//static.getclicky.com/js

Contemplation and consultation takes time; Heagle needed more as he withdrew from PC nomination, and took it.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON July 14, 2011 – There appears not to have been quite enough contemplation and consultation as Brian Heagle worked himself towards withdrawing from the nomination race to be named the provincial Progressive Conservative candidate for Burlington.

An original press release put out at 9:33 am was to be replaced with a revised version released at 10:57 in which Heagle took out the lines: “nine weeks have passed for other candidates to emerge. Perhaps, as a result of my decision today, one or more will step forward.”

Not quite sure why those lines were withdrawn – they don’t and won’t make much difference at this point. The Tories just wanted Heagle out of the picture and as quietly as possible would be nice – but when you get hammered the way Heagle was hammered – there is a bit of bitterness that has to be accommodated.

Rene Papin had his comments to make as well when he pulled out.

It’s going to take a super star or a very high profile candidate to pull this one from the edge of the cliff.

[retweet]

 

Return to the Front page

Burlington Tories have yet to nominate a candidate; Heagle follows Pepin and falls on his sword. Bloody mess.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON June 14, 2011 – The Burlington Progressive Conservatives are soon going to run out of swords. First it was Rene Papin falling on his sword and now Brian Heagle has made “the right decision” and withdrawn as a candidate for the Burlington nomination. That leaves just Jane McKenna in the line up for the Associations nomination.

After a valiant battle and shaking thousands of hands Brian Heagle withdraws from the race for the Progressive Conservative nomination in Burlington.

After a valiant battle and shaking thousands of hands Brian Heagle withdraws from the race for the Progressive Conservative nomination in Burlington.

Heagle said this morning that: “After a great deal of contemplation and consultation, it’s the right decision for me to make at this time. I’m accustomed to making tough choices but this one was especially difficulty because so many people in Burlington supported my candidacy.” Apparently not enough of those people were on the Burlington Progressive Conservative Association, which has yet to even set a date for their nomination meeting.

Jane McKenna is the only candidate left publicly seeking the PC nomination.

Jane McKenna is the only candidate left publicly seeking the PC nomination.

The Liberals have had Karmel Sakran out in the field for several months and the New Democrats found a saddle Peggy Russell was prepared to ride in and they are out there canvassing and developing supporters.

Sakran is out developing support in a riding that hasn’t elected a Liberal for more than 65 years.  The PC’s are making it easy for him.

Sakran is out developing support in a riding that hasn’t elected a Liberal for more than 65 years. The PC’s are making it easy for him.

Jane McKenna is courting ever member of the PC association she can find hoping to get their vote when they hold their nomination meeting. At this point she is the only candidate actually campaigning publicly for the nomination.

Are the Progressive Conservatives so sure of their support in Burlington that they believe they can risk having their candidate not yet named with less than 90 days before the election takes place ? There must be some interesting and perhaps noisy association meetings.

The Progressive Conservative brand is taking a bit of a hit, the shine and the luster it held when Cam Jackson won 70% of the vote is beginning to tarnish.

Current MPP Joyce Savoline advised the association that she would not run in the October provincial election some time ago. Given the Burlington history of electing Conservatives to the provincial legislature since 1943 one would have thought this was almost the safest seat in the province and that there would be a line up of people seeking the nomination.

The New Democrats have their show on the road, given the candidate a new paint job and hope they can gain some traction from the federal NDP wins in Quebec.

The New Democrats have their show on the road, given the candidate a new paint job and hope they can gain some traction from the federal NDP wins in Quebec.

The best they seemed to be able to do was attract Heagle who was for the longest time known as a Liberal and was being groomed by the late John Boich as the candidate for that party. A well placed Burlington Tory has said privately that the Progressive Conservatives “could lose the seat if they are not careful.”

McKenna, who was serving as Papin’s campaign manager, did a two step and put her own name forward after Papin withdrew and is now the only person publicly seeking the Progressive Conservative nomination.

Heagle, in his withdrawal statement said: “When I stepped forward as a candidate earlier this year, and after Rene Papin withdrew from the race in early May, I never expected the nomination process would still be going on in July or that a nomination meeting date would not be scheduled yet. Nine weeks have passed for other strong candidates to emerge. Perhaps, as a result of my decision today, one or more will step forward.

Heagle said he would “love the privilege and opportunity to be the Ontario PC Party candidate and represent Burlington as its next MPP. Regrettably, timing and circumstances have changed. I have to make firm commitments now to my family, partners an clients which no longer fit with this political process, including the short lead up to the October 6 election.”

The gleam in Boich’s eye (far right) and the earnestness with which Heagle was preaching to the Liberals was more than the Progressive Conservatives could handle – they just couldn’t accept that Heagle had really changed his colours – they wanted a real blue Tory - they’re still looking.

The gleam in Boich’s eye (far right) and the earnestness with which Heagle was preaching to the Liberals was more than the Progressive Conservatives could handle – they just couldn’t accept that Heagle had really changed his colours – they wanted a real blue Tory - they’re still looking.

The problem for the Tories was that Heagle was just to red for them, his Liberal past was more than they could swallow. However, others have changed their political stripes and gone on to win elections under different party affiliations. Something doesn’t appear to be quite right within the party association.

 

[retweet]

 

Return to the Front page

Up close and personal and the light standards really do exist.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON July 11, 2011 – Up close and on site – the Pier is a marvel to behold. The lazy curve of the S shape and the way it snakes out into the lake is quite something. It will be an experience to stand out there in a wind storm.

The outline of the S shape is very clear with all the side beans in place waiting for the deck to be built.  It is going to be a stunning addition to the city.

The outline of the S shape is very clear with all the side beans in place waiting for the deck to be built. It is going to be a stunning addition to the city.

The place is a bit of a shambles right now. The sea gulls have had there way with the main deck and it is a mess – keeping it clean is something the city is going to have to budget for and I can see it getting slippy when ice builds up – but the same can be said of the promenade along Spender Smith in the winter.

The light standards – at least nine of them are there – stowed away in a dry electrical room just waiting for someone to install the things – problem is that there aren’t enough of them – the Pier needs 12 and there are only nine in the storage room and this particular model isn’t made any more.

The light fixtures were found – but three are missing.  Is there a buyer out there that can make the city an offer so that the city can go out and buy the 12 they need.  The nine in hand are a model that is no longer manufactured.

The light fixtures were found – but three are missing. Is there a buyer out there that can make the city an offer so that the city can go out and buy the 12 they need. The nine in hand are a model that is no longer manufactured.

There were other items that weren’t where the city thought they should be when they took possession of the site once the original contractor walked off saying they couldn’t complete the job using the design they were given. Some of the evidence relating to the sub standard steel that was made has disappeared.

Left however is a trestle which doesn’t belong to the original contractor and doesn’t belong to the city – then who does it belong to? It belongs to a local contractor who put it in place – not sure yet who actually told the owner of the trestle to put the thing in place – but it is still there and the owner wants it back.

Whoever completes the construction of the Pier will need a trestle and because the city sued everyone who was part of the construction – contractor and sub-contractors; they all got writs- everything stays as it is until the legal stuff is worked out. Great paydays for the lawyers involved and the city’s legal department doesn’t want to say how much they’ve spent because saying how much has been spent might give away the city’s strategy. And if you believe that – well I can’t sell you the Pier but I am aware of some land in Florida that I can get you a very good deal on.

The owner is the trestle is one very unhappy camper right now.  He wants the thing back or he wants someone to pay him for hanging on to it.

The owner is the trestle is one very unhappy camper right now. He wants the thing back or he wants someone to pay him for hanging on to it.

The legal department works at one level and the team at city hall overseeing the issuing of the tender package that will get a contractor on site has had to step very, very carefully around the numerous issues that are still unresolved. A little like walking on eggshells and told not to break any of them.

But, they are doing a good job – we’re not home free yet – that day however is not very far off. We should know what is going to be possible by the middle of September. We may yet see some very creative and innovative proposals from the group of at least five, maybe as many as seven pre-qualified contractors.

Three municipal councils later and a $5 million + increase in the cost but we are going to have a pier at the foot of Brant Street.

There is one bit of sliver lining in all this and that is a small stretch of sandy beach that has formed at the west side of the Pier site. No one thought there would ever be a beach with the Pier – but Mother nature had her way with the water that swirls around the embankment that was built on the shore line and as a result sand has built up around the western side of the Pier snuggled next to where the eastern end of the Spencer Smith Park promenade begins.

Perhaps we can call it:  Instant Beach, a short stretch of sand created as a result of the change in water flow when the shape of the embankment was changed as the pier was being built.  It is certainly being used.

Perhaps we can call it: Instant Beach, a short stretch of sand created as a result of the change in water flow when the shape of the embankment was changed as the pier was being built. It is certainly being used.

People are already using the beach even though there is no real access – they have to climb over large boulders but, if the city is at all proactive, they will move half a dozen of those boulders and create stair way and a wheel chair access ramp leading down to the sane so people can get to the waters edge.

Do you want to guess at how many reasons people at legal will come up with as to why this can’t be done: no lifeguard on duty, people might begin to swim under the Pier. They will have more than a handful of reasons. Hopefully they will be so busy defending their position on not letting the public know how much they have spent on outside lawyers suing all the contractors involved in the work before the contractor walked off the job, that they won’t find time to bother about the new beach we are getting.

Maybe we can call the stretch of sand: Instant Beach.

[retweet]

 

Return to the Front page

Condo corp breaks ground in “uptown” Burlington. Real news is what’s going on underground.

BURLINGTON, ON June 11, 2011 A 16 storey condominium will break ground this week to commence construction at the Upper Middle Road and Appleby Line part of town. The building will be one of the first multi-residential high rises in Canada equipped with geothermal technology.

Geothermal is a renewable energy source that reduces the use of fossil fuels and release of harmful emissions that pollute the air. “Just by moving in, purchasers reduce their carbon footprint,” says Ironstone’s lead architect Roland Rom Colthoff of RAW.

The geothermal holes get drilled and pipes run through the holes to bring the heat in the earth up into the buildings.  Once the holes are drilled and the pipes fitted in the construction of the building can then commence.

The geothermal holes get drilled and pipes run through the holes to bring the heat in the earth up into the buildings. Once the holes are drilled and the pipes fitted in the construction of the building can then commence.

Designed to service all of Ironstone’s space heating and cooling load requirements, the geothermal system will be installed and maintained by leading clean technology developer and operator GeoXperts Energy.

Ironstone has shown significant leadership, as it has done in the past and reflected in the more than 34 awards the company has received for design excellence and innovation, in the decision to use geothermal energy.

The positive twist to this decision is that energy costs for the unit owners are locked in for at least a decade. The geothermal unit and its installation and maintenance become the responsibility of the GeoXperts people. They own the equipment that gets put into the ground before the building is actually built. Raising the capital to pay for the piping and drilling isn’t that difficult when the finance people know that the equipment isn’t going to go anywhere and the people in the building on top of the equipment are going to want to be warmed and cooled. It was one of those win – win – win situations.

Drilling rig that bores into the ground for the pipes that will be used to carry heat into the building.  Heat exchangers convert the heat into cool air during the summer months.

Drilling rig that bores into the ground for the pipes that will be used to carry heat into the building. Heat exchangers convert the heat into cool air during the summer months.

GeoXperts Energy has brought a completely new model the condo industry where controlling costs and keeping prices in markets where competition can be stiff.

Leslie Thomas, co-founder of GeoExperts, figured he could do what the gas company does – pay for the cost of installing a gas line to a house and then sell the owner of the house whatever gas he needs. In the thermal energy situation there is no cost for the energy – all they had to do was drill holes into the ground and tap into the heat that is stored underground

“Whether it’s a 10-, 15- or 25-year energy contract, that (annual price) will be capped,” says Thomas, explaining that the benefit to the customer is no upfront capital requirement, long-term predictability of energy costs, a slightly lower annual energy bill and environmental bragging rights for purchasing emission-free heating and cooling. “That’s the difference we bring to the equation.”

Graham Chalmers, partner with Davies Smith Development points to a feature in the 16 storey condominium model that will break ground at the Appleby Line and Upper Middle Road location in Burlington

Graham Chalmers, partner with Davies Smith Development points to a feature in the 16 storey condominium model that will break ground at the Appleby Line and Upper Middle Road location in Burlington

There are other side benefits to geothermal as well, including more comfortable heating and cooling and lower noise.

Says Thomas Garcia, GeoXperts’ co-founder and chief financial officer: “There are so many retrofits that could be done. People just don’t know how to do it. If you can’t afford it, we’ll make it affordable for you.”

The idea of selling renewable energy to a customer, rather than renewable technology, isn’t entirely new. There are a number of “utility” ventures now selling solar power in the same way – they own the solar photovoltaic panels and related equipment, but sell the electricity to the customer over a long-term contract. The idea is that, over time, those energy revenues will more than pay for the initial capital cost that the utility incurs by installing the system.

The customer doesn’t do much more than simply pay the energy bill. “It’s all done seamlessly for the client,” says Thomas.

Behind the scenes, however, there’s much more going on. If GeoXperts negotiates, for example, a 15-year contract, then it knows precisely how much revenue it will earn over those years. It will take that total, minus any government incentives targeted at geothermal, and subtract the expected cost of installing and maintaining the system. The difference equals the profit that GeoXperts and its investors can count on.

But that’s just the starting point. There’s also opportunity to increase that profit by lowering installation costs, as well as constantly fine-tuning the systems that GeoXperts puts in to maximize their performance and efficiency.

The company, through its internal engineers and strategic partnerships, aims for high-quality installation at the outset to reduce costs associated with long-term maintenance. It has also developed proprietary software that lets it remotely monitor the performance of every geothermal site it has installed – including building and outdoor temperature – making maintenance easier and allowing for rapid-response when problems are detected.

An early version of the software, developed during Thomas’ days at Guelph Hydro, is being used at a 70,000-square-foot facility owned by Mississauga-based Lange Transportation and Storage Ltd., which claims one of the largest – some say “the” largest – geothermal retrofit in Canada.

“This (monitoring ability) has been a component in geothermal that’s been missing for years,” says Thomas. “It lets us know exactly how the system is behaving.”

And that is exactly what the Ironside condominiums are going to have – state of the art technology that will provide their residents with heating and cooling at a cost they can project well into the future. The developers, Davies Smith Development, have led in a number of construction innovations and may well do other projects in the Burlington market

The Wal-Mart store on Fairview and Brant also uses geothermal energy to heat and cool the building.

[retweet]

 

Return to the Front page

New funny money explained to seniors; samples were not available.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON July 7, 2011 – They make up a large part of the community and the demographic trend is for there to be many more of them. Their needs tend to be greater than that of other people in the community.

These are our senior citizens, although that term, senior citizen, is one many of them don’t like all that much and many scoff at the explanation that they are in their “golden years”, for many live in close to dire poverty and have health issues as well as financial issues.

Constable Wendy Moraghan of the Halton Regional Police Service works with the seniors community and spends time in the different Halton Region communities to answer questions related to safety.  She is able to sense when there is any abuse taking place and knows how to gently prod and bring issues and concerns to the surface.

Constable Wendy Moraghan of the Halton Regional Police Service works with the seniors community and spends time in the different Halton Region communities to answer questions related to safety. She is able to sense when there is any abuse taking place and knows how to gently prod and bring issues and concerns to the surface.

The fast pace of the society we live in and the newer forms of communication are beyond many of these people. They aren’t stupid. They have very strong core values and during their working years had a work ethic that today’s employers wish they saw a lot more of in the people they hire.

There is an innocence to many of today’s seniors and the changes in the family unit leave many of them alone, a bit frightened and looking for a place they can go for answers to many of the questions they have.

Elder abuse is now a serious social problem that every community struggles with. Many seniors give a power of attorney over there financial affairs to someone they trust and find that it is abused by the person who holds that power.

Fraud has become another serious problem with some seniors receiving a phone call from a person claiming to be a friend of their nephew or some other relative and asking for money to be sent to solve a problem.

Many seniors find that through misunderstanding or poorly placed trust, they get taken by scam artists and the savings they had set aside are suddenly gone and they are at a point in their lives when they cannot replenish those savings.

While counterfeit money is no longer the big issue it once was in Canada there are still people out there trying pass along counterfeit bills to unsuspecting people.

The Bank of Canada controls the money supply in this country. It is the Canadian Mint that actually prints the money. The Bank of Canada has people in the field who go into the community and explain what to look for in to determine if a bill is counterfeit.

The Bank of Canada was in Burlington doing a presentation with Constable Wendy Moraghan of the Halton Regional Police Service explaining the new polymer bills that will be released by the Bank in the very near future.

A table with several seniors looks closely at paper bills given to them to inspect.  They were asked to decide if the money was counterfeit – none of it was.

A table with several seniors looks closely at paper bills given to them to inspect. They were asked to decide if the money was counterfeit – none of it was.

And at the same time the told the audience how to detect a counterfeit $10, or $20 bill. The cardinal rule was: tilt the bill and look for the and then run your fingers over it – and if in doubt ask the person giving you the bill to give you a different one.

The new $100 and $50 polymer notes are easy to check and hard to counterfeit. They have the same innovative security features that can be seen in transparent areas on both sides of the notes. Some tips on what to look for if you find yourself with either a $100. or a $50. bill in your purse.

Feel

  • 1. Raised ink
    Feel the raised ink on the shoulders of the large portrait, the large number, and the words “Bank of Canada” and “Banque du Canada.”

Look

  • 2. Large window
    Look for transparency through the large window containing a metallic portrait and building.
  • 3. Metallic portrait
    Look at the details in the metallic portrait in the large window. It matches the large portrait.
  • 4. Metallic building
    Look at the details in the metallic building in the large window. Tilt the note to see sharp colour changes in the building.
  • 5. Small numbers
    Look at the numbers in and around the large window that match the value of the note. Some of the numbers appear in reverse.
  • 6. Transparent text
    Look at the word “Canada.” It is transparent and feels slightly raised.
  • 7. Maple leaf border
    Look at the maple leaves that border the large window. Some of the leaves cross into the window.
  • 8. Frosted maple leaf window
    Look at the frosted maple leaf window to see that it has a transparent outline.

Flip

Flip the note to see the features in the large window repeated in the same colours and detail on the other side.

Added Security

  • 9. Hidden numbers
    The hidden numbers are a security feature that you can use to further verify your note, with the aid of an eye-safe single-point light source.

The Bank of Canada representative explained to the seniors gathered at Tansley Woods explained that when bank notes are taken out of circulation they are not burned but rather shredded and then recycled. He passed around a smallish plastic freezer bag half full of shredded bits of paper that he said represented half a million dollars worth of fifty dollar bills. It got a lot of attention as it was passed from table to table

Real money was passed around as well and people were asked to determine if the samples they were holding were real or counterfeit. Opinions were pretty evenly split – turned out every bill was real and were used to show people how to identify a counterfeit bill. Seems the Bank of Canada doesn’t deal with counterfeits and doesn’t use it in the community work.

[retweet]

Return to the Front page

Region declares beaches are safe for recreational swimming.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON July 7, 2011 The Halton Region Health Department announces that the following locations are safe to swim at:

• Burlington – Beachway Park North, Beachway Park South
• Milton –  Kelso Conservation Area
• Oakville –  Coronation Park East, Coronation Park West, Bronte Beach Park
• Halton Hills –  Prospect Park Old Beach

The Region tests recreational water throughout Halton.  Beaches are selected based on use for swimming and other water sports.  These tests are done weekly.

Beach water samples taken on July 5/6 revealed the following beaches have acceptable levels of bacteria and are safe for swimming.

Enjoy the water and play safely. Watch the toddlers.

 

[retweet]

 

Return to the Front page

Local cyclist takes part on Great Waterfront Trail Adventure; chooses a leisurely approach.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON July 6, 2011 The Great Waterfront Trail Adventure is an annual tour that travels the whole 720 km route over eight sensational days. Every single day of this fully supported tour includes the WOW Factor – the Wonderful Ontario Waterfront along the shores of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.

Hundreds of Ontarians as well as people from the United States and Quebec take part in this event including Burlington’s Ward 4 Councillor Jack Dennison and his partner.

Ward 4 Councillor Jack Dennison arrives in Burlington on the first leg of his eight day adventure cycling from Niagara on the Lake to Riviere Baudette in Québec along the Waterfront Trail.

Ward 4 Councillor Jack Dennison arrives in Burlington on the first leg of his eight day adventure cycling from Niagara on the Lake to Riviere Baudette in Québec along the Waterfront Trail.

Each day Dennison is up at the crack of dawn to catch a GO train or drive to the location where the adventure picks up to drive the 45 to 100 km that is set out for a given day. Each ‘adventurer’ sets their own pace. The get together as groups or ride as pairs knowing that they will arrive at the destination for the day.

Because Dennison has responsibilities in Burlington at his health club and at Council meetings he become a sort of commuting adventurer for the first few days. But as the trip works its way east he will become a full time adventurer and the city and his business interests will have to wait.

July, 2008 was the inaugural year of the Great Waterfront Trail Adventure, an end to end tour of the Trail that welcomed the public.  In 2002, partners of the trail, including journalist Kate Harries, rode the length of the route and documented their journey in a series of articles that appeared in the Toronto Star.

Dennison takes a meal break in Mississauga on the second leg of hi eight day adventure rising the full 720 km length of the Waterfront Trail.  “The beauty of this adventure is that you can stop when and where you like and relax over a beer and a meal” said Dennison.  Are those Tour de France Yellow Jerseys?

Dennison takes a meal break in Mississauga on the second leg of hi eight day adventure rising the full 720 km length of the Waterfront Trail. “The beauty of this adventure is that you can stop when and where you like and relax over a beer and a meal” said Dennison. Are those Tour de France Yellow Jerseys?

“We had so much fun”, said Harries “that we decided to share the experience with as many people as we can. There is a true sense of pride and accomplishment in traveling along the entire 730 kms of the Waterfront Trail. There are now hundreds of what we call ‘end-to-enders’ who have done their own tours and had this unique experience of southern Ontario

The 2011 Route that Dennison is following is set out below with the day to day destinations shown on the map shown below.

 

 

Day 1, Saturday July 2nd Niagara-on-the-Lake to Hamilton 60 km
Day 2, Sunday July 3rd Hamilton to Fort York, Toronto 80 km
Day 3, Monday July 4th Toronto to Ajax 80 km
Day 4, Tuesday July 5th Ajax to Cramahe/Colborne 126 km
Day 5, Wednesday July 6th Cramahe to Greater Napanee 90 km
Day 6, Thursday July 7th Greater Napanee to Brockville 140 km
Day 7, Friday July 8th Brockville to Cornwall 112 km
Day 8, Saturday July 9th Cornwall to Riviere Baudette 45 km

 

The actual route these adventurers are taking is set out below.

Deputy mayor from Port Hope ; Mayor Parrish from Ajax; the current Mayor of Coburg and the former mayor of Coburn.  Several of these gents are joining Dennison, who is on the far left, in the Great Waterfront Trail Adventure.

Deputy mayor from Port Hope ; Mayor Parrish from Ajax; the current Mayor of Coburg and the former mayor of Coburn. Several of these gents are joining Dennison, who is on the far left, in the Great Waterfront Trail Adventure.

Each of the municipalities along the route have taken to providing a rest station and a certain amount of competition has developed between the municipalities to see who can be the most hospitable. Dennison, who is not exactly impartial, maintains that Burlington offered the best hospitality with people at the canal standing there early in the morning welcoming people into Burlington and directing them to the “butt” stop at Spencer Smith Park where fruit and juices were available. “Pickering came close to what Burlington had to offer but there was far more spirit in the people representing Burlington, Dennison reported to a Council meeting.

The Waterfront Trail is a project developed by former Mayor David Crombie who served as a one man Royal Commission that was to create a trail from one end of the province to the other along the shores of Lake Ontario. Crombie told a Burlington Waterfront Advisory Committee that Burlington was once a leader in the development of public spaces along the lake and that he hoped to see the city return to its prominence as a leader in making the lake accessible to the public.

What moves Dennison most as he cycles from community to community is the many occasions when he and his partner stop by the side of a road or take a break for a meal and gaze out over the lake and realize they gave been following the same body of water for a number of day. The aboriginal people who used the lake were very familiar with every creek and stream that fed into the lake but those of us who speed along the 401 and see glimpses of the body of water from time to time have no sense of what the lake means to us geographically or physiologically. It is only when you are near the water day in and day out that you realize the impact that body of water has on you.

For Dennison and his partner – there are new delights and insights every day. He just might come back to Burlington at the end of this adventure a changed man. But then again – the sights and delights of Quebec might get a grip on the man and we may never see him again.

 

[retweet]

 

Return to the Front page

Promises, promises – Where is the money to build both GO and a planned highway through the Escarpment going to come from?

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON July 5, 2011 – Tim Hudak has promised to build the Niagara to GTA (NGTA) highway (formerly known as the Mid Pen highway) that has a price tag of up to $6 billion. He has also said he would fund GO Service to Niagara Falls.

 

The NGTA highway has a price of $6 billion and the GO service would come in at something in excess if $1 billion . Given that this is taxpayers money Hudak is spending we would like to know which of our pockets is Hudak going to take that money from?

Anyone who has managed a household or business budget knows there is only so much money to go around. If you decide to buy a new car you may not have money to fix up the house.

Geoff Brock, spokesperson for Stop the Escarpment Highway Coalition (SEHC) want to know, “Where is the money coming from to build both?” The Niagara region and the rest of Ontario may have to make a choice, he says, between fast, efficient, clean public transit or new highways that will chew up prime agricultural land and rip through the Escarpment.

Brock notes many Niagara residents, local politicians and businesses were looking forward to having regular GO Service extended from Niagara Falls to Toronto and beyond. Brock says, “Not only would GO Service reduce congestion on the QEW but it would also raise home prices throughout its Niagara corridor, as many studies have shown.” As well, regular GO service would be a boon to the tourism and wine industries in the Niagara area, Brock points out.

“Besides the unaffordable cost, building a new four lane highway will lead to more aggregate mining on the escarpment with its attendant noise and truck traffic,” adds Brock

 

“Building the NGTA Highway is an idea that’s been around since the Harris government introduced it in 2001. It’s never been built because the case has never been made to justify its cost. “The case still has not been made,” says Sue McMaster, Co-Chair of COPE (Citizens Opposed to Paving the Escarpment), who notes that rising oil prices have escalated the price of asphalt making the proposal more economically-unsound than ever. Extending GO service to Niagara would also create a number of jobs in the region as well as improve the quality of life for commuters in the Niagara, she says.

Brock calls the NGTA highway plan an old, unaffordable idea that just doesn’t make sense. “It’s time to focus on transit solutions that are affordable and offer long-term benefits to the people of Niagara,” Brock says. Before we spend all our infrastructure money on new and unnecessary roads, the citizens and businesses of Niagara need to let their local politicians know that they want GO service more than a highway.

 

[retweet]

 

 

Return to the Front page

It’s now a waiting game. The city engineers shuffle paper and contractors sharpen their pencils.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON July 5, 2011 – Marketers and advertisers “position” their products; they decide who they want to sell their soap or toothpaste to and then advertise and market the product to reach the market they have identified. Dove soap is marketed to one audience while Irish Spring is marketed to another.

Politicians do much the same thing, except that they are marketing themselves. Usually a politician will market themselves to as many people as they can in their ward. But if you’re a politician with a net that you want to cast a little wider – then you market yourself to a large audience. You do the same thing with your career. The difference between you and the politician is that the decisions they make are decisions you pay for.

She did it again – asked for a recorded vote on the motion to approve spending of an additional $5 million plus to complete the pier in her Ward.  She voted against the spending but said she will support the decision and do everything she can to make sure the city doesn’t spend any more money.

She did it again – asked for a recorded vote on the motion to approve spending of an additional $5 million plus to complete the pier in her Ward. She voted against the spending but said she will support the decision and do everything she can to make sure the city doesn’t spend any more money.

Ward 2 councillor Marianne Meed Ward, who has never wavered from wanting to be Mayor of Burlington, takes positions on issues and asks for recorded votes that position her as a ward politician who is speaking for all the people of Burlington. Another step in the process of positioning herself as a possible mayoralty candidate in 2014 was her request for a recorded vote on the Committee report that came to Council for approval of the plan to spend an additional $5,798,000 to proceed with the completion of the Pier at the foot of Brant Street..

Meed Ward was the only member of Council to vote against the recommendation to approve an increase to $15.7 million to build the Pier from the original $9.6 million in the original approval. This despite being the person who moved adoption of the report at the Committee level, a move that surprised Ward 3 Councillor John Taylor.

Council meetings, as opposed to committee meetings, are pretty short events. Council is there to decide yea or nay on recommendations made at the committee level. Meed Ward moved that the report on the new cost of the Pier be adopted at the Committee level and one would assume that she would support a report she moved when it got to Council.

It all began when a crane on the construction site toppled over.  Some say the crane operator was on his cell phone at the time talking to his girl friend.  Things went downhill from there with the construction project.  We don’t know how things went with the girl friend..

It all began when a crane on the construction site toppled over. Some say the crane operator was on his cell phone at the time talking to his girl friend. Things went downhill from there with the construction project. We don’t know how things went with the girl friend..

With Meed Ward saying she would not be supporting the recommendation every Council member weighed in on the issue. Councillor Sharman was blunt and direct when he said: “Fact, the city is not at fault here” and he went on to add: “Fact, we have known there would be increased costs and delays getting this Pier built since December of 2010. Fact, no proposals have come forward other than the proposal from the original contractors insurance company and that proposal was not acceptable. Sharman added that believed the city was doing what it had to do. Councillor Craven said he “was angry with the situation the city was in” and went on to say: “I think I know who is to blame … but we have to be very careful about what we say. Some day however, I will say it. For now modesty is the best approach.”

Craven added that Council meetings are public and the people we are suing watch the cable cast and read the media. “We need to be careful what we say.” Craven is obviously listening to the city’s lawyers.

Councillor Sharman cut to the chase when he said the facts are that the city has done nothing wrong.  We owe it to the taxpayers to go forward with this.

Councillor Sharman cut to the chase when he said the facts are that the city has done nothing wrong. We owe it to the taxpayers to go forward with this.

Earlier in the meeting Councillor Jack Dennison pointed out that the city did nothing wrong. The contractor was on the site building a pier that the city had contracted to have done. The crane toppled”, explained Dennison, then there was a concrete pour that didn’t hold and then we learned that the steel used was under spec and that there were welds that did not meet specifications.

The contractor walked off the job when the city refused to increase the amount they had agreed to pay for the building of the pier. The dispute became a bit of an election issue but the public didn’t really have enough information at the time to decide how they really felt – but they thumped Mayor Jackson nevertheless and the city had a significantly different Council.

The city now had a royal mess on their hands. There was a partially constructed pier and a contractor who walked off the job. What was the city supposed to do? They had a real problem and the only resolution was to sue the contractor and the firm that designed the pier. The city also had to get the construction back in their hands. The contractor walks off the site but that doesn’t mean the city can just walk in and take over. The lawyers spell out the steps that have to be taken. They have to decide who exactly to sue. That got a little complicated because the firm that did the design work had been merged with a much larger firm. Then they have to figure out how much they are suing for and then engage legal counsel to handle the cases for them That took time and it has been expensive.

The crane accident was soon followed by a concrete pour that buckled some steel beams and revealed sub standard welding..  That’s when the arguments between the contractor, his sub contractors and the pier designers began – and then it all landed in the city’s lap when the contractor walked off the job.

The crane accident was soon followed by a concrete pour that buckled some steel beams and revealed sub standard welding.. That’s when the arguments between the contractor, his sub contractors and the pier designers began – and then it all landed in the city’s lap when the contractor walked off the job.

How expensive ? We don’t know that yet but there will be a loud “ouch” when that figure gets released. Meed Ward believes there is an argument for releasing the legals costs now based on a court case heard recently in Kitchener. Interestingly Meed Ward didn’t issue a staff direction to look into what could be done to get those numbers. Maybe at another meting.

Since then, the city has realized that the dispute resolution process in the contract with the original contractor was not strong enough to allow the city to work out the problems without going to court. For that the city has to be faulted but it is certainly no reason to say the city should not proceed.

Mayor Goldring told Council that a citizen had suggested to him that the city not give the funds given to them by the federal government and the provincial government as well as the Region. THAT is not going to happen on this Mayor’s watch. “we have a moral obligation to return the funds and I don’t want to be part of a Council that plays funny games.”

We now know that Meed Ward doesn’t support the Council’s decision. What isn’t clear is what Meed Ward would do? She offered no course of action other than saying she couldn’t support the spending of more money – even though she had no problem with that decision at the committee level. Looks like a piece of political posturing to me

Meed Ward set out her position on her Facebook page when she said: “Council approves increased budget for pier 6-1. I did not support the re-tendering process because of the enhanced budget and timelines required, so did not vote in favour of the new budget. That said, now that we are on this path, my commitment is to do everything I can to ensure we stick to the new budget and timeline, and continue to release information to the public, including legal fees and staff time.”
Meed Ward dug out the numbers on staff time spent on the project but not charged back to the project. According to her information a total of 1249 hours – for a total of 31 weeks has been spent on this project by senior engineering staff. She now wants to know what the legal bill has come to as well.
Councillor Craven fully supports the Mayor’s leadership on the decision to press forward with the completion of the pier.  He also cautions people to be careful what they say publicly; advises that the people we are suing listen.

Councillor Craven fully supports the Mayor’s leadership on the decision to press forward with the completion of the pier. He also cautions people to be careful what they say publicly; advises that the people we are suing listen.

Councillor Craven took issue with the stance Meed Ward had taken – claiming she supported the pier, but not the budget. “That’s a cop-out,” he said. “We’re all in this together.”

After council, in a comment to a reporter, Meed Ward said she was just being consistent in her position. “I did not support the re-tendering when it first came to a vote so I cannot now support the enhanced budget for re-tendering,” she said. “That is simply being consistent. He labels that a cop-out. I disagree.”

“We could” said Councillor Sharman, “be nice and take no action and allow the parties who are at fault walk away without being held accountable. The taxpayers would be left paying all the bills.”

The decision to proceed is now official and the completion of tender package preparations goes full tilt. Here is the timeline the city is working to:

  • We now have a list of contractors.
  • They will each be given the tender package.
  • They will take that away and do all their number crunching and come back with their best number.
  • The city will open the tenders and the lowest number gets the deal.

 

The city now has a couple of dicey weeks ahead of them. The engineering department, along with the consultants they have hired, pre-qualified 11 contractors who can submit bids to complete the construction of the pier. The city expects that the list will get winnowed down to eight contractors who will be given a tender package. The tender package has all the documents, plans, detailed specifications and anything else a contractor needs to know to be able to submit a bid – saying I will complete the construction of the Pier for xx dollars.

The contractors already know how much the city is prepared to spend – that’s now public information. Each contractor has to look at their costs and submit their best number to the city. The city is obliged to go with the lowest price – that’s what a tendering process is all about.

It was that tendering process that got us into the mess we are in now and many wonder why we are doing the same thing all over again. What’s different this time ? Before getting into the “this time” let me share with you some facts pulled together by my colleague Joan Little of the Spectator who wrote:

In August, 2005 (two councils ago), five bids were received, from $12.5 to $17.7 million; so back to the drawing board. The pier was downsized (again) to 180 metres, then 150, then 112 metres long and 7.5 metres wide, with a $6.2 million budget. The deck, previously steel-framed, was changed to pre-cast concrete.

Three bids, received from pre-qualified contractors in July, 2006, ranged up to $8.4 million. The lowest was from Harm Schilthuis of Ancaster, for $6,782,557.34, including GST, ($6,043,639 without, because municipalities get the GST rebated). So the 2006-2010 council approved about $450,000 extra to extend the length from 112 metres to 132.

The design incorporated 14 caissons, 1.4 metres in diameter, supporting a platform about 5 metres above the water, with a safety handrail, and a lighted beacon 80 metres from shore powered by a wind turbine that would also power the pier’s lights.

It had a floating dock at the end, with a capacity for docking commercial craft such as tour boats, and 22 fair-weather boat slips for day use. It was to open May, 2008, and we read regularly about a $500-per-day late penalty if the contract was not completed on time.

That was before all the problems and lawsuits.

Total financing — including design, engineering and construction — was $8,124,833. The Canada Ontario Infrastructure Program’s share was $4,356,230, Halton region’s $2,500,000, and Burlington Hydro’s $100,000, toward the wind turbine and power system, for a total $4,706,230 in grants from outside sources.

In August, 2008, during the first concrete pour, one of the main steel beams supporting the deck twisted. Two weeks later, a crane capsized onto the pier.

This was followed by blame games: The design was faulty; the contractor was at fault; the subcontractor was at fault.

The only ones who got rich since then were lawyers, as everyone sued everyone else. Zurich, the bonding company, would not pay, but this April made a proposal of some kind that council rejected. An update was provided at the last community services committee, but there has been so much “in camera” on this project that it’s hard to piece together the whole story, and the numbers.

The project is now different (smaller), more costly, and has four new consultants. New drawings are nearly complete for a revised pier, with a tender call scheduled for mid-July, closing mid-August, with the contract award late September. Completion would be the end of 2013.

Gone is the floating dock with the day slips. The report proposes ordering 12 new pier lights, because only nine of the original 12 had been received, (and may have been lost) and that design is no longer available, so can’t be matched. This raised the ire of Councillor Jack Dennison. Surely, he said, three new ones could be custom-made more cheaply than buying 12 new. Also unresolved is the design of 1.4-metre-high safety railings on the pier.

A short promenade extension (inadvertently omitted from the original contract) is included. Several extras will be quoted separately and, budget permitting, may be added. These include a promenade extension, a mini-ramp to the beach, and a small floating dock. Updated permits are required from Conservation Halton, Transport Canada, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, and federal department of fisheries and oceans. And now there’s talk of buying a water lot.

The additional funding of $5,798,000 needed brings the overall pier budget to $15,070,000. The report speaks of possible recoveries from the performance bond and other litigation. (In my lifetime?) Interestingly, unlike for other projects, staff time is not included, nor are legal costs. (Councillor Marianne Meed Ward will be asking for legal costs to be released publicly, following a recently released three-judge court decision ordering Waterloo to do so). Thank you for that Joan. Joan Little is a former Burlington alderman and Halton councillor.

Councillors are rightly concerned about the prequalification of contractors. This was done last time, and what, they asked, have you done since that will ensure better results? The reply was that prequalification had been “rather cursory” last time, and this time up to eight contractors would be rigorously checked.

Well, there are a number of things that are very different. This time the city got the technical help it needed to specify details and they now have a dispute resolution procedure that is sound and they pre-qualified each of the contractors and now know that whoever comes in with the best price is well qualified to do the job. So – things are different this time around.

But here is where the rubber begins to hit the road. What does the city do if the best price is higher than the amount the city has budgeted and higher than the cost of giving back the money we were given and demolishing the pier as it now stands ?

Possible, but the contractors can read without moving their lips and they know what the city is up against. We can expect that several of the contractors will come in under the budgeted number – and remember, if there are two bids that are just ten cents apart – the lower price gets the job. That’s what a tender is.

The city must accept the lowest bid. That is when the city Council and its administration will breath a very deep sigh of relief and begin listening to the sound of jack hammers coming from the sorry site that has plagued this city through tree administrations.

Council is doing the right thing. Councillor Dennison pointed out that if the city is to have any hope of recovering any of their costs related to the two lawsuits now before the Courts it has to complete the construction of the pier.

Dennison also pointed out that the city is not likely to recover all their losses but one can expect that at some point the lawyers on each side of this dispute will have looked at all the facts and realized that there is no benefit to anyone to take this case to a full trial and there will be a settlement.

Councillor Dennison correctly points out that any settlement is going to be for cents on the dollar – he suggested something between 20 cents and 75 cents – only time will reveal what that amount is. But unless there is a serious flaw in the city’s case – and that we don’t know because we have no idea what the lawyers are up to.

Councillor Lancaster said the public doesn’t have half the story about the pier.  She didn’t offer to say what the half we don’t know is about.  So much for transparency.

Councillor Lancaster said the public doesn’t have half the story about the pier. She didn’t offer to say what the half we don’t know is about. So much for transparency.

Councillor Lancaster said as much when she commented at Council that the “taxpayers don’t know half the story”. Her approach to municipal politics is that Council is there to make decisions based on the information they have and Lancaster doesn’t feel much of that information has to be shared with the public.

The lawyers for the design firm and the contractor the city is suing aren’t going to do anything to move the case along until the pier is under construction and they may choose to finagle and delay until the pier is actually built – but at some point the city will recover at least some of the money. We just have to be patient and stay the course. The city motto has it right when it says: “Stand By”

That doesn’t mean everyone isn’t going to sweat it a bit – but we have a Mayor with that sense of certitude that will carry the day and one cannot help but notice that, except for Meed Ward, who after all wants his job, the rest of the Council members are with the Mayor on this one. Councillor Craven said, and this is unusual for him: “I will continue to support the Mayor’s leadership”

We will know where we are by the end of August. And then we can relax and let the construction begin. Between now and then – everyone is holding their breath.

The Mayor, perhaps being more hopeful and in wishing mode, said we “have one more Sound of Music and one more Canada Day ahead of us and then we will have our Pier and be proud of what we have done.” And he might have added – you can then reelect me to a second term of office and, if that Pier does open in the summer of 2013, this Mayor and every Council member is a shoo in for re-election. But in the world of politics a week is a year and one never knows what will happen.

 

 

Retweet]

 

Return to the Front page

Council member gets to see the wider municipal picture; doesn’t like what he sees and thinks it’s out of focus.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON July 4, 2011 – There are politicians and there are policy wonks. No one has to tell you what a politician is – a policy wonk is the kind of person who immerses themselves in documents that only a monk could really enjoy – but policy wonks are the exception to that rule. It is when you have a politician who is also a policy wonk – now that is a specimen and Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman is most certainly a policy wonk and is working at becoming a politician.

Every year the Federation of Canadian Municipalities gathers together somewhere in Canada early in the summer to trade notes, complain collectively and pronounce on the state of municipalities in Canada. The statements don’t differ all that much from year to year. The majority of the municipalities send a delegate to this event and, in true policy wonk fashion Sharman was the delegate for Burlington this year to the FCM conference in Halifax.

Paul Sharman Ward 5 Councillor works well with people who have a business background and the discipline exercised in the private sector.  Here he discusses an issue with Frank McKeown, the Mayors right hand man.

Paul Sharman Ward 5 Councillor works well with people who have a business background and the discipline exercised in the private sector. Here he discusses an issue with Frank McKeown, the Mayors right hand man.

Sharman, who has attended thousands of conferences more often than note as a speaker presenting a paper with a point of view – for those of you who know Paul Sharman – he has a point of view and is not in the least bit shy about letting you know what that point of view is.

But in talking about his trip to Halifax as a delegate to the FCM conference Sharman says he went in with an open mind – with no idea what was going to take place other than what he head on the agenda. Sharman is a management consultant by profession with a proclivity for numbers – he counts without using his fingers and if there is an error, he will spot it faster than Jack Dennison, who is usually seen as the “numbers” man on Council.

Sharman came away from the FCM conference “flabbergasted”. “Did you know”, he declares, “that municipalities get just 8% of the taxes collected yet have to deliver most of the services people expect from their government?”

When asked what he thought eh municipal tax take was – Sharman said he thought it was “somewhere in the 20% range”. That municipalities have to deliver such a wide range of services to their taxpayers and do so on so little was not just disturbing to Sharman but to thinking clearly a major problem to be addressed. We can expect comments at Council on this situation from Sharman

He didn’t have any answers and didn’t suggest how additional funds could be made available to municipal governments. It does have to be said that the province and to some degree the federal governments have in the past made substantial grants to the municipal sector. The federal Stimulus funds made available to municipalities during the 2008 recession that began to take hold in 2009 and to some degree is still with us today, helped Burlington get through the financial crisis – but one wonders if the funds given were put to the best possible uses. Municipalities had to move very quickly to come up with projects that were “shovel ready” in order to get the grants. Burlington was given a significant sum to rehabilitate the Freeman railway station but never managed to spend the money on that project because they could not decide on where the building should actually be located.

Paul Sharman can be very blunt and direct when he hears what he believes to be sloppy thinking.  More often than not he knows and understands the numbers behind an issue and demands that people understand the outcome they expect from the decisions they make.

Paul Sharman can be very blunt and direct when he hears what he believes to be sloppy thinking. More often than not he knows and understands the numbers behind an issue and demands that people understand the outcome they expect from the decisions they make.

For Sharman THE pressing issue in Burlington is transit and figuring out how the city can get the best possible value for the dollars it spends on the transit service. “We have too many busses going up and down streets with nowhere near enough people on the bus to make it pay,” Sharman will tell you. And he doesn’t believe the formula the city administration and the transit people are using to analyze the data they have is correct and that therefore the figures are all skewed and “out of whack”.

The city has entered into a Transit Master Plan agreement that will see some significant new ideas being brought to the table

Also on Sharman’s list of issues is the Strategic Plan and the way Burlington is going to develop it’s economy which he sees as two issues joined at the hip. Sharman is doing his usual “shake em up” routine at the Strategic Planning sessions that are close to having a document that can be taken to the public for comment.

Council has just begun to address what appears to be a surplus of employment lands and the need for additional land that can be used for housing developments. That debate will take place within the context of the Strategic Plan but the developers have already begun to line up with applications to redesignate land that is set aside for employment use and use it to build housing.

Sharman can be quite charming and gracious when he chooses to be – you just have to know what you’re talking about and have come to a meeting fully prepared.  If you  don’t – Sharman will be at you.

Sharman can be quite charming and gracious when he chooses to be – you just have to know what you’re talking about and have come to a meeting fully prepared. If you don’t – Sharman will be at you.

As Sharman sees it Burlington is in the enviable position of having more than enough land for employment purposes at a time when the amount of space industry will need it lessening and says “we are in a community where there can and will be significant population growth that will allow us to develop new high tech jobs and attract those intelligent young men and woman needed for those jobs.”

Sharman believes there is a magnificent opportunity for Burlington to create jobs that rely on intellectual property and he believes the health field is one of the opportunity areas for Burlington.

Sharman appears to be having the time of his life. Not bad for a guy who moves to Burlington, decides to run for Mayor with absolutely no political experience, realizes that he probably can’t win the Mayor’s job and so decides to run as Councillor in Ward 5 and beats a field of five candidates. Then goes on to become one of the most disruptive (in a positive sense) people on Council and send shivers throughout the administration.

Brash, direct, and exceptionally kind when he chooses to be Sharman tends to know what he is talking about. We have a less than 1% tax increase for 2011 because Paul Sharman made it happen.

[retweet]

 

Return to the Front page

A Canada Day thirty one new Canadians will never forget. Made Canadian citizens by an immigrant.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON July 1, 2011 – To fully appreciate what it is to be, or to become, a Canadian citizen, one had only to listen to Peter Appleyard as he led people about to be made Canadian citizens during a Citizenship Court assembled in Spencer Smith Park on Canada Day

Peter Appleyard was born in England and came to Canada in 1951 and enjoyed a very full career as a musician. In 1992 he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.

An immigrant to Canada in 1951, Peter Appleyard went on to enjoy considerable success as a musician and in 1992 was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.  Appleyard led 31 new Canadians through a Citizenship Court session in Spencer Smith Park.

An immigrant to Canada in 1951, Peter Appleyard went on to enjoy considerable success as a musician and in 1992 was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. Appleyard led 31 new Canadians through a Citizenship Court session in Spencer Smith Park.

On an absolutely glorious day filled with sunshine, standing at the edge of Lake Ontario where one of the great aboriginals built a home that we now use as a museum, thirty one people became citizens of Canada. Appleyard must have wondered as he conducted the Citizenship Court what those assembled before him would go on to become as they were made citizens.

Appleyard said to those assembled:

I am pleased to welcome you to this Court of Canadian Citizenship. I welcome those of you who will shortly become New Canadian citizens and also your families and friends.

Today is a very important milestone in your life. On this occasion you will be given the most valuable gift from Canada – Canadian citizenship.

Canadian citizenship has only been in existence since 1947, but the spirit that gives Canadians their special identity has lived since the early days of confederation..

The process of nation building stated with confederation. It started with people of different races, cultures and languages, agreeing on a form of government and a legal system whereby people could live and work together in harmony. They laid the foundation for the carving of a new country from the forest and the vast prairie. They laid the foundation so that we can be here today.

Former Ontario Lt. Governor Lincoln Alexander was a guest at the Citizenship Court and joined the 31 people becoming citizens along with their guests during a renewal of their Oath of Allegiance.

Former Ontario Lt. Governor Lincoln Alexander was a guest at the Citizenship Court and joined the 31 people becoming citizens along with their guests during a renewal of their Oath of Allegiance.

I know that for many of you the journey to the Court room has not been easy. Some of you had to escape from war torn homelands. Some had to leave friends and family members behind Some of you had to uproot professions an start all over again; while others have experienced great difficulties in adapting to a new life in Canada.

However your presence here confirms to us that you have the courage and the wisdom to make the necessary adaptations and that you have made a conscious decision in favour of Canada. Now Canada has declared in favour of you, and today you will join us as citizens with all the attendant rights, privileges and responsibilities.

Citizenship implies the possession of an ideal; a sense of values; and a theory of what life in Canada might become. It takes in the whole scale of thought, knowledge and behavior.

Citizenship in Canada is not just a technical qualification for voting for getting a passport, or for qualifying for some employment. It is not a prize for new arrivals. It is a right and responsibility for all of us. What becomes of this country and of us depends on each persons own idea of citizenship – multiplied nearly 29 million times.

Today you are publicly making a commitment to the future of Canada. As citizens of this country you will become partners in exercising the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. You will now become shareholders in a larger world. How you act, what you do or what you do not do can effect the live of countless people now and in the future.

We effect lives by the way we participate in the community and the country we now enjoy, and that one day we will pass on to another generation. Commitment therefore to the values that underlie our Canadian citizenship needs thought and care so that the values are not lost through careless indifference.

In a few moment you will take the oath of Canadian citizenship. In it you will promise to be loyal and bear true allegiance to her majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada. Next you will promise that you will faithfully observe the laws of Canada. Finally, you will promise to fulfill your duties as Canadian citizens.

After being sworn in, the 31 New Canadians were given their Certificates of Citizenship and greeted warmly by Mike Wallace, MP, Joyce Savoline, MPP, Gary Carr, Chair of the Region of Halton and Rick Goldring, Mayor of Burlington – and then bid welcome to Canada by a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

After being sworn in, the 31 New Canadians were given their Certificates of Citizenship and greeted warmly by Mike Wallace, MP, Joyce Savoline, MPP, Gary Carr, Chair of the Region of Halton and Rick Goldring, Mayor of Burlington – and then bid welcome to Canada by a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

But what are you really saying? I hope you are saying that you want to belong to the Canadian family, that you want to be a member of a society, a citizen of a country which looks forward, toward the future, but does not forget from where they have come; a society which protects with pride and preserves with care their past traditions and accomplishments.

I hope that you want to be a citizen of a country where you are equal with all other citizens, where you have equal treatment under the law to freedom of speech, freedom to worship, freedom from persecution and the right to protection against discrimination. That it will be your responsibility to protect those rights, to cherish ands safeguard them against any who would abuse them, remembering always that the protection of your rights begins with the protection of those of your neighbours

That your responsibility is to contribute to understanding and harmony between yourselves and your fellow citizens whether it be in your public and professional life or in the simple courtesies and considerations of everyday life.

Such responsibilities and such rights are ours to exercise every day of our lives and the degree to which we do so plays a major role in the continuing development of a Canada founded upon fairness and dignity for all her members. If ever there was a time in this nation’s history when responsibilities play an important role, the time is now. As a country, we are facing great challenges. Challenges that will surely affect our lives now and in the future.

The essence of our citizenship is found in its values; its moral commitments; its deep loyalties.

This might be a good time for all Canadians to look again at the values and principles which have been associated with Canada, for ti is these vital principles that have earned Canada the reputation as clearly one of the best countries in the world in which to live.

Now, as you prepare to assume your new rights and privileges freely and proudly, I hope that you will make a conscious decision to add your talents, your strengths, your dreams and your hopes to the great treasure trove which is your Canadian heritage so that together we can build an even better Canada.

I trust you will reflect on this as you take the oath of Canadian citizenship.

Canada Day 2011 was as good as the weather gets in Ontario during the summer.  A light breeze with ice cream and hot dogs available for the hungry and various service available to others.  A free health test was obviously of interest to one young man.

Canada Day 2011 was as good as the weather gets in Ontario during the summer. A light breeze with ice cream and hot dogs available for the hungry and various service available to others. A free health test was obviously of interest to one young man.

At that point in the ceremonies the thirty one new Canadians were sworn in and made Canadian citizens. Appleyard invited everyone in attendance to use the occasion to renew their oath and the audience was joined by former Ontario Lt. Governor Lincoln Alexander who raised his hand and renewed is oath of allegiance to a country he has served so well.

 

Spencer Smith Park was filled with the usual merchants selling ice cream and hot dogs and offering various services.

That day was rounded out with a performance of The Spoons and a spectacular fireworks display.

[retweet]

 

Return to the Front page

You can swim in it – but don’t think you want to drink any of it.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON June 30, 2011 – The Halton Region Health Department tests recreational water throughout the Region and wants you to know that the Beachway Park North and Beachway Park South in Burlington are safe to swim in The water testing is done weekly.

Prospect Park Old Beach and Bronte Park Beach are UNSAFE for swimming.

With the kids out of school this afternoon – the Moms of the Region now have a safe place to take them. Think the water is going to be kind 0f cold though.

 

[retweet]

 

Return to the Front page

BPAC announces an eclectic mix of program events for inaugural season. Royal Wood and Sarah McLachlan set the pace.

By Pepper Parr

It has been the talk of the town for years.  Some were delighted but many said it was a nice to have but not necessary. The long term thinkers understood and in the coming months we will see the opening of our very own Performing Arts Centre

It has been the talk of the town for years. Some were delighted but many said it was a nice to have but not necessary. The long term thinkers understood and in the coming months we will see the opening of our very own Performing Arts Centre

BURLINGTON, ON June 30, 2011 – It was a good start, she called it a sneak peak – and like all the great teases she showed us just enough skin to keep us around hoping for more. And so – we will stick around. All the notables were on hand for the “sneak peak” that Brenda Heatherington, Executive Director of the Burlington Performing Arts Centre, gave a select crowd who were served wine and a bunch of beverages that I’d never even heard of before. The hors’dourves were a delight. Kudos to Jason Stoner and his staff at the Waterfront for showing us what they can do.

But let’s get back to the Main Stage. Heatherington was in place to tell us what all the hard work during the past twelve months has led to – and while it might appear just a little soft at first glance, what Heatherington has done is laid down a solid base on which she is going to build.

There are all kinds of starts. There is the Kick off Event that will feature Royal Woods, winner if the iTunes Awad for 2010 and then the Red Carpet Event, which appears to be for the fur coat set. The program has a distinctly Canadian scent to it with a couple of people from CBC programs and Canada’s own Sarah McLachlan on the Main Stage

McLachlan, a true headliner who will get the place opened with all the glamour and colour it deserves.  Burlington got a taste of what she can do with a microphone during the Sound of Music Festival.  This will be a SOLD OUT performance

McLachlan, a true headliner who will get the place opened with all the glamour and colour it deserves. Burlington got a taste of what she can do with a microphone during the Sound of Music Festival. This will be a SOLD OUT performance

There will be time in the future to broaden the offering. The program for the BPAC is going to be a “soft start” to let the community get used to the place. Show business is all about ticket sales and if you watch what is happening in Hamilton with HECFI you can see a real disaster with the unraveling of that organization. (HECFI is acronym for Hamilton Entertainment and Convention Facilities that operates Hamilton Place, Convention Centre and Copps Coliseum.)

Hetherington is far to savvy to get sucked into that kind of a black hole. She has gone out to the community and developed relationships. Four programs have been put together for elementary school students – if you’re an adult you have to be with a student to get in. Promotional material was sent out to the schools in May and a few days later a call came in from one school asking for 100 tickets.

Not only is this group a collection of good singers but their story is part of our cultural history.  Expect to be moved by the stories these men sing about.

Not only is this group a collection of good singers but their story is part of our cultural history. Expect to be moved by the stories these men sing about.

THAT is what BPAC needs and by quietly developing those soft relationships Heatherington will build up a base that will cushion any disappointment there may be (I want to say “will be” but I also want to be very positive about the BPAC) The Centre has the potential to be a great place in and for the community.

When Heatherington announced there is going to be a Nut Cracker Suite production I almost danced. ” I knew it, I knew it, I KNEW”, I muttered. You see I am expecting Burlington to follow the Toronto tradition that has local luminaries on stage during a production and I’m telling people I expect to see Keith Strong, one of the Board members who drove the effort to get the building up in time and on budget. He deserves his moment of glory in a tutu on stage. I don’t expect him to go up on his toes but I do expect to see him prancing around. It’s the least he can do for the Centre.

We are going to see the Men of the Deeps – no mention of Rita MacNeil being with them though. The official season kick-off on October 1 featuring a performance by ITunes’s Songwriter of the Year, Royal Wood, and “Celebration! A Blue Jeans Gala” with CBC broadcaster Jian Ghomeshi hosting a wide array of musicians who have called Burlington home. And for those of you who are die hard CBC fans Stuart McLean and his Vinyl Café will do a production that will get broadcast to the rest of the country. We’re goin big time people

.

Animation is fascination and the sight lines at the BPAC will allow every child in the audience to be delighted and completely engaged by the Cashore Marionettes who are a a world class production – make sure the children in your circle get to attend this performance – it will set their imaginations aflame.  This is an Experience that will Inspire

Animation is fascination and the sight lines at the BPAC will allow every child in the audience to be delighted and completely engaged by the Cashore Marionettes who are a a world class production – make sure the children in your circle get to attend this performance – it will set their imaginations aflame. This is an Experience that will Inspire

“We are dedicated to the theme Experiences that Inspire for our inaugural 2011-2012 season,” said Heatherington. “For the Official Opening, we are thrilled to be able to present Sarah McLachlan, a world-class performer who epitomizes this theme.” McLachlan gave Burlington a dry run with a surprise performance at the Sound of Music Festival – she apparently likes us enough to want to come back.

There will be some Chopin and something from the works Franz Liszt as well, and as the life of the Centre takes on a tone of its own Burlington will craft the audience needed to make BPAC everything it can become.

There was no mention of ticket prices and we didn’t learn how many of the local theater groups will use the Centre. No announcements yet of corporate events but I did hear via the grape vine that at least one wedding reception has been booked for the Family Room.

Royal Wood, winner of the  iTunes 2010 Songwriter of the Year Award will be on stage for the Kick off event October 1st.  Tickets are going to go fast for this one.

Royal Wood, winner of the iTunes 2010 Songwriter of the Year Award will be on stage for the Kick off event October 1st. Tickets are going to go fast for this one.

With award-winning selections from the world of dance, drama and music, the season has something for everyone. The Centre’s two theatres, the 718-seat Main Theatre and the 200-seat Community Studio Theatre, will host Celtic, Blues, Opera, Jazz and choral music, ballet, hip-hop, and modern dance and heart-wrenching dramas. The 2011-2012 season also includes four critically-acclaimed productions of interest to young people and educators alike. And, the Centre will be the first green performance locale in the country.

 

{retweet]

 

Return to the Front page

Burlington youth on skate board collides with truck, remains in hospital with serious injuries.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON June 29, 2011 – A sixteen year old youth did one of the stupidest things he has probably every done in his life. He stretched his body out on his skate board, the way a luge racer would – and raced down Danforth Place head first on his skate board. The kids call it “street luging”

Further investigation into this incident has revealed that the involved youth was not “street luging”, as was first reported. Rather, he was crouched down on a longboard as he descended the hill. The youth remains in hospital in serious but stable condition.

While tearing along the street the youth entered a curve at the same time a pick up truck traveling on the same road – they collided. The youth would have known what was going to happen and must have been terrified but was powerless to stop his skate board.

The traditional position of a luge athlete is to lay on the sled feet forward.  A Burlington youth stretched out on his skateboard head forward and roared down Danforth Place – and collided with a pick up truck.

The traditional position of a luge athlete is to lay on the sled feet forward. A Burlington youth stretched out on his skateboard head forward and roared down Danforth Place – and collided with a pick up truck.

The youth was transported to hospital where he is in critical condition with serious injuries.

Police have been responding to complaints about young people racing on skate boards in that part of the city. Patrols can be expected to increase.

[retweet]

 

Return to the Front page

Seven type A talkers, 7 administrators and not a bean counter amongst them, + four woman taking notes.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON June 28, 2011 – Fourteen people in the room; half of them type A talkers, the other half bright people who will have to implement what the group is talking about. This is how the Strategic Plan for Burlington is being put together and it is an amazing process that we will write about at much greater length later in the week.

Each of the three group facilitators used flip charts to capture the thoughts of the fourteen participants at the seventh half day session to create the Burlington Strategic Plan.

Each of the three group facilitators used flip charts to capture the thoughts of the fourteen participants at the seventh half day session to create the Burlington Strategic Plan.

Last night, that would be Monday evening, four woman toiled into the wee hours to pull some order out of more than 25 sheets of flip chart pages that were generated by three groups talking about part of the Strategic Plan. Led by Michelle Dwyer, who works under the Direction of Alan Magi, Helen Walihura, Donna Woods and Amanda Gubbels took away the pages and started sorting out the comments that the three facilitators had written up.

Watching a group of people craft a long term think plan for the city is quite something. This was their seventh half day meeting. (I can hear someone saying ‘seven half days – I could have done that in a couple of hours’) during which they struggled with just what it meant to have a Strategic Plan and how do you craft the document so that it has meaning and relevance to the taxpayers and the staff that have to make it happen.

Georgina Black of KPMG consulting with a colleague during one of the Burlington Strategic Planning sessions.  The Strategic Plan team is ably led by Ms Black – one of the best in the business.

Georgina Black of KPMG consulting with a colleague during one of the Burlington Strategic Planning sessions. The Strategic Plan team is ably led by Ms Black – one of the best in the business.

The Strategic Planning Team has been working under the very able guidance of Georgina Black, brought in from KPMG, an international consulting firm, to help them understand just what a Strategic Plan was and how it had to be developed and then linked to the city’s budget process.

Each of the politicians had their vision, wish, dream for the city they represented at Council and each of the senior staff members had departments that had to carry out and implement what was decided upon and keep it all within a budget the taxpayers would live with.

Michelle Dwyer staff liaison team leader for the Strategic Planning group watches during a session while Helen Walihura listens intently to catch the thinking of the group she was working with.

Michelle Dwyer staff liaison team leader for the Strategic Planning group watches during a session while Helen Walihura listens intently to catch the thinking of the group she was working with.

Burlington had entered a new phase as a city. The Shape Burlington Report changed the way thinking people reacted. The report told both the politicians and the administration that people wanted a change. They wanted more access, they wanted to be involved and they wanted to be listened to, and while they were prepared to spend a little money they didn’t want to see taxes going sky high. The city had just dumped a Mayor and one Council member and elected three new people to Council and made it very clear they wanted things to be done differently. There had been significant tax increases that most felt were to high which made both politicians and the administration keenly aware that they were being watched.

The city had a new Mayor who was experiencing a sometimes jolting on the job training experience and struggling with a pier that was a contractual nightmare that he knew he had to deal with.

Donna Woods focuses on her flip chart as she uses colours to show different levels of comment.  Woods, along with three other woman, then take the 25 plus flip chart pages and make sense out of the notes for review the next day.

Donna Woods focuses on her flip chart as she uses colours to show different levels of comment. Woods, along with three other woman, then take the 25 plus flip chart pages and make sense out of the notes for review the next day.

All this shortly after the city realized it had a significant surplus that came to the surface near the end of the year and surprised many on Council who have made it clear that they don’t like surprises.

This Council is much different from the previous one. They work well together for the most part. There are differences of opinion and some nerves get rubbed raw a bit at times but they are certainly a different team that the 2005-2010 Council.

Which explains a large part of why the Mayor is determined to get a Strategic Plan in place an dm make it meaningful, relevant and something the taxpayers will buy into. Your city council and the staff you pay with your tax dollars are doing a significantly different job.

Amanda Gubbels, a part of the support team that captured all the thoughts and ideas that will result in a long term Strategic Plan that will go out for public review and comment late in the summer.  Gubbels listens as Steve Zorbas makes a point

Amanda Gubbels, a part of the support team that captured all the thoughts and ideas that will result in a long term Strategic Plan that will go out for public review and comment late in the summer. Gubbels listens as Steve Zorbas makes a point

What the focus on in this piece though is the four woman who handle all the paper work and produce the working documents that guide the Council members and senior staff members through the half day sessions.

Staff met last Friday and produced thoughts and ideas and suggestions for directions. The team of four woman worked through the weekend and had the documents on the table for the Monday morning session and then at noon they trudged back to city hall to pull together the next level of reporting.

Members of Council and senior staff gathered for more than seven half days sessions to work though a Strategic Plan. that looks 20 years + into the future and ties what they think can be done in the next three and a half years into the budget. In this picture, Councillor Mead Ward and city Manger Roman Martiuk talk while Michelle Dwyer listens and takes notes.

Members of Council and senior staff gathered for more than seven half days sessions to work though a Strategic Plan. that looks 20 years + into the future and ties what they think can be done in the next three and a half years into the budget. In this picture, Councillor Mead Ward and city Manger Roman Martiuk talk while Michelle Dwyer listens and takes notes.

Taking down data from the flip chart sheets they collected, collated and produced the document needed by noon of the next day when it got passed along to the KPMG facilitator who reviews it, discusses it with Alan Magi and Council members and gives it her wink and nod and – with the inevitable corrections and re-formatting the Team of woman make the last minute changes and have documents in front of everyone for 9 am Wednesday.

That folks is your tax dollars at work – and on this one – you are getting full value for your money.

[retweet]

 

 

Return to the Front page

All together now – everybody sing – CA-NA-DA. That was on the 100th birthday. What do you want to do THIS year?

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON June 28, 2011 Ca na da, we love thee … It became a runaway, flag-waving hit, written by a wholesome, unabashedly patriotic bandleader, the Pied Piper of Confederation himself – Bobby Gimby!

The song, fist sung publicly on Canada’s 100th birthday, just might get sung at Spencer Smith Park this Friday when we celebrate our 144th birthday as a country.

The city has a full day of events planned starting with a 5km run and a free pancake breakfast for the finishers – as long as supplies last. And if running doesn’t do it for you there will be a Yoga class and then the Joseph Brant Museum Strawberry Social. We are told Marianne Meed Ward will be one of the volunteers serving the berries.

Two stages are being set up – the Waterfront Stage and the Canada Stage.

In Spencer Smith Park:

8:30 am Canada Day 5km run/walk
9:30 am Free breakfast compliments of the
Golden Griddle
(while supplies last)
10:00 am Free YOGA class
(bring your mat and water bottle)
11 am – 4 pm Joseph Brant Museum Strawberry Social

 

CANADA STAGE

11:10 am Tyrsa Dance School
11:30 am Citizenship Court
1:00 pm Opening Ceremonies featuring
The Burlington Teen Tour Band
2:00 pm Dirty Pioneers
3:00 pm Blue Radio
4:00 pm Blue Radio
5:00 pm Dirty Pioneers
6:30 pm Fiddlestix
8:30 pm Headliner – The Spoons
10:00 pm Fireworks Display

WATERFRONT STAGE

1:30 pm Krazy Kanuck Kloggers
2:15 pm Katerina Gimon;
Youth Week ‘Sing Your Heart Out’ winner
2:30 pm Practically Hip
3:30 pm Practically Hip
5:00 pm City Sirens
6:30 pm Killin Time Band

 

Getting around – Free shuttle bus service is available from 7 to 11 p.m. The shuttle will run from the Central Park Bus Shelter along Teen Tour Way and travel to the downtown bus terminal. The Mountain Equipment Co-op Bike Corral will be available throughout the day near the park playground for cyclists to lock up their bikes.
At night, bring a blanket or lawn chair, then sit back to take in the fireworks at 10pm -proudly supported by Emma’s Back Porch.

[retweet]

 

Return to the Front page

Show Time ! Will she wear a top hat and tails and carry a cane ? Heatherington goes front and centre – releases BPAC line up.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON June 28, 2011 _ Soon, very, very soon – this Wednesday in fact Brenda Heatherington will go to the front of the room and give the public a Sneak Peak of the inaugural season for the Burlington Performing Arts Centre.

Expect the Burlington Teen Tour Band – but what else ? Drama? Jazz ? Concerts ? Heatherington has deep experience and an enviable reputation and did stellar work in Edmonton.

Brenda Heatherington, Ex Dir of BPAC is front and center now with the fall line up

Brenda Heatherington, Ex Dir of BPAC is front and center now with the fall line up

How will Heatherington find the balance between what the public will immediately like and buy tickets for and at the same time gently nudge a public that hasn’t had access to all that much culture: the bash em, smash em truck events in Hamilton don’t count.

Will we learn that local small theatre has taken to the new centre ? Will we learn that there is going to be a Nutcracker Suite this Christmas ? Last weekend there was a National Academy Orchestra out of Hamilton that put on a stunning performance of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto played by Laurence Kayaleh that played to a full house that had extra seats set up in the aisle at St. Christopher’s Anglican Church. The appetite for significant cultural events is certainly there – will the BPAC people fully understand their community and both cater to what they want and at the same time develop appetite for music and drama they’ve not heard or seen before.

Up until now all the city has heard is that the build of the Centre is “on budget and on time” and that we have to wait for the program to be announced.

And so now the moment has come. Let’s see what they can do.

[retweet]

 

Return to the Front page

That little black box that brings you your television programs could be costing you more to run than your refrigerator.

By Staff from the New York Times

BURLINGTON, ON June 28, 2011 – Those little boxes that usher cable signals and digital recording capacity into televisions have become the single largest electricity drain in many North American homes, with some typical home entertainment configurations eating more power than a new refrigerator and even some central air-conditioning systems.

There are 160 million so-called set-top boxes in the United States, one for every two people, and that number is rising. Many homes now have one or more basic cable boxes as well as add-on DVRs, or digital video recorders, which use 40 percent more power than the set-top box.

Costs more to run this thing than it does your refrigerator.  Saving energy means changing the way we live our lives – do you want to wait for the DVR to “warm” up ?  Or do you have to have an “instant on” for your TV set?

Costs more to run this thing than it does your refrigerator. Saving energy means changing the way we live our lives – do you want to wait for the DVR to “warm” up ? Or do you have to have an “instant on” for your TV set?

One high-definition DVR and one high-definition cable box use an average of 446 kilowatt hours a year, about 10 percent more than a 21-cubic-foot energy-efficient refrigerator, a recent study found.

These set-top boxes are energy hogs mostly because their drives, tuners and other components are generally running full tilt, or nearly so, 24 hours a day, even when not in active use. The recent study, by the Natural Resources Defense Council, concluded that the boxes consumed $3 billion in electricity per year in the United States — and that 66 percent of that power is wasted when no one is watching and shows are not being recorded. That is more power than the state of Maryland uses over 12 months.

“People in the energy efficiency community worry a lot about these boxes, since they will make it more difficult to lower home energy use,” said John Wilson, a former member of the California Energy Commission who is now with the San Francisco-based Energy Foundation. “Companies say it can’t be done or it’s too expensive. But in my experience, neither one is true. It can be done, and it often doesn’t cost much, if anything.”

The perpetually “powered on” state is largely a function of design and programming choices made by electronics companies and cable and Internet providers, which are related to the way cable networks function in the United States. Fixes exist, but they are not currently being mandated or deployed in the United States, critics say.

Similar devices in some European countries, for example, can automatically go into standby mode when not in use, cutting power drawn by half. They can also go into an optional “deep sleep,” which can reduce energy consumption by about 95 percent compared with when the machine is active.

One British company, Pace, sells such boxes to American providers, who do not take advantage of the reduced energy options because of worries that the lowest energy states could disrupt service. Cable companies say customers will not tolerate the time it takes to reboot the system once the system has been shut down or put to sleep.

“The issue of having more efficient equipment is of interest to us,” said Justin Venech, a spokesman for Time Warner Cable. But, he added, “when we purchase the equipment, functionality and cost are the primary considerations.”

But energy efficiency experts say that technical fixes could eliminate or minimize the waiting time and inconvenience, some at little expense. Low-energy European systems reboot from deep sleep in one to two minutes.

Alan Meier, a scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, said of the industry in the United States, “I don’t want to use the word ‘lazy,’ but they have had different priorities, and saving energy is not one of them.”

Literally hundreds of TV channels and the capacity to record and save hours and hours of programming – and now we learn we are eating up all kinds of electricity because no one asked for a more efficient design.

Literally hundreds of TV channels and the capacity to record and save hours and hours of programming – and now we learn we are eating up all kinds of electricity because no one asked for a more efficient design.

The Environmental Protection Agency has established Energy Star standards for set-top boxes and has plans to tighten them significantly by 2013, said Ann Bailey, director of Energy Star product labeling, in an e-mail. The voluntary seal indicates products that use energy efficiently. But today, there are many boxes on the list of products that meet the Energy Star standard that do not offer an automatic standby or sleep mode.

“If you hit the on/off button it only dims the clock, it doesn’t significantly reduce power use,” said Noah Horowitz, senior scientist at the natural resources council.

Energy efficiency is a function of hardware, software, the cable network and how a customer uses the service, said Robert Turner, an engineer at Pace, which makes set-top boxes that can operate using less power while not in active use.

Sometimes energy efficiency can be vastly improved by remotely adjusting software over a cable, Mr. Turner said. In this way, Pace reduced the energy consumption of some of its older boxes by half.

Mr. Wilson said he routinely unplugged his set-top boxes at night and waited only 45 seconds for television in the morning. But Dr. Meier said that when he tried to power down his home system at night, it took “hours” to reboot because the provider “downloaded the programming guide in a very inefficient way.”

 

Cable providers and box manufacturers like Cisco Systems, Samsung and Motorola currently do not feel consumer pressure to improve box efficiency. Customers are generally unaware of the problem — they do not know to blame the unobtrusive little device for the rise in their electricity bills, and do not choose their boxes anyway.

Those devices may cause an increase of as little as a few dollars a month or well over $10 for a home with many devices. In Europe, electricity rates are often double those in the United States, providing greater financial motivation to conserve.

Cisco Systems, one of the largest makers of set-top boxes, said in an e-mail that they would offer some new models this year that would cut consumption by 25 percent “through reduced power used in ‘on’ and standby states.” There will be no deep sleep or fully “off” setting.

In simpler times television stations didn’t broadcast 24x7 and there were just two – maybe three channels.  Now we have hundreds of channels and we use a lot of electricity to make all the equipment operate. What would you do to get the cable companies to provide you with a more efficient set top box?

In simpler times television stations didn’t broadcast 24x7 and there were just two – maybe three channels. Now we have hundreds of channels and we use a lot of electricity to make all the equipment operate. What would you do to get the cable companies to provide you with a more efficient set top box?

But Cisco said that taking advantage of the potential energy savings for a box would also depend on “how it is operated by the service provider.” Cable and satellite providers will have to decide whether the boxes can automatically go to standby, for example, and whether customers will be able to adjust their own settings. Currently, providers often do system maintenance and download information at night over the cable, so an ever-at-the ready cable box is more convenient for them.

Cable companies can become Energy Star “partners” if they agree to install or upgrade boxes so that 25 percent to 50 percent of the homes they serve have “energy star qualified” equipment. The E.P.A. merely encourages providers to use units that can automatically power down at least partly when not in use.

But as of Sept. 1, typical electricity consumption of Energy Star qualified products would drop to 97 kilowatt hours a year from an average of 138; and then by the middle of 2013, they must drop again to 29 kilowatt hours a year. Companies have fought the placement of the “Energy Star” seal on products and the new ambitious requirements, which may still be modified before enacted.

Mr. Wilson recalled that when he was on the California Energy Commission, he asked box makers why the hard drives were on all the time, using so much power. The answer: “Nobody asked us to use less.”

The biggest challenge in reducing energy use is maintaining the rapid response time now expected of home entertainment systems, Mr. Turner said. “People are used to the idea that computers take some time to boot up,” he said, “but they expect the TV to turn on instantly.”

 

[retweet]

 

Return to the Front page

2nd best city to raise kids in; 3rd best place to live in Canada and a hospital with worst wait time in the province – Burlington

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON June 27, 2011 Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital (JBMH) was ranked dead last in a listing of wait times at Ontario hospitals.

Ninety percent of the sickest patients spent up to 25.2 hours in the Burlington hospitals emergency room in April of this year before being discharged or admitted. That’s the longest total ER wait time for seriously ill patients at any Ontario hospital measured that month. It is virtually identical to the 26 hour statistic that JBMH reported in 2009.

The problem, according to hospital officials isn’t the ER, it’s the lack of beds. Officials report that JBMH has many acute care beds ‘clogged’ with older patients who no longer need hospital care but must wait for beds to open up in a long term care facility or nursing home.

With the beds in the upper levels of the hospital clogged with patients who don’t have long term care homes to go to – patients get held in emergency leading to JBMH having the longest wait times in the province.

With the beds in the upper levels of the hospital clogged with patients who don’t have long term care homes to go to – patients get held in emergency leading to JBMH having the longest wait times in the province.

One might understand that a problem was identified in 2009 when data was collected – but that was two years ago. It is really unacceptable for the hospital to say that they are still struggling. That’s somebody’ Mother ‘clogging’ up that bed if you don’t mind.

Burlington’s city council has set aside more than $4 million in a reserve fund that will be given to the hospital when it’s development plans get approval – what’s the delay ?

The city that was ranked as the third best in the country to live in and then the second best to raise a family in is now the city with the longest wait times to get a hospital bed in. Patients are left in the ER because there are no beds available for them elsewhere in the hospital.

JBMH has pitched a $300 million redevelopment a pan to the province that would add at least 70 acute care beds. Hospital officials are said to be “hoping” for approval for their plan which calls for the additional beds to be in place by 2013 or 2014 – but added that the beds are needed now.

There is something wrong with a process that allows the province to drag their feet as much as they have when the city had bellied up to the bar and put their money on the table.

There hasn’t been a word from our MPP; Savoline is packing her bags for her trip to the land of happy retirement which she has earned, if not for her work on behalf of the city at Queen’s Park then for her work at the Regional level where she made some very significant and important changes.

The Mayor and a couple of the council members were recently at Queen’s Park sitting in on a presentation to stop any highway across the escarpment. It would have been nice to see them all banging their shoes on the table while they were there and demanding to know what the province was going to do about getting along with the hospital development proposal. But this is Burlington and we are polite. Tell that to the person who waits more than 25 hours for a bed at the hospital.

We are about to get into the serious part of a provincial election – an opportunity for citizens to ask some hard questions of this government and to challenge the Liberal candidate to who happens to have a lot of experience on different JBMH Boards. Press Karmel Sakran, the Liberal candidate hard and ask tough questions. What would he do to bring about a change? What kind of a plan does he have to lobby the health Ministry and how much research has he done.

During the election campaign Burlington needs to hear what each of the political parties has in the way of a plan that is specific to Burlington.

The government is certainly aware of just how unhappy voters are. A recent report produced by an organization known as MASS LBP, an organization that has done some good work in Burlington when they did much of the public survey grunt work for the Shape Burlington people and also did some work with Rick Goldring when he was Council member in Ward 5. MASS LBP (the LBP stands for Led by People) has also done work for the Region and is recognized around the world as a leader in the field of getting the views of a large community thro9ugh what they call their “civic lottery”; an approach that sends letters out to people who were randomly selected and invites them into intensive workshops were a lot of questioning and debating takes place. This intensive, digging deeply into the way people think produces a much finer more detailed response than a simple opinion poll. MASS is particularly strong in the public health field and are known around the world as a significant force in the collecting of data and then analyzing the data for policy makes to use.

We mention this organization and want to pass on to you some of the findings that came out of the recent research work MASS did in the health care field. The full report is available at https://www.waittimealliance.ca/

After three weekends filled with lively and lengthy discussions the panelists reached the following consensus. How do they compare with your thinking ? What would you do with these results ?

1. Step up Prevention and Promotion. Direct a share of alcohol and tobacco taxes towards health promotion. Expand nutrition and phys-ed in schools, more public education on active living, better food labeling.

2. Improve Accountability and Incentives. Link compensation for physicians to measurable patient outcomes and satisfaction, encourage health professionals to form interdisciplinary primary health teams, expand reporting in hospitals that measure quality and patient satisfaction.

3. Strengthen Community Care. Requires strengthening of partnerships, mobilization of volunteers, creation of patient and community support groups, reduce cyclical funding constraints, prepare for an aging population with new resources for community services that keep people at home.

4. Expedite eHealth and improve information-sharing. Communicate the importance of eHealth while addressing access and privacy issues.

5. Improve Access and Timeliness. Expand family health team models. Utilize nurse practitioners more widely in primary care clinics and emergency departments, and develop a centralized specialist referral system.

Do the results of the survey work done by MASS LBP reflect the way people in Burlington feel? If they do – what is being done by people at the hospital to bring about the changes the public wants ? Is the hospital communicating effectively with the community ? Is the community being effectively served by the hospital? These are all questions that can and should be part of the public debate we are about to get into as part of the up coming provincial election.

The JBMH hospital Executive Director, Ed Vandewall does get out to meet with people; just doesn’t seem to be able to get to community meetings.  The above was a SNAP photo of Eric at a fund raising event.

The JBMH hospital Executive Director, Ed Vandewall does get out to meet with people; just doesn’t seem to be able to get to community meetings. The above was a SNAP photo of Eric at a fund raising event.

It is something to watch a city council be very proactive and resolute in setting aside money in a budget surplus and dedicate it to hospital development and at the same time commit a portion of municipal taxes for at least the next ten years to the development of the hospital. In all my time at city committee and council meetings I’ve yet to see anyone from the hospital address Council. I know of at least one council member who had arranged for the Executive Director of the hospital to appear at a Ward meeting but that got cancelled at the last minute because he was summoned to Queen’s Park to meet with the minister. We’ve not seen any public report or news release from the hospital saying what was talked about.

We have some serious health services problems in this province and in Burlington, where the population is already skewed towards an aging population. Burlington is a “move to” destination for many seniors who want a quiet, safe community that they can spend their retiring years in. We are a safe city with plenty of community services for those who can afford the housing. The city is certainly doing its part. The hospital, which has administrative staff that earn much more than many people at city hall and a load more than our Council members.

Some changes needed and a serious reality check as well.

[retweet]

 

Return to the Front page

McKenna wants to go to Queen’s Park and represent the people of Burlington. Has never held public office.

By Staff

BURLINTON, ON June 27, 2011 Jane McKenna, a Burlington entrepreneur announced she would seek the Progressive Conservative nomination for the Burlington seat in the provincial legislature that is vacant now that Joyce Savoline has ended her term.

Long time Burlington resident, and currently the Director of New Business Development for PLAY Advertising, Jane is also an entrepreneur, recently launching her own company, Rainmaker Consulting.

The Tory standard bearers came out for McKenna in her announcement. “She is a born leader, an amazing promoter and truly a ‘dog with a bone’ on any project she takes on,” said Kathy Thomas, owner of the Bronze Frog Gallery and President of the Rotary Club of Burlington Central. “If Jane can’t get it done … it can’t be done.”

A ward 1 candidate in the last municipal election McKenna has decided to move higher up the food chain and seeks the Burlington Progressive Conservative nomination.  So far she is running against Brian Heagle who has been patiently waiting for an opportunity to rub the Liberal red off his hide.

A ward 1 candidate in the last municipal election McKenna has decided to move higher up the food chain and seeks the Burlington Progressive Conservative nomination. So far she is running against Brian Heagle who has been patiently waiting for an opportunity to rub the Liberal red off his hide.

Mike Wallace, MP Burlington: “Jane McKenna is an intelligent, hard-working and high energy individual. I have known her for many years. She is an active and valuable volunteer in our community. Jane understands the needs of families and small business in Burlington. She will be a dynamic and effective voice for Burlington at Queen’s Park.”

Keith Strong: “Jane is a hardworking individual who always finishes what she starts. She is a dedicated professional who works well alone, but she is also an excellent team player. Jane leads by example. I am proud to have worked with Jane.”

There are now two announced progressive Conservative candidates for the Burlington seat. The Liberals nominated Karmel Sakran and the NDP nominated Peggy Russell.

[retweet]

 

Return to the Front page