Ontario sees a record increase in the value of property inventory with $42 billion in new assessments

By Pepper Parr

December 19, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Ontario sees a record increase in the value of property inventory with $42 billion in new assessments

On December 12, 2023, MPAC – Municipal Property Assessment Corporation – delivered the 2023 assessment roll to municipalities across Ontario and shared insights on how Ontario’s property landscape changed this year.

Ontario’s property inventory grew by more than $42 billion through new construction and property improvements in 2023. Residential homes, including condominiums, accounted for more than $31 billion of this increase, while commercial and industrial properties contributed more than $6 billion, which is an increase of 31.5 per cent from 2022.

The assessed value of more than 5.6 million properties in Ontario is now estimated to be approximately $3.14 trillion. MPAC summarized these changes in the annual assessment rolls that were delivered to Ontario’s 444 municipalities last week.

Across Ontario, 10 municipalities accounted for more than 44 per cent of new property value. Toronto led the way for another year at $9.93 billion, followed by Ottawa at $3.37 billion. Vaughan, Oakville and Brampton rounded out the top five.

Important: The MPAC property assessment is not the same as your tax rate.  The tax rate is based on the class of property and what its assessment is.

The Gazette will be doing an article on how the assessment and the tax rate are worked out.

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Burlington Chamber of Commerce is seeking nominations for the 2024 - 2025 Board Directors

By Staff

December 19th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Burlington Chamber of Commerce is seeking nominations for the 2024 – 2025 BCC Board of Directors.

The Chamber Board meets approximately 6-8 times per year with additional board subcommittee participation. The Burlington Chamber of Commerce board of directors is appointed annually at the Annual General meeting. The directors shall hold office for a term of one year to a maximum of six terms.

While all nominations will be considered, the Committee is particularly interested in receiving nominations of senior-level individuals who bring board experience, current/prior engagement with the Burlington Chamber Community, and who would be representative of the following attributes: Financial, IT, Large and Small Business and Corporate Communications.

If you are interested in being a Burlington Chamber of Commerce board member and be part of a progressive, results-oriented and fiscally responsible Board of Directors – we wish to hear from you. Your resume and/or cover letter must clearly demonstrate how you meet the requirements of the position.

The Burlington Chamber of Commerce is committed to diversity and inclusion, and we encourage applications from all designated group members. Our goal is a diverse, inclusive membership, board and staff that reflects the Burlington community.

Please complete your Application Form by no later than January 12, 2024, and email your resume and/or cover letter to info@burlingtonchamber.com for the Committee’s consideration.

The Chamber Board meets approximately 6-8 times per year with additional board subcommittee participation. The Burlington Chamber of Commerce board of directors is appointed annually at the Annual General meeting. The directors shall hold office for a term of one year to a maximum of six terms.

While all nominations will be considered, the Committee is particularly interested in receiving nominations of senior-level individuals who bring board experience, current/prior engagement with the Burlington Chamber Community, and who would be representative of the following attributes: Financial, IT, Large and Small Business and Corporate Communications.

If you are interested in being a Burlington Chamber of Commerce board member and be part of a progressive, results-oriented and fiscally responsible Board of Directors – we wish to hear from you. Your resume and/or cover letter must clearly demonstrate how you meet the requirements of the position.

The Burlington Chamber of Commerce is committed to diversity and inclusion, and we encourage applications from all designated group members. Our goal is a diverse, inclusive membership, board and staff that reflects the Burlington community.

Please complete your Application Form by no later than January 12, 2024, and email your resume and/or cover letter to info@burlingtonchamber.com for the Committee’s consideration.

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Do the things that are important to you NOW, today if possible, and don't put them off to some distant date.

By Pepper Parr

December 19th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

There is no cure

It was a blunt statement, that hit hard is as I reads it on a Facebook page.

Russ Campbell had been struggling for the past 2 years, dealing with an aggressive form of bladder cancer “that has now spread outside my bladder.”

“Unfortunately, there is no cure and, given my age and other health issues, any further treatment is high risk and if successful would only add a few months to my life expectancy.

“My plan is to make the best of the time I do have and what will be will be. For the most part, life has been good and I have very few regrets so don’t feel sorry for me – I don’t.

“But do do the things that are important to you NOW, today if possible, and don’t put them off to some distant date.”

Russell G. Campbell with his wife, Denise and his grandson Kia.

Things are tough for Russ – but he doesn’t see it that way. He knows what is going to happen and he is prepared.
He is on dialysis, doesn’t have a bladder but is no longer on radiation – 34 bouts of that was enough for him.

Russ was born in Jamaica, moved to Canada with his parents and settled in Burlington. Says with a chuckle that he “married the girl next door”.

Russ finished high school and went to work – soon realized that he needed more in the way of an education and took accounting courses at night and earned a CGA – Certified General Accountant.

I crossed his path when I read the blog that he wrote.  Russ was a strong conservative and I was looking for someone to bring a small c conservative viewpoint to the Gazette.  He wrote a few columns and reminded me that “I don’t think you were all that happy with me and I decided I would stick to the blog I was writing.”  We kept in touch.

Russ doesn’t have much time for the conservatism he is seeing south of the border.  He doesn’t have the energy he would like to have – but he can still start cooking some of the meals – when he gets tired Denise takes over.

Cancer has been a part of the family for a long time.  Denise had cancer on three occasions – each time she was able to overcome the disease.

We are going to stay with Russ as he completes his journey.  ” I know I am going to die and I’m prepared”, he said.  “I will miss the people in my life.” The family unit is 13 people strong: two sons and their children.

He doesn’t have very much in the way of stamina – but the courage that gets him through a day is remarkable.

Stoic.

 

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United Way Halton & Hamilton Delivers Holiday Joy and Support through Holiday Helping Hand Program

By Staff

December 19th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

 In a year marked by surges in inflation, economic pressures, heightened poverty rates, and escalating mental health challenges, many in our community are grappling with increased needs this holiday season.

RBC Team part of the Helping Hand project.

United Way Halton & Hamilton’s (UWHH) Holiday Helping Hand program brought together 14 local social service agencies, working collectively to make the season brighter for those in need. United Way successfully engaged community members in volunteer opportunities, fulfilled holiday wish lists, and gathered essential items such as toys, clothing, and non- perishable food items for individuals and families facing challenges.

Brad Park: President and CEO of United Way Halton & Hamilton.

“This past holiday season posed unprecedented challenges for many families and individuals in our community,” emphasized Brad Park, President and CEO of United Way Halton & Hamilton. “The weight of economic challenges, housing and food insecurity, and mental health struggles have deepened the need in our community, putting our agency partners under significant strain.”

Thanks to generous community members, UWHH supported 12 holiday projects that included over 105 volunteer opportunities through the Holiday Helping Hand program. Community members rallied together to help fill volunteer opportunities such as sorting and packing community food bags for Food For Life Halton & Hamilton and stuffing holiday stockings for Community Living Burlington.

Over 112 families and individuals across Burlington, Halton Hills, Hamilton, Milton, and Oakville were sponsored through the program, ensuring they received the support they needed during the holidays. The program supports community members from young families with infants, to single elderly individuals, and all ages in between, including community members living with disabilities and newcomers.

OPP Toy Drive, was held at Toys R Us on Hamilton Mountain. This year’s toy drive raised over $32,500 worth of toys.

One of the volunteer opportunities for this year, the OPP Toy Drive, was held at Toys R Us on Hamilton Mountain. The OPP mobile command center was on-site, encouraging the community to fill it with toys in support of United Way’s Holiday Helping Hand program. This year’s toy drive raised over $32,500 worth of toys. Energetic volunteers collected toys and added them to the cruiser, urging shoppers to purchase toys for families in need. Toys will be distributed to children across Hamilton & Halton.

“This year’s program was a tremendous success, thanks to the support of our generous community members. Their contributions not only supported the most vulnerable but also assisted our agency partners in meeting the growing demand,” said Brad Park. “We are immensely grateful for the dedication and compassion shown by our community volunteers. This program would not be possible without them.”

As a community, it is critical that we acknowledge that the need for social services remains urgent. Over 68% of the 106 United Way-supported programs have reported a substantial surge in demand, underscoring the pressing nature of the challenges faced by our community members. The fact that nearly half of United Way-supported programs currently maintain waitlists highlights the ongoing struggle for individuals and families seeking crucial support.

With the gifts put together – the task now is to deliver them.

It is not too late to make a difference. This year, we urge you to consider giving to United Way Halton & Hamilton. Whether you’ve been giving for years or are considering your first gift, now is the time to join this journey and create lasting change. And this year, your gift holds even more power with our Local Love Community Match.

For every $4 you donate, an additional $1 will be added to your gift by generous community members and organizations. This amplifies your impact, addressing local challenges, supporting families, and empowering individuals in Halton & Hamilton.

Please visit us online to learn more and to donate, www.uwhh.ca.

About United Way Halton & Hamilton

 United Way Halton & Hamilton (UWHH) is committed to leading measurable, impactful change by identifying the most challenging issues in our community, and bringing together people and resources to address those issues. We connect volunteers with local needs, and offer training and operational support to local charities. Along with our network of partners and experts, UWHH conducts research and works with key stakeholders to generate support for the not-for- profit sector. Each dollar raised is invested right back into the community to address the long- term recovery of its vital social safety net. Last year, UWHH helped 143,562 residents across Halton and Hamilton, who relied on 106 United Way-supported programs for life changing services.

 

 

 

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City services are limited during the holiday season - what is open when - all set out below. Be safe and take care of each other

By Staff

December 19th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Animal Shelter at 2424 Industrial St. will be operate as follows:

  • Sunday, Dec. 24 and Monday, Dec. 25 – closed to appointments
  • Tuesday, Dec. 26 – Saturday, Dec. 30 – open to appointments
  • Dec. 31 and Jan. 1 – closed to appointments

To report an animal control related emergency on a holiday, please call 905-335-7777.

Levels of transit service

Burlington Transit will operate as scheduled over the holidays:

  • Sunday, Dec. 24 – modified Sunday service, ending at 8 p.m.
  • Monday, Dec. 25 – Sunday/holiday service
  • Tuesday, Dec. 26 – Sunday/holiday service
  • Wednesday, Dec. 27 to Friday, Dec. 29 – regular weekday service
  • Saturday, Dec. 30 – regular Saturday service
  • Sunday, Dec. 31 – regular Sunday service and extended late night service on Routes 1, 50, 51 and 52

·

    • Route 1 Plains-Fairview will provide service every 30 minutes, with the last bus departing Hamilton at 1 a.m. and Appleby GO at 1:15 a.m.
    • Route 50 Burlington South, 51 Burlington Northeast and 52 Burlington Northwest will leave Burlington GO every 60 minutes, from 8:56 p.m. to 12:56 a.m.
  • Monday, Jan. 1, 2024 – Sunday/holiday service

For real-time bus information and schedules, visit myride.burlingtontransit.ca.

Downtown Transit Terminal, at 430 John St.

Schedule for the Downtown Transit Terminal, at 430 John St:

  • Tuesday, Dec. 26 – open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Dec. 27 to Friday, Dec. 29 – open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Saturday, Dec. 30 – open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Sunday, Dec. 31 and Monday, Jan. 1 – closed
  • Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2024 – open from 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.

The Specialized Dispatch is open Wednesday, Dec. 27 – Friday, 29, and Tuesday, Jan. 2, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Service Burlington and the Building, Renovating and Licensing counter on the main floor of City Hall at 426 Brant St., will close at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 22, 2023, and reopen on Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2024, at 8:30 a.m.

Many service payments are available online at burlington.ca/onlineservices.

For online development services, MyFiles can be used by residents who have applied for Pre-Building Approval. Check the status of Pre Building Approval applications at burlington.ca/MyFiles.

Halton Court Services

Court administration counter services at 4085 Palladium Way will operate as follows:

•            Monday, Dec. 25 – Wednesday, Dec. 27 – closed

•            Thursday, Dec. 28 – Friday, Dec. 29 – open, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

•            Monday, Jan. 1, 2024 – closed

On days when the court administration counter is open, telephone payments are available at 905-637-1274, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Many services are also available by email at burlingtoncourt@burlington.ca or online at Halton Court Services. Payment of Provincial Offences fines is available 24/7 at www.paytickets.ca.

Parking

Free parking is available downtown, on the street, in municipal lots and in the parking garage after 6 p.m. on weekends and holidays, including Dec. 25, 26 and Jan. 1, 2024.

NOTE: The Waterfront parking lots (east and west at 1286 Lakeshore Rd) do not provide free parking on statutory holidays.

Parking exemptions are required to park overnight on city streets and for longer than five hours. If you have family and friends staying with you that require street parking, please visit burlington.ca/parkingexemptions to register for a parking exemption. Please note: parking exemptions are not valid during declared snow events, to assist with snow removal.

Please make an online reservation using Park Pass to visit Lowville Park on weekends. Reservations are free and available in three-hour time slots.

Recreation Programs and Facilities
Burlington Seniors’ Centre
The Burlington Seniors’ Centre at New St. will close Dec. 23, 2023, for building maintenance, and re-open on Jan. 2, 2024.

Recreation, Community and Culture customer service is available to assist you over the holiday:

  • In person at recreation facility counters during program times
  • By email at liveandplay@burlington.ca
  • By phone at 905-335-7738, Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and weekends from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Phone and email service are closed Dec. 24, 25, 26 and Jan. 1, 2024.

Between Dec. 27 – 29, phone and email service hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. On Dec. 31, the hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Cogeco Skating at Burlington Rotary Centennial Pond
Located at Spencer Smith Park at 1400 Lakeshore Rd, the pond is open daily, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. but closed at 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve and closed on Christmas Day. Registration is not required. For more information, including skating times, visit burlington.ca/pond.

Residents are encouraged to call the ice conditions hotline at 905-335-7738, ext. 8587 before leaving their house, to make sure the pond is open.

The free skate lending program at the Burlington Rotary Centennial Pond is available Monday to Thursday, 5 to 9 p.m., and Fridays, from 5 to 10 p.m. On Saturdays, Sundays, PA days and holiday school breaks, it is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Free skating – Check the link to schedules

Tim Hortons Free Skating

Thanks to Tim Hortons, Burlington residents can enjoy another holiday season of free skating, from Dec. 23, 2023, to Jan. 6, 2024. A reservation is not needed. Skating is first come, first served until capacity is reached. For dates and locations, visit burlington.ca/timsfreeskate.

Drop-In Recreation Programs

Swimming, skating, fitness and other drop-in program times vary over the holiday period. Drop in or reserve in advance. For schedules, visit burlington.ca/dropinandplay.

Play Equipment Lending Library
If you need some indoor or outdoor play equipment or want to try something new without having to buy it, try the Play Equipment Lending Library. The last day to borrow the play equipment in 2023 is on Tuesday, Dec. 19. Items need to be picked up from Central Arena and returned to Haber Community Centre on Jan. 9, 2024. To borrow, visit burlington.ca/playlending

Holiday ice and gym rentals
Stay active this holiday with family and friends by renting ice or a gym at a special discount. This holiday season, ice and gym rentals are available at a reduced rate for booking dates up to Jan. 7, 2023. Residents can view facility availability and complete the rental 24 hours in advance through their online Live & Play account. Learn more about how to rent at burlington.ca/rentals

Outdoor Fun
Head outside and play in our parks with trails, disc golf, tobogganing and more. Explore all the options at burlington.ca/outdoorplay.

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Sylvite Cultivates Hope in Local Communities with $30,000 Donation to Food Banks

By Staff

December 19th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

When a $30,000 donation to local food banks is announced – people listen.  This donation represents Sylvite’s third consecutive year helping communities meet the challenges they face.

The donation will be distributed directly to the communities where Sylvite operates. Each branch will select preferred local food banks, guaranteeing that the contribution directly supports neighbors in need.

In 1983, Hugh Loomans, B.S.A. ’76, purchased Sylvite, a fertilizer distribution business focused primarily on agricultural products, from Alex Henry and Don Rutherford OAC ‘51. Today the company has four divisions: agri services for direct to farmer sales; wholesale agricultural supply; transportation and logistic services across North America; and an industrial chemical division. Now Cassandra is shadowing her father in his role as Sylvite President and CEO.

Hugh Loomans, President and CEO of Sylvite, expressed the company’s dedication to making a meaningful impact, sharing, “in our role within the agriculture supply chain, we believe it’s our responsibility to help feed the communities we serve. Supporting the 15 communities where we operate is not just a duty—it’s a privilege. And by doing so, we’re planting seeds for a stronger, more resilient community.”

Sylvite is in the business of transporting, warehousing and distribution for the agriculture supply chain.

Sylvite warehouse on Corporate Drive

“In a year that saw a 40% rise in visits to Hamilton food banks, with an astonishing 34% of users being completely new to the emergency food network, the demand for assistance can’t be ignored,” highlights Radhika Subramanyan, CEO of Hamilton Food Share. “As we observe a growing need to provide for families in Hamilton, contributions like Sylvite’s are essential—they enhance our capacity, allowing us to meet these challenges head-on.”

Emphasizing the vital role of local food banks, Robin Bailey, Executive Director of the Burlington Food Bank, stressed, “As the need for food support continues to rise, it’s essential for local businesses to take action. Even full-time, employed families are grappling with providing the basics. Sylvite’s continued support is rooted in the understanding that every contribution plays a vital role in ensuring food security for those encountering difficulties in our communities.”

Sylvite continues to uphold its commitment to the belief that collaborative efforts are vital for fostering positive change within the communities where we operate.

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Signatures on wine bottles shown to influence Ontario shoppers: Brock research  

By Staff

December 19th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

New research from Brock University’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute indicates a winemaker’s label signature can supercharge sales and impart value to consumers.

And we thought sniffing the wine was how you learned where the value was!

And we thought sniffing the wine was how you learned where the value was!

Brock Professor of Marketing and Consumer Psychology Antonia Mantonakis

Brock Professor of Marketing and Consumer Psychology Antonia Mantonakis and University of Ottawa’s Keri Kettle recently published “Look for the Signature: Using Personal Signatures as Extrinsic Cues Promotes Identity-Congruent Behaviour in the Journal of Business Research.

Understanding that humans use signatures when committing themselves to significant obligations such as marriages or mortgages, Mantonakis and Kettle explored whether that same perceived value is reflected in consumer products boasting a signature.

The researchers conducted a series of seven studies that looked at how adding a personal signature to in-store signage and product labels affects product evaluations and sales, and examined the identities, affiliations, causal relationships and associations (or disassociations) between consumers and products.

“It is an exciting area of study that can be a windfall for businesses, especially winemakers, marketers, advocacy groups and even curious or savvy shoppers,” said Mantonakis. “One of the great factors we found was that businesses needed a strong understanding of their target audiences when making the decision about whether or not to include a signature on their product.”

The studies involved monitoring wine sales that highlighted a winemaker signature and sales of the same bottle of wine without the signature. Results demonstrated the presence of a signature can boost sales as much as 500 per cent if an Ontarian is purchasing an Ontario wine.

Taylor MaGee, of Brock’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute, examines a wine bottle label.

Moreover, bottles of wine with a signature were found to have a higher value in terms of quality compared to the same bottle of wine without a signature.

“The signature has its limits though,” Mantonakis said. “While we might see that a signature on a bottle of Ontario Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA) wine can drive retail sales for local consumers in Ontario and create positive value associations between consumer and product, it won’t happen for everyone, especially those who are travelling here from elsewhere and may not have a shared identity of being ‘from Ontario.’”

The results of the studies help define the relationship between consumers, the value associated with a signature, awareness of product and how a signature can establish or modify value of a product.

“Ultimately, our research indicates the effect of adding personal signatures depends more on the identity of the target consumers rather than the identity of the signer,” Mantonakis said, adding businesses should first consider their audience before introducing a signature to any label.

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Are there ways – other than elections to remove members of a municipal Council? Alberta has figured that out.

By Staff

December 18th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

This article came from Canadian Press release; it was written by Brett McKay, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, St. Albert Gazette

It was spotted by a Burlington Gazette reader who has been following the discussion in our comments section related to the dissatisfaction many have with the current City Council.  Our point here is that community news from our perspective is community being a part of the process.  Our hats are off to the reader who passed this along.

Are there ways – other than elections to remove members of a municipal Council?

The Alberta government dismissed the City of Chestermere’s mayor, half of its councillors, and all three chief administrative officers on Dec. 4. Though rare, the decision wasn’t without precedent. But what exactly does an elected official have to do for the province to step in and remove them?

Alberta Municipal Affairs Minister Ric McIver said in his decision such interventions should be reserved for cases where the public interest isn’t being served and the municipal government isn’t functioning.

In the case of Chestermere, council was dysfunctionally divided. Some felt bullied by the mayor and fellow councillors, councillors irregularly took on administrative tasks, audited financial statements were filed late, and staffers who objected to requests from the mayor or council were reportedly fired, according to a report from a consultant hired by the provincial government.

Burlington City Council minutes before the last Council meeting of the year was adjourned. Look hard for the happy faces.

The “irregular, improper and improvident” behaviour of elected officials that costs them their position often comes down to infighting, conflicts of interest, and shockingly bad decision making. told, 62 employees left the organization during the time the city was under review.

In 1999, the minister of Municipal Affairs fired the entire 10-member council of the Municipal District of McKenzie. The move was called unprecedented at the time, and the minister cited allegations of mismanagement and infighting as reasons for his unusual intervention.

The dismissal of the council followed only four years after council was first granted local autonomy and control over its spending. Prior to 1995, the M.D. of McKenzie had been an improvement district, managed directly by a municipal affairs administrator with a local elected council acting as an advisory board.

Now known as MacKenzie County — “the largest county in Canada” — the sprawling area in Northern Alberta includes La Crete, Fort Vermillion, and Zama City. Once council was handed control over its affairs, regional disputes quickly disrupted the administration.

“Seldom, if ever, can we recall any situation which parallels that which we found in the M.D. of Mackenzie,” a report commissioned by the provincial government concluded.

The report found the council had interfered with administrative decisions, exercised poor leadership, voted in blocs to further one region’s interests, and let ethnic, cultural, and religious differences interfere in decision-making. Members from Mennonite communities in the southern part of the county held half the seats on council, and there were complaints money was disproportionately being spent in the south.

Former councillor Bill Fedeyko told the Edmonton Journal members of the council were paying themselves handsomely to attend meetings, hiked taxes, and unjustifiably fired the director of utilities, leading to a pricey settlement.

The feud’s on Burlington City Council have yet to reach the level of the Hatfields and McCoys – still three years left in their term of office.

“The biggest thing was that council just couldn’t get along. The bickering was so bad it was just like the Hatfields and the McCoys,” he said.

Former municipal affairs minister Danielle Larivee fired three of five Thorhild County councillors in 2016 when they refused to hire a chief administrative officer (CAO) with experience.

Municipal affairs had provided a short list of approved administrators for the county to choose from to fill the CAO position. Council instead hired former Conservative MP Brian Storseth, who Larivee said didn’t have the skills or experience needed to do the job.

Why was the government sending Thorhild County a vetted list of administrators in the first place? The previous CAO hired by council, at cost of $151,000 per year, also had no qualifications or experience, was a friend of two councillors, and was connected to a group lobbying the council.

Poor hiring choices eventually forced the government to intervene but concerns over the performance of council went back years, with 20 per cent of the county’s residents petitioning for an inquiry in 2014.

A government-commissioned inspection of council turned up vitriolic and threatening emails, with councillors challenging each other to “settle conflicts outside.” This infighting also contributed to confusing and, at times, contradictory motions being passed.

The demolition failure at Bateman hasn’t been blamed on a janitor – Ministry of Labour is still investigating.

Before the councillors were removed, government officials had to step in when the contract to demolish a school was given to a county janitor, who planned to dispose of hazardous materials in an open burn-pit.

Not satisfied with how local reporters at the Redwater Review were covering its affairs, council spent $58,000 to bring in the Westlock News.

“Elected officials should not use the power of the public purse as a means to control a free media,” the investigators admonished.

Alberta introduced The Recall Act in 2022, which allows petitioners to recall MLAs, municipal officials, and school trustees. To recall an official, petitioners need to get 40 per cent of eligible voters in a municipality to sign on within 18 months of an election.

The Act was used for the first time this summer in the Village of Ryley to remove Mayor Nik Lee. During Lee’s tenure, the budget 2022 budget jumped from $1.7 million to over $3 million. Lee also charged the village $5,000 for attending meetings in the first two months of 2023.

Lee had previously been removed from council in 2021 after being disqualified for not paying his municipal taxes.

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For unto us a child is born

By Pepper Parr

December 17th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Publishing a greeting, a wishing of good health and good fortune is not uncommon.

Years ago, I saw a float in the Christmas parade that I’ve never forgotten and want to use that picture again to express my greeting to our readers.

We sometimes lose sight of what the Season is about.

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City Council did not end the year on a high note.

By Pepper Parr

December 16th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The last meeting of City Council was a reflection of how the year went – not all that well and at several points no one really knew what was going on and wondering – who is running this gong show.

It was a Council meeting – these are chaired by the Mayor who traditionally wears the Chain of Office. Mayor Meed Ward was wearing red – but no chain of Office – because she wasn’t in the Council Chamber.

The meeting got a late start which was an hour and a half after the scheduled time.

There was one delegation in the Council Chamber – waiting to speak.

About an hour and a quarter after the scheduled 9:30 am start the delegator was taken to a different location on the ground floor of city hall where she would do her delegation virtually – even though she was in the building.

In that hour and a half before the meeting was called to order the A/V technicians were moving from desk to desk around the horse shoe – fiddling with microphones.

Mayor Meed Ward chairing the last 2023 meeting of Council. It did not all that well.

At one point Mayor Meed Ward said there were technical problems.  Councillors Kearns, Stolte and a little later Councillor Galbraith were gathered around a monitor giggling away at something no one else could see.

City Manager Tim Commisso would wander in and out of the Council Chamber.

The meeting was eventually called to order, the national anthem was played – but we couldn’t hear the music.

When the delegator had completed her delegation she returned to the Council Chamber – except for the Deputy Clerk and the Committee Clerk there wasn’t a single person in the Council Chamber.

The City Manager is always in the Chamber when a Council meeting is taking place.

There was no public explanation at the time is as to what was going on.

There have been problems with the software that handles the web cast – it seemed to have problems every meeting.  Quite why the city hasn’t assigned someone to look at the software being used and doing the fixes that are needed is something people can only complain about.

City Council did not end the year on a high note.

Related news story.

Joe Gaetan on using ZOOM

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Gaetan: reports that natural nonverbal cues - gestures and body language - are difficult to interpret during video calls

By Joe Gaetan

December 16th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Joe Gaetan

As I see it, there are two great advantages to zoom meetings. One, you do not have to leave your home. Two, you can avoid the hassle of driving, commuting and parking, and the time taken to and fro, from home to work. The “piece de resistance” to zooming is you can attend in your jammies or take a bathroom break while not missing a thing. Hopefully doing so with both the mic muted and the camera turned off.

However according to a peer reviewed study conducted by Stanford University, zooming for hours- on-end comes with zoom fatigue and psychological consequences. Following are the four causes of zoom fatigue:

1 Excessive Eye Contact. Zoomers experience an unnatural amount of eye contact during zoom meetings as “everyone is looking at everyone all the time”. This is in contrast to traditional meetings where there are different things to focus upon.

2 Constantly Seeing Yourself. While some people may enjoy looking at themselves in the mirror, the study points out that, “it is unnatural to see yourself at all times when speaking to another person”.

3 Reduction Of Mobility. Unless you’re sitting on a treadmill while zooming, zoom calls “unnaturally reduce people’s mobility by forcing them to stay within a certain field of view”. But not, if you zoom-attend with your cell phone. Cell zooming allows you to take a walkabout, or nature break. Hopefully Fido or Felix is not annoyed by you invading their space.

4 Higher Cognitive Load. According to the study, people should be concerned about this as, “natural nonverbal cues such as gestures and body language are difficult to interpret during video calls which means the brain has to work harder to send and receive signals.

Council as the adjourn for the last meeting of 2023 – all by Zoom

Is there a case for zoom calls, YES. Should they be used all the time, NO. Is zooming abused by some organizations or attendees, PROBABLY.

What about elected people, should they zoom, WITHIN REASON, and if they ask you if they can “zoom meet you” when campaigning for your vote.

Source: Search Engine Journal, Matt G Southern Feb 27,2021, www.searchenginejournal.com

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One-bedroom units starting at $499,990 - 70% of condos less than $700K

By Staff

December 15th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Greater Toronto Area isn’t exactly known for being an affordable place to buy a home, and Burlington is no exception. But an upcoming condo development is looking to bring more affordability to the area.

Planned for 490 Plains Road East, NORTHSHORE is a mid-size condo development from National Homes, rising eight storeys in height and bringing 153 new residential units to the Aldershot area. Plains Road has seen a revitalization of sorts in recent years, thanks in large part to its proximity to the GO train and its accessibility to both the waterfront and downtown. But with the average home in Burlington selling for over $1M — and the average condo going for roughly $725K — prices aren’t exactly affordable for many would-be buyers.

Enter: National Homes, who are hopeful that the upcoming NORTHSHORE project can help bridge the gap by offerings one-bedroom units starting at $499,990.

“The demographic research that we did showed, obviously, a lack of supply in the market for more affordable product,” said Jason Pantalone, President and CEO of National Homes. “Over the last 10 years, we’ve been focusing on transit-oriented development at affordable price points, so when we saw this opportunity become available, we were intrigued.”

As is to be expected, prices will vary from unit to unit, depending on size, number of bedrooms, features, and the like, but Pantalone says about 70% of the condos at NORTHSHORE will be less than $700K — markedly below the average Burlington condo price.

Although there’s certainly demand for it, units at this price point are often difficult to pull off, due to high land costs all across the GTA.

“Unless someone has owned the land for a long time and is sitting on land holdings, then yes, I could see it, but to come into the market today and to buy land, and be able to come out of that price point, I think will be challenging,” Pantalone added.

National Homes acquired the Plains Road East property — currently occupied by a one-storey commercial plaza — more than five years ago, when prices were significantly lower than in today’s market. Now with the plans complete for their sleek, modern build, they’re ready to get the ball rolling with pre-construction sales launching in the spring.

Those who do buy at NORTHSHORE will have access to a slew of amenities, including a large fitness room, a party room, a kids’ play area, and a co-working space, to accommodate those who work remotely. Outside, there will be a parkette, and up on the roof, a large terrace overlooking the Burlington Golf Course and Lake Ontario.

“We have unobstructed views to the south, which is going to be beautiful,” Pantalone said.

On the ground floor of the development will be some retail space, which Pantalone says they plan to lease to services that will benefit the building’s residents, like a coffee shop.

With its more accessible prices, Pantalone hopes that NORTHSHORE will be able to provide housing to older homeowners looking to downsize and first-time buyers alike.

“We’re looking at the first-time homebuyer that has lived in Burlington their whole life and doesn’t want to commute or doesn’t want to leave the community that they grew up in, and now has an opportunity to buy at an affordable price.”

 

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Following up on the Strong Mayor Powers used by Mayor Meed Ward

By Pepper Parr

December 16th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

On July 1st of this year the province gave many Mayors the right to use what were called Strong Mayor powers.

A Mayor does not have to use these powers, which are pretty blunt.  To date Mayor Meed Ward has used the powers on 13 occasions. Numbers 4 to 8 are set out below.  Numbers 1 to 3 were published earlier – a link to them is set out below.  Four, five and six have the Mayor passing the bylaws – this is what a City Council does, with Strong Mayor powers a Mayor  can declare a bylaw is passed – the one proviso is that the Mayor must inform the public in writing.

The two decisions that raise concerns are seven and eight.  They turn the Standing Committee structure the city had on its head.

For those involved in what takes place at city hall – pay attention.

Decision # 4

No one saw this coming. What was a victory signal the night Marianne Meed Ward was elected Mayor morphed into something few expected.

Mayoral decision

Under Bill 3, the Strong Mayors, Building Homes Act, 2022, which amended the Municipal Act, 2001, I Marianne Meed Ward, Mayor of the City of Burlington, hereby approve the following by-laws passed at the Burlington City Council meeting of September 26, 2023 in accordance with subsection 284.11(4)(a)(i) of the Municipal Act, 2001:

• All by-laws enacted under Motion to Approve By-laws (Council Agenda item 21)
• Confirmation By-law (Council Agenda Item 22)

Dated at Burlington, this 26th day of September 2023.

Decision # 5

Mayoral decision
Under Bill 3, the Strong Mayors, Building Homes Act, 2022, which amended the Municipal Act, 2001,
I Marianne Meed Ward, Mayor of the City of Burlington, hereby approve the following by-laws passed at the Burlington City Council meeting of October 5, 2023 in accordance
with subsection 284.11(4)(a)(i) of the Municipal Act, 2001:
• All by-laws enacted under Motion to Approve By-laws (NA)
• Confirmation By-law (Council Agenda Item #9)
Dated at Burlington, this 5th day of October 2023.

Decision # 6

Mayoral decision
Under Bill 3, the Strong Mayors, Building Homes Act, 2022, which amended the Municipal Act, 2001,
I Marianne Meed Ward, Mayor of the City of Burlington, hereby approve the following by-laws passed at the Burlington City Council meeting of October 17, 2023 in
accordance with subsection 284.11(4)(a)(i) of the Municipal Act, 2001:
• All by-laws enacted under Motion to Approve By-laws (Council Agenda item #21)
• Confirmation By-law (Council Agenda Item #22)
Dated at Burlington, this 17th day of October 2023.

Decision # 7

Mayoral decision
Under Bill 3, the Strong Mayors, Building Homes Act, 2022, which amended the Municipal Act, 2001,
Effective January 1, 2024, in accordance with subsection 226.6 of the Act, I Marianne Meed Ward, Mayor of the City of Burlington, hereby dissolve the following standing
committees as prescribed in the City’s Procedure By-law no. 31 -2021, as amended:
• Committee of the Whole
• Community Planning , Regulation & Mobility Committee
• Environment, Infrastructure & Community Services Committee
• Corporate Services, Strategy, Risk & Accountability Committee; and

Effective January 1, 2024, in accordance with subsection 226.6 of the Act, I Marianne Meed Ward, Mayor of the City of Burlington, hereby establish a Committee of the Whole
and Budget Committee with functions assigned as follows:

Committee of the Whole
I. Responsibilities
The Committee of the Whole shall be responsible for considering all matters that do not properly fall under the jurisdiction of any other existing Standing
Committees. The Committee of the Whole agendas are divided into the following sections, with a Chair and Vice Chair assigned to each section:

Community Planning, Regulation & Mobility
The Community Planning, Regulation & Mobility section will include matters relating to:

a) Matters under the jurisdiction of Community Planning, Regulation and Mobility including; Community Planning, Building, By-law Compliance, Transit, and Transportation departments;

b) Public hearings pursuant to the Planning Act, RSO 1990, c. P.13, as amended;

c) Matters arising from the following boards and advisory committees:

Aldershot BIA
Burlington Chamber of Commerce
Burlington Downtown Business Association
Burlington Economic Development Corporation (BEDC)
Committee of Adjustment
Heritage Burlington Advisory Committee
Integrated Transportation Advisory Committee (ITAC)
Burlington Cycling Advisory Committee
Burlington Agricultural and Rural Affairs Advisory Committee (BARAAC)
Downtown Parking Advisory Committee
Property Standards Committee

Environment, Infrastructure & Community Services
The Environment, Infrastructure & Community Services section will include matters relating to:

a) Matters under the jurisdiction of the Environment, Infrastructure and
Community Services including; Engineering Services, Recreation,
Community and Culture, Roads, Parks & Forestry, and Fire, Assets and
Sustainability departments;

b) Matters arising from the following boards, committees and advisory committees:

Burlington Accessibility Advisory Committee (BMC)
Burlington Sustainable Development Committee (SOC)
Art Gallery of Burlington Board (AGB)
Burlington Mundialization Committee
Burlington Museums Board
Burlington Performing Arts Centre
Burlington Public Library Board (BPL)
Burlington Seniors’ Advisory Committee {BSAC)
Tourism Burlington

Corporate Services, Strategy, Risk & Accountability
The Corporate Services, Strategy, Risk & Accountability section will include matters relating to:

a) Matters under the jurisdiction of the City Manager’s Office, Office of the City Clerk, Corporate Communications and Engagement, Strategy, Risk
and Accountability, Customer Experience, Finance, Human Resources, Burlington Digital Services, and Corporate Legal Services departments;

b) All public meetings under the Development Charges Act, 1997, S.O. 1997, c. 27;

c) Burlington Strategic Plan and Vision to Focus workplan;

d) Matters arising from the following board and advisory committee:

Burlington Hydro Electric Inc. (SHEi)
Burlington lnclusivity Advisory Committee (BIAC)

II. Composition
The Committee of the Whole shall be comprised of all members of Council.

Ill. Reporting
The Committee of the Whole reports directly to Council.

Budget Committee
I. Responsibilities
The Budget Committee is responsible for hearing public presentations, receiving financial reports from staff, and providing advice to the Mayor on the operating
and capital budgets; and making recommendations to Council on any operating or capital budgets in which the Mayor has a pecuniary interest.

II. Composition
The Budget Committee shall be comprised of all members of Council.

Ill. Reporting
The Budget Committee reports directly to Council.
Dated at Burlington, this 31st day of October 2023.

Decision # 8

Mayoral decision
References: MO-03-22 – Appointments to standing committees, boards , committees, agencies and Deputy Mayors , December 13, 2022 *with changes CL-18-23 – Standing Committee Structure Options, October 17, 2023 Mayoral Decision 07-23 – To establish a Committee of the Whole and Budget Committee

Under Bill 3, the Strong Mayors, Building Homes Act, 2022, which amended the Municipal Act, 2001 (the Act); and Effective January 1, 2024, in accordance with subsection 226.6 of the Act, I Marianne Meed Ward, Mayor of the City of Burlington, hereby appoint the following Councillors as rotating chairs of Committee of the Whole and Budget Committee for remainder of the 2022-2026 Term of Council as established by report MO-03-22: ** Chair changes are bolded, they align the Deputy Mayor of Strategy and Budgets portfolio to the Chair of Budget, with subsequent position changes to ensure equity.

What were Standing Committee chairs are now “section” chairs.

Committee of the Whole
The Mayor shall preside as the Chair for Committee of the Whole for all agenda sections, with rotating Councillors appointed as section chairs and section vice chairs for
Community Planning, Regulation & Mobility Environment, Infrastructure & Community Services and Corporate Services, Strategy , Risk & Accountability regular items.
Committee of the Whole – Community Planning Regulation & Mobility

Committee of the Whole – Corporate Services Strategy Risk & Accountability Regular Agenda

Budget Committee

Dated at Burlington, this 31st day of October 2023.

 

Mayor Meed Ward has decided she is going to do it all.

Relayed news story:
First three Strong Mayor decisions

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Joan Krygsman does Santa Baby - listen to this more than once

By Pepper Parr

December 16th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

A new Christmas classic?

An alternative take on a seasonal classic.

You can decide for yourself.

Joan didn’t do the re-write – it was written for Saturday Night Live, the TV show – she puts her own voice to the words.

Joan Krygsman

My number one local music talent has put a really funny version of Santa Baby out there for all to enjoy.

Treat yourself to hearing Joan Krygsman CLICK HERE

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Canadians will finally adjust to the disappearance of low interest rates in 2024: price appreciation during second half of the year

By Staff

December 15th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

After years of unpredictability, the Canadian housing market may find some sense of normalcy in 2024. And with it, higher prices.

According to Royal LePage’s Market Survey Forecast, the aggregate price of a home in Canada will reach $843,684 in Q4 2024, a 5.5% annual increase. At the same time, the median price of a single-family home will rise 6% year over year to $879,164, while the median price of a condo will jump 5% to $616,140.

The forecast brings home prices back in line with the pandemic peak seen in Q1 2022. However, as the increase will have taken place gradually over nearly three years, it won’t deliver the same affordability shock as 2021’s price run up did.

The majority of the price appreciation will be seen in the second half of 2024 — modest quarterly increases of less than 1% are expected in Q1 and Q2. Meanwhile, quarterly increases of 2.3% and 1.7% are forecast for Q3 and Q4, respectively.

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Trials and tribulations of a City Manager who decides not to seek an extension of contract after getting a $60k raise - figure that one out?

By Pepper Parr

December 15th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

OPINION

There is something just a little odd about how City Manager has been treated by City Council and how he has reacted to decision Council made about the job he does.

Council hires just one person: the City Manager. The City Manager delegates the authority he has to other senior staff members.

Earlier this year Council went into a CLOSED session and did a review of his performance.  The only the public heard was a comment Tim Commisso made about feeling very humble with the way the review went adding that the job of City Manager for Burlington is one of the most satisfying in his career is as a municipal civil servant.

Sometime after the review the public was told that Commisso was being given a salary increase – something in the order of an additional $60,000+ a year.

Tim Commisso accepted an invitation for a cup of coffee with newly elected Mayor Meed Ward and ended up accepting an appointment as interim City Manager that was confirmed by a basically newbie City Council. Councillor Sharman had worked with Commisso in the past.

There was no detail on how this came about.  Did the Mayor invite Tim in for coffee and tell him that he was going to get an additional 60 big ones each year?  Did they send him an email?  Did the Director of Human Resources advise him?

What was very surprising was the announce weeks later from Tim Commisso that he was not going to seek an extension of his contract?

Huh!  He gets a substantial raise and weeks later says he won’t be sticking around for much longer.

What brought about the change of heart?

Both Mayor Meed Ward and City Manager Tim Commisso went native as they danced through the streets of Itabashi in Japan. Somewhere along the way the relationship between the Mayor and the City Manager changed.

Anyone with any senior executive responsibility would look askance at a situation like this.

So far – no one is talking.  In time the real story leaks out and we will pass it along when we get it.

What we can say at this point in time is that this is not a healthy Human Resources situation

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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Just what has the Mayor used her Strong Mayor Powers for?

By Pepper Parr

December 15th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

We knew that the Mayor had Strong Mayor powers (SMP) – they were given to her on July 1st.

What we were not fully aware was just how often she had used them.  The Municipal Act requires that the Mayor publish a notice each time she uses the Strong Mayor power.

To date Mayor Meed Ward has used the SMP 13 times.  We will publish the notice she placed on the city web site.  Mayor Meed Ward makes a point of telling people who many ways she has of communicating with residents.  We get all the photo ops along with her tweets but have yet to see her make public what she has done with the SMP on the several social media accounts she uses.

Decision # 1

Bill 3, the Strong Mayors, Building Homes Act, 2022, received Royal Assent on September 8, 2022, and came into force on November 23, 2022.

This legislation and associated regulations (O. Reg. 530/22 and O. Reg. 580/22) provide the Mayor with additional powers beyond those previously set out in the Municipal Act, 2001.

Under the new legislation, O. Reg 180/23 as of July 1, 2023, the Mayor’s powers include:

  • City Manager Tim Commisso

    The Strong Mayor Powers certainly changed the nature of the relationship between these two.

    Appoint and dismiss the City Manager as well as the head of any division or the head of any other part of the organizational structure (except statutory municipal officers i.e. City Clerk or Deputy, Treasurer or Deputy, Chief Building Officer and Fire Chief); *

  • Determining the organization structure of the City; *
  • Create committees of Council, assign their functions, and appoint the Chairs and Vice Chairs of committees of Council; *
  • Propose the City’s budget subject to Council amendments, a Mayoral veto, and a Council override process;
  • Submit matters for Council’s consideration, or veto by-laws, if the Mayor believes it will advance a prescribed Provincial Priority; and
  • Direct City staff in writing.

*The Mayor may choose to delegate these specific powers and duties.

Decision # 2

Under Bill 3, the Strong Mayors, Building Homes Act, 2022, which amended the

Municipal Act, 2001,

I Marianne Meed Ward, Mayor of the City of Burlington, hereby approve the following by-laws passed at the Burlington City Council meeting of September 14, 2023 in

accordance with subsection 284.11(4)(a)(i) of the Municipal Act, 2001:

  • All by-laws enacted under Motion to Approve By-laws (NA)
  • Confirmation By-law (Council Agenda Item 15)

Dated at Burlington, this 14th day of September 2023.

Decision # 3

Under Bill 3, the Strong Mayors, Building Homes Act, 2022, which amended the

Municipal Act, 2001,

I Marianne Meed Ward, Mayor of the City of Burlington, hereby approve the following by-laws passed at the Burlington City Council meeting of September 14, 2023 in

accordance with subsection 284.11(4)(a)(i) of the Municipal Act, 2001:

  1. While the Mayor cannot dismiss the Treasurer the Strong Mayor powers the Mayor has change the nature of that relationship. Joan Ford advised Council that the budget that was passed was to be her last.

    Prepare a draft City of Burlington 2024 Operating and Capital Budget and Forecast in accordance with the requirements of the Act;

  1. That the CFO provide the Mayor with periodic updates on the 2024 Draft Budget in order that those discussions may inform the budget; and;
  1. The draft budget be provided to each Member of Council and the public no later than October 19, 2023.

Dated at Burlington, this 14th day of September 2023.

The other 10 decisions made by the Mayor will be set out later today.

There is a concern with the specific Act the Mayor is choosing to use.  We need a bit of time to check that out.

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Changes to Ontario alcohol sales a ‘tsunami’ in retail market

By Staff

December 14th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Brock University researcher Dan Malleck said that a significant shift might be on the horizon for alcohol sales in Ontario as a result of the provincial government’s approach to bring the changes into effect by 2026 is as well is as the response from  stakeholders who have the potential to influence the system’s structure.

The Professor of Health Sciences and expert on the history of liquor laws in Canada says there are many factors that will need to be addressed before beer, wine and premixed canned cocktails can be sold in corner stores, gas stations and grocery stores across the province, as announced by the Ontario government Thursday, December 14th.

Dan Malleck, Professor and Chair of Brock’s Department of Health Sciences and Director of the Centre for Canadian Studies.

Rules around the volumes of alcohol that can be sold in different stores will need to be created, as well as guidelines for how staff selling alcohol will be trained. Consultation with communities will also be required to gauge the local desire or tolerance for licensed retailers, says Malleck, Director of Brock’s Centre for Canadian Studies.

“Some municipal councils will probably balk and, as we saw with cannabis retailing, decide to ban certain types of stores,” he says. “We will also likely see a concerted marketing campaign by several groups of stakeholders — from The Beer Store, to retail organizations, to groups with more concern about the potential dangers of expanded sales — in an attempt to affect the final structure of the system that emerges.”

Malleck says the reform is a “tsunami in Ontario’s alcohol market,” but cautions that a lot can change between now and its implementation two years down the road.

“This government may not be in power in 2026, so a new government might have different ideas of liberalization,” he says. “This is what we saw in 1934 when the liquor law was changed to allow drinking in licensed public spaces. Before it could be enacted, a new government came into power and implemented policies that were less liberal than many had expected.”

Malleck says the potential for competition through price adjustment may also be a major concern, with details vague in Thursday’s announcement regarding the regulations through which private retailers will set their pricing.

“If all stores have to charge the same for a product, there may be less interest in the market for smaller players to get involved,” he says. “They won’t have the economies of scale on their side, and in the face of bigger vendors, they may simply not be worth it to open.”

New rules may need to be constructed to intentionally dull the power of the monopoly held by The Beer Store, which will continue to have cost advantages on its side, he says.

The Beer Store will continue to take returns – which gives them a huge market share advantage.

“The Beer Store has the locations, the staff and the skill set to deal with larger volumes, to continue to be the main distributor and to manage things like returns,” he says. “After all, if you still have to go to The Beer Store to return your empties, and it’s right there in front of you, buying from that location may continue to be an attractive option.”

The role and structure of the LCBO will remain the same through the reform, though Malleck says Ontario may see the closure of some storefronts, especially smaller locations near abundant other options.

With high-alcohol spirits, such as vodka and gin, excluded from the 2026 expansion, the changes may be a chance for the LCBO to broaden its offerings of spirits and position itself as a specialty shop, he says, adding Ontario is also likely to see the development of other privately-owned speciality shops focused on wine and beer as the new plan comes into effect.

The reform will mean expansion for some, but not all eligible retail stores, Malleck says.

New requirements for the sale of alcohol may see some supermarkets reduce their offerings, as some have seen the sale of alcohol as more of a problem than a benefit given the restrictions on times of sale, the need for more training of staff and concerns over shoplifting, he says.

Dan Malleck, Professor and Chair of Brock’s Department of Health Sciences and Director of the Centre for Canadian Studies.

 

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City Council meeting calendar for 2024 now available - it is full of surprises

By Pepper Parr

December 14th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The City has released the 2024 city meeting calendar. New in 2024, is the Committee of the Whole standing committee, that considers items from every department, and the introduction of the Pipeline to Permit standing committee.

Mayor Meed Ward has issued 13 decisions using her Strong Mayor Powers

This new committee will focus on tracking growth, issues, and continuous improvement opportunities for the development approval process within the City of Burlington.

The Committee of the Whole was established through Mayoral Decision 07-2023. This was the Mayor using the Strong Mayor powers she was given July 1st.  To date she has made 13 decisions.

It will replace the existing Standing Committees

Corporate Services, Strategy, Risk and Accountability (CSSRA),

Community Planning, Regulation and Mobility (CPRM) and

Environment, Infrastructure and Community Services (EICS).

This new structure will make meetings more flexible and efficient by allowing the standing committee to transition directly to the next item of city business. It also creates a shorter committee week with fewer meetings.

City Manager Tim Commisso didn’t quite see it that way

Schedule highlights

During committee weeks each month:

Committee of the Whole committee meetings will take place on Mondays from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Any remaining items will be considered on Tuesdays, beginning at 9:30 a.m.

Pipeline to Permit committee meetings will take place on Thursdays, starting at 9:30 a.m.

City Council meetings will take place on Tuesdays, the week following the committee meetings, starting at 9:30 a.m.

 None of the meetings are scheduled for the evening when it is more convenient for the public.

The city meeting calendar is available online at burlington.ca/meetings.

The agendas for all committee meetings will continue to be published on the City’s website 10 days before the meeting date. Council agendas are published online the Friday before the meeting.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward puts her own spin on why the change.  “Our new, more predictable schedule not only provides clarity and consistency for those following City Council and committee meetings, but also actively encourages public participation in our local government. By streamlining access to crucial information through our new committee structure, we are making it easier for residents to stay informed about the decisions shaping our community.

“The addition of the Committee of the Whole and the Pipeline to Permit standing committees underscores our commitment to continuous improvement, and ensures the development approval process aligns with the needs and aspirations of our growing community.”

Samantha Yew, Deputy City Clerk (who seems to be carrying the Clerk’s work load – no one seems to know just where the Kevin Arjoon, City Clerk is.  Communications tells us that he is still on the payroll.)

“Having a fixed, predictable meeting schedule provides clarity and consistency for everyone who is interested in following the business of City Council. Understanding when Council will convene and when decision making is taking place also helps remove some barriers for the public to participate in their local government.”

No word on who will Chair the meetings, in the past Councillor Bentivegna served as Chair.  Will that train wreck be avoided?

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City Council didn't exactly go out with much of a bang - it was pretty glum looking bunch.

By Pepper Parr

December 14th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Earlier this week City Council held its last meeting for 2023.

For those who love Rube Goldberg – this is how you turn on a light bulb. Council wasn’t as well coordinated when it met for the last time this year.

Getting the meeting “on the air” was a little like a Rube Goldberg effort – nothing seemed to work despite a council that has the words – “We do engaging real good” tattooed on their chests.

At the end of a Council meeting each member gets to make personal comments (limited to three minutes) – which usually amounts to a list of the things going on in their wards. Given the Season we are now in I expected to hear words about family and being together – that kind of stuff.

That is not what happened on Tuesday.

At least two of the Councillors didn’t have a word to say – overall it was sort of a glum way to close out a year. Before the end of the year we will look at what this Council did right and what they really screwed up.

Council during their last meeting of 2023 – Mayor still has a chance to call them out for a Special meeting. Not a lot of happy faces.

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