for Aldershot residents to socialize and typically food operations are where this is done. I live here too and most of my extended family does as well. We all see the void in entertainment here. Especially in the west end of Aldershot.

E is the property owned by Emshih Developments; A is where the Gym Firm Galbraith owns is located; D and C are properties owned by Galbraith; Bis is a garage.

“With regards to my business property on Plains road and Waterdown road, I have been transparent with people for years. Our land is surrounded by one developer and we have agreed to work with him at such a time when he chooses to develop his property. Our business would be included in a new space within the site. We signed a letter of intent only and have not sold any property as rumours may indicate. Many years may pass still before anything may happen.

“You are correct is saying that I would need to declare a conflict of interest with any developments that include these properties specifically. In the grand scale of all the developable land in ward 1, this piece would represent a very small parcel so I don’t think that it should hinder my ability to serve the constituents in an effective manner on all that may happen in this ward.

“I have already read your supporting letter to Marty Staz where you denounced myself and Judy for our links to developers. I only have my signs on the Station West development as I am actively trying to push him to build us a west end grocery store. If I am elected or not, I will still be working on this issue as my volunteer position with the Aldershot BIA. I just feel that I will have more abilities and a stronger voice as councillor of Ward 1.

“As I have stated in my website and literature, I live here and work here, I know the issues. I have spoken to the public about them both in my business for the past 20 years and canvassing for the past 3 months. I want Aldershot to be a better place to live and am willing to fight for that.

“Thank you for reaching out to me.”

This is about is as honest as it can get; Galbraith is to be commended for setting out his position the way he did. I only wish Muir had shared it is as soon is as he got it. It puts things in perspective and explains a great deal of what Kelvin Galbraith is; not a dishonest man but one who has not understood the considerable difference between private businessman and public official.

The two roles or persona are not incompatible and one can argue that Galbraith’s business experience is a valuable asset as a Councillor. But when ‘in office’ that public role must dominate and shape how one views the world. It is a service function with the primary objective being making the best possible decisions for the community of citizens that one represents – not being the voice of a particular interest group.

The problem now for Galbraith is that a number of developers have chosen to make significant donations to his 2022 election campaign – so much so that he has come to be seen as their spokesman and not well aligned to the broader interests of his Ward.

That is not a good place for a City Councillor

The targeted funding Galbraith has received will soon become barnacles on the public view of his ability to effectively represent them; to his ability to understand and further the broad spectrum of interests and concerns in the community. Barnacles can be removed and Galbraith still has some time to change the perception. The question then is: Does he want to change how many people see him and does he know how?

Galbraith sees himself as a good business man who understands retail economics and has networked with the commercial sector. He got into politics, we believe, because he felt he could make a difference and draw some of the commercial activity he believes Aldershot needed and still needs. Eleven years on the local Business Improvement Association will do that to you; but five years sitting around the Council horseshoe table will temper your expectations and dull the enthusiasm.

Kelvin Galbraith being sworn in after being elected in October of 2022

The minute Kelvin Galbraith raised his right hand while taking the Oath of Office he became a different man with a different constituency that he swore he would serve.

I don’t believe Galbraith set out to be the shill for the developers. He saw himself as someone who could get things done and the Ward 1 electorate agreed – twice.

However, in the final analysis, the developers did not elect him. They simply recognized a kindred spirit and conscripted him to support their objectives and their community of interest. Galbraith represented an opportunity and they gladly took advantage.

Galbraith may ‘change his spots’ but it’s rather unlikely. He is not comfortable in a very complex role and does not recognize the inherent conflict. However, the citizens of Ward 1 should recognize the conflict and act accordingly.

They need to hold their Councillor accountable for his actions and his relationships.

They need to take responsibility for being informed.

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

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Deer have become part of the streetscape

By Staff

May 17th, 2023



That would be a picture window.

It’s a little early for a lawn ornament but there it was; checking out the neighbourhood just east of the downtown core.

The deer are not dangerous; the run when approached.

The problem is where do they run to – they don’t appear to be aware of traffic. Probably best to let them move on in their own sweet time.

The sighting earlier this week was in the west end.

Just checking out the street.

Related news story
Deer seen in the Aldershot community.

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Victoria Day - May 22nd

By Staff

May 16th, 2023



The holiday is an occasion to celebrate the sovereign. Queen Victoria ruled at a time when the world went through incredible changes.

City of Burlington administrative services will be closed for Victoria Day on Monday, May 22.

For a list of which City services and facilities are available on the Victoria Day holiday, please see the summary below or visit

Fireworks reminder
A reminder that fireworks are permitted to be set off on Victoria Day only (May 22). Please continue to use our valued outdoor spaces responsibly. The City’s bylaw regulates where and when residents can set off family (low-hazard) fireworks. For more information about who to contact if you have a concern, visit

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Why are the bank charges on candidate election finances reports so high for the ward 1 Councillor ?

By Pepper Parr

May 16th, 2023


Part 4 of a series

It is called a Form 4, the document every candidate who ran in a municipal election must file with the City Clerk.

If the candidate fails to file the document they will not be permitted to run in the next municipal election. That is a pretty big stick in the hands of a City Clerk.

Candidates are required to state how much of their own money they spent to get elected. How much they received in the way of donations and what they spent the money on.

Candidates are required to open a bank account that accepts deposits and is used to pay campaign expenses. The candidate is expected to have an auditor review the statement before it is submitted.

On the lower left hand corner of a Form 4 the signature of the candidate appears and on the lower right hand corner is the signature of the City Clerk.

There is one line on a Form 4 that requires the candidate to detail how much they spent on bank charges. Bank charges – why is this amount important?

It wasn’t until we put together a list on how much each candidate spent on bank charges.

Stolte: $78.33
Bentivegna: $0
Sharman: $42.77
Meed Ward $122.77
Kearns: $14.27
Nisan: $51.57

Galbraith: $552.05

Two numbers stood out. There were no bank charges shown for Angelo Bentivegna which suggests he may not have opened a bank account for his election campaign. Bentivegna once told the Gazette that his wife handles all the household finances. Would a wife’s purse qualify as a bank? In some households that might be the case – but we jest. This is serious business

Relative to the others Galbraith incurred very high bank charges compared to the other candidates; five times as high as Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

Money influences campaigns. People donate to an election campaign because they want to influence the outcome. A campaign funded by hundreds of small donations is a sign of a healthy community. Campaigns with a small number of large donations from a specific sector is not a healthy sign.

We can only speculate on the why such a big difference. Did Galbraith use one of his private corporate bank accounts?

If that was the case did his auditor not bring this to his attention?

Lastly – did the City Clerk note the significant differences and ask the candidate to explain?

If the Clerk has the authority to prevent a candidate from running for office in a following election surely the Clerk would at least review the documents.

The Municipal Act is pretty clear.

Duties of candidates

88.22 (1) A candidate shall ensure that,
(a) no contributions of money are accepted or expenses are incurred unless one or more campaign accounts are first opened at a financial institution exclusively for the purposes of the election campaign;
(b) all contributions of money are deposited into the campaign accounts;
(c) all funds in the campaign accounts are used exclusively for the purposes of the election campaign;
(d) all payments for expenses are made from the campaign accounts

We will put the question to the City Clerk – the one serving the City of Burlington tends not to respond to questions from the Gazette.

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A public service non-profit attracting accolades. Library recognized as a Best Workplace for Giving Back

By Staff

May 16th, 2023



Burlington Public Library has been recognized as an outstanding non-profit with two recent accolades.

First, the Library was named as a finalist for the Burlington Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards in the not-for-profit category. These awards are a celebration of Burlington businesses and what they have achieved through leadership, community contributions, and innovation.

Awards like this just don’t happen. Leadership always creates a path to better performance and better service. Ms Barrie joined the library in June of 2018. It is interesting to look back and note the changes she has made and the difference the public now sees, feels and appreciates in the way the library operates.

“We are so honoured to be recognized by the Chamber as an outstanding not-for-profit,” says BPL CEO, Lita Barrie. “Burlington has an exceptional business community, and we are proud to be named among such incredible local businesses.”

Burlington Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Award winners will be announced at an awards gala on May 23rd.

The Library was also recently named one of Canada’s ‘Best Workplaces for Giving Back,’ by Great Place to Work, a global leader in workplace culture assessments. This designation is awarded to businesses that are certified by Great Place to Work and achieve a minimum 90 per cent employee sentiment score regarding the workplace’s contribution to the community.

“It is really meaningful to be included on this list among businesses like FedEx, Pinterest, and LinkedIn,” says Kourtney Shelton, Director of People, Branches, & Organizational Development at BPL. “We see the impact our staff have on the community every day and we are honoured to be recognized for that at a national level.”

Think about the number of young minds that are changed for the better, forever because we have libraries with book filled shelves.

Burlington Public Library employs over 150 people in roles ranging from maintenance to marketing. As a public service, the library provides access to a collection of more than 240,000 physical items, offers free programs for all ages, and connects people in need with vital community resources. As a non-profit and charitable organization, BPL gratefully accepts monetary donations to support its collection.

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Visiting the Beachway this weekend? You will have to pay for parking

By Staff

May 16th, 2023


Warm weather and a long weekend will draw hundreds to the popular Beachway Park.

The location draws hundreds of people.

This means visitors to the Beachway will need to pay for parking.

Fees will be charged from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends and holidays beginning this Saturday until the last weekend in September: Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023.

Parking fees can be paid using the HONK mobile app. Visitors do not have to download the app but can scan the QR code on parking lot signage to pay for parking.
The hourly rate is $2.50 or a daily flat rate of $20. There is a transaction fee of $0.35 for each payment.

Dashboard tickets are not needed as every payment is linked to a license plate number.

Halton residents are given 10 free days of parking per year at Beachway Park. It is recommended that residents wait to fill out the parking exemption form once they’ve arrived at the beach and parked in a legal parking spot.

The exemption doesn’t guarantee a spot, but it does give residents free parking for the day.

Parking is free in Downtown Burlington on weekends and holidays. Beachway visitors are encouraged to extend their walk or use the drop-off zone, park for free in the downtown and meet their household members at the beach. For parking downtown, visit

Visitors are also encouraged to consider taking Burlington Transit, cycling, walking or rolling to the beach and leaving their cars at home.
Illegally parked vehicles will be issued tickets and/or towed. Drivers are reminded not to park illegally, especially on Lakeshore Road shoulders and the grass boulevard over the pipeline as they will be towed.

Director of Transportation Services, Craig Kummer said: “We know Beachway Park is a popular summer destination with limited parking spaces. Charging for parking has improved parking and traffic flow since it was introduced in 2021. If you are planning to visit the Beachway, plan ahead and consider parking in another location if the lots are full. Please make sure you are parked in a legal parking spot. City bylaw officers must ticket and tow those parked illegally to help manage parking and traffic flow and most importantly, keep everyone safe.”

The city is looking into creating an overflow lot in the area. It could accommodate approximately 30 more parking spots in an unsurfaced lot. Visitors using this overflow lot will also need to pay for parking and the fees to park in this lot will be the same as the Beachway lots. The City is working towards opening this overflow lot in July.”

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Gazette brings in an editorial cartoonist - he will be with us once every week.

By Pepper Parr

May 16th, 2023



Cartoon Bob

He is known is as Cartoon Bob – he earns his living is as an artist doing work for both corporate clients and events.

He looks at a person sitting in front of him – asks a couple of questions and draws quickly with pen or pencil on paper.

The high tech world got to him and he does much of his work on a tablet.

It was evident at an early age that Cartoon Bob would earn his moniker. As a child of the 60’s. Saturday morning cartoons provided a wealth of influence, as he would draw what he saw on TV!

After seeing well-known celebrities in some of the episodes as well as political cartoons in newspaper editorials, he turned his attention to the art of Caricature. Friends, family members, and anyone within eyeshot ware fair game!

After decades of honing his craft, Cartoon Bob has become the resident Caricaturist for Google, Dofasco, Microsoft, and many other corporate clients, He has illustrated many published books and has created countless logos and cartoon projects.

He will be the in house editorial cartoonist for the Gazette and will focus on people who are public and private. Cartoonists have a level of editorial freedom that is equalled only by opinion writers.

Set out below is a sample of his work.

Welcome aboard Cartoon Bob.

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Freeman Station: An Open House on the 20th

By Staff

May 15th, 2023



Freeman Station is having an Open House this coming Saturday.

The folks that saved the pile of lumber that was the Freeman Station – the building that was moved and is now a premier destination for many visitors to the city, will hold an Open House on the 20th. Question we have is: who laid that track ?

May 20 2023
10am – 3pm
Fun for all ages.
Rain or Shine.

1285 Fairview Street
Burlington Ontario

Wheelchair accessible to the main floor
Free parking on the grounds
Use driveway at Central Fire Hall.

Ring the locomotive bell
Get weighed on freight scales
Throw the track switch
Watch model trains in the basement

See the one (and only) TH&B#1 inspection car that ran on rails from the 50s to the 70s through the Hamilton area; that’s the yellow car in photo.

Next open house is Saturday June 17


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Rents are not coming down: the pressures on all forms of accommodation spell a tough period ahead.

By Staff

May 15th, 2023



Average asking rents in Canada rose 20 per cent in April for all property types to $2,002 over the pandemic low in April 2021 of $1,662, according to the  and Urbanation latest National Rent Report.*

That’s an average increase of $340 per month. 

Burlington finished seventh for average monthly rent in April for a one-bedroom at $2,171 and 10th for average monthly rent for a two-bedroom at $2,533. 

Year over year, average monthly rent in April for a one-bedroom in Burlington was up 8.9 per cent and up 12.6 per cent for a two-bedroom.

Brampton finished ninth for average monthly rent in April for a one-bedroom at $2,075 and 13th for average monthly rent for a two-bedroom at $2,442. 

Year over year, average monthly rent in April for a one-bedroom in Brampton was up 28.1 per cent and up 26.8 per cent for a two-bedroom.

Oshawa finished 19th for average monthly rent in April for a one-bedroom at $1,808 and 21st for average monthly rent for a two-bedroom at $2,110. 

Year over year, average monthly rent in April for a one-bedroom in Oshawa was up 9.8 per cent and up 12.3 per cent for a two-bedroom.

Oakville was not included on the list, but average monthly rent in April for a one-bedroom home was $2,588, and average monthly rent for a two-bedroom was $3,719.

Markham was also not on the list, but average monthly rent in the city in April for a one-bedroom was $2,192, and average monthly rent for a two-bedroom was $2,398. 

Richmond Hill was also not included among the 35, but average monthly rent in the city in April for a one-bedroom home was $2,059, and average monthly rent for a two-bedroom was $2,403. 

Will the construction of new housing units bring down rent rates?

The three medium-sized GTA markets at the top of the list for rising rents had average rents exceeding 30 per cent year over year – Scarborough at 31.9 percent, Brampton at 31.2 per cent and Markham at 30.3 per cent. All three have been affected by high levels of immigration. 

Oakville was the most expensive medium-sized market in Canada in April for condo rentals and apartments with average monthly rents at $3,413.

Average monthly rents increased the most in Ontario at 29 per cent for condominium rentals and apartments compared to the pandemic low in April 2021. 

Provincially, average rent in Ontario increased the highest by 16.7 per cent in April to $2,421 for purpose-built and condominium apartments. 

Shaun Hildebrand, president of Urbanation said: ““Rents continued to face upward pressure across Canada during April, with the strongest growth felt in markets that see the highest levels of immigration. Tenants that signed leases during the pandemic may be facing rent increases of 20 per cent or more if they decide to move, causing reduced turnover that is exacerbating the low supply situation.”


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Warm weather, water, parks and places to pay - be prepared to pay for the parking in the Beachway, Lowville and LaSalle if you are putting a boat in the water

By Staff

May 15th, 2023



Burlington has paid parking and reservation programs in three popular City parks to help with parking demand and use:

Beachway Park
LaSalle Park Boat Launch
Lowville Park

The city sets out the parking rules.  Parking space has become limited due to the number of people who want to spend time in a park.

Beachway Park

During the summer, if you’d like to park at Beachway Park you must pay for parking on weekends from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Please watch our news and notices for information on when weekend payment is needed. The rate is $2.50 per hour or a flat daily rate of $20.

How to pay

Make sure you park in a designated parking spot and obey all parking rules and bylaws. Vehicles in violation will be ticketed or towed at the owner’s expense.

To pay, scan the QR code at a park payment sign with your smartphone or download the HONK mobile app. You can then choose the length of your stay and securely pay or top up your parking right from your phone. You can also use the HONK contactless payment station, located along the Beachway multi-use trail. If you download the app, you can search for a parking spot before you arrive.

There is a $0.35 transaction fee for each payment. Dashboard tickets are not needed, as each payment is linked to your licence plate number.
Beachway Park parking exemptions

If you are a Halton Region resident, you are allowed up to 10 free days of parking in the Beachway parking lots from May to September each year. Fill out our online Parking Exemption Form once you get to the beach and have a legal parking spot. This exemption waives the parking fee for the day but does not guarantee you a spot. If you do not have access to the online form once you arrive, you can find a City parking ambassador, wearing a bright yellow safety vest. They can help you fill out the form on a tablet. Once you have used your 10 days of parking exemptions, you must pay for parking.

Complete our Parking Exemption Form
If the lots are full

If the lots are full, please look for other parking. Parking is free in downtown Burlington on weekends and holidays. You can also use the drop-off zone, park elsewhere and meet your group at the beach. Consider walking, cycling or taking Burlington Transit.

LaSalle Park Boat Launch

If you’d like to park your boat trailer at the LaSalle Park Boat Launch in the LaSalle Park Community Marina or upper parking lot, you must pay a trailer parking fee. Fees are required from dawn to dusk seven days a week including holidays. The daily flat rate is $20.

How to pay

To pay, scan the QR code at a park payment sign with your smartphone or download the HONK mobile app. You can then securely pay directly from your phone. With the app, you can search for a parking spot before you arrive.

There is a $0.35 transaction fee for each payment. Dashboard tickets are not needed, as each payment is linked to your trailer licence plate number.

Lowville Park

During the summer and early fall, Lowville Park users looking to park their vehicle at specific times must make a free three-hour online reservation before to visiting Lowville Park. You will receive an access code so you can enter the park at the automatic entrance gates. Please watch our news and notices for information on when reservations are needed.

If you are walking or cycling to the park, you do not need a reservation.

Family arrives for a day at Lowville Park. There are now gates and reservations are required for weekends and holidays.

How to make a reservation

You can make an online reservation using Park Pass. You may book a free three-hour reservation, once per day, on:

Weekdays between 4 and 8 p.m.
Weekends between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

You may come and go during your scheduled three-hour timeslot. Parking outside of these times will be limited to the park operating hours and does not need a reservation. Please make sure you park in a designated parking spot, or your vehicle will be ticketed and towed at the owner’s expense. If you exceed your three-hour timeslot, you will be ticketed.

Fishing is pretty good – at least this group thinks so.

Reservations are not required at this time. If you slowly approach the gate and wait at the indicated spot, the entry arms will lift automatically.

Book a reservation
Changes and cancellations

We understand unexpected things can pop up. We have a late grace period, so it is okay if you are a few minutes late.

You can make changes or cancellations up to 48 hours before your arrival time. You can change your date, reservation name, licence plate and number of people.

We reserve the right to cancel park visits for COVID-19 orders, safety and/or adverse trail conditions. We may close trail networks if conditions are too wet and damage is unavoidable. We will notify you by email if your visit is cancelled.

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