Library Annual Writing Contest, Write Here Write Now, runs May 1 to 31.

By Staff

May 2nd, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Calling all aspiring Burlington writers—embark on a literary adventure and let your creativity soar!

Burlington Public Library’s annual writing contest, Write Here Write Now, runs May 1 to 31. They invite everyone ages 10 and older who lives, works, or attends school in Burlington to unleash their storytelling prowess and enter their creative work.

This year’s theme, “Journeys of Discovery,” offers a boundless array of interpretations. Let your imagination roam freely within the theme, whether you imagine a physical odyssey, delve into an emotional voyage, or explore the realms of self-discovery or new worlds.

Our contest features three exciting categories: short stories, poems, and comics, each judged by age group: 10-12, 13-17, and 18+. Last year, we read nearly 200 entries across these categories, revealing an impressive array of talent in our community.

We are seeking unpublished and original works sparked by your imagination. The entry deadline is Friday, May 31, so mark your calendars and start crafting your masterpieces!

A team of dedicated contest judges will carefully select one winning entry from each age and contest category. The winners will receive a $100 cash prize, along with the admiration of our community for their storytelling achievements.

Visit www.bpl.on.ca/writenow for the contest entry rules and online submission form.

 

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Pickleball enthusiasts want to see a better deal for Parkinson disease victims

By Staff

May  2nd, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The pickleball community is asking their enthusiasts to get ready to “slice through the latest scoop in the world of pickleball in Burlington!”

Two organizations have partnered with Passion for Parkinson’s Foundation to promote pickleball as a fun and effective form of exercise for people with Parkinson’s disease.

The two are: learn2pickle.com and burlingtonpickleball.com

Pickleball is a paddle sport that combines elements of badminton, tennis, and table tennis. It is a great way to get exercise, improve hand-eye coordination, and socialize with others. Studies have shown that pickleball can be beneficial for people with Parkinson’s disease, helping to improve balance, coordination, and overall well-being.

Through this partnership, we will be offering a variety of initiatives, including:

·        FREE Pickleball classes for people with Parkinson’s disease

·        Educational workshops on the benefits of pickleball for Parkinson’s

·        Fundraising events to support Passion for Parkinson’s Foundation

We believe that together, we can make a difference in the lives of people with Parkinson’s disease.

CLASSES ARE HELD AT
TANSLEY WOODS
COMMUNITY CENTRE
STARTING MAY 4TH
(2:00-4:00)

For more information please make sure to visit http://www.passionforparkinsons.org/ and see what you can do, how you can get involved OR to sign up for FREE pickleball class by clicking the button below!

“We’re incredibly excited about this partnership and the positive impact it will have on our community in Burlington. Join us in playing pickleball for a purpose and help us support the Passion for Parkinson’s Foundation. ”

This part of the report comes from the people who organize the events:

City notice at Ireland Park

Ireland Park fiasco. Last year the city finally agreed to implement a ‘pilot program’ for pickleball, where the courts had a schedule.

This year, the city had decided to discontinue the pilot program. Why? It was working. It was working extremely well. We all know that anything new; as this pilot program would never be a smooth sailing and there would be wrinkles.

To everyone’s knowledge there were 2 instances where residents were not happy about this change and have filed a complaint with the City. We would hate to think that based on those two complaints it was enough for the City to discontinue the program instead of making it permanent.

The FIRST complaint came from a resident because when they showed up to play tennis, they were told to wait until pickleball hours were done and then were showed the ‘NOTICE’ board.

The SECOND complaint came from a small group of residents/pickleball players because when they showed up, during that morning there was a friendly tournament that took place between the lovely City to our east (Oakville). However, and without any hesitation those residents/players were given a preferred court of their choosing so they can play their games. Not to mention, they were happily offered to use the net that was already set up. We guess that was enough for them to file a complaint with the City.

In the last 3 weeks, we’ve sent out a short questionnaire that was further passed on to pickleball players and the ask was to further pass it on to anyone they knew that plays tennis.

The questionnaire had TWO (2) questions:
1.) Did the ‘pilot program’ – having dedicated pickleball hours at Ireland Park worked?
2.) Would you want this permanently implemented or removed.
– additional comment

We’ve received over 1,100 emails and the results were as follows:
1.) 93% – YES
2.) 96% – YES (permanent)

Most comments were; Leave it as permanent as now most players are aware of the court schedule.

Latest response from the City didn’t necessarily answer as to why the pilot program was discontinued, but had mention that there are 6 dedicated pickleball courts that are being added – 2 at Leighland Park (currently open for play) and 4 more at Palmer Park (completion of the courts is sometime in June/July).

Great and we are super thankful. However, since last fall when the courts closed for the season, I can only speculate that pickleball has grown 10+ -fold and there are ‘THAT’ many more pickleball players. If you know of any tennis players, please ask them as well and see what they say.

You can always chime in and remind them that Brant Hills courts, Millcroft courts and Sycamore Park courts are dedicated to tennis only courts AND there is an additional tennis court at Leighland Park as well. How all this makes sense, we’ll never know.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on this and if you’re up for it, please feel free to send the City an email and maybe they will tell you a true reason for discontinuing the pilot program. Here are their contacts:

Denise Beard –  Denise.Beard@burlington.ca
Rebecca Holmes – Rebecca.Holmes@burlington.ca

 

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By-election taking place in Milton today

By Pepper Parr

May 2nd, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Today is by-election day for people who live in the Milton riding.

The northern part of Burlington are within the Milton boundary.

Elections are important; the people you elect determine the kind of province we will have.  There are very clear choices.

Make your choice and your voice matter.

There are four candidate running for the seat: Galen Naidoo Harris, Zee Hamid,  Katherine Cirlincione and Kyle Hutton.

Galen Naidoo Harris (Ontario Liberal)

Zee Hamid (PC)

Katherine Cirlincione (Ontario NDP)

Kyle Hutton (Ontario Greens)

 

 

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Pam Damoff, MP for Oakville North Burlington announced today that she will not be seeking re-election

By Pepper Parr

May 1, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Pam Damoff, MP for Oakville North Burlington announced today that”

Even great chapters come to an end, and it is time for this chapter of my career to end.

Pam Damoff at her best. She wanted to serve and now finds that the environment in the House is such that she can’t.

I will not be seeking re-election in the next election. While I know that I still have something to offer Canada, Ontario and my community, the hyper-partisan nature of politics today is not the environment that I see myself serving in. I continue to believe in public service and the power of each of us to make a positive difference in the lives of others.

I don’t know yet what the next chapter will be for me, but I do know that it will be in a role that will make a difference in the lives of others, as I have always striven to do. Sadly, I feel politics is no longer the best venue for me to do that in.

The current tone of politics, the drive for social media clips and likes, and the lack of respectful dialogue have drastically changed how we interact in parliament and in public. The tone and tenor of public discourse has deteriorated significantly, and I fear the loss of trust in public institutions we are seeing that is driven by misinformation and lies being spread by politicians and on social media.

Being a Member of Parliament these days is a different job – not one Pam Damoff was cut out for.

Unfortunately, the toxic drive for social media likes and clips among elected officials has hindered constructive conversations, exacerbated differences between us, and diminished our capacity to show empathy towards each other. The threats and misogyny I have experienced as a Member of Parliament are such that I often fear going out in public, and that is not a sustainable or healthy way to live.

Quite simply, politics is no longer for me and so it is time for me to turn the page on this chapter. Until the next election occurs, I will continue to represent Oakville North–Burlington and my office will continue to assist those in our community.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A little more detail on the Mayor's Speaker Series; first one to take place on the 27th

By Staff

May 1st, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

 

In a tweet the Mayor sent out we learn the following:

My new Mayor’s Speaker Series ‘Innovation to Action’ officially launches on May 27 as I and Councillor Kelvin Galbraith co-present the inaugural event featuring renowned urban planner Jennifer Keesmaat and a discussion on housing, community development and growth. The free event includes a trade show at 6 p.m., followed by the keynote speaker at 7 p.m.

Registration at BPAC is required. Learn more & register at: https://mariannemeedward.ca/inaugural-mayors-speakers-series-innovation-to-action-event-featuring-keynote-speaker-jennifer-keesmaat/

Deputy Mayor Shawna Stolte was originally scheduled to be the co-presenter but she announced that:

Ward 4 Councillor and Deputy Mayor Shawna Stolte.

“After deep consideration, I have concluded that Mayor Meed Ward and I have fundamental differences in how we choose to communicate critical information with the public and I have decided to resign my participation in the Mayor’s Speakers Series and resume my focus, time and efforts on planning for these smaller, interactive “ward by ward” resident meetings across the City.

That Trade Show.  The understanding the Gazette has is that the table space is being rented.

Who is doing the selling.  Staff?  Which staff?

Any word on the price per table?

One Gazette reader thought the speaker fee for Keesmaat would be in the range of $10,000 to $20,000 – that struck us as a little steep ut he was right.  The Mayor may have bitten off more than she can chew on this one.

This event has the look of a train wreck in the making.

The Mayor had to scramble to get City council to endorse the event.

Related news:

Stolte pulls out of the first Mayor’s Speakers Series. 

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New electricity rate proposed for EV chargers: 150,000 electric vehicles now on Ontario roads

By Staff

May 1st, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Ontario Exploring Options to Reduce Electricity Rates for Public EV Chargers.  New electricity rate would help get chargers built in more communities across the province

Ontario’s Minister of Energy, Todd Smith, has asked the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) to explore options for an Electric Vehicle Charger Discount Electricity Rate as the province continues to support the adoption of electric vehicles (EV). A new rate would reduce the cost of electricity for public EV chargers in areas where demand for the service is only beginning to emerge, making charging infrastructure more economical in more communities and giving Ontario drivers the confidence they need to transition to electric vehicles.

“With more than 150,000 electric vehicles already on the roads in Ontario, we’re continuing to look at new ways to increase the number of public chargers – including reducing electricity rates for chargers in areas where electric vehicle usage is just beginning to emerge,” said Minister Smith. “This is another step we are taking to give drivers in every part of our province, including rural Ontario, the confidence to transition to electric vehicles, and take advantage of our growing, world-class clean grid.”

The new normal for parking lots. Another place to spend

Under existing rules, public EV charging stations in areas with low EV adoption rates can be expensive to operate as they experience sharp peaks in demand when an EV is charged, but they still incur costs when they are not used for most of the day. Electric vehicle charging stations predicted to have low utilization are either not built or operate at a loss, giving rise to charging accessibility concerns.

A new electricity rate would support electric vehicle adoption across the province by reducing the electricity costs for charging infrastructure where demand is only beginning to emerge, making them more economical. Starting this month, the Ontario Energy Board will conduct public consultations on a new Electric Vehicle Charger Discount Rate with the intent of making the new rate available to public EV charging providers by January 1, 2026.

“We’re making it easier to own an EV by filling gaps in public charging infrastructure,” said Prabmeet Sarkaria, Minister of Transportation. “Today’s announcement highlights important work to support EV uptake outside of large urban centres and transition Ontario to a sustainable, low-carbon transportation system.”

This initiative is part of the government’s larger plan to support the adoption of electric vehicles and make EV charging infrastructure more accessible, which includes:

      • The EV ChargeON program – a $91 million investment to support the installation of public EV chargers outside of Ontario’s large urban centres, including at community hubs, Ontario’s highway rest areas, carpool parking lots and Ontario Parks.
      • The new Ultra-Low Overnight price plan, which allows customers who use more electricity at night, including those charging their EV, to save up to $90 per year by shifting demand to the ultra-low overnight rate period when province wide electricity demand is lower.
      • Making it more convenient for electric vehicle owners to travel the province with EV fast chargers now installed at all 20 renovated EnRoute stations along the province’s busiest highways, the 400 and 401.

“With $43 billion in new electric vehicle and EV battery manufacturing investments in Ontario’s auto sector over the last several years, our government is working to improve access to public charging infrastructure to support drivers who are making the transition to electric vehicles,” said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. “Making electricity rates more affordable, especially in areas with emerging EV demand will be integral as we continue to build a fully integrated end-to-end EV supply chain across our province.”

Fast EV charging stations at EnRoute stops on 400 level highways.

The initiative also builds on the government’s Driving Prosperity: The Future of Ontario’s Automotive Sector plan to create a domestic EV battery ecosystem in the province and position Ontario as a North American automotive innovation hub by working to support the continued transition to electric, low carbon, connected and autonomous vehicles.

“This rate aims to fairly allocate costs and better support the efficient integration of EVs in Ontario,” said Susanna Zagar, CEO of the OEB. “This is another way the OEB is enabling and advancing Ontario’s clean energy advantage. We look forward to hearing from electricity distributors, EV charging service providers and other stakeholders to inform this work as we strive to solve energy challenges effectively and meet the demands of the energy transition.”

Quick Facts

  • The new retail transmission service rate, if approved, would be available to public EV charging stations with low utilization, between 50kW and 4,999 kW.
  • If approved by the Ontario Energy Board, local distribution companies would begin offering the rate to public EV charging providers beginning January 1, 2026.
  • As of March 2024, there are more than 150,000 EVs registered in Ontario, including both battery-electric vehicles (BEV) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV). By 2030, there are expected to be more than one million EVs on the road in Ontario.

 

 

 

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More about the re-development of the Waterfront Hotel

By Pepper Parr

May 1, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

 

There are several sides on the Waterfront Hotel redevelopment.

Darko Vranich owner of the property wants to put up two tall, very tall – they will be the tallest in the city – if this development is approved.

The two towers are further apart in the most recent proposal and the bridge between the two towers is no longer part of the plan

The key issues that David Bronskill, representing the Waterfront Hotel, stated he believed the issues relevant to this hearing are:

– History of the project

Different views of the development as seen from different points in the city.

– Height

– Urban structure

– Parkland dedication

 

Chris Barnett, representing the City of Burlington stated the key issues are:

– Lake and Spencer Park accessibility and interface

– Over intensification – height and scale

– ROPA 48 – removal of UGC/MTSA

– Urban  structure – recognizing the “secondary regional node” designated status by the Halton region

The entrance to the Pearle Hotel will be across the street from the hotel that is to be part of the redeveloped Waterfront Hotel site. The entrance to the garage for both hotels and the residential units is also on Elizabeth street.

Ira Keegan, representing the Pearle Hotel, located to the immediate east of the Waterfront Hotel, said the issues were:

– impact on the views to the Pearle hotel

– vehicle access to the Pearle hotel

The entrance to the hotel portion of the development and vehicle entrance to the garage will be on Elizabeth Street directly across from the Pearle Hotel.

The level at which the Gazette can report on this critical and important matter might be limited by Ontario Tribunal rules.  We are following up on that.

 

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Summer employment opportunity - Volunteer & Community Engagement Officer

By Staff

April 30th, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Community Development Halton (CDH) is a non-profit organization committed to building a society in which diversity, equity, and social and economic justice are central to all aspects of our lives. CDH is made up of two pillar services: Social Planning and Research and Volunteer Halton.

Volunteer Halton is a flagship program of CDH with a focus on increasing public access to meaningful volunteer opportunities for all residents across Halton Region. Volunteer Halton is seeking a dynamic and creative post-secondary student with a passion for community development, digital promotion, and member engagement for the position of Volunteer & Community Engagement Officer for an 8-week term in Summer 2024.

The Volunteer & Community Engagement Officer will focus on launching the Volunteer Ambassador program, collecting data on outreach engagement and member organizations, and helping to promote volunteerism in Halton.

Specific Responsibilities

The Volunteer & Community Engagement Officer will be responsible for the following activities:

  • Volunteer Ambassador Program
    • Assist with recruiting, screening, and onboarding volunteers to
    • Participate in volunteer training
    • Secure locations to host volunteer information sessions and volunteer fairs across Halton Region.
  • Member Engagement
    • Connect with current nonprofit members via telephone or video call to confirm contact information and understand key challenges, documenting same.
    • Connect with current nonprofit members to understand key challenges, documenting
    • Assist with volunteer database management to confirm contacts, up-date files, mailing lists, etc.
  • Support volunteer-seekers in exploring opportunities using Volunteer Connector
  • Communications and Digital Promotion
      • Promoting recruitment needs of member organizations, connecting with volunteer- seekers, and promoting membership with CDH/Volunteer Halton via social media.
      • Assist volunteer-engaging organizations post and promote opportunities on Volunteer
      • Contribute content for monthly VIEWPOINT

    Requirements

  • Enrolled in post-secondary education currently or for the Fall 2024 semester; focus on volunteer engagement or community development preferred.
  • An ability to provide quality customer
  • Effective problem-solving with the ability to
  • Database/data entry experience an
  • Good verbal and written communication and interpersonal skills to foster strong and long- lasting relationships with member organizations, volunteer-seekers, and the public.
  • Ability to work in a hybrid model; combination of in-person and remote
  • Access to a car or reliable transportation
  • Able to work independently and as part of a
  • A passion for collaborating with
  • A professional, enthusiastic, flexible, and energetic demeanour. Benefits
  • Career-related training in nonprofit and volunteer management
  • Access to learning materials
  • Support for skills development in volunteer engagement and Terms
  • Fixed-term contact, 8
      • 35 hours per week, Monday to Friday, the occasional Saturday may be
      • $16.55 per hour plus 4% vacation
      • Start date: May 21, 2024

    Interested candidates should submit their resume and cover letter to the attention of Heather Johnson, Director, Volunteer Halton at volunteer@cdhalton.ca. Applications will be accepted until 2:00pm on Wednesday May 8, 2024.

Since this is a funded position by Canada Summer Job grants, all applicants must be a youth

(Citizen, Permanent resident, or Conventional Refugee) between 15 -30 years of age to qualify.

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RE/MAX report finds Canadian cottage owners choosing to hold on to properties, despite interest rates and affordability concerns

By Pepper Parr

April 30th, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

 

RE/MAX Canada’s 2024 Cottage Trends Report examines market activity in 22  recreational markets nationwide and finds an anticipated 6.8 per rise in recreational property prices for 2024, paired with an increase in sales in 61.9 per cent of markets.

Re/MAX reports that rather than selling-off recreational properties in droves to overcome affordability challenges, Canadians in most recreational markets appear to be holding on to their properties – a trend that’s likely influenced by the desirable quality of life along with the prospect of future returns provided by recreational property ownership.

Their report analyzes the potential impact the recent change in the capital gains tax could have on recreational owners across the country before the June 25 deadline.

Key insights from the report include:

  1. 64 per cent of Canadian cottage owners have decided not to sell this year.
  2. In 61.9 per cent of regions analyzed the number of sales is expected to rise between three per cent and upwards of 50 per cent this year.
  3. 55 per cent of Gen Zs and 57 per cent of Millennials spend more time at their secondary properties than they did before the pandemic due to the added quality of life found in recreational markets, according to a Leger survey commissioned as part of the report,

Christopher Alexander, President, RE/MAX Canada

Christopher Alexander, President, RE/MAX Canada said: “Years of research* have shown that Canadians consistently see value in real estate ownership – both as a necessity and an investment. Those who have already gained a foothold in the recreational property market are determined to hold on to this asset, despite mounting affordability concerns across the country.”

“Even the change to the capital gains tax, that will take effect on June 25, won’t spark a wide-spread flood of new listings and sales by cottage owners trying to get in under the wire given the narrow window,” adds Alexander. “That said, RE/MAX brokers and agents in some regions have reported a recent uptick in listings that may be tied to the new change, it could also prompt some Canadians to have estate planning discussions earlier, so work with an experienced, local real estate agent, who can advise you of current conditions in your given market.”

Recreational property prices expected to rise by 6.8 per cent in 2024

  • 64 per cent of Canadian cottage owners have decided not to sell this year.
  • When it comes to a recreational property purchase, half of Canadians prioritize affordability (46 per cent, up from 43 per cent in 2023), followed by proximity to water (35 per cent), and necessary amenities (27 per cent).
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Milton by-election on Thursday - constituency includes parts of North Burlington

By Pepper Parr

April 30th, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

 

There is a by-election taking place on Thursday in Milton.

Part of the Milton constituency includes north Burlington.

There are four candidate running for the seat: Galen Naidoo Harris, Zee Hamid,  Katherine Cirlincione and Kyle Hutton.

It is going to be a very tight race.  The standing in a Liason poll taken April 23-25 was:

Milton Decided & Leaning:

41% – Galen Naidoo Harris (Ontario Liberal) (+2)

39% – Zee Hamid (PC) (no change)

9% – Katherine Cirlincione* (Ontario NDP) (-1)

5% – Kyle Hutton (Ontario Greens) (no change)

You can vote in person on election day from 9 AM to 9 PM (Eastern Time) at your assigned voting location based on your home address.

  1. When you arrive at a voting location, you will be asked to show your ID to an election official who will check if you are on the voters list.
  2. If you are not on the list, the election official will add you to the voters list and ask you to sign a declaration.

Related news story:

The kaffiyeh is impacting the Milton by-election

 

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The city gets a third constituency - Burlington North—Milton West

By Pepper Parr

April 30th, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

 

There is a new constituency in place for Burlington

Burlington North—Milton West means the city will have:

Oakville North Burlington where Pam Damoff is the MP

Burlington where Karina Gould is the MP

Burlington North – Milton West has yet to be organized

The constituencies are in place for the federal elections.  They do not apply to the provincial by-law election taking place May 2nd.both federal and provincial elections.

Burlington North – Milton West Consists of:

  1. that part of the City of Burlington lying northwesterly of a line described as follows: commencing at the intersection of the southwesterly limit of said city (Kerns Road) and Dundas Street; thence northeasterly along said street to Highway 407; thence southerly along said highway to Guelph Line; thence southeasterly along said line to Upper Middle Road; thence northeasterly along said road to Walkers Line; thence southeasterly along said line to Queen Elizabeth Way (Highway 403); thence northeasterly along Queen Elizabeth Way to the northeasterly limit of said city (Burloak Drive); and
  2. that part of the Town of Milton lying southwesterly of a line described as follows: commencing at the intersection of the southeasterly limit of said town (Lower Base Line West) and Regional Road 25; thence northwesterly along said road, Ontario Street South and Ontario Street North to Steeles Avenue East; thence southwesterly along said avenue to Martin Street; thence northwesterly along said street and Regional Road 25 to the northerly limit of said town (5 Side Road).
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Land Tribunal hearing on Waterfront Hotel redevelopment gets off to a good start

By Pepper Parr

April 30th, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Burlington matters have kept the Ontario Land Tribunal busy.

The Millcroft golf course hearing came to an end; they now wait for a decision.  Each of the two community associations that were parties to the hearing have reported on the experience.

The Millcroft hearing had two members hearing the arguments.  The people who serve as the deciders; will produce a report that will outline the issues and what they decided.  They are referred to as “members”. We will follow up with that later this week.

The Waterfront Hotel site redevelopment hearing is underway. It is scheduled to run through to the middle of May.

Waterfront Hotel today.

Proposed development for the hotel site

An interesting difference with this hearing.  There is just the one member hearing the case and she is not a lawyer.  She is a former planner and has been with the OLT for just over a year; appointed August 9th, 2023.

Sharon L. Dionne is a planning and land development professional with over 30 years of experience, having worked in both planning consulting and in senior roles for Greater Toronto Area (GTA) Builder/Developers. Prior to joining the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT), Ms. Dionne held the position of Vice President, Land Development for a GTA Builder/Developer.

Sharon L. Dionne: Member, Ontario Land Tribunal.

Dionne has a Bachelor of Environmental Studies, Urban and Regional Planning (Honours) from the University of Waterloo a

She is a Registered Professional Planner (RPP), and long standing member of the Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP) and Ontario Professional Planners Institute (OPPI).

Her employment background:

Ballymore Homes for eight years;

Runnymede Development Corporation,  4 years 6 months

TRIBUTE COMMUNITIES, almost two years

Past Chair, Durham Chapter of Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD)

Past Chair, Town of Ajax Committee of Adjustment.

Assuming the development gets approved by the Tribunal, set out below are what the city skyline will look like from different Brant Street locations.  It is far too early to tell how this hearing might decide – the lawyers representing the city did very well on the first day.

 

Plan B, the citizens organizations that follows the plans to re-develop the Waterfront hotel see the planning background and not a legal background as a plus.

Related news story:

Day 1 of the hearing – the city position.

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Lawyer representing city at Waterfront development appeal made it clear what the real issue is

By Pepper Parr

April 29th, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Ontario Land Tribunal has started the 2020 Lakeshore Road development appeal to a city decision to to approve the redevelopment of the Waterfront Hotel.

Many thought the city had put that development proposal behind them when the then Minister of Municipal Affairs agreed that the Urban Growth boundary be moved north which took the re-development of the hotel off the table because it was no longer within the Urban Growth boundary.

Darko Vranich – making a big bet before the Ontario Land Tribunal

Darko Vranich, head of the corporation that owns the property has decided he will put his case to the Tribunal nevertheless.

Chris Barnett representing the city at OLT appeal hearing

Chris Barnett, a lawyer representing the city summed up what the hearing is about when he spoke at length about the Urban Growth Centre – what the boundaries are now and why they were changed.

“There was an indication that it was a major transit station area. And that meant that the greatest height and the greatest density was directed by policy to the downtown area as being an urban growth center and the city

“Over the course of a number of years the city undertook detailed studies for the downtown area to examine where and how the greatest height and density ought to be directed. And the conclusion of that work was that the urban growth center and the major transit station area identification should not be in the downtown, but rather should be further north around the Burlington GO Station. And that’s ultimately the decision that the city made about where its greatest height and density should be focused.

“But of course, that wasn’t the city’s final decision to make.  The city doesn’t have the ability to make those determinations.

“Both the Region of Halton as the upper tier municipality, which at the time and for some weeks to come will continue to have the ability to make decisions on amendments to the city of Burlington official plan as well as the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, which was the approval authority for the Official Plan Amendment, which moved the urban growth center and approved amendments to the regional Official Plan in what’s known as ROPA 48. The Urban Growth Centre boundaries are now in the Burlington GO station in and around that area and no longer in downtown Burlington.

“The application that is appealing a decision which proposed the tallest towers in the city today is on a property that is no longer in an urban growth center or a major transit station area.

“All of the existing towers in the downtown area were approved in the context of a policy that had the urban growth center located in the downtown and that is no longer the case.

“From an urban structure perspective, the policy context for this site at the regional level in that this area is now no longer part of an urban growth center, but it’s called a secondary regional node. The minimum density targets that were associated with being in an urban growth center and a major transit stationary do not apply to secondary regional nodes, which in the overall hierarchy of growth structure in the region is second from the bottom in terms of the hierarchy of growth.

“You’ll hear about that policy context, in the opinion evidence of Adrian Smith, who is a land use planner retained by the city to examine the application after the appeals were filed and to provide his independent analysis and opinion which he will share with the tribunal.

“His conclusion is that the Appeals and the proposal have excessive scale, height and intensity. And it will have inappropriate impacts, including quite crucially, a lack of integration with the surrounding lakefront and park; he’ll give you the full context and reasons for his opinion when he testifies.

“You’ll also hear from Katherine Jay, who is also an independent urban designer who was retained to evaluate the applications and provide her opinion after the appeals were filed on both the urban design and landscape architecture aspects of the proposal. And she will provide her conclusions and opinion that the proposed built form is of a scale and mass that has unacceptable impacts on the park and on the lakefront, as well as other urban design and landscape architecture impacts.

“At the end of the day, this the city is not opposed to and in fact supports intensification on this site, but not at the height, the intensity and the scale that’s proposed in the applications that are before you.

There have been some changes to the design. The bridge at the 5th storey level between th two proposed towers is gone and the structure on the east side has been moved closer to the lake. But the height is still there.

“That changed policy context for downtown Burlington has to have meaning. The studies that were undertaken and the approvals by the region and by the Minister, which shifted location of the focus of growth in Burlington has to have meaning. And what that meaning is will be our submission – that downtown Burlington is no longer the location for the highest degree of intensification. And what’s being proposed with these proposed tallest towers in the city is and will result in unacceptable impacts on Spencer Smith Park and on the downtown area.

“The city will respectfully request that the appeals for the Official Plan and Zoning Bylaw Amendment be dismissed by the tribunal.”

That’s what the 15 day plus hearing is about.  Chris Barnett nailed it in his remarks this first day of the hearing.  Once he had finished everyone else did their best to get as far away from what Barnet put in the table.

The 2020 Lakeshore Road Corporation lost this case back in 2022 when they failed to get necessary documents to city hall in time.

Why Darko Vranich is spending a tonne of money trying to fight what we think is a losing battle is hard to understand.

 

 

 

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LaSalle Park Community Marina and public boat launch opening May 1

By Staff

April 29th, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

 

A sure sign that the seasons have changed.

The LaSalle Park Community Marina and public boat launch opened on May 1.

Boats will be going into the water on the 2nd.

The Marina is also home to the Burlington Sailing and Boating Club and the Burlington Able Sail program.

Through an agreement with the City, the Marina has been operated by the LaSalle Park Marina Association (LPMA) for 43 years.

The City owns the wave break and the Marina.

Another boat hoisted out of the yard in 2012 and into the water as the LaSalle Park Marina opens for another season.

That came about when Mayor Meed Ward proposed that the city pay for the construction of a wave break without which the marina could not operate.

Mayor Meed Ward at the time was the city representative on Burlington Hydro.  That organization is understood to have paid the fees for the training Meed Ward received at the DeGroote campus of McMaster University, that resulted in her having the Chartered Director designation (CDir) behind her name.

The City used $4 million taken from the Hydro Reserve fund to pay for a wave break at the LaSalle Marina. The decision was so egregious that City Manager Tim Commisso said aloud at the time that he would begin looking for ways to group the Reserve funds so that it wasn’t so evident just how much money was kept for extreme situations.

The LaSalle Park Community Association got caught up in the mess pays for the use of the Marina owned by the city.

The Marina is a beautiful location for residents and tourists to launch their boats and enjoy the crisp, cold waters of Lake Ontario and Burlington’s lakefront views. The Marina has 219 serviced docking spaces and is protected by a new floating wave break that was installed in 2020.

The LaSalle Park Marina

The Burlington Sailing and Boating Club and the Burlington Able Sail program offer sailing programs at the Marina. In addition, the City has a public boat launch at the Marina that is protected by the floating wave break.

Lorn Newton, President of LaSalle Park Marina Association said the marina has accommodations for power and sail craft as well as smaller day-use boats on un-serviced docks.

 

 

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Native Species kits for local residents to plant at home: Conservation Halton has three kit types to choose from (full sun, shade & rain)

By Staff

April 28, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

Conservation Halton has curated native species kits for local residents to plant at home. With three kit types to choose from (full sun, shade & rain), growing a native plant garden is low cost, beneficial for pollinators, and enhances your curb appeal. By purchasing a Garden-in-a-Box this spring you can feel good knowing you are helping protect local habitats in our watershed.

Why Garden with Native Plants?
Native plants are adapted to thrive in our local environment and climate. They also:

    • Have beautiful colourful flowers
    • Require little to no watering once established
    • Lower maintenance compared to annual and perennial gardens
    • Provide food and shelter for bees, butterflies, and other insects
    • Help reduce the risk of flooding and erosion

Three types of non-invasive plant to choose from – curated by Conservation Halton

Garden-in-a-Box Kits
Each carefully curated kit is intended to be planted in an area roughly the size of a sheet of plywood (4 feet x 8 feet). The plants will fill out nicely in their second and third year of growth. If you prefer a very full garden, you may consider doubling the number of plants in your space.

How Garden-in-a-Box Works

  1. Purchase your kit
    • Click on the “Order Your Kit” button below to be directed to our sales page
    • Select your kit(s) of choice and the number of kits you wish to purchase
    • Once you’re done shopping, select “Proceed to Checkout”
    • Present your email confirmation on pickup day
  2. Pick up your kit — Saturday, May 25 between 10:00AM and 2:00PM
    • Bring your proof of purchase to Conservation Halton’s Administration Office at 2596 Britannia Road, Burlington, ON L7P 0G3
    • Your kit(s) will be ready for you when you arrive.

To place your order: click HERE

Pick Up Details

Saturday, May 25, 2024
10:00AM – 2:00PM

Conservation Halton Administrative Office
2596 Britannia Road West
Burlington, ON L7P 0G3

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Halton Regional Police add third Deputy: Maher will head up the specialized investigative unit,

By Staff

April 28th, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Region of Halton has added a third deputy police chief.

Deputy Chief of Police. Kevin Maher

Superintendent Kevin Maher was promoted to the role of Deputy Chief of Police.  He has served in a number of front-line positions:  specialized investigative unit, and senior executive leadership positions – most recently as the Superintendent in charge of Regional Investigations.

As one of the Service’s six Critical Incident Commanders, Deputy Chief Maher is responsible for overseeing high-risk incidents in the Region.

The Board approved the new Deputy Chief position last month in response to the growing needs of the Service and community, and considered candidates solely from the HRPS.

Deputy Chief Maher will work with the Police Board, Chief Tanner, Deputy Chief Wilkie, Deputy Chief Hill, and the dedicated members of the Service to ensure the safety and well-being of the Region of Halton.”

Maher began his policing career in 1987 as a Cadet with the Toronto Police Service before joining the Halton Regional Police Service in 1990.

 

 

 

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Public School Board Multi-Year Plan up for review

By Pepper Parr

April 28th, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Halton District School Board (HDSB) is asking students, families, staff and the community to share their thoughts and identify potential priorities for the Board’s 2024-2028 Multi-Year Plan.

Opportunities to share feedback include upcoming Town Halls and an online questionnaire that will be available in the coming weeks.

The Multi-Year Plan (MYP) is the roadmap that guides the Board in creating the conditions for students and staff to thrive. It informs the Board’s decisions and allocation of resources while guiding staff’s collective actions for ongoing improvement over the next four years. View the current 2020-2024 MYP.

Parents, guardians, staff, students and community members are invited to share their thoughts and identify areas of focus for the HDSB’s 2024-2028 MYP by registering to attend one of the upcoming Town Halls through the registration links below.

Town Halls will be held from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. in the following areas:

      • Burlington – Monday, May 6 at Nelson High School (4181 New St, Burlington)
      • Oakville – Tuesday, May 7 at White Oaks Secondary School (1330 Montclair Dr., Oakville)
      • Milton – Thursday, May 9 at Craig Kielburger Secondary School (1151 Ferguson Dr, Milton)
      • Halton Hills – Tuesday, May 14 at Georgetown District High School (70 Guelph St, Georgetown)
      • Virtual – Tuesday, May 28 at hdsb.ca

Amy Collard, Chair of the Halton District School Board.

“As we move through this process, we are guided by our curiosity and drive to build connections,” says Amy Collard, Chair of the Halton District School Board. “Your voice is critical to getting this plan right and setting the direction for the next four years. Collectively, we have the opportunity to give students the best opportunities for success as they embark on their future.”

Curtis Ennis, Director of Education

“We are committed to providing students the best opportunities for success in their future,” says Curtis Ennis, Director of Education for the Halton District School Board. “These sessions provide an opportunity to come together, and consider the potential for our collective future in the HDSB, and build an even stronger HDSB community as we focus on planning for the future together.”

All parents, guardians, students, staff and community members will also have the opportunity to provide input through an online questionnaire that will be shared in the coming weeks.

 

 

 

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The rule against wearing political symbols in the legislative chamber is impacting the Milton by-election

By Pepper Parr

April 27th, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

 

There is a very direct link between the matter of wearing a Palestinian kaffiyeh in the legislature and the by-election taking place in Milton May 2nd.

Premier Ford really wants to hold that seat and fears that if the Speaker of the Legislature insists on enforcing the rule that the black-and-white scarves flout long-standing rules against political symbols in the legislative chamber the Tory candidate could take a political hit.

Speaker Arnott speaking to Sarah Jama about removing the k she is wearing. because it is not permitted in the Legislature.

There are four candidate running for the seat: Galen Naidoo Harris and Progressive Conservative candidate Zee Hamid who served as a Town Councillor for 12 years.

Galen Naidoo Harris wearing the now fashionable Palestinian kaffiyeh

It is going to be a very tight race.  The standing in a Liason poll taken April 23-25 was:

Milton Decided & Leaning:

41% – Galen Naidoo Harris (Ontario Liberal) (+2)

39% – Zee Hamid (PC) (no change)

9% – Katherine Cirlincione* (Ontario NDP) (-1)

5% – Kyle Hutton (Ontario Greens) (no change)

Naidoo Harris is a local resident who has been involved in local issues; his mother Indira Naidoo Harris was once a CBC broadcaster and served as the MPP for Milton and in a Liberal Cabinet.

– Zee Hamid, a former town Councillor for 12 years ran unsuccessfully for the Liberal nomination ahead of the 2015 federal election.

When Parm Gill, the sitting Progressive Conservative MPP for Milton, jumped to the federal Progressive Conservatives Hamid got back into politics hoping he could win a provincial seat.

Local politics is now reacting to the what is taking place in the provincial legislature.

Galen Naidoo Harris knew what to do – he is seen now wearing a kaffiyeh whenever he can.

The sentiment across the country has millions supporting the Muslin community that is being eviscerated by the Israeli Defence Forces who have occupied the enclave since October 7th when Hamas militants crossed the border into Israel, massacred 1200 people and took more than 100 hostages.

Milton has a large Muslim population.

Speaker Ted Arnott gave the order for Sarah Jama, the MPP for Hamilton Centre to leave during Thursday morning’s question period, after an earlier complaint and ruling that the black-and-white scarves flout long-standing rules against political symbols in the legislative chamber.

The sergeant-at-arms spoke to Jama in the legislature and asked her to remove the kaffiyeh, but she refused.

Jama argues that the “ban was arbitrarily put in place,” and that “every party leader has spoken up about how this ban shouldn’t exist.”

She said the kaffiyeh is cultural, but “my job is to be political, and so I will continue to wear this garment.”

later told reporters, adding “every party leader has spoken up about how this ban shouldn’t exist.”

She said the kaffiyeh is cultural, but “my job is to be political, and so I will continue to wear this garment.”

Arnott told reporters that while Jama would not be allowed back in the chamber or to participate in any committees, “there was no way for me to have her removed, short of physical force. I wasn’t prepared to do that.”

Jama uses a mobility scooter.

Jama has said she plans to continue wearing it, warning it would be an “undue escalation” if she were to be forced out.

NDP Leader Marit Stiles called Jama’s removal order “outrageous,” and then approached her in the legislature to offer support.

Stiles said “the government has upheld that ban and they need to do the right thing” and allow the kaffiyeh.

The northern part of Milton is within the Milton constituency boundary.

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Citizen reaches the same conclusion as Eric Stern: Taxes did go up 10.21%

By Pepper Parr

April 27th, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

 

A Gazette reader posted the following comment in the vibrant Comments section of the Gazette.

“Taking good advice from Eric Stern, I simply did the math on my own. Everyone will get the same number: take your 2022 Final Tax Bill, note the amount you paid from Line 1 – that is simply the Burlington municipal tax portion. Then do the same with the 2023 Final Tax Bill. You will find what we all do: Burlington’s portion of your taxes increased 15.59%.

“15.59 is not 4.99. When the Mayor suggests in her convoluted way that the “impact” or whatever other words she uses is a 4.99% increase, when in fact our literal Burlington increase without looking at school board or fire or region, is 15.59% – that’s what I’d call MISINFORMATION.”

Stern provided the following data in his article:

There is a link to the article at the bottom of this news report.

Eric Stern, retired successful business man and long time Burlington resident spoke to Finance department staff to be certain he had the correct information

“And Eric has also pointed out – most recently in a NextDoor group post, that since 2022, Burlington council has raised taxes by 27.4 %.

“Then there’s the extremely non-transparent way, in my opinion deliberately so, in which the budget documents are presented. Front page article in today’s Hamilton Spectator notes Hamilton gets an F grade on a CD Howe Institute Report on Fiscal Transparency by Ontario municipalities. Looking at CD Howe’s report, Burlington isn’t included in their data, but when reading it, they outline what cities with good grades do and what is a failure of presenting clear data. It’s fair to say Burlington would fail spectacularly imo.” http://www.cdhowe.org/public-policy-research/municipal-money-mystery-fiscal-accountability-canadas-cities-2023

Related news story:

Public learns what the tax burden is – different from the impact the Mayor talks about.

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You can assume everyone of these people have a library card: Great competition

By Staff

April 26th, 2024

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Burlington Public Library announces the champions of this year’s Grand Battle of the Books 2024 competition.

Heartfelt congratulations go to both the Junior and Senior Grand Battle victors—both hailing from Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Elementary School!

The Library was captivated by the outstanding enthusiasm, depth of book knowledge, and exemplary team spirit showcased not only by our winning teams but also by their formidable opponents from St. Raphael (Junior) and Holy Rosary (Senior).

Resounding applause is due for all the teams that lit up this year’s Burlington Battle of the Books with their spirited participation.

Senior Teams from Holy Rosary (left) and Sacred Heart of Jesus (right) competing at Burlington Battle of the Books 2024

Here’s a shoutout to the Junior Teams from Ascension, Charles R. Beaudoin, Florence Meares, Holy Rosary, John W. Boich, John T. Tuck, Sacred Heart of Jesus, St. Anne, St. Gabriel, St. Paul, and St. Raphael.

The Senior Teams gave it their all, representing Ascension, Burlington Christian Academy, Charles R. Beaudoin, Florence Meares, Holy Rosary, John W. Boich, John T. Tuck, Sacred Heart of Jesus, and St. Raphael.

This annual event, a tradition since 1986, triumphantly returned after a brief break due to COVID-19. This year, twenty dynamic teams from 12 Burlington schools engaged in a thrilling round-robin literary showdown, showcasing the power of reading and teamwork.

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