Provincially funded, locally trained police officers patrol city streets looking for gang activity, weapons and violent people. It works.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON. April 29, 2013.  Policing gets tougher and tougher.  The violent criminals are still out there and so are the people who are really smart and can manipulate computers and create software that will first steal your money and then clean you out financially.

Drugs are so profitable – until you are caught, that young, poorly educated people into the business.  When you put the profits available in the drug trade together with the violent young men – there is a brew that can only explode and police officers have to deal with it.

The province has funded the training of uniformed officers who work as patrol teams and target areas identified through crime analysis, intelligence and community reports as places where violent criminals are likely to be found. The patrol teams are focused on responding to and preventing crimes related to violence, weapons and gang activity.

 The Halton PAVIS ( Provincial Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy) Patrol Team was deployed in the City of Burlington on Friday April 26th, 2013.  That evening they were patrolling and stopped a vehicle on Brant Street.

BINGO! They had one. Subsequent investigation led to the arrest of two males and the seizure of cash, scales, cell phones, other evidence of trafficking and approximately 1 ounce of cocaine.  That wasn’t very much but the scales were the telling bit of evidence.

 Charged: Diljeev RAI (32 years old) of Burlington

Possession of a Controlled Substance – Cocaine

Drive While Suspended

 Charged: Yan FORTIER (37 years old)  of Burlington

Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking – Cocaine

 Both were released for court on an undertaking.

 Investigators remind the public to utilize Crime Stoppers to report any illegal drug, gang or gun activity at 1-800-222-TIPS(8477), through the web at or by texting “Tip201” with your message to 274637.



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Three Burlington railway crossing deaths in three months – 7 in the whole province. Intolerable.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  April 29, 2013.  It takes persistence and facts to bring about change and a city council as small as the one we have in Burlington is not always the easiest to move.

Denise Davy appeared before a council committee earlier in the month and brought to the attention of the city the number of tragic deaths along the railway lines that run through the city.

Davy, an experienced journalist was able to engage members of council and felt the city might be able to do something to prevent these needless deaths – she is back before city council this evening, Monday night,  to see if they will put something concrete in place.

While doing some additional research Davy came up with some startling data. 

There is no barrier at this location that is so well used it has a pathway for people to follow. The signage is pitiful.

Some of the deaths along the railway line are suicides – the police are sometimes not sure which are accidents and which are people deliberately trying to end their lives. 

Some people do choose to end their lives by walking in front of a train; others are looking for a short cut and they scoot across the tracks.

The commonly held view is that if a person decides they intend to commit suicide and they are prevented doing so at one location they will just find another.  That apparently is just not true.

This message is a testament to a death that did not have to take place.

Some research done on what is described as “thwarted jumpers” – people who were attempting suicide but were caught before the actually jumped.  Out of 100 people who had tried to jump less than 6% of these people tried to jump somewhere else and end their lives.  If the data is valid, and Davy isn’t a fool – she digs and does her homework – then there are very solid reasons to put up some kind of barrier along those stretches of the rail line where people can cross easily.

People feel they are safe if they look both ways, see no train coming and cross the tracks.  Councillor Dennison told council he does it all the time.  Great example there Jack – people have the view that it is safe.  The numbers tell a different story.

Davy feels the city might put up short stretches of barrier that dissuade people.  She doesn’t want a Berlin Wall or something like that atrocity the Israeli’s have strung across parts of Israel and Palestine – but a wall that is reasonably attractive, that cannot be damaged and cannot be scaled.

The cost is manageable and the benefit is significant.

For the period of January to March of this year there were 7 of what police call railway trespassing deaths.  Three of those deaths were in Burlington.

We have a problem.

We can go after the railway – in this case that would be GO transit which now owns the tracks, we can chase the federal agency that is responsible for transportation safety and we might actually achieve something – but that will take a long time – governments just work that way.

Would a sign with a HELP number make any difference to someone wanting to commit suicide?

Davy wants to put up the barriers now – even if there are just a few.  She thinks too that it might be possible to get the Kids Help Line to put up some of their signs at the crossings.

We shall see how Council chooses to handle this problem – three deaths in three months is not part of being a great city.

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Burlington tells National Energy Board that an Enbridge pipeline leak would be “catastrophic” for the city.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON.  April 29, 2013  The National Energy Board has received nearly 200 applications to participate in the hearings on the expansion and flow reversal of the Enbridge Line 9 pipeline that could also be used to export diluted bitumen from the Alberta tar sands. While most are individuals, like Burlington’s Sarah Harmer, many of the applicants are representing citizen groups, private corporations, industry groups, municipalities, or the provinces of Ontario, Quebec and Alberta.

A Enbridge Pipeline monitoring station on Walkers Line, between Sideroad #1 and #2 will monitor the flow of diluted bitumen of the National Energy Board approves a flow reversal application. The city of Burlington has gone on record as being opposed – call the possible consequences “catastrophic”.

The controversial process imposed by the federal Conservative government requires formal applications to participate from even those who only want to submit a letter of comment, and gives the NEB the authority to choose who will be heard and in what way. Local applicants include the cities of Hamilton and Burlington, federal NDP MPs, the Hamilton 350 Committee, the local chapter of the Council of Canadians, Burlington Green, the Burlington office of Environment Canada, and numerous individuals.

Most only intend to submit a letter to the hearings currently scheduled for late August, but others are seeking intervenor status that gives them the right to speak, cross-examine, and call witnesses and present final arguments to the NEB.

The applications from Hamilton and Burlington city councils seek only to provide written comments, but both emphasize the serious impacts of potential pipeline ruptures or leaks. Burlington notes that “a major spill of heavy crude mixed with diluents within city limits would be catastrophic”.

Several applications focus attention on Enbridge’s plans to ship diluted bitumen (dilbit) through the 38-year-old pipe and point to recent disastrous spills of this material, such as in Kalamazoo, Michigan in 2010 and on Good Friday in Mayflower, Arkansas.

Singer Sarah, a consistent supporter of the environment and a leader in the battle to prevent Nelson Aggregates from obtaining a permit to open a second quarry on the Escarpment has applied to appear before the National Energy Board to speak against approving the flow reversal of the Enbridge Pipeline that runs across her family’s farm.

Singer Sarah Harmer, applying for intervenor status on behalf of herself and her family, notes the Enbridge pipe traverses 400 metres of their Mt Nemo property and has been subjected to blasting effects from the Nelson quarry “at least twice weekly for the entire 38 year of its existence” that has cracked drywall, shaken windows and is “akin to an earthquake repeated a few times each week” at their home. Harmer and others were recently successful in blocking a new Nelson aggregate operation, in which she “engaged expert scientists, planners and government experts in the study of this area” over the last eight years.

There is a public event on Thursday evening at the Baltimore House, 43 King William Street, in Hamilton,  starting at 6:30 pm that will include speakers from several communities affected by Line 9 including Six Nations.

We are grateful to CATCH – Citizens at City Hall –  for the bulk of this report


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Is Burlington looking at a significantly different political hierarchy at city hall?

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  April 28, 2013.  The earth moved; the ground shifted.  It will be awhile before we see the effect of these changes but they are significant for your city.

There is a candidate, described as credible by those who have worked with him in the venture capital markets and in the public service sphere, who has decided that he will enter the public arena and stand for election next year – 2014.

He will win the council seat he runs for and serve a term as a Council member and then, in the 2020 municipal election, he will run for Mayor – whether it is against current Mayor Rick Goldring is something that Goldring will decide, for Goldring will be returned in 2014 and find a very able new addition to a Council that has a combination of weak blood and tired blood on it now.

This candidate deciding to run will bring to an end the Mayoral aspirations of current Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward who many feel has done significant damage to the economic interests of the city.

Completing the Pier this year and re-building city council next year would be quite a change.  The Pier has cost us our shirts – will a newer council bring in the kind of business the city needs to see some real growth?

One possible change to this scenario – this candidate may decide that the city cannot afford another four years of Goldring leadership and decide to run for Mayor in 2014 and take a pass on sitting as a Council member first.

One other interesting development on the electoral health of our Council members: the Roseland Community Organization is thinking of running an advertisement for someone to run in Ward 4, currently held by Jack Dennison.  His decision to push for bike lanes on Lakeshore Road was irritating to the community but it was something they believed they could defeat, which they did.

Dennison’s decision to seek a severance of his Lakeshore property was a step to far for the RCO people.  All that can do is impact on their property values and in Roseland that is a no-no.

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Spring has sprung! The grass has riz, there are kids in town in the Lemonade Biz!

 Comments from a casual observer.

BURLINGTON, ON  April 27, 2013  A real  sign of spring is kids selling lemonade and one of our readers spotted this trio out at Elizabeth Gardens where they raised $20 while he was there.

Spring has sprung!  The grass has riz, these Kids have gone into the Lemonade Biz!

The three in were doing a pretty good business Saturday selling chocolate chip cookies and lemonade. By 2:30 in the afternoon  they had made better than twenty bucks, and I had to wait my turn. Don’t know if they’re looking to audition for dragon’s den or not, but I’m sure they’ll be back soon.

As will our reader.  Does this mean Spring is truly here?

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This is what you call “opaque” as opposed to “transparent”. HRPS can do better than this.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON. April 28, 2013.  The originator of this media release from the Halton Regional Police Service was Superintendent Signy Pittman, Professional Standards.  That’s the first clue that there is a problem.

The contact person was a  Staff Sergeant,  Peter Hodgson, 30 Division  The event took place in Burlington.

The subject line was “Collision Involving a Motorcycle: SIU Investigating

 The media release goes on to say that: “At approximately 2:45 p.m. on Saturday, April 27th,2013, an officer of the Halton Regional Police Service was in the area of Snake Road and Waterdown Road in Burlington.  The officer commenced an investigation of a motorcycle.  The motorcycle was involved in a collision and the driver received non-life threatening injuries.  As a result, the Ontario Special Investigations Unit is investigating.”

The release doesn’t say that the police cruiser was involved in the collision with the motorcycle.  Perhaps it should have.  Whenever a person is involved in an accident with the police the SIU – Special Investigations Unit is called in.

But this media release doesn’t say.  Transparency went out the window on this one.

 The Special Investigations Units would like any witnesses to this incident to contact them at 1-800-787-8529.

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Did we miss something? How come Joe Brant isn’t on the list? No opportunity to show our appreciation for the doctors at the hospital..

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  April 26, 2013.  There probably isn’t a week of the year when we aren’t celebrating something.  Every cause there is wants its fifteen minutes of fame and the doctors we rely upon to keep us healthy are no different from the Association for Unwed Mothers or the Society to Preserve the real Conservative Party in Canada.

The Region’s Physician Recruitment Initiative has asked the media to take part in the 10th annual Halton Physician Appreciation Week

Events are to be held at each of the hospitals in the Region with the Mayor of each municipality leading the parade. 

Oakville in the Physician’s Lounge  Monday April 29 – lunch at noon.  Nice touch – offer a meal and it’s surprising how many media show up – an Open Bar and you’ll have everyone who was ever given a pencil showing up.  Oakville has a really strong story to tell and with a new location under construction there isn’t going to be much negative news during that get together.

An architectural rendering of the Joseph Brant Hospital re-build. Management opted for a re-branding of the hospital for a new corporate look. when the hospital is complete it will change the way the city sees and uses Lakeshore Road; in the meantime 25% of the existing space can’t be used because the hospital says the government hasn’t given them the dollars they need,

Milton gets it call onto the stage Friday May 3 – 7:30 a.m. in the Physician’s Lounge.  They too have a story to tell with the plans for a significant addition underway.  Good news there.

Georgetown will do their thing on Wednesday May 1 – 7:30 a.m. in the Boardroom of the Georgetown Hospital.

Do you see where this is going?

A more direct view of the re-built hospital based on an architects rendering. The parking lot on the left, which will have the Family Medical Clinic on the ground floor will be the first part of a much larger plan,

Not a word about the opportunity to show our appreciation for the doctors at Joseph Brant Hospital.  How come?

Well you see – they are in the middle of a $300,000 re-branding exercise and they are struggling with the need to cut back – by as much as 25% – on the service they offer the public.  There are billboards, newspaper ads and all kinds of media presentations – but they aren’t ready yet to make themselves available for questions.

The hospital is still  smarting over the $9 million C Difficile insurance settlement that was agreed upon and they are working through the painful process of arriving at an amicable relationship with the city of Burlington who is in the process of plucking $60 million from their taxpayers pockets to pay for half of the $120 million the public has to come up with for the very significant re-build the hospital is in the process of embarking upon.

One would have hoped, and the community deserved, a public apology on the C Difficile settlement.  That matter was closed by having the insurance company write cheques.  The problem was at and with the hospital at the time and while there is a new management team in place – thy can’t just sweep this under a rug.

The first part of the re-build at Joseph Brant is a building for the Family Medical Clinic that will be an extension of the McMaster University medical operation that will be on the ground floor of the structure – with two floors of parking on top of the medical offices.  Parking has become the grandest of cash grabs for hospitals and this building is being designed to take on an additional two floors of parking. 

This is what the Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital “campus” is going to look like when all the construction is completed in 2017-18 The front entrance will be oriented to the lake. That red circle on the lower right, near the number 4 will become the new entrance. There will be several entrances to the hospital. The emergency entrance will remain where it is. The Family Medicine clinic and the parking garage are at the bottom # 2 There will be a roadway through the “campus” – that’s where the number 8′s are.

The hospital in Burlington doesn’t seem prepared to let any media crawl through the place asking all kinds of embarrassing questions.  So much for appreciating the crowd over there – and so much for the physician recruitment program the Region has in place.  Oakville is going to get the best and the brightest.

Old Joe Brant must be wondering what they are doing to the land over on Lakeshore Road he was given by the British.  Fortunately there is still that Brant Trust.

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Keep your political base happy and then look for ways to bring in those undecided voters. Halton Liberals nominate Naidoo-Harris.

By James Smith

MILTON, ON. April 25, 2013.  It was one of those events that have to take place, you really don’t want to give up your TV programs but you believe in the process so you lift yourself out of your chair and head out to the “nomination meeting”.  You know beforehand that it is going to be uncontested – so why bother>

Is there an election in the air?  Might be. Has your candidate got a hope in Hades?  Actually, in Milton, Indira Naidoo-Harris, has a hope, so maybe this is an evening for me to get out and be part of the process.

The event was the Halton Provincial Liberal Association and they are a little on the pumped side.  Something in the order of 65 to 70 Liberals showed up to confirm the acceptance of the uncontested nomination by Ms Naidoo-Harris who was introduced by former Peterson era MPP and long-time resident of Milton, Walt Elliot, a very enthusiastic, energetic 80-year-old.

Eliot told the room he’s very optimistic of Ms Naidoo-Harris’ chances in the next election. Part of Walt’s optimism is based on having a returning candidate, good fundraising efforts and over 600 members in the association.

Indira Naidoo-Harris accepting the Halton Liberal nomination.  Association has 600 paid up members.

That Naidoo-Harris wasn’t all that far behind the winner last time out has to be laid beside the fact that the Liberal prior to her did better than she did.  

In 2006 there were five candidates: Ted Chudleigh got 42.58% of the vote, the Liberal candidate picked up 40.96 % That’s tight.

In 2011 Chudleigh got 44.4 % and the Liberal candidate, Indira Naidoo-Harris, got 39.1 – Chudleigh, the Progressive Conservative member had a little more room to breathe. 

Ted Chudleigh on the left has been a provincial member since 1995 – he will leave when he chooses to leave.

The Liberals feel they have more strength on the ground this time around.  Tough to go up against an established incumbent.  A lot will depend on the changes in the ethnic make-up of Milton and what the Liberals can do to get out their vote.  It would be a serious mistake to underestimate Ted Chudleigh. He hasn’t done anything to distinguish himself – except win election after election – which in that game is all that counts.  Chudleigh will leave when he is ready to leave and it won’t be because he lost the election.

In accepting the nomination, Ms Naidoo-Harris  said she looks forward to a second chance to run against Ted Chudleigh who has held the seat since 1995.  

Ms Naidoo-Harris,  who was born in apartheid  South Africa, said she was humbled by the support shown her by the people of the Halton Riding. She observed that in her many years living here, the riding has changed and the diversity of this growing community was reflected in the room. Ms Naidoo-Harris feels Halton needs a new face and  fresh ideas to speak for the needs of the people the growing Halton riding.

Ms Naidoo-Harris pointed out that without the support of the Liberal government at Queens Park and the work of Liberal MPPs like Oakville’s Kevin Flynn, who was also in attendance,   Halton would not be opening a new hospital in 2015, rebuilding Joseph Brant  and tripling in size the Hospital in Milton, set to open in 20170.  She went on to say she looks forward to working to bring funds needed to Milton to help develop a new Laurier University campus planned for Tremaine Road.

MPP Kevin Flynn, Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Transportation Glen Murray, brought greetings and congratulations from Premier Kathleen Wynne.  Flynn went on to say that Ms Naidoo-Harris is not only a good choice for the Liberals in Halton but that she represents a clear choice to the voters of Halton. A choice, Mr Flynn said, between someone who will work for the needs of the growing population of Halton or someone who doesn’t support the needs of the people of Halton. As an example Flynn cited the fact that Halton MPP  Ted Chudleigh  voted against both the new hospital in Oakville and the upgrades to Joseph Brant in Burlington and the upgrade to the Milton Hospital.

Flynn concluded by telling the meeting that while the NDP are at least negotiating and making an attempt to make the Ontario Legislature work, the Progressive Conservatives are simply stalling the work of the legislature.

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Halton police get to rack up another “cold case” that now proceeds to trial after police arrest and return suspect to Burlington.


Halton Regional Police advise that HRPS homicide detectives arrested the accused in Banff, Alberta and escorted Jan Goro back to Ontario.  The R.C.M.P. and O.P.P. did provide investigative assistance. There are many intricacies associated with any homicide investigation, particularly those that go unsolved for an extended period of time.  A great deal of work is still to be undertaken in this case and members of the homicide unit remain committed to securing a conviction.   

  By Pepper Parr

Burlington, on. April 24, 2013

As cold  cases go – this was pretty frigid but by keeping the file open Det/Sergeant, John Mans,  head of the homicide  with the Halton Regional Police Service was able on April 23, see the arrest of Jan GORO (66 yrs) in Banff, Alberta for the murder of Donald McAvella which took place on April 26, 1976  – 37 years ago.  Det/Sergeant was probably at police college at the time.

The lifeless body of 54-year-old Donald Ross McAvella was discovered in his Burlington apartment.  Mr. McAvella died as a result of being stabbed multiple times.

Witnesses told police they overheard an argument occurring between two individuals in McAvella’s apartment in the early hours of the morning, and following a series of screams, observed a man leaving.  Investigators believed the man who left did so in a taxi destined for Hamilton.

Numerous interviews were conducted, physical evidence was collected and analyzed, and the case remained unsolved. 


News photo published in 1976 of murdered Donald Ross McAvella.  Case solved based on December 2012 information.

In December 2012, as a result of a further review of the case and information coming to light, investigators arrested Jan GORO (66 yrs) in Banff, Alberta, on  April 23, 2013 for the murder of Donald McAvella.

GORO was escorted back to Ontario and appeared in Milton Court on April 24, 2013 facing a charge of Second Degree Murder.  This was 37 years to the day of the murder of Mr. McAvella.   GORO was remanded to this Friday, April 26 at 9:30 a.m.

D/Sergeant Mans spends the bulk of his time on Fraud – which is more than enough to keep him busy in this city.  Homicide is a rare instance but this case shows that they do eventually get their man.  

A spokesperson for the family stated they are relieved that a person has been arrested in connection with the murder

Halton police Chief Steve Tanner acknowledged the investigative assistance provided by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police ‘K’ Division and the Ontario Provincial Police Behavioural Sciences Unit which helped lead to an arrest in this case.

If you have information that would assist in any homicide investigation you are asked to contact the Halton Regional Police Service Homicide Unit at 905 825-4747 x8760, 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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Will she get an apology? Meed Ward to meet with Mayor, Clerk and City Manager about how she was shut down at Council. Fireworks?

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.   April 24, 2013  Four people will meet in a room sometime tomorrow.  It will probably be the Mayor’s Boardroom. They will talk about the way the Mayor and the city Clerk decided to bring a quick, abrupt almost brutal halt to the lengths of time Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward used to talk about issues that concerned her – on this occasion it was the Ghent Avenue development that was approved at the April 8th,  Council meeting.

During the debate, while Meed Ward was speaking, the Mayor nodded to the Clerk and the Clerk nodded back and then reached for a small booklet at her table.

The Mayor then turned to Meed Ward and advised her that she had run out of time and to wrap up her comments. Nothing like that has ever happened with this Council.

Meed Ward was stunned, she protested at the time but she didn’t fully understand the section of the Procedural Bylaw Manual the Mayor was using to shut her down.

Meed Ward talks – always has, always will. Was using a poorly written section of the Procedural bylaw the most effective way to teach her to talk less?

She understands that Manual now and has asked to meet with the Mayor, the Clerk and the City Manager – they will meet sometime Thursday.

Is there an issue here?

There should be.  It is really poor form for the Mayor to collude with the Clerk to limit the privileges of an elected member of Council.  While municipalities don’t have rules as complex as those in the House of Commons what the Mayor and the city Clerk did was deliberately curtail the rights of a member of council.  And that is a no, no – or should be a no, no.

What galls Meed Ward is that no one has ever spoken to her about the length of time she speaks at council meetings.  Meed Ward does speak at length – she does tend to prattle at times.  If she is taking up too much time in the opinion of council members did they not have an obligation to speak to her?  If none of them had the courage to speak to her directly could they not have written her and pointed out the provisions of the procedural by-law.

Ward 1 Councillor Rick Craven tends to lecture when he speaks.  Does the Mayor feel he can tell Craven in a public session that is broadcast live via Cogeco Cable that he should not lecture when he comments?

At times Councillor Taylor gets really emotional over an issue.  Does the Mayor turn to the Council member and ask him to be less emotional and more rational.?

Councillor Dennison can really get into an issue and start talking about the size of the wood that is used to repair a building – and he does go on and on at times. No one has ever called him on it?

Meed Ward is not popular with her fellow council members.  She hasn’t bought into the cliquishness that becomes the way things are done on many municipal Councils.  That for the most part hasn’t bothered her.

Did city Clerk Angela Morgan think it the wise use of her office to collude with the Mayor to limit the rights of a Council member?

This piece of behaviour – it was collusion – on the part of the Mayor and the Clerk is poor form, just wrong and certainly not the way you manage a group of people who are supposed to be working for the better good of everyone in the city.

Leading a Council is not easy but that is what we elect a Mayor to do.  The meeting that should have taken place to discuss the amount of time Meed Ward talks at council meetings is now a meeting in which Meed Ward will want to know why she was treated the way she was treated and at the same time clarify the section of the by-law that was used to shut her down.

Meed Ward should be seeking a public apology from the Mayor at the city council meeting on the 29th.  Should the Mayor choose not to apologize,  Meed Ward should publicly upbraid him for his poor behaviour.

At $29.95, plus shipping, handling and applicable taxes it’s a steal. The Mayor might want to order one for his Clerk as well.

Once this matter settles itself down Mayor Goldring might order a copy of George Cuff’s book that defines what municipal governance is all about. Cuff, a management consultant delivers no-nonsense advice about the appropriate roles of council members, the head of council, and the administration, discussing:


    The art of governance

    Understanding leadership

    Council management problems

    Governance best practices

    Hallmarks of successful elected officials

Using some of his expense allowance for this book will give the Mayor better value than he got from his purchase of the Lance Secretan book; that one led to a dream that died.

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What will it look like and how do you get up on the platform: All is revealed.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  April 23, 2013.  The city is arranging for a media tour of the pier on May 30th at 4:30 in the afternoon.  If you’ve been a loyal reader of Our Burlington you’ve been able to follow every step of the construction process since the new contractor was named in back in 2011

This is what the node on the pier is going to look like when it is completed – by June 15th.  There will be stairs leading up to the upper level.  The beacon will be strung with LED lights that will be managed by a computer allowing for all kinds of variations.  The beacon and why is it there? That’s an embarrassing question.

Pictures of a construction site are just a snap shot of where he work was that day.  The end result is at times difficult to get a sense of.  If you look south on Brant Street towards the lake, the trees block the view and all you see now is a tall white structure and perhaps wonder why it is there.

If you look at the pier from the west, say from about where the Burlington Art Centre is located, you see what the end result is going to look like.

The major feature will be the node and the beacon that rises out of it.

Construction workers “fly in” the first of two pieces that will form the beacon that will sit atop the node.  Craig Stevens the project manager on this counts the days to the opening – there were 43 days to go when this picture was taken.

We have published pictures of the work week by week.

This architectural rendering will give you a glimpse of what that node is going to look like when it is completed – which is scheduled to be 40 some off days from now.

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He has a case; they aren’t going to like it but he has a case. Councillor Dennison marshals his facts.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON. April 23, 1013.   It’s always difficult for someone serving the public to do something that the public being served doesn’t like.  That’s the situation Ward 4 Councillor Jack Dennison feels he is in and so he has pulled together all the data and will talk to anyone who wants to listen.

Ward 4 Councillor Jack Dennison has spent a considerable amount on restoring the house he own on Lakeshore Road.  He now wants to sever what is a very large lot and create a separate property on the east side – which is the side shown in this photograph.  His neighbours, the people who elected him to office, would rather he not do that and plan to oppose his application at the Committee of Adjustment.

Dennison wants to sever the property he owns at 3083 Lakeshore Road.  It is a very large property with a house that was going to be demolished.  Dennison bought it under a power of sale and has spent a considerable amount refurbishing the building that has been designated to be of historical interest.

Dennison has obtained permission to put an addition on a designated property.  He had to go through a number of hoops to get that permission. Note a thin black vertical line on the structure which indicates what is being added.  There will be a deck atop the addition as well as a deck atop the two car garage that extends back from the house. The structure at the rear of the property is NOT what Dennison wants to add to his property.  The severance he is seeking is to create a 56ft 3 in lot on the east side, that is to the right of this illustration

Dennison has no intention of taking down the historical building – indeed he intends to add to the building, considerably and in order to be able to do so Dennison wants to sever a portion on the east side of his property and create a lot on which another house will be built.  He will sell the new house and use the proceeds to pay for the upgrading of the historically designated building.

Earlier in this process Dennison had said family would live in the new building which is to be in the 2000 sq. ft. range.   Dennison’s children do not live in Burlington and his mother lives in the house with Dennison and his partner.

The Roseland Community Organization (RCO)didn’t want to see that happen.  Their view is that allowing Dennison to sever the property on Lakeshore will create a precedent,  and before you know it  Lakeshore will become a road with nothing but small lots.

It is difficult to understand the detail on a map this small.  Dennison points to three lots east of Brookfield on the North side of LAkeshore Road that are 52 feet wide.  He points to 3195 LAkeshore, west of Brookfield  where there is another 52 foot lot.  Two lots to the east of Dennison there is a 66 foot lot.  Dennison wants to sever and create a lot that is 54 feet at the front, widening to 56 at the rear.  The Dennison lot is very deep.  On the south side of LAkeshore Road there are two lots that are 52 and 55 feet wide.

Dennison argues that there are already a number of lots smaller than what he is proposing on Lakeshore Road.   Dennison will take his desire to sever his lot to the Committee of Adjustment and make his case at that level.

Wee bit of a problem at that level.  Former Ward 2 Councillor Peter Thoem sits on the Committee of Adjustment where he does a good job.  Thoem was appointed to that Board by the city council Dennison sits on.  Some feel there might be a link there – if you think that,  you don’t know Peter Thoem: pretty straight guy more than capable of making a decision that will follow the rules.

Thoem could, if he wishes , recuse himself from that hearing.  He could just stand down and declare there might be a perceived bias.

The RCO is pretty pumped as an organization these days.  There was a request to sever a piece of property on Hart Street that they took to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) where the community won.  The Hart Avenue case is not the same as Dennison’s case on Lakeshore Road.

Dennison does have a bit of a problem with the neighbour on the east side of his property – which is the side the severance is to take place on.  The new house has the potential to impede both the privacy and the view, such as it is, of the neighbour next door.  Dennison says he will be putting in 25 foot cedars that will screen the new house from the neighbour.

While there is no plan or even a suggested positioning of the new house on the lot, Dennison would argue that he doesn’t have to show anyone those plans at this point in time.

Right now he wants permission to sever the existing property.  Once he gets that severance – he can then begin to design the house that he wants to build and determine where he will locate it on the severed property.

Committee of adjustment is a significantly different process.  It is really one that has neighbour against neighbour and at times feelings can run quite high.  The Committee of adjustment has very clear rules on the hurdles that an applicant must get over.  And each member of the Committee must explain, in public, how they measured the application against the rules.  They must answer yes or No to four questions:





The report they produce is exhaustive in detail.  Part of the reason for that is the applicants have the right to appeal the Committee of Adjustment decision to the Ontario Municipal Board if they do not get what they wanted.  And, those opposed to the application can also go to the OMB if they feel Committee of Adjustment got it wrong.

Jack Dennison has always done it his way.  He is entrepreneurial in nature, he loves the deal and knows how to work the angles.  He has put a ton of money into what was once an old house close to being torn down and brought it up to standard and is proud of what he has done but he would be quite happy if the city took the Joseph Brant Museum put it on a raft and floated it out on the lake then set it on fire.  Conflicting view – that’s Jack Dennison.

Will the Dennison case go to the OMB – depends on the mood of the RCO types.  They won the Hart Avenue case and they may feel pumped enough to believe they can win should it come to that on the Dennison matter.

Dennison fought hard to have bike lanes created on LAkeshore Road.  He lost that battle but firmly believes there will be a day when the lanes he wanted to see put in place will be there and the Road will be shared by vehicles and bicycles.  He shook up his constituents with what he believed was right.  Will they forgive him?

The facts suggest that Dennison has a case on the severance he wants.

The bigger picture is – having decided to fight his constituents – can Jack Dennison get re-elected?  Does he want to get re-elected?  Will he even run for office in 2014?

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Is figuring out how we can EACH save a little on what we spend on energy the key to attracting new business to the city?

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  April 22, 2013.  Five very smart people gathered in the Community WHAT at the Burlington Performing Art Centre last week to talk about the city’s Community Energy Plan.  They met in a Workshop setting – and while energy is vital – it isn’t the most exciting thing to sit in a dark room and look at power point presentations for a couple of hours.

That time proved to be very well, actually exceptionally well spent.

Here is where the energy we use comes from.

Here is how that energy is used.

We learned how the city has mapped the way energy in the city is used.  We learned how critical energy use is to attracting new business to the city.  We learned how stakeholders in the city look at the way energy is used.  We learned what and how Burlington Hydro can be a leader in the creation of a more energy-efficient city.

These graphs show electricity use in the province and the way we use electricity in Burlington.

Compare our use of natural gas with electricity>

How do we heat our homes?  How do we heat our office buildings?  Remember when Hydro had programs for us on how to convert to electricity?  They would pay you to tear out those radiators and put in electric baseboard heaters and more insulation in the attic.  Turned out that wasn’t such a good idea and now Burlington has more than 4500 homes heated electrically and we are looking for ways to convert those homes to something more economical.  Who knew?

Natural gas is now the energy use of choice.  There is now far more natural gas than we need – so much that we now liquefy the stuff and send it off to places that need the energy.  The Americans have convinced themselves that they have so much natural gas that they will be energy sufficient soon and not need as much of that Saudi Arabian oil.  That the Americans are fracturing to get much of that natural gas is another matter.

The graph on the left sets out the housing stock we have and when it was built.  On the right the graph sets out the different square footage of the housing stock we have.  A large house built at a time when energy was cheap is an expensive building to heat in today’s markets.

The kind of energy you use and the amount you use is determined in large measure by when your house was built and how many square feet of space you have.

Katelyn Margerm, a researcher with the Canadian Urban Institute, explained how she took data from multiple sources and mashed it all together to tell the  story of how people in Burlington use energy.

Spend some time comparing the electricity consumption map with the gas consumption map. where do you fit in this picture?

Spend a few minutes looking at the data she collected. Where do you fit into the pattern of energy use?  What are the options for you?  Are the options you have similar to the options the city has?  Are the city’s options  important to you?

Natural gas consumption is significantly different than the consumption of electricity.  Given that the supply of natural gas is very high right now and will remain that way for at least ten more years one would think this is the route to go.  Is it?

More questions than answers at this point – but the answers Burlington comes up with are critical to how financially healthy this city is – and if it isn’t financially healthy – guess who is going to pick up the shortfall?

Nearly half of housing units in Burlington were built before 1980.  More than half of units are between 1,500 and 2,500 sf.

Nearly half of housing units in Burlington were built before 1980.  More than half of units are between 1,500 and 2,500 sf

This work helps form a baseline which can be used to establish community energy targets and timelines. Industrial, commercial and institutional location mapping allows planners and economic development people to explore future development scenarios and to help identify opportunities for conservation and retrofit and think through land use policy (infill, zoning).

One of the next step is to overlay the information now in hand with demographic information and consumer attitudes using the Environics Analytic s information to design retrofit and conservation programs.

If you didn’t think energy efficiency is all that important – stay with us as we take you through a series of articles on what we learned last Thursday afternoon.

Part 1 of  a series

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A really nice twist – the Bandits who will not take a dime from you are partnering with United Way who want to sell you a 50/50 draw ticket.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  April 22, 2013.   The Burlington Bandits, members of the Intercounty Baseball League (IBL) that has been around since 1909,  have teamed up with the United Way as  an official partner for the 2013 season.  When you put the word official on anything you know that someone is serious and they want your attention.

The United Way will be found at all 21 home games this season conducting 50/50 draws, giveaways and other contests throughout the 2013 season “The Burlington Bandits are proud to be able to team up with United Way and give back to the community” said Bandits President Scott Robinson. “We feel this partnership is not only good for the team but also the community.” The United Way of Burlington & Greater Hamilton is extremely excited to partner with the IBL Burlington Bandits for the upcoming 2013 season. “This partnership demonstrates the Bandits are committed to making change happen in the Burlington community.”, said Brian Ferguson, Chair, 2013 Burlington United Way Campaign. “This is a small example of the new initiatives and energy the Burlington Cabinet plan to bring to this year’s campaign.”

Those are the “official statements.  The real skinny on this is that Len Lifchus, chief cheese over at the United Way – a man who can find himself short 90 big ones and still manage to somehow deliver on the United Way promise.

The Bandits, known as the Twins in their first two years of IBL play in Burlington before being bought and renamed by Scott Robinson during the off-season, open their 42-game 2013 schedule in Guelph on Saturday, May 4.

The home opener will be played Saturday, May 11 at Nelson Park at 2 p.m. against the London Majors. You won’t miss Len – but more to the point Len won’t miss you.  A ‘bon vivant” if there ever was one.

Great move on the part of the bandits and a great place for the United Way to take all your loose change from you.

Burlington’s Town Crier, Dave Vollick will be on hand to get the afternoon started.  There is word that Lifchus kind of likes the costume the Crier wears – but he is apparently going to settle for a Bandits jersey.

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Social media guru finds there is a person in the room wanting to eat his lunch.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  April; 22, 2013.  James Burchill, an absolutely shameless promoter and one of the those people in this city who KNOWS social media and has managed to make a decent living at it.

He has created a network that grew from about 50 people to the point where it is now at more than 2000 “members” and strong enough to support a mini-trade show at the Performing Arts Centre and bring his flock together once a month, always at an upscale bar for nodding and noshing.

There is someone out there who wants to MeetUp with all these people – James Burchill founder of Business in Burlington doesn’t quite see it that way and is becoming familiar with the phrase “cease and desist”.  Will that be enough to stop some interloper from eating his lunch?

MeetUp is the vehicle Burchill uses and Business in Burlington is the name of the game.  He also has gigs going in Oakville and Niagara.  Add to that the chutzpah to get a car dealer to loan him a fire-red sports car for use for a day – or is it longer?  My name wasn’t drawn so I’ve no idea how long anyone gets to use the car.

Burchill handing out as Hypnosis session as a door prize.  Has James been asleep at the switch while someone tries to steal his market.  Competition is said to bring out the best in all of us.

Burchill sent out a note to his followers with this “heads up. I’ve learned someone has launched a new MeetUp using our the “Business In” trademark in their name.  t’s already causing confusion and thank you to everyone who’s emailed me about it.

There are 3 approved and licensed Business In ™ Networking groups and Burchill is in discussions to launch more. “Unless you hear it from me directly,” advises Burchill “ it’s not an approved group nor is it licensed, part of the “Business In” network, or operating under the same code of conduct and/or rules.

Burchill has “reached out” to the person behind the group and is endeavouring to clear up the naming confusion. Again, if you didn’t hear it from me – it’s NOT an approved Business In ™ Networking group.

Burchill has bumped into that hairy beast called “intellectual property.  Can he lay total claim to the name?  It costs to do that.  Someone obviously sees that Burchill is on to a good thing and they want in on it.  Is Burchill far enough down the track and keeping his flock warm and fuzzy enough for them to stay with him?  Or will they wander over and see what the other guy has to offer.

The business schools tell us that competition brings out the best in us – gets us the lowest price and the best value for our money.  Burchill doesn’t charge a fee – he just puts on an event and charges people for using his event to promote themselves and his service.  His followers do however give him their time and that’s more valuable than cash at times.

How will Burchill handle this?  Does he have the cahonies to ward off some interloper?  This might be a useful lesson for him to involve his membership in – great brand bonding if he can get his followers to ride this wave with him.

And a lesson in what to do when someone walks into the room expecting to eat your lunch.  Stay tuned.

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Freeman on the move – not on standard gauge rails but on sturdy steel beams that will move the structure from its resting place.

By John Mellow

BURLINGTON, ON April 22, 2013.  On Friday April 19th, a crew headed up by Jeremy McCulloch from our building mover contractor, Laurie McCulloch Building Movers, delivered the steel beams necessary to move our 1906 former Grand Trunk Railway Burlington Junction/Freeman Station.

Two of the four steel beams that will be placed underneath the Freeman Station are laid out ready to be moved into position.  The structure is going to be moved less than 200 yards – directly behind the man in the orange vest and to the right on a concrete pad where it will sit while restoration work is done.

Two long 66 foot steel I-beams capable of transporting the building for the move arrived on site. These were placed beside the station ready to be placed under the building very soon, subject to co-ordination with the Burlington Fire Department as some staff vehicles will need to be temporarily parked elsewhere during this process.

This is the first real action taken toward the eventual move which is expected to occur in a few weeks’ time. Building of the foundation and restoration of the station will begin once at the new location on the property of Ashland Water Technologies on the east side of the BFD headquarters.

Blocks will be used with the steel beams to transfer the weight of the structure onto the truck where it will get moved less than 200 yards.

The following pictures show the steel arriving on the truck, the blocking being unloaded by tow truck driver Brian, the next two are of the steel being unloaded, and finally the two pieces sitting in position ready to be moved under the building.

Our thanks go to Jeremy, Terry, Brian and the remainder of the crew, for their efforts on a cold windy and sometimes rainy day. They were done and gone in one hour. Well done!

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Three thousand shrubs, 300 trees planted in the Beachway – tons of trash removed – BurlingtonGreen pulls it off – again.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  April 21, 2013.  The weather didn’t help.  It was downright chilly. For those working along the Beachway – it was particularly cold.  Those who show up year after year and those who make BurlingtonGreen what it is – the weather wasn’t a detriment.  The politicians took to the podium and told those who came down to city hall for the BBQ how well they had done and how worthwhile their work is – they already know that – that’s why BurlingtonGreen is the great organization it is.

Environment Minister Jim Bradley, who hopefully heard about the Enbridge Pipeline concern from Amy Schnurr who has her back to the camera as she hits up the Minister for a grant next year while Burlington Green president Ken Woodruff  and Regional Chair Gary Carr look on.

Environmental Minister Jim Bradley spoke about the environment – spoke longer than usual and made a lot of sense; clearly an

Three hundred of these trees were planted on a cold Saturday morning with an additional 3000 shrubs planted as well in the Beachway at the edge of the lake.

Environmental Minister that gets it – and then walks his talk. It was the effort of his office that got BurlingtonGreen the grant that allowed the planting of 3000 plants and 300 small trees – a little more than seedlings but they will grow and those endangered sands along the edge of the lake may have a chance of seeing some stability.

Bradley did what few politicians do – he walked about on his own, chatted with people and asked them questions.

As people were walking about Amy Schnurr, Executive Director of BurlingtonGreen made a point of button holing the Minister and chatting him up for a grant for next year’s event

Registration were record level – again.  The numbers as to how much trash was picked up aren’t tallied yet but it will be an impressive number.

BurlingtonGreen was named the Mayor’s Community Service Award winner and recognized at Burlington’s Chamber of Commerce Gala  on April 11th.

Burlington talks about being bicycle friendly – just doesn’t act very friendly and really doesn’t believe the roads are meant to be “shared by cars and bicycles.  At least not Lakeshore Road.

Now if BurlingtonGreen can get the Mayor to move beyond awards and buy into and then act on some of the BG initiatives we will have made some progress.  As we watch the node and the beacon on the pier get put in place BG people smart over the missing wind turbine.

The Minister of the Environment certainly walks his talk – may he can teach our Mayor how you do that.

The CleanUpGreenUp this year included basically every school in the city – BG has made huge progress at that level.

What’s next?  Earth day – takes place Monday

Alton Village, a newer part of Burlington that has an attitude that is chippy – they refer to themselves as the “new” Burlington with the rest of us living in the old Burlington.  They have a newsletter that gets mailed out; they have a Facebook page used to exchange information where they reported that of the six locations they had defined for CleanUp there were “Some areas we did not get too, so if you are out and about grab a bag and pick up any garbage you see! By helping keep the community clean, will help keep our neighbourhood a safe and inviting place to live and visit!”

It was chilly – here Ivy Simms stands in line for burger. Standing to her right is Justin Jones, the Project Coordinator with BurlingtonGreen who oversaw the Green Up at Beachway Park. There were dozens of  others who enjoyed the food provided each year by Turtle Jacks. Ivy Simms does publicity for BurlingtonGreen.

Later in the week we will learn just how much trash was picked up.

Do you think we could figure out how to pick a CleanUpGreenUp day that was a little warmer – it was chilly out there.

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Police seize drugs valued at $100,000 on the street at a Bellview home – and a list of people who owe the drug dealers money.

By Pepper Parr

It was a busy Friday for the Halton Police when they took down a location with drugs valued at more than $100,000 on the street and three rifles.

Police raided a 1244 Bellview Street location and  found:

Over one pound of Cannabis Marihuana.

Over 9 Kgs (20 pounds) of Cannabis Resin (Hashish

a debt list

digital scale

3 unsecured rifles

A previously dismantled grow lab

That debt list is perhaps the most valuable part of the raid; it will probably reveal a list of small time drug dealers in the area.

The list of names of lower level drug dealers doesn’t seem to be on the table; that was probably the most valuable result of this police raid.

The police will be busy this weekend.

Police have charged the following persons with the listed offences:

 Jean Luc St LAURENT (20years of age): 

1)           Trafficking a controlled substance to wit: cannabis marihuana.

2)           Possession of a controlled substance to wit: cannabis marihuana.3) Possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking to wit: cannabis resin/hashish.  

4)           Possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking to wit: cannabis marihuana.

He was held for a bail hearing, and is to appear in Hamilton Bail court.

A young person (17 years of age): 

1) Possession of a controlled substance to wit: cannabis marihuana.                                 

2) Possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking to wit: cannabis resin

3) Possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking to wit: cannabis marihuana.

The young person was held for a bail hearing, and is to appear in Hamilton Bail court.

Elize St LAURENT (55 years of age): 

1)   Possession of a controlled substance to wit: cannabis marihuana.                     

 She was released on an appearance notice, and is to appear in Milton court on May 14, 2013.

The investigation is continuing regarding the rifles.

Investigators remind the public to utilize Crime Stoppers to report any illegal drug, gun or gang activity at 1-800-222-TIPS(8477), through the web at or by texting “Tip201” with your message to 274637(crimes)

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This is slick – research report says women appear to want to shop in a store but once there they like apps that point out deals.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON. April 19, 2013.   In the no-kidding department of research, a new study found that even though more than half (53%) of women have up to five shopping apps on their smartphones, most (76%) prefer to shop for clothes and shoes in a retail store rather than through an app.

While hardly a surprise, the same study also contains some insights for how marketers and retailers can engage with female shoppers on location.

There are some obvious areas where mobile can’t compete with what women want in stores. For example, the study by Research Now looked at the apparel shopping behaviors and preferences of 1,000 smartphone-owning women shoppers and found what they like about in-store shopping:

    92% — See and touch clothes and shoes

    90% — Try on clothes for fit

    72% — Explore and discover new styles.

No rocket science there.

Research suggests woman can be drawn to a product they did not plan to buy with an app that gives them a special offer. That is slick merchandizing manipulation.

What they don’t like about in-store shopping:

    84% — Crowds

    70% — Transportation and parking

    45% — Interacting with sales people

    41% – Trying to find their size

Mobile interaction can deal with at least the last two of those issues, by automating some interactions and providing real-time inventory information.

Women shoppers also are interactive while in the store, based on the ResearchNow study, which was commissioned by mobile company Swirl.

While in-store, they seek information from the following sources:

    37%– Family and friends shopping with them

    21% — Shopping and lifestyle apps and websites

    15% — In-store sales associates

    14% — Family and friends not with them

    9% — Retailer’s branded mobile app or website

Shopping is no longer just a customer browsing through the aisles – with today’s computer technology they can track you as you walk from department to department and show you what they think you might buy – and make you a “special” offer.

The opportunity for retailers and mobile marketers is that women shoppers will act based on incentives. For example, while a third of them love it when reminded of in-store sales by a sales associate, a majority (58%) said they would be “thrilled” if they received a personalized offer on their smartphone while in the store.

The study also found that while 17% of women shoppers would not share their location, most would, based on the following incentives:

    83% — $15 in-store credit

    47% — $5 in-store credit

    20% — $1 in store credit

There is hardly a limit as to what the retailer won’t do to get those dollars from your wallet into their cash register – maybe that should be from your credit card into their banks accounts.

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GO, GO, GO – every half hour.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON. April 19, 2013  The government is going to give you more opportunities to leave town; looked at another way they are going to give you more opportunities to get home faster.

GO service upgraded to every half hour, all day, seven days a week.

GO service is being juiced up with trains every half hour, all day – seven days a week.

There was no mention of a price increase nor did the media release say anything about having to pay for parking.

This is good news – and news that calls for some action of securing the rail line so that people cannot attempt to cross the tracks.  It’s going to get real busy out there.

No word on electrification – that will really change the level of service we get

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