Were developers tipped of about the plans to opening more Greenbelt lands for housing.

By Staff

November 30th, 2022



Reproduced from the Toronto Star

Ontario’s embattled Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister, Steve Clark, insisted proper procedures were followed but refused to say “no” when repeatedly asked if developers were tipped to the opening of more Greenbelt lands for housing.

The question from New Democrat MPP Jessica Bell followed an investigation by the Toronto Star and the Narwhal that found eight of the 15 areas of the Greenbelt where development will soon be allowed have been purchased since Premier Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives were elected in 2018.

A growing furor over the controversial plan to build more housing on protected lands prompted Green Leader Mike Schreiner to file a complaint with the provincial integrity commissioner seeking an investigation into the property deals.

“Over half the parcels of land being opened for development in the Greenbelt were purchased after Premier Ford was elected and some of those parcels of land were purchased as recently as September of this year,” Schreiner said.

“This doesn’t pass the smell test … we need to clear the air.”

Schreiner’s complaint came three days after New Democrat MPP Marit Stiles (Davenport) wrote the provincial auditor general requesting a probe of the land deals. Neither the auditor nor integrity commissioner have commented specifically on the requests.

Clark was under pressure in the legislature again Tuesday.

“I asked the minister very clearly three times if they talked to developers in advance and gave them a heads up,” Bell (University-Rosedale), her party’s housing critic, said after the daily question period.

Environmental Defence provides a map showing where the hot spots are.

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Adi Developments to resume building and selling new homes: settlement reached with the Home Construction Regulatory Authority (HCRA)

By Staff

November 30th, 2022



Adi Developments announce today that a settlement of all outstanding regulatory issues has been reached with the HCRA. Tariq Adi, CEO of Adi Developments, said, “We are happy to have this behind us and look forward to completing our existing projects and bringing more high-quality homes and communities to the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area (GTHA) market.”

Adi Developments, a developer with a 15-year record of building successful housing projects in the GTHA, was notified of the HCRA’s intent to revoke Adi’s building and vending licences on August 25th, 2022.  Adi appealed this to the Ontario License Appeal Tribunal.

At the same time, Adi initiated discussions with the HCRA aimed at resolving the issues outside of the appeal process. Today’s announced agreement is the culmination of those discussions.

The settlement encompasses the following key elements:

(i)               The resolution of all issues in the HCRA’s proposal to the satisfaction of all parties.

(ii)              No findings or admissions as to any Adi entity having provided altered or false  information or documents to the HCRA nor as to any Adi   
                  entity having obstructed any HCRA inspection or investigation.

(iii)              An admission by one of the Adi entities, Adi Lakeshore, that it failed to return purchaser deposits within 10 days of cancellation as it was 
                  required to do under its licence and applicable legislation. As a  result, Adi Lakeshore will be levied an administrative penalty of $60,000
                  which will also include an additional approximately $2,500,000 monetary benefit component to be returned to affected purchasers. This   

                  benefit component represents the total amount of interest that Adi Lakeshore had already begun paying to affected purchasers starting in 
                  May 2022.

(iv)            The return of all deposits to affected purchasers, which Adi Lakeshore completed on November 14, 2022.

(v)             Most importantly, all current and future Adi companies licensed by the HCRA can operate as builders/vendors subject only to mutually                           agreed upon  conditions on their licences.

The Nautique: currently under construction

The Lakeshore project at the centre of the HCRA’s action was the first cancellation in Adi’s 15-year history, driven by a dramatic increase in construction costs which seriously jeopardized the project.

“These are unprecedented times for the development industry,” said Tariq Adi.  “We were facing cost escalations in the range of $43M which the project simply could not absorb. As a result, we had to seek additional financing and reconfigure the project in order to be in a position to complete it. Regrettably, however, the situation forced us to cancel purchase agreements, which we hated to do because our customers are the most important part of our business.”

For purchasers who opted to stay with the Lakeshore project, Adi mitigated the impact of the cancellations by allowing them to re-purchase their units at approximately 20% below market prices and crediting them with $10,000 per unit in décor dollar upgrades. The project is currently 85% sold with construction actively underway and going strong.

For purchasers who opted not to enter into a new purchase agreement, Adi, as a gesture of goodwill, began paying them 6% interest on their deposits in May 2022, something Adi did not have to do. This will result in more than $2,500,000 being paid directly to affected purchasers.

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Council corrects a mistake - mumbles an apology and takes 600 Brant off the Heritage Registry.

By Pepper Parr

November 30th, 2022



I was a very short meeting – 27 minutes

And unless we misread the background of the room each member of council was sitting in – there wasn’t one member of Council sitting in the Council Chamber.
Councillors Nisan and Galbraith were reported as absent.

The Special Meeting of council was to: hear a report on the potential demolition of heritage registered properties at 600 Brant Street who had a demolition permit application and a site plan approval application for construction of a new 3-storey office building.

Staff cautiously estimated that 600 Brant Street could be demolished any time after November 29, 2022. Demolition can only be avoided if City Council first consults its municipal heritage committee then issues a notice of intention to designate the properties. Thus the emergency meeting of the Heritage Burlington Advisory Committee (the “HBAC”) and a special Council meeting.

The failure, and it was an abysmal failure on the part of the planning department, was in notifying the owner of the property that there were heritage issues.

That was compounded by the fact that letters sent to the owner of the property were sent via regular mail to an address where there was no one in the house.

The meeting this evening, Tuesday was to clean up the mess.

Unfortunately, no one, except for ward 2 Councillor Kearns offered an apology – she did mumble the words.

The Staff report read: The purpose of this report is to provide Council with analysis, background information and recommendations regarding the potential demolition of heritage registered properties at 600 Brant Street. The owner of 600 Brant Street has submitted a demolition permit application and a site plan approval application for construction of a new 3-storey office building.

Shahab Tabash

Shahab Tabash the business man who owned the property and wanted to demolish the building and build a three storey dental facility delegated to Council saying:

“So dear mayor and councillors. Thanks for having me back to delegate one last time hopefully.

“Tonight, I wanted to be present to ask directly that our property is 600 brain Street, be removed from the Heritage registry as per the recommendations of the Heritage landscape study. That would I assume we’re all in? We’re all holding. That was done on November 17 2020. To the 27th page report that was done since the last time we saw each other in the case of 600 brain does not meet the thresholds to be considered as a heritage site.

“And as you can see in I hope you’ve seen in the report it says quote unquote, based on the available information, it’s determined that 600 Brant Street does not sufficiently meet the criteria contained in the Ontario heritage act. It’s my understanding that the heritage Burlington advisory committee that met last week is also recommending that our property be removed from the Heritage registry.

“I want to speak just quickly about the impact of being placed on a heritage registry and want to speak just quickly about the impact of being placed on heritage registry and of the city’s protocol for doing so. And to drive home. What I hope is an important point. Mayor Mead Ward and the entire council your extraordinary power and your decisions have a very profound effect on local businesses and on local families. And to me it really seemed like that decision of July 2022 to add us to the registry would have would have been better done if the studies would have been done before the designations and as a property owner as someone who’s very diligent and following up and making sure that we met all of the requirements of the city.

“ It was quite shocking to be placed on that list without you know that there’s some debate as to how we were notified or if we were notified, but without any study. And I can’t overstate the extraordinary costs. And sleepless nights that this puts on the local business owners and local families. And Council Chairman wasn’t wrong when at the last Council meeting when he stated that one of the steps of the thing happens especially in the backdrop of a global recession, real estate issues increasing interest rates point in time where local businesses are under extraordinary pressure. Decision to heritage without a study being done is it was extremely stressful.

“And I hope that tonight with the recommendation of the heritage committee and the study that’s been done that you look at removing us from that list. As a local business we really have committed our time and our money and our futures to this and I just hope that in the future that communication can be better. So the local business owners and I understand that I’m a local person, I want appropriate heritage designation. I want appropriate growth. But I think that it could have been done better. I won’t take up too much more of your time. I thank you for the opportunity and I ask that you follow the recommendation of the Heritage Burlington Advisory Committee and the heritage study and removing us from the from the Heritage registry. Thank you for your time.”

The property can now be demolished and replaced with a three story dental facility.

The building located at 600 Brant Street was constructed in 1912, shortly after the subdivision of land in that area from farmland into a residential subdivision. While no known images or descriptions exist from the time the property was constructed, fire insurances plans for the area from 1924 provide details on the residence as it was originally built.

The Burlington Heritage Advisory Committee reported that:

  • The property is not a rare, unique, representative or early example of a style, type, expression, material or construction method
  • The property was dramatically altered between 2009 and 2011, which changed the appearance of the central dormer and making it even less classifiable as a recognizable style
  • Within its historic subdivision, there are better preserved, and more architecturally distinguished examples of residential buildings from the early 20th century
  • It is not associated with any significant historical figures or communities

It is not a landmark and does not stand out in the street.

Council directed Direct the Director of Community Planning to remove the property from the Heritage Register.

In closing the meeting Mayor Meed Ward said:  “I just wanted to again, thank our heritage staff for bringing this forward and allowing us the opportunity to have a fulsome conversation. They one tricky thing with heritage is that once it’s gone, it’s gone. And if we don’t have the opportunity to learn these stories, and determine if there is that cultural or architectural significance, then we can go back to almost like one of those Measure twice, cut once. And I think it’s really important that we somehow find a way to also preserve these incredible stories I found so much value and just learning about the history from this presentation of that particular property and its connection back to apple orchards and who lived there and so while it might not qualify, it still helped to shape our tissue hub.

You know, thank you for going through this process with us. It is the right process. And we thank you very much for your patience and apologize for the stress that might have caused you and your family. We’re always committed to process improvement and we will continue to do our very best to make make the heritage process something that you know our residents are well informed about. And that you know, we can help to standardize and make it a lot easier on our staff so that we can get that out in the right in the right manner. So thank you so much for going through that journey with us. Just wanted to say that I will be supporting the staff recommendation. And thanks again to him for everyone that has worked very hard to bring this into a quick turnaround.

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Mayor appears to be using the air waves to get her points across

By Pepper Parr

November 29th, 2022



An Aldershot resident sent the following email.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

“I was just informed that Mayor Meed Ward was reportedly “ranting” about the complaint, similar to the Spectator Opinion, on CHCH TV last Friday November 25.

“Once again she is using her political influence to involve herself directly in the public media about the conflict of interest complaint. I didn’t see it.

“She is usurping the credibility of the independence, no politics involved, of the Integrity Commissioner process, who knows that she can bury their recommendation report, and already looks to be trying to rig the Council vote before you have even done your investigations and prepared the report.

“I could say more, but I will say that this is looking like a big reason why the province passed conflict of interest laws for politicians, and regulations or whatever they are called, saying that every municipality must have independent Integrity Commissioners to investigate such complaints.

“This situation is a classic example for what can happen when the politicians are left to themselves.”

Related news stories:

The Integrity Commissioner told the Ward 1 councillor what he could and could not do.

What happens when there is a tie vote?

Rants seem to be what the Mayor uses regularly

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Millions of records, a couple dozen hits - Trooper will be on Stage February 23rd - tickets available to non - members December 2.

By Staff

November 29th, 2022



There is a reason for being a member of the Performing Arts Centre. You get to be in the ticket line before most people – and with shows like this – you want to be sure you will be able to get tickets.

It goes like this: millions of records, a couple dozen hits, a Juno Award (Canada’s Grammy) for Band of the Year and ongoing sold-out shows across Canada. Universal Music acknowledges them as “one of Canada’s top five selling bands of all time” and the Vancouver Sun has called them “Canadian rock heroes of the first order … the best performing band in Canada”.

And they are on their way to the Performing Arts Centre.

Thu Feb 23, 2023 at 8pm
Main Theatre
Regular: $79.50 – $99.50 (All-in)
Member: $74.50 – $94.50 (All-in)

“We’re Here for a Good Time (Not a Long Time)”, “Raise a Little Hell”, “The Boys in the Bright White Sportscar”, “Two For the Show”, “Pretty Lady” – just a few of the Trooper hits that, according to writer Ryan Sparks, “have woven their way into the fabric of this country like no other bands have been able to do.
Tune into any radio station from Vancouver to St John’s and you’re bound to encounter one of their dozen hit radio anthems that are still featured in heavy rotation to this day.”

Tickets on sale to BPAC Members only: Wed Nov 30 at 12 noon.
Tickets on sale to General Public: Fri Dec 2 at 12 noon.

Visit our Box Office at:
440 Locust Street,
Burlington, Ontario L7S 1T7

Box Office Hours:
Tuesday to Saturday from 12pm to 4pm, and one hour prior to a performance.

Payment: Cash, Interac/Debit, Credit Card (VISA, MasterCard, AMEX), Gift Certificate.
All ticket sales are final. No refunds or exchanges. Programming subject to change.

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For those who wanted more about the volunteering opportunities - read on

By Staff

November 29th, 2022



A Gazette reader read the piece about the city inviting people to serve as volunteers on boards and committees.

In the story we mentioned there were 18 boards and committees.  We didn’t have the answers at our finger tips and put the request on the “things to try and get done”

Michelle Dwyer, Manager of Engagement and Volunteers: Corporate Communications and Engagement saw the comment and provided us with the following.  Nice to know that Ms Dwyer has such an interest in what we do.  We appreciate all the help you can give us.

Council-appointed advisory committees

The City of Burlington has nine Council-appointed advisory committees that provide feedback and input to Council.

Burlington has always had a small group of citizens who make a point of being involved. In that regard we are fortunate.

Accessibility Advisory Committee
Agricultural and Rural Affairs Advisory Committee
Cycling Advisory Committee
Downtown Parking Advisory Committee
Heritage Burlington Advisory Committee
Inclusivity Advisory Committee
Integrated Transportation Advisory Committee
Seniors’ Advisory Committee
Sustainable Development Advisory Committee


The Office of the City Clerk assists with recruitment to some of the following local boards, while others conduct their own recruitment process:


Art Gallery of Burlington
Burlington Economic Development
Burlington Hydro
Burlington Performing Arts Centre
Burlington Public Library
Conservation Halton

Transit Advisory meeting.  This was a committee that city decided it no longer needed.

Joseph Brant Hospital
Museums of Burlington
Tourism Burlington

Other committees
Committee of Adjustment
Council Remuneration Review Working Group
Greater Bay Area Sub-committee
Joint Compliance Audit Committee

The City of Burlington, the Town of Oakville, the Town of Halton Hills, and the Regional Municipality of Halton have established a Joint Compliance Audit Committee.

Mundialization Committee

If you want to dig a little deeper and learn more about each committee click HERE


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Political wisdom is out there for the taking; several quotations that should be in the reading list of every member of Council

By Pepper Parr

November 28th, 2022



From time to time the Gazette has made reference to several well known quotes.

A favourite is that Lord Acton quote:

Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

A week or so ago I came across another as I was reading my Sunday New York Times.

“Power reveals” Indeed is does.

A third one that strikes more than a chord:

“Politics changes politicians more than it changes society.”

Politics is power, used wisely it can and has brought about change.

Adapting to having power calls for more than the current city council has managed to display.

Few have taken to heart the words of Jim Young who said in a delegation that the power the Councillors had was given to them by those who voted. Young went further, adding that the power every voter has is given to those elected in trust and they are expected to be seen as trust worthy

Burlington 2022 – 2026 City Council. Councillor Stolte did not take part: Covid19 complications

There is still an opportunity for the seven to reflect and consider what they are doing and why.


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When did four Councillors decide to focus on the interests of each other rather than the interests of the people they were elected to serve ?

By Pepper Parr

November 28th, 2022



They did win – we have to give them that.

What we got out of the election exercise is a council where two members, Nisan and Galbraith, took a complaint against a third member, Stolte, to the Integrity Commissioner.

The Commissioner found against Stolte and docked her five days pay.
Then, Kearns “inadvertently”, spoke at a BDBA meeting about what has been budgeted for outside counsel to defend the city’s position on the redevelopment of the Waterfront Hotel site.
Kierans was taking part in a Burlington Downtown Business Association meeting as the council liaison person.

Also taking part were two men who were candidates running against Kearns for the ward 2 council seat.

The Gazette has not been able to get a copy of the BDBA agenda and thus we do not know why the subject of the hotel redevelopment plans were discussed.

We do know that Kearns did say the city was budgeting $500,000 for legal expenses. One of the participants in the ZOOM call asked a question about the funds.  Kearns panicked realizing that there were other people on the call during which she blabbed about how much the city has budgeted for outside counsel ($500,000.)

Knowing she was offside she ran to the city manager to explain the crime she had committed (speaking publicly about matters discussed in closed sessions of council is a Code of Conduct crime.)

She then apparently got herself in front of the Integrity Commissioner to tell her side of the story.

Then, days before the votes are cast for the 2022 municipal election it comes to light that Galbraith (one of the two that fingered Stolte) is himself before the Integrity Commissioner,

Four of the seven members of council have spent some of their time either registering complaints about other members of council or dealing with complaints about their own behavior.

This is what 27% of the population elected on October 24th ?

The story gets better. This is as good as that Energizer bunny – it just doesn’t stop giving.

In the Friday edition of the Hamilton Spectator there was an opinion piece written by Mayor Meed Ward, Councillors Galbraith, Nisan and Sharman taking offence to a column written by Spectator columnist and former city councillor Joan Little.

Quite why Councillor Galbraith having his signature on a letter that relates directly to his issues with the Integrity Commissioner is seen as appropriate is hard to understand. What is very clear is that the Mayor and three Councillors are going to do everything they can to ensure that he remains a city councillor.

It was always my understanding that Councillors were in place to look after the interests of the public and not the interests of each other

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City Looking for Volunteers to Serve on Advisory Committees

By Staff

November 28th, 2022



Burlington Staff member Michelle Dwyer, second from left with Roland Tanner, second from right discussing the role of advisory committee members.

The City of Burlington is looking for community members to volunteer on a city committee or board. These volunteers play a key role in providing advice and feedback to City Council and staff on a variety of city issues. Applications are now being accepted online at burlington.ca/committees until Dec. 19, 2022.

Members of the public over 18 years of age, representing the diverse backgrounds of our community are encouraged to apply. Participating on a city committee provides a unique opportunity to:

Table Talk – an exercise where residents talk to staff about ideas they have.

Lend your voice and expertise to help shape decisions and services that impact our community
Expand your network and meet new people
Gain a broader understanding of how municipal government works.

Attend an information session Dec. 7
Individuals interested in learning more, can attend a virtual information session being held on Wednesday, Dec. 7 at 6:30 p.m. on Zoom. To register, please email clerks@burlington.ca.

The City of Burlington has more than 18 boards and committees that play a key role in providing advice and feedback to City Council and staff on a variety of issues, including heritage, accessibility, diversity and the environment.

Council approved a new Public Appointment Policy in November of 2021.  The new policy provides an outline for the process of public appointments to advisory committees and local boards at the City and introduces provisions for diversity and inclusion. View the new Public Appointment Policy.

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The positions different members of council have taken is a pretty sticky wicket

By Pepper Parr

November 27th, 2022



A reader brought to our attention what might be what the British call a sticky wicket.

A member of Council is the subject of a complaint to the city’s Integrity Commissioner.

In due course the Commissioner will issue a report that will go to Council.

A few days ago four members of Council sent a Letter to the Editor of the Hamilton Spectator complaining about a column that had been written by Joan Little, a long time columnist and a former Burlington city councilor.

The letter that was sent was signed by four members of Council.  It had been presented to all members of council – three chose not to sign it.

Councillors Stolte, Bentivegna and Kearns (on the right) chose not to sign a Letter to the Editor submitted to the Hamilton Spectator

Assuming the feelings and views the different members of council remain the same, when the Integrity Commissioner report goes to council and is voted on, there would be one of those traditional 4-3 votes – except that the Councillor who is the subject of the report, who also signed the letter, would not be able to vote and would have to recuse himself because he is the object of the report – which means there would be a 3-3  vote, which means it fails.

And nothing would be done.

Citizens could ask for a judicial review but that would call for people to come forward and bear the legal costs.

Not likely from a community where less than a third chose to bother to vote.


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Insurrection in Ottawa: Prime Minister explains why he did what he did

By Ray Rivers

November 27th, 2022



It was a rare moment for a prime minister to appear before a judicial commission like the Emergencies Act Inquiry. But Trudeau and his father before him had been the only Canadian Prime Ministers in recent memory to have officially declared a national emergency. Justin’s father used the War Measures Act to quell a powerful separatist insurgency in Quebec.

That Act had only been previously employed during the two great wars. But the government of Quebec had requested this action and Trudeau had received near unanimous support in Parliament. Still, there were objectors and concerns sufficient that the next PM updated and renamed the Act in keeping with Canada’s patriated constitution and the Charter of Rights.

Pierre Trudeau had been fighting a Quebec based separatist insurrection. For Justin it was the western separatists, anti-vaccine/anti-maskers and white supremacists. These insurrectionists referred to themselves as truckers, though they in fact, represented a tiny minority of the Canadian trucking community. And, though the vaccine and masking mandates were their war cries, it was clear that their real issues were political disaffection with current federal policy, energy and efforts to mitigate our carbon footprint, in particular.

Trucks descended on Ottawa from across the country

The convoy leaders had arrived in Ottawa equipped with a manifesto of sorts, demanding the federal government dissolve and allow them to rule the country with the governor general. Though their manifesto was laughable their intent had been to effectively shut down the nation’s capital until the results of the last federal election could be reversed in their favour; that is, a Conservative government.

It is no surprise that the presumptive wannabe leader of the Conservatives, Mr. Poilievre, embraced these folks, posing for selfies and so on. They were ideological birds of a feather, something that has become even more evident after he has been properly crowned opposition leader. One can only wonder how he would have handled the occupation crisis had he been PM. But then the occupiers would have had little reason to paralyze the city were their man in the driving seat.

There was a lot of bitterness and vitriol among the occupiers, whose trucks and placards, carried their main message F*** Trudeau. But why were they so angry? Was it only because of the impatience of the 10% of cross border truckers who had to show their vaccination certificates on the Canadian as well as the US side? Or was it because Canada’s fractious partisan politics had turned cooperation among parliamentary leaders into conflict? And how had mis-information, alternate facts and outright lies folded into creating this unpleasant environment?

In the mind of the PM and his minions the occupation of Ottawa’s streets and the ongoing traffic disruptions at border crossings virtually across the country posed a sufficient threat to pubic order such that he should trigger the Act to resolve it. Everyday policing lacked either or both the tools and leadership to effectively restore and maintain public order. And in the case of Ottawa, ordinary citizens’ lives had effectively been held hostage by the invading occupiers.

A large portion of downtown Ottawa was blocked by trucks from across the country.

aWhile Ottawa police and the OPP had jurisdiction, their failure to act for the several weeks of the occupation left little choice for a federal government. Trudeau was under pressure from the citizens of Ottawa, the business community plagued by the effects of border disruptions and even the President of the United States.

The Emergencies Act mandated an inquiry once it had been actioned. And all eyes were on Justin, the last witness, as he was sworn in and settled into the witness box for almost an entire day of questioning. It was Trudeau who made the final decision to activate the Emergencies Act and he needed to tell his side of the story.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau testifying before Emergency Act inquiry.

Trudeau answered all the questions put to him by both friendly and not so friendly intervenors. The responses were direct and friendly without any trace of rudeness or frustration. In short he defended his decision to invoke the Act without being defensive. He clarified the meaning of a public order emergency in the Act and justified it’s application.

Though a very credible testimony, he did stumble at one point, inadvertently appearing to conflate peaceful protest with occupation, before correcting himself. He explained away his refusal to meet the convoy leaders, in part because it was never clear who the leaders actually were. In any case, he had nothing to offer them and was not prepared to legislate on a public street instead of the halls of Parliament, and under threat of an illegal and potentially violent occupation – it would have set a powerful precedent.

Protesters facing police line at Ottawa convoy

The imposition of the Emergencies Act was sort lived. It compelled tow operators to respond to requests by the police. It froze funding for the insurrection and bank accounts for those supposedly leading the insurrection. Imposition of the Act removed the rights of the occupiers to freely leave the country. And it allowed the police to declare no-go zones so they could clear the riff-raff from the streets.

Most importantly once the streets were cleared of the rubbish, the good people of Ottawa could get back to business as usual. It was hardly a biggie in the overall scheme of life, and the rest of us might not have even noticed its implementation. The rights of the non-occupiers had not been diminished and our peaceful parliamentary democracy has been secured. The threat of insurrection and occupation is not how Canadians choose to settle political differences.

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A majority of Council supports Galbraith; are they attempting to influence the Integrity Commissioner

By Staff

November 26th, 2020



The following is a column written by Joan Little for the Hamilton Spectator.   Following the column is a response from the Mayor of Burlington and three members of Council.  The two pieces are indicative of how messy things are at the city council level

By Joan Little

Burlington hosted a splendid inaugural meeting of the 2022 to 2026 council, re-elected en masse, hitting several highs. Good, especially because voter turnout was so low — 27.6 per cent. I called it the worst in 50 years, forgetting an even worse stretch in 2000 and 2003 at 22.7 and 16.5 respectively. Worth forgetting!

Indigenous leaders played significant roles in the opening meeting. Chief Stacey Laforme, of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, offered opening remarks, and Elder White Eagle Stonefish offered hers.

The City council elected in October 2022. Shawna Stolte was self isolating.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward addressed the audience, which judging from the volume of applause, appeared sparse that cold night. She relayed promises kept, and issues facing council, including climate and budgetary ones, then zeroed in on planning. Burlington, she said, was on target to meet its growth allocations without the appointed OLT (Ontario Land Tribunal) — usually one appointed person — overriding the elected council’s position.

She noted that Halton, other municipalities, and AMO (Association of Municipalities of Ontario) have tried to get the OLT disbanded or curtailed. The province says red tape is slowing housing construction. It is, but the red tape comes from the industry itself.

It totally disregards city standards (ours and others) applying for outrageous exemptions municipal planners decry. Then it appeals, costing cities millions to defend, and delays construction by years because the OLT’s schedule is so backlogged. That, dear readers, is where millions in our local taxes go since Doug Ford took office. There were always appeals, but his rule changes and affinity with developers dramatically escalated them.

In my last column I mentioned conflict of interest, musing that a page listing conflicts would have merit. An astute reader emailed that a page now exists. I also mentioned that a voter was questioning whether Ward 1’s Kelvin Galbraith, who owns developable property, was following all rules on conflict of interest. The citizen will know in a few weeks, having launched a complaint to the City’s (outside) Integrity Commissioner (IC). An IC’s report goes to council, usually with a recommendation, which council can accept or alter.

The response from the four

Regarding ‘No change on Burlington council’ (Oct. 26): We expect more from The Spectator than to simply repeat allegations without attempting to first verify whether they have merit.

In this column, Joan Little repeats an allegation levelled by a constituent about potential violations of Conflict of Interest against recently re-elected Ward 1 Councillor Kelvin Galbraith. The Spectator amplified this allegation in their Tweet.

The councillor sought and received both verbal and written advice from the city’s Integrity Commissioner on the matters raised by the constituent. The councillor followed that advice.

This advice from the IC was provided to the constituent who raised the concern. It was available to Ms. Little had she asked before simply repeating the allegation.

Additionally, the City of Burlington has an online Conflict of Interest Registry which lists every conflict declared by any member of council for the term, including the items raised by the constituent. https://www.burlington.ca/en/council-and-city-administration/conflicts-of-interest-registry.aspx

It is fully transparent, public and easy to find if one simply does their homework. Our clerks is office is also willing to assist in furnishing this information.

The constituent has now filed a complaint with the Integrity Commissioner on the matters for which the Councillor has already sought, received and followed the IC advice. It appears the constituent takes issue with the advice the IC provided to the Councillor. The IC will respond in due course.

Just what did the Integrity Commissioner give Councillor Galbraith in  the way of advice and direction

The Gazette published the advice the Integrity Commissioner gave Councillor Galbraith six days before the election.  It is our belief that had the public been aware of that advice the outcome of the election would have been quite different.  We believe that Galbraith had a duty and a responsibility to make the information public when he got it back in March.

An Aldershot resident filed a complaint with the Integrity Commissioner that is now being investigated.  The Gazette is aware of at least one additional complaint that is to be filed  After what is certain t be a detailed response to the complaints the Integrity Commissioner will take a recommendation to Council.  Council then has to decide what it wants to do with the recommendation

Councillors Stolte and Bentivegna did not add their signatures to the Letter sent to the Spectator

What has become quite evident is that Mayor Meed Ward is going to go to considerable length to protect Galbraith and has convinced two other Councillors to join her.

Combined the four members constitute a majority of Council, who, when the Integrity Commissioner does bring back a recommendation, will be in a position to disregard a recommendation.

Worth noting is that Councillors Kearns, Stolte and Bentivegna did not sign the Letter to the Editor sent to the Spectator

Related news:

The advice the Integrity Commissioner gave Councillor in March 2022


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City issues a Redesign, adaptive re-use and costing plan proposed for former Bateman High School

By Staff

November 25th, 2022


This document was released by the city at 4:45 this afternoon. 

A comprehensive staff report for the redesign of the adaptive reuse of the recently acquired Robert Bateman High School (RBHS) incorporating the results of a recent cost estimate, prepared by a third-party cost surveyor, along with a multi-year capital financing plan will be presented to the City’s Environment, Infrastructure and Community Services (EICS) committee on Dec. 8.

The City is repurposing the existing Robert Bateman High School into a multi-purpose community hub that will contribute significantly to the City’s major community facilities to accommodate future growth and will also help meet our objective of being net-zero carbon by 2040.

The reuse and conversion of the former secondary school will be completed via interior renovations, enhancements and minor site plan modifications as part of Phase 1.

The total gross estimated cost of construction for phase 1 is $72.75 million, with a breakdown of costs below.

An aerial view of the site

Base Building
Phase 1 Base Building Construction $41,700,000
Design and Engineering/Other Soft Costs $15,000,000
Total Base Building Construction Cost $56,700,000
Recommended Energy Reduction Incentives $5,250,000

Total Recommended Base Building 61,950,000

Optional Enhanced Energy Incentives (subject to confirmation of Senior Government funding application) $10,800,000

Total Gross Construction Estimated Cost $72,750,000

Along with the construction costs, staff will also present a financing plan.

The financing plan proposes approximately $46 million in tax supported debt financing, with the remainder coming from non-tax supported sources which includes contributions from tenants who will be paying rent annually, and possible funding to be confirmed from the federal government.

Proposed Net Capital Financing
Tenant Direct Capital Contributions (Cash). $7,100,000

Non-Tax Supported Debt Financing
Tenant recovery $11,750,000
Special Circumstance Debt (SCD) Financing $4,000,000
Tax Supported Debt Financing $45,900,000

Senior Government Funding (subject to confirmation by Senior Government) $4,000,000
Total Proposed Capital Financing $72,750,000

The existing building is a two-storey, 212,000 square foot, brick-clad structure that was built in 1969, with additions completed in 1973 and 2003. The building contains community space and the Burlington Centennial Pool, which was recently renovated and will remain accessible to the community throughout the renovation.

What the conceptual thinking is about what will go where.

This is a multi-phase major community investment, which will see infrastructure upgrades to build up to modern building code standards and implement net-zero carbon technologies, as well as providing space that will support future tenants on both the first and second floors. The project also will include a second phase which is the development of approximately 40,000 square feet of new City community centre space as well as new future space for community partners. The estimated cost of Phase 2 is $15 million to $20 million with the facility design to be brought back to Council following completion of public engagement.

Design features for Phase 1 include:
• Brock University educational classrooms and administration spaces.
• New expanded Burlington Library branch and programs
• New front entrance, open collaborative corridors and seating connecting the front to the rear of the facility.
• New central staircase and elevator
• Meeting room spaces
• Refreshed City operated triple gymnasium
• TechPlace Office spaces
• Halton District School Board adult program classrooms and administration spaces

Public engagement will take place in early 2023 to seek community feedback.

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How did Burlington rank on a parkland study?

By Staff

November 24th, 2022



New research has revealed Canada’s greenest cities, with Prince Albert coming out on top.

The study by real estate site Calgary.com analyzed parkland data for Canadian cities and scored them based on how much parkland, green area and gardens they have.

The city of Prince Albert, located in Saskatchewan, came in first place. The city has 28.1 hectares of park per 1,000 people, and 20% of the city is made up of Parkland, which gives it a ‘Green Score’ of 100 out of 100. It’s built on a transition zone between the aspen parkland and a boreal forest, so the city is clearly embedded in nature.

Coming in second place is the Albertan city of Edmonton. It scored 80.26 out of 100 on the Green Score. While it may only have 6.2 hectares of park per 1,000 people and 8% of parkland, the city boasts a whopping 104 community gardens, the most out of any city in the study.

The Quebec city of Gatineau takes third place on the list, with a green score of 76.98 out of 100. The city has 17.2 hectares of park per 1,000 people, and 15% of the city’s land is made up of parkland. Additionally, there are 20 community gardens in the city.

Spencer Smith Park is very expansive but the city didn’t rank all that well with the amount of space and the size of the population

Toronto comes in fourth place, receiving a green score of 74.57 out of 100. 13% of the city land is made up of parkland, as well as there are 79 community gardens. Due to the city’s larger population, however, there are only 2.7 hectares of park per 1,000 people.

Rounding out the top five is Calgary, coming in with a green score of 67.67 out of 100. This is due to there being 7 hectares of park per 1,000 people in the city, 11% of the city being parkland, and 59 community gardens.

Burlington didn’t make the list but Guelph did.

Commenting on the findings, a spokesperson from Calgary.com said: “It’s great to see that even some of Canada’s largest and most populated cities still maintain lots of parklands to keep the area greener, especially in the case of Toronto. Using percentages as a representation of green space also highlights the efforts smaller cities are doing to keep nature at no more than a stone’s throw away from residents.”

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City will require all staff to wear masks - effective November 28th

By Pepper Parr

November 23rd, 2022



There was nothing formal from the city. What we got was a screen shot of what a reader/reporter sent us

Screen shot of a city announcement sent out via Twitter


What is surprising is that if the wearing of masks is vital – why an announcement on the 23rd for something that doesn’t become effective until the 28th?

And why not an announcement that gets out to everyone and not just those who follow Twitter?

And why nothing from any of the city Councillors?

Troubling indeed.

The number of people seriously ill and away from their jobs for 15 to 20 days is increasing.

How much trouble are we in?

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Three year olds get to test drive kindergarten - virtually

By Staff

November 22nd, 2022



Exploring a classroom.

Starting school is a big step for children and parents/guardians.

The Halton District School Board wants to make the transition to a classroom as smooth as possible when the first year of kindergarten approaches.

. This fall, the HDSB is welcoming future students and their families to a virtual Kindergarten experience to learn more about making the first school experience a happy one.

The HDSB has set up a part of its web site where three-year olds can explore a Kindergarten classroom to see what their future classroom might look like next September. There are videos to watch, pictures to view and fun activities for kids. Parents/guardians can learn about the Kindergarten program at the HDSB, play-based learning, community resources in Halton and before-and-after school care. Families can also sign-up to receive a welcome package from the HDSB including a free children’s book.

Registration for Kindergarten begins in January 2023 and will be by appointment only (in-person and/or virtual) through the school your child will attend.

Further information will be shared in the new year. To begin Kindergarten in September 2023, children must be four years old by Dec. 31, 2023 for Year 1 Kindergarten and must be five years old by Dec. 31, 2023 for Year 2 Kindergarten.

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How does a referee control a football game? Dave Foxcroft: We don't 'we let the game come to us and keep it as calm as possible'

By Pepper Parr

November 22. 2022



It was a cliff hanger of a game right up until the last few seconds.

Two teams that had played just once before in the season were on the field to decide who would take the Grey Cup home.

Recognition that the football field was on traditional treaty lands was read by RoseAnne Archibald,  Chief of the Assembly of First Nations.

In the middle of it all is the senior referee, Dave Foxcroft, supported by a crew of seven plus a number of people who are in instant communication with him – that bud in his ear and the microphone at his mouth make the smooth running of a game possible.

How long has Dave been doing this? He will tell you that he referees because he was never a very good player plus the money is pretty good.
His first job as a referee was back when he was a 14 year old student at M M Robinson high school and was paid $25 a game which was very good money for an hours work. He worked basketball to start and moved into football when an opportunity came his way.

His Dad, Ron Foxcroft was an internationally recognized basketball referee. Dave was getting great mentoring.

Checking whether the coin to be tossed to determine who gets possession of the football first is something the players want to see first hand.

Dave can still remember that first football game in 2000 – Calgary was playing Edmonton.  In 2010 he was made the Head Referee. He has been at it ever since and last weekend ran the 109th Grey Cup game during which the only time he ever felt nervous was during the official coin toss that was done by Assembly of First Nations RoseAnne Archibald.

“The coin I was given was something I had never seen before. I wasn’t sure which was head and which was tail” said Foxcroft.

“Everyone in the country was watching. I decided which was which, the coin got tossed and the game began.. That was a ‘sweaten it’ moment for me.”

This was tight game from beginning to end”, said Foxcroft.

A fumble and there is referee Dave Foxcroft right in the middle

There were a couple of calls I had to make, one on a fumble and another on un-sportsman like conduct.

“What cannot be tolerated is any abusive behaviour. What the audience sees on the field is what they take away and apply in their own local leagues” said Foxcroft

Asked how the referee can control a game Foxcroft said: “You can’t – you have to let the game come to you. The biggest job is to be a calming influence and let the players know you are going to be fair and expect a high standard of behaviour from the players.

Foxcroft works at not letting the sport consume him. “I work hard not to become obsessive. I have a full time job with Fox 40 where I managing Fox 40’s Global Sales, Marketing and Operations and oversee the development of the company’s diverse, innovative product base and strategic acquisitions.

The CFL has been around for a long time and now has leadership that thinks in terms of growing into an international organization.

The first Canadian to officiate at an NFL game

“We have a very decent following in the United States. And we play a different game of football – in Canada the kicking game makes us very different.
Foxcroft has the distinction of being the first Canadian to officiate at an NFL game
During the games Foxcroft is getting reports from a number of people. Everyone is plugged into “refcom” – the communications system that ties everyone together.

There is the instant play team member; there is the player injury team member and there is the person who sees the game at a different level. I see the game from a down on the field level. During the Grey Cup game two of those people were working from Toronto.

The two teams on the field last Sunday had only played each other once before during the season.

While the CFL is a national organization – sports and referring is still small town stuff for Dave Foxcroft. While he was in high school he referred a game in which Josh Ross was playing. Ross was part of the half time entertainment during the 109th Grey Cup game.

Dave Foxcroft treasures moment like that.

When a season comes to an end there are all kinds of events for the winners. Parades, dinners and award events.
Will Foxcroft attend ? No he said the folks in Winnipeg would not take kindly to seeing me in a parade held for the Argonauts.

Photographs courtesy of the Canadian Football League

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Fifteen years ago - Burlington Green was formed - a commendable record of achievement.

By Staff

November 22, 2022



Burlington Green was formed 15 years ago.

A snapshot of what they have done in that time.

Pretty good.

How far along are we in changing the way we work at trying to save the climate we have…

A glacier breaking apart as the temperatures rise.

There is more work to be done.

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Citizens across the province are demonstrating against legislation that opens up environmentally sensitive land up for housing development

By Staff

November 21st, 2022



It has been billed as the “Hands Off the Greenbelt” Rally; one of more than a dozen rally’s taking place across the province in Friday November 25th to protest the provincial government’s Bill 23 and the development of the Greenbelt which will result in increased sprawl and taxes.

The provincial government announced Bill 23 (“More Homes Built Faster Act”), that 7,400 acres of protected land from the Greenbelt. was going to be available for development.

WHEN: Friday, Nov. 25. 2022, 11:30am – 12:30pm

WHERE: 74 Rebecca St., Oakville, ON, L6K 1J2, corner of Rebecca and Kerr

The event has been organized by Aki Tamaka, Sherry Ardell and Dorothy Dunlop

Each of those symbols represents a community that has climate activists demonstrating and trying to get their government to change its mind.

They are part of a grass-roots movement against Bill 23 and the proposed ‘grab’ of the Greenbelt. and have been holding demonstrations across the province.

Aki Tamaka is a climate activist in Oakville.  A wife,  mother of two and a grandmother who has lived in Oakville for 36 years. Born in Ottawa, went to high school there and studied Engineering at the University of Toronto.  In 2019. She  took Climate Reality Leader training with Al Gore.  In 2019, she held a climate strike in front of Oakville Town Hall where, to her surprise, about 150 people attended.  She then formed a Facebook group, Oakville Climate Action to keep people engaged. Since then,she has been organizing rallies / events on climate with Sherry, such as Stop the 413 and Stop Sprawl Halton. She is affiliated with the Oakville Climate Hub.

Sherry Ardell is a former Montrealer has  lived in Oakville for 20 years. She got into climate activism because of her children and grandchild and found a portal through Grand(m)others Act to Save the Planet (GASP).

Dorothy Dunlop has lived in Oakville for 33 years. She attended York, Western and Fanshawe where she studied education and law. Her last work experience included the fulfilling career of teaching children. She became a climate activist and joined Grand(m)others Act To Save The Planet (GASP) because “we need to preserve our natural heritage for our children, grandchildren and future generations.”

These three women are representative of the thousands of people who are gearing up to do everything they can to stop Bill 23 from becoming the law of the land.

The issue is saving sensitive land – winter weather doesn’t stop them.

They have seen what CUPE did for the education workers and know that if you press hard enough – Doug Ford will stand before the TV cameras and say he “doesn’t want to fight.”

Friday in Oakville – during the noon hour. .  Try to be there.

Some suggested that the school boards might make this an event that students could include in their community service hours.  Reach out to the trustees and see if they will make the phone calls for you.



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A Foxcroft in the Stands and a Foxcroft on the field: Winnipeg owned the game at half time, but that changed

By Pepper Parr

November 20th, 2022



Ron Foxcroft led the ceremony that presents the referees and other people who are not playing the game but are nevertheless a critical part of what happens on the field with their Game Rings.

Son Dave Foxcroft is the game referee seen here with this Dad, brother Steve and wife Kelly.

Grey Cup referee Dave Foxcroft with his wife Kelly, his Dad, Ron and brother Steve posing with the cup



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