Do these phobias describe Friday the 13th ? paraskavedekatriaphobia and friggatriskaidekaphobia

By Staff

January 13th, 2023


Long considered a harbinger of bad luck, Friday the 13th has inspired a late 19th-century secret society, an early 20th-century novel, a horror film franchise and not one but two unwieldy terms—paraskavedekatriaphobia and friggatriskaidekaphobia—that describe fear of this supposedly unlucky day.

Suspicions in plain sight

The Fear of 13

Just like walking under a ladder, crossing paths with a black cat or breaking a mirror, many people hold fast to the belief that Friday the 13th brings bad luck. Though it’s uncertain exactly when this particular tradition began, negative superstitions have swirled around the number 13 for centuries.

While Western cultures have historically associated the number 12 with completeness (there are 12 days of Christmas, 12 months and zodiac signs, 12 labors of Hercules, 12 gods of Olympus and 12 tribes of Israel, just to name a few examples), its successor 13 has a long history as a sign of bad luck.

The ancient Code of Hammurabi, for example, reportedly omitted a 13th law from its list of legal rules. Though this was probably a clerical error, superstitious people sometimes point to this as proof of 13’s longstanding negative associations.

Will you walk under a ladder today ?

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MM Robinson High School was named after him - why? He made a huge contribution to sports - a legacy that could be repeated

By Pepper Parr

January 12th, 2023



In her book, The Growing Years, Dorothy Turcotte wrote: Have you ever wondered what M.M. Robinson did to have a secondary school named in his honour?

Melville Marks Robinson was a native of Peterborough. Almost everyone knew him as M.M. or Bobby. He left school at 13 and took a job at the Toronto News as an office boy in the circulation department. Later he became assistant sports editor at $8.50 a week.

In 1910 he was hired as sports editor at the Hamilton Spectator at $15 a week, and later became city editor of the paper.

This was the dress code for Commonwealth Games. Note the seal in the lower right corner – making the photograph official

One day in 1927, he was chatting with a colleague who had been director of athletics at the University of Western Ontario. They were deploring the fact that Canadian runners lacked the competition they needed to develop into top athletes in their fields.

The colleague mentioned the Empire Festival, which had been held in England in 1911.

As a builder, Bobby was known in athletics circles for getting things done. He was a Sports Editor at the Hamilton Spectator from 1908 to 1931.

Bobby came up with the idea of having a track and field competition that involved athletes from nations within the British Empire. This led to Bobby founding the British Empire Games (now known as the Commonwealth Games) that was first held in Hamilton in 1930. He managed the 1934 team.

Bobby Robinson took up the idea immediately. He began lobbying for the establishment of the British Empire Games, which he wanted to be held in Hamilton.

In 1928, he went to Amsterdam as manager of the Canadian Olympic track and field team, and took the opportunity of selling the idea of the Empire Games abroad.

In order to develop the necessary facilities for such games, Hamilton had to have a stadium and indoor swimming pool.
T.B. McQueston, then chairman of the Hamilton Parks Board who was subsequently instrumental in the founding of th Royal Botannical Gardens in 1932, convinced the city council that it would be worthwhile to spend the money needed.

As a result, Civic Stadium and the Municipal Pool were built at a cost of $160,000.

Bobby Robinson went abroad to approach other countries in the Empire. They were all enthusiastic, except for one. When Robinson met with Lord Derby in England, Derby insisted that the games weren’t practical due to the Depression and lack of funds.

Robinson is reported to have said to Derby: ”If Britain won’t play with us, we will turn south — to the United States.”

That convinced Lord Derby that Britain should compete. The British Empire Games (BEG) were held in Hamilton in 1930, and are still being held. In 1958 they were renamed the Commonwealth Games.

Percy Williams – did Track at the 1930 games

The program for the first British Empire Games that took place in Hamilton in 1930. Will the Games return in 2030?

The Amsterdam Olympics provided Robinson with a venue for the contacts he would need to sell the idea of holding British Empire Games in the “spirit of friendly competition”. The first British Empire Games were therefore held in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada in 1930.

As founder of the Games Robinson continued to manage the Canadian Olympic and B.E.G. track teams until 1938.
Lt. M. M. Robinson, served as a Lieutenant 86th Machine Gun Battalion

Sports and education were the two fields in which he made a mark.

Robinson was a sports person and an educator. He left school at the age of 13 and came to realize that having an education mattered. In 1920, Robinson was elected to the Hamilton Board of Education where he helped promote the city as a leading centre for track & field in Canada. He also played an active role in the creation of the Canadian Legion, a non-profit Canadian veterans’ organization

Robinson knew the value of learning and was a champion of education. He served for many years on a various school boards.

In 1959 he became the first chairman of the newly-amalgamated City of Burlington’s Board of Education.

Bobby played an active role in the creation of the Hamilton Olympic Club, becoming the first Club President in 1926. He was the manager of the 1928 and 1936 Olympic teams.

He was later appointed to the board of Burlington High School, serving from 1940 to 1963, including as its president from 1950 to 1963. Upon his retirement, a new school, M. M. Robinson High School, was named in his honour.

He died in Burlington on June 6, 1974 at the age of 86 and is buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Burlington

Robinson clearly knew how to lobby and convince people what a good idea looked like and then get them to act on the idea.
Last week the eight Chambers of Commerce that make up the Hamilton 2030 Commonwealth Games Bid wrote the Premier to express their support for hosting the 2030 Commonwealth Games in the Golden Horseshoe Region. The group that signed the letter included eight municipalities and two First Nations.

They were advocating for a one-time, multi-year, pan-community building opportunity that boosts Ontario’s economy, drives private sector investments, delivers economic Impacts and legacies, and helps achieve several Ontario government mandates (accessibility, affordable housing, environment, indigenous affairs, community infrastructure, sport, culture, tourism, and trade.)

A proposed investment of $440M from the Ontario Government that catalyzes federal and private sector funding, will result in a $1.2B+ boost to regional GDP including 16K+ new jobs, and $400M+ in Games contracts for local businesses. In the lead up to and for years following the Games, national and international sport events, festivals, tradeshows, and conventions hosted in Ontario will more than double, benefiting the tourism and hospitality sectors. Owing largely to private sector leadership, a trade program will result in new deals with key Commonwealth countries worth hundreds of millions of dollars, forge new international partnerships, and fuel growth across the Golden Horseshoe Region.

Hosting these Games
• brings reality to the Made in Ontario narrative, with Ontario producing raw materials and manufactured products showcased in all development projects – showing the world what Made in Ontario means and that Ontario is Open for Business.

Melville Marks Robinson – everyone called him Bobby

• provides a platform for showcasing environmental and sustainability best practices, improving people’s and business sustainability habits and behaviors for the long term and is a powerful enabler in achieving Ontario’s commitment to the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals

• has support from a broad range of business, community and sport organizations, and 8 municipalities and acts as a connector between all levels of government and the private and public sectors, resulting in an increase the confidence and pride of all Ontarians for generations to come.

It sounded like Melville Marks Robinson lobbying for a sports event he brought to the area close to 100 years ago.

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Top 5 Reasons Why Going Solar Puts You In The Advantage

By Janyl Gregorio

January 12th, 2023


Renewable energy sources are always an advantage. In fact, governments around the globe build power plants to channel these sources on a larger scale. Thus, supplementing non-renewable energy sources to cover everyone’s consumption.

Furthermore, on a smaller scale, having access to inexhaustible sources like solar energy can also put you ahead of everybody. As such, going solar can provide you with long term benefits and would greatly impact your energy consumption, financial budgeting,and peace of mind. In line with this premise, here are some facts to give you more understanding about your edge for going solar.

Provincial and Federal Incentives
Going solar provides you with perks from the government. They allocate incentives to those who choose to tap sustainable energy consumption. Thus, solar panel as an alternative, if not the main source, of electrical energy not only lets you enjoy lower bills but also allows you to take advantage of certain credits given by the state.

Installation is done quickly and requires next to nothing in the way of maintenance.

For instance, Ontario solar incentives brought by Green Homes Loan offers $40, 000 worth of funds. It is interest-free and would allow you to do retrofits needed for your home energy usage. These perks will help you start your solar journey and provide you with options that better fits your budget.

Increase In Savings
As one of the long term outcomes of choosing solar energy, an increase in savings is the most beneficial. Imagine receiving an electrical bill with a lesser amount compared to previous years. It only means that investing in renewable energy is worth it.

Little by little, the accumulated savings you get from consuming less of commercial electricity will grow in amount in hindsight. You will later be able to allocate more budget on insurance and emergency funds. Hence, you can live peacefully without worrying about your finances.

Energy Independence
Another notable advantage of going solar is the energy independence. It means you no longer have to consume energy brought by non-renewable sources. It also means lesser carbon emission and will result in minimal greenhouse gasses sent into the atmosphere.

The sun as your main source of energy allows you to not only save for the rainy days but also contribute positively to the environment. Give it a thought. Going solar will do you more good than harm. It’s not even called “harm”. It’s called investment.

A house with solar has a selling advantage

Added Market Value
Going solar also adds significant value to your home. Houses with solar panels are by far more expensive than a normal residential house. If you are thinking of selling your property and you happen to have solar panels installed, it will become an added value. Thus, gives you an edge of closing that sale.

Think about it. Installing solar panels gives you more than what you paid for. Basically, your return of investment is inevitable. All you need to do is consider going solar and have the patience in waiting for the fruit of your labour to be harvested over time. It might not be upfront but with time in play, you’ll wake up one day living without paying electrical bills anymore.

Solar energy is now so valuable – corporations have created solar farms where electricity is harvested and sold to energy grids.

By-products of power plants and factories are a huge contributor to air pollution and water pollution. Toxic waste is produced and carbon emission is increasing exponentially.

How does going solar help lessen these environmental problems? As mentioned earlier, owning solar panels will give you energy independence. It keeps you away from being dependent on power plants. Thus, one less carbon contributor.

If more people rely on renewable energy sources, the day will come where power plants will no longer use fossil fuels or nuclear energy. It will be non-toxic and renewable. We breathe fresher air and will have a cooler atmosphere.

“leave no stone unturned, leave your fears behind…”

There are several advantages of going solar. The list above are just among the many benefits you get for relying on renewable energy sources. Bear in mind, installing solar panels to your homes or establishments is a wise choice. It gives you a chance to save money in the long run and helps lessen air pollution by not relying on non-renewable energy sources producing electricity.

The best takeaway you can get from all these is the fact that you can always turn things around for the greater good. A better life is always ahead and a more liveable environment can be materialized. You are just one decision away from doing so. Remember, life is full of decision-making. It is meant to be lived forward and forward you should go. As a line in a song from Nickelback states, “leave no stone unturned, leave your fears behind…”

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Clever scam using the Interac brand. This one is going to fool a lot of people.

By Staff

January 12, 2023



This scam is really dangerous.

People trust the Interac service – we use it several times a day.

The give away on it is the address it comes from.  But far too many people see the money and click on the image.

Here is what it looks like

The address the email came from:

Nothing about the Canadian government in that address. The address used tells you it is phony. Too many people see the $432.00 part of the email. It is cleverly done.

Then there is the part of the email that instructs you how to have the funds deposited directly into your bank account using the Interac service

Note the date on the image.


The rule you need to follow: If in doubt – DON’T!

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Councillors Sharman and Bentivegna want Community development-Neighbourhood Capacity Building Strategy included in the budget

By Pepper Parr

January 12th, 2023



This is the first Motion that has gone to Council from a Councillor based on their status as a Deputy Mayor with a portfolio.

In this situation it is Councillor Sharman presenting the Motion with support from Councillor Bentivegna

Councillors Sharman and Bentivegna talking through some council business

The two are asking Council to Consider:

Direct the Director of Recreation, Community and Culture to report back by Q3 2023 on the development and advancement of the City’s Community development-Neighbourhood Capacity Building Strategy including the following elements:

Vision, purpose, and goals to increase and build overall community capacity for the long-term-benefit of the city. This element should build on work, resourcing and funding that has been ongoing since 2013.

Clarity of scope including definition of Community Development and Neighbourhood Capacity in relation to events, initiatives and activities.

A proposed organizational design and structure to support the strategy implementation to be integrated into the 2024 and future years Designing and Evolving the Organization (DEOO) process.

Integration of the goals and outcomes of the strategy into various affected service business plans, business processes and budgets, including but not limited to: Recreation, Arts & Culture, Parks Design and Construction; Community Design and Development Review, By-law Enforcement and Licensing, Corporate Communications & Engagement, and Parks and Open Space – Maintenance. Such changes may also require amendments to various City master plans.

Through strategy formulation an implementation plan will also be required including but not limited to such areas as:

Community capacity – meeting with neighbours during a car free Sunday on Appleby Line

Associated city policies/bylaws to facilitate the strategy implementation. For example, policies/bylaws to include associated park rental and other fees, fee waivers and requirements for staff time charge-backs

Review of risk management requirements for neighbourhood events and activities

Integration and alignment of the strategy, with city volunteer management program

Update on existing and proposed future city grants model and other available funding opportunities (e.g. corporate sponsorships) to support neighbourhood events. In developing options for future city grants, consideration to be given for both start up and ongoing annual events.

What does all that mean and just what is the Community Development/Neighbourhood Capacity Building Strategy?

The Motion Directs the Executive Director of Environment, Infrastructure and Community Services to provide a brief update for the budget sessions in February 2023 on the requirement for any incremental 2023 one-time funding to support the preliminary work on strategy development (e.g. external consulting support, workshop speakers etc.)

That sounds like another bump to a budget that starts with a 7% increase.

One of the key strategic pillars identified for the City of Burlington is An Engaging City- Community where members are engaged, empowered, welcomed and well‐served by their city. Culture and community activities thrive, creating a positive sense of place, inclusivity and community. Key outcomes and goals include an engaged community where culture, civic activities, neighbourhood initiatives and recreational activities help to enhance and grow the sense of engagement, community, place and unity.

The Appleby Line Car Free Sunday  – part of what Community Capacity Building is all about.

Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman

For many years, the City administered a Facility Fee Waiver Program and the Community Development fund to support local not for profit organizational development. Recognizing a great need for neighbourhood connections, Council and staff have since 2013 focused on the development and implementation of a number of specific neighbourhood programs in support of this priority including but not limited to:

• neighbourhood connectors,
• neighbourhood community matching fund,
• annual Council member funding to assist sponsor community events ($5K towards initial startup).
• love my neighbourhood program,
• community hub program,
• neighbourhood outdoor rinks and
• approval of the Community Investment Policy.

As part of reporting back in Q3 2023, staff have advised of the need for ongoing incremental multi-year budget support related to any enhanced strategy development and implementation. Specifically, the need exists through the 2024 and future years DEOO process for building a staff team with dedicated staff resources within each quadrant of the city responsible for executing the various strategic actions including:

• completing the ongoing community connection work;
• building trust with the community by building and
• strengthening relationships, especially with newcomers and marginalized populations.

Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman at his persuasive best,

Councillor Sharman is very direct when he said: As Burlington grows primarily through increased density, it is absolutely critical that all residents are afforded opportunities to feel engaged and connected particularly in the areas that directly impact quality of life and community health and well-being.

Councillor Sharman is moving the motion along with support from Councillor Bentivegna, recognizing that community capacity building falls under his Deputy Mayor portfolio as it relates to recreation and culture. The motion will require 2/3 support as it is time sensitive and has been submitted following the agenda deadline.

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Charges Laid in Yet Another Human Trafficking Investigation

By Staff

January 12th, 2023



A Human Trafficking Investigation initiated in January 2023, the Halton Regional Police Service – Human Trafficking Unit has formed grounds to charge 40-year-old Steve Coelho of Toronto.

Police believe there are additional victims in regards to this investigation and are asking anyone who has come into contact with Steve Coelho (alias names of “Nikolai” or “Nik”) or who has information to please contact D/Cst. Moss of the Human Trafficking Unit at 905-825-4747 ext. 4961. A photo of Coelho is attached.

Steve Coelho, 40 of Toronto

Steve Coelho has now been charged with the following offences:

• Trafficking in Persons
• Material Benefit from trafficking in persons
• Withhold or destroy documents
• Material Benefit resulting from sexual services
• Advertise Sexual Services
• Procuring

He has been held in custody pending a bail hearing.

The Halton Regional Police Service firmly believes that every person has the right to feel safe in our community.

Victims of violence and/or sexual assault and witnesses are encouraged to contact the Halton Regional Police Service. The following is a list of valuable support services and resources in our region for victims of violence and/or sexual assault:

• Halton Regional Police Service Victim Services Unit 905-825-4777 ext. 5239 or by email at
• Nina’s Place Sexual Assault and Domestic Assault Care Centre 905-336-4116 or 905-681-4880
• Sexual Assault and Violence Intervention Services (SAVIS) 905-875-1555 (24-hour crisis line)
• Radius Child & Youth Services 905-825-3242 (Oakville) or 1-855-744-9001
• Kid’s Help Phone 1-800-668-6868 (24-hour crisis line)
• THRIVE Counselling 905-845-3811 or 905-637-5256

Signs / Indicators of Human Trafficking
• Not being allowed to speak for themselves;
• Not having control of their own money or cellphone;
• Suddenly having a new or second cell phone with a secret number;
• Being controlled by others and escorted at all times;
• Not being allowed to contact family or friends;
• Withdrawing from family and friends;
• Providing rehearsed answers to casual questions;
• Being secretive about their activities;
• Showing signs of abuse, such as bruising, cigarette burns, fractures, etc.
• Having a new boyfriend, girlfriend or friend who they won’t introduce to friends/family; and
• Having new items (clothing, jewelry etc.) outside their financial means.

What Should I Do if I Think Someone is a Victim of Trafficking?
If there is immediate danger or if you suspect someone is being trafficked, call 9-1-1.

You may also call the Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-833-900-1010.

The Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline is a confidential, multilingual service, operating 24/7 to connect victims and survivors with social services, law enforcement, and emergency services, as well as receive tips from the public. The hotline uses a victim-centered approach when connecting human trafficking victims and survivors with local emergency, transition, and/or long-term supports and services across the country, as well as connecting callers to law enforcement where appropriate.

Tips can also be submitted anonymously to Crime Stoppers. “See something? Hear something? Know something? Contact Crime Stoppers” at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or through the web at


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Covid19: The XBB.1.5 variant is helping the virus better bind to cells and thus be more transmissible.

By Staff

January 12th, 2023


The XBB family of variants emerged a few months ago and caught virologists’ attention because it contains more mutations to evade immunity than any other variant. The XBB.1.5 variant has a mutation virologists believe is helping the virus better bind to cells and thus be more transmissible.

The latest Covid19 news has to do with a new variant XBB.1.5

The details: XBB.1.5 is “the most transmissible” variant yet, which means even people who are vaccinated or have gotten covid19 before are getting infected.

What else to know: There’s no evidence so far that XBB.1.5 is making people sicker or that it evolved because of vaccines.

So what now? Vaccination, high-quality masks and avoiding crowds are your best bet at protection.

The link to the Regional data dashboard so far doesn’t have a word about the new variant.

This pandemic is far from over – why has the data coming out of the Medical Officer of Health not made any mention. Keeping the public as fully informed as possible is THE MoH mandate.

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Male Charged in Human Trafficking Investigation

By Staff

January 11, 2023




As a result of a Human Trafficking Investigation initiated in December 2022, the Halton Regional Police Service – Human Trafficking Unit, has arrested and charged 27-year-old Paolo Fadul-Gonzalez of Toronto.

The allegations stem from historical incidents between 2018 and 2020 where the victim was exploited throughout the Greater Toronto Area.

Police believe there are additional victims and ask anyone with information to contact D/Cst. Serafini of the Human Trafficking Unit at 905-825-4747 ext.4974.

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One Burlington Presents Memories of the Brant Inn at Port Nelson United:  A Celebration of Black History Month on Saturday February 4th  

By Staff

January 11th, 2023



ONE BURLINGTON, our city’s organization dedicated to the celebration of faith and culture, is presenting a live event acknowledging Black History Month for the first tine since 2020. Over the years of the pandemic we have inaugurated a number of successful Outreach virtual events on Black and Indigenous themes and a successful Food Drive.

For a period of about 40 years it was one of the hottest attraction in Eastern Canada.

MEMORIES OF THE BRANT INN salutes the legendary supper club that graced the shore of Lake Ontario just west of Brant Street from the 1920’s to the 1960’s.  During that glorious era, the Brant Inn played host to the world’s finest pop and jazz musicians.

ONE BURLINGTON is going to pay special tribute to the extraordinary Black musicians who played the BRANT INN. These included none other than Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Fats Waller, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Lena Horne among many others.

To help us celebrate we have invited the great Billy Newton-Davis to lead a quartet of stellar local performers. Newton-Davis has performed across North America, including Broadway, and was for many years a member of the acclaimed a cappella quartet The Nylons.

 He will be joined by Hayley Lewis, the Burlington-born singer/dancer/actor, and Tracy Cain, well known to Hamilton audiences for her numerous appearances in musical theatre productions. Oakville’s Stu Harrison, one of Canada’s finest jazz pianists, will serve as Music Director. Ancilla Ho-Young and Robert Missen, who comprise the Outreach Committee of One Burlington along with Barbara Anderson-Huget, will serve as hosts for the matinee.

MEMORIES OF THE BRANT INN will be presented in the beautiful new Roseland Hall at Port Nelson United Church. Admission is fee. Caribbean-themed refreshments will be served.

Look forward to returning to an illustrious period in Burlington’s history.





 We thank both the Government of Canada and the City of Burlington for their generous support.



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Media matters - in Burlington local politicians talk about transparency and accountability - media insist that they walk their talk.

By Staff

January 11th, 2023



Have you noticed how the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star get their investigative reporters on to an issue and dig, dig, dig.

We are seeing more of this type of news reporting.

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing has amended the Greenbelt Area boundary regulation to add 13 new Urban River Valley areas and lands in the Paris Galt Moraine in Wellington County and remove 15 areas of land. Add lands in the Paris Galt Moraine in Wellington County to the Greenbelt Area Remove or redesignate 15 areas of land totaling approximately 7,400 acres from the edge of the Greenbelt Area that are serviced or adjacent to services and will be used to build housing in the near term. The investigative reporters want to learn more about who bought the lands that are being taken out of the Greenbelt and how much did they know before they bought ?

The Star recently said: We covered Doug Ford and his government’s policies and their effects on the province since he was elected premier in 2018. Now, developers are eyeing the Greenbelt — and a Star/Narwhal investigation has revealed that many are connected to Ford’s Progressive Conservative Party.

That investigation has the OPP Anti Rackets Squad meeting with people who filed complaints. No investigation – yet. The police are sniffing around and following up on what the newspapers started.

Narwhal is an online operation (just like the Gazette) that started in British Columbia and recently opened an office in Toronto.

The Globe and Mail tends to focus on national news stories and does superb work on what the federal government is up to.

The Gazette focus’s on Burlington – where we are currently watching the approach City Council is taking on the budget that will determine the 2023-24 tax rate.

Media matters.

How much?

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Four Arrested in Auto Theft Investigation

By Staff

January 11th, 2023



The Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) – 2 District Criminal Investigations Bureau has arrested four people in relation to an auto theft investigation in Oakville.

On January 6, 2023, just after 8:00 am, the HRPS was notified by Peel Police of a 2022 Toyota Highlander that was stolen from a Mississauga residence earlier that morning.

Investigation indicated that the stolen vehicle was in the area of Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital.

HRPS investigators attended the area and observed the vehicle.  At approximately 10:00 am a male suspect was dropped off by a Honda Civic with a Quebec licence plate.  The suspect entered the stolen Highlander and was arrested by police. The Honda Civic was stopped a short time later driving on Highway 403 in Burlington and three male suspects were also arrested. The Honda Civic was not stolen.

Gabriel Akokanne (18) of Quebec, Rock Desvarieux (21) of Quebec, Iliasse Idlhaj (18) of Quebec, and Nathanael Lembani (21) of Quebec were charged with:

  • Possession of Property Obtained by Crime Over $5000

All parties were released on Undertakings.

Anyone with information regarding this investigation is asked to contact the 2 District Criminal Investigations Bureau at 905-825-4777 ext. 2216.

Tips can also be submitted anonymously to Crime Stoppers. “See something? Hear something? Know something? Contact Crime Stoppers” at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or through the web at

Gazette readers often ask why people charged with serious crimes are given bail and expected to show up for a Court date.  We report regularly on people arrested and found to be in violation of a bail condition for related to an earlier arrest.

The four arrested this week live in Quebec – will they return to Milton Court House for a trial?

The vehicle that was stolen in Mississauga clearly had a tracking device.

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Integrity Commissioner serves several functions; in Burlington they have been busy dealing with complaints Councillors make about each other

By Pepper Parr

January 11th, 2023


Minor update: Report used covers the period from May 1, 2020 to July 31, 2021.

There has been a lot of news about decisions that have been made by the Integrity Commissioner for Burlington – many people don’t know all that much about how they operate.

Recently, in Burlington, the Commissioner has been busy.

We were aware of the complaint made by two Councillors, Rory Nisan and Kelvin Galbraith, against Councillor Stolte, and the self-complaint that Lisa Kearns made to the Commissioner when she spoke about what she was not supposed to talk about – the amount of money the city had budgeted to defend the Waterfront Hotel development that was before the Ontario Land Tribunal.

Then there was the complaint Tom Muir made about Conflict of Interest Matters related to property owned by Ward 1 Councillor Kelvin Galbraith.

Four of the seven members of Council have been the object of complaint taken to the Commissioner. That must be some kind of a record.  We recently became aware of an additional complaint that didn’t go anywhere.

We wonder just how many complaints have been taken to the Commissioner by members of Council.

The Commissioner makes an annual report to Council. The most recent that is publicly available is dated September 2021. UPDATE: Report used covers the period from May 1, 2020 to July 31, 2021.

Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA)

In its report Principles Integrity said:

“The purpose of an integrity commissioner’s annual report is to provide the public with the opportunity to understand the ethical well-being of the City’s elected and appointed officials through the lens of our activities.

Jeffrey A. Abrams: Co-Principal / Integrity Commissioner at Principles Integrity

“Principles Integrity, a partnership focused on accountability and governance matters for municipalities was formed in 2017. Since its formation, Principles Integrity has been appointed as integrity commissioner (and occasionally as lobbyist registrar and closed meeting investigator) in over 40 Ontario municipalities and other public bodies. Principles Integrity is an active member of the Municipal Integrity Commissioner of Ontario (MICO)

Jeffrey A. Abrams and Janice Atwood-Petkovski, are Co-Principals at Principles Integrity, both are lawyers.

• Advice on ethical policy development
• Education on matters relating to ethical behaviour
• Providing on request, advice and opinions to members of Council and members of Local Boards
• Providing, on request, advice and opinions to Council
• Provide a mechanism to receive inquiries (often referred to as ‘complaints’) which allege a breach of ethical responsibilities
• Resolving complaints, and
• Where it is in the public interest to do so, investigating, reporting and making recommendations to council within the statutory framework, while being guided by Council’s codes, policies and protocols.

“This might contrast with the popular yet incorrect view that the role of the integrity commissioner is primarily to hold elected officials to account; to investigate alleged transgressions and to recommend ‘punishment’. The better view is that integrity commissioners serve as an independent resource, coach, and guide, focused on enhancing the municipality’s ethical culture.

“The operating philosophy of Principles Integrity recites this perspective. We believe there is one overarching objective for a municipality in appointing an integrity commissioner, and that is to raise the public’s perception that its elected and appointed officials conduct themselves with integrity:

“The perception that a community’s elected representatives are operating with integrity is the glue which sustains local democracy. We live in a time when citizens are skeptical of their elected representatives at all levels. The overarching objective in appointing an Integrity Commissioner is to ensure the existence of robust and effective policies, procedures, and mechanisms that enhance the citizen’s perception that their Council (and local boards) meet established ethical standards and where they do not, there exists a review mechanism that serves the public interest.
The practical effect of achieving this objective is an increase in trust, respect and engagement in local affairs.

“In carrying out our broad functions, the role falls into two principal areas. ‘Municipal Act’ functions, focused on codes of conduct and other policies relating to ethical behaviour, and ‘MCIA’ or Municipal Conflict of Interest Act functions. From an activity perspective, an integrity commissioner’s role can be depicted this way:


“The emphasis of Principles Integrity is to help municipalities enhance their ethical foundations and reputations through the drafting of effective codes of conduct and other policies governing ethical behaviour, to provide meaningful education related to such policies, and to provide pragmatic binding advice to Members seeking clarification on ethical issues.

“Because the development of policy and the provision of education and advice is not in every case a full solution, the broad role of the integrity commissioner includes the function of seeking and facilitating resolutions when allegations of ethical transgressions are made, and, where it is appropriate and in the public interest to do so, conducting and reporting on formal investigations. This in our view is best seen as a residual and not primary role.

“Much of the work of an integrity commissioner is done under a cloak of confidentiality. While in some cases secrecy is required by statute, the promise of confidentiality encourages full disclosure by the people who engage with us. We maintain the discretion to release confidential information when it is necessary to do so for the purposes of a public report, but those disclosures would be limited and rare.

Our Activity on your behalf:
“During the period covered by this report, we have been engaged in a moderate level of activity as Integrity Commissioner for the City of Burlington which subdivides roughly into three categories:

1. Policy Development and Education
“During the period covered by this report, while there has not been an opportunity to provide training, we have been available to senior administration regarding ethical and governance issues.

“As part of our responsibilities as Integrity Commissioner, over the coming months, we will be reviewing the City of Burlington’s Code of Good Governance and will be providing recommendations regarding required updates.

“Where, as in Burlington, Members also serve on Regional Council, it is helpful when Codes for both City and Regional Council align. Given that we also serve as Halton Region’s Integrity Commissioner, we will endeavour to ensure such alignment, and will keep this in mind during our review.

2. Advice
“The advice function of the integrity commissioner is available to all Members of Council and where applicable their staff and Members of local boards on matters relating to the code of conduct, the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act and any other matter touching upon the ethical conduct of Members.

“Advice provided by the integrity commissioner is confidential and independent, and where all the relevant facts are disclosed, is binding upon the integrity commissioner.

“Our advice is typically provided in a short Advice Memorandum which confirms all relevant facts and provides with clarity our analysis and a recommended course of action.
Though advice is confidential, we can advise that the bulk of the issues we provided guidance on this year arose in the context of properly identifying and appropriately recognizing actual and perceived conflicts of interest. The clarifications and guidance provided to Members seemed to be readily understood and welcome.

“During the period covered by this report, we responded to nine (9) such requests for advice.

3. Complaint Investigation and Resolution
“Our approach to reviewing complaints starts with a determination as to whether an inquiry to us is within our jurisdiction, is beyond a trifling matter, is not either frivolous or vexatious, and importantly, whether in its totality it is in the public interest to pursue. We always look to the possibility of informal resolution in favour of formal investigation and reporting. Once a formal investigation is commenced, the opportunity to seek informal resolution is not abandoned.

“Where we are able to resolve a matter without concluding a formal investigation, our practice is to provide a written explanation in the form of a Disposition Letter to the complainant to close the matter. Often the respondent Member is involved in preliminary fact-finding and will also be provided with a summary of the disposition.

“Where formal investigations commence, they are conducted under the tenets of procedural fairness and Members are confidentially provided with the name of the Complainant and such information as is necessary to enable them to respond to the allegations raised.

“During the period covered by this report, one inquiry was brought to our attention by a member of the public. The inquiry related three separate issues, which were intermingled operational complaints with claims about involvement by members of Council. Following lengthy discussion of the facts including explanation of the respective roles of staff and members of Council, the complainant determined not to file a formal complaint in pursuit of the matter.

Ethical Themes Around the Province:
“With due regard to our obligation to maintain confidentiality, this annual report enables us to identify learning opportunities from advice requests and investigations conducted in a variety of municipalities.


“One area of prominence continues to be the failure of some Members of Council to adhere to rules against disparagement. Members of Council are entitled, and indeed expected to disagree on all manner of issues. However, one of the cornerstones to democracy must be the recognition that different opinions and perspectives are to be respected, and disagreement should not devolve into disrespect, disparagement and name-calling.

“Disrespectful interactions and/treatment of others can fall along a continuum which may manifest as occasional incivility and micro-aggressions, but when unchecked can culminate in bullying and harassment. Members of Council should be mindful to treat each other, staff and the pubic with appropriate respect and professionalism at all times.

“Some Members of Council hold a view was that they are entitled to their freely express their opinion, even if that includes disparagement of others, and so long as they share it via personal email, and not on the municipal server, they are not constrained by any rules around decorum. This is incorrect. Members are bound by the Code provisions of respectful and non-disparaging communication, whether sharing views on their own email, social media, or elsewhere.

“Regardless of the medium, regardless of the intended audience, and regardless of motive, we have observed several instances where Members of Council in municipalities around the province have been found to have breached ethical standards by saying or recording things they have come to regret.

“With respect to social media, we recently reported on the practice of an elected official who used an open Twitter account (where other users of the platform may join a discussion without seeking permission from the account holder) and who arbitrarily blocked a follower. Open social media accounts are, particularly during a pandemic, akin to the ‘town square’. Persons may be blocked from participating, but only on notice, and for proper reasons. We recommended that the municipality adopt policy guidance on the practice, and we recommend that the City consider this approach as well.

Recognizing and avoiding conflicts of interest
“Another area Members frequently require additional clarification on is recognizing and appropriately identifying conflicts of interest when they arise. These often include when members are part of another organization or club whose interests are impacted by a matter before Council, or when members are active professionally within the community and a matter before Council may potentially impact one of their current or past clients.

“As always, obtaining clear and reliable advice from the integrity commissioner can help avoid costly and time-consuming investigations.

Staying in your lane
“One area of concern that arises from time to time is members of Council overstepping their role, attempting to ‘take the reins’ to fix a constituent’s problem, or directing staff how to do their job. Members of Council serve an important role in putting constituents in touch with appropriate staff, and following established processes, but it is important to strike the correct balance. Failing to recognize this may be perceived by staff as undermining staff or interfering with their duties, and may attract exposure for the Member and the municipality where the Member’s activities are not in compliance with the relevant regulatory scheme (such as using mandated personal protective equipment; following proper risk management processes; ensuring safety for the Member, their constituents, and the general public). Equally importantly, it interferes with the line- management routines properly established by the municipality so that its workers have clarity in who they are to take instructions from.

Provincial Consultation regarding Codes of Conduct

“Early in 2021 the Provincial Government announced a consultation on strengthening accountability regarding municipal codes of conduct, which consultation period concludes July 15, 2021. Principles Integrity is working with MICO to provide input to the Province to improve the framework while recognizing the many components which are currently working effective.”

Principles Integrity is part way through their second contract with the city of Burlington.

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City knows that the web site doesn't really work all that well - a solution is on the table

By Pepper Parr

January 11th, 2023


This is  a very technical document; not intended for readers who struggle with the email.  It is the story about some of the really great stuff that is being done with information technology and points out that the communications still don’t understand engagement.

Residents complained for years about how difficult it was to find information on the city web site.

In the fullness of time a team was pulled together and tasked with creating an easier to use web site.

It was not a comfortable change.

One of the biggest concerns was that a lot of information that was once available to people was no longer accessible.

The city administration said they were working on it – on of the solutions offered up by a staff member was to pay a fee to get the information you wanted.  It was never clear what the city was going to do.

At a Standing Committee there was a report on the Consent agenda: Enterprise Web Architecture & Modernization Review, prepared by KPMG, that was very thorough and not all that kind to the people on staff who did the redesign that people are not happy with.

As an item on the Consent agenda it does not get discussed unless a member of Council ask that it be added to the regular agenda. Councillors can also make a comment; there were no comments on this item.

The Enterprise Web Architecture & Modernization Review outlined opportunities and recommendations on modernizing the City of Burlington’s current web architecture to:

1. Transform into a customer-centric approach and enhance overall customer experience (CX)
2. Enhance internal operations, service efficiencies and effectiveness
3. Reduce and/or avoid cost through resource utilization and automation

The report compiles the customer-facing applications and technology architecture from CoB’s current relevant documentation, preliminary findings and observations gathered during workshops. It also provides an evaluation of the current CRM platform options (i.e., upgrading, augmenting, or replacing the current CRM) to guide CoB in its decision making process.

Target state opportunities are presented, along with their associated benefits, improvement metrics, cost impacts and requirements. The report provides a conceptual future state web architecture and a proposed three-year roadmap that shows a high-level implementation plan ordered according to priority and dependencies.

With the current CRM platform some options were in contracts  pending and there were technical risks exist that needed to be mitigated. Option 1 (Product Upgrade) will likely not achieve the full set of business benefits desired by CoB. Two options remained for CoB to further explore: Upgrade & Re-architect or Replace current CRM platform.

The KPMG report was very technical – intended for technical people. The Staff report that was sent to Council provided background.

The opportunity to take a deeper look at the technology that runs much of the software the city uses was made possible with funding the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing who provided $152.640 that was funnelled into the the Audit and Accountability Fund

These are all the services the city offers with the software it has now.

The objectives of the review were as follows:

• An assessment of existing web architecture and current state of online services, customer applications, databases, platforms, and integrations;
• Stakeholder engagement and feedback;
• Recommendations for the development of enterprise and web architecture that identifies efficiencies and results in an improved customer and employee experience;
• Recommendations for improving, upgrading or replacement of the existing customer relationship management software;
• An implementation roadmap which prioritizes and aligns related digital service enablement projects to gain high impact improvements over the next 3-5 years;
• A governance model to address how the City identifies, prioritizes, and manages web-related technology projects, risks and opportunities; and
• Actionable items with estimated timelines and budgetary requirements.

The City entered into an Agreement with KPMG in May 2022 to complete the Enterprise Web Architecture Review in accordance with the Ministry’s Audit and Accountability Fund requirements. The consultation activities were completed between May and November 2022.

The Enterprise Web Architecture Review was required to address the growing use of the CRM and its limitations, the number of systems that contribute to a disparate online experience for the City’s customers, and the desire to bridge customer data across all channels, systems and services.

The Enterprise Web Architecture & Modernization Review report prepared by KPMG outlines opportunities and recommendations on modernizing the City of Burlington’s current web architecture to:

1. Transform through a customer-centric approach and enhance overall customer experience (CX) and employee experience (EX);
2. Enhance internal operations, service efficiencies and effectiveness;
3. Reduce and/or avoid cost through resource utilization and automation.

The report compiles the customer-facing applications and technology architecture from current documentation, preliminary findings and observations gathered during workshops. It also provides an evaluation of the current CRM platform options (i.e., upgrading, augmenting, or replacing the current CRM) so that the City can decide which option is most appropriate.

The report provides a conceptual future state web architecture and focuses on best practices to enhance the overall customer experience for residents and visitors.

Several architecture themes and principles were derived and target state opportunities were identified and associated with efficiencies. These efficiencies could be gained from proposed initiatives, improvement metrics, dependencies, cost impacts and requirements. Moreover, each opportunity is associated with a proposed initiative(s) to achieve the target state. A proposed three-year roadmap shows a recommended high- level implementation plan.

There are opportunities for further enhancements to what is in place now.

The report identifies that in order to achieve the objectives for a future state web architecture, incremental improvements will be required to address:

• The use of the existing CRM and Microsoft Dynamics platform, hosting model, and required upgrade to version 9;
• A unified approach to customer facing technologies to optimize development resources and skills;
• Implementation of a Customer Identity and Access Management model as the foundation for an improved and secure identification and login experience across service areas and applications;
• Implementation of Master Data Management strategy and principles to unify, govern and maintain quality customer data in a manner that is system agnostic;
• Improvements in the use of integration tools, standards and data access across applications;
• Improvements in system driven workflows over manual workflows;
• Increased availability of data to Service Burlington to service customers more effectively and improve service level response times;
• Improved business intelligence analytics to unlock greater insights such as sentiment analysis.

Related Initiatives
The City approved three initiatives under separate funding agreements with the Province of Ontario:

1) Enterprise Web Architecture & Modernization Review

2) Land Management Database Platform Review

3) Streamline Development Application Fund

The Mayor and the Staff members that went to Itabashi in Japan were dancing in the streets. Mayor is so excited over the new software services that are being put in place she wants to dance in the streets of Burlington. Will City Manager Tim Commisso go with her again?wants to do the same thing in Burlington

This this third funded assignment was discussed at Council on Tuesday.

Councillors were ecstatic – the Mayor wanted to march and dance through the streets of the city while Councillor Stolte wanted to do a Wooo Whoooo

The Streamline Development Approval Initiative Fund (SDAF) project is a one-time project delivering specific improvements to the low density residential development approval service.

The Gazette reports on the SDAF separately.

All three initiatives share the objective of finding efficiencies and cost savings in the provision of city services to deliver an enhanced customer experience. Each focuses on business outcomes which include the customer online experience and enabling technologies.

Next Steps
A cross functional team led by Customer Experience, IT Services and Corporate Communications & Engagement is evaluating the options in the Enterprise Web Architecture report and will provide an update to Council in early Q2 2023.

An analysis of the next steps will consider the KPMG findings with respect to web architecture and CRM in the context of:

• viability and feasibility including cost, resource and vendor contract impacts;
• a broader enterprise architecture model;
• desired business outcomes;
• customer and employee experience; and
• the prioritization of separate and related initiatives occurring across the corporation.

In total, 26 sessions were held to gather feedback from key stakeholders of online services, the Customer Experience Advisory Team, CRM users and implementation teams, and other technical and business application owners.

A survey of CRM users was completed to gauge satisfaction with the existing CRM product. These sessions provided insight to the current state, and to the development of a proposed future state road-map.

Kwab Ako-Adjei had an opportunity to tell people what an improved web site will be able to do.

A couple of things were learned from the Standing Committee:

Chad MacDonald, Chief Information Officer knows his stuff. He has assembled a staff of very smart people who are setting the city up for a transition into an operation that will provide a very high level of integration between the departments – when it comes to data and information there will be no more silos.

The unfortunate part was that Council didn’t take the opportunity to let MacDonald and Kwab Ako-Adjei takes ten minutes to explain what this will mean to the public.

There is a lot of work yet to be done and a lot of expense but Ako-Adjei missed the opportunity to look into the web cast camera and say to the public ‘you ain’t seen nothing yet’. This is where the communications people fail themselves and fail the city.

Really Good stuff is happening – but you don’t know about it.

There was a time when a project of this magnitude would never even been considered. Now – it could actually happen.

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Traditional Anishinaabe Iconography Appears in Room 2023 - opening at the AGB January 13th

By Staff

January 12th, 2023



In this survey of new and recent works, multidisciplinary artist Caroline Monnet centers geometries, especially the cube, to draw attention to how different spatial relationships condition the way that we live and think.
The Monnet work will be on display in the Lee Chin Gallery on January 13th.

The Room (2023), a ten-foot square construction of industrial-grade styrofoam.

Monnet’s practice moves between textiles, photography, sculpture, and film to address the complexity of Indigenous identities and bilateral legacies, drawing from her Anishinaabe and French heritages.
In her work, traditional Anishinaabe sacred geometry transforms and softens the industrial into something more personal, constructing a new point of view—centering the cube. As a form, the cube is present in architecture and many traditions of building, shaping the way we understand the world and dictating the ways in which we live, play, and learn. And, like the repetitious creations unfolded in birch biting, Holding Up The Sky follows a symmetrical continuum.

The exhibition features her new work The Room (2023), a ten-foot square construction of industrial-grade styrofoam, a material used in residential buildings to create water and air-resistive barriers and insulate against inclement climate conditions. The Room is open on one side, exposing the box and welcoming the audience into its constructed space.

The foam is incised with a repetitive pattern; the motifs, inspired by traditional Anishinaabe iconography, break the strictness of the industrial square form by introducing the personal and the poetic into architectural rigidity.

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Art Gallery releases winter program

By Staff

January 11th, 2023



The Art Gallery has released their Winter2023 programming that is now open for registration.

Courses & Workshops

Clay Dates: Friday, January 20 and Friday February 24, from 6:30 – 9:30 PM

Youth Drawing Fantasy Figures: Saturdays for 6 weeks starting January 28

Youth Storytelling Through Sculpture: Saturdays for 6 weeks starting January 28

Youth (Teen) Clay Studio: Saturdays for 6 weeks starting January 28

Adult Introduction to Wheel Throwing: Thursdays for 8 weeks starting February 2

Adult Fun & Functional Pottery: Saturdays for 8 weeks starting January 28

Adult Painting Fundamentals: Thursdays for 8 weeks starting February 2

Adult Drawing from Observation: Thursdays for 8 weeks starting February 2

Adult Weaving Basics & Beyond: Tuesdays for 10 weeks starting January 31


Family Open Studios: Sundays for 8 weeks starting January 15

Family Day Fun: Monday, February 20, from 10 AM – 5 PM / Free Activities

Drop in Collage Party with Charlie Star: Sunday, February 19, from 1 – 4:00 PM

Book Swap Event: Saturday, March 11, from 1 – 4:00 PM


PA Day Camp: Friday, January 17 and Friday, February 17, from 9:30 AM – 3:30 PM

March Break Camp: Monday, March 13 to Friday, March 17, from 9 AM – 4:00 PM

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District School Board sponsoring a second set of Mental Health & Well-Being Information Sessions

By Staff

January 10th, 2023



The Halton District School Board is hosting additional for parents/guardians in January.

Covering specific topics based on feedback from parents/guardians, each session will be led by a mental health expert in that area who will share their knowledge and provide helpful information and resources.

Sessions include:

• Supporting Gender Diverse Students – Wednesday, Jan. 18 from 6:30 – 8 p.m.

• Mental Health, Well-Being and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)* – Thursday, Jan. 19 from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.

*Note: This is a repeated workshop offered last year.

Registration is required for these sessions: space is limited.  Parents/guardians can register by completing the Mental Health & Well-Being Information Sessions Registration Form. Sessions will be held on Google Meet, where closed captioning is available in various languages. Registrants will be emailed a link to access the session. Sessions will not be recorded.

Parents/guardians will have the opportunity to submit questions when completing the registration form or during the session. The Board’s Mental Health & Well-Being webpage has information for parents/guardians and students on mental health, ways to support positive mental health and well-being, and how to get additional support at school and in the broader community.

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Is the Burlington tax rate going to be the highest in the province?

By Staff

January 10th, 2023


Are taxes going to be high sky ?


Toronto property taxes will increase by 5.5 per cent, plus a 1.5 per cent increase levy for the City Building Fund in 2023, increasing the bill for the average homeowner this year by $233.

Meanwhile Burlington is working with a 7% increase that shows signs of coming in at something above the 7%

Burlington is scheduled to decide just what the tax rate will be on February 14th; appropriate.

Related news story:

What Burlington readers think about the tax rate.

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Halton Council appointed Lisa Kearns as Council representative to the Halton Police Board

By Staff

January 10th, 2023



Halton Regional Council appointed Ms. Lisa Kearns as Regional Council representative to the Halton Police Board for the 2022-2026 term. The Halton Police Board was pleased to welcome Lisa Kearns as our newest Regional Council Board member at the December 22, 2022, meeting.

Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns with Halton Regional Police Chief Stephen Tanner

Ms. Kearns is an elected Halton Region and City of Burlington Councillor (Ward 2), and Deputy Mayor of Community Engagement and Partnerships in her second term. She brings a wealth of experience from various national management positions in healthcare, manufacturing, and advertising, delivering powerful results throughout her career. Ms. Kearns holds an Honours BA in Political Science, enhanced by a business-stream curriculum from the University of Western Ontario, and has obtained the Institute of Corporate Directors designation.

At Burlington City Hall, Ms. Kearns serves as the Budget Chair and is the Council liaison to many advisory committees. She also serves on the Board of Directors for several local organizations, including Burlington Food Bank, Burlington Downtown Business Association, Burlington Public Library, Art Gallery Burlington, and Burlington Sound of Music.

About the Halton Police Board
The Halton Police Board is a seven-member board that provides strategic governance to the Halton Regional Police Service. It is a provincially mandated legal entity that operates independently from the Regional or Municipal Council. As such, it is the Board’s responsibility to ensure the residents of Halton Region receive adequate and effective police services following policing standards issued by the Province. In essence, the Board is the trustee of public interest regarding the provision of all police services in the community.

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Grindstone creek - it plays a vital role - hampered by Bill 23

By Staff

January 10th, 2023


Note from a reader:  Just saw your piece on the importance of Ontario wetlands, and wanted to share a report that really demonstrates the value of Grindstone Creek watershed (and watersheds in general). Our organization, the Municipal Natural Assets Initiative, partnered with the Cities of Hamilton, Burlington, Conservation Halton, the Greenbelt Foundation and Royal Botanical Gardens on this project.

We’ve gotten some pick up of the report as a story in Water Canada and TVO, but local news and interest is always the most powerful, especially now that this report and recommendations are with Councils.

At a time when Ontario’s Greenbelt is eyed for development, a new report demonstrates that natural assets in Grindstone Creek are extremely valuable in addressing local flood risk, but these costs will be thrust onto communities if protection of the watershed does not become a priority.

The Grindstone Creek watershed and its sub-watersheds are located partially within the Cities of Burlington and Hamilton and the Regional Municipality of Halton. 91 km2, the watershed is also a part of Ontario’s Greenbelt, and contains the greatest diversity of wildlife of any Canadian Forest Zone, including species found nowhere else in the country.

The Grindstone Creek Watershed Natural Asset Project is the first of its kind in Ontario, bringing partners from across jurisdictions to address their shared watershed. The Municipal Natural Assets Initiative (MNAI), with support from the Greenbelt Foundation, partnered with the Cities of Hamilton, Burlington, Conservation Halton and Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) to explore the value and condition of natural assets in Grindstone Creek and to incorporate them in local financial planning and asset management.

The report finds that the estimated value of stormwater management services alone is equivalent to over $2 billion in engineered infrastructure replacements, not including operational costs. The watershed also provides an annual service value of approximately $34 million in co-benefits, including recreation, erosion control, habitat biodiversity, atmospheric regulation, and climate mitigation.

“This project makes clear the vital importance of the infrastructure and non-infrastructure services provided by natural assets in the Grindstone Creek watershed — and a path to protect them as core assets for the long-term,” says Roy Brooke, Executive Director of the Municipal Natural Assets Initiative. “Although we can’t reduce nature to a simple dollar figure, this shows the enormous financial value of services communities are getting from nature. Protecting these assets avoids taxpayers getting stuck with a far higher bill to replace services that nature gives us already,” he added.

Flooding is Ontario’s most costly natural hazard, and with strains from ageing infrastructure and tight municipal budgets, the value of pre-existing, climate-resilient infrastructure will only increase.

“The Greenbelt Foundation is proud to support the Grindstone Creek Watershed project, which shows the tremendous potential of a community effort to deliver cost-effective municipal services that enhance our towns’ and cities’ ability to mitigate growing risks like flooding,” says Greenbelt Foundation CEO Ed McDonnell. “The report by MNAI affirms the substantial economic value of critical natural assets, the importance of integrating this knowledge into municipal planning, and it is further proof that the Ontario Greenbelt is one of our greatest resources to address urbanization and climate change.”

In the report, MNAI identified two immediate actions needed in the Grindstone Creek watershed: restore high-risk priority areas to avoid loss of natural assets; and commit to improving governance and collaborative strategies long-term.

Hassaan Basit, President of Conservation Halton.

“If we’re going to effectively tackle resource issues, like flooding and erosion, we need to use science and data to better understand how our watershed functions and reacts to different stresses, like climate change,” says Hassaan Basit, President of Conservation Halton. “With this understanding, Conservation Halton, municipalities, and other partners can work together to find cost-effective ways to respond to today’s changing environment. By recognizing that what happens upstream affects what happens downstream, we can help to prepare and protect for the future.”

Results and recommendations from the project have gone to the respective Councils and Board Members of Hamilton, Burlington, Conservation Halton and RBG for their consideration, with further discussion to take place early in the new year.

Meanwhile the provincial government passes Bill 23 that that brings about changes in several pieces of legislation that impact what happens to the creeks.

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You can never know too much about Real Estate - the Rocca Sisters want to teach you more

By Staff

January 9th, 2023



Enjoy the gift of Real Estate investing is the way the Rocca Sisters explained a Workshop they are offering anyone interested.

Free as well.

The “sisters” have opened up new offices on Brant Street, right across from Joe Dogs.  They call it their head office – I see it as the house with the pink chimney

Anyone considering investing in Real Estate will want to pay close attention to any advice they can lay their hands on

Register for the Workshops


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