First time pier walker says forget about the cost; enjoy the location and the views.

By Walter Byj

BURLINGTON, ON.  May 30, 2013.  First of all, let’s forget about the money and the multiple delays. 

I know that to some this is an important feature and must not be forgotten.  That is true. 

Correspondent Walter Byj: Enjoy the pier.

What will it do?  Add to the beauty of downtown Burlington. That was not only my thought, but also others from the media that took the afternoon tour.  It is not the longest pier in the world, but is one of the few curved piers around. It offers a picturesque view of not only Burlington, but also of Lake Ontario and the Burlington Skyway.

The pier as you will see it as you walk down from Brant Street. The last of the landscaping is being done, the LED lights that will illuminate the beacon at the top of the node are being installed and programmed. The one thing that will not happen here this year: the Sound of Music parade will not get out onto the pier.

In addition, the rock formation along the shore  is stunning. And this view will change depending on the time of day and time of year.

With 100 programmable LED lights, the pier will come alive at night and can easily reflect special occasions such as red and white lights on Canada Day. In fact, dusk or night-time could very well be the best times to visit the pier.

Scott Stewart, GM of Development and Infrastructure  for the City of Burlington is proud of the pier and feels that it would be a winner for downtown.  When asked about various problems that the pier might encounter, such as crowding and other activities that the pier offers. he did say that “it would be a learning experience and rules might have to be made up as circumstances dictate.”

 Should you run down on June 15th so that you can be the one first to walk the pier?  Perhaps not, it might be fairly crowded.    However, do make the trip and take in the surroundings without thinking of costs and overruns. For some this may not be possible, but the money has been spent, you cannot get it back.  Enjoy the results.

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How NOT to communicate with your constituents; Ward 6 Councillor fails to communicate.

 By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON. May 29, 2013.   How do you keep the natives happy?  How do you answer all the phone calls, take care of the problems – big and small?  Get to the city council meetings, and then the Regional Council meetings and read all the reports? Burlington recently had a committee meeting that had a 1000+ page agenda.

Councillor Rick Craven once got a call from a new home owner complaining about the noise from the rail line that passed behind a berm near the home and wanted him to do something about the noise.  Apparently the home owner didn’t know there was a rail line behind the berm.  Councillor Marianne Meed Ward found herself out Christmas Day one year picking up a couple of bags of garbage.

Municipal politics are local and you get everything – wind rows from the snow plows, garbage not picked up, not being able to get your child into a Parks and Recreation class.  The Seniors’ in Burlington, and there are a lot of them, have their own special needs.

Did I mention transit?  The list goes on and on.  And yet Burlington has two Council members who have held their seats for 20 years and more .  One of the them did recently get himself black-balled by a community organization.

Councillor Blair Lancaster gets out to almost every photo-op there is and has served as the lead spokesperson at a number of NGTA community events with crowds of 250+. Her constituents are not happy with how she is handling the Air Park issue.

Blair Lancaster, one of the crop that got elected to Council for the first time last election has been around politics much of her life.  A former beauty queen, Lancaster has created a business and a personality that serve her well.  She can be tough when she chooses to be.  She brings her own personal style to the job and at times has difficulty fully grasping the details of an issue but she is pretty quick, most of the time, to get the sense of what is happening and follows along.

She brings a bit of that old Conservative Ontario sense of entitlement: you know that, “we deserve this” and the sense that she is here to serve is not always top of mind.  She means well.

Lancaster has in the past, held community events at the Air Park.  We attended one such event and thought it was something Lancaster had put together; it wasn’t.  It was an annual event the Air Park people put on for the community – Lancaster had just piggy-backed on the event.  For many in her ward that was getting just a little too close to a company many in the community had major issues with.

There is now a major issue with the Air Park that has ward six residents writing their council member.  Here is a sample of a couple of those letters and the Council members response.

My name is Teri Jaklin; I am a resident of Rural Ward 6. We have not yet met, which in itself may be telling given the note I am embarking on now.

Blair, I have been following the new activity that is percolating, once again between the air park and the rural community in your ward.  And I respectfully suggest that you have some serious work to do when it comes to effectively representing your constituents (in rural Ward 6) in a fair and balanced fashion.

Ward 6 is full of people who have made their homes and lifestyles here for the very treasures it holds. Greenbelt, an internationally renowned Biosphere, the beauty of the escarpment and the promise to protect these for generations to come.  These are people who are willing to fight harder than the politicians, it would seem, to protect same. And for the fourth time in less than eight years these very people were gathered in a private home, once again, discussing how to protect themselves from this area’s greatest threat, Vince Rossi and the Burlington Airport.

You can speak to any of the people on this distribution list, or anyone living in this area to learn how the noise and air pollution caused by years of fill activity has compromised safety and quality of life – you can speak to neighbours who have been hit head on by the very trucks carrying the fill, not to mention the countless near misses on Appleby Line, those whose properties have been used by rogue truckers as “alternate” dump sites when the airpark gates have been closed, those who have sustained direct property damage as a result of the sheer volume of truck traffic, and you can – and should – speak to one of our neighbours whose beautiful country home has literally been turned into a sink hole – with no regard or respect to her what so ever. Certainly there are personalities at play but wouldn’t you be upset Blair if mountains of fill surrounded your home, covered with weeds, with no landscaping or concern for your quality of life – and no reasonable response from the City?

For years and years this activity has gone on under the veil of “federal jurisdiction” and has been broadly supported by the City’s love affair with the prestige of having an airport in Burlington.  But who is talking to the people that live in Rural Ward 6? Who is managing the balanced and sustainable development of the airport? Yes, an airport is “federally regulated” but it is your job Blair to understand exactly what that means in every way and strictly manage this development so that it is consistent with Provincial and Regional environmental mandates in Burlington as well as the City’s commitment to the conservation of these unique and spectacular lands.

The City’s own words on their environmental commitment are “where people, nature and business thrive” – not where one thrives at the expense of the other.  Over the many years that the residents of your ward have been struggling to be heard, we have spoken with every level of government and the common answer has been that ultimately the buck stops with the City, yet when we have engaged the City on the subject, we get a “deer in the headlights” look and no authoritative response. Does the City even care about life north of the 407? Imagine how frustrated we are.

Blair, your job is no insignificant role. You represent rapidly expanding urban growth and the commercial interests therein as well as the uniqueness of environmentally sensitive lands, a rural community and a growing Airpark. This is a huge responsibility for a new councillor. It also begs the following questions:

What is your understanding of and experience in aviation? What aviation expert has the City of Burlington engaged to support you in airport matters and when will that individual sit at the table with the City, environmental agencies and other stakeholders?

Does the City truly understand the rights and responsibilities of the airpark to the City, or is it just taking Mr. Rossi’s word for it?

What are the 1, 3, and 5-year plans for the City with regard to the development of the Airpark and Rural north Burlington?

When is the City going to engage the passionate people of Rural North Burlington as allies in these plans?

There is more in them thar hills than an enthusiastic airport developer Blair.

Nobody here is opposed to the airport, it was here before many of us moved in, and mostly we maintain a civil relationship with Vince and his managers. But what is going on with the airport borders on negligent with respect to the greater picture, and specifically with regard to the environment and the lives of your constituents.

You are largely viewed as having partnered with the airport to the exclusion of any other stakeholders – and by that I mean the people whose lives are directly impacted by airport activity. What is your position and what are you doing for the residents of Rural North Burlington? When are you going to talk to us? How long can we expect our quality of life to be compromised – or is that your plan for our future?

Poor communication leaves a door wide open to speculation, gossip and frustration. We have come to the Ward 6 Councillor in the past and expressed a desire to work collectively, from a positive perspective, with the City and the airpark – to the point where we had several meetings together. Then came an election, and, well, here we are,  I guess we have to start all over again.

If I have missed information that would shed light on any of my concerns then I stand humbly corrected and welcome the new input. If not, then I look forward to hearing from you, as I am sure may of my friends and neighbours do. Please advise when that will be at your earliest convenience.

 I look forward to your response,

Councillor Lancaster responds with:

Thank you for caring so passionately about our rural residents.

I will address your concerns individually starting with your comments about not having met.  I thought Michelle introduced you and Mike to me at the first Niagara GTA meeting in December 2010 .  We really appreciated Mike offering to video and photograph the event for us.  Since then we have been in contact with Mike many times about the Airpark and NGTA.

I have also provided many other opportunities to network with Ward Six Rural residents such as: three Airpark open houses, The Rural Summit, The Rural Cycling Safety meeting and the “Ward Three and Six” Rural Open House at Conservation Halton.  Of course, all of my public meetings in the urban part of my ward are open to rural residents as well.

We regularly communicate with Ward Six Residents through our newsletter, facebook and my city webpage as well as special distribution lists for specific issues, such as the Airpark.  I understand that Mike is on the Airpark mailing list, if you would also like to be included, please email Michelle directly as we cannot communicate with you without your express written permission.   You may also subscribe to our Ward Six e-newsletter, the link is below in my signature.

As you are aware, the Airpark is regulated by the Federal Government.  I spoke with city staff last week who, in an email, reiterated their position that the city did their due diligence several years ago on issues related to the Airpark and they are comfortable with their assessment that items related to the provision of aeronautics fall under the jurisdiction of the FAA, Federal Aeronautics Act.  They were referring to issues such as the fill.

I have had many meetings with residents who live close to the Airpark who have concerns regarding the noise and safety from the Flight School training program.  Students continuously fly over their homes repeatedly taking off and landing.  Unfortunately, the City of Burlington has no opportunity to enforce a height restriction or noise bylaw as they do not regulate or measure air activity.  Although I have no authority to enforce change, I have met with residents and Airpark officials to help facilitate discussions.  A remedy is still to be achieved.

I am not aware that there is an issue regarding collisions.  There have been no complaints made to my office.

There are no joint City and Airpark plans for the development of the Airpark.  As for rural Burlington in general, I have attached the workbook from the Rural Summit held in January of this year.  The City of Burlington engaged residents by inviting them to attend a Rural summit and over a hundred people participated. The City also had an online survey for residents who were unable to attend. As well, over 500 people attended the Niagara GTA meetings.

I have no experience in Aviation and it is not part of my role as a councillor.  The Federal representative responsible for the Airpark is Lisa Raitt, I noticed you did not include her in your correspondence, I have provided her contact information for you here.

A ward 6 resident, Barbara Sheldon,  who lives across the road from Terri Jaklin responds the Councillor Lancaster’s response with one of her own. 

April -2013

I respectfully forewarn you Ms. Lancaster: this may be one of the most politically incorrect letters you’ve yet to receive since you took Office. To that point, I suspect if there’s not an authentic and noticeable change in your commitment, actions and accountability towards the rural residents of your

Ward whose lives are being destroyed by the owner of the Burlington Airpark, you will receive more like this before you leave Office.  Last week, you received an intelligent letter from Dr. Jaklin, a well-regarded member of our community, asking you to step up to the plate and do the job for which you’ve been elected. She asked that you represent the best interests of your constituents in this community with a fair and balanced process, to paraphrase Dr. Jaklin’s request.

Dr. Jaklin’s letter has been widely distributed and cheered by our community. Two days ago, the letter that you signed back to her soared thru cyberspace to the same recipients. No cheers for you.  In fact, the shock and disgust at your letter were thicker than all that smoke you blew in it. Not only did you NOT address the main concern Dr. Jaklin raised, you dared to insult her intelligence, and consequently the rest of our community for whom she spoke.

Who wrote that for you, Ms. Lancaster? Surely, you didn’t. Someone who genuinely stood on a platform of “BEST PRACTICES” in order to win votes could never have crafted that.

Barbara Sheldon feeds geese on her spring fed pond and wonders just how much more land fill is going to be put on the air park property that is next to her home. Sheldon doesn’t mind the noise of the light aircraft flying around – her problem is with heavy construction equipment noise and what the land fill is going to do to the value of her property and her right to the peaceful use of her home.

Make no mistake about it, Ms. Lancaster – even though you did not visit our community when you were running for Office, we followed your campaign very closely. Good campaign, Ms. Lancaster – however it would appear that once you took Office, you took a page from your predecessor’s notebook when it comes to turning a blind eye to the Burlington Airpark’s destruction of our rural residential and agricultural community within your Ward.

With that in mind, I wish you’d take a page from Marianne Meed-Ward’s playbook. She has clearly demonstrated common sense, integrity, intelligence, compassion and willingness to represent the best interests of her Constituents, as well as the entire city.

Here it is plain and simple for you Ms. Lancaster: We want you to demonstrate the exact same traits exemplified by your colleague and represent the sensible and reasonable interests of this community with regards to the activities of the Burlington Airpark THAT ARE NOT GOVERNED BY TRANSPORT

CANADA – and do it in a fair and balanced process.  I would be disappointed if you did not know by now which activities are not governed by TC, but here it is, plain and simple again for you: the only thing that TC has jurisdiction over at the Burlington Airpark is aeronautical safety. Accordingly, the landfill operation is NOT GOVERNED federally.

Oh – and about your previous Open Houses at the Burlington Airpark? Not a BEST PRACTICE, Ms. Lancaster – not if you genuinely wanted to understand and represent the best interests of this community.

Councillor Blair Lancaster has held several community meetings at the Air Park. Here she meets with constituents in August of 2012. Many North Burlington residents feel it is inappropriate for community events to be held at the air park.

Let me make this ‘plain and simple’ for you again: Asking us to set foot on the land of a man who’s been willfully and selfishly achieving personal gains at the documented expense of destroying our lives, homes and livelihoods, makes about as much sense as asking breast cancer survivors to meet with you, in your capacity as the ED of the Breast Cancer Support Services, at a location known for hosting carcinogenic elements…like a cigarette smoke-filled patio. Doesn’t make much sense, does it – let alone reflect your sincere interest in helping those people.

Nor does your counter statement to Dr. Jaklin make any sense – the one in which you stated how you can regularly communicate with us through your newsletter and social media. For gawd’s sake, Ms. Lancaster, we are not asking to be ‘communicated’ with. And since when did ‘one-way’ communication become a BEST PRACTICE????

Conversely, Ms. Lancaster, we are asking you to participate with us, your Constituents, on a matter that is entirely under your mandate. If you are uncertain of your role with us, I politely ask that you re-read your Councillor manual, specifically Burlington’s Procedural By-law 58-2005, article A: (You are) To represent the public and to consider the well- being and interests of the municipality..

Notice that you are not restricted to solely represent and consider the well-being and interests of a private Company?  To this point, I want a straight answer from you now. Are you willing to come to our community, during the day, and accompany us on a personal tour to witness first-hand the needless and intentional destruction of the properties and welfare of your Constituents, as well as that of the tourists and travelers in our region, resulting from the massive landfill operation directed by Mr. Rossi? I assure you that we will be able to schedule a time that is convenient to you.

This is a simple yes/no question, Ms. Lancaster – requiring no political doublespeak, so please withhold that, as well as any smoke you may be tempted to blow up my ***, like you did Dr. Jaklin’s.

But a caveat, Ms. Lancaster: if you feel compelled to invite any parties associated with the Airpark to join you on this tour – please don’t. Plain and simple: they are not welcome at this time. However, we encourage you to bring your colleagues from Council – it’s about time they were brought up to speed, not by hearsay or by what the Airpark people want you to hear, but by viewing the evidence in person, so they may truly understand the realities and the gravity of the situation.

We are not your enemy, Ms. Lancaster. As dedicated stewards of the rural lands and lives in Burlington, not only are we some of the nicest, most responsible, hard-working and compassionate folks you’ll ever meet, we are your Constituents – you know, the folks you’ve declared on your website as being THRILLED to have the opportunity to represent. Are you ready to make good on that – or did someone else write that for you as well??

Barbara Sheldon

And so it goes in the life of a Burlington city Councillor.  Lancaster has indicated that she intends to run for office again in 2014 – that was before this barrage of letters.

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The Terry Fox run this September wil be an event to remember – and be a part of as well.



By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  May 29, 2013.  The run doesn’t take place until September but this year expect to see a lot of new faces serving as volunteers.

The event has taken place for the many years and, like any organization, new people are needed to replace those that have done their turn and want to move on.

Getting new people is easier said than done but when Don Carmichael, the current president of the Burlington event,  wondered aloud at a meeting of the current volunteers, if perhaps they could persuade Casey Cosgrove to get involved.  We urged Carmichael to at least give Casey a call.

Last year Casey had a team of people running the race and he was a natural for this initiative

Casey Cosgrove had a couple of hundred people walking with him last year in the Terry Fox Run. This year he will serve on the organising committee – imagine if those who ran and walked with Cosgrove all volunteered as well? This is going to be THE event come September. Get your name on the list now.

Cosgrove told his Facebook friends that: “I recently met with the really nice folks who organize the Terry Fox Run here in Burlington and I have decided this is a cause I want to help more with, and have joined the committee. This year’s run is September 15th. One of the things I know I can help with is reaching out for some new blood/volunteers. So that’s where I am starting – if anyone would like to help on some way – in advance, or the day of, send me a message. I am hoping to get a bunch of adults, as well as a bunch of teenagers. It’s a small local event, but one near and dear to me as those who know me well are aware. I don’t want people to feel compelled, but if this sounds like something you’d like to connect to, I’d love to bring you in the fold.”

We call that stepping up to the plate.  Kudos to the “cause” and his case.

Cosgrove takes credit for getting the current Mayor in office.  When Cosgrove ran against Rick Goldring and a number of others in the 2006 election he lost to Goldring by very few votes.  That made Goldring the Council member for Ward 5 for the 2006-2010 term after which Goldring went on to become Mayor. Cosgrove argues that had he won in 2006 we would not have Goldring as Mayor.  That’s a bit of a stretch but it’s one Cam Jackson would have liked to seen as true.

Cosgrove has this capacity to draw people to him.  His personal health issues kept him away from serving publicly but – well the Terry Fox run has a special meaning for him.

We wish him well – and watch how he pulls in the volunteers.


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New Director of programs at the BAC; cultural master plan delivery moved back to September.

By Staff

Burlington, ON. May 29, 2013.  The Burlington Art Centre announces the appointment of Denis Longchamps as Director of Programs. Longchamps replaces George Wale, who is retiring from the position after 27 years of exemplary service to the BAC during which time he built an outstanding ceramics collection.

Longchamps comes to Burlington after serving as Manager of Exhibitions and Publications at The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery in St. John’s, Newfoundland.  He brings a passion for his curatorial work, which bridges both contemporary art and craft practices. 

Longchamps created the Craft Journal (, which he edits and publishes semi-annually.

Longchamps studied Art History at York University before moving to Concordia in Montreal, where he received a Masters and PhD in Art History.

Denis Longchamps – new director of programming for the Burlington Art Centre brings years of experience to the new appointment.  Good Luck Mr. Longchamps.

Longchamps will oversee the BAC’s Programs department, including  the planning and implementation of  20 exhibitions and related receptions and artists’ talks; 200 studio courses for adults and children every year; the Permanent Collection, which now numbers over 2,000 contemporary Canadian ceramic artworks; and guild-related programs with seven juried exhibitions each year. The role also involves mentorship and professional development programs and special projects.

 “Denis’ proven experience in exhibitions, education and collections will be a great addition to the BAC’s Program team,” says Ian Ross, Executive Director of the BAC. “His strong connections in the art scene will build on the BAC’s solid foundation to increase its profile in Burlington, the Halton region and across Canada.”

That experience may become very useful to Burlington and the evolution of the Art Centre as the city looks at its cultural assets and thinks forward about how to best manage them and get full value for what we have.

There has been more than one conversation about re-locating the Art Centre from its site on Lakeshore Road to a possible new structure in the downtown core.  Some at city hall believe that the value of the land the Art Centre sits on could be realized if it were sold and used to develop additional condominium housing – the site is certainly well suited to that. 

The $6 million the property is said to be worth would go a long way to building a structure that could house a truly superb Art Centre.

Denis Longchamps may be part of a very significant change to the arts community in this city.

At a recent council committee meeting earlier this week General Manager, Budget and Corporate Affairs Kim Phillips advised that the cultural plan expected in June will not be ready – then – it has been pushed back to the fall.

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Air Park owner builds landfill hills – creates a valley around the home of an Appleby Line resident. It’s apparently legal.



By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  May 29, 2013.  Barbara Sheldon knows the damn thing is there – she just doesn’t understand how someone can do what was done.

Basically there is a hill of earth more than 30 feet high –  100 feet from her kitchen window on the north side of her house  that blocks her view and she is convinced it is going to seriously impact her well water supply.

The hill  was built on the property to the north of her house and another hill is being built on the land to the south of her house.  The one on the south is not close to her house but it is right on her property line.  And she has no clear explanation as to what the purpose of all the land fill is.

Nor does the city of Burlington.  The land is owned by the Burlington Executive Air Park, which suggests someone has a plan.

Barbara Sheldon stands in front of a hill of landfill that rises from the north side edge of her property on Appleby Line next to the Air Park site. There appears to be nothing she can do to stop the work and the city seems to be powerless to do anything either.

Sheldon has a whole bunch of issues with the earth that is more than 30 feet in height on the north side.  “I used to be able to see Rattle snake point from the kitchen window – not any more” she exclaims. She knows who put it there; what she wants to know is where did it come from and what contamination might there be in that soil.  And by the way – can people do that – just dump loads of landfill on their land and lessen the value of my property, she wonders.

  Don’t people have to get permission and permits to do things like that?

The landfill on the south side of the Sheldon property isn’t as high (yet) as that of the north side but when it rains heavily the land where Sheldon is standing floods.  The Air Park owner Vince Rossi, claims he does not need a permit to dump landfill because his airport is federally regulated.

If you are a farmer and you want to do that – you need a permit but it appears that if you are an airfield, an air park or an airport – you get a pass because you come under federal jurisdiction and you can just thumb your nose at city hall.

Doesn’t seem right to Barbara Sheldon who has made her thoughts available to anyone with even one ear.

This land fill work has been going on for the past five years and no one at city hall has done much about it.  Those in north Burlington didn’t seem to get themselves organized until Vanessa Warren created an interest group and took the matter to city council.

Suddenly some action was being taken.  The city had learned there really wasn’t much they could do.  The person back on the file back in 2008 was no longer with the city – he was on the pier project when he was with the city.  THAT explains a lot.

Before Vanessa Warren delegated to city council, Teri Jaklin, an Appleby Line resident across the road from the Air Park wrote her Councillor, Blair Lancaster.  She was pretty direct:

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Did Toronto Elect Tony Soprano? I can tell you how this story is going to end – and it ain’t pretty.

By Ray Rivers.

BURLINGTON, ON.  May 29, 2013.  The Sopranos, a cable TV series about your average mafia boss, living and killing in New Jersey, doesn’t seem such a fantasy anymore.  In fact, the escapades of Rob Ford and his brothers would make great crime TV.   Starring Rob, Doug Ford as a former drug dealer and brother Randy as an enforcer.  His sister is a victim of gun violence in the family home and she has a coke-dealing former boyfriend who once tried to kill Rob.  Somali drug lords have made a video of Ford purportedly smoking crack – then they go underground or worse, as a homicide investigation begins.  US website raises money to buy the ‘Crackstarter‘ video but can no longer locate the sellers. 

Were they given an offer they couldn’t refuse?  Then, Ford comes forward to vaguely deny his crack use and claim there never was a video.   Screen play writers must be wringing their hands for a chance to get at this outstanding tragic comedy.

Except it’s not funny.  The Globe and Mail’s weekend expose on the Ford family history should have frightened and disgusted rather than amused and entertained Toronto residents.  Ford seemed like a breath of fresh air to voters in that last election.  He was unconventional, and almost charming in a red-neck kind of way, carrying himself like a beardless Old St. Nick, with a bag full of promises.  And voters, sick and tired from a long garbage strike, turned to the man promising them a ‘free lunch’ – he’d lower taxes and end the ‘gravy train’. 

But there was no gravy train and there is no free lunch.  Lowering taxes?  Hello!  Doesn’t Mr. Ford understand that the price of everything always goes up?  It’s called keeping up with population growth and inflation.  We don’t see electricity, gasoline or food prices declining.  Of course, you could always gut your basic programs, as ‘Mike-the-Knife’ did to Ontario’s health care and education systems. So grow up Toronto.  You can’t have it both ways. 

We know how it ends.

Take transportation.  The GTA is not going to get out from under ever-increasing gridlock without new transit systems, and that takes money.   Burlington’s mayor is quoted as saying that his constituents support expansion – he gets it.  And so does the new Premier, Kathleen Wynn, who is taking the lead to find smarter ways of funding.  Too bad Rob Ford hasn’t put as much energy into securing public transportation as he has performing adolescent distractions.  He has ruled out everything except subways and expects somebody else to pay for them.  His court is divided for lack of leadership, so the rest of the GTA and the Province have to take the lead, in his place.

And speaking of taxes, we should understand that Toronto residents pay below average property taxes as a proportion of their real estate dollar.  So the next time some con man named Ford, in a black Cadillac SUV, is offering you a free lunch – just smile and say, no thanks, I’ve seen the Sopranos on TV.  I know how it ends.

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 candidate for provincial office in Burlington where he ran against Cam Jackson.

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Just days left to get a rain barrel and after this morning’s downpour you know why you want one.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON.  May 28, 2013.  The Region has a program that gets you a quality rain barrel with all the fittings for $40 plus taxes.  You gotta pick it up though.

Your Regional government wants you to buy one of these at close to cost. Great deal!

Locations are:

 Saturday June 1, 2013; 9:00 am – 1:00 pm

Halton Regional Centre, (South-east parking lot. Enter off North Service Road)1151 Bronte Road,

Saturday June 8, 2013; 9:00 am – 1:00 pm

Mapleview Mall (lower parking lot by The Bay); 900 Maple Avenue, Burlington 

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Fairview to become stop and go – at night while the Region paves the road.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON.  May 29, 2013.  Starting the week of June 3, 2013, Halton Region will begin final asphalt paving on Fairview Street and Walkers Line as the last step in the recent water main and wastewater main replacement project.

To reduce the impact on local businesses and motorists, paving work will take place at night, between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. All work is expected to be completed within one week.

The affected road areas include Fairview Street from Woodview Road to east of Walkers Line and Walkers Line south of the intersection with Fairview Street. Lane restrictions will be required to accommodate workers and equipment. Motorists are advised to use caution and expect delays when traveling through the area.

The Fairview Street water and wastewater main replacement project is part of Building a Better Halton, the Region’s infrastructure construction plan for roads, water, waste water and waste management projects across Halton Region.

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Development of the Bridgewater project on the lakeshore seems to be moving too slowly.



By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  May 28, 2013.  It’s never wise to neglect what the old timers think.  Yesterday afternoon Ward 3 Councillor John Taylor told his colleagues he didn’t think the Bridgewater project would see the light of day, which came as more than a surprise to Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward – the project is in her ward. 

That patch of brown earth in the centre off the Brant Street pier is to be the location for a 22 storey condo, a seven storey condo and an eight storey Delta Hotel.  Some think it is having problems.

The massive project, the biggest we have going except for the hospital re-build,  was supposed to have shovels in the ground by now – but the paper work isn’t getting done quite as quickly as it needs to be if the Delta Hotel is to be open for the Pan Am Games in 2015.

Can the project, which is comprised of a 22 storey condominium, a seven storey condominium and an eight story hotel get done in time for the games sounded like a reasonable question.

Three structure project has been the “in the works” since 1985 when developers were given the right to build a 22 storey plus building on the property where the Riviera Waterfront Motel used to exist.

It can, said a senior city hall official who has enough experience  to know if it’s possible, but there are some senior people at Mayrose Tyco, the owners of the property,  who have to step aside and let the builder get on with the job.

Meed Ward said she knew that the Sales trailer was about to be set up real soon, once the Waterfront Hotel people worked out their squabbles with the project builders.  A Sales trailer is the expression of an intention – it isn’t a sign that something real is going to happen.

The Bridgewater project is the last this city will see built as close to the edge of the lake as this one.  Conservation Halton changed the rules and requires a bigger set back – and in the process sucking out the value of many of the properties along the southern side of Old Lakeshore road.  Existing structures can stay but no one will ever be able to build as close to the water’s edge in the future.

The city is in the process of hiring consultants to guide them through an exercise of figuring out what’s possible and what is not possible with what many once saw as the most valuable land in the city.

There are property owners on both the north and south sides of Old Lakeshore who are considering their options and wondering if there is a willing buyer out there – and there are.  Keep an eye on that part of the city – someone wants to do great things down there – but it might be at your expense.  The Riviera Motel is gone but something is going to get built down there.

City Hall  wants the public to have access to the lake and now needs to figure out to make that happen.  Consultants will be hired to develop some ideas. 

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Street address of Burlington police station on to be re-named to commemorate former Constable Bill Henshaw.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON.  May 27. 2013   South Hampton Blvd, a city street that runs west off Walker’s Line and has just the one address on it – that being the Burlington detachment of the Halton Regional Police,  will have its name changed soon to Constable  Henshaw Blvd.  to commemorate Bill Henshaw who died while on duty in 2010.

Street Burlington police station is located on will be renamed to commemorate the late Cst. Bill Henshaw .

Henshaw joined the police service in 1977 and was 54 when he collapsed at work and rushed to the Oakville-Trafalgar Memorial Hospital where he died a short time later of what police say appeared  to be natural causes.

He was president of the Halton Police Association, and honoured by the Sovereign Chapter of the Burlington IODE  for his work with community and youth in 1996.

Nominated by his  then commander, Inspector Dan Okuloski, Henshaw was described as “an excellent officer dedicated to the citizens of Burlington and the Region of Halton.”

Henshaw would tell people his commitment to community and police service members through his work with the Halton Police Association stemmed from his family.

The paper work to make the name change is in process.

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Prepare for a parade with the BTTB, fireworks and balloons – and try and figure out what the lawyers are up to – our pier.



By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  May 27, 2013  The left hand isn’t exactly talking to the right hand – but they know what the other is up against – and it ain’t pretty.

There are two teams of people at city hall working on the events that will take place in the middle of June when THE Pier is officially opened.  There will be two of those official events; one for the politicians who dug up much of the money that made the pier possible and another for the common folk who will have to pay for the Pier along with its legal costs.  Two different groups at city hall making sure there are balloons and fireworks and a marching band as well.  Lots of hoopla and fun.

The nagging legal matters and those legal costs are still out there and have to be dealt with.  City Council will go into a Closed Session this afternoon to hear a report from the city’s solicitor.  All we are going to be able to tell you about that report is that it is ten pages long and printed on yellow paper.

Construction of the pier has gone so well that in the last month of getting it ready for Opening Day Project Manager Craig Stevens was able to get off on some vacation.  Here he takes communications intern Ryan  through some of the work left to be done.  Behind them are two of the balustrades to which bright blue railings will be attached.

But we can tell you this: the process of discovery is still going on.  An event that was thought to require five days when it started is now closer to twenty days and there is quite a bit more to come.

Discovery is that process where each side of a legal difference gets to pull information from the other side.  Often, one document leads to another document which in turn leads to a third document.

There have been all kinds of surprises. 

There is every reason to believe that some of those surprises have led the city’s legal department to take a different look at the situation and perhaps change the strategy.

The city had one occasion to get into some serious settlement talks with one of the companies in this battle – they took a pass on that opportunity.    It appears that the situation has become a little more fluid – options are being looked at.

Stay tuned for more on the legal front.

Meanwhile the Pier itself is doing just fine.  Work proceeds and short of a serious accident or the failure of some parts to arrive on time – the thing will open when they said it will open.  One really interesting and remarkable fact: there hasn’t been a single serious accident on the site.  No broken bones, just some cuts and bruises.   There were several cranes on site – not one of them fell over.

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Two ceremonies: one advancing a cause, the other heard Dvorak’s “Going Home”. Jane Irwin became part of the community memory.



By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  May 26, 2013.  It was a sod turning that didn’t see as much as a blade of grass get anywhere near a shovel. 

The event was held so that people from Ashland, the Burlington corporation that came forward and offered to lease a patch of their property for a buck a year to the Freeman people, could be officially recognized.  That generous offer was what saved the station. 

So there was going to be a sod turning event.  Then – well the problems crept in.   It just wasn’t possible to get the equipment the Freeman Station people wanted on site to clear away some brush and prepare the spot the station is going to be moved to in time for the Thursday morning event which had a kind of soft country get together about it.

It was to be a photo-op, but not one of those that really didn’t have much of a purpose, other than getting someone’s picture in the paper.

Jane McKenna, MPP for Burlington; John Mello, a Friend of Freeman Station;  Joe Cerilli  Maintenance and Engineering Team Leader Ashland Canada; John Naughton: Director, NA Operations Ashland, Director, Global Process Technology & Quality; Ward 6 Councillor Blair Lancaster; Scott Thomson,  Plant Manager Ashland Canada; Mayor Rick Goldring;  Brian Aasgaard; James Smith, president Friends of Freeman Station; Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward

The Ashland people and the two city council members who fought to keep the saving of the Freeman station from a wrecking ball had to be in the picture – they were.  The Mayor was there as well and he is supposed to be at these functions but, truth be told the city was not able to come up with a solution for the station under his leadership and Goldring was one of those prepared to see it lost.

The shovels can be used to dig out the foundation for the Freeman Station; they certainly weren’t used for a sod turning event.

Burlington’s MPP, Jane McKenna was there – goodness knows why, other than to have her picture taken.  Our MP Mike Wallace wasn’t there – which was unfortunate.  Wallace has a passion for history and comes through every time there is a project with an historical angle.  He got federal Stimulus funding for the project and when the city got to the point where they couldn’t find a way to spend that funding Wallace juggled things and got the city permission to spend the money on another project.  Kudos to Mike for this one.

Councillors Meed Ward and Lancaster were where they were supposed to be – front and centre because it was their combined tireless efforts that the event last Thursday even took place.

Getting the pictures taken with the station jacked up on steel beams ready for transfer to the new site just yards away was a happy occasion but there was a tinge of regret – one of the people who worked tirelessly on the project was not with her peers.  Jane Irwin had passed away earlier in the year and the community was to gather later in the day at the Performing Arts Centre to celebrate her life’s work and have a chance to meet her three children and tell Jane stories to each other.

They filled the Community Studio in the afternoon and listened to music, heard the friends speak of the Jane they knew; the stalwart, short woman who just could not be stopped.  She just never quit until the day her heart gave out.

Her husband Richard spoke of “the love of my life” and told the audience of more than 225 people of the experiences and frustrations that were Jane’s life.  Few knew that she once worked as a proof reader for a medical publication; there wasn’t a person in the room who didn’t smile knowingly, to use Richard’s word, how “persnickety” she was about language.

Jane completed her doctorate at Cambridge University where the writings of George Elliott were her focus.  One of the bigger disappointments in her life was that she did not get the opportunity to do some substantial academic work.  She did teach at Trent University.  Burlington was the beneficiary of a sharp mind, a strong voice and the courage of her convictions.  At her very last public presentation Jane took city council to task for not providing adequate facilities for people who needed to be able to sit while they delegated to their local government.  That is just who she was.

Jane is part of the community memory now.



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More trees for the Beachway while the politicians print reports on paper – which comes from trees



By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON.  May 25, 2013.  If you missed the opportunity to plant trees during the city’s Cleanup/GreenUp a few weeks ago when it was cold and rainy – there is a chance for you to get out into some sunshine (hopefully) and plant trees that will provide some firmness to the sand dunes which tend to shift easily.

BurlingtonGreen (BG) obtained a second Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund grant that will allow more than 50 people to take part in removing invasive species and planting even more native plants and grasses.

The event takes place Saturday June 1, from 9:00 a.m. to 12 noon. The grant allows BG to continue its stewardship to further improve the coastal environment of Lake Ontario’s Beachway Park.

Part of the crew that did the first planting.  There is now more funding for more tress.

BurlingtonGreen gets its hands dirty digging into the earth to get plants in place to stabilize the shifting sands that are unique to our end of Lake Ontario while the politicians work their way through a massive, dense document of background material on what has been happening to the Beachway Park since 1987.  BurlingtonGreen could have grown a lot of plants in that period of time.

 On April 20th, approximately 90 dedicated volunteers braved the cold temperatures to pick up litter, remove invasive species and put 300 shrubs and trees and over 3,000 plants in the ground at Beachway Park.  BG Executive Director is “extremely grateful to those who have contributed so far, but we are absolutely thrilled to have an opportunity to go back and continue to build on our efforts to restore part of the fragile ecosystem at this location.”

According to Project Coordinator Justin Jones, many invasive species have popped up since the first Green Up event at Beachway Park back in April. “A second green-up will allow us to get in there and remove those “new growth” invasive species and really reinforce the stability of the ecologically sensitive area by adding a few hundred more native plants and grasses.”

For more information or to sign up and participate in the June 1st Green Up event at Beachway Park, please visit

BurlingtonGreen Environmental Association is a non-profit, non-partisan, environmental organization. Through raising AWARENESS, ADVOCACY and ACTION, they aim to mobilize individuals, groups, businesses and governments to make Burlington a leader in creating a healthy, environmentally responsible city.

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Residents in St. Luke’s precinct don’t like the look of what a developer wants to do to them.



By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  May 25, 2013.  If Maurice Desrochers is to ever get the development he has planned for Caroline Street between Hagar and Burlington – one hopes he has a plan B; because the plan he put before his neighbours at a Saturday morning meeting recently doesn’t look as if it is going to make the grade.

Maurice Desrochers, talking to residents who live near the block long development he is proposing for the St. Luke’s ward.

Desrochers met with the community in an informal meeting called by Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward.  There had been a previous informal meeting at which the residents said they didn’t like the development – so Desrochers took his plans away and came back with a significantly different design.

Turns out it wasn’t the design the neighbours had a problem with – it was his plan to put semi-detached homes on the properties when it is clearly set out as a single family neighbourhood in the Official Plan.

It was a nice spring Saturday morning with more than 70 people in the room differing with Desrochers on one matter – he wants both an Official Plan change and a zoning change – as well as a number of variances and the majority of the people in the room wanted none of it.

When Burlington did its last Official Plan Review, completed in 2008, it created a number of precincts in the city.  Brant Street was given a zoning of 7 storey’s as of right now with the possibility of going to 12 storeys.  The thinking behind the creation of the Precincts back in 2008 was to create communities with a clearly defined zoning by law set in place to protect the character of the community. They called the land between Brant on the east and close to Maple on the west and from Baldwin on the north down to the Lake – the St. Luke’s Precinct – which was anchored by St. Luke’s Anglican Church which has land that gives it a view to the Lake.  That property was given to the Anglican Church by the Joseph Brant family.

The precinct boundary has all kinds of wiggles and squiggles in it but it is basically west of Brant.  The community has many styles; some single story, some two and two and a half.  There are some apartment buildings as well but the core is single family homes and the residents want to keep it that way.  That’s what the Official Plan gave them in 2008 and they don’t want to give that away.

Residents gather at a city hall board room to hear about a development proposal they didn’t like the first time they heard about it. This does not look like a crowd of happy campers.

Desrochers, who will tell you for as long as you want to listen that he “saved” the gingerbread house from demolition and that he has saved a number of other homes as well and that he “thinks out of the box”, which he may well do.

What he hasn’t been able to do is find a way to build single family homes on the properties he has assembled so he is looking for a both Official Plan and zoning amendments to allow him to put up the five structures he has designed.

Desrochers describes himself as the best designer of residential housing in the city, maintains the community is “lucky” to have him.  Eric Allan, who lives on Clarke doesn’t see Desrochers in quite that light.  He had a number of run ins with Desrochers and his people who he maintains did all kinds of work without the proper permits. “When we went onto the property to take pictures, Desrocher’s people called the police” claims Allan.

The small differences of opinion and the disputes are not the concern of the people leading the opposition to both an Official Plan Amendment or a zoning change. Their concern is simply this: They were given a designation and a zoning that protects the community they have today and they don’t want to see that taken from them.

Barry Imber, one of the people leading the group and also one of the founders of the Organic Farmer’s Market started last year and re-opened for its second season last weekend, explains the concern when he says: “Communities evolve over time during with small changes taking place and are absorbed into the community and a new norm gets created”.  “These are incremental changes” he adds.  “What Desrochers wants to do is something revolutionary – he want to tear down a complete block and put up housing that is not permitted under the existing Official Plan or the zoning.

Councillor Meed Ward made it clear that she would support the rules that are in place now.

Desrochers is in the business of turning properties into what he calls “luxury executive suites” that are rented out.  He currently has 30 properties of his own and brokers 16 others.

The properties along Caroline have been assembled and while nothing has been taken to the planning department yet it was clear that is what Desrochers wants to do.

The block will disappear and have a number of nicely designed semi-detached houses on it that Maurice Desrochers believes he can market to empty-nesters.  Many of the residents in the community see the development as a major change to a zoning they do not want to see being taken away from them.

The neighbours are pretty firm on their views and managed to get the ward Councillor to agree to support the zoning and Official Plan as it is now. Meed Ward said she would support the Official Plan and the zoning as they now stand.

What became clear during the community meeting was that Desrochers focuses on the look of the homes in the community while the community is concerned about the kind of housing and the impact that housing will have on the way a community evolves.

Every developer drags out the provincial requirement that calls for Burlington to create a specific number of housing units and jobs in the city – they call the approach to building housing  “intensification – putting more housing on the existing land.

Imber and his colleagues think developers can be more imaginative and creative in the kind of housing that gets built.

Developers see an opportunity to buy up houses that haven’t been maintained; tear them down and put more housing on the land.

Albert Facenda, a local developer, once told a city Council meeting that developers look for large lots with small houses that have not been maintained to purchase. “That is pure gold for us” he once said.  Facenda sits on the city’s Heritage Burlington Advisory Committee.

The people in St. Luke’s are not opposed to development; they appreciate that people want to upgrade their homes while others want to sell and do so.  What they don’t want is a developer buying up properties and building homes that don’t fit in with the character of the community.

Burlington is currently carrying out two ‘neighbourhood character’ studies; one at Indian Point and another in Roseland.

Imber and his colleagues see the evolution of a neighbourhood as something where the interests of all those involved are at the table and asks” Are all the interests represented at these meetings” suggesting that the people who have put up the funding for the development Desrochers wants to do are not known.  Imber doesn’t see that as healthy.

It is estimated that the cost of the land assembly is in the $3 million range and the cost of the demolition and then the new construction is going to come in at as much as $5 million.  Desrochers told the meeting that he expects his son, who has never done a large construction project, will take on the assignment.  That bit of information sent a shiver through the room.

A week later, Maurice Desrochers is still maintaining the view that his project is good for the city and that he doesn’t foresee any problems.  This project has not yet been taken to the city’s planning department; Desrochers is off to Paris for some vacation.

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Less weed for the locals as a result of police raid. Someone will fill the gap – it’s all about supply and demand.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON.  May 23, 2013.  They grow this stuff because people buy this stuff.  Who is doing the buying?

Early this morning  police, using a Controlled Drugs and Substances Act search warrant raided a home at 940 Glen View Avenue, Burlington.

Found: 34 Cannabis Marihuana Plants in various stages of growth and 30 grams of dried Cannabis Marihuana. Also found: 12 firearms and ammunition that was stored in an unsafe manner.

Police have arrested and charged the following persons:

Christopher Kyle SILVERTHORNE,  39 years of age:

1) Production of a Controlled Substance

2) Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking a Controlled Substance.

3) Careless Storage of Ammunition

Zorica  KRASULJA, 34 years of age :                        

1) Production of a Controlled Substance

2) Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking a Controlled Substance.

3) Careless Storage of Ammunition

SILVERTHORNE was released on a Promise to Appear in Milton Court on June 18th 2013.

KRASULJA was released on a Promise to Appear in Milton Court on June 18th 2013.

What is both surprising and disturbing is accused people being released on their own recognizance – no bail or surety required, with criminal code charges that involve 12 weapons.  We aren’t talking about BB guns here.  Wrong message being sent here

Anyone with information in relation to these or any other crimes is asked to contact the Integrated Drug, Gun and Gang Unit at 905-825-4747- ext 8732, Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS(8477), through the web at or by texting “tip201” with your message to 274637(crimes).

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The last salute to a true citizen. Memorial event for Jane Irwin at Performing Arts Centre



By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  May 22, 2013.  Thursday afternoon will be a bitter-sweet occasion for many in this city.  Friends will gather to celebrate the life of Jane Irwin who passed recently.

How does one describe Jane?  The best way to fully appreciate the diminutive woman with the guts of a warrior is to read what she once did at a city council meeting.

At the time the city was struggling with heritage matters and Jane took the occasion to set the record straight.

Because it was a council meeting she had just five minutes to speak and said was going to fo “four scotches in five minutes” which got the immediate attention of Council.  Jane proceeded:

Moments before speaking for the last time – Jane Irwin is supported by her husband.

“Watching the recent streamed Community Development Committee meeting,” said Irwin,  ”I seemed to hear certain misstatements of fact about the Heritage Property Registry  – – which I had heard before, and which I hope to set right tonight.

I want to speak to you before your Workshop because untruthful rumors, whatever their sources, can be very difficult to correct, especially if they circulate unchallenged.

This is a Burlington home on Walkers line that is on the housing inventory and has been given a grade which tells something about the house. That’s all the grade does. There is much confusion about the inventory grades and what they mean.

Councillors hear a lot from spokesmen claiming to represent about 1/5 of owners of properties on the heritage register.  Spokesmen, she added are “not sworn to speak the truth to Council”  Luther Holton, Ms Irwin advised, “speaks very well for himself and his mother and needs no spokesman”.

I’d like to scotch 4 of them” said Irwin.

1:   Registry was not produced by the Heritage Committee, but by Burlington’s Planning staff, initially professional Planner Marilyn Lagzdins.  The Director of Planning at the time was Gary Goodman.

2:  Inventory was never produced by summer students. That statement is completely and utterly false.  It implies that irresponsible students with no experience, no mature judgment for the job put homes on a list.  Not true.

The lake was a favourite spot for both Jane and Richard.

3: There is the belief that the Grades A B C D that were assigned to homes were subjective or impressionistic.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The grade assignment criteria were the result of objective evaluations based on meticulously responsible criteria.  There were 20 criteria in 5 different categories with a ceiling that could be given in each category.  A grade of C represented “ordinary” standard and a grade of D was given to properties for which there was no information.   We made an annual presentation of the revised Inventory to Council every year from 1992 until 2001

One of the references used for the development of the criteria was Harold Kalman’s    The Evaluation of Historic Buildings  and the 1970 Canadian Inventory of Historic Buildings   Parks Canada.  Click on the link to learn what grades A,B,C and D mean.

The Council Committee meeting was told that the Burlington Historical Society has data on some 80 First Class buildings in the city that are more than 100 years old and there are almost 30 Century Farms in Burlington  — living history.  Irwin also pointed out that in 1992 the Lakehurst Villa, the La Salle Pavilion and Shore Acres (now Paletta) Mansion were not on the Inventory.

4:  There is the hint that Heritage Committee members were unpaid volunteers, amateurs or worse, dilettantes.  Heritage Committee members in my experience were lawyers, architects, designers / builders, engineers and planners. People whose ancestors came to Burlington more than 200 years ago.

A Burlington farm-house – thought to be of historical significance and given a grade on the inventory the city keeps of such properties.

To describe the people who sat on that committee the way they have been described is a dis-courtesy to the members of your other volunteer advisory committees

Irwin added that: “Professionals working in Toronto for the Government of Ontario, including one whose responsibility it was to revise the Ontario legislation that has been the most troublesome to property owners, and which has gravely disrespected their right do what they like with their own properties”.

Council had been given its first primer on what the issues were behind the squabbles over buildings that are on a Heritage Registry. Mayor Goldring was so impressed with her performance that he asked Ms Irwin if she would take part in the workshop session planned to fully brief Council members before a second workshop session takes place with the owners of the homes that are on the Registry.  She didn’t take him up on the offer.

It was classic Jane Irwin and underlines just why we miss her so much.  It will be bittersweet indeed Thursday afternoon.

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Burlington a “banana republic”? At least one well informed citizen suggests that’s what he saw at a Committee of Adjustment meeting.



By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  May 22, 2013.  The surprise wasn’t that Jack Dennison, Councillor for Ward 4,  lost his application for a severance and several minor variances to his property on Old Lakeshore Road but how two members of the Committee of Adjustment conducted themselves.  We will get to that.

Dennison was applying for a severance to his property that would allow him to create a separate lot on which a two-story house could be built.  He required permission to sever the property and needed a number of variances as well.

A staff report did not recommend the application.

The vote went 3-2 against Dennison with Chair Malcolm Ramsay, members Grant Newbury and Robert Bailey voting against and members Dave Kumar and Sam Sarraf voting for.

Burlington’s Committee of Adjustment. All appointed by city council to serve a four-year term. From left to right chair Ramsay, members Bailey, Newbury, Kumar and Sarraf.  Peter Thoem, also a member was absent.

Five members of the community delegated starting with Dave McKay who gave the committee an overview of how Roseland got to be the community it is today.  He was  followed by Diane Gaudaur, president of the Roseland community Association who set out the case for saying no. Gerhard Gerber who lives right across the street from Dennison talked about the impact the requested severance would have on the streetscape which was a major part of the opposition to the application.

Christine Dwivedi followed with a very, very lengthy presentation during which the chair asked if she had anything new to add.  Mrs. Dwivedi stuck to her guns even though it was clear that at one point she had the members of the committee following her and taking in the many trenchant points she made but after more than an hour it was clear she had gone too far.

During her delegation we did learn that Dennison attempted to buy 10 feet of the west side of the Dwivedi property for $120,000.  Mrs. Dwivedi also reported a nasty dispute over work Dennison had done when he installed a new in-ground pool.

With the clock past 10 pm legal counsel for the Roseland Community Organization summed up the reasons for not granting the severance which included an Ontario Divisional Court ruling which is a binding decision.

Applications like this include levels of detail that can be mind numbing and that was certainly the case Tuesday evening.  There were some very interesting points made and they will be covered in detail at a later date making them part of the community record.

 The process has the applicant stating their case, the members of the community who oppose the application stating their case.  The applicant is then given an opportunity to rebut whatever those opposed have to say.

It then goes to the chair who asks each member if they have questions.  Once all the questions of the member of the Committee of Adjustment have been asked each is then asked to make their comments.

It is at this point that members of the Committee make it known if they are going to support or oppose the application.

The chair then polls each member individually to hear them say publicly and for the record that they are supporting the application or opposing that application.

Last night three opposed, two supported – one member was absent.  Peter Thoem, a former council member was absent – spending his time at Point Peelee watching birds.

Other than the lengthy presentation made by Mrs. Dwivedi , the hearing was like any other that is contentious with significantly different views on either side.

Councillor Dennison neighbour Christine  Dwivedi and lawyer Mark Nicholson prepare to delegate at a Committee of Adjustment hearing.

Where things went off the rails Tuesday evening was when committee member Sam Sarraf began to ask his questions.  He first directed a question to David McKay on what the boundaries of the community were and then literally fired a bunch of questions at city planner Jamie Tellier who was on hand to answer technical questions and support the report staff had prepared.

There was question after question on specific definitions.  Sarraf had clearly prepared and was directing Tellier to specific parts of the Official Plan and having him read them aloud.  On several occasions Sarraf  asked Tellier: “Would you not agree.”  It became clear that Sarraf had an objective and he began to move from being a committee member asking questions to a person advocating on behalf of the applicant.

At one point Sarraf asked a question on a piece of evidence that had not been introduced by anyone.  He asked if the property Dennison was seeking to sever was not at one point three separate lots.  Where did Sam Sarraf get that information?  Did he research the issue?  And if he did – why would he do that?  His role is to be an impartial adjudicator who hears evidence presented and makes decisions on the merits of the evidence and adheres to the procedures used by a Committee of Adjustment.

Dave Kumar had questions that were related to how this matter would be seen and treated by the  Official Plan.  His question was very technical, not something that would normally come from a person with a financial background. Kumar’s questions were also beginning to take on the tone of an advocate.

Committee of adjustment members Bailey and Newbury stuck to the issues.  They asked questions of staff that were intended to clarify a point.  Bailey had very few questions, Newbury asked for some clarification relating to the original design of the lot when it was first put together.

When Chair Ramsay was about to ask the members of the Committee for their comments, which is the time they get to say if they intend to support the application, Sarraf suggested to the chair that any decision be “deferred” until the applicant had a chance to return and address some of the issues raised, particularly relating to what any house built on the severed lot would look like.

Things like this are done for the applicant by the applicants agent.  It is not the role of the committee members to suggest possible actions for an applicant.

There was a time when Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward once advocated for a constituent at Committee of Adjustment.  The city’s Solicitor was brought in to read the rules to what were then newbie Council members.  Might be time for the city Solicitor to have a chat with the boys on what’s kosher and what isn’t kosher in terms of ethical behaviour.

It  was a long meeting, the room was far too warm and everyone was getting tired.  The hands of the clock were getting close to 11:00 pm and Chairman Malcolm Ramsay was letting things slip a little.

Jack Dennison usually goes all out for what he wants. Did he go too far at a Committee of Adjustment meeting on Tuesday?

One observer with experience in matters like this wondered why the chair did not move the meeting into an “in camera” session and have everyone clear the room and once the doors were closed, turn to the two members who were offside by a country mile and ask them: “What the hell is going on here?”

Was there collusion between Sarraf and the applicant?  That was certainly a question on the minds of many as they talked after the meeting.

While Dennison was reading his comments he was working from a document he had not made available to those opposed to what he was asking for.  In quasi-tribunal hearings such as Committee of Adjustment opposing parties make documents available to each other.  In higher “courts” lawyers are required to do so.

When Dwivedi was making her presentation she asked that Dennison not be given a copy of her comments because he had not shared his.  The chair didn’t disagree with Dwivedi but once the documents were in the hands of the committee members, Sarraf immediately passed a copy to Dennison who was sitting next to him.

There was the sense that these two guys were part of the same team.  It smacked all of that small town, old boys network stuff.

Both Dave Kumar and Sam Sarraf have run for public office – both in Ward 5.  Sarraf ran in 2006, Kumar in 2010.  Kumar is also a former city hall employee where he worked in finance.

The political class tend to hang together in Burlington.

Councillor Jack Dennison’s application to sever his property was not approved by Burlington’s Committee of Adjustment.  Two members of the committee came very close to becoming advocates for the application.  Did this amount to collusion?

When running for public office Sarraf said he had completed five years study at Mohawk College in both Construction and Civil Engineering he worked from 1983 to 1999 as a Land Surveyor and was responsible for surveying many of the development projects in Burlington during that period of rapid growth. These included The Maple Community, Mapleview Mall, Tyandaga, and Millcroft communities as well as The Orchard.

In 2000 Sarraf  became Project Manager & Planner for a local Engineering consulting firm and was instrumental in the development of several residential and commercial projects and subdivisions in the GTA including the environmentally sensitive Oak Ridges Moraine.

Kumar ran in Ward 5, hoping to succeed Rick Goldring who was running for Mayor in 2010.

Running for public office is noble – it isn’t easy work.  Those elected or appointed are in place to serve the people of the city –they are not there to serve their own interests or those of their chums.

Last night we saw what one observer described as what he expected from a “banana republic”.  “I never thought I would see that in this city”.

This observer added that Burlington needed an Ethics Commissioner.  That would put us on the same footing as the Senate in Ottawa.  Would that help us keep our Best City ranking next year?

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Are we talking four and 0 here? Didn’t Leafs do something like that? This is Burlington, we don’t do things like that here.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON  May 23, 2013.   The Burlington Bandits coming off three straight losses, traveled to Toronto for an afternoon showdown with the Maple Leafs.  They got whipped.

Will Richards had five hits, including a two-run homer, as the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Burlington Bandits 10-5.

Glenn Jackson also smacked a two-run homer and had two hits with three RBI as Toronto survived a terrible first inning to out-last the Bandits while pounding out 16 hits.

Not looking all that good are we?

Richards went 5-for-5 with three singles, a double and homer, driving in three runs and scoring another two. Cody Mombourquette added two hits, two runs scored and two stolen bases, while Rob Gillis chipped in with two hits and also scored twice.

The day didn’t start well for Toronto, as the Leafs made three crucial errors in the top of the first inning to fall behind 3-0. But Burlington made two errors in the bottom of the first to help the Leafs score three times to tie the game, and it was pretty much all Toronto after that.

Leaf starter Clay Caulfield picked up the win in his season debut, despite not getting much help from his teammates defensively. Caulfield went five innings, allowing five runs – just one earned – on six hits with three strikeouts and one walk. Drew Taylor and Justin Cicatello both contributed two scoreless innings of relief to complete the seven-hitter.

Home and away schedule for May.

Brian Sewell had two hits and scored twice for the Bandits (1-4), who have dropped their last four games. Brad Bedford, Jeff MacLeod and Kyle Morton all added RBI singles.

Starter Alex Gale took the loss. He went four-plus innings and was tagged for eight runs on 12 hits without a strikeout or a walk.

The Burlington Bandits return home Thursday night when they look for redemption from the Maple Leafs; game time 7:00pm; Nelson Park.

 The Bandits are home again Saturday to see if they can do any better against the Kitchener Panthers.

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Housing in the Beachway Park: a comprehensive Regional report appears to have made this THE issue. Is it?



By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  May 23, 2013  The beach to the west on the west side of the city, up tight against the canal that marks the border between Hamilton and Burlington has been a focus for Burlington for some time.  A team of planners from Halton Region, the Conservation Authority and the city of Burlington delivered the report to a council committee meeting.  This report follows a 1987 report and a 1994 report – all designed to come up with a Master Plan for Beachway Park.

A Master Plan for the area that was put together in 1987 that included mention of the park being “public open space” in its entirety.

A report with the impossible title of: Burlington Beach Regional Waterfront Park Comprehensive Background Report (hereafter known as CBR) pick up that theme and uses this one peg to hang one of its main points on – get rid of the houses in Beachway Park – to which the residents reply: – Not so fast . Some 30 families live down there and they want to see a community in the Beachway as something that makes the area safer.

Homes right on the lake’s edge with the rail line behind them and then Lakeshore Road.  There were once several hundred homes in this part of the city – now there are 30 left.

The CBR is a background paper – it is not policy – yet but unless many of the points made in the report are properly refuted it has the potential to become policy – and should that happen we will all be the poorer.

Housing is just one of the issues set out in the CBR – the others are flooding in the area and what can be done to protect the sand dunes that are unique to the province.  And those sand dunes are unique as the dunes in Prince Edward County where there is no housing but thousands of weekend visitors.

In this article we include significant parts of the 250 page plus document and set out those parts in bold italic.

The 1987 Master Plan for the beach provided a long-term vision that included a full-scale marina at Spencer Smith Park and the beach area as public open space in its entirety to accommodate a range of recreational amenities. One of the key objectives was the acquisition of all properties in the former cottage communities along Lakeshore Road including the leasehold lands (former Canadian National Railway lands) and private properties as they became available. Funding for acquisitions came from the Province through Conservation Halton, the Region and the City of Burlington. The acquisition of the properties was seen as a priority to:

The area to the left is known as the Beachway – Spencer Smith Park is shown on the right.  Development of that part of Burlington’s waterfront is complete.  The city now has to decide what it wants done with property that comes under Regional policy and Conservation Authority rules.  Burlington manages the land and the parks within it.

The properties on the west side of Lakeshore Road are not threatened. To help with orientation Lakeshore Road is seen as running north/south with the lake on the east side.

Lakeshore Road cuts sharply towards Lake Ontario at the Maple Street intersection where the Joseph Brant Hospital and the Brant Museum are located.  It is a very historic intersection for Burlington that once had a railway line running through it; was yards away from the location of the Brant Inn, once the hotspot for jazz musicians in Ontario.

Today that area is the western entrance to Spencer Smith Park and the eastern end of the Beachway Park.

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Buck passing at its very best – while trucks continue to roll into the Air Park site dumping landfill without a permit.



By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  May 23, 2013.  Here is the kind of thing that drives people crazy.  The residents of Appleby Line along with those who care deeply about the escarpment and how it is managed, had a concern over the amount of landfill that was being trucked into the Air Park. 

Like all good people on the Escarpment, they formed a community group to oppose what was being done and bring their concerns to what they felt were the proper authorities.

Truck traffic on the Air Park site.  Each of those trucks has to travel along Appleby Line to get to the site. Photograph was taken after city of Burlington had issued a STOP order.

Roger Goulet, President of PERL (Protect Environment and Rural Life), the organization that fought the battle over a permit being issued for another aggregate mining operation on the Escarpment, wrote us to say that the “Appleby Line at the Burlington Airpark dump truck entrances is an accident waiting to happen. This unacceptable traffic situation has been occurring uncontrolled for years.  We need the Halton Region and the City of Burlington to put proper truck traffic management and safety mechanisms in place before it is too late.”

All this is going on claims Goulet ” without… permits, fill quality controls, off-site impact mitigation, groundwater and surface water impacts, ecological impacts, dust management, truck traffic controls, etc.

The Airpark facility he adds  is within the Greenbelt Plan “protected countryside”; and adjacent to the Niagara Escarpment Plan Area and in part the Halton NHS; and part of the Bronte Creek headwaters.

Goulet then refers us to his correspondence with the Stirling Todd and Nick  Zervos, both with the Region, and says:

“I am writing to you as PERL is a member of the new community group Rural Burlington Greenbelt Coalition. The RBGC is trying to rectify a number of major issues with the Burlington Executive Airpark.

There is something being done on the west side of the Air Park.  Thousands of trucks with landfill are going into the site each day – no one seems to know what’s being done and why – and the Air Park executives are not talking.

“Traffic is but one of many serious problems with this Airpark.  The Region needs to update its files and enforcement because they don’t have all the current facts, or incorrect facts.  For example, the Airpark was never issued a site alteration and fill permit by the City of Burlington. And the Airpark is refusing to obtain a permit, thus is in violation. The City of Burlington is trying to get compliance.

“The truck entrances into the Airpark are an accident waiting to happen…no truck turnoff / turn on lane, no signage, mud on the road, no ‘regular’ cleaning of the road, slippery road when wet, trucks crossing into oncoming side of the road, no flag person, dust, etc.

“A friend of mine drives a school bus on this road and tells me he came very close to having a head on collision due to his school bus skidding on this muddy road at the Airpark truck entrance.

“Hundreds of truck loads a day without proper traffic and road engineering controls is a recipe for an accident, injury or death.  This is a Regional road. Appleby Line is a very busy road, over and above truck traffic.   The Region must put proper safeguards in place, now, before it’s too late.

“Please investigate and demand that the Burlington Executive Airpark put traffic safeguards into place, immediately.”

Stirling Todd, Senior Planner with the Region, communicated with Burlington Ward 3 Councillor John Taylor, no shrinking violet when it comes to Escarpment matters and on May 13th says:

Trucks dumping landfill without the permits the city feels they need.  Air Park executives say they are federally regulated and don’t need permits.

“Councillor Taylor: As requested last night I have looked into the hauling of fill on Regional Roads and the entrance permit issues at the Airpark. Here is what I have found out:

1.    From what I understand there was no access permit issued as they are using an existing farm/ property entrance.  I have also been advised that King Paving (the hauler of the fill) have been cleaning the road on a regular basis and Transportation Services staff have been monitoring this activity;

2.    King paving advised Transportation Services staff when the activity started that they had all the permits required from the City.

3.    As there are no truck restrictions on Appleby Line, there is no reason related to the Airpark activity to monitor the truck activity on this road, which is a similar approach taken on other Regional Roads.  Truck traffic is permitted on all Regional Roads unless weight restriction are in place due to structural reasons or seasonal load restrictions. There are no restrictions on Appleby Line in this area.

“Should you have any further questions, please contact Nick Zervos, Supervisor Road Operations and Maintenance, Transportation Services, Public Works Department at (905) 825-6000 ext. 7632. He is also copied on this email should you want to follow-up with him directly.”

 Two things here.  Burlington is saying that the required permits are not in place and is threatening to fine Air Park if they continue.  The city has drawn their lawyers into the room.

Air Park has come back with: We don’t need permits from you people – we are a federally regulated business.

On May 15th, Nick Zervos, Supervisor, Road Operations and Maintenance, Transportation Services – Public Works, Region of Halton,  replies to Roger Goulet and Stirling Todd with:

“Subject: RE: Appleby Line and the Burlington Airpark trucking of fill to the site

“I appreciate your concerns for the safety of the motoring public along Appleby Line – we share your concerns and take this matter very seriously.

Staff will be reviewing the area and installing appropriate warning signs as necessary and King paving will be directed to clean up the mud tracking.  We will also request that police undertake stepped-up enforcement for possible over load infractions and speeding along the corridor.

Unfortunately, there was no development application submitted by Burlington Executive Airpark for this activity so the Region was unable to place any conditions upon them.  Site alteration and fill permits fall under the City’s zoning/building codes and is not regulated by the Region.

We will also follow-up with representatives of the Airpark to attempt at arriving at a voluntary solution to these issues.  I trust this addresses your concerns at this time.”

The problem appears to be totally out of control with everyone saying they can’t do anything while trucks drive into the Air Park site, dump the land fill which is then spread around by the equipment operators on site.

The work being done is never going to be undone.  The different levels of government will bicker back and forth.

Why not just put in a call to the Chief of Police and ask him to stop the traffic until the matter of permits is resolved.

If the street you live on is thought to be a crime scene – police cruisers park on the street and tell you not to go into the area, a crime is being investigated.  And you don’t drive in.

Any reason why the police could not be called in and asked to prevent trucks from going into the property while this matter is investigated?  .  The Air Park people can then take whatever action they wish to have the police stop. 

All we are seeing is the bickering back and forth.  This evening, Tuesday, May 21, Council will debate the issue, citizens will delegate and trucks will continue to roll in and dump landfill.

Doesn’t have to be this way.  The police just say: Stop until we figure out who is right and who is wrong here.

Or is that asking too much?

Burlington’s Mayor, the Mayor of Oakville and the Regional chair are all going to be at a Western GTA Economic development meeting in a joint effort to bring more business into the Region.  What will you wager that they feel having an airport in the region is good for economic development – and that may well be the case.  If that is the case – take it to the people who live in the area and tell them what’s going on.

Has transparency been thrown under those trucks on this one?

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