A “cultural czar” in Burlington? Looks like that’s what’s coming our way, from Kingston of all places.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  July 25, 2013.  In Kingston they refer to him as their “cultural czar” and they can’t understand why he is leaving.  The contacts we spoke to didn’t even know that Brian McCurdy had resigned and was on his way to Burlington where he will serve as the Executive Director of the Performing Arts Centre.  He takes up the reigns in the middle of August.

Kingston’s Grand Theatre was undergoing a major renovation when McCurdy arrived in that city.  He completed that job and put together what most people in Kingston felt was a very good program bringing in a number of acts from Europe that for the most part didn’t tour smaller Canadian cities.

McCurdy created a jazz festival that has proven to be very popular in Kingston; hopefully a jazz program will be something we might see from Mr. McCurdy early in the New Year?the proof was in the pudding and McCurdy did produce for them.

McCurdy was said to have been very good at creating partnerships with small theatre groups in Kingston and while described as a cautious man, people in Kingston found that the proof was in the pudding and McCurdy did produce for them.

Brian McCurdy, newly appointed Executive Director of the Performing Arts Centre.

Burlington is about to get serious with its Cultural Plan which is working its way through city hall and a committee or two.  McCurdy is said to have done “excellent” work setting the direction for arts and  heritage in Kingston for the next ten years.  Might he manage to set the bar a little higher at the Brant Museum?

The depth of experience that McCurdy brings to cultural development will be new to this city.  Burlington has gotten a little mired in its approach to culture – this man, if the information we’ve been given is sound, takes a very sophisticated approach and at the same time fully understands the realities of the market place.

In Kingston McCurdy said once he was “worried about the success of the KidStage series” and found a remedy — he cut the children’s prices in half.  “It really caught on,” he said. “The audiences doubled and tripled.”

 “The audiences doubled and tripled.\\“When we did a survey at the end of this year”, said McCurdy, “ 92% said they got value for their money but would come to more shows if the prices were cheaper. So this year, we’re introducing three price breaks where you can save as much as $10 if you’re willing to sit further back in the theatre.”

McCurdy has a considerable amount of American experience which is usually a good thing.  It gives him a broader view of culture and how it develops and rolls itself out.  A university education at McGill University will have given him a firm understanding of the dual culture of this country as well.

Add to that some work in Hamilton with the opera crew over there and he at least knows where Burlington is.  Has anyone told him about the most expensive pier ever built in this country?  When he was taken on a tour of the city did they walk him out to the end of the thing?

As to why did he decide to leave Kingston, a city that has a richer, deeper arts tradition than Burlington  and a very significant summer tourist traffic, a world-class university in the middle of the city and a stronger Canadian history pedigree than Burlington, no one could come up with a reason other than “these people like to move on quite a bit”.

Burlington has poached a police chief and now a cultural guru from Kingston - wonder if they have anything else we could use?Our contact in Kingston did have one parting comment.  “Burlington” he said, “has to stop poaching our people”.  And then I realized that our police chief Stephen Tanner, also came to us from Kingston.  This would put some validity to the Mayors statement that we are the best place to live in the country. Problem with that statement is that there are a number of correctional institutions in Kingston where we may not want this great news to get to.

For the moment let us welcome Brian McCurdy to the city and wish him well.  If Burlington is to have a cultural identity – this man appears to have the capacity to get us there.  He also has a community of artists who want to be at the table and the sense we got from the people we talked to is that this man understands artists – which will be welcomed.

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Performing Arts gets new leadership: McCurdy out of Kingston coming to Burlington.

By Staff

Burlington, Ont. July 24, 2013 – The Burlington Theatre Board has selected Brian McCurdy as the new Executive Director of The Burlington Performing Arts Centre. Mr.McCurdy will assume his new role effective August 19, 2013.

Mr. McCurdy has served as Cultural Director of the City of Kingston, since 2008. In this role he was responsible for overseeing the management of the historic Grand Theatre, city museums, Tett Centre for Creativity and Learning, in addition to municipal cultural planning.

Brian McCurdy has been appointed the Executive Director of the Burlington Performing Arts Centre – he joins that organization in the middle of August.

He was also involved in the re-development of the historic Grand Theatre in Kingston which re-opened in the spring of 2008 following a 3-year renovation. Previously, Mr. McCurdy provided management for the Performing Arts Centre, University of Lethbridge; Thunder Bay Community Auditorium, a 1500 seat performing arts centre; and the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, University of California.

“This is an important leadership role and we are delighted to have attracted broad interest from top candidates across the country, and beyond.” said Rick Burgess, Theatre Board Chair. “Brian has provided leadership and direction for the planning, construction, opening and ongoing management of performing arts centres, and has extensive programming experience. He has held the position as the first manager of many performing arts centres and therefore understands the complexities and the excitement of an organization in its development stages. As we head into our third season, we are excited to welcome Brian to the team.”

Some new light being brought to the Performing Arts Centre  with the appointment of Brian McCurdy as the new Executive Director.

Mr. McCurdy received his Bachelor’s Degree in Music from McGill University in Montreal and his Master’s Degree in Music with a major in arts administration from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. He also studied arts administration at The Banff Centre, in Alberta, the Leadership Institute at the University of California at Berkeley, and has participated in numerous workshops and seminars on fundraising, board and community development.

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Oyez! Oyez! Dave Vollick, City’s Town Crier to compete in world class competition.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  July 24, 2013.  The city’s Town Crier, Dave Vollick will be in Kingston, Ontario early in August to test his pipes against those amongst the best there is at the 2013 World Invitational Town Crier Competition.

Dave Vollick, Burlington’s Town Crier taking part in the Brant Day celebrations at LaSalle Park.

Vollick will have four days during which he will show them what he can do and perhaps come home as the “World Town Crier Champion”.

2013 marks the first year that the championships have taken place in Canada.

 Burlington has had a Town Crier since March 2011 when Council went along with the idea but didn’t put up any money to cover any of the costs involved.  At the time Vollick had hoped the city would pony up for some of his cleaning bills.

Vollick has appeared at a number of events – were he to come home with the prize – we would certainly see a lot more of him.

A Royal birth being announced by a Town Brier in the United Kingdom.

The world saw just what a Town Crier can do when the announcement of the birth of the third heir to the British Crown was delivered by a Town Crier.

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This just might reduce your taxes- and save your life in the process.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON.  July 23, 2013.  This is a nice little money-maker.  The Region has had two red light cameras in operation since March 2012.  They announced yesterday that an additional five are going to be installed Any idea why?  Public safety perhaps?  Try again – think revenue stream.

As of July 19, there have been 663 red light infractions, which means that 663 people have gotten letters in the mail with a bill for $325

Rounding out the numbers at 330 infractions per camera and 7 cameras going in and the tickets priced at $325 – the Region will have pocketed $750,710 each year.

Nice little bit of business.  The Region originally announced a total of 12 red light camera going in.

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Tree branches from storm to be picked up by the Region.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON. July 23, 2013The Region wants you to know that bulk brush from the recent storm gets put out on your regular yard waste pick up day. Branches do not have to be bundled but are not to be more than three (3) inches thick.

If you are unsure of trash pickup days slip over to h Regional web site and enter your postal code which will tell you what gets picked up when on your street.

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Who knew what when: That’s what much of the argument between the city and the Air Park is going to be about.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  July 23, 2013.  So – they’re going to court.  That’s a place where the wheels turn slowly and evidence gets dragged out of people one sentence at a time.

The city of Burlington and the Air Park have each sued one another and now begin the process of pulling together all the papers that will get put forward as evidence.  Each side will prepare their witnesses and the lawyers will prepare their questions.

Somewhere along the way everyone might decide to play nice, nice and each party will back off a little and decide to settle this disagreement out of court.

Burlington and the Region have said they just didn’t know what was going on up at the Air Park.   That would be nice if it were true but they did know.  They were told in April of 2009 when the Air Park held a neighbourhood meeting.  According to the Newsletter the Air Park put out the city’s planner was there, although they don’t name the person. 

Ward 6 Council member Blair Lancaster held some of her community meetings at the air park which was certainly a nice setting. Lancaster maintains that she had not hard from any of her constituents before March 15th of this year. The evidence suggests otherwise.

The claim Oakville’s city planner was there as well and that the then council member for Ward 6 was also at the meeting.  They misspell her name (Carol D’Emelio) but claim she was there along with 60 “neighbours”.

In its April 2009 Newsletter the Air Park reported as follows:

The Air Park publishes a Newsletter for its clients.

“As you might imagine, the neighbours of the airport have an interest in what happens next

door, or here at the airport. Recently we have been doing some preparatory work on the

west side of the airport including creating a road that will eventually access Appleby Line

and be the main road into the airport and to the proposed terminal building near the infield

of the airport.

“The neighbours rightfully were asking questions of ZBA actions and we were dealing with many rumours and untruths, so Feb 17th at Spectrum’s classroom we held a neighbours information session and presented the future plans of the airport.

Over 60 neighbours were in attendance, as well as Councillor Carol D’Emelio from Burlington City Council, City Planners from Burlington and Managers from Halton Region.

Vince Rossi, owner of the Burlington Air Park has always played the politicians as hard as he could. At one point he had Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion sending fax messages for the Airpark from her office the Minister of Finance. In this picture, undated, he has Halton MP Lisa Raitt attending an event, believed to be a Christmas party before she became a Minister. Only time will tell if the influence is going to work for Rossi. Raitt is now the federal Minister of Transportation which is responsible for the oversight of Canadian air parks.

“We addressed untrue rumours such as our intention to build a “Fuel Depot”, or a “Hotel Complex” on the field. We also addressed the untrue rumour that we are expanding th Length of the runway (while this would be nice, operationally there would be little advantage).

“Some things that were discussed, and that we all have a responsibility to abide by are operational issues and noise management. The Neighbours routinely observe, as do we, aircraft flying too low on final, or not obeying the 5 degree turn departing Rwy 14.

“We’d like to remind you that your considerate operation helps the airport live in harmony with those closest to us: Our neighbours!”

Was this just good corporate PR or did the airpark really reach out to the community?  Has there been any undue political influence in the past?  did the city know what was happening around their airport?  Should they have known?

Are there any limits to what an air park owner can do on an operation that is federally regulated?  And just how environmentally damaged is the land fill that has been dumped on the site for the past five years?

And what is the Region doing to test the water that the environmental report from Burlington’s experts has said could be tainted?

The Regional medical Officer of Health has a responsibility to ensure that the health of the community is secure.  There is ample evidence to suggest bore holes should be drilled to test the makeup of that landfill.

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They worked so well last year that they want more this year – or there was money left in the budget and they had to spend it.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  July 23, 2013. Halton Region will be expanding the red light camera program this summer. Cameras will be installed in Burlington, Halton Hills, Milton and Oakville. By the end of the summer, in addition to the two red light cameras currently in operation, five new cameras will be up snapping pictures of red light offenders.

Reminding drivers to stop on red at Milton’s first red light camera at Derry Road and Trafalgar Road are (from l-r) Councillor Tony Lambert, Deputy Police Chief Andrew Fletcher and Regional Chair Gary Carr.

Road safety is what keeps our police busy and red light cameras are just one of the road safety initiatives we’re implementing,” said Regional Chair Gary Carr. “We want to save lives, make our roads as safe as possible and ensure Halton remains a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.”

Almost half of Halton Region drivers surveyed said they worry about getting into an accident when driving through an intersection and more than 60% reporting seeing a near-miss accident as a result of someone running a red light.

By the end of the summer, cameras will be operational at seven intersections across Halton:

Dundas Street and Brant Street, City of Burlington

Brant Street and North Service Road, City of Burlington

Guelph Line and Upper Middle Road, City of Burlington

10 Side Road and Ninth Line, Town of Halton Hills

Derry Road and Trafalgar Road, Town of Milton

Trafalgar Road and Leighland Avenue, Town of Oakville

Trafalgar Road and Upper Middle Road, Town of Oakville

Cameras take photos of red light runners 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but only operate if a vehicle enters the intersection after the light has turned red.

The fine for running a red light is $325. Demerit points are not issued with violations detected by red light cameras.



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For many of us – they were Magic Moments that are being brought back to Burlington.



 By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  July 20, 2013.  Did you dance to Under the Boardwalk?   Do you remember Pauly and the Goodfellas? When was the last time you heard Good Vibrations and California Girls?

It was black and white in those days; it was rotary dial phones and gas that came in at what 25 cents a gallon? It was a different time and those were different tunes – all to be heard on September 14th – Nelson Park.

It’s all just a couple of months away.   Wind you way over to Nelson Park Saturday September 14th – event begins at 2 pm – last dance just before 10 pm  – and have a look at some of the antique cars and wonder what ever happened to those fins.

This Magic Moment – an exciting, first-of-its kind outdoor event celebrating the music and nostalgia of the 60’s with event headliner Rick Sheppard and the Drifters – not a knock off group but the original four in those trademark red jackets.

Two local groups will open the show….The Night Brigade (Sweet Caroline, Hooked on a Feeling) and Halton’s singing cop Stuart MacDonald.

You’re going to need a ticket for this one – and expect the place to be packed.  

Tickets are available online at: tickets.

You won’t want to miss  the Contours who will get those feet moving when you hear “Do You Love Me?” and do their Motown Review. Robbie Lane and the Disciples (“Fanny Mae”) will be on stage as will Pauly and the Goodfellas doing a tribute to The Jersey Boys and Beach Boys. Each of the four groups above will perform for 75 minutes!

Bring a lawn chair and settle in for an evening of pure nostalgia and remember just what your good old days were about.  Bring the grandchildren to watch as you get out and dance and show them your stuff.

The on stage MC’s will be Connie Smith and Robbie Lane

Licensed area, food concessions, and a Vintage Car Show!

 Nelson Park, New St. east of Walkers Line in Burlington. Gates open at 2 PM….Music from 2:30 to 10 PM. Tickets are only $30 for over 7 hours of live music!

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Thousands without power for a period of time after major storm rolls across the city. No serious injuries.



By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON.  July 23 2013.  —Hydro workers, firefighters and roads and parks maintenance staff worked through the weekend responding to damage, road closures and power outages caused by that Friday night storm.

By Monday morning power had been restored to all but 3,000 homes. Burlington Hydro staff called in colleagues from other hydro services to help today.  The Burlington Fire Department called in the neighbour Oakville Fire Department.  The city’s roads and parks maintenance staff and contractors worked through the weekend responding to fallen trees and maintaining road closures at locations throughout the city.

This tree on King Road fell on one property landed on the hedge of the next property and then lay sprawled across the neighbours driveway as well.

Hydro will then work on cleaning up and repairing the 25 broken poles with trees down stretching in a path along Cedar Springs Road and No. 1 and 2 Sideroads.

Burlington Transit had to reroute at least one bus line.

Cathy Robertson, Director of Roads and Park Maintenance may not be certified to use a chain saw but she certainly kept her crews hopping over the weekend as the city dealt with hundreds of calls about fallen trees.

Cathy Robertson, director of roads and parks maintenance said the city is “ working closely with Burlington Hydro to focus on what counts most—getting power restored to homes and getting people around the city safely.”

The Region created an enhanced brush pick up that basically lets you put out brush on your next regular yard waste collection.  At that time you can put a pile of bulk brush instead of having to bundle it. That will make it easier for residents to clean up debris from the storm.

Burlington’s Robertson, who advises she is not certified on chain saw use but does manage very well is ensuring that city trees are cleared away as quickly as possible. Trees that are on city property are chipped and the wood chips are used on paths in some park areas and woodlots.

No one was yet able to put a number on just how many trees came down.  The city is completing a street by street check – by the end of this week it should all be cleaned up.  There were no reports of any injuries. But Sunday morning we certainly had a mess on our hands.

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Victim found in creek near Earl Park has been identified; nothing criminal about the death.



 By Staff

 BURLINGTON, ON.  July 22, 2013.  Halton Regional Police Criminal Investigation Bureau does not believed there was anything criminal in nature in the death of a male found in a creek near Earl Park and that there are no public safety concerns.

 However, the police would like to hear from anyone with information related to this matter.  Contact police at Halton Regional Police Service at 905-825-4747 Ext 2315.  Detective Jared McLeod, 30 Division Criminal Investigation Bureau has control of the file.

 The victim in this matter has been identified as a 33-year-old resident of Hamilton. The victim’s family has been identified and his identity will not be released.

 The body was discovered Friday evening floating in the creek near Earl Park in the Francis Road area of Burlington. 

 There were no obvious signs of trauma to the body.  The male has been transported to the Hamilton General Hospital where a forensic autopsy will be conducted.  The investigation is ongoing to determine the cause of death.


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City seeks a permanent injunction on the dumping of landfill at the Air Park.



By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  July 22, 2013.  It is getting nasty out there.  And it is getting expensive but the city has taken the position that the dumping of landfill at the Air Park site south of Derry Road between Bell School Line and Appleby Line has to be stopped.

Were you to drive by this site today the elevation would be considerably higher. The owners of the air park have been dumping fill on their property for more than five years without obtaining a permit which the city believes they must do.

Last week the Air Park served documents on the city setting out an application they are making to Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice to have their rights, as they see them, clarified and enforced.   In a delegation to city council late in June, lawyer Glenn Grenier, representing the Burlington Executive Air Park, tried to tell Councillors that they had no rights as far as what is done at an Air Park.

City manager Jeff Fielding, on the left, making his views known to Air Park lawyer Glenn Grenier after a council meeting. City lawyers  stand to the right.

City manager Jeff Fielding was closed to incensed at the comments and on three occasions that evening  advised the Mayor to send the delegation packing.  After the council meeting Fielding had some choice words for Mr. Grenier.

Some saw that as a stall on the part of the Air Park.  The city would very much like to see the rights the Air Park claims it has judicially confirmed.  BUT – in the meantime – stop dumping landfill on the site and to make that point the city sued the Air Park seeking a permanent injunction.

Interestingly, the city filed its claim in the Ontario Superior Court in Toronto while the notice the Air Park served was filed at the Superior Court in Milton.

Can the two proceed at the same time in two different courts?  The lawyers will work that one out.  What is evident in all this is that the city is not stepping aside.  Nor is it waiting for anyone to do something for them.

Based on a voluntary decision not to haul landfill to the Air Park site you won’t see any King Paving trucks working this location.

A bit of positive news is the decision on the part of King Paving to voluntarily stop hauling fill to the site. Kudos to them for taking that position. City Manager Jeff Fielding publicly thanked King Paving for “doing the responsible thing at this time.”   This decision on the part of King Paving will certainly fracture their relationship with the Air Park.  There was a point at which the Gazette could not get a comment from King Paving without their clearing it with Vince Rossi, owner of the Air Park.

Based on the opinions of a respected environmental testing firm the city now knows there are  excessive levels of substances such as petroleum hydrocarbons, lead and zinc in some of the fill.  Based on that evidence the city wants:

A permanent injunction restraining the Airpark or anyone acting on their behalf from placing or dumping fill, removing topsoil or otherwise altering the grade or any other form of site alteration at the airpark;

An interim injunction, along the same lines as above;

An order requiring the airport to remove all fill deposited on the airpark lands that does not meet the Table 1 of Ontario Regulation 153/04 standards; and

Recovery of costs.

The city has also asked the Ontario Ministry of the Environment (MOE) to review the findings and take the appropriate action on behalf of Burlington residents and enforce any applicable ministry regulations against the airpark owner.

The city commissioned a review of the available environmental testing reports of the fill received at the airport amid growing concerns from residents and City Council.

The culvert shown here is reported to run the full width of the Air Park property with thousands of tons of landfill for which there are not adequate testing data draining to the culvert and into land on the Cousins Appleby Line farm and into the area water table.

According to the city’s Statement of Claim approximately 59% of the landfill dumped since 2011 is contaminated.  In a report from Terrapex environmental, the company that did the review of the documents that set out what is in the landfill, there are not nearly enough documents (reports on where the fill came from and what is in it) to be able to give an opinion on just what is in the landfill dumped before 2011.

The only way to find out what is in the fill is to drill a series of “bore holes” throughout the site and analyze the results.  The city feels it is up to the Air Park to do this testing at their expense and to make the results available to everyone.

The Air Park uses the fact that air parks are federally regulated – and on that point they are right; they also take the position that “everything” they do on their property also comes under federal regulation and this is where the city, the Region, the MOE and the federal department of transport bureaucrats have parted ways in terms of their thinking.

The Air Park has twenty days to prepare a statement of defense (they can ask for an additional ten days) and then the judicial process begins.  If the city can come up with evidence that the contaminants in that fill are of significant and truly endangers public health this whole business can be expedited and a hearing held that could result in an interim injunction until more facts are gathered.

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Burgers, Banter & Big Red Tents; It must be a Liberal BBQ!

By James Smith.

BURLINGTON, ON.  July 20-2013.  On a very warm evening, the Burlington Federal Liberals gathered to burn a few burgers and broil the present government at their annual BBQ in Aldershot. About 35-40 of the party faithful gathered to catch-up, and talk about everything from l’affair  Duffy, to the latest in the soap opera that is the Toronto Subway saga, to the cabinet shuffle that sees Burlington’s Ms Raitt as minister of Transportation. With little surprise few held out hope that Ms Raitt was going to use her new job to fix the Airpark mess anytime soon.

The Hon Judy Sgro, former Minister of Citizenship and Immigration speaks to Burlington federal Liberals at a recent BBQ.

The guest for the evening was the Hon Judy Sgro, MP for York West Liberal critic for Seniors and Pensions, and the former Minister of Citizenship and Immigration in Paul Martin’s Cabinet. Ms Sgro is a natural and very relaxed politician, she and husband Sam seemed to be in their element as they easily chatted and mingled for most of the evening. When it came time for a speech, Ms Sgro spoke directly about how she had not supported Justin Trudeau for leader, (can you even imagine Mike Wallace saying something like that?) but as Liberal leader, she noted she’s impressed  both with his commitment, his grasp of issues and his leadership ability in caucus. One gets the impression from her comments, that Mr Trudeau runs a pretty tight ship.

Ms Sgro also took the present government to task on a number of issues from immigration to pensions and had an interesting observation on the scandal plagued Senate. In contrast to the comments made by our MP Mike Wallace ,Ms Sgro suggested most of the good work reviewing bills is being done by Senators of both parties. The reason for this observation is legislation is often part of omnibus bills, crafted in rush, with often as little as three or four hours of review. Ms Sgro claims that closure (time limits on debate) has been used by the present government more than at any other in the past. In her opinion, this makes for sloppy legislation, and often mistakes and unintended consequences that are not caught until a bill becomes law.

In conclusion she urged her audience to keep involved in the process and to get ready for the next election, as she feels the election in 2015 will be critical to the future existence of a federal liberal party. Given the turnout on the hottest day of the year, it seems the Liberal faithful in Burlington are anxious to heed her call.

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Body found in Earl’s Park Creek; male between 20 and 30 declared dead at the scene.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON.  July 20, 2013.  Friday evening before the worst of the storm hit the city police were notified of a body floating in the creek near Earl Park in the Francis Road area of Burlington. 

Emergency Services responded to the area and the body of a male believed to be 20-30 years of age was recovered from the creek.  The male had no vital signs and was declared deceased. 

There were no obvious signs of trauma to the body.  The male has been transported to the Hamilton General Hospital where a forensic autopsy will be conducted.  The investigation is ongoing to determine the identity of the deceased and the cause of death.

Halton Police will issue an update when more details are known.

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Thousands without power for a period of time after major storm rolls across the city. No serious injuries.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON.  July 20, 2013.  —Hydro workers, firefighters and roads and parks maintenance staff worked through the night to respond to damage, road closures and power outages caused by last night’s storm.

As of 10 a.m., power had been restored to all but 3,000 homes. Burlington Hydro staff called in colleagues from other hydro services to help today.  The Burlington Fire Department, with its neighbour the Oakville Fire Department, responded to 160 calls between 6:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. yesterday and this morning. The city’s roads and parks maintenance staff and contractors worked overnight, responding to fallen trees and maintaining road closures at locations throughout the city.

Alton Village resident Neil Gallant videoed the storm clouds as they rolled across the city and over the Escarpment.

Burlington Hydro is expecting to restore power to the Lowville area sometime this morning, which will reduce the number of customers without power to 1,500. Hydro will then work on cleaning up and repairing the 25 broken poles with trees down stretching in a path along Cedar Springs Road and No. 1 and 2 Sideroads. Hydro will also work to clean up the downed hydro poles and trees at Corporate Drive and Appleby Line.

Burlington Transit is rerouting Route 11 buses onto Ironstone Drive, Corporate Drive and Mainway due to the closure of Appleby Line in this area.

 Local citizens had a great time filming the storm from the safety of their homes – others had to clear away fallen trees.

Cathy Robertson, director of roads and parks maintenance said the city is “ working closely with Burlington Hydro to focus on what counts most—getting power restored to homes and getting people around the city safely.”

To report downed trees or branches, call 311. For information about hydro outages, visit www.burlingtonhydro.com or call 1-877-310-4937.

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Air Park legal team sues the city; so we all trot off to a court room. City’s pier court case being held in the same Court House.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  July 18, 2019.  Are we seeing a whole new level of transparency on the part of the city?  Are we also seeing a significantly and very welcome difference in the way city hall responds to problems its citizens run into?

The city posted a copy of the Writ served on them by the lawyers for the Air Park; not the kind of thing they have done in the past – they certainly didn’t handle the pier problems this way.

When the ship is about to sink you throw everything overboard. Air Park owner Vince Rossi puts all its chips on the table and waits to see how the dice play out.

With city hall now on a summer schedule and more people away than those at their desks it is difficult for those putting in the hours to stay on top of everything.

The city was preparing for a meeting with the lawyers representing the Air Park people while the Air Park legal team was focused on the wording of a Writ they served on the city earlier today.

The Air Park is seeking a number of court orders including:

A declaration of its rights under the Constitution Act, 1867 and the federal Aeronautics Act;

This is what the fight is really all about; does the Aeronautics Act trump a local bylaw?

A declaration that the City of Burlington’s Top Soil Preservation and Site Alteration By-law does not apply to the airport’s operations and construction of aerodrome facilities at the location;

For the sake of all of us – that had better turn out to be the case or municipalities across the country have real problems to deal with.

A declaration that the city’s order to comply is null and void and of no legal effect;

                  They wish is the only comment one can make on that one

An injunction to prevent the city from interfering with its operations and the construction of aerodrome facilities at the site; and

The city isn’t interfering; it is doing what is it required to do.  The only fault on the part of the city and the Region is that they didn’t tackle this one years ago.

Costs against the city, including HST.

               The upside of this one is that the city doesn’t pay the same level of HST as the rest of the world.

The one consistent thing about the Air Park’s behaviour throughout this real mess is their tendency to bully and intimidate. The piece of equipment was parked overnight less than 50 yards from the home of an Appleby Line resident. It sat on top of a 35 foot + pole of landfill that should have never been put on the land in the first place.

That is a very ‘ballsy’ move on the part of the Air Park.  With the Environment Ministry buzzing around and the federal ministry of transport suggesting that the airport people do have a responsibility to adhere to some of the city’s rules and regulations and the Region in a position to have their Medical Officer ask some embarrassing questions and demand that the property owners do what has to be done to protect public health  – the smartest move for the Air Park was to get out-of-town and into a court room where they can ask for delay upon delay.

The injunction they have asked for could backfire – the city might well ask for an injunction and should that request prevail the Air Park would find themselves under an injunction and involved in a court case that will last years – if it gets to the point where there is actually a trial date.  If there is a trial there is going to be some very impressive legal counsel arguing before a judge in a Court room in Milton..

While all this happens the people in north Burlington, especially those whose property has been directly impacted, and wondering if they are going to get sucked into this legal black hole.  And what if papers are served on them?  They don’t have the deep pockets the city has to fight this fight.

For a city that started out the week with what they felt was a strong consultants reports to find themselves with a Writ in their hands and a date with a judge – it can’t be looked upon as a win.

However, it is far from a loss.  Desperate people do desperate things

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The Shuffling the Deck that everyone else called a Cabinet could just as well have been called a stacking of the deck.

By Ray Rivers

BURLINGTON, ON.  July 18, 2013.  It’s was a good day for the Ottawa printing houses.  They were busy churning out new letterheads, business cards and other stationery.  The shredder trucks would have been seen, parked outside government offices so that each outgoing minister’s staff could destroy any incriminating evidence of their boss’s tenure, along with all that old letterhead.  And of course this was a field day for the pundits looking for a deeper meaning in it all.

Prime Ministers have always kept a fairly tight rein over their cabinet ministers for good reason. There is a danger that liberated, free-wheeling cabinet members might easily go off-message, do their own thing or even go rogue and contradict the PM. 

Does the public think that the Ministers have all the good ideas?  In normal times much government policy originates with the public service.  The minister is not irrelevant in this process, just not as significant as we’d expect from the title and ceremony.

During my time at Environment Canada, I had the privilege of drafting briefing material and speeches for my minister, Jean Charest.  He would personalize a speech but always stuck to the script I’d prepared.  A Minister’s speech is automatically policy, so I always made sure neither my Minister nor the PM would be blind-sided.  Brian Mulroney had adopted Pierre Trudeau’s practice of leaning on Cabinet committees and using the Prime Minister’s Office and the Privy Council Office to co-ordinate policy – so everyone was kept in the loop and the policy was mainly what the PM wanted.  After all, the PM chooses his ministers.

Stephen Harper has taken control to new heights, even managing various ministries’ press releases and speeches.  So shuffle or no shuffle – it amounts to not much more than a hill of beans.  Policy will change only when the PM wants it to change. 

Sometimes a PM will bring in a new minister as a way of signaling changes, but make no mistake, it is still the PM making the policy.  I am not criticizing the PM for his focus on control – I think he is doing what he needs to do in our system of government, managing to ensure a consistent message and tone.

This Cabinet shuffle by the majority Conservative government saw eight new people added to the Cabinet, a few dropped, but the old guard is still firmly in place doing their old jobs at the key posts.  Flaherty will continue to articulate economic policy from his boss, Harper the economist.  Baird will continue with his party’s unbalanced foreign policy and Joe Oliver will keep on pushing the tar sands.  Expect the same old from the same old.

Given my passion for the environment, I was really pleased to see Peter Kent gone.  A good journalist in his day, he looked uncomfortable and almost pathetic as the ‘yes-man’ for Harper’s non-environment policy. 

The PM claims he is making a ‘generational change’ with this Cabinet, lowering the average age a full 4 years from 55 to 51.  That’s a generational change?  And, there are now more female cabinet ministers, which can’t be a bad thing for a party well-known for its boys in blue suits. 

It is customary for a government to shuffle a cabinet at the mid-point of its term, and Harper has certainly done that.  Just don’t expect this to mean anything will change in the way Stephen Harper runs the country. 

The only upside I see in the shuffle is that the Ottawa printing industry had a couple of good days.

Ray Rivers writes weekly on both federal and provincial politics, applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat after which he decided to write and has become a  political animator. Rivers was a Liberal candidate for provincial office in Burlington where he ran against Cam Jackson in 1995, the year Mike Harris and the Common Sense Revolution swept the province.  He is also currently the VP policy for the Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale Federal Liberal Electoral District


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This was something to quibble over Mr. Wallace; and you should have known that, instead you spouted the party line.



BY Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  July 18, 2013.  Our MP, Mile Wallace, was in an environment that suits his personality. Flipping burgers and talking to people for Mike Wallace is a very good one-on-one politician.  He listens, he usually has a smile for you and his sense of humour prevails.

So there he was on the lakeside lawn of the Waterfront Hotel, flipping burgers and doing his political thing.  Later in the day they let him have a microphone to answer questions from his audience – it was a sold out crowd.

There is usually a smile on Mike Wallace’s face. He enjoys life and has a good time. This summer it is his intention to run in a marathon in every province.

During the Q&A Wallace expressed some dissatisfaction with the fact that the current government was not being lauded for the great job that was being done and that instead people were quibbling about minor issues. When asked to comment on what these issues were, he felt that a disproportionate amount of time was being spent on the Senator Duffy matter and not enough time on the big issues both within Canada and internationally.

When I was going over the copy from a correspondent who covered the event for us I had to call and be sure that those words came from Wallace for I was stunned.  He did not appear to have any sense as to the gravity of the Duffy matter that had the Prime Minister’s Chief of staff writing a personal cheque to Senator Duffy so that he could repay expenses he claimed and was not entitled to.

Prior to the public learning where the money came from Mike Duffy was on television telling audiences that he and his wife had decided to do the right thing.

Bruce Anderson, a highly;y regarded political analyst said on a CBC program that “issue is far from over, even if it’s not as prominent right now as the shuffle and even if people aren’t paying as much attention to it right now because it’s summertime. I think that the documents that emerged make it even more difficult to believe that the Prime Minister knew nothing about this, make it easier to come to the conclusion that he seems to have something that he wants to hide. It looks as though they are hanging Nigel Wright (Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff) out to dry, that he’s the only person who dreamt this idea up, the only person who ever really knew about it, the only person who didn’t understand that it was wrong, which doesn’t really square with the fact that there were a few days where people called him honourable for doing this and said that he was going to stay and he had the full confidence of the Prime Minister. So I think the police investigation and the opposition research that’s going on mean that this issue is going to come back with a vengeance in the fall.”

Peter Mansbridge, CBC’s senior television anchor then asked Andrew Coyne, columnist with the National Post what he thought. The payment of $90,000 dollars to a sitting legislator, for whatever purpose,” said Coyne, “ would appear on the face of it to run you at least into jeopardy of several different illegal acts. We know, if these statements made by his lawyers are true, we know that at least three people in the Prime Minister’s Office, plus Irving Gerstein, the head of the fundraising arm, (for the Conservative Party) knew about these potentially illegal acts and apparently did nothing or, certainly in the Prime Minister’s story, didn’t tell the Prime Minister of this. That’s extraordinary. Even if he didn’t know about it, and that’s certainly still possible, but it suggests nevertheless that a tone and an expectation and a set of values were established in the Prime Minister’s Office where you just kind of look the other way at this kind of thing. That’s deeply troubling.”

Mike Wallace, Burlington MP, takes a closer look at art work at the Burlington Art centre.

But for Mike Wallace on a lovely sunny weekday afternoon this was  “quibbling about minor issues” when what he wanted people to do was  laud the government “for the great job that was being done”.

There are people in Burlington who understand the gravity of what was done when Senator Duffy was given $90,000 and perhaps at some point one of those people will stand up and speak some sense to the MP. In the fullness of time and when the RCMP completes their criminal investigation, the public will learn the truth.  Will it make any difference in Burlington?

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Air Park: city is on top of what is turning out to be a horse that is bucking like crazy.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  July 18, 2013.  The city’s team managing the problems with the Burlington Executive Air Park were to meet today with the lawyers retained by the Air Park.  That meeting was cancelled by the Air Park.

Not the best of news for the city but understandable given that the city does not have the Ministry of Environment as on side as they had hoped.

What was once a small local airport with a grss runway is now in the process of becoming something close to a Regional airport with plans for a helicopter operatation as well as hanger space for very large aircraft that can’t find or afford space at Pearson in Toronto. The development of this much larger operation sort of crept up on everyone – this is what happens when the bureaucrats take their eye off the ball and then the ward co7uncillor is aligned with the air park operator instead of the resident.

The city wrote the MOE last week saying:  

The Airpark is not in compliance with the regulations made pursuant to the Environmental Protection Act, specifically O.Reg. 153/04 and O.Reg. 347. I have attached the report for your immediate review. From the information we have, you will note they are not in compliance with your regulations. We insist that you take immediate steps to order them into compliance including issuing an immediate ‘stop work order’ on existing filling activities. Further, out of an abundance of caution, for the protection of the health of the residents, we would expect the MOE to exercise its authority to order testing on the groundwater and wells in the vicinity of the park, and any other testing you deem appropriate to provide answers to other potential off-site impacts.

Can you confirm if you have a record of ‘Site Conditions’ in your registry for this location?

We will be presenting the results to our Council Monday evening here at City Hall at 6:30pm. Can I ask that your staff be in attendance to answer questions on your actions as this will also help with the communications to the residents who will want to hear how you intend to force the owner into compliance and manage the potential safety issues arising from what amounts to operating an unlicensed landfill site.

The MOE people were not able to attend the city council meeting; they had had less than a full working day to review the documents and get themselves up to speed.

The Ministry of environment has to decide if this kind of landfill dumping is permitted under the provinces rules. They also have to decide if the consultants the city hired to advise on what was done by the Air Park have got the story right. The Air Park, understandably, does not agree with the city’s consultant.

The MOE decided they would talk to the Air Park people before taking a position.  See that as bureaucratic butt covering; what will matter is the position the MOE takes after meeting with the Air Park people.

The MOE has advised the city that they will meet with Burlington General Manager Scott Stewart and brief him on their conclusions sometime next week.

The decision to cancel the meeting is a bit of a bump for the city and a major concern for the residents of north Burlington.  Should everyone be alarmed?  Not alarmed but concerned.

The Air Park has a lot riding on the outcome of this matter; if they lose, they lose everything, so expect them to use every legal tool available to them.  They have advised the city that they intend to take legal action of their own.  See that as legal posturing.

What has to be kept in mind is that the problems with these small airport operations are not limited to Burlington – these situations exist across the country which means every municipality with a small airport wants to be at the table.  Mayor Goldring is working closely with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities who do the lobbying with the federal government.  Burlington’s outside legal counsel has a very strong understanding and a firm grip on how things work at the federal level.

Newly minted federal Minister of Transportation Lisa Raitt, who is the MP for north Burlington thinks the air park is “not a bad piece of infrastructure” but she wants it to operate within a “social license”.

The real concern is a comment made by Halton’s MP, Lisa Raitt, bow the Minister of Transportation who is reported to have said that she realizes small air parks are an issue across the country and that there is some confusion over the rules that apply.  Of concern is the comment that the airpark is “not a bad piece of infrastructure but it has to be operated within a social license.”

Is the Minster’s view of a social license similar to that of the residents in north Burlington?

Raitt plans to open lines of communication with the residents, the city and the Air Park people. “it is important” said the Minister “to bring everyone together and to work with each other.”

It is going to be a long hot summer.  The city is on top of what is turning out to be a horse that is bucking like crazy.  Vince Rossi will not be taken out easily.

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Beachway and Brant Street beaches not safe for swimming.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON.  July 18, 2013.  While not hazardous, the water in Lake Ontario at the Burlington area beaches is described as “not safe to swim in”.

During the summer months, the Health Department monitors water quality at selected recreational beaches in Halton. Beaches are selected for testing based on their use for swimming and other water sports. Monitoring is done once a week or more if necessary. A pilot project is being undertaken at Beachway Park for the 2013 beach sampling season to examine potential factors influencing water quality. Therefore, Beachway Park will be sampled more frequently.


  • A beach is considered unsafe to swim if water tests show high amounts of E. coli bacteria.
  • Conditions posted are based on samples taken from the previous day.

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Dennison declares a conflict on a matter held in a closed session of Council – how was that possible?

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  July 17, 2013.   There are usually three of us at the Media table in city council chambers and from time to time we run something by each other – to clarify or to ask what the heck’s going on.

Councillor Jack Dennison with his election winning smile.

One of those asides took place at the city council meeting on Monday when Ward 4 Councillor Jack Dennison declared an interest in a report that was going to be accepted by city council.

What had my colleague Joan Little and I wondering was:  How does a Council member declare a conflict of interest on a report that was giving council members a quarterly litigation update in a closed session of Council?  Can you do that we wondered.  We agreed to think about that and decide what if anything we wanted to do.

In the world of journalism one gets phone calls – some are to complain, some are to advance an interest, and some are to pass on information.

Councillor Jack Dennison property on Lakeshore Road for which he is seeking permission to sever into two lots. Permission to do was denied by the city’s Committee of Adjustment and it now being appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board. Is the city going to have to hire outside legal council to fight a case where the council member is choosing not to adhere to the Official Plan?

A caller earlier in the day wanted to know why were weren’t writing about the city’s plan to hire outside legal counsel for an upcoming Ontario Municipal Board hearing on an appeal Dennison has filed over a Committee of Adjustment decision not to grant him the severance he was seeking to create two lots out of the one he owns on Lakeshore Road.

Now the picture was clearer.  In the Litigation Update, and all we are doing here is speculating because the content of that document is not public, some mention would have been made about the forthcoming Dennison OMB appeal.  The office of the city solicitor, Nancy Shea Nicol, will either have to arrange for a staff lawyer to represent the city or arrange to hire outside council.

Our caller wondered how a member of council can have taxpayer funds used to defend the decision made by the city’s Committee of Adjustment.  Isn’t the council member in place to ensure that the rules in place are upheld?

Little and I then talked about what took place and looked carefully at the province’s Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, where the rules are clearly set out.  A person who has a conflict of interest “shall, prior to any consideration of the matter at the meeting, disclose the interest and the general nature thereof;”

Dennison did disclose his conflict but that is all he did – he said nothing of the “general nature thereof”.  Many in the community believe that Dennison has put the city solicitor in an awkward situation where she has to use part of her budget to hire outside counsel to defend the decision made at Committee of Adjustment.

We have a concern with this on several levels.  At some point the citizens of the city and specifically those in Ward 4 are going to want some clarity on just what their council member is doing with the tax money they send to the city each year.  Is it being used to hire lawyers to fight hearings at tribunals brought about by a Council member who does not want to adhere to the city’s official plan?  He voted for that Official Plan.

Do the citizens of Ward 4 have to wait until the next election before the dump their council member?

How does a Council member do what Dennison did without so much as a peep publicly from any other member of Council?  Is there no limit to the confidentiality of closed hearings?  At a minimum any Council member could have made a remark and expressed at least some concern over the way certain conflict of interest matters were being handled.

Why didn’t the Clerk ask Dennison to elaborate on why he was declaring a conflict of interest?  The Clerk is there to ensure that the city’s procedural bylaw is followed: would that not extend to how someone slips around the edges of provincial legislation?

There are processes that can be followed to put a stop to this kind of nonsense.

The decent thing to do would be for Dennison to resign but that would call for a by-election which would probably cost the city more than hiring a lawyer to defend the Committee of Adjustment hearing.

This is a mess.

Premier Kathleen Wynne says the law used to keep Ontario’s mayors and other municipal politicians in line needs work.  Former justice Douglas Cunningham, who led an inquiry into conflict allegations against Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion, recommended alternative penalty options such as a 120-day suspension or formal apology.  Suspending Dennison for 120 would suit the people of Ward 4 just fine.

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