Burlington Eagles are leaders on and off the ice; Mayor congratulates the team for their incredible food drive achievement.

By Pepper Parr

March 19, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON

Mayor Goldring, talking as if the group of young boys were his own children, proudly told a city council meeting that the Burlington Eagles, part of Burlington’s City Rep Hockey League, had raised more than 38,000 pounds of food in the Gift of Giving Back food drive for 2013.

It was thumbs up from these guys – members of the Burlington Eagles Atom AA team being recognized at city hall.

The Eagles Atom AA team was honored at City Hall, certainly the first time any of them had been in the Council chamber where  each of the team members was given a certificate and had a group photograph taken – the typical type of thing the Mayor does on a regular basis.

But Monday evening it was a bit different – none of the boys were relatives; just a bunch of decent kids who were in the process of becoming citizens.  They played hockey and took part in projects where their time was used to help someone else.

And help they did.  On November 5 & 6, 2013 the Eagles along with their community partners, collected 273,571.06 lbs of food for beneficiaries. Filling shelves was important but more important for the city’s Mayor was teaching civic responsibility and the importance of giving back.

Daphne Jacques, part of Mayor Goldring’s  administrative staff,  explains to players on the Burlington Eagles Atom AA team, the drill they will follow when they are presented with their certificates by the Mayor for their incredible food drive results in 2013

Rick Goldring is a product of Burlington – everything about him has Burlington stamped on it.  He takes great pride in his city and when he has occasion to celebrate what his citizen’s do – he gets almost gushy.

Monday evening he had his picture taken with the boys and he said all the obligatory things – there was just a lot more “this is what Burlington is all about” in his comments than normal.

Of all the groups involved in the food drive the Eagles raised more than anyone else and the Mayor wanted everyone to know that.  He told the audience that Hockey Night In Canada had featured what the Gift of Giving Back is all about and that the tons of food was distributed to Carpenter Hospice, Halton Women’s Place, Partnership West and The Salvation Army.

Jean Longfield, the woman who started the annual drive nine years ago said “It was an incredible two days — unmatched anywhere in the nation.

Let’s not forget that the Eagle Atoms AA are heading for the Ontario Minor Hockey Association Championships as well.

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If it looks too good to be true – it usually isn’t – scam artists pretending to be the government.

By Staff

March 18, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON.

 Tax time  approaching and those who choose to steal instead of work for a living have found that they can often fool people into giving them information which they then use to take your money from you.

The Halton Regional Police are advising the public of a scam involving fraudulent communications mimicking the Canada Revenue Agency.

The message frequently looks like this.  This is not the way the government communicates with you.  Ignore it – don’t even click on any of the links.

You might get an email that looks like it comes from the Canada Revenue Agency telling you there has been a mistake or a reassessment and that they are owed a refund. They are then asked to provide detailed personal information telling you it is required to process the refund. They will ask for full name, address, date of birth and social insurance number. They might ask you to provide personal banking or credit card information. The moment you give them this information they can begin pretending they are you and start taking your money.

 Fraudsters have gone even further, telephoning individuals directly, stating that they owe back taxes in the amount of thousands of dollars and threatening them with arrest or deportation if they are not paid immediately.

The CRA does not request personal information of any kind by email and has a formal process in place for those who owe taxes and would never demand cash payment immediately.

 Halton Police encourages individuals who receive such communications to take a moment and consider the following:

 Are you expecting a refund from the CRA?
Does this sound too good to be true?
Why would the CRA be asking me for personal information that they would already have on file?
Are you confident that you know who is asking for the information?

 Your best protection is to avoid taking immediate action and contact the CRA directly to confirm if in fact you are owed a refund or are required to make a payment.

 Anyone with information on this scam can contact Halton Police Fraud Investigators at 905-825-4747 ext. 8739 or anonymously through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), through the web at www.haltoncrimestoppers.com or by texting “Tip201” with your message to 274637 (crimes).

 

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Is there a problem with transparency on the proposal to protect the Mt Nemo plateau?

By Pepper Parr

March 17, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON.

When we first wrote about the Conservation Heritage District we said this was going to get messy.  Once people read the document the city released for discussion at a committee not yet known on a date yet to be determined all hell is going to break loose.

The area covers basically all of the western half of the Escarpment.

There are provisions in parts of the draft by-law that will forbid just about everything during the first year of the bylaws existence.  At the February meeting in Kilbride city planning director Bruce Krushelnicki told the audience that what was being proposed was a bylaw that the city could pass and revoke any time they wished.  The audience wasn’t convinced however, but they did go along with taking a next step which was to do a study.  It seemed like a good idea at the Kilbride meeting; nothing overly complicated.

The decision to take that next step was the result of a show of hands which that evening was overwhelmingly positive even though there were a number of people who didn’t like the idea of the city butting into local affairs.

Staff went away to prepare the report that was to set out what the next step study was going to be and what the public could expect to come out of it.

During a city council meeting on the budget when the city was approving the time needed for a planner to oversee much of this work and the expense involved,  Jack Dennison, councillor for ward 4 made the point that “this wasn’t something we brought to Council” and indeed the idea of creating a Conservation Heritage District did not originally come from the city planners.

It was the result of an application a group of residents had made to the Niagara Escarpment Commission (NEC) to have as much of the Escarpment as possible protected under a some form of protection.  PERL – Protect the Escarpment and Rural Lands made the application and met with the NEC planners and learned that they really weren’t going to be able to get what they wanted.

A topographical view of the study boundaries.

The Niagara Escarpment Plan which comes from the Niagara Escarpment Commission formed in 1937,  has three categories of protection: Nature Areas; Protection Areas and Rural Areas.  Each of these apparently has a cultural aspect or element to them which is conveyed with wording such as: “encourage the conservation of traditional cultural landscapes” – which is probably what the Aboriginal people were trying to see when the white people moved in.

PERL fought to prevent an expansion of the existing quarry.  The lower orange outline was the area where the expansion was to take place.

PERL was the citizens organization that won the fight against an expansion of the Nelson Quarry.  While it was the city that put forward the lead lawyer and spent $2 million in legal fees on that battle, PERL was given standing at the Joint Tribunal and had a consistent impact on the direction that Tribunal went.

One of these was enough for the people in rural Burlington. Is a bylaw creating a Heritage Conservation District the best way to prevent any quarry application – or is there a larger objective being sought?

PERL eventually pulled their application to the NEC for some form of protection for the Escarpment, particularly the Mt Nemo plateau and went to Councillor Taylor with what they felt was a better approach – do something via the Official Plan Review which was taking place.

They came up with the idea of asking if creating a Conservation Heritage District (CHD) could be part of the Official Plan review.  While that review is ages from being complete and even longer from being approved – the planners seem to be moving along at what is breakneck speed in the planning world to get a bylaw in place that would make a large swath of rural Burlington a Heritage Conservation District and thereby protect the plateau.

PERL hasn’t said a word publicly.  The last date of an entry on their website is November 2012. They have worked quietly with Councillor Taylor who clearly intends to make doing something substantial to protect the plateau his legacy issue; should he win the October election for his ward one would expect that to be his last term of office.  

Once the public becomes fully aware of the planned bylaw there will be some “not so fast” comments as well as some OMB level mutterings.  Paletta International complained in a letter to the city that they knew nothing of this initiative and asked that their lands be removed from the study area.  It doesn’t quite work that way – everything gets studied or nothing gets studied.

The staff recommendation that will get to a Standing Committee at some point in the near future but perhaps as late as June, making it an election issue for some, came out of a process that started back in July of 2013.  At the July 2, 2013 city council meeting Councillors Craven and Taylor brought an amendment to whatever was discussed in the CLOSED session part of the June 18th meeting.

Fast forward to what is going to go to a city Standing Committee at a yet unknown date this.  Staff is asking that council:

ENDORSE the Terms of Reference for the Heritage Conservation District Study and Plan for the Mount Nemo Plateau, dated March 7, 2014; PROVIDE the Manager of Procurement Services delegated authority to award the contract(s) and issue a Purchase Order to the highest scoring Proponent(s), subject to budget limitations of $200,000;  AUTHORIZE staff to commence a Heritage Conservation District Study process for the Mount Nemo Plateau; DIRECT staff to report back following the completion of the Heritage Conservation District Study process prior to the commencement of a Heritage Conservation District Plan process in accordance with s. 40 of the Ontario Heritage Act;

APPROVE an upset limit of $200,000 for the Heritage Conservation District Study and Plan to be funded from the Tax Stabilization Reserve Fund; APPROVE the Mount Nemo Plateau Study By-law, which is set out in an Appendix to the staff report. 

Staff wants the city to RECEIVE the draft Study Area Control By-law which may be passed in the event that a potential threat arises to the integrity or character of the study area.

Added in is a requirement that staff report back to council on the views of the public in Q2 2014 – that’s before the end of June.  Given the winter we have had all the frost might not be out of the ground by then.  And we will be four months away for an election which will likely turn this issue into an election question.  What’s the rush?

Ward 3 councilor John Taylor said on Saturday that he intends to campaign on this issue.  To Taylor’s credit he has been very diligent in working for the interests of the people north of 407 and while he lives south of Upper Middle Road much of his heart is in the rural part of Burlington.

There is more to this development which we will follow up on.  The terms of reference need a look, the cost – they are talking in terms of $200,000 and the level of public participation in this initiative are all critical.

Background links:

Newsflash on the CHD meeting in Kilbride February 10th

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Police getting their Irish up over drivers that drink – pointed messages being handed out.

By Staff

March 17, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON

The Regional police have both a sense of humour and a message they will be handing out this evening.  Single piece of paper printed on both sides.  Set out below id a preview of what they are going to distribute.

If the message isn’t obvious – the police provide details.

Now that wasn’t hard to understand was it?

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What’s private? City’s policy and procedure on personal privacy and what you can access.

By Pepper Parr

March 17, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON.

Information is power.  Knowing what is happening gives the person with the information an advantage over the person who doesn’t have that information.

City hall has tons of information – getting at it is not always easy.

Must be provided to the public, limited by a few exceptions.  Should be released proactively and responsibly.The city recently released a report, it was put together by Andrea Holland of the Clerks department and covers almost every sin imaginable when it comes to what information there is, what you can have, what you can’t have and how you get it.  It’s not exactly an easy read but the information is there.

Transparency, accountability and privacy are common themes today. The City of Burlington is committed to fostering a culture of transparency, based on the principle that city information:

Must be provided to the public, limited by a few exceptions

Should be released proactively and responsibly.

Early in this decade the provincial government created the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act; FIPPA for short.  The purposes of this Act are,

(a) to provide a right of access to information under the control of institutions in accordance with the principles that,

(i) information should be available to the public,

(ii) necessary exemptions from the right of access should be limited and specific, and

(iii) decisions on the disclosure of government information should be reviewed independently of government; and

(b) to protect the privacy of individuals with respect to personal information about themselves held by institutions and to provide individuals with a right of access to that information.

The province then created a sub set for the municipal sector and called that MFIPPA.  In order to provide clarity around the FIPPA legislation with regards to records of members of council and the protection of personal information contained within those records, staff have prepared a reference guide – Access, Privacy and Records, A Guide for Council.  It is to provide you with information to make informed decisions about the personal information you have within your office.

It is to provide you with information to make informed decisions about the personal information you have within your office.The guide was prepared in consultation with staff and members of council to ensure that the information provided was clear and informative. Further research was conducted on Information and Privacy Commission orders that have been issued with respect to councilor records as well discussions with staff from the Ministry of Government Services.

The Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA) came in to effect on January 1, 1991.  It applies to all municipalities in Ontario, including local agencies, boards and commissions, school boards and police services.

MFIPPA has two purposes:

Allows every person to request information from a municipality

Describes how the municipality must respond to requests, step by step

Lists limited and specific situations where access must not or  may not be granted

Allows individuals to access and correct their own personal information

Requires that municipalities protect personal information in their care

Establishes rules for how personal information must be managed, including proper collection, use and disclosure

Compliance with MFIPPA is overseen by the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (IPC).  If a requester is not satisfied with the quantity or quality of information released by a municipality in an access to information decision (e.g. adequacy of a record search, information withheld under an exemption), or if an individual feels that their privacy has been breached while interacting with a

municipality, appeals and complaints may be made to the commissioner.   Following an investigation, the IPC will then issue a public order or report describing the circumstances of an appeal or complaint, and what must be done to resolve the matter.

Transparency, accountability and privacy are common themes today. The City of Burlington is committed to fostering a culture of transparency, based on the principle that city information:

Must be provided to the public, limited by a few exceptions

Should be released proactively and responsibly.

This report explains how MFIPPA applies to elected officials at the City of Burlington, and provides guidance for how to comply with the Act in daily practice.

MFIPPA and the City of Burlington:

The City Clerk has been delegated with the responsibility for overseeing and administering MFIPPA within the municipality.  Within the Clerks Department, the Records and Information Coordinator is responsible for the receipt and processing of access requests, providing advice and consultation to corporate staff, serving members of the public, and advocating for privacy and confidentiality throughout the organization.

FOI request process:

1.    A request is received via mail, or in person at the Service Burlington counter. Requests must be accompanied by a legislated $5 fee.

2.    The records and information coordinator sends a search memo to all affected departments and staff, which may include individual members of council.

3.    Within 7 days, the affected departments and/or individuals provide unaltered and entire records to the records and information coordinator, along with recommendations on release, for analysis.

4.    The records and information coordinator analyzes each record to determine whether or not it should be released under MFIPPA.  At this stage, the Clerk’s department may seek an opinion from the City’s legal counsel.

5.    When analysis is complete, a release package is prepared and approved by the City Clerk.  Records may be released in part or in full, or withheld in their entirety, in situations where all responsive records are exempt from disclosure, or where no records exist.

6.    All records pertaining to the request are securely stored in a locked cabinet in the Clerks Department until the required retention period has expired.

What is a record:

MFIPPA defines ‘record’ as “any record of information however recorded, whether in printed form, on film, by electronic means or otherwise.”  The definition is broad in order to include the full range of possible information formats.

Under MFIPPA, councillors are not considered to be officers or employees of the corporation and records related to interactions with their constituents as elected officials (constituency records) are therefore not covered by MFIPPA and therefore not accessible under the Act.  However, if a member of council holds corporate records created by the City of Burlington, or is discussing city business, or where they relate to city business such as communicating directly with City staff, that information may be accessible under MFIPPA.

Councillor Assistants are considered to be City of Burlington employees, to which MFIPPA access provisions do apply.

Records of a councillor acting on behalf of a constituent and representing their interests are not accessible under MFIPPA.Constituency records:

Records of a councillor acting on behalf of a constituent and representing their interests are not accessible under MFIPPA.  This includes all content, opinions and personal information contained in any correspondence to and from a constituent, i.e. name, phone number, email and mailing address.  For more details on what constitutes personal information, see Definitions below.

Examples:

Correspondence from a constituent concerning a pothole in their neighbourhood

Email from a constituent requesting that the councillor attend a community event

Correspondence between a councillor and a private sector company

City business records:

Corporate records include information that is related to the business of the city, its agencies and boards, and may be requested through MFIPPA.  All corporate records related to city business are also governed by the City of Burlington records retention by­ law 97-2005 and amending by-law 62-2013.

Examples:

Email sent to city staff and members of council, including carbon copies (cc).

Councillor records that advance the interests of the city.

Councillor forwards request for pothole repair to Roads and Parks Maintenance.

Roads and Parks Maintenance receives a request sent via email directly from a constituent to repair a city owned asset.

Email from a citizen, forwarded to a city department by a Councillor’s Assistant for follow up

Records related to a Council member’s involvement with a City agency, when acting on behalf of the city.

Email between Council members and city staff is typically accessible under MFIPPAEmail:

Email between Council members and city staff is typically accessible under MFIPPA. Other email contents which are not generally accessible under MFIPPA include:

Citizen contact lists, addresses and phone numbers stored in email systems (hosted and on site, i.e. Outlook; Constant Contact.) 

Emails between a member of council and a constituent or local business

Personal emails sent from one member of Council to another.

When a FOI request is received for councillor records, all requests will be analyzed on their own merit and a decision will be made whether the records are subject to MFIPPA or not, and if they are, a further decision will be made to release or withhold.  Each request represents a unique set of circumstances that will need to be considered.

Councillor records management: During the term of office and when re-elected.

At the start of each term of office, members of Council will receive training on MFIPPA as part of Council orientation.

Corporate records related to city business must be retained and disposed of according to the City of Burlington records retention by-law.

Confidential  and Transitory  information,  including draft or working documents  and duplicate copies, can be securely destroyed in a locked shredding bin or with a cross-cut shredder when no longer required.  On-site shredding services are highly recommended for secure disposal of personal, confidential and sensitive information.

Constituent records fall under the sole custody and control of the member of council. Even though MFIPPA does not apply to these records, each councillor should take steps to safeguard any personal information that is in their possession from unintended use or disclosure.

Constituent records can be treated as “General Correspondence” for retention purposes, with a suggested retention period of Current + 4 years.

Any constituent records and/or personal information that has been collected by a member of Council or received through the Councillor’s office, including contact details, that resides on city email or other city-owned resources, can not be shared or used for any purpose without the individual’s prior consent.  Similarly, contact information cannot be shared with election teams without prior consent to do so from the individual.  The voter’s list is not intended for use related to constituency business.

Before leaving office, a councillor may forward any outstanding constituency matters or ward-related documents to their assistant for future follow up with a request to the affected constituent for approval to send the unresolved matter to the incoming councillor.

Private or personal contacts saved in Outlook folders must be destroyed.

Private or personal contacts saved in Outlook folders must be destroyed.If an elected official wishes to retain a copy of any records associated with their time in office, contact the City Clerk.

Any records and documents retained by former councillors must be kept according to the City of Burlington records retention by-law.  Electronic records should be encrypted, using one of several methods available.

When there is a change in office, the Councillor’s assistant should send an email to all current recipients of the Ward newsletter, offering a clear option to opt in and continue receiving the newsletter, or to opt out from future communication.

One example is provided below:

“As you may be aware, a new Councillor will be in place for Ward X as of December 1.  If you wish to continue receiving the Ward X newsletter, please opt in at the link below.”

Collection, use and disclosure under MFIPPA

 MFIPPA includes specific requirements for how municipalities collect, use and disclose personal  information.

 Every time that personal information is collected by a municipality, notice must be provided to the affected individual(s) which states:

The legal authority to collect 

The purpose(s) for which the personal information will be used

The title, business address and telephone contact for an officer or employee who can answer questions about them collection.

MFIPPA prohibits the collection of personal information unless the collection is:

Expressly authorized by law, or

Used for the purposes of law enforcement, or

Necessary to the administration of a lawfully authorized activity.

The personal information collected by an institution may only be used under the following conditions:

With informed consent from the individual

For the purpose for which it was obtained or compiled, or for a consistent purpose.

A municipality is not permitted to disclose personal information in its custody or under its control, unless the person to whom the information relates has consented to its disclosure, or in a few other limited circumstances described under the Act, for example: when there is statutory authority to disclose for law enforcement purposes.

Example:

The name and address of a citizen signing in at a public meeting can only be disclosed if the citizen provided consent,or if the possibility of disclosure was indicated in a written collection notice posted at the meeting.

The use and disclosure of personal information must always be consistent with the original purpose for which it was collected.

A consistent purpose is defined under MFIPPA as something an individual might reasonably have expected. Reasonable expectations are typically established in collection notices.

Under MFIPPA, councillors do not have any special right of access to records held by municipalities, including the personal information of citizens and employees.

In other words, members of council may only access information that would not normally be exempt from disclosure under MFIPPA.  The same is true for former members of council or employees who, at one time, may have had access to records in the performance of their duties.

This approach is intended to protect members of council and the City of Burlington from the following risks:

Contravening MFIPPA

Breach of privacy or confidentiality

Negative media exposure Example:

Members of Council cannot access contact information listed on public meeting sign-in sheets unless the attendee has consented to that kind of disclosure in advance.7

Records of unsuccessful tender submissions for a city construction project are reviewed and redacted according to MFIPPA exemptions before being received by a member of council, if requested outside of standing committee and council documentation

Councillors may have a right of access to certain types of information that would not be available to the general public, if they require the information in their capacities as members of council in order to carry out duties related to that function.

Councillors who wish to request information from the City of Burlington outside of their official capacity may submit an FOI request to the Clerk’s department at any time.

Access to personal information:

Where a councillor acting in their official capacity seeks access to personal information held by the city (for example, the personal information of an employee), information may only be obtained if the individual has provided prior consent.

The Mayor, as Head of Council, is considered an “officer” of the City.  The Mayor’s records that relate to the mayoral duties, as opposed to constituency or personal papers, are considered to be in the City’s custody or control and therefore may be requested under MFIPPA.

Staff within the Office of the Mayor are considered to be in political positionsExamples of mayoral duty records, which may be accessible:

Notes taken at Burlington Hydro meeting, while acting in official capacity

Speech delivered at opening of new recreational facility

Staff within the Office of the Mayor are considered to be in political positions, to which MFIPPA access provisions do not normally apply.  For example, an email sent from the Mayor to one of their staff members would not typically be accessible under MFIPPA. However, if city staff are copied on the email, it could be accessible.

Any time that the Mayor or one of his or her staff forwards a customer service or constituency matter to city staff for follow up, that record may also be requested under MFIPPA.

This is in contrast to staff working within Councillor offices, who are considered to be City of Burlington employees to which MFIPPA access provisions do apply.

Definition of personal information:

“personal information” means recorded information about an identifiable individual, including,

(a)   information relating to the race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation or marital or family status of the individual,

(b)   information relating to the education or the medical, psychiatric, psychological, criminal or employment history of the individual or information relating to financial transactions  in which the individual has been involved,

(c)   any identifying number, symbol or other particular assigned to the individual,

(d)   the address, telephone number, fingerprints or blood type of the individual,

(e)   the personal opinions or views of the individual except if they relate to another individual,

(f)     correspondence sent to an institution by the individual that is implicitly or explicitly of a private or confidential nature, and replies to that correspondence that would reveal the contents of the original correspondence,

(g)   the views or opinions of another individual about the individual, and

(h)   the individual’s name if it appears with other personal information relating to the individual or where the disclosure of the name would reveal other personal information about the individual.

There you have it.  Not the kind of document you will take to the beach to read in the summer – but it is the kind of document you might want to refer to – and it will be on the Gazette website for a long time – until it is revised.

In the past these rules have not been fully observed.  with an informed public – we just might see better compliance.

 

 

 

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Brian Heagle: Lawyer, basketball player, community activist; forms his own organization. Will his ward councillor be on the Board?

By Pepper Parr

March 17, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON.

We are always intrigued with the doings of Brian Heagle.

We are continually asked if Mr. Heagle is going to run in ward 4 – but then we are often asked if Cam Jackson is going to run in ward 5.  We are never asked if Mr. Heagle is going to run for Mayor.

We bring this up because we got an invitation from Mr. Heagle to LIKE the Roseland Heights Community Organization Facebook page – which confused us at first because there is already a very effective and well-organized Roseland Community Organization.

We thought that perhaps Mr. Heagle had decided to use his legal talents and get into Real Estate development and had visions of a cute little development in the community – perhaps with some infill that would fit in well with the community character study currently underway.

Looks like Roseland – but it’s being called Roseland Heights.

But no – the RHCO is a community association in Burlington, Ontario, Canada formed to protect and enhance a remarkable neighbourhood known as Roseland Heights.  The boundaries shown on the Facebook page look like the Roseland as we know it – but lawyers deal with property title matters and perhaps Mr. Heagle knows something we don’t – of that we have no doubt.

Slip over to Facebook and type in: Roseland Heights Community Organization – it`s real.

The late John Boich, far right looks on proudly as his man develops a relationship with Burlington Liberals. Heagle, on the left gesturing with his hands, jumped ship and announced he was really a Tory and was going to seek the Progressive Conservative nomination. But they wouldn’t have him

But Mr. Heagle thought there was a bigger prize available and he chose to attempt to win the Progressive Conservative nomination which didn’t work out very well.

Is this what Heagle means by Roseland Heights? The sign in Brian Heagle’s lap tells you why he is there.

As the city approached the municipal election the wondering was: will Heagle run against Jack Dennison again?  Then we figured it out.

Is has been reported that Jack Dennison was prepared to campaign with another potential ward 4 candidate should that person file nomination papers.  Mr. Heagle knows an advantage when he sees one.  So he forms the Roseland Heights Community Organization and invites Jack Dennison to become a member – maybe even put him on the Board of the thing.  In return for this favour Dennison would campaign for Heagle when he decides to run for that ward 4 seat.

You see,  Jack Dennison was not accepted as a member of the long-standing Roseland Community Organization when he attempted to get a property variance from the Committee of Adjustment.  Those good folk over in Roseland felt what Dennison wanted was completely at odds with both the city`s Official Plan and the way Roseland saw Lakeshore Road developing.  So they advised him that they would not accept his membership application.  One doesn`t often see a community organization `blackballing` their member of Council.

Mr. Heagle has solved that problem – and perhaps hopes in the fullness of time that Jack Dennison will return the favour so the two of them can drive through the streets of ward 5 on their bicycles in June – Dennison`s traditional election campaign period.

Background links:

Dennison refused membership in community organization   Heagle decides he is a Tory     Heagle withdraws from nomination.

 

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Smith let’s the Irish in him come out – asks us to forget Brendan Behan and think of Pope Francis instead.

By James smith

March 16, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON.

The Paddy wagons stand at the ready, I read Halton Police have RIDE checks out on the evenings up to and including March 17th – Saint Patrick’s day. The Police have their job to do, I appreciate what they do, I want them to catch-all the drunks who get behind the wheel. Why do so many people use the Patron Saint of my forefathers as a ready excuse to drink and drive?

Well now, the Irish and the drink eh?  A good old cliché and ethnic slur that persists. Lots of examples reinforce this stereotype, Oscar Wilde’s old chestnut of “work being the curse of the drinking class” comes to mind but Ireland’s most famous imbiber- Brendan Behan went one better when he said he was “a drinker with a writing problem”. The Irish men of letters aside, the multi-national booze biz can’t but help themselves, they crank out yet another excuse to get pie-eyed on March 17. Why sure, everyone loves a happy drunk leprechaun right? Have a black and tan, an Irish coffee, a black beer that starts with the letter G or mass quantities of industrial suds from a Brazilian brewer tinted green to kill the taste of genetically modified high fructose corn syrup! But hey! don’t matter if you’re Sullivan, Silverman, Schultz, Singh, or Sanchez, on March 17th everyone is Irish don’t you know it. We’re all encouraged by these vipers to act like “amadans” and drink up to prove it.

The fact of the matter is the booz-up that’s become “ST PADDYS DAY” is starting to get my Irish temper up. A temper that got me in a little bit of hot water when the chair of a Committee of Burlington City Council had to put me in my place just a few weeks ago. I’m sure most of the four and one half million Canadians like me claim Irish decent feel the same way. Sure we want to celebrate our heritage on the 17th by wearing green, and having Jig’s Supper, and yes, we may raise a jar or two. Bur many who cheered Brian O’Driscoll’s team winning the Six Nations Saturday are frankly tired of and ashamed of our heritage being mixed up with drinking contests and other shenanigans that end in fights and green regurgitation. As a son of the land of saints and scholars I’d rather remember the thousands who died at Grosse Isle Quebec, Ireland Park Toronto or Middle Island New Brunswick. I’d rather we celebrate Irish Canadians like Bishop Michael Power, Father of Confederation Thomas D’Arcy McGee, Prime Ministers John Thompson, Brian Mulroney, and Paul Martin. Those in the arts like authors Morley Callahan, W. P Kinsella, actors like Katherine O’Hara, and Martin Short.  Musicians like Stomp’n Tom and Alan Doyle and composer Timothy Sullivan. In Burlington, we have many outstanding Irish, the well-known Torsney family come to readily mind, but there are many many more.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m no tea totaler, and booze, has done its share of damage to people in my family over the generations, but As a dogan, I resent the premise that March 17th means get your beer glasses on.  So I have a better idea: In the future lets blame the ides of March (March 15th) or Pi Day (3.14 hey & next year it’s even 3.14.15!) for drunk and disorderly conduct in the middle of March.  As the Feast of Saint Patrick always falls within the season of lent, let’s take some advise from that good Irishman Pope Francis’s  – this Saint Patrick’s day, take some of the money you might otherwise spend on John Barley Corn and donate it to some of those most in need.

Amadan: A band, originally based in Corvallis, Oregon, plays both punk and world music. They are often categorized as a Celtic punk band due to their Irish influences. Amadán is also a Gaelic and Hiberno-English term for a stupid man.

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Well – which is it? Freeman Station or the Burlington Junction? What do you want it to be?

By Staff

March 19, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON.

In a recent letter sent to the Friends of Freeman Board of Directors,  David explains his reasons for painting “The Burlington Freeman Station”. David’s letter is reproduced below.

“ Over the past 35 years of my art career I have been striving to accomplish one thing, and that is to preserve Canada’s Heritage through my art. This has led me to create paintings of famous Canadian Heritage scenes, buildings, tall ships, covered bridges, lighthouses and more recently a series of Historic Canadian railway stations.

David Harrington’s limited edition print of the Freeman Station is available for purchase – but just to Friends of Freeman Station members.  The membership is a steal at $10 annually.

In 2012, when I read an article in the Burlington Post about a citizen’s group, named the  “Friends of Freeman Station”, attempting to rescue and preserve Burlington’s Freeman Station, I decided that the Freeman Station was definitely worthy of creating a painting that I hoped would capture some of the historical flavour of its famous past. For reference purposes I took over 100 photos of the station when it was temporarily located behind the Burlington fire hall on Fairview Street. I also researched to find historical photos and stories related to its past. In addition,  I managed to talk to some people who recall using the Freeman Station. From all of this information, I decided to portray the station as it stood in the late 1950’s to early 1960’s. 

I decided that the Freeman Station was definitely worthy of creating a painting that I hoped would capture some of the historical flavour of its famous past. To position it to that era, I included a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air  (a favourite to this day amongst car enthusiasts), and a 1955 era “White Diesel” Coca Cola truck. The Coke truck was added to capture the story of one of the people who used the station frequently, who told me that he usually bought a Coke from the vending machine inside the station prior to the train arriving to take him to Toronto. If you look real close you can also see just a portion of a 1956 Ford Crown Victoria peeking out of the left side of the image.

At that time, for many companies, the train was the main method used for shipping their products. For this reason I thought that I should include, on the railway platform, wooden shipping containers originating from famous Canadian companies of that era. You will note wooden  crates from The T. Eaton Company, Barber Glass of Guelph, Seagram’s of Montreal, G & W of Toronto and Corby’s of Corbyville, Ontario.

I also added the luggage cart from the same era, as well as a mother and child with her 1950’s style luggage, also a business man heading into the station and of course the Coke delivery man. All of which I hoped would add to the sense of history and the hustle/bustle nature of the station in its prime.

I hope that this painting and the limited edition prints produced from this image help in keeping the memories and history of Burlington’s Freeman Station alive and that it may also bring back memories to those who had the good fortune of using this station in the past.

There are not many of these great stations left – so let’s all work together to help preserve Burlington’s Freeman Station!!”

 David Harrington

The Harrington painting is an original done as an acrylic from which a limited edition of 500 prints were made.

While the station is fondly known as the Freeman Station and the organization that was incorporated to save it is known as the Friends of the Freeman Station there appears to be a move to revert to the proper name of the station which is Burlington Junction.  We are told that the Freeman family isn’t all that keen on the idea of their name being attached to the station.

The T-shirts that were used for fund raising purposes are going to soon become collectors items – the couple of dozen left are the end of that production line.  The FoF are in the process of developing ideas for a new logo, a new design and it appears a re-branding of one of the most impressive community initiatives Burlington has seen for some time.

The FoF might want to re-think what they are deciding to do and ask their constituency how they feel.  Either way – it’s a pretty good story.

Background links:

New president at Friends of Freeman.

Fight to save Freeman station is won – city signs joint venture agreement.

 

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No Ides of March for this city. Mayor is safe – so far, but it is far from over.

By Pepper Parr

March 15th, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON.

Still quiet on the municipal election front.  No Ides of March for the Mayor of this city.

To date just one of the incumbent members of city council has filed nomination papers – Mayor Goldring scooted downstairs from his eighth floor office and gave the city clerk his fee early in January  – and his hat was in the ring.

The Goldring family whoops it up the night of the 2010 election. Same scene for 2014?

The Mayor didn’t stop there.  He recently held an impressive fund-raiser – a reported 125 people at $100 a pop attended where we understand His Worship announced that Cheryl Taylor will lead the campaign with Jim Matts doing much of the grunt work the way he did last time out.

So far there isn’t a second candidate for the job ready to declare  for the top spot.  None of the other council members who are warming a seat at the horseshoe in the council chamber have declared yet, however all, except for Dennison have said they want to return and the Mayor has said he would like to see all his colleagues returned.  They might be waiting until the Premier decides if there is going to be a provincial election and if she does ask the Lieutenant Governor to issue an election writ – they may all stay inside until that wind blows over.

Ward 1 Councillor did say at a meeting at the Conservation Halton offices that he had thought about running for the office of Mayor.  “It’s not out of the question” was his comment at the time.

We can report that there are very credible candidates in wards 5 and 6 getting their ducks lined up – expect at least one very interesting candidate to step forward out of rural Burlington.  It’s about time those people had someone representing their interests at the table.

There are now candidates in ward 1 – two of them so far, no one in ward 2 yet; Meed Ward might well be acclaimed in ward 2, unless of course she decides now is the time to run for the office of Mayor.  It’s the only chance she has of winning that office which she has wanted from the day she first ran against Rick Craven in Ward 1 back in 2006.

Meed Ward has a hard political calculation to make.  Run again in ward 2 and win hands down but find herself facing a formidable candidate in 2018 if Frank McKeown runs in ward 4 – which is not out of the question yet.  McKeown apparently has a promise from Jack Dennison, the ward 4 incumbent to campaign with McKeown if he runs.  Not exactly a promise you can take to the bank.

Frank McKeown, then the Mayors Chief of Staff explains a concept to Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman. McKeown was described as the 7th council member during the Strategic Plan sessions.

McKeown might decide that he doesn’t want to serve as a council member for four years and then run for Mayor – he might decide to just go for the brass ring now.  Many felt that McKeown was the thinker behind the Mayor when he ran against Cam Jackson in 2010.  Most of the position papers Goldring released were reportedly written by McKeown.

During the more than six half day meetings on the development of the Strategic Plan McKeown was frequently referred to as the “seventh council member” – not always politely by the way.  He brought a level of sophistication to the discussions that was badly needed at the time.

There was not a lot of love lost when McKeown advised the Mayor in July of 2012 that he was going to resign effective the end of the year.  That gave the Mayor plenty of time to find a new Chief of Staff.  The replacement was certainly no Frank McKeown.  It will be interesting to see what the Mayor comes up with in terms of an election platform and if he issues any quality position papers this time out.  Will there be a reference to his One Vision debacle?

We hear that the “Duffster” – that being John Duff, might be asked to handle media buys and campaign literature design for the Mayor.  (We incorrectly called Duff – Duffy in an article recently – that was fixed.)

Martin von Zon of Intercom Marketing was going to do that job but he then won an RFP to do some work for the Performing Arts Centre and felt he might have a conflict of interest if he did any work for the Mayor while performing a service for the PAC.   People in this town certainly have a very narrow definition of just what a conflict of interest is – Jack Dennison certainly doesn’t define conflict quite as narrowly.

One has to wonder if van Von has his ear closer to the ground than most and is picking up vibes others are not aware of? – and if that is really the reason for declining.  Van Von certainly didn’t get the PAC contract because of the Mayor.

Ward 1has two nomination;  Jason Boelhouwer and Catherine Henshell.

Catherine Henshell has her eye on the council seat for Ward 1

Ward 2 is closed territory unless there is someone who wants to create some name recognition and get a chance to rake Councillor Marianne Meed Ward over the coals.  She will win that race unless she is found at the end of the pier under a full moon howling into the night sky – and even then she might still win.

There is one declared candidate in Ward 3; Lisa Cooper filed her papers and hasn’t been heard from since.

Alexa Kubrak once put together some ideas on re-branding for the Burlington Art Centre.  Got stiffed and decided the only way to make a difference was to be at the council table.  running in ward 4 where the incumbent has yet to declare.

Ward 4 has been busy; while incumbent Dennison hasn’t declared – and may not – three others Have.  John Sweeny, a former Deloitte business development executive, Steve Kempf who lives on Indian Road, outside the ward and Alexandra Kubrak, a young entrepreneur who may lack experience but is a bright young lady – all have their hats in the ring.

John Sweeney running in ward 4 takes part in public budget discussions.

Ward 5 has yet to hear from incumbent Paul Sharman but expect him to be in the race – he has nowhere else to go.  There is another candidate doing the final touches to his campaign website – look for an announcement very early in April – hopefully not April 1st.  Ian Simpson has also declared in ward 5.

Ward 6, which had the tightest race in 2010 when Blair Lancaster beat Mark Carr by a slim 125 votes, will face a very strong contender expected to announce early in April.  There is a declared candidate in the ring now – real estate broker Jim Curran announced earlier this month.

Still a lot of fence-sitting going on.  For those who want to run for office and be seen as serious get along to the Clerk’s office.  For those that have declared – begin getting your message out.

Background links:

Mayor satisfied with his first term

Catherine Henshell files nomination papers for Ward 1

Jason Boelhouwer announces his candidacy in Ward 1

John Sweeney will run in Ward 4

Alexandra Kubrak will be running in Ward 4

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Work of a master quilter on display at BAC – several powerful statements made with these quilts.

By Pepper Parr

March 15, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON.

John Willard has certainly put a much different twist on what we thought quilts were all about.  Canadians used to see quilts as things that people on farms used – often made out of bits and pieces of discarded clothing and flour sacks.

We then saw quilts done by the Mennonite community that were pieces of art – with traditional patterns that sold into the tens of thousands at the annual quilt sale in New Hamburg each fall.

A lot of tradition in this quilt but  the use of pastel colours move it out of what many see as the “traditional” rural quilt made from remnants and flour sacks.

Then along came John Willard who introduced designs that had not been seen before and quilt making was now going in a different direction.  Willard has a 40 year retrospective on at the Burlington Art Centre where there is a feast for the eye and, if you look very closely, some very, very powerful statements hand stitched into a quilt.

There are a number of quilts that would meet the demanding standards of the Mennonite community and there is one that would fill the wall of one of those Lakeshore mansions.

Willard will tell you the very moment he became an artist.  The family came across an old trunk stuck in a chicken coop on a family farm in Shediac, New Brunswick.  It was filled with brightly coloured crepe paper – that moment James Willard could almost feel the colour entering his blood stream – we see that colour today on the walls at the Burlington Art Centre.

Willard was a set designer, a photographer  He bought his first quilt in 1972; in the next five years he could display a collection of 30 quilts.

His work has meandered all over the place.  He worked as a custodian at the Oakville Library and later accepted the position of Publicity and Programming Assistant which he held for 23 years.

Willard’s introduction to the finer art of actually quilting was received at the hand of Michael James who was giving workshops.  Willard didn’t subscribe to the diehard traditionalists who insist quilts must be completely hand stitched from geometric blocks, have four square corners and be used as bed covering upon completion.  Willard went with those who believed a quilt could be of any size, shape, texture or subject matter and could be hung on a wall to be admired as a work of art.

It all began on an evening in 1907 needs very close inspection.  What appears to be white caps on the waves is much more than the eyes sees at first glance.

There is a quilt that didn’t do much for me when I glanced at it.  It saw it as a postcard, mildly interesting, until a woman asked if I’d looked at the Titanic – I said I had but it wasn’t my kind of quilt – but that I did like the ribbon quilts. “Take a closer look” the woman said to me.  I did and said – “so it’s a quilt of the Titanic sinking – there are two of them.” 

The names of those lost when the Titanic sank in 1907

With that tone of voice only a teacher or a Mother can use, the woman said: “get closer” so I walked up and took a really close look – and then it hit me.  The names of the more than 1500 people whose lives were lost when the Titanic sank at sea were hand stitched into the waves the ship was sliding beneath.  The quilt is called:   It all began on an evening in 1907.

This massive piece needs a very large wall – it takes over any room it is installed in – but then what a room.  The colour, the energy – it is almost a tapestry.

The Ribbon Series, of which here are seven at the exhibit, celebrate a turning point in Willard’s life when he came out of the closet and embraced his life as a gay man with a joy and celebration that is evident in the flows of the ribbons in some of the quilts and the tight design and discipline in others.

The colour, the flourish and the tight discipline take the art of quilt making some distance from the remnant quilts traditionally seen as folk art.

Willard is very much a quilter, evident when you watch the way he holds the needle and draws a thread tightly but he has always relied on fellow quilters who have worked with him following his designs and instructions.  The late Alvina Martin and Linda Robertson have done much of the finishing work from designs Willard spent months perfecting.

This is an exhibit well worth the time.  It is the work of a master who broke old moulds and advanced the art of quilt making to a new level.

The quilts are on display until the end of the month – well worth some of your time.

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Friends of Freeman membership increases by one – artist brings gift with him.

By Pepper Parr

March 15, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON.

Much like the way rolling stock went through town at the Burlington Junction, what we fondly call Freeman Station, people come and go at the organization that is getting ready to begin real work on the structure that now sits on the north side of Fairview just before you get to the fire station.

It was a proud day for James Smith – the signing of the Joint Venture Agreement between the city and the Friends of Freeman Station.  Smith, standing behind the red light, signed on behalf of the organization.

The Board of Directors announced that James Smith, President of Friends of Freeman Station (FoF) has resigned for personal reasons – good personal reasons.  Smith will remain on the Board of Directors.  He was a lead player in the significant effort that saved the station from the wrecking ball – the city did everything it could to get rid of the building – weren’t even able to sell it for scrap wood.

Brian Aasgaard, will assume the position of President; he served as a Vice-President of Friends of Freeman Station for a number of years.  Brian has done an outstanding job as Vice-President, and will devote the same level of high energy and enthusiasm he has always shown. Brian has this uncanny knack for getting people to give the FoF stuff that relates to railway operations.

The FoF is always looking for new members, especially people who are good with tools and want a reason to get out of the house and be with the guys.

John Mellow stands in the cold with artist David Harrington proudly displaying a print of the building the FoF are refurbishing to its 1906 condition.

The renowned, internationally acclaimed heritage artist, David Harrington has taken out a membership and generously donated one of his limited edition prints to Friends of Freeman Station to assist in their fundraising efforts to restore the station back to its 1906 when it was first constructed. This limited edition “ The Burlington Freeman Station” print is numbered 19/500, signed by the artist.

Getting the public to take a sense of ownership in a project is a fine art – coming up with a name that tells the story in a few words is part art and part science.  The good people over at the Friends of Freeman Station appear to be breaking one of the cardinal rules in keeping a story alive and growing: never mix up the message.

Most people know it as the Freeman Station – even though officially it was the Burlington  Junction station and that is what the sign on the structure will say the day it is opened as a tourist destination.

We are seeing the words Burlington Junction being used – and that is in fact the real name of the station.  It was one of two train stops in Burlington.  The Burlington West station was the one used by the farmers to ship their produce into Toronto.  It was located near a farm owned by the Freeman family and came to be known as the Freeman station when in fact the Freeman’s and had nothing to do with the station.  Farmers tend to talk in terms of property by the name of the people who own the land – even though the ownership of that land changed hands years ago.

However, the public knows it as the Freeman Station – introducing the real name in media releases just confuses people.  Do what the politicians do – stick to the message.  If you don’t – you lose your audience.

Background links:

Freeman station saved – city signs the agreement.

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He was hungry and wanted a drink. But 33 breach of probation charges – no wonder he was held for a bail hearing.

By Staff

March 14, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON.

Halton Regional Police Officers in Burlington have arrested a man in connection to a series of liquor thefts from LCBO Stores in Burlington and Oakville.

Between February 13th and March 3rd 2014, Neil MACMILLAN (30 Yrs) of Oakville, attended numerous L.C.B.O. Stores where he stole a variety of liquor totaling approximately $3,950.

On March 3rd 2014, an astute LCBO employee recognized MACMILLAN from a previous theft and called police.  MACMILLAN left the LCBO prior to police arrival however he was located a short time later exiting a neighbouring Metro Store where he was arrested and found to have a quantity of packaged meat which he had just stolen worth $201.

MACMILLAN was held for bail charged with theft under $5,000 (11 Counts) and breach of Probation (33 Counts).

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Police want to round up all the Irish during the weekend to keep them away from their beer.

By Staff

March 14, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON

I didn’t know we had that many Irish people in the city.  This year’s well-celebrated St. Patrick’s Day falls on Monday, March 17th and the Halton Regional Police Service officers will be out on Monday ensuring those that clink glasses won’t clink cars.

Blatantly discrimination if you ask me.  Were the police out in force on the feast of St. George?  Certainly not – but then the British were never known for their boisterousness.  A polite hear, hear is the best you can expect from them.

The police have recognized that many Halton residents will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this Friday or Saturday night instead and want to advise motorists to expect to see several RIDE programs in effect and also note a higher uniform presence patrolling in licensed establishments over this weekend, educating the public about impaired driving and enforcing the laws to ensure everyone on our roads are safe.

On Saturday March 15th, the Halton Regional Police Service in joint partnership with the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) , the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) and Mothers against Drunk Driving (MADD) will also be on location, conducting proactive checks at local LCBO and Beer stores throughout the Region.

You will need the “luck of the Irish” to avoid the police dragnet this weekend.

This team will be also be focusing their efforts on conducting bar checks at licensed establishments and reminding the staff of their responsibilities under the Liquor License Act, and encouraging staff to call police should they suspect a patron is about to drive a motor vehicle while impaired.

Informative St. Patrick’s Day fliers will be handed out at RIDE checks across the Region in efforts to educate the public and spread the word about the consequences of impaired driving.

The Halton Regional Police Service wishes everyone a Happy St. Patrick’s Day and encourages party-goers to celebrate responsibly.  Don’t Press Your Luck!….Use a Designated Driver! 

Would getting Leprephaun to take the wheel be acceptable?

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Armed robbery suspect sentenced to 6 years for 2011 hold up of Don Deez Clothing.

By Staff

March 13, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON

The wheels of justice grind slowly in Canada but it is usually fully served.

On June 13th 2011, two assailants entered Don Deez Clothing Limited at 390 Martha Street in Burlington, one of which was armed with a handgun.

The lone employee struggled with one of the assailants before breaking free and fleeing down some stairs located at the back of the store when a gunshot was heard.

 The assailants fled the store however a trail of blood led police to the location of some stolen clothing and the involved firearm which had been discarded in some bushes.

Investigators determined that one of the assailants sustained a gunshot during the robbery attempt and that person was eventually identified as Jamar Andre FRANCIS (25 yrs) of Silverstone Dr. in Etobicoke.  He was ultimately arrested and charged with Robbery Using a Firearm.

FRANCIS was found guilty and on March 7th 2014, he was sentenced to a jail term of 6-years however he will receive credit for the time already spent in custody.

The second assailant has yet to be identified.  It will be tough for Francis to get parole as long as he keeps the name of his partner to himself.

Anyone with information that can identify the second assailant is encouraged to call 3 District Criminal Investigations Bureau at 905-825-4747 X2343 or Crime Stoppers at 1 800 222 TIPS(8477), through the web at www.haltoncrimestoppers.com or by texting “Tip201” with your message to 274637 (crimes).

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First go at the idea went to the dogs – Burlington Humane Society benefits.

By Staff

March 13, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON.

If the inaugural meeting is any indication of what’s to come from this grassroots group, several local charities and organizations will be benefiting from additional funding, simply because passionate and caring women are coming together as 100 Women Who Care Burlington.

The concept is simple enough – 100 women (or more), $100 each (or more if you choose), 1 hour meetings 4 times per year. The goal is for 100 Women Who Care Burlington to collectively generate a minimum of $40,000 annually for local charitable initiatives. The impact is very powerful!

Laurel Hubber, the energy behind this project said: “Just thinking about the impact we’ll have on much-needed charitable programs and services in our community is incredibly inspiring.”

She put the word out to her friends and networking circle and asked if they would give an hour of their time to talk about people and organizations in Burlington that needed some help.  Once they had decided who – the cheques got written and the funds distributed – all within an hour.

Having decided who they want to donate their funds to this first meeting of the 100 who care sat to have their picture taken. As a concept – this is very powerful.

At their first meeting they chose the Burlington Humane Society as the recipient.  Here is how Adrienne Gosse, Shelter Manager commented “the Burlington Humane Society was incredibly surprised to learn we were the recipients of this wonderful donation! You could hear the shouts of excitement and joy from the shelter staff and volunteers when we got the call from the 100 Women who Care foundation. This money will be used to provide our cats and dogs with all the medical care they need, such as medical exams by a veterinarian, vaccines, medications, spays and neuters, along with any additional care such as dentals and broken bone repairs.”

The group meets again on March 26, at Tansley Woods – for an hour, to donate and decide where the funds are to go this time.  Meeting begins at 7:30 – ends at 8:30; registration takes place at 7:00 pm

Background links:

They get it done in an hour.

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Regional police do a sweep through Oakville; 8 arrests and multiple charges. Is Burlington next?

By Staff

March 13, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON.

It looked as if it was like getting caught up on the paper work.  Detective Eric Schwab, Oakville Criminal Investigations Bureau, took a crew from the Oakville District Strategic Support Team , in conjunction with the 2 District Offender Manager, and proactively sought out individuals in the Oakville area who were the subject of outstanding arrest warrants. Over the course of this initiative three Criminal Code warrants were executed, eight individuals were arrested, and seven were charged with a total of 18 criminal offences.

If this pro-activity worked that well in Oakville – can Burlington be far behind.  Some of your less than savoury friends might be leaving town for a while.

Between March 10th and 12th, 2014 the following individuals were arrested, and are facing the corresponding criminal charges:

 Frances BOWLES (48 years old, of Oakville)

Charged with Assault, Mischief Under $5,000, and Fail to Appear for Court.  She is scheduled to appear at the Ontario Court of Justice in Milton on March 28th.

Dustin ZITA (23 years old, of Oakville)

Charged with Unlawfully at Large, Obstruct Police, Breach of Probation (4 Counts). He has already pled guilty to these charges and is currently being held in custody.

Natalie WATSON (19 years old, of Oakville)

Charged with Obstruct Police.  She is scheduled to appear at the Ontario Court of Justice in Milton on April 14th.

Alan FORREST (51 years old, of Mississauga)

Charged with Fail to Appear for Court, Fail to Appear for Prints, Theft Under $5,000 (2 Counts), Breach of Probation.  He is scheduled to appear at the Ontario Court of Justice in Brampton on March 13th.

Justin HOWITT (27 years old, of Oakville)

Charged with Theft Under $5,000, and Fail to Appear for Court.  He is scheduled to appear at the Ontario Court of Justice in Milton on April 15th.

 Christopher TELFORD (28 years old, of Mississauga)

Charged with Breach of Probation and Fail to Appear for Court.  He is scheduled to appear at the Ontario Court of Justice in Milton on March 25th. 

 Mary WHALEN (54 years old, of Oakville)

Charged with Breach of Probation.  She is scheduled to appear at the Ontario Court of Justice in Milton on March 13th.

Anyone with information on this or any other crime is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1 800 222-TIPS (8477), through the web at www.haltoncrimestoppers.com or by texting ‘Tip201’ with your message to 274637(crimes).

 

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No Vacancy moves to digs with a little more cachet; Opens for 7 hours at Village Square September 19th – not to be missed.

By Pepper Parr

March 12, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON.

Last year it was one of those quiet hits – those who knew about it were amazed and those who didn’t get to the event said they wished they’d known.

It was called No Vacancy and took place at the Waterfront Hotel – the event lasted less than four hours and had hotel management skittish – it wasn’t quite the kind of thing Burlington had seen before.

It took place at a time when the city was getting a sense as to just what it was in terms of its cultural depth.  It was edgy.

Selina Jane Eckersall points to one of the locations for some of the “installation art” that will be on display for seven hours September 19 – a not to be missed event.

The best way to describe what Selina McCall Eckersall called No Vacancy is to say “installation art” and if that doesn’t mean all that much to you – think in terms of giving an artist a room or a space and telling them they can do whatever they want, make whatever artistic statement they want – just don’t put any holes in the walls.

With a small but very successful first step behind her Eckersall decided to up her game and go for a bigger venue.  Date will be the same – September 19th – the location will be different and perhaps a surprise to many.  Oh – and there is a name change as well.

Newly named and branded as the Cirque, Eckersall wants the event to be Burlington’s Nuit Blanche.  A Call for Entries that will go out this week.  There will be 30 installations in various spaces at the Village Square which Eckersall hopes will bring new life to a location that was once the artistic hub of the city.

Eckersall peeks into one of the locations she expects to use for the Cirque “installation art” event next September

The Square has languished for a number of years; it was put up for sale and then taken off the market. Eckersall will be working closely with Jack Friedman’s daughter Debra who recently closed the Artists Walk operation she ran for years.

Eckersall sees the Village Square as the local for the Cirque for at least five years – “After that” she said, “I’ve no idea where this project will go.”  Eckersall added that the Art Centre has decided they want to use one of the 30 spaces for an “illustration” they want to create.

Eckersall is now in the process of raising the $50,000 it is going to take to get the event off the ground.

“We expect to have all the submissions in by around the middle of April and then we will see what we have in the way of concepts and begin developing sponsorships around them.”  The Son of the Peach, an upscale pizzeria that will open soon, is sponsoring one of the instalations.  This new restaurant will be right beside Pine, next to the Paradiso at the south end of the Village Square.

A Facebook page has been set – the Call for Entries will be at that location.

Home for a new upscale pizzeria – The Son of a Peach, the location will also host one of the installation art events next September.

Some of the sponsorships will come from the existing Village Square tenants said Eckersall who needs to determine just what they are comfortable with.  Several of the “installations” at the waterfront were very avant-garde, almost aggressively so, which is what gave the event last year that wonderful edge it had.

The event will begin at 7 pm and run right through to 2 am.  Should be enough time left to catch the last call at Honey West.

 Working with Eckersall is Leila Hurley of the Downtown Business Development Association and Shannon Kitchings who sits on the Steering Committee of the Arts and Cultural Collective.

Background links:

Short show, stunning presentation – No Vacancy

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World class engineering association recognizes what city did at King Road.

By Pepper Parr

March 12, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON.

There is news and then there is news.  There is what media people call “fluff” stories that really don’t say very much, have absolutely no impact but make the people who send them out feel warm and fuzzy.

Then there are news items that are significant, play up an event or offer information that has people saying to themselves – now that mattered.

Yesterday two such news items drifted into the Burlington Gazette.  The city has, once again been ranked the fifth-best city overall in Canada, including the third-best place to raise children, the second-best place for new immigrants and the third-best place to retire. The top five cities on the list are St. Albert, Calgary and Strathcona in Alberta and Ottawa and Burlington in Ontario.

Mayor Goldring said the expected: “ I know members of City Council join me in expressing our absolute delight that Burlington tops the list of mid-sized Canadian cities.  We are a physically beautiful city with great weather” – this on a day when the city got 12 cm of snow, with another 4 cm expected later in the day.

In their media release MonySense magazine added: “That said, Burlington is one of the more expensive cities in our ranking. The average home costs almost $500,000, which is four and a half times the average family income. Still, this city earns high marks for low unemployment, pleasant weather, low crime, high incomes and, notably, great transit. While traffic can make the commute to Toronto a pain, the province’s GO train service makes up for this. Lee-Hutchinson pays $450 per month to travel to and from Toronto where she runs a photography and production company with her husband. It’s pricey but that buys her time to relax by reading or watching movies.”

Earlier in the day we were told that Hatch Mott MacDonald had earned a National Recognition Award for exemplary engineering achievement:  the King Road Grade Separation Project in Burlington, Ontario.

Five million pound concrete box slides underneath railway tracks at King Road.

“What might have been a lengthy, complicated effort: said the media release “ to create a new railroad underpass beneath a busy roadway in a densely populated area was completed in just 72 hours. A 2,500-ton reinforced concrete “box” was built adjacent to the crossing, then resourcefully rolled into place during a weekend rail service outage. The four rail lines were back in service at the start of the workweek.”

“The project marks the first time an accelerated bridge construction project of this scale has been completed in North America. It serves as a valuable example to other transportation agencies facing time and space constraints in their own infrastructure improvement programs.”

“The project was one of 143 engineering projects judged by a panel of more than 25 engineers, architects, government officials, media members, and academics. Criteria for the awards include uniqueness and originality, technical innovation, social and economic value, complexity, and success in meeting goals.”

For those who watched the event – it was broadcast live over the internet – all 72 hours – with people sitting in a grandstand the city set up – it was an amazing event.  To watch that 2,500 ton cube of concrete slide into position was a marvel.

THAT was something to blow our horn about.  Burlington’s engineering department was in the thick of this project that got started when the city successfully pursued CN Rail to a federal regulatory commission that decided CN Rail had to pay for the bulk of the work. Years of planning got the city to a Friday afternoon of a holiday weekend when the last train rolled through the tracks that crossed King Road.

72 hours later – at just before 5 in the morning, the first of the commuter trains rolled through – the project was complete. 

Background links:

King Road grade separation completed in 72 hours.

 

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If the grass you cut was really hay – would you get a lower tax rate? Developers take hay off vacant land and pay 1/5th the tax you pay.

By Pepper Parr

March 12, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON.

During the time of Jesus in first century Israel, there were tax collectors who could walk up to a man and tax him for what he was carrying.  These tax collectors were hated and despised because they were usually fellow Jews who worked for Rome. There were many taxes needed from the provinces to administrate the Roman Empire. These taxes paid for a good system of roads, law and order, security, religious freedom, a certain amount of self-government and other benefits.  The men who did this work were called publicans.

It isn’t all that much different today. The province of Ontario requires the municipalities to maintain roads and water treatment plants; we have to have a police force, we have to have a Medical Officer of Health who administers rules the province puts in place.

The city of Burlington levies taxes.  City council recently passed a budget that set a budget of $133,816,211 for current operations and $67 million for capital expenditures and determined that home owners will pay a tax of $12.78 for every $100,000 of property valuation.  That property assessment is set by MPAC – the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation..

Every property owners know what the taxes are on their homes – what most people don’t know is that different types of property pay a different amount of tax

Residential property is taxed at what they refer to as 1; which means they pay that $12.78 for every $100,000 of property assessment.

There are eight different classes of property:

Residential (1.0)

New multi-residential (2.0)

Multi-residential (2.26)

Commercial (1.45)

Industrial (2.35),

Farmlands (0.20)

Managed forests (0.25)

Pipelines, (1.06)

This Enbridge pipe line runs from border to border of the city – they pay .06 more on their assessment than you do for your house.  What is the pipeline asses at?  We don’t know that.

Those numbers in brackets represent the tax ratio rate, with residential always set at 1.  So for a property assessed at $200,000 that is residential that rate would be 2 x $12.78  a property that is classed Commercial the rate would be 2.35 x $12.78  assuming the same $200,000 assessment

This isn’t exactly the middle of a farm field is it. Land that could be taxed as commercial gets a farmland tax rate even if it is in the middle of town – all you have to do is cut the hay and bale it.

Take a look at that farmland rate and recall driving by one of those vacant lots on the South service Road where you may have seen round bales of hay that never seems to get taken away.  That property managed to get itself classes as farmland and all they have to pay is 0.20 of that $12.78  tax rate.  Now you know why developers can hang onto land and are patient while its value increases.  They get it classified as farm land, have someone cut what is really low, low quality hay and pay 1/5th of the rate you are paying for your property.

Those tax rates are set by the Regional government.  Burlington has seven seats on the 20 member council – but don’t expect our team to suggest a different tax structure for farmland held by developers or for that matter, land in those large estates north of 407.  Huge homes where people live in the lap of luxury – which is fine.  Heck they earned their money (didn’t they?) and if they can afford that kind of space good on them – but have them pay the same taxes as those poor shmucks in the suburbs south of Dundas.

Things used to better in Burlington; there was a time when the city levied a tax on telephone poles. “we can’t do that anymore” advised the Director of Finance.  There was a bit of a wistful look in her eye when she made that statement.

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Is the Prime Minister’s diplomacy part of the Canadian peacekeeping tradition or is it a shameless vote grab?

By Ray Rivers

March 12, 2014

BURLINGTON, ON.

Canada was one of the first nations to respond to the civil unrest in Kiev and the Russian invasion of Crimea.  We recalled our ambassador to Russia, dispatched foreign minister Baird to visit Kiev, booted out a few Russian soldiers visiting us, offered a tiny amount of economic and humanitarian aid and sent over a couple of military observers.  This was all announced with the sober deportment which Mr. Harper so capably captures. 

There is a strong, vibrant Ukrainian community in Canada – a voting block if there ever was one.

The reaction from the substantial Ukrainian diaspora in this country was positive, but they know just what he is doing.  They understand this is what good politicians do to sway a potential ethnic voting block into their partisan camp.   And its not that Mr. Harper couldn’t have done more if he really wanted to pour his love on Ukraine.   For example, the financial aid he offered for that economically devastated nation of forty-six million people is an embarrassingly paltry sum.  This is from a Canadian government that doesnt think twice about dumping a couple million bucks advertising a non-existent job training program.  

Once considered the bread basket of Europe – the country is now an economic basket case.

The Ukrainian situation is complicated. Once considered the bread-basket of Europe, the Ukraine has become an economic basket-case, caught between an ever-expanding EU and a newly oil-rich Russia intent on re-establishing the old Soviet Union.  It is one of the ironies of civilization that the Ukraine is caught in this potentially matricidal tragedy, having been the cradle of birth for the Russian people.  For most of its forty-four thousand-year history the Ukrainian people were made captive by any and all invaders, including Huns, Mongols and Turks, the Poles and Swedish Deluge, the Austrian-Hungarian empire, Hitler and most recently the USSR, where it acquired its current geographical dimensions. 

Crimea will become part of the Russian Federation, every reasonable person sees that inevitability.  The question is whether Russia is content with its acquisition of this tiny peninsula, or whether it will find pretext to invade other parts of the Ukraine.  The entire western effort focused on Crimea is about keeping Mr. Putins attention there.  This hopefully will stall him in order for the Ukrainians to assemble enough of a defence to hold onto the rest of their country.

Mr. Putin is upset.  His dreams of expansion have been set back by the impending Ukrainian decision to favour the EU over his dream of a new USSR.  It is truly unfortunate that the west didnt have the foresight to envision this situation.  It might have been possible to more fully invite Russia into the European community of nations, such that Mr. Putin would not feel threatened by a pro-west Ukraine.  Russia faces the reality of having lost all of its former Warsaw Pact satellites to the EU, and more importantly to NATO.   From Putins perspective securing his military base in Crimea was the very minimum he should do.

Canadian Foreign Affairs  Minister Baird has traveled to Kiev and worn the colours of the Ukrainian state.

There was a time when Canada was viewed as an honest broker.  Lester Pearson won the Nobel Peace prize in 1957, for his trusted independent voice of reason.  Today Canadas foreign policy is about marketing our natural resources, and shamelessly pandering to the ethnic vote back home.   So nobody listens to us anymore, and certainly not Mr. Putin.  For all the PMs bluster about the invasion of Crimea, Canadas only substantial contribution will be through NATO action, should that become necessary.

But we should not deprecate the fact that we were among the first to get involved.  We closed our embassy to register our disapproval at the slaughter of protesters.  Then, following the flight of besieged president Yanukoyvich, we provided early moral support for the new administration in Kiev,   Mr. Harper has a habit of jumping into situations early and this time he got it right and demonstrated leadership.

And there is a lesson from Crimea for Mr. Harper – in fact for all of us.  Quebec having just announced elections is busy preparing for its new sovereignty referendum, should the PQ win.  In response, it appears the PM has come to life, and begun meeting with parliamentary opposition leaders and provincial premiers about his next steps.  After all Crimeas future in the Ukraine will be determined by a unilateral referendum, not unlike those used in the last two Quebec votes on sovereignty.

As we see in Crimea, events can move quickly.  So it is prudent for the PM to at least ponder the imponderables, knowing there is a probability they could become reality in the event of a strong majority vote for sovereignty.   For example the northern aboriginals in Quebec, whose treaties are with Canada, may wish to stay in Canada – to separate from a separate Quebec.  Would the rest of Canada support them, militarily if necessary?  Would there be involvement by other nations – the USA or France?  Oh what a tangled web theyll weave – and all they want is to secede.

Ray Rivers writes weekly on both federal and provincial politics, applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking.  Rivers was a candidate for provincial office in Burlington where he ran against Cam Jackson in 1995, the year Mike Harris and the Common Sense Revolution swept the province. He developed the current policy process for the Ontario Liberal Party.

Background links:

Canadas Ukraine Contribution 

 Russia vs Nazis     Legal Issues in Ukraine      Russian View       Kissinger     Ukrainian Feed       Mulroney on Putin

 Losing Putin        Russia Lost the War      Ukrainian Diaspora   Ukraine History       Yanukoyvich Corruption

The Crimea Case

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