Tractor trailers are going to get a real close look by Halton police who will be cruising the QEW looking for violations.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON  April 19, 2013.  The big rigs are going to get a big look at by the Halton Regional Police Service District Response Units, along with the Commercial Motor Vehicle Unit and other law enforcement agencies on  April 22 and 23, Monday and Tuesday of next week, when the conduct a concentrated truck safety blitz in Burlington. 

Officers with specialized training will be part of the team conducting safety inspections, cargo securement, hours of service, weight and measure, speed limiter, environmental, and agricultural inspections.

Tractor trailers will get very close inspections Monday and Tuesday of next week – Halton police are going to crack down

The inspections will take place at both Mainway Arena and Appleby Arena parking lots, between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.

Expect to see police cars escorting big trucks that were nabbed on the QEW and brought in for a closer inspection.  Some of the truck drivers may be calling a cab to get home: In the past, some of the vehicles brought in didn’t do all that well.

The province has had to really double down on the trucking industry when wheels began to come flying off trucks and safety was seen as something that could be given a “lick and a promise”.  Drivers were found to be driving their rigs for really long stretches and need pills to keep themselves awake.

The industry couldn’t be depended on to police themselves – so the local police forces along with the OPP took on the task.

We wonder why the police announce these inspections: doesn’t that alert those who don’t care all that much about following the rules and has them driving their rigs elsewhere.  Monday and Tuesday are tough days for us on the QEW in Halton – use the 401 might be the advice a dispatcher gives drivers.

We’ll let you know how many they catch.

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You can make that 13,464 into a 13,465 – just show up and CleanUp so we can all GreenUp. Praying for sunshine would be appreciated.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON. April 18, 2013.  By now you should have picked up your gloves, the bags you are going to use and know where you’re going to go to CleanUp so we can GreenUp.

 Alton Village gas six locations for people to work at in their part of town.

The Liberals seem to feel they are in a contest with the Conservatives as to how much trash they can pick up.

When it’s all over – the crowds will gather at Civic Square for a pop and a burger.  What if all 13,464  volunteers show up?  What a party – they will have to block off Brant Street for sure – maybe even a bigger crowd than Sound of Music outside City Hall.

Whatever BurlingtonGreen did to get 13,464 people out –kudo’s to them for pulling this one off.

If there are people who would still like to participate but did not register before it closed today at noon, just go ahead and do your CleanUP  using your own supplies and then send the stats and photos to BurlingtonGreen afterwards – 

Alton Village, which is creating quite a sense of itself, they’ve got their own Newsletter, they’ve got a Facebook page they use to communicate with each other more directly and they sure know how to raise funds.

Here’s their message to their community on the CleanUpGreenUp

Alton Village under constructionHey hey hey! Only 1 more day until the BIG clean up in our awesome VILLAGE!!! Grab your gloves! Grab a bag, come and meet us at one of the six locations! Bring a camera, meet new people!
Thank you to all our sponsors and greeters!
Prizes, come out and spend some time and help clean up and put your name on a ballot and you could win one of the many prizes we got!
– gift cards – Home Depot & The Keg & Bon Appetite Card
– a comfy blanket
– 1 of 2 golf shirts
– 2 movie passes
– 1 hour photo shoot
– use of a moving van
– Tea Party for you and your friends!
– grab bags with a buy 1 get 1 free from Super Swirls, and other fun stuff!
– Water and cookies will be there as well!
Wear warm clothes, bring boots some areas are muddy!
Email if you have any questions!
See you there!

The city is going to welcome the Ontario Environment Minister Jim Bradley for the role his department played in this year’s event.

When he gets here the Mayor is going to “commend BurlingtonGreen  for their success in leading others in the community to make meaningful contributions to the greening of our planet at the local level,” and he will extend  “a special welcome and thank you to Environment Minister Jim Bradley who is visiting Burlington on Saturday – not sure he is going to get his hands dirty but he will accept the Mayor’s thanks and that of BurlingtonGreen for the contribution from the Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund.”

Using funds given to them by the province Burlington Green is going to plant shrubs in the Beachway community where sands shift and vegetation does not take easily to the soil.

BurlingtonGreen registered .” 8,400 in 2012. This year, BurlingtonGreen is partnering with the city and Conservation Halton to clean up Beachway Park, using a grant of nearly $25,000 from the Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund.

Minister Bradley will say on Saturday that he wants to  “Thank BurlingtonGreen volunteers for their  hard work and dedication which has transformed another Ontario shoreline into a place of pride for the community. Grassroots efforts like this ensure that the people of Ontario continue to enjoy lakes that are drinkable, swimmable and fishable.”

We hope we can solicit that Minister support when we go to the National Energy Board seeking limits on what Enbridge Pipelines can do with the 30 inch pipeline they operate that runs through the city between Sideroad  #1 and #2 – a lot of the water that runs into the lakes comes from Escarpment  creeks and streams.

The Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund offers grants to grassroots community groups for activities such as cleaning up a beach or shoreline, restoring a wetland, or creating a coastal or riverside trail.

 The Beachway community is the subject of a major report from the Region and now in the hands of the politicians and the bureaucrats.  It’s a report tat is going to shakeup that portion of the city – but for the time being Ward 1 Councillor Rick Craven is happy to say that  “The residents and visitors to the Beach very much appreciate the efforts being made on their behalf” and he echoes Mayor Goldring’s thanks to our provincial environment minister and to all the volunteers who give their time and energy to help BurlingtonGreen in this collective effort.”

 BurlingtonGreen has led in the collection of more than 5,600 kilograms of litter, the sorting and recycling of more than 300 kilograms of paper and plastic and the collection of 185 kilograms of metal and 30 tires over the past few years.

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One more step – pier looking better and better every day. Beacon – minus a wind turbine going in today.



By Pepper Parr

Each day a little bit more gets done.  This morning, when we were told it was going to be a lot warmer than it actually was, four of the metal structures that will form the “beacon”  at the top of the node that is on the pier were put in place.

It is something to watch as the crane helper move his hands to tell the crane operator where to swing the load that is at the end of the cable that swings the piece into place.

Riggers call this “flying” the pieces into place.

Two of four parts that will complete the beacon sitting atop the node on the Brant Street Pier opening during the Sound of Music Festival.

To ensure there is no damage to the pier, deck equipment with wheels have to wear socks.  These came in in black with red sides.

Close your eyes for a moment and imagine what two metals ribbons going up each side of the pier with two bands of stainless steel painted Burlington blue – there really is such a colour. It will be absolutely stunning – expensive but stunning

Late next week the first of the rails will arrive – they are going to be absolutely stunning.  All the lights are in place, the beacon itself will get finished off next week and have its lights put in place as well.

The device – a self-operated little bucket crane was being used to complete some of the electric parts.  What surprised some of the construction people were the “socks” the machine wore.  They are in place to prevent the wheels of the machine from damaging the surface of the pier deck.

It won’t be long before the Burlington Teen Tour Band is marching out to the end and coming back in towards the city, flags flying and instruments tooting and banging away.

Hopefully it will be warmer.

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Open up your wallet – they are asking more from you to ride those busses. Bfast strenuously opposes the increase.



By Pepper Parr

Burlington, Ont., April 16, 2013 —Burlington Transit will be increasing fares, effective Wednesday, May 1, 2013. The increased fares will lead to extended services for transit users across the city.  The increases were approved by city council in March.

Director of Transit, Mike Spicer advises that increases  in ridership along many routes calls for extended  services on these specific routes,”

Will there be a reduction in the number of people who use the transit service when the new rates hit May 1st? Probably not – the people who use transit for the most part don’t have a choice.

The following enhanced services will take effect on June 23, 2013:

Route 101 Plains Express:

New all-day service Monday to Friday

Minimum 30-minute frequency

15-minute frequency during peak periods

Additional stops at: Royal Botanical Gardens, Gorton Avenue, Howard Road and Francis Road

Routes 11 and 15

Saturday evening service extended to 10:30 p.m. and adding Sunday service on both of these routes

Northeast employment corridor – Monday to Friday midday by removing the current dial-a-ride Route 54D and extending Route 81 to cover this portion of Burlington.

Bfast, the Burlington transit advocacy group didn’t see the fare increase through the same rosy glasses.

Bus fares are going up 8.4% May 1st announces Bfast.

Is this because Burlington Transit buses are 8.4% more frequent?

Are buses 8.4% more comfortable?

Do they break down 8.4% less frequently?

 Are they 8.4% more accessible?

Do these buses take us to 8.4% more places?

In short, is our Bus Ride 8.4% better? Is it worth 8.4% more money?

James Smith, part of the Bfast group said: “I think all informed observers would answer NO.

Smith, who might be a potential municipal candidate in 2014, he has run in the past, said:  “The minor improvements outlined by city staff only go part way to restoring the service that was cut in 2012. These so-called enhancements were proposed by city staff in the budget process and are welcome  However, these proposals were also proposed without a fare increase. This 8.4% fare hike has been called ad hoc, but I think of it as a cruel joke pulled out of thin air at city council without consultation”.

“In the March 13, 2013 Toronto Star article on the failures of transit in the 905 Mayor Goldring was quoted without a hint of irony as saying: “They (fare increases) should not be done on an ad hoc basis, … There should be some clear rationale.” 

“Having listened very closely to city council on this subject I did not hear a clear rational for this ad hoc 8.4% increase. Some fees charged by the city have not gone up this year, others have. But I challenge the Councillors who voted for this increase to give us an example of one other city service fee that’s increased 8.4%.”

Burlington Transit does have plans to purchase smaller buses which will see more vehicles on the street and improve service.

“In 2012 city council removed half million dollars gas tax money (earmarked for carbon emission reductions) from Burlington Transit and now use that capital  to pave cul-de-sacs. Most cities use all of their gas tax money for transit. Burlington’s alone in the GTHA as we spend 80% of federal money meant for carbon emission reduction on increasing carbon emissions!”

“By 2015 the city of Burlington will have removed at least two million dollars from the transit capital funding and transferred this money to roads; talk about a carbon shift!”

“On May 1st Burlington will have the second most expensive Bus fare in the GTHA. Does this mean Burlington will get the second best transit system? The answer is no.  By any objective measurement Burlington has arguably the worst system in the GTHA. Burlington has the lowest number of busses per 100,000 population, the oldest fleet,  and the lowest  operational spending per capita, so it is no wonder we also have the lowest number of people per capita riding busses of any GTHA municipality.

Suits won’t be seen in this bus shelter on John Street in the downtown core – they can drive to wherever they want to go.  Those who don’t have that much income have to take the bus – and use this close to filthy bus shelter.

The funding for road repairs has been so poorly managed in Burlington that the city now, according to Ward 1 Councillor Rick Craven, is short $18 million a year on the amount needed to get the roads to acceptable standards. Shadeland Rd in Craven’s ward certainly needs more than a “shave and pave”, the city’s current approach to fixing its roads.

Using gas tax revenue may be one way to move funding around but transit riders should not be expected to pay more and get less to keep the car drivers happy.

In comments to the Chamber of Commerce recently Mayor Goldring said “Suits in this city, don’t ride the bus.”  Could that be because of the condition of those buses and the shelters along the bus route?


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General manager walks the plank – but no one pushes him into the water. This is good news?



By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  April 17, 2013.   Scott Stewart, one of the toughest General Manager’s this city has seen in some time uses his smile and basically decent demeanour to get things done. But if that doesn’t work – well, Stewart came to us from Hamilton where he acquired certain skills.  Let’s just leave it at that.

Earlier this week Stewart, who now heads up what is referred to as D+I, which is the short form for Development and Infrastructure Committee – the place where all the hard work gets done.  All the paper bound tasks; legal, Human Resources, Information Technology and Finance got shifted over to  City Manager Jeff Fielding.

That realignment didn’t leave much for Kim Phillips to do and perhaps we will see some changes in that portfolio somewhere down the road.

Stewart, who drives hard and is remarkably responsive, brought a small report to council committee where he talked about how he feels his people have done and asked council to respond.  Stewart sat there with most of his Directors but they didn’t get to say a word.  Stewart was the mouthpiece.

Do you want more of this and less of that?  Are we delivering on the deliverables?

He came to us from Hamilton – that’s as much as anyone needs to know about General Manager Scott Stewart.

This is the first time we have seen anyone at the General Manager or Director level for that matter put himself on the hot seat – but I guess when you’re on the province’s Sunshine list you can do things like that.

The IKEA matter came back to council four times – and that was good – thought most council members; but the Tim Horton’s desire to be on Brant Street in the old Blockbuster location came back to council too often.

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Spring show will feature glass, more glass and some of the most beautiful glass seen in this city.



By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON. April 17, 2013  Teresa Seaton has been working with stained glass for more than 10 years. “I have been moving my studio around my house since 2001, starting in the furnace room to the spare room in the basement to the basement itself. Gobbling up more and more space from the family. When I began to threaten a move upstairs to the great room the family said I had to go”

A Re-Opening – interesting way of putting it – new location for Seaton, a move next door for Edy Roy – either way – delights for the eye at both.

And go she did – all the way out to a spot steps away from Royal Botanical Gardens where the room is bright and there is a sunset to die for.  Seaton works late – just to be able to watch that sunset.

“I had been eyeing a space in front of the RBG for over two years. Luckily I just happened to be able to squirm my way in there thanks to both Matt and Kyle of Edy Roy and the acceptance of Jerry the owner of the property.

This is a 20 ft x 6 ft. work table; weighed a ton – made out of solid wood. Set up where the view is superb, the sunsets are great – Seaton may never go home

So here we go!  Seaton was off.  “One of my biggest expenses was my work benches. Thanks to Joseph Bauman and his team my dream has come true.  I have waited 10 years for this.”

The official studio hours are Thursday through Sunday 11-7, but you’ll find Seaton there most days. If the SUV is out front she is in the shop.  Feel free to drop in.

While the move is a huge and very welcome change for Teresa Seaton, it just might be the beginning of a small artist colony in the west end.  Seaton’s operation is right beside Edy Roy where some of the best glass work being done in this country is on display.

When it comes to glass art – it doesn’t get much better than this.  Work like this is sold in New York, Milan and Paris.  Burlington is fortunate to have an artist of this calibre in the city.  Kyle Books – some of her best.

Having the two beside each other (and having Easterbrook just down the street) makes this an irresistible reason to Go West.

Matt Robertson tends to be playful with his glass.  Light, exceptionally well executed, his work will catch the eye of many.

The “official opening of the two studios when they will show off all kinds of glass is Thursday April 25th.

Expect to see more from Seaton – she has been commissioned by the city to do the awards that will be given to the city’s BEST at the Civic Awards later this year.  Novel work.


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Beware of a media release that tells you how much they are doing for you but doesn’t tell you what it is costing.



By Pepper Parr.

BURLINGTON, ON.  April 17, 2013  Starting today, the city’s E-Government program will be launching the first of several new online services. For the first time, the city’s parks and recreation department’s Live & Play Guide is available online, allowing people to view program information and directly register for recreation programs of their choice at any time, day or night, from the comfort of their homes.

Wow! Is this as good as it sounds?

 “Posting the very popular Live & Play Guide on the city’s web page is an important step for the City of Burlington’s E-Government program,” said Mayor Rick Goldring. “The people of Burlington have told us online service is an important option, and we are listening.”  That’s good – having a Mayor that listens is good.

Two pages of the electronic version of Live and Play, the city’s magazine on all its recreational programs. Convenient once you get the hang of the thing.  Was there a real savings?  We did save some trees.

The on-line version of Live and Play will allow people to search, bookmark and tag favorite pages.  The content is to be Mobile-friendly, which means you can book something from your smart phone while travelling on the GO train.  That’s very good.

You can set things up so that you get information via email and social media sites.  City hall has in the past been a little reluctant with social media.  There was the sense a year back that staff couldn’t be trusted to send out sensible messages.  That appears to be shifting.

In the media release the city says”  “People are now busier than ever. The introduction of the online guide and its features will give residents user-friendly recreation information, whether at home or on the go,” said Chris Glenn, director of parks and recreation. “The online guide will provide easy access for residents to register for a variety of programs.” 

What you used to get in your mailbox is now on-line.  Really slick, fun to use but allow yourself some time to get the hang of the thing.

The city’s E-Government strategy will be delivered through 10 projects put in place over three years. Over the next couple of months, the city will launch epost in conjunction with Canada Post for property tax billing and tee time bookings for Tyandaga Golf Course.

Brent Stanbury, E-Government program manager,  who built the first web site for the city before he went to work for the federal government, came back to Burlington to take us from the entry-level web site to something much more sophisticated and, it might be added, a lot harder to create.

There wasn’t enough space within the IT department at city hall to house the team.

Now – about the site.  It is slick but it is going to take some getting used to.  There are all kinds of tabs on the sides and it will take you some time to get used to it.  When you move from page to page there is a sound effect that is all but identical to flipping the pages of a magazine.

Is it too complex?  Many will have problems with it – but it appears to be all there – you just have to get used to getting around the thing.  Best approach: put your ten year old in front of it and let them tell you how it works.

Navigational Tool – takes a bit to get used to them but they work very well.

It does work.  There is an event on the Seniors’ Centre page that kind of interested me: a day trip to Toronto to take a Tall Ship Cruise.  I clicked on the spot I thought I should have clicked on and that brought me to a page that had all the information – and told me that I had to come back June 1, to register.  I didn’t figure out how to get the program to remind me to come back June 1 – just put that into my Outlook calendar and that will remind me.

It looks as if the thing is going to work well.

Did notice though that the publication doesn’t appear to be on the city’s web site and the media release didn’t tell you where to go to get to it.  There was a link in the media release – but few people get that document.

So – if you want to get to the Live and Play CLICK HERE.

Make a point of bookmarking that page when it comes up on your screen – you will want to go back to it.

That website address suggest Live and Play, in its electronic edition, is on some other website and that the city is paying a fee to keep the thing there. Is that fee less than the cost of printing the magazine and having it distributed?  The media release makes no mention of any cost – but there are no free lunches.

At first blush this looks like a superb effort – now some time and effort has to be made to help people learn how to use it – or am I just showing my age?   Hope not.

We will be back to tell you more about this one.

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The hard part of community policing – reporting on a pedophile released back into the community. There is more the chief of police can do.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  April 17, 2013.  The media release was blunt, direct and very much to the point.  Anthony Burke, a convicted pedophile was out of jail and back on the streets.  He was considered dangerous and the police chief  was telling the community to be careful.

“In the interest of community safety, Halton Regional Police Service Chief Steve Tanner discloses the following information concerning a convicted sexual offender residing in Burlington.

Anthony Burke – how will Burlington decide to handle this man now that he is out of prison and back on the streets? will we find a way to get him the help he needs and prevent another crime – or will we hound him to the point where he becomes even more dangerous.

“Anthony Vincent BURKE was convicted on June 28, 2011 of Sexual Assault, Sexual Interference, Make Child Pornography and Indecent Exposure to a Person Under 16 years of age.  The offences pertain to incidents that took place in 2004 in Waterdown, Ontario and a related investigation in 2011.  He was sentenced to a period of incarceration.

“At his sentencing hearing before the Ontario Court of Justice, BURKE was made subject to a Prohibition Order for a period of 10 years which prohibited him from the following:

 Attending a public park or public swimming area where persons under the age of 16 years are present or can reasonably be expected to be present, or a daycare centre, school ground, playground or community centre.

Seeking, obtaining or continuing any employment, whether or not the employment is remunerated, or becoming or being a volunteer in a capacity that involves being in a position of trust of authority towards persons under the age of 16 years.

 Using a computer system within the meaning of subsection 342.1(2) of the Criminal Code for the purpose of communicating with a person under the age of 16 years.

Anthony Burke – how did this man, born 71 years ago, get to this point in his life. And what do we as a community want to do with him for his remaining years? We could wait until he re-offends, and he will re-offend if he does not get help, or do we find a way to get Anthony Burke the help he needs.

BURKE moved to Burlington in November 2012 and as mandated by the provisions of Christopher’s Law, promptly notified the Halton Regional Police Service of his change of address.  Since that time, he had been closely monitored by the Halton Regional Police Offender Management Unit and officials from the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services.

On Thursday February 7, 2013 at 6:40 p.m., BURKE was observed within the Tansley Woods Community Centre, Burlington.  The community centre operates numerous children’s programs, has on site daycare centres, indoor playground area, indoor public swimming pool and library facilities.

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There is a reason to oppose the Enbridge pipeline flow reversal – pipelines leak.



By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON. April 17. 2013.  There are reasons for people wanting to oppose the changes Enbridge Pipeline wants to make to its Line 9b – the one that runs right through the Escarpment part of Burlington – pipelines leak.

There is that now significant leak in Mayflower, Arizona that has oil pooling at the end of people’s driveway.  The media picks up on the big leaks – the small ones are rarely reported publicly – but they are noted by the National Energy Board –which is where we learned of the very small leak between February 15 to March 15 in a filing pipeline companies are required to make.

Just north of Sideroad #1 – this pipeline crosses every creek and stream in the northern part of the city.  If it does leak – the least we should expect is that there be a real mitigation program in place.

It was a small oil leak from Line 9 near Westover but it adds to the controversy around Enbridge’s proposal to increase the flow rate in the cross-Ontario pipeline and begin using it to transport diluted bitumen from the Alberta tar sands. The company’s plans are also hampered by outrage over the National Energy Board (NEB) requirement that residents complete an application form before being allowed to submit written comments on the Line 9 plans.

The newly revealed NEB rules were imposed by the federal government as part of its omnibus legislation last spring, and have generated media incredulity and even an editorial denunciation from the Globe and Mail. Local organizations like Environment Hamilton, the Hamilton 350 Committee and BurlingtonGreen  are urging individuals and groups to submit the application form as a way of challenging the restrictions and forcing the NEB to either approve applications or confirm that its review process is largely off-limits to the public.

The Ontario NDP is demanding a provincial environmental assessment; the Liberal government has said it will be an active intervener in the NEB process.

The Westover leak was reported to the NEB by Enbridge in a required monthly review of the company’s construction work associated with the reversal of flows in the Sarnia to Westover 9A section of the pipeline approved last summer by the NEB. It was discovered when exposing a portion of the pipe where a “stopple plug” was to be installed.

Enbridge’s 38-year-old Line 9 pipe is approved to operate between 585 and 805 psig(pound-force per square inch gauge),   between Sarnia and Hamilton. Its application to the NEB is to increase the flow volumes to 300,000 barrels a day and reverse the flow direction to allow shipment of western crude oil products including diluted bitumen.

While the company insists it only wants to use the Sarnia to Montreal Line 9 to service refineries as far east as Quebec City, others believe their objectives include export of bitumen through New England to foreign markets – a plan that Enbridge unveiled in 2008 but has since withdrawn.

The Enbridge pipeline monitoring site on Walkers Line – looking west. Enbridge can control the flow of oil through this location from their control rooms in Edmonton. Does that make the line safer? The satellite dish in the upper left handles the signals

The work currently underway at Westover was approved by the NEB in July last year and includes “infrastructure additions and modifications” at Enbridge’s Westover terminal, North Westover pump station, and at a “densitometer site 4.12 km west” of the pump station.

The circled area is where the pipeline runs. The only thing separating that part of the city and established neighbourhoods is the 407. Can you imagine what that would look like covered in a three inch oil slick?

Pipelines leak; always have, always will.  The danger for Burlington is that the pipeline Enbridge wants to make major changes to is very old and so far the community has not heard any oil leak mitigation plans that sound very re-assuring.  At this point the only thing that will slow any oil leak down is Highway 407 – not very re-assuring .

If your neighbours ask you to take part in this protest –sign on.  If you want to make your voice heard send the mayor an email and talk to the people at Burlington Green.

What are the chances of winning this? Next to none – Enbridge will be given the permit they are asking for – there is a national interest involved here.  The federal government wants that Alberta oil to flow east – a large part of our economy depends on that oil being sold.

We won’t be able to prevent that BUT if enough noise is made the NEB could insist on more than enough testing to ensure the line is as safe as possible and that there be real mitigation plans in place.  Maybe we can get Enbridge to report directly to all the municipalities along the line as well as the federal agencies.

Can we look to our MP, Mike Wallace to write letters and copy the Mayor on them?   Sure.

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Parent wants city to look into what can be done about better safety along rail lines; four killed so far this year.



By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON April 16, 2013.  For Denise Davy it is personal.

She got to the point where she felt something had to be done; someone had to say something about the deaths taking place at the CN rail lines that run through the city.  Denise lost her son Ryan, killed at a railway crossing in 1998 on the tracks east of Appleby Line.

A 2007 Transport Canada study showed that about 50 per cent of pedestrian rail fatalities are considered suicides. Davy said “it shouldn’t matter why people are dying – just that it’s happening which shows the spots are unsafe.”

Most of the deaths along the rail line are young people who have their own way of grieving and leaving there messages. This one, written on a wooden fence board is one of many at the end of Woodfield.

A little digging showed that back in 2005 there were two accidents on the rail line; one in which a transient sales person was struck by a train but lived to basically walk away from it.  Another, same place 60 days later resulted in the death of a young woman.

Nailed to a fence along the rail line: Simple message – serious situation.

It is very easy to cross the tracks – there are no barriers and the signs are a little on the limp side.

A number of months ago there was a break in at a bank and the thieves were able to slip out the back door while the police were in the bank and run across the railway tracks.  Nothing to stop them – other than the alert police officer with a dog that had a good nose.  Those thieves banked on being able to run across those tracks.

In the locations we photographed there are pathways lined with railway cinder stone and in one spot there was actually a patch of  asphalt in place.  That asphalt didn’t fall off the back of a truck.  The railways don’t use the stuff.  The only people anywhere near those railway tracks are crews re-surfacing city roads.  No rocket science needed to figure that one out.

Davy, at one time a reporter with the Hamilton Spectator  explained to a council committee that it is very difficult to get solid data on the number of deaths that resulted from people trying to cross the three rail lines that run through the city.  The police don’t keep detailed records on these accidents she explained and most people see these deaths as suicides which people don’t want to talk about. . 

Between 1996 and 2011 18 people were killed by trains in Halton.  In 2012 and 2013 another four were killed.  Those numbers, Davy suggested might mean Burlington has the highest rate of  rail line death rate in Canada.  Don’t think the Mayor is going to mention that when he next tells an audience how safe the city is.

Davy told council that CN told her they were responsible for fifty feet either side of the railway line.  After that it was up to the city.

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Our Burlington reporter graduates to TV production – does footage on Burlington golf courses for WNED.

By Walter Byj

BURLINGTON, ON April 16, 2013  Over the past number of years, the PBS station in Buffalo ,WNED, has run a series called Our Town, highlighting communities in northwest New York and southern Ontario. These  hour-long broadcasts were the result of volunteers putting on film the way they saw their city.

WNED producer Lynne Bader previews the Burlington production for the videographers who took part. Bader on the left with Joe Veitch in the centre. Our Burlington’s reporter Walter Byj was one of the participants.

The project started September 5th and 6th last year  at the Central Library when a number of volunteers from Burlington met with senior producer Lynne Bader of WNED TV. After discussing various program ideas and receiving tips for video shooting, each individual was given two weeks in which to submit  their unique story with at least 55 minutes of raw data.

On September 21st and 22nd, the volunteers submitted their recordings and gave a quick on camera interview about their topic.

The project is now finished and I was able to view the finished product on Tuesday night; the tone of the stories reflects Burlington. With the short window we had to film some of the major Burlington events were not covered.  However, the overall show does reflect well on Burlington.

Golf was covered in some detail – I did a segment on the golf courses in Burlington – waiting now for Hollywood to call me.

It all goes on air Tuesday April 23rd at 9:00 pm on WNED TV channel 31 on the Cogeco dial.

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Two Burlington men face charges after a sharp-eyed citizen took notice of suspicious behaviour.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON.  April 16, 2013.  A citizen out for a walk on Headon Forest Drive noticed two males entering driveways along the street and peeking into parked vehicles.

She walked to the nearby police station and reported her observations to officers and a detailed description of the men.  Officers responded to the immediate area and located two men in a driveway on Maderna Road.  The pair ran in between some homes and were found hiding under some stairs.

 Once arrested, both were found to be in possession of stolen items.

 Jason BAIRD (36 yrs) and Michael TRUMPER (30 yrs) face charges of Possession of Stolen Property (four counts), Theft Under $5000 (three counts) and Prowl by Night. 

TRUMPER faces an additional charge of Possession of Break-in Instruments.

 Burlington Detectives are investigating to see if these two  suspects were involved in  other related incidents.

 Any additional witnesses or potential victims are asked to contact Detective Jared McLeod at 905 825-4747 x2307.

 The police didn’t name the citizen but at the next Police Services Bard meeting perhaps there could be a quiet recognition of the citizen’s service.

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Is this just a little too much? Now a Special badge presentation for city’s new fire chief.



By Pepper Parr.

BURLINGTON, ON April 16, 2013.   Firemen and women are vital to the safety of any community and Burlington has a fire department that has been recognized in the past for their bravery and service as well as being on hand to get that cat out of a tree and take part in civic events.  Great guys.

But to hold a special photo-op to take a picture of the Fire Chief being given his badge – is that not a little much?  Have the city communications people not got anything better to do?  Did the Mayor have an opening in his Day Timer that was looking for something to do?

Burlington’s recently appointed fire chief, Tony Bavota

On April 22 members of council; Kim Phillips, general manager of corporate and community services; Fire Chief Tony Bavota; deputy fire chiefs Dave Beatty and Jeff Weber; city officials; retired Burlington Fire Chief Shayne Mintz; regional emergency services personnel; family and friends will gather in celebration of Burlington’s new fire chief.

Burlington firefighters have been cited for their bravery in the past.  This photograph has several of them being recognized by the Lieutenant General.

A special badge presentation and ceremony will take place in recognition of Tony Bavota, Burlington’s recently named Fire Chief.

 And it’s all going to take place at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre, Community Studio Theatre with a  reception to follow in lobby immediately following the formal presentation.


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Is Justin a New Deal for Canada? First day on the job and the attack ads start – is this their best shot?

 By Ray Rivers.

BURLINGTON, ON. April 16, 2013  Sometimes we Liberals can feel like Goldilocks.  First, the leadership vote kickoff in Toronto last Saturday felt… too empty.  Then the concluding meeting in Ottawa…well, it was so full they sold out the $20 dollar tickets in a flash.   The event was packed with big-name Liberals, including one-time opponents Jean Chretien and Paul Martin who sat on opposite sides of the room. It was a big deal.

The victory was conclusive and Justin Trudeau graciously took the podium to thank one and all.  The Party had opened voting to members and non-members alike, and over a hundred-thousand Canadians participated, picking Trudeau with eighty percent of the votes – a new deal  for political leadership.  Polished, humble and almost boyish, he delivered his first speech as leader of the third party - but now what?

Justin kicked off his leadership campaign by promising to rebuild the middle-class (by which he really meant middle-income Canadians).  But what does that mean?  Franklin D Roosevelt is credited with building the modern middle-class in America, a consequence of his New Deal in the 1940‘s.  Five factors played together for FDR; 1. a sheltered union movement to lift the pay of workers, 2. massive public investment to create jobs for the unemployed, 3. the break-up of corporate conglomerates, 4. progressive income taxation, and 5. trade protectionism.

 Chretien, in his remarks at the podium, noted that his Team Canada had landed significant deals in their excursions into China, while the best Harper could do was to bring back a couple of rented Panda bears.  And Trudeau, who has supported the Chinese buy-up of the tar sands and the Keystone pipeline, seems unwavering on business-as-usual for global trade, the kind that ensures we Canadians remain the hewers of wood and drawers of water we were at confederation.  Not much of a new deal here, I’m afraid.

 Trudeau has not yet spoken, perhaps wisely, on the other elements of how he plans to re-build the middle class.  He and the party’s policy wonks have their work cut out, developing options to restore and promote the middle-class, if he is to be believed.   Of course, Justin is not PM yet, just the leader of the third-party.  But if the polls are any indication, he might very well be in position to lead a Trudeau Liberal government after the next election. 

 Well thought-out and pronounced policy options to restore a more balanced Canadian society and a healthy economy would be a big deal, even if it not exactly FDR’s new deal.

 Ray Rivers is a retired civil servant, a former Burlington candidate for the provincial legislature and an author.  His book, The End of September focuses on how things could have been different during the Quebec crisis in 1983.  Rivers will write for Our Burlington on a regular basis – about twice a month.

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Another early morning home entry – Oak Grove this time. Sooner or later someone is going to be hurt. Is it time for increased police patrols?



By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  April 16, 2013.  An Oak Grove residence was entered on April 16, 2013 at 1:45 a.m.

A young girl awoke to see a man standing in her bedroom doorway and, assuming it was her father, asked what he was doing.  The man did not respond, but promptly descended a nearby staircase.

 The young girl went to her parent’s room and explained what had occurred.  The father began checking the home and discovered the rear patio sliding door ajar and a small amount of coins missing from the kitchen area.

 The homeowner spent considerable time looking for the suspect within the residence and the surrounding neighbourhood prior to contacting the police for assistance at 2:40 a.m.

 Police attended the area, but were unable to locate the suspect involved.

 Police really need to be called the moment there is a problem – that’s what the 911 service is there for.  Police can respond very promptly but they need to be called.

 The suspect is described as 5’11”, average build with short dark hair.  He was wearing a black t-shirt and dark coloured pants and holding an unknown object in his left hand.

 Police offer the following tips to homeowners as a means of reducing the risk of their homes to being broken into:

  Securely lock all windows/doors to home

• Have an alarm/video surveillance system installed

• Utilize exterior lighting

• Use locks on gates to backyard

• If you suspect your home has been entered and/or an intruder is still present within or nearby, contact 9-1-1 immediately for police assistance.


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A whopping number – and it isn’t a tax increase. BurlingtonGreen goes right over the top. Kudos.

 By Pepper Parr
BURLINGTON, ON. April 16, 2013 Sometimes there is only one way to tell a story – let the story tell itself. BurlingtonGreen has been running a GreenUp-CleanUp campaign in this city for a number of years.

Last year’s numbers were very good – 6,000 people showed up. That emboldened BurlingtonGreen to set 10,000 as a target and – well let’s let them tell the story. In a media release here is what BurlingtonGreen had to say:
Wow! Never underestimate the enthusiasm and commitment of the people of Burlington to help keep their city beautiful! HUGE kudos to Burlington schools who are “sweeping” the city all week-long cleaning up their school yards and neighbouring communities.

Currently a whopping 12,800 people are signed up to participate and it’s not too late for you to register. We have about a dozen spots left in our Green Up habitat restoration event and unlimited space for you and your group to clean up wherever you choose in Burlington.

It takes a committed community to get out every year and clean up the trash – more than 12,000 Burlingtonians will be doing that this Saturday.

You can use your own bags and gloves or we can provide them for free if you register right away. All participants are invited to attend a Thank You Celebration at City Hall afterwards on Saturday, April 20th from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. where there will be a complimentary BBQ and refreshments, a free raffle, various eco-displays and activities for children.

Enter to Win: All schools and groups that register to participate and send in a photo of their clean up “in action” will be entered into a draw for a chance to win great prizes courtesy of Tim Horton’s. After the event, the action photos will be displayed on our popular Green Wall of Fame on the BurlingtonGreen website for all to enjoy.

Don’t delay ~ Register Today & check out the long list of the groups that have registered so far! HERE

You can feel the enthusiasm – which is just great. Good on you folks – you did it and everyone in the city will be better for your efforts.

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City hall staff are in the process of learning how to herd cats: squabbling with council member over pier opening plans.



By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  April 16. 2013  I guess we should have expected this.  The pier will be open for the Sound of Music festival and the city is going to muscle in on their event to hold the opening.  There are going to be several openings- an Official one – which appears to have been cast in stone because the Pooh-Bahs have to get their Day Timers tuned up.

Councillor Craven wants every former Mayor drawing breath to be on hand.  This Official Opening is planned for the Friday, June 14th and then another opening on Saturday in the afternoon for the taxpayers that have to pay for the massive over run on the public purse to get the thing built.

We can see no word other than massive when you take something from $6.9 million up to more than $19 million – and it ain’t over yet.  But that’s an issue your city council is prepared to bury for as long as they can.

Right now they want to talk about fireworks, speeches and balloons and who gets to get their picture taken when.

The promenade leading to the pier entrance is getting a new surface. In the upper left you can see the mini-beach that got formed naturally – probably the only bonus citizens are going to get out of a very expensive project. It will look nice when it is done though.

You can hear the squabbling beginning.  When Councillor Dennison heard the schedule it didn’t take him long to tell staff that he “respectfully disagreed” with not allowing the public out on the pier on the Thursday – which is when the Sound of Music are going to do their kick off.

There is going to be a fireworks display and the pyrotechnics people have to be on the pier setting out the “explosives” they will use to get those fireworks into the air to ooh and aaah everyone.

That wasn’t going to stop Dennison – he wanted the public to be allowed to walk out on that pier just as soon as the ribbon was cut.

Dennison wasn’t going to let this one go – he kept at it and questioned staff on the details which are in that sort of coming together stage.

A newly installed light standard at the very end of the pier. The structure underneath the pier deck is a construction trestle that is now being taken out.

The Burlington Teen Tour Band is going to march out onto the pier and it looks as if they will be the “first” people that will actually be out over the water.  One can only wonder what will be going through their minds –  it is going to be a magnificent structure.

If the BTTB isn’t the first then the Sound of Music parade might be the first – staff were skinny on the details at a council committee meeting on Monday..

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If you’re a tweep – the Chief wants to talk to you – if you’re a creep – he can arrange to have you arrested.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  April 15, 2013  The people who count these things say that 66% if Canadians actively use social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

 If you want to impress your friends –make the Halton Regional Police Service “Chief” a friend and then tweet with him.  Police services worldwide – and, by extension, many police chiefs – are proactively using various social media platforms as a new method to actively engage the public in crime prevention and policing.

Halton’s Chief Steve Tanner, has a degree in psychology and is usually abreast of the changes in the way the public thinks.  Many police types don’t trust social media but Tanner has decided to jump in and see how it can be made to work for his police service.  He can be read on Twitter at:  @ChiefTanner.

Halton Regional Police Services Chief Tanner wants to tweet with you.

“I am a self-admitted newbie to Twitter, but see its tremendous potential to enhance my connection with people who live and work in Halton, and across Ontario and beyond, so that we can engage in meaningful dialogue about public safety, crime prevention and community policing issues,”  said Chief Tanner, adding, “Through shared tweets, I am also looking forward to being able to put a human face on the Chief of Police title, and get to know active Twitter users in our community in return.”

Chief Tanner’s presence on Twitter compliments the official @HaltonPolice Twitter account, so that the public can have quick and easy access to the latest Halton police news, crime prevention information and safety tips, and receive answers to any general questions about policing in Halton that they may have.

Chief Tanner emphasized that neither his account, @ChiefTanner, nor the official Service account @HaltonPolice, are monitored 24/7, which is an important factor the public needs to keep in mind if following them on Twitter.

“For emergencies or crimes in progress, the public should still call 9-1-1 and to report non-emergencies, call 905-825-4777,” said Chief Tanner. “Twitter is not a crime reporting tool.  The public can report certain types of crime online at our website,, but when in doubt, call us.”

Chief Tanner and the Halton Regional Police Service are focused on building the Service’s base of local Twitter followers who reside or do business within Halton Hills, Milton, Burlington, and Oakville, and encourages local Tweeps to follow or add the service to one of their public safety lists.

“Certainly everyone is invited and welcome to follow me or the Service on Twitter, but my priority is engaging with the local community first and foremost, so please be sure to follow us and say hello,” said Chief Tanner.

To connect with the Halton Regional Police Service, follow @HaltonPolice on Twitter and to connect with Chief Tanner follow @ChiefTanner. 

To follow Our Burlington – check out our Facebook page and tweet what we produce to people you think might be interested.

Couple of questions to the Chief:  Is the tweet I get from you – tell you anything about me.

Does my being your friend on Facebook compromise my identity in any way?  will I be dropped into a data base somewhere?

The Halton Police recently put up a map that will tell you where crimes take place in the Region.  That crime data does not belong to the police – it gets given to the people who provided the service to the police.  They don’t tell you that when you use the service.

The city of Hamilton took exception to their police service using those crime maps – not a word of comment or dissent from Burlington’s member of the Police Service Board.  why not?

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Fun and games and a city council rule book with a rule that is far from clear; will Meed Ward really be shut down?

 By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON. April 15, 2013   City council meets in its committee setting this week.  Monday they meet in the afternoon as the Community Services Committee and in the evening they meet as the Development and Infrastructure Committee.  Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward is neither the Chair or the vice Chair of either of these committees – so she gets to talk as a normal member of council.

The last time city council met – as a full Council the Mayor had a problem with the amount of time Meed Ward was talking and, after being alerted by the Clerk, interrupted Meed Ward to tell her she was basically talking too much and outside the time limit permitted by the city’s Procedural Bylaw – the Bible on what council members can and cannot do.

At the time Meed Ward was stunned.

Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward works the phone the way few Councillors do; manages to overspend on her postage budget, filled her voice mail box the first week she was at city hall and has now been found to have over spent on the amount of time she speaks. There is just no end to this woman.

We asked her after the Council meeting if she had any comment and she replied she would be following up on what the Mayor and the city Clerk had done.

Burlington’s city council and committee hold what they call “pre-meeting” at which they go over the agenda and discuss the likely flow of events.  If you thought everything happened naturally at either Council or committee meetings – you are indeed gullible.  Every politician prefers to control the agenda – which to some degree is what the pre-meets as they are called are about.

We asked Meed Ward a few questions via email and got the following responses:

Was there a pre-meet before the Council meeting?

Yes. There is a pre-meeting for every committee & council meeting to discuss the flow of the agenda. Only the chair/vice-chair, clerk and senior staff attend those meetings. In the case of council, the mayor, clerk (Angela) city manager (Jeff fielding) at minimum would be there and perhaps others.

If there was did you attend?

No. Council members do not attend any pre-meeting except one in which they serve as a chair/vice-chair. So, for example, I attend the Budget and Corporate Services committee pre-meeting with chair Councillor Taylor, but not any of the other committee or council pre-meetings. Raises a good point though – there is technically no “vice chair” of council. There is the rotating deputy mayor. In theory the D.M. could attend the pre-meeting. Hasn’t come up before. I’m deputy mayor for April. Interesting.


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Current Minister of Transportation appears to have suggested a Niagara GTA highway doesn’t make sense – hooray! GO is a better deal.



By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  April 15, 2013  The people behind the Save the Escarpment Highway Coalition (SEHC) would have been dancing around their chairs had they been at the Transportation Futures Conference in Toronto last week when Minister of Infrastructure, Glenn Murray said “We’re still very focused on highway development. We’re still very focused in Canada on last century kinds of infrastructure” and later added that “If we think we’re going to do this on a model of build it and they will come we will be spending a lot of money to get poor results. If we go to the model of build it where they want to go, we’ll have a very financially sustainable system.

Probably no need to do another print run of these signs but keep the inventory you have – Tim Hudak might come out of the woodwork.

Back during the last provincial election current Premier Kathleen Wynne, who was the Minister of  Transportation then, said the MOT had to begin thinking of something other than roads when they thought of transportation.  Ontario might just have a minister who is overseeing the building of our transportation systems who is going to change the way we think about transportation and how we move people from place to place.

Glenn Murray, formerly Mayor of Winnipeg for six years, understand cities and the problems related to moving people from where they live to where they work.  When he was made Minister of Infrastructure in the Wynne government he had to tackle the problem that is $34 billion short of its funding needs. 

The province has $50 billion worth of transit and transportation plans it believes we need – just $16 billion of that is funded. Transit is not free but will we re-elect a government that insists we pay for it?

The province has plans that will cost $50 billion to complete with $16 billion of that amount funded – they are looking for a way to raise the balance of $34 billion. Murray adds that transit is not free and that without the right mix of land use and transportation the economy Ontario needs isn’t going to happen.  He points to Pittsburgh, which is not unlike Hamilton – just on a smaller scale. Murray explained to his audience that “The pace of change is sometimes hard to understand. I always suggest that people look at Pittsburgh, which is during the first stage of going through the major economic transformation and gives you a little sense of what’s coming at us in the not too distant future. Pittsburgh in the 1983 and 1984 saw 104 steel mills close in 24 months. As a result of that the city dropped from a population of just over 700,000 to about 360,000.

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