You can never know too much about Real Estate - the Rocca Sisters want to teach you more

By Staff

January 9th, 2023



Enjoy the gift of Real Estate investing is the way the Rocca Sisters explained a Workshop they are offering anyone interested.

Free as well.

The “sisters” have opened up new offices on Brant Street, right across from Joe Dogs.  They call it their head office – I see it as the house with the pink chimney

Anyone considering investing in Real Estate will want to pay close attention to any advice they can lay their hands on

Register for the Workshops


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MP Karina Gould has an RCMP security detail - in her hometown.

By Staff

January 9th, 2023



Who knew?

During her New Year’s levee, Burlington MP Karina Gould found two demonstrators with a large banner standing in front of her demanding that the federal government not purchase F35 fighter jets.

Demonstrators disrupt MP’s Levee

A group of demonstrators were also outside the Art Gallery protesting the government’s decision to buy 88 of the aircraft.

Gould is reported to have invited the demonstrators a few minutes to make their point – when they decided not to leave the room two men approached the podium to escort them out.

Both were plain clothes RCMP officers

So – Karina Gould gets RCMP protection.  How long has this been going on ?  In Burlington.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward was at the event.  Did she also have a security detail?

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City Manager announces a lifting of the requirement that staff wear masks while working indoors at City Hall

By Staff

January 9th, 2023



A stabilization in reported employee sick time has led to a decision by the City’s senior leadership team to ease and adjust some of the temporary health and safety measures introduced for its employees on Nov. 28, 2022.

City manager Tom Commisso

Effective Jan. 9, 2023, City employees are no longer required to wear a mask in City workplaces. The temporary measure was in place for six weeks and expired on Jan. 8, 2023.

An approximately 44% increase in employee sick time was having a significant impact on the wellness of City staff and service delivery operations.

As of Jan. 9, 2023, this masking requirement is no longer in place.

The leadership team anticipate continued challenges through the winter. Masks continue to be strongly recommended indoors and will continue to be provided to City staff and the public at City facilities.

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That 7% tax increase explained

By Staff

January 9th, 2023



We’ve taken a slightly different approach and are using graphics to tell the budget story.

We are sharing with you the material that will be presented to council today.

The first is a graph showing what tax increases have been and are expected be going forward.

Were the budget numbers for 2023 discussed or debated during the October election? Do you recall an opportunity to talk about tax increases during August and September?

Assessment growth has not been what it has to be. Prior to 2023 the city was not collecting what it should have been collected from the development community. It will rise in 2024 and be where is should have been by 2025 – will the current council get returned at the end of this term with numbers like this?

The Operations campus is a gotta have. The Skyway Community Centre and the Bateman High School “adaptive re-use” are projects the city is going to take on a lot of debt. we note that the Mayor hasn’t said much lately about buying the LaSalle Park property owned by the city of Hamilton.

The significant increase in debt that started in 2022 is going to be with us for a couple of years. We didn’t have this amount of debt in the Goldring years.

Where the money comes from on the left (taxpayers are the source for most of it). How Capital items are paid for. Development charges and Parkland dedication are no longer as certain as they were in the past. Combined those two are higher than the debt that is going to be taken on.

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Right, Wrong and Reading the Room

By Staff

January 9th, 2023



Getting it right and listening to the people that pick up the tab has been a consistent theme during the early days of this year.

Served as a senior executive with IBM and serves with passion as a Lions Club member.

Perry Bowker sent us the following on right and wrong in 2022

Right: The re purposing of the Bateman school. Wrong: the general lack of transparency to questions being asked by the public about the deal.

Right: Rulings by the Integrity Commissioner. Wrong: again, some lack of transparency, especially the perception that the IC itself has a conflict of interest

Net: Doing good work in a challenging environment, but need to find ways to be more forthcoming about details when asked by public and the media, and not hiding behind lawyer’s recommendations – they will always counsel silence.

This isn’t the first time we have heard this.

Earlier in the week Stephen White in commenting on the 7% tax increase that is heading our way urged city council to “learn to read the room”.

Relayed opinion piece

Reading the room

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Are Transparency and Accountability about to take another hit today ?

By Pepper Parr

January 9th, 2023



When the six council members and the Mayor meet they have an agenda that usually runs into the hundreds of pages.

Many of the items on the agenda are run of the mill matters – Staff reports that have to be filed. They are placed on the Consent part of the agenda and frequently don’t get much, if anything, in the way of discussion and are all passed with a single vote.

What gets placed on the Consent agenda is usually determined by the Committee Chair in conjunction with the City Clerk

City Council meeting as a Standing Committee. Ward 3 Councillor Rory Nisan seldom attended live – he chooses to take part virtually

Set out below are the consent agenda items for the meeting that is taking place today.

Consent Items: Reports of a routine nature, which are not expected to require discussion and/or debate.

3.1   2022 municipal election accessibility report (CL-02-23)
This item has attachments.
Receive and file office of the city clerk report CL-02-23 regarding the 2022 municipal election accessibility report attached as Appendix A.

Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program – Transit Stream November 2022 intake (CS-03-23)
Authorize the Mayor and City Clerk to execute the necessary agreements and other related documents or by-laws between the Corporation of the City of Burlington and the Province of Ontario, in relation to the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) – Transit Stream, should our applications be successful, to the satisfaction of the Executive Director of Legal Services and Corporation Counsel.

Mayor Meed Ward celebrating the arrival of a new bus in 2020

Safe Restart Funding Municipal Transit Stream – phase 4 funding This item has attachments.
Authorize the Mayor and City Clerk to execute on behalf of The Corporation of the City of Burlington the transfer payment agreement, and any other ancillary document (s) or amendment(s), between the City of Burlington and the Province of Ontario regarding the Safe Restart Funding Municipal Transit Stream – phase 4 funding, to the satisfaction of the Executive Director of Legal Services and Corporation Counsel.

Senior government funding January status report (CS-05-23)
Authorize the Mayor and City Clerk to execute the necessary agreements and other related documents or by-laws between the City of Burlington and the Government of Canada, in relation to the National Resources of Canada Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program (ZEVIP), to the satisfaction of the Executive Director of Legal Services and Corporation Counsel.

Transforming design and delivery of services – evolution of information technology services (ITS) department – Burlington digital service (BDS) (IT-02-23)

The Gazette dud an article in this – the size of the department is a lot bigger than most of the public expected.  Link:

Receive and file information technology services department report IT-02-23 providing background information for upcoming 2023 budget requests and supporting design and evolving organization initiative.

The Court House that handle Provincial Offence matter for all the Halton Region municipalities.

Halton Court Services 2023 Budget and Business Plan (L-04-23)

Approve the 2023 Halton Court Services (HCS) budget as presented; and

Contribute $50,000 from net revenues to the capital reserve fund during 2023 to ensure that requirements of the Capital Reserve Fund Policy are met; and

Withdraw $69,000 from the capital reserve fund for computer hard/soft replacements for the computer renewal program; and

The city and its partner (the other Regional municipalities) are asking Ministry of the Attorney General for more Justice of Peace appointments and for those appointments to be in a more timely fashion in an effort to provide a solution to the severe lack of judicial resources.

How much of this stuff needs debate?

Any member of Council can ask that an item be taken off the Consent agenda and debated just like all the other agenda items.

Anne Marsden, a regular delegator who isn’t always welcome at city hall. She can be difficult, she is persistent, she can be annoying but the city is better off with her than without her. Know about the role she played in the C-Difficile outbreak that resulted in the death of close to 100 people

Anne Marsden points out that “Past Councils would remove the item from the Consent Agenda as soon as they knew there would be a delegation. This Council refuses to do that which I maintain is contrary to Procedural By-law .”

She was planning to delegate in the 2022 municipal election accessibility report but had not filed a delegation request to the Clerk because she did not yet have information she needed to complete her delegation because information she had requested from various people, including the City Manager and the City Clerk on November 30th, 2022 has not yet been received.

While this council has gotten into the habit of talking the talk when it comes to the matter of delegations – it does not deliver. It is quite prepared to run rough shod over people that ask questions about matter they see as important.

More often than not councillors do not ask questions of the delegations. To be fair there are numerous occasions when there is some very robust back and forth between a delegation and members of council.

Anne Marsden has a passion about accessibility and is concerned that some people were not able to vote due to accessibility issues.

She wanted to delegate but she may not get that opportunity today. She could return and delegate to council later in the month.

Situations like this do not speak well of a council that uses the words accountability and transparency but regularly fails to deliver.

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OPINION: City continues to fund a lot of highly questionable, specious and frankly, wasteful initiatives

By Stephen White

January 9th, 2023



City council begins deliberating on what the tax rate will be for 2023-24 today. They will formally receive the budget book.

Stephen White, who has delegated frequently on financial matters, did some research on what the tax rate will be for other municipalities.

Cambridge, St. Catharines, Oshawa and Peterborough are comparable in size to Burlington. The proposed property tax increases that have been adopted, or in some cases that are being proposed, are as follows:

 St. Catharines = 0.76%
 Oshawa = 2.6%
 Cambridge = 3.93%
 Peterborough = 4%

A starting point of 7% for Burlington is both excessive and unrealistic.

It raises serious questions about the extent to which Burlington City officials actively benchmark key performance indicators with other municipalities.

This City continues to fund a lot of highly questionable, specious and frankly, wasteful initiatives (e.g. rainbow sidewalks, bicycle lanes, art for public property, neighbourhood street festivals, speed bumps, excessive signage, etc.). You cannot expect residents, many of whom are on fixed incomes, to absorb rate increases in the magntiude of 7% when tax revenue is frittered away on this silliness.

If the LGBTQ community wants a rainbow sidewalk let them pay for it. Artists can display their works gratis in public parks without the City having to “foot the bill”. If cyclists want to ride on a public street God bless them and make sure they stick close to the curb. If neighbourhoods want to hold a street festival let them pick up the tab. And most of us can quite easily live without speed bumps every 2 blocks, or ten “no parking” signs within a few hundred feet.

Maintaining this “nanny state” comes at a huge cost, a cost that is increasingly borne by overburdened taxpayers. City Councils in Cambridge, St. Catharines and Oshawa understand that. Hopefully, Burlington’s Council will also finally get the message soon and “read the room”.

When you click on the links below you will be taken to the full budget for each municipality.  Caution – they are long documents

St. Catharines





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Digital services is a big department. Manageable?

By Staff

January 8th, 2023



Chad MacDonald runs the Digital Services department

If you thought the Planning department was growing at a rapid pace, constantly on the look out for new people – take a look at the size of the Digital Services department. 

Roll your cursor over the graphic to enlarge the image.  We are working on getting an application that lets us enlarge more.

Yellow are proposed positions

The city administration is moving as much as they can on to digital platforms which in the long run will make for better sharing of information and the collection of data in a digital format.  Getting to that point is a challenge.




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Arts & Cultural Council of Burlington looking for jurors assist in choosing applicants for Arts And Culture fund for 2023

By Staff

January 8th, 2023



ACCOB has once again been asked to find some interested community ACCOB members to act as jurors and assist the City of Burlington in choosing successful applicants for their Arts And Culture fund for 2023.

ACCOB membership posed for a group picture at Performing Arts Centre

The form to be submitted is set out below. There is an honorarium to be given to the successful juror applicants.


Call for Jurors

 The City of Burlington and the Arts and Culture Council of Burlington (ACCOB) are pleased to announce the creation of the Burlington Arts and Culture Fund (BACF), the objective of which is to provide grants to local arts and culture organizations to foster creativity and enrich how Burlington residents experience and engage with arts and culture.

The ACCOB is formally calling for jury members to adjudicate the artistic elements of the applications for these grants.

Ancilla Ho Young a member of the ACCOB Board

Jury members must be:

  • Arts and culture professionals with high standing in the arts and culture community and representative of a wide range of artistic and cultural disciplines
  • Knowledgeable and experienced with respect to arts and culture organizations and related issues
  • Knowledgeable about the City of Burlington context and the broader arts and culture environment beyond their area of expertise
  • Able to articulate their opinions and work in a group decision‐making environment
  • Reflective of Burlington’s gender, demographic and cultural diversity as much as possible

Jurors will be required to assess applications in accordance with BACF objectives, the application guidelines and the assessment forms provided. All jurors will be compensated.

Jurors must complete the application form (included below) and send it to the Arts and Culture Council of Burlington at by February 1, 2023. Jury members will be selected by February 6 and must meet and choose a chair by February 10, 2023. Jury members must also be available to meet for assessment of grant applications between February 22 and March 3, 2023.


Arts and Culture Council of Burlington Submission Deadline: February 1, 2023



 Contact Phone No.:

Contact Email:

 **A panel of jurors will be selected by February 6, 2023 (for a term of one year) and the jury must select a chair from within the panel by February 10, 2023. Jury members must be available to assess grant applications between February 22 and March 3, 2020.

Councillor Sharman speaking to Angela Paparazzo. Manager of Cultural programs.

Provide a brief description of your professional qualifications (125 words maximum):

Describe your experience with arts and culture organizations and related issues (250 words maximum):

Describe your knowledge of the City of Burlington with respect to arts and culture (100 words maximum):

Please list your experience with group decision‐making projects:

Are you available in the months of February and March to sit on the jury? Circle                    YES   NO

If not selected this year, would you allow your name to stand for selection in future years? Circle                           YES       NO

Curriculum vitae is attached?

Circle                                  YES                              NO

Signature: Date:



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The way wetlands work and why they are protected and where they are now not as protected

By Pepper Parr

January 7th, 2023



So just why are wetlands really important?

The Premier of the province wants to permit building on wetlands and has passed legislation that opens up parts of the province to development in places that were believed to be protected forever for the benefit of future generations, permanently off-limits to urbanization.

Established in 2005, Ontario’s Greenbelt, a swath of land that encircles the Greater Toronto Area, is an aggregation of farmland, river valleys and other natural features.


They are natural and are essential if climate changes are to be effectively managed.

Wetlands are the kidneys of the planet. Wetlands have the wonderful ability to remove pollutants from water, thanks to their luscious vegetation. Cattails, for example, aren’t just good for entertainment with seedy fluff that explodes in the wind. These iconic wetland plants are able to capture excess phosphorus and nitrogen, thereby preventing harmful algal blooms.

Even more amazingly, wetlands are able to get rid of 90% of water-borne pathogens. For us, this is crucial as wetlands recharge groundwater, which 26% of Canadians rely on for drinking water.

Where a natural wetland does not exist some communities are finding ways to create them.

Wetlands are now being constructed as natural infrastructure to clean stormwater. Canada’s largest constructed stormwater treatment wetland is located in Calgary, Alberta and is the size of approximately 150 football fields.

In the spring, wetlands are brimming with waterfowl, blackbirds and shorebirds as they nest and raise their young in the safety of reeds, grasses and stones. Not only is it a sanctuary for migratory and year-round birds, there are also fish species, frogs, turtles, muskrats, minks and beavers that are long-term residents. With deer mice and ground squirrels living in the grasses adjacent to wetlands and fish swimming in open water, this ecosystem is a favourite of osprey, eagles and hawks.

Let’s not forget about the itty bitty creatures that wiggle in wetland waters. Aquatic invertebrates, such as dragonfly nymphs and snails form the base of the wetland food chain and are equally as fascinating as other wetland life.

We know them as broadleaf cattail, bulrush, common bulrush, common cattail, cat-o’-nine-tails, great reedmace, cooper’s reed and cumbungi; their real name is Typha latifolia

Wetlands are masters at carbon sequestration
This process sucks in carbon and stores it in wetland soil. Unlike when a sibling hogs all the crayons, we are happy that wetlands hog carbons because it helps to regulate the climate. But, not all wetlands are equally skilled at holding onto carbon. Peatlands, including fens and bogs, collect ‘peat’ or partially decomposed plants and other organic matter (aka a wack tonne of carbon).

When peatlands are drained for agriculture, forestry or peat harvesting, carbon and nitrogen are released as greenhouse gases in the form of carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide. Approximately 25% of the world’s peatand are in Canada alone, with the Hudson Bay Lowlands as one of the worlds largest peatland systems.

Wetlands act like giant sponges
Another wetland superpower is their ability to act like a giant sponge. When the clouds open up and rain pours down, wetlands are able to absorb excess water. This means that wetlands act as a buffer against flooding. Now imagine the reverse situation. It’s dry and the land is parched, wetlands are able to release water back into the environment. In addition to their spongy talents, wetlands act as a protective barrier from storm surges along coastlines.

So much so that the mouth of Riviere du Nord in northern New Brunswick is being converted back to its natural state as a salt marsh.

Part of the Boardwalk at Point Pelee National Park

If we protect wetlands, it means that we get to enjoy all they have to offer! In the summer, they provide endless entertainment for recreational birders, photographers and casual park users with parades of waterfowl chicks and spats between Canadian geese. The water and wildlife can be explored by gliding through the wetland in canoes and kayaks.

Wetlands welcome family activities like pond-dipping to explore and learn about all the little creatures living in the marsh. In the winter, the frozen waters of wetlands can provide a surface for skating while the snow covered grasses surrounding wetlands provide the perfect opportunity to snowshoe and cross-country ski.

The wetlands are now facing real risk as the result of provincial government legislation.

Parts of the province where the risk becomes very real.

Related news story:

Are police investigating the purchase of are pieces of property. 

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Legitimate and serious concerns are ignored or skilfully deflected with practised “spin” by the current city council

By Blair Smith

January 7th, 2023



I freely admit that problems of transparency and meaningful engagement exist at all levels of the political spectrum and with each political party. However, I think that the case in Burlington provides a particularly disappointing example. First, at the municipal level the citizen’s voice is intended to be most clearly heard.

Marianne Meed Ward at the podium during a city council meeting on April 24th, 2013.

It is the level of government closest to the people and in which local voice is intended to be strongest. There are no political parties (at least formally) and there are no powerless ‘back benchers’, Cabinet and whipped Caucus. There is a Council, duly elected, and a Mayor, first amongst equals and the bell weather of the administration.

Secondly, our current Mayor and much of Council became such on a wave of populist dissatisfaction with a bureaucratic and deaf City Hall. She (and they) promised not only transparency in what the administration did but true empowerment of the citizen in an engaged partnership.

Gary Scobie at the podium on December 5th, 2019. Scobie took a hiatus but did delegate in the middle of September on a development in his neighbourhood.

Not only has this not occurred, but the situation has arguably worsened. Legitimate and serious concerns are ignored or skilfully deflected with practised “spin”; citizen activists, like Tom Muir, the Marsdens or Penny Hersh, are collectively targeted as nuisances and shut off, their voices silenced.

This Council has a duty to hear and represent all Burlington citizens. They have no right, ethical or otherwise, to selectively choose.

These are only my opinions of course – but they are made in a comments section where observations based on fact are posted for contrary opinions to consider and challenge.

Blair Smith and Lynne Crosby delegating before council. The facial expressions tell how well that event went.

Blair Smith a long time resident of Burlington has delegated frequently. He was involved in the 2018 campaign to elect Marianne Meed Ward as Mayor.

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The Wetlands: Is there an issue? Most certainly. Is there a police investigation? Not yet

By Pepper Parr

January 7th, 2023



Is there an issue?

Most certainly.

Is there a police investigation?

Not yet – the Ontario Provincial Police’s anti-rackets branch have begun making calls as they work to determine whether to open an investigation into the Ford government’s plan to allow development in parts of the Greenbelt.

The provincial government’s plan to open up sections of the Greenbelt — a long-protected swath of farmland, forests and wetlands that curves around Lake Ontario — to housing development has generated significant backlash from the public, many of whom want to see environmental protections kept in place.

Questions about the financial implications were raised in November by a joint Toronto Star-Narwhal investigation that found that developers had been buying up parts of the Greenbelt.
In one case, a prominent Ontario development company paid $80 million for two parcels of land that, at the time, could not be built on — only to see that land proposed for development just weeks later. If construction goes ahead, land values could skyrocket.

That’s what is known at this point.

Among the groups that complained — and have now received a call from an investigator — was environmental advocacy group Environmental Defence, which lodged a complaint over what executive director Tim Gray says are concerns that private companies could be making money at the public’s expense.

Wetlands are a critical part of our environment

The provincial government’s plan to open up sections of the Greenbelt — a long-protected swath of farmland, forests and wetlands that curves around Lake Ontario — to housing development has generated significant backlash from the public, many of whom want to see environmental protections kept in place.

Further questions about the financial implications were raised in November by a joint Toronto Star-Narwhal investigation.

The timing of some deals has raised eyebrows over whether developers were tipped off ahead of time — or whether they just made a well-timed bet.

Tim Gray, Executive Director of Environmental Defence said: “There’s no public interest argument for why this is being done,” he said. “But there’s very clearly a private interest benefit occurring here to particular landowners, many of which purchased land since the government has been elected.”

Gray says an investigator told him in December that they’re taking the issue “very seriously.” He said he was told that police have received 13 complaints and are speaking to everyone who sent in detailed letters and beginning to review evidence.

A spokesperson for the Ontario Provincial Police would not confirm that interviews were under way, but said in an emailed statement that the anti-rackets branch “is continuing to review information from complainants to determine if there is any evidence to support an actual investigation.”

Premier Doug Ford’s office did not respond to the Star’s request for comment, but told Global News that the OPP had not yet contacted the government.

In 2018, Ford was recorded privately telling developers that he would open “a big chunk” of the land up for housing should he be elected, calling it “just farmer fields.” But the tape sparked public backlash, prompting Ford to promise he wouldn’t touch the land after all. It’s a pledge he is now going back on.
The plan, officially announced in November, was to remove 7,400 acres from the Greenbelt and add 9,400 elsewhere, though it’s not clear if the new land would have equivalent ecological value.

Ford pitched the plan as a way to ease red-hot housing prices by increasing supply in the Toronto and Hamilton areas, as part of a goal to build 1.5-million homes in the next decade.

That’s an idea that environmentalists such as Gray have pushed back against, arguing that there is sufficient land elsewhere that could be developed, and that keeping what is arguably the province’s biggest natural area is important for food growth and wildlife habitat. Parks Canada has also warned that removing the protected status of some Durham-area land would cause “irreversible damage.”

One more bit of useful information.  The attempt on the part of Doug Ford, in 2019, to have close friend Toronto Police Supt. Ron Taverner chosen to become the new commissioner of the OPP

Premier Doug Ford and Toronto Police Supt. Ron Taverner.

Why does it matter? “The OPP can be called in to investigate provincial politicians.

The idea that the police force needs to be 100 per cent independent of politicians is more than a theoretical concern in Ontario. The OPP investigated top aides to both former Liberal premiers Dalton McGuinty (over deleting government documents about the gas plants scandal) and Kathleen Wynne (over bribery allegations surrounding a byelection race). Doubts would have clearly been cast over those investigations had a longtime friend of either premier been running the OPP at the time.

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Ontario Land Tribunal puts a stop to the re-development of the Waterfront Hotel site

By Pepper Parr

January 6th, 2023



The Ontario Land Tribunal issues an order that puts a halt to the plans to redevelop the Waterfront Hotel site.

What was it all about?

There is a short version and a long version of this story.

Darko Vranich

The short version is that the developer, Burlington 2020 Lakeshore Inc., owned by Vrancorp which is controlled by Darko Vranich.

The owners of the Waterfront Hotel, Vrancor Group Inc., made an application to the city for a change to the Official Plan and a change to the zoning of the property which was on Lakeshore Road at the bottom of Brant Street.

The application was filed (all the relevant dates are set out below in chronological order) on October 22nd, 2021.

The Planning department reviewed the application and sent a report to council saying the application was not complete and therefore should not be approved.

This is where the words “made” and “received “become part of the story.

The City argued that “received” and “made” are different words and that it is impossible for an application to be “made” before it is “received” by a Municipality. The City stated an applicant cannot “make” an application until the Municipality “receives” the materials in support of the application.

And that is where the application ran afoul of the rules.

Because between the date that the development was first filed – and found to be incomplete and the date that a complete application was filed the Minister of Municipal and Housing change a key document – which he had the right to do.

That’s the short version. If you like getting into the weeds – read on.

There are three different levels of government involved in the settling of this issue: The province where the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing has jurisdiction.

The Regional government which is required to have an ROP (Regional Official Plan) that the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing approves.

The city has an Official Plan that must comply with the Regional Plan

Located at the foot pf Brant Street on Lakeshore Road, the two towers would have loomed over Spencer Smith Park.

The development application was submitted by Burlington 2020 Lakeshore Inc. to demolish the existing hotel and restaurant and construct a new mixed- use building in a 2-tower format atop a 5-6 storey podium, with tower heights ranging from 30-35 storeys, and associated underground parking.

The arguments as to whether the application was acceptable were heard by video hearing November 1, 2022 before Ontario Land Tribunal member D. Chipman.  Regional Municipality of Halton, Bridgewater Hospitality Inc. and The Pearle Hotel & Spa Inc. were part of the proceedings

While the OLT hearing began when the city brought before the Tribunal a Notice of Motion dated October 7, 2022 it was the events that took place much earlier that brought things to this point.

This was the Urban Growth Centre boundary in place before the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing moved the boundary closer to the Burlington GO station

Through the motion, the City was seeking a ruling by the Tribunal that an application “made” under the Planning Act is only “made” once all materials required to be filed with the City
The date the Applications are “made” will determine whether the Urban Growth Centre (“UGC”) policies of the Halton OP apply to these Applications.

This was the battle ground – a site labelled as ground zero for Burlington by the developers planning consultant.

The motion is made in the context of the decision of the Minister to approve ROPA 48 with modifications, pursuant to his authority under the Planning Act. The Minister’s Decision moved the UGC in the Halton OP from Downtown Burlington which included the Waterfront Hotel property, to an area centred around the Burlington GO Station, which did not include the Waterfront Hotel property.

The Minister’s Decision included a transition provision, which deems the UGC policies in the Halton OP continue to apply to applications “made” by an applicant on or before the date of the Minister’s Decision, which was November 10, 2021) If the lands that are the subject of the application (Waterfront Hotel) were within the UGC prior to the date of the Minister’s decision. The development application was deemed to be complete on December 17th.

In August 2020, the City requested that the Region adjust the boundary of the Downtown Burlington UGC to generally align with the lands in proximity to the Burlington GO Station.

February 2021 – Region released ROPA 48 for public review. The draft instrument under consideration at that time proposed to shift the Downtown UGC north and remove the Downtown MTSA with no transition provision for existing applications being proposed.

April 28, 2021 – the City attended a pre-consultation meeting with the Applicant to determine the requirements for complete Applications to facilitate the Applicant’s proposed development on the Subject Property.

May 5, 2021 – a pre-consultation package that was provided to the Applicant which identified materials required to file for the Applications to be deemed complete.

June 9, 2021, and June 16, 2021 – public consultation meetings were held.

July 7, 2021 – Halton Council adopted ROPA 48, which introduces 96 amendments to the Halton OP including Strategic Growth Areas, such as UGCs, Major Transit Station Areas (“MTSA”), Regional Nodes and Employment Areas.

October 22, 2021, Developer files application which included the 29 materials, reports, and studies required.  These materials included a Planning and Urban Design Rationale Report, dated October 2021.

October 26, 2021, the Applicant submitted the fees required to be paid to the City in connection with the Applications.

The Urban Growth Centre was moved north – because of the date that decision was made and the date on which the application to redevelop the hotel site was submitted the future growth in the downtown core will not be the same.

November 10, 2021, the Minister approved ROPA 48 with eight (8) modifications, w On

November 10, 2021, the Minister approved ROPA 48 with eight modifications that included the relocation of the UGC from Downtown Burlington to the area centred around the Burlington GO Station which meant the hotel site would no longer be within an UGC or a MTSA..

Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing

The Minister’s Decision was final and not subject to appeal

November 23, 2021 Burlington staff delivered a report recommending that Council deem the Applications incomplete, since certain required information and materials identified in the pre-consultation package had not been provided to the City by the Applicant. These included: (i) a Phase Two Environmental Site Assessment; (ii) a Park Concept Plan; and (iii) an Angular Plane Study.

November 23, 2021 the City notified the Applicant in writing that the Applications had been deemed incomplete on the basis that not all of the information and materials required by the Planning Act and the Burlington OP had been submitted.

December 17, 2021 – The Applicant files the additional information and materials.

December 22, 2021 – Applicant filed a motion with the Tribunal seeking a determination by the Tribunal that the Applications, as filed on October 26, 2021, were made as of that date.

January 18, 2022 – Burlington Council at its meeting of January 18, 2022, deemed the Applications complete as of December 17, 2021

During the hearing Counsel for the City stated that the Applications did not meet the requirements as set out under the Planning Act, prior to the Minister’s approval of Amendment 48 (November 10, 2021). The City stated its position that the Applications, as required by the Planning Act and the Burlington OP were only “made” once all materials been submitted.

The Planning Act and deems that an application is only “made” once it is complete.

City Counsel outlined that this information and material can include, without limitation, the reports, studies and other documents listed in the Burlington OP.

The City submitted that “received” and “made” are different words and that it is impossible for an application to be “made” before it is “received” by a Municipality. The City stated an applicant cannot “make” an application until the Municipality “receives” the materials in support of the application.

It was the City’s position that the Minister’s Decision, made on November 10th, expressly provides that an Official Plan Amendment application is not “received” until all of the information and materials required to be provided to the Municipality are, provided.

Counsel emphasized that the additional information and materials outstanding were provided to Burlington Council through a Planning Report at its meeting of January 18, 2022.
In its decision the Tribunal said: Having been provided a very thorough chronology of the submissions by both the Applicant and the City, the Tribunal prefers the position of the City and in doing so, grants the Motion.

THE TRIBUNAL ORDERS that the Official Plan Amendment and Zoning By-law Amendment applications filed with the City of Burlington by the Applicant Burlington 2020 Lakeshore Inc. with respect to its lands at 2020 Lakeshore Road are hereby deemed to have been made on December 17, 2021, subsequent to the decision dated November 10, 2021, of the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing approving and modifying the Region of Halton Official Plan.

That was it. To proceed with the development Vrancorp would have to file a new application.

Expect the Tribunal decision to be appealed – in the meantime nothing gets built – no shovels in the ground.

But maybe an opportunity to take a deeper look into just how Waterfront Hotel site can best be developed to keep everyone happy.

Related news stories:

Are there other options?

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Canada is now in the electric car business

By Staff

January 5th. 2023



The public got its first look at an all-Canadian electric vehicle that was designed, engineered and built through the joint efforts of our world-class automotive supply sector.

Eastern Canada has a work force that knows how to build cars, the country has the talent needed to design electric cars and, perhaps the most important part is that the country has the minerals needed to make the batteries that will propel the cars.

Not a lot of information at this point other than to say the industry is all in on this effort and tours of the prototypes will be on tour throughout Quebec, Ontario and several sates in America.


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Milton Catholic school teacher arrested on child pornography charges

By Staff

January 5th, 2023



In December 2022, the Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) Internet Child Exploitation Unit (I.C.E.) commenced an investigation into a person that was luring children over the internet.

As a result of this investigation, Justin Zielke (44) of Ancaster was arrested on January 5, 2023, and has been charged with the following:

Justin Zielke (44) of Ancaster

• Possession of Child Pornography (2 counts)
• Distribute Child Pornography
• Make child pornography
• Luring a child (2 counts)

Zielke was held in custody pending a bail hearing.

Zielke has been a teacher at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Elementary School in Milton since 2016. Zielke goes by the name of “Mr Z” to his students and uses various online personas including “Dan Forest”.

Investigators believe that he has been communicating with children from all over the world and that there may be additional victims. A photo of Zielke has been attached to this media release.

Anyone who may have any additional information pertaining to this investigation is asked to contact Detective Todd Martin at 905-465-8983 or Detective Constable Dave Cziraki at 905-465-8984 of the Halton Regional Police Service – Internet Child Exploitation Unit.

Tips can also be submitted anonymously to Crime Stoppers. “See something? Hear something? Know something? Contact Crime Stoppers” at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or through the web at

These investigations have been funded and made possible through a grant from the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services.

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Another scam - this time the scammers use the post office to try and fool you.

By Staff

January 5th, 2023



When there is email that you don’t instantly recognize – look for the address it came from.

In this most recent scam using Canad Post as information that might attract you the address was:

There is no way of knowing who the email came from.  When you see this type of thing – click delete – quickly.

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Resident sees a 'general public distrust in the government, less faith in the rule of law'

By Charles Zach

January 5th, 2023


Mr. Zach is responding to the article on how the Ward 1 Councillor Kelvin Galbraith decided he would not communicate with a constituent

Unfortunately degradation of our democracy process is an old issue that transcends our own City council.

Charles Zach

There was a time in the not too distant past that aspiring politicians righteously ascribed to the precept that they are servants of the people and constituency that elected them and are their to represent their interests and protect the rights of the minority from mob rule.

They were beholden to the constituency to proactively listen to the concerns of the community and keep powerful special interests from hijacking the process.

Now we have radical activists seeking office that only pretend to be politicians who have their own axe to grind at the expense of the people. Coupled with a concentration of political power in the executive, the concept of individual constituent representation has been overshadowed by the will of the executive under the banner of authoritarian collectivism.

Communication with the community is now top down and is no longer an exercise in sincere information gathering but a disingenuous means to validate edicts.

Burlington saw the lowest turn out of eligible voters in the last municipal election because they have lost faith in the democratic process and these activist usurpers.

This translates into a general public distrust in the government, less faith in the rule of law and a greater potential for civil resistance and disobedience. In Burlington, the buck stops at the Mayors desk, who has set the tone for this new age Orwellian governance.

Related news stories:

What city Council is doing to Tom Muir

Muir put facts on the record.

Charles Zach is a born and bred resident of Burlington whose parents came to Canada when Hungary was invaded by the Russian government. They didn’t like what they were seeing then; their son Charles doesn’t like what he sees now.

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Mayor has basically given Councillors license to shut out any constituent

By Pepper Parr

January 4th, 2023



The heart of a community is made up of the people who do things; Work at a Food Bank, visit with people who live by themselves, sit on committees and look for ways to make the city, Burlington, a better place to live.

Some are active politically, they follow what happens at city council; that make a point of offering another point of view.

Look at what Plan B achieved and they aren’t finished; look at what ECoB did during its short life. Look at what BCSI did for the community.

One person did even more.

Tom Muir

Tom Muir delegated at city council for more than two decades. In his time and in his way he moved the needle.

Tom didn’t change very much; he always wrote much more than he should have, he dug into issues and wouldn’t let them go.
What changed was the ethic of the city council we have in place now.

Tom saw a real issue and dug out the information the public should have had before the last municipal election.

When the information he wrestled into the public square got too uncomfortable for his ward councillor Kelvin Galbraith cut him off; told him that the Councillor would not communicate with him anymore.

Tom Muir didn’t harass the Councillor, Galbraith’s personal safety was never at risk. He just kept asking questions. Muir hadn’t talked to Galbraith since the beginning of the pandemic early in 2020.

Informed people in Burlington were stunned when Galbraith wrote Muir saying: ““You will receive no further communications from my office.”

Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

Muir reached out to the Mayor asking if a member of council could do what Galbraith had done and got lip service.

There wasn’t a word heard from any member of Council.

What the Mayor had done was give the members of council a license to refuse to talk to any constituent. In doing so she expunged whatever energy there was left in the community for people who wanted to come forward.

No one was going to challenge council – they saw what was done to Tom Muir. Why bother – no one needs the grief.

Muir has taken the position that “If nobody at City Hall does anything then they have to live with their silence. I do not. KG will do more so it won’t go away.

“None of them have shown any transparency or accountability. They just get away with it – the entire Council is mute.”

Ward 1 Councillor Kelvin Galbraith

In a note to the Gazette Muir said: “You will do what you do, but I am not writing any more unless someone else steps up. By myself I can’t do anymore. I have provided chapter and verse, so I’m done. I just wanted to leave a paper trail record behind.”

Tom Muir may be difficult to work with at times. He has been described as acerbic. He has also been described as very detailed. The city was lucky to have him standing at the podium talking to Council.

There is something very wrong with a community that let’s this kind of thing happen.

We will all eventually pay a price for what this city council has let take place.

Shame is not a strong enough word to describe this lot.

Related news:

The Background

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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Performing Arts Boxing Week Sale worked - very well. Couple of Sold Outs happened

By Staff

January 4th, 2023



It was a new idea – and it worked.

The Performing Arts Centre decided to hold a Boxing Sale Week. It worked

“It not only turned out to be a tremendous success it was  a wonderful way for us to engage with our Patrons over the holidays and for our Patrons to have a discount on seeing a show in the second half of our Season!

Some of the shows we featured in the sale are becoming close to sold out, so check out the EVENTS PAGE and don’t miss out on the shows you want to see this Season before it’s too late!”

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The 36 storey structure at Brant and Lakeshore is a no go at this point. Expect the developer to appeal.

By Pepper Parr

January 4th, 2023



Some good news on the development differences being argued at the Ontario Land Tribunal.

The city won the motion is was seeking at an Ontario Land Tribunal hearing to prevent the redevelopment the Waterfront Hotel site. .

The city won argument at the Ontario Land Tribunal.

Getting to this point was a set of complex legal arguments that we will share with you in the morning.

For the time being – the city won one at the OLT

Expect the developer to appeal the decision.

It was a good solid win. The word “made” was the point on which it all rested.

More this evening.

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