Swag bags galore from the Burlington Bandits at their last home game of the season.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON.  July 29, 2013.  – In what will become a Burlington Bandits tradition, the Bandits will make their last home game of the regular season a night of fan appreciation. Before marching into the IBL playoffs, the team will thank the best fans in the IBL for their tremendous support during the 2013 campaign by giving away an array of prizes! Everybody will get something!

Fan Appreciation Night is on Thursday, Aug 1st when the Bandits take on the Toronto Maple Leafs at 7:00 p.m. at Nelson Park.

Pretty close to the bottom – but the playoffs might give the Bandits a chance to redeem themselves.

Upon arrival inside Nelson Park, fans will receive a free Bandits gift and then the giving will go on all night long! Prize Patrols will disperse autographed Bandits memorabilia, hundreds of local retailer gift certificates, t-shirts, tickets to a variety of events and attractions and much more.

“The Bandits are very fortunate to have the kind of fan support we’ve experienced this season,” said Scott Robinson, Team President. “Not only has this been the best year in franchise history for attendance at our games, but the players recognize the impact the fans have on the success of the team. We look forward to having that fan support make an even greater impact in the playoffs.”

Playoff tickets will also be available for purchase at a discounted price during the game.

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Air Park agrees to stop landfill dumping until the matter of jurisdiction is settled.



By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON. July 29, 2013.  One side blinked; guess which one?

The City of Burlington and the Burlington Executive Airport have reached a settlement to stop fill operations at the airpark until a decision is made about whether the city has jurisdiction to regulate fill operations through its site alteration bylaw.

According to a city media release, “representatives from the legal teams for the city and the airpark continued discussions over the weekend to try and resolve the dispute. They reached a settlement on behalf of both parties, and together will request that the court endorse the following directions on Friday, Aug. 2:

 that the city’s motion for injunction and the air park’s motion to strike or stay the city’s claim be adjourned pending the outcome of the air park’s court application regarding jurisdiction

that a hearing date for the application from the court be set for a date as soon as possible after Sept. 2, 2013

that the airpark will not bring any fill onto its land other than gravel and pavement grindings for a runway base (not to be mixed with any other fill) and asphalt for paving to allow completion of the work being done to widen a runway and taxiways

that the airpark will permit city staff on site to ensure no fill operations are taking place during the runway and taxiway base preparation and paving work

that the city will not exercise any self-help remedies, such as a prosecution under the Provincial Offences Act, against the airpark during the term of the settlement agreement

that the terms of the agreement will continue to apply until the court makes a decision on the airpark application.

Scott Stewart, the city’s general manager of development and infrastructure, sees this as “a positive step forward in resolving the issue of fill on the Burlington Executive Airport site.”  He added that: “The settlement will ensure that fill is stopped on an interim basis until the disputed matter of jurisdiction can be determined by the court.” 

Up until this recent shift in attitude the Air Park has been one tough customer.  Shortly after a citizen, Vanessa Warren, delegated at city council the Air Park announced that it would be operating until as late as 11:00 pm some evenings while it dumped asphalt scraped from the 407.  They explained at the time that this work had to be done at night because that was the only time the trucks had access to the 407.  That didn’t go down particularly well with the city and the Air Park backed off that idea.

There will still be some trucks entering and leaving the airpark to complete the paving of the runway and taxiway, Stewart said, but truck traffic associated with the deposit of fill will not return until the court matter has been decided.

In the meantime, residents along Appleby Line and Bell School line are asking the office of the Regional Medical Officer of Health to test the water in their wells.

Sheldon said: “My suspicions and worst fears of Mr. Rossi’s mammoth landfill dumping operation have been confirmed by the environmental firm hired by City.  Their report indicates the fill that has been accepted by Mr. Rossi does indeed contain contaminants. 

“Mr. Rossi intentionally piled this fill, in some places at least 30 feet higher than my land, on three sides of my property and in very close proximity to my property line.   Because of the towering elevations he created, Mr. Rossi has recklessly destroyed the natural storm water drainage pattern.  Over the years, I have accumulated a great deal of documented evidence, photos and videos, of filthy surface water flowing onto my land and into my pond.  I also have documented requests to Mr. Rossi, dating back to 2009, that he restore the storm water drainage pattern or at the very least have it professionally engineered to stop the flooding and ponding on my property.  He never did.”

Trucks bring in landfill described as contaminated onto their site south of a residents property. The fill is some 25 yards away from a pond on the residents property. Air Park has committed to stopping the landfill operation while the Court’s work out the matter of jurisdiction.

 “This dumping has been going on for 5 years, so I have grave (appropriate term) concerns about my well, my pond and my land being contaminated – if not already, then soon.  These need to be thoroughly tested immediately and ongoing until the contamination and/or the threat of contamination has been permanently eradicated.  For that matter, all of the landowners in this community need theirs tested as well.  What about those here who farm commercially?  Has Mr. Rossi contaminated their crops and endangered their livestock as well?  And what about the treasured wildlife in this rural area – what happens to them when their water sources are poisoned?  Not only have lives and livelihoods already been destroyed, but the significant natural elements of our rural green belt region have been jeopardized by this thoughtless, greedy man.  I delegated to City Council a month ago that he is getting away with murder.  Truer words I’ve never spoken.”

Sheldon advises her neighbours to call the Medical Officer of Health at the Region and demand to have the water in their wells tested to see just how contaminated it is.


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Council member appeals Committee of Adjustment decision on property with a complex financial history.



By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  July 29, 2013.  Why is he doing it?  Does he need the money?  He certainly doesn’t need the aggravation but none of that seems to be getting in the way of Ward 4 Councillor Jack Dennison from seeking a severance of his property on Lakeshore Road.

There are few of his neighbours on his side on this one.  Many feel that Dennison can’t fairly represent the people in the community and at the same time seek a change in the size of his property that most feel will change the way Lakeshore Road grows.

Bought by Ward 6 Councillor Jack Dennison under a Power of Sale in 2009 Dennison now wants to sever a portion of the property on the east side and construct a second house which he has said would be sold.

Lakeshore is a premium location in the city.  Large homes grace the road and properties are well maintained.  Many feel that the attempt to severe a part of the property into a new lot will be the beginning of a process that will see others attempt to create smaller lots that will have smaller homes and that is not the way Rosedale sees Lakeshore Road.

Chair of the Committee of Adjustment, Michael Ramsay put in a full day the evening his committee heard the Dennison application for a minor severance, which was denied. Chair Ramsay, on the left along with The vote went 3-2 against Dennison with Chair Malcolm Ramsay, members Grant Newbury and Robert Bailey voting against and members Dave Kumar and Sam Sarraf voting for.

The Committee of Adjustment (CoA) didn’t see it that way and they turned down the application for what Dennison was calling a Minor Adjustment.  Any Committee of Adjustment decision can be appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board which Dennison has done.  That appeal will be heard at the end of August.

Residents of Roseland formed the Roseland Community Association to oppose a severance on Hart Avenue and won that case.  “The request for a minor variances at 216 Hart Avenue was dismissed and the variances are not authorized.”

They feel confident that their argument against Dennison’s severance is even stronger and while the community doesn’t like taking their case to a tribunal they are quite prepared to do so on this occasion.

But the question lingers: why is Dennison doing it?  Does he need the money?  Jack Dennison has had financial problems in the past.  The 2008 recession hit his business at the Cedar Springs  Health and  Racquet Club hard and for a period of time Dennison chose not to pay his municipal taxes.  His was not the only business in Burlington that suffered financially.   It was a tough decision to make – sitting as a member of council and not paying taxes, but one can do that.  It was a business decision made during a time when business was terrible.

Dennison must have come close to having to shut the club down.  He didn’t and today the business is understood to be healthy.

Still – why raise the ire of all your neighbours?  Why put up with being black balled by the community association?  No one wants to talk to Dennison at community events; city hall staff feel awkward dealing with him and are never sure if they are dealing with a citizen who wants to exercise a right that every citizen has or if they are dealing with a member of Council who expects favoured treatment.

Are there financial problems?

Sept 4, 2009  Dennison personally buys 3083 Lakeshore Road  from FenFam Holdings Inc under power of sale for $757,000

On the same day he puts a $306,079 mortgage on the property from CIBC.  The CIBC mortgage is Prime – 0.25%, and expires Sept 30, 2014

On May 17th, 2010 Dennison puts a second mortgage on the 3083 Lakeshore property for $460,235. This second mortgage is provided by TD Bank. The rate on this second mortgage is Prime + 5%, payable on demand.

On the same date Dennison puts a third mortgage on the 3083 Lakeshore property in the amount of  $65,488 provided by Lillian and Loui Vukanovich.  The Vukanovich loan had a rate of 9% and was due Feb 29, 2012; the charge is still on title.

All this information is part of the public record.

Total debt on the property is now $831,802, nearly $75,000 more than Dennison paid for the property.  Neighbours report that virtually no work was done on the property.

In 2013 some work is done on the property.  It is also the time frame within which Dennison seeks the severance from the Committee of Adjustment.

The real estate community estimates the property that Dennison wants severed would be worth about $700,000.

Many in the Roseland community want to understand what it is that is motivating their Council member to make financial decisions that raise the ire of the community and threaten to result in significant change to the make-up of the properties along Lakeshore Road.

They reflect on the difficulties Dennison had with his fitness enterprises and note that in June of 2007 Cedar Springs Tennis Limited borrowed $5,050,000 from the Hamilton Teacher’s Credit Union. The prime rate at the time was 6% but the rate shown on public documents for this loan was a demand loan at prime plus 10% guaranteed by Dennison and Castle rent-a-Car, Dennison’s private holding company.

On October 27, 2010 Dennison loans Cedar Springs $2,000,000 as a demand loan with a 5% interest rate. This loan is secured against the property.

Dennison decides to personally sell a red convertible. No offering price was shown.

Sometime in July Dennison parks his red convertible in his driveway with a For Sale sign inside the wind shield.

The community is concerned.


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Honest open dialogue is the bedrock of a civilized community.



By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  July 28, 2013.  Comments are an integral part of a newspaper on a website.   The ability for anyone to write their opinion right alongside a news item they like or dislike and have that comment stay with the story is a tool that makes public discourse that much more robust.

However, there are some rules.  You do not HAVE to tell the public who you are.  You can use a “pen” name” but why you would not have the courage of your convictions and be prepared to tell people who you are is beyond me.

Passionate it was – it was also honest and open dialogue about a major city issue.

When a comment comes to us we have to approve each and every one.  We test the email address the comment was sent to us from; a significant number fail.  People make up an email address and send their message knowing that we can never get back to them.

We do capture their IP (Internet Protocol) address and in the hands of an authority the sender of the message can be traced.

At the Gazette we want to see honest, committed, passionate dialogue between people whose views may differ.  We want to see new ideas and viewpoints that would not get expression in traditional media.

We have no problem with a tight, tart comment – call them “zingers” if you wish; they add colour to the public debate.  We do however have a responsibility to ensure that the dialogue is fair and honest.

We test the email address a comment comes from; if the address proves to be invalid the comment does not get posted.

On occasion we have posted a comment from an email address that was not valid and added an editorial note advising that we could not verify the sender but felt the comment was worth making part of the public discourse.

Citizens gather for budget discussions. This meeting involved a number of city firemen who were attentively listened to by Councillor Craven, on the right in the blue shirt.

We have had comments from members of the clergy, the legal profession and senior staff members at various levels of government, who, because of the jobs are not authorized to comment. We will publish their comments if we feel they are a legitimate part of the debate.

We have regular contributors to the comments section, many who make very legitimate comment and several who are very good at catching our mistakes – all are valued and welcome.

Those who want to make a comment they know not to be true; those who want to disrupt and deliberately hurt a private citizen – they are not welcome.

Those who want to be able to hold civil servants and elected officials to account – let us hear from you frequently.


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Connie Smith, the “Always Good News” girl has a dance card and a date with a couple of thousand Burlingtonians.



By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON. July 26, 2013.  She was paid fifty cents an hour to baby sit and didn’t like wearing the crinoline she had because it scratched her legs.

She was just a beat or two behind the drum when it came to fashion and wore stitched moccasins when others were wearing saddle shoes.

She went to Pineland elementary school and is looking forward to being one of the MC’s at the This Magic Moment event that will be held at Nelson Park September 14th.

Will Connie Smith go with her Vavavavoom look at the Magic Moment event or will go the pony tail look and still wow the crowd?

We are of course talking about Connie Smith, that 39-year-old woman with the smile that lights up a room.  When she takes to the stage at the This Magic Moment event she expects to wear the pony tail she still has.  As for the rest of her costume – she is deciding on either the Olivia Newton John (1) look or the Olivia Newton John (2) look – but being a woman she automatically gets the right to change her mind at the very last-minute.

Now a “39-year-old” seasoned broadcaster Connie Smith learned her trade at Mohawk and has been taking the “good news” to Burlington ever since. She will MC the This Magic Moment event at Nelson Park September 14th.

Connie got her first transistor radio while at elementary school and thought she was the coolest kid on the street; she remembers watching the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show.  The crowd that the organizers of the event expect to draw will know exactly what Connie was talking about

The This Magic Moment event is all about those days and those memories – which may not mean a thing to you if you don’t recall the Ed Sullivan Show but Wayne Brown, chair of the event being held to raise funds for an endowment that will support police officers should they die or be injured while on duty, will tell you that there are thousands of people in Burlington who want to spend an evening at Nelson Park listening to the music of the Beach Boys, The Drifters and the Jersey Boys.

The Drifters will be on the stage in person – charming the audience with their signature tune as well as many other pieces of music that you will want to walk out to the dancefloor the minute you hear the first couple of beats and show the kids that you can still strut your stuff.

The Drifters – live at Nelson Park on September 14th and up close and personal at the Waterfront Hotel on the 13th for an exclusive audience.

Getting the Drifters to take part in this event is another story we will tell you about later.  What you will want to know is – well the Drifters were a vital part of that 50’s and 60’s era and they don’t like to  rush around.  So they decided to arrive in Burlington a day early and Wayne Brown knew right away that he had another element to his program.  Why not have the Drifters do an exclusive, limited engagement Soiree at the Waterfront Hotel the day before?  Great idea and so if you want you can get a tickets for both events.

Wayne Brown pulled together one of the most impressive committees this city has seen and called in every favour he could; that’s what got him into a coffee shop with Connie Smith where he asked her to MC the event – she agreed and then Wayne called her back and asked if she would handle publicity as well.

I am told that the “Always Good News” girl has a dance card – and I think my name is on it.

September the 14th – expect it to be a great event.  Tickets are available on-line .

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Police arrest a vandal for graffiti done at St. Raphaels Church on New Street.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON. July 26, 2013  Very early in July, the St. Raphaels Church located on New Street was vandalized by two suspects.  Damage to the church included anti-religion and profane writings on both the doors and windows.

 On Thursday, Halton Regional Police Service, 3 District Criminal Investigations Bureau arrested Patrick GRAY, a 21-year-old male from Burlington for one count of mischief under $5000.  GRAY was released on a Promise to Appear and Undertaking with Conditions and is scheduled to appear in Milton court in August 2013.

Use of Social Media helped police find and arrest a vandal.

 The wider community was able to assist the police using social media and Twitter accounts to help the police make their arrest.  Graffiti is a community issue and it is partnership between the Police and the community that will help us address this issue.

 Anyone with information related to this investigation or other acts of vandalism is encouraged to contact the Three District Criminal Investigations Bureau at 905-825-4747 ext 2316, 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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Lac-Megantic disaster, a change in regulations that should never have been allowed to happen. Who is asking the questions?



By Ray Rivers

BURLINGTON, ON.  July 15, 2013.   It was a perfect storm.  No, I’m not talking about the spectacular rain events that knocked out the great cities of Calgary and Toronto.  I am talking about what hit the poor people of the small Quebec town of Lac-Mégantic.   We can’t blame global climate change for this disaster – the responsibility lies a lot closer to home.

Rail World Inc. is one of those ‘take-over’ holding companies run by a modern-day tycoon, CEO Edward Burkhard.  This rail road entrepreneur also specializes in buying up and privatizing public railroads from ideologically driven governments; running them into the ground, then selling back again for a profit.  I’ve personally ridden on the rail systems where Burkhardt’s hands were busy, ruining rail transport in the UK and New Zealand.  The formula is simple – sell snake oil, cut the bottom line, and keep cutting until the system is so bad that public outcry forces the governments to buy the rails back.

Federal regulation let this accident happen.

So one of his companies, in this case the Montreal, Maine and Atlantic, used the cheapest rail cars – single hulled and easily punctured – for flammable light crude (Bakken oil).  The locomotives, hauling the cars, were so poorly maintained they regularly had engine fires, including on the night of this tragedy   Then, the company figured it could save a few more dollars by reducing its operators to one.  There would be no backup operator to take over the controls as the train ran from North Dakota to New Brunswick. 

 So there was nobody at the controls when/if the engineer went to the can, made a bite of lunch, caught a nap, or maybe had a personal incident, like a heart attack?  And how could one person have properly set the handbrakes for an overnight stop when the procedure normally required two operators?   In the evening the engineer had to leave the train for a good night’s sleep, unlocked, unattended and with the engine running so the air brakes would hold the train.

 Lac-Mégantic, with less than six thousand residents, is a part of the glue that brought Canada together into Confederation – ‘a mari usque ad mare’.   The town was built as a key juncture linking the Atlantic provinces and the rest of the country by steel rail.   So it was such sad irony that the Canadian government was complicit, negligent and ultimately responsible for nearly destroying Lac-Mégantic so many years later.  An environmental disaster, a burned-out downtown and as many as 50 people dead.  How long will it be before separatist-minded Quebecers demand the federal government relinquish jurisdiction over rail safety to the Province?

 One of the most basic roles of government is to ensure public safety.  It does this through regulation.  Yet the tanker cars, called DOT111, have long been determined unsuitable for hazardous liquids – and what is flammable oil if not hazardous.   The risk of an accident has risen sharply since far more oil than ever is being shipped by rail.   Unsafe tank cars and lots more of them…. duh?  Finally, the federal regulator, in an unusual and thoughtless move, provided approval and authority for the company to run the train with only a single operator and no back-up personnel.

 This was the worst rail accident in Canadian history and the worst disaster Quebec has ever seen.  It was a perfect storm, an accident waiting to happen, and yet also perfectly avoidable.  But isn’t that what happens when a federal government has taken its eyes off the ball – when it is more concerned about just moving cheap oil than about public safety?  

Editors note: Since penning this piece the following has taken place:

Transportation safety officials have told Ottawa to rewrite train safety rules in the wake of the tragedy at Lac-Mégantic, Que., suggesting that Canada’s current regulations are too vague and open to interpretation by railway workers that can lead to disaster.

In a pair of letters sent to Transport Canada, the federal body that oversees the rail industry, the Transportation Safety Board said more detailed rules must be created to govern the number of brakes that must be set when parking freight trains, and whether those trains can be left unattended when carrying dangerous cargo.

Ray Rivers was born and raised in Ontario and earned a degree in economics at the University of Ontario.  He taught at a university in New Zealand for a period of time and then earned a Master’s degree in economics at the University of Ottawa.  His 25 year stint with the federal government included time with Environment, Fisheries and Oceans, Agriculture and the Post office. After leaving the federal government he consulted for private sector and government clients.  Rivers completed his first historical novel The End of September in 2012.  This story about what might have happened had Quebecers voted for sovereignty association in that first referendum in 1980 is set in Ottawa and Montreal.

He has been active in his community including ratepayers groups, a food bank, environmental organizations, community journalism, policing and community associations and service clubs, churches, boy scouts, and community theatre.  He has been active politically, running for municipal and provincial government offices as well as heading executive positions with the Liberal Party and riding associations.  He developed the current policy process for the Ontario Liberal Party.

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Police warn public of the latest ID theft scam. Do you think the Chief of Police or the RCMP are going to actually call you?

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON.  – July 25, 2013.  The Halton Regional Police would like to caution the public that scammers are using the names of the RCMP, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) in a computer scam.

Individuals report a frozen computer, or they have been locked-out of their computers, after receiving pop-up messages warning that the computer has been associated with pornography.

These warning messages claim to be from one of these agencies, and tell the recipient to pay a “fine” so the computer can be “unlocked.”  The message also claims that if the “fine” is not paid within 72 hours, criminal proceedings will commence against the user.

“These types of messages, commonly known as “scareware”, are designed to create such shock and anxiety that victims respond by sending money quickly,” states the RCMP in a news release.

The public is advised that if you receive one of these messages please be aware that it is a scam and has not been issued by the CACP, CSIS or the RCMP.

Do not pay the $100.00 “fine”. Being “locked out” of your computer is an indication that your system may have been infected with malware and you will need to take steps to address that problem.

 The police pass along some tips to help keep your computer protected:

  Never click on a pop-up that claims your computer has a virus;

 • Update your anti-virus software often and scan your computer for viruses regularly;

 • Do not click on links or attachments in e-mails sent to you by someone you don’t know;

 • Turn on your browser’s pop-up blocking feature;

 • Never download anti-virus software from a pop-up link sent to you in an e-mail.

 If you have received a “scareware” message please report it to your local police office and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (1-888-495-8501).

 One might ask why someone would be worried about being told there was pornography on their computer if they never visited one of those websites.  Of course, if a person has visited such a site – perhaps there is reason to be afraid.

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Water at the foot of Brant Street not safe for swimming. Water run off pipe might be the reason.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  July 25, 2013.  The Regional government does regular water testing for all the beaches in Halton and report on what is safe and what is not safe.

We noticed that in the report for this week they advise that the Beachway Park water is safe for swimming but that the water at the foot of Brant Street is not safe.

View of the mini-beach at the foot of Brant Street where people like to swim. Notice the large pipe on the right hand side in the top part of the picture. The rain run off from that pipe might be what is making that water unsafe for swimming. The geese that like that part of the waterfront don’t help either. Region might want to consider a warning sign in that area.

Given that the two are quite close together we asked the Region “why” and they replied that the Manager of Healthy Environments explains that if “water samples collected have e.coli counts above the guideline, the beach is posted as unsafe for swimming.

“The e coli results for Brant Street beach were not within the acceptable guidelines while Beachway results were. There are various factors that affect bacteria counts in water including wave action, currents, wind, water depth, storm water outfalls and the amount of waterfowl in the water and on the beach. Ultimately, it is difficult to determine the exact factor or factors that caused the difference in the water sample results.”

That made sense because there is a pipe that runs from under the Waterfront Hotel area right into the mini-beach that was created when the pier was built.  Also, geese and other waterfowl love to walk along that mini beach and people tend to feed the critters – and you know what geese do when they eat don’t you?

Might not the Region post a sign in this area advising people that it is prone to having e-coli counts higher than normal and is therefore not a safe place to swim – especially for very small children.

Other than a few beaches in the Region it looks like it is going to be a healthy weekend to go swimming.

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A “cultural czar” in Burlington? Looks like that’s what’s coming our way, from Kingston of all places.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  July 25, 2013.  In Kingston they refer to him as their “cultural czar” and they can’t understand why he is leaving.  The contacts we spoke to didn’t even know that Brian McCurdy had resigned and was on his way to Burlington where he will serve as the Executive Director of the Performing Arts Centre.  He takes up the reigns in the middle of August.

Kingston’s Grand Theatre was undergoing a major renovation when McCurdy arrived in that city.  He completed that job and put together what most people in Kingston felt was a very good program bringing in a number of acts from Europe that for the most part didn’t tour smaller Canadian cities.

McCurdy created a jazz festival that has proven to be very popular in Kingston; hopefully a jazz program will be something we might see from Mr. McCurdy early in the New Year?the proof was in the pudding and McCurdy did produce for them.

McCurdy was said to have been very good at creating partnerships with small theatre groups in Kingston and while described as a cautious man, people in Kingston found that the proof was in the pudding and McCurdy did produce for them.

Brian McCurdy, newly appointed Executive Director of the Performing Arts Centre.

Burlington is about to get serious with its Cultural Plan which is working its way through city hall and a committee or two.  McCurdy is said to have done “excellent” work setting the direction for arts and  heritage in Kingston for the next ten years.  Might he manage to set the bar a little higher at the Brant Museum?

The depth of experience that McCurdy brings to cultural development will be new to this city.  Burlington has gotten a little mired in its approach to culture – this man, if the information we’ve been given is sound, takes a very sophisticated approach and at the same time fully understands the realities of the market place.

In Kingston McCurdy said once he was “worried about the success of the KidStage series” and found a remedy — he cut the children’s prices in half.  “It really caught on,” he said. “The audiences doubled and tripled.”

 “The audiences doubled and tripled.\\“When we did a survey at the end of this year”, said McCurdy, “ 92% said they got value for their money but would come to more shows if the prices were cheaper. So this year, we’re introducing three price breaks where you can save as much as $10 if you’re willing to sit further back in the theatre.”

McCurdy has a considerable amount of American experience which is usually a good thing.  It gives him a broader view of culture and how it develops and rolls itself out.  A university education at McGill University will have given him a firm understanding of the dual culture of this country as well.

Add to that some work in Hamilton with the opera crew over there and he at least knows where Burlington is.  Has anyone told him about the most expensive pier ever built in this country?  When he was taken on a tour of the city did they walk him out to the end of the thing?

As to why did he decide to leave Kingston, a city that has a richer, deeper arts tradition than Burlington  and a very significant summer tourist traffic, a world-class university in the middle of the city and a stronger Canadian history pedigree than Burlington, no one could come up with a reason other than “these people like to move on quite a bit”.

Burlington has poached a police chief and now a cultural guru from Kingston - wonder if they have anything else we could use?Our contact in Kingston did have one parting comment.  “Burlington” he said, “has to stop poaching our people”.  And then I realized that our police chief Stephen Tanner, also came to us from Kingston.  This would put some validity to the Mayors statement that we are the best place to live in the country. Problem with that statement is that there are a number of correctional institutions in Kingston where we may not want this great news to get to.

For the moment let us welcome Brian McCurdy to the city and wish him well.  If Burlington is to have a cultural identity – this man appears to have the capacity to get us there.  He also has a community of artists who want to be at the table and the sense we got from the people we talked to is that this man understands artists – which will be welcomed.

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Performing Arts gets new leadership: McCurdy out of Kingston coming to Burlington.

By Staff

Burlington, Ont. July 24, 2013 – The Burlington Theatre Board has selected Brian McCurdy as the new Executive Director of The Burlington Performing Arts Centre. Mr.McCurdy will assume his new role effective August 19, 2013.

Mr. McCurdy has served as Cultural Director of the City of Kingston, since 2008. In this role he was responsible for overseeing the management of the historic Grand Theatre, city museums, Tett Centre for Creativity and Learning, in addition to municipal cultural planning.

Brian McCurdy has been appointed the Executive Director of the Burlington Performing Arts Centre – he joins that organization in the middle of August.

He was also involved in the re-development of the historic Grand Theatre in Kingston which re-opened in the spring of 2008 following a 3-year renovation. Previously, Mr. McCurdy provided management for the Performing Arts Centre, University of Lethbridge; Thunder Bay Community Auditorium, a 1500 seat performing arts centre; and the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, University of California.

“This is an important leadership role and we are delighted to have attracted broad interest from top candidates across the country, and beyond.” said Rick Burgess, Theatre Board Chair. “Brian has provided leadership and direction for the planning, construction, opening and ongoing management of performing arts centres, and has extensive programming experience. He has held the position as the first manager of many performing arts centres and therefore understands the complexities and the excitement of an organization in its development stages. As we head into our third season, we are excited to welcome Brian to the team.”

Some new light being brought to the Performing Arts Centre  with the appointment of Brian McCurdy as the new Executive Director.

Mr. McCurdy received his Bachelor’s Degree in Music from McGill University in Montreal and his Master’s Degree in Music with a major in arts administration from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. He also studied arts administration at The Banff Centre, in Alberta, the Leadership Institute at the University of California at Berkeley, and has participated in numerous workshops and seminars on fundraising, board and community development.

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Oyez! Oyez! Dave Vollick, City’s Town Crier to compete in world class competition.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  July 24, 2013.  The city’s Town Crier, Dave Vollick will be in Kingston, Ontario early in August to test his pipes against those amongst the best there is at the 2013 World Invitational Town Crier Competition.

Dave Vollick, Burlington’s Town Crier taking part in the Brant Day celebrations at LaSalle Park.

Vollick will have four days during which he will show them what he can do and perhaps come home as the “World Town Crier Champion”.

2013 marks the first year that the championships have taken place in Canada.

 Burlington has had a Town Crier since March 2011 when Council went along with the idea but didn’t put up any money to cover any of the costs involved.  At the time Vollick had hoped the city would pony up for some of his cleaning bills.

Vollick has appeared at a number of events – were he to come home with the prize – we would certainly see a lot more of him.

A Royal birth being announced by a Town Brier in the United Kingdom.

The world saw just what a Town Crier can do when the announcement of the birth of the third heir to the British Crown was delivered by a Town Crier.

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This just might reduce your taxes- and save your life in the process.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON.  July 23, 2013.  This is a nice little money-maker.  The Region has had two red light cameras in operation since March 2012.  They announced yesterday that an additional five are going to be installed Any idea why?  Public safety perhaps?  Try again – think revenue stream.

As of July 19, there have been 663 red light infractions, which means that 663 people have gotten letters in the mail with a bill for $325

Rounding out the numbers at 330 infractions per camera and 7 cameras going in and the tickets priced at $325 – the Region will have pocketed $750,710 each year.

Nice little bit of business.  The Region originally announced a total of 12 red light camera going in.

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Tree branches from storm to be picked up by the Region.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON. July 23, 2013The Region wants you to know that bulk brush from the recent storm gets put out on your regular yard waste pick up day. Branches do not have to be bundled but are not to be more than three (3) inches thick.

If you are unsure of trash pickup days slip over to h Regional web site and enter your postal code which will tell you what gets picked up when on your street.

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Who knew what when: That’s what much of the argument between the city and the Air Park is going to be about.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  July 23, 2013.  So – they’re going to court.  That’s a place where the wheels turn slowly and evidence gets dragged out of people one sentence at a time.

The city of Burlington and the Air Park have each sued one another and now begin the process of pulling together all the papers that will get put forward as evidence.  Each side will prepare their witnesses and the lawyers will prepare their questions.

Somewhere along the way everyone might decide to play nice, nice and each party will back off a little and decide to settle this disagreement out of court.

Burlington and the Region have said they just didn’t know what was going on up at the Air Park.   That would be nice if it were true but they did know.  They were told in April of 2009 when the Air Park held a neighbourhood meeting.  According to the Newsletter the Air Park put out the city’s planner was there, although they don’t name the person. 

Ward 6 Council member Blair Lancaster held some of her community meetings at the air park which was certainly a nice setting. Lancaster maintains that she had not hard from any of her constituents before March 15th of this year. The evidence suggests otherwise.

The claim Oakville’s city planner was there as well and that the then council member for Ward 6 was also at the meeting.  They misspell her name (Carol D’Emelio) but claim she was there along with 60 “neighbours”.

In its April 2009 Newsletter the Air Park reported as follows:

The Air Park publishes a Newsletter for its clients.

“As you might imagine, the neighbours of the airport have an interest in what happens next

door, or here at the airport. Recently we have been doing some preparatory work on the

west side of the airport including creating a road that will eventually access Appleby Line

and be the main road into the airport and to the proposed terminal building near the infield

of the airport.

“The neighbours rightfully were asking questions of ZBA actions and we were dealing with many rumours and untruths, so Feb 17th at Spectrum’s classroom we held a neighbours information session and presented the future plans of the airport.

Over 60 neighbours were in attendance, as well as Councillor Carol D’Emelio from Burlington City Council, City Planners from Burlington and Managers from Halton Region.

Vince Rossi, owner of the Burlington Air Park has always played the politicians as hard as he could. At one point he had Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion sending fax messages for the Airpark from her office the Minister of Finance. In this picture, undated, he has Halton MP Lisa Raitt attending an event, believed to be a Christmas party before she became a Minister. Only time will tell if the influence is going to work for Rossi. Raitt is now the federal Minister of Transportation which is responsible for the oversight of Canadian air parks.

“We addressed untrue rumours such as our intention to build a “Fuel Depot”, or a “Hotel Complex” on the field. We also addressed the untrue rumour that we are expanding th Length of the runway (while this would be nice, operationally there would be little advantage).

“Some things that were discussed, and that we all have a responsibility to abide by are operational issues and noise management. The Neighbours routinely observe, as do we, aircraft flying too low on final, or not obeying the 5 degree turn departing Rwy 14.

“We’d like to remind you that your considerate operation helps the airport live in harmony with those closest to us: Our neighbours!”

Was this just good corporate PR or did the airpark really reach out to the community?  Has there been any undue political influence in the past?  did the city know what was happening around their airport?  Should they have known?

Are there any limits to what an air park owner can do on an operation that is federally regulated?  And just how environmentally damaged is the land fill that has been dumped on the site for the past five years?

And what is the Region doing to test the water that the environmental report from Burlington’s experts has said could be tainted?

The Regional medical Officer of Health has a responsibility to ensure that the health of the community is secure.  There is ample evidence to suggest bore holes should be drilled to test the makeup of that landfill.

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They worked so well last year that they want more this year – or there was money left in the budget and they had to spend it.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  July 23, 2013. Halton Region will be expanding the red light camera program this summer. Cameras will be installed in Burlington, Halton Hills, Milton and Oakville. By the end of the summer, in addition to the two red light cameras currently in operation, five new cameras will be up snapping pictures of red light offenders.

Reminding drivers to stop on red at Milton’s first red light camera at Derry Road and Trafalgar Road are (from l-r) Councillor Tony Lambert, Deputy Police Chief Andrew Fletcher and Regional Chair Gary Carr.

Road safety is what keeps our police busy and red light cameras are just one of the road safety initiatives we’re implementing,” said Regional Chair Gary Carr. “We want to save lives, make our roads as safe as possible and ensure Halton remains a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.”

Almost half of Halton Region drivers surveyed said they worry about getting into an accident when driving through an intersection and more than 60% reporting seeing a near-miss accident as a result of someone running a red light.

By the end of the summer, cameras will be operational at seven intersections across Halton:

Dundas Street and Brant Street, City of Burlington

Brant Street and North Service Road, City of Burlington

Guelph Line and Upper Middle Road, City of Burlington

10 Side Road and Ninth Line, Town of Halton Hills

Derry Road and Trafalgar Road, Town of Milton

Trafalgar Road and Leighland Avenue, Town of Oakville

Trafalgar Road and Upper Middle Road, Town of Oakville

Cameras take photos of red light runners 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but only operate if a vehicle enters the intersection after the light has turned red.

The fine for running a red light is $325. Demerit points are not issued with violations detected by red light cameras.



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For many of us – they were Magic Moments that are being brought back to Burlington.



 By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  July 20, 2013.  Did you dance to Under the Boardwalk?   Do you remember Pauly and the Goodfellas? When was the last time you heard Good Vibrations and California Girls?

It was black and white in those days; it was rotary dial phones and gas that came in at what 25 cents a gallon? It was a different time and those were different tunes – all to be heard on September 14th – Nelson Park.

It’s all just a couple of months away.   Wind you way over to Nelson Park Saturday September 14th – event begins at 2 pm – last dance just before 10 pm  – and have a look at some of the antique cars and wonder what ever happened to those fins.

This Magic Moment – an exciting, first-of-its kind outdoor event celebrating the music and nostalgia of the 60’s with event headliner Rick Sheppard and the Drifters – not a knock off group but the original four in those trademark red jackets.

Two local groups will open the show….The Night Brigade (Sweet Caroline, Hooked on a Feeling) and Halton’s singing cop Stuart MacDonald.

You’re going to need a ticket for this one – and expect the place to be packed.  

Tickets are available online at: tickets.

You won’t want to miss  the Contours who will get those feet moving when you hear “Do You Love Me?” and do their Motown Review. Robbie Lane and the Disciples (“Fanny Mae”) will be on stage as will Pauly and the Goodfellas doing a tribute to The Jersey Boys and Beach Boys. Each of the four groups above will perform for 75 minutes!

Bring a lawn chair and settle in for an evening of pure nostalgia and remember just what your good old days were about.  Bring the grandchildren to watch as you get out and dance and show them your stuff.

The on stage MC’s will be Connie Smith and Robbie Lane

Licensed area, food concessions, and a Vintage Car Show!

 Nelson Park, New St. east of Walkers Line in Burlington. Gates open at 2 PM….Music from 2:30 to 10 PM. Tickets are only $30 for over 7 hours of live music!

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Thousands without power for a period of time after major storm rolls across the city. No serious injuries.



By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON.  July 23 2013.  —Hydro workers, firefighters and roads and parks maintenance staff worked through the weekend responding to damage, road closures and power outages caused by that Friday night storm.

By Monday morning power had been restored to all but 3,000 homes. Burlington Hydro staff called in colleagues from other hydro services to help today.  The Burlington Fire Department called in the neighbour Oakville Fire Department.  The city’s roads and parks maintenance staff and contractors worked through the weekend responding to fallen trees and maintaining road closures at locations throughout the city.

This tree on King Road fell on one property landed on the hedge of the next property and then lay sprawled across the neighbours driveway as well.

Hydro will then work on cleaning up and repairing the 25 broken poles with trees down stretching in a path along Cedar Springs Road and No. 1 and 2 Sideroads.

Burlington Transit had to reroute at least one bus line.

Cathy Robertson, Director of Roads and Park Maintenance may not be certified to use a chain saw but she certainly kept her crews hopping over the weekend as the city dealt with hundreds of calls about fallen trees.

Cathy Robertson, director of roads and parks maintenance said the city is “ working closely with Burlington Hydro to focus on what counts most—getting power restored to homes and getting people around the city safely.”

The Region created an enhanced brush pick up that basically lets you put out brush on your next regular yard waste collection.  At that time you can put a pile of bulk brush instead of having to bundle it. That will make it easier for residents to clean up debris from the storm.

Burlington’s Robertson, who advises she is not certified on chain saw use but does manage very well is ensuring that city trees are cleared away as quickly as possible. Trees that are on city property are chipped and the wood chips are used on paths in some park areas and woodlots.

No one was yet able to put a number on just how many trees came down.  The city is completing a street by street check – by the end of this week it should all be cleaned up.  There were no reports of any injuries. But Sunday morning we certainly had a mess on our hands.

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Victim found in creek near Earl Park has been identified; nothing criminal about the death.



 By Staff

 BURLINGTON, ON.  July 22, 2013.  Halton Regional Police Criminal Investigation Bureau does not believed there was anything criminal in nature in the death of a male found in a creek near Earl Park and that there are no public safety concerns.

 However, the police would like to hear from anyone with information related to this matter.  Contact police at Halton Regional Police Service at 905-825-4747 Ext 2315.  Detective Jared McLeod, 30 Division Criminal Investigation Bureau has control of the file.

 The victim in this matter has been identified as a 33-year-old resident of Hamilton. The victim’s family has been identified and his identity will not be released.

 The body was discovered Friday evening floating in the creek near Earl Park in the Francis Road area of Burlington. 

 There were no obvious signs of trauma to the body.  The male has been transported to the Hamilton General Hospital where a forensic autopsy will be conducted.  The investigation is ongoing to determine the cause of death.


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City seeks a permanent injunction on the dumping of landfill at the Air Park.



By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  July 22, 2013.  It is getting nasty out there.  And it is getting expensive but the city has taken the position that the dumping of landfill at the Air Park site south of Derry Road between Bell School Line and Appleby Line has to be stopped.

Were you to drive by this site today the elevation would be considerably higher. The owners of the air park have been dumping fill on their property for more than five years without obtaining a permit which the city believes they must do.

Last week the Air Park served documents on the city setting out an application they are making to Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice to have their rights, as they see them, clarified and enforced.   In a delegation to city council late in June, lawyer Glenn Grenier, representing the Burlington Executive Air Park, tried to tell Councillors that they had no rights as far as what is done at an Air Park.

City manager Jeff Fielding, on the left, making his views known to Air Park lawyer Glenn Grenier after a council meeting. City lawyers  stand to the right.

City manager Jeff Fielding was closed to incensed at the comments and on three occasions that evening  advised the Mayor to send the delegation packing.  After the council meeting Fielding had some choice words for Mr. Grenier.

Some saw that as a stall on the part of the Air Park.  The city would very much like to see the rights the Air Park claims it has judicially confirmed.  BUT – in the meantime – stop dumping landfill on the site and to make that point the city sued the Air Park seeking a permanent injunction.

Interestingly, the city filed its claim in the Ontario Superior Court in Toronto while the notice the Air Park served was filed at the Superior Court in Milton.

Can the two proceed at the same time in two different courts?  The lawyers will work that one out.  What is evident in all this is that the city is not stepping aside.  Nor is it waiting for anyone to do something for them.

Based on a voluntary decision not to haul landfill to the Air Park site you won’t see any King Paving trucks working this location.

A bit of positive news is the decision on the part of King Paving to voluntarily stop hauling fill to the site. Kudos to them for taking that position. City Manager Jeff Fielding publicly thanked King Paving for “doing the responsible thing at this time.”   This decision on the part of King Paving will certainly fracture their relationship with the Air Park.  There was a point at which the Gazette could not get a comment from King Paving without their clearing it with Vince Rossi, owner of the Air Park.

Based on the opinions of a respected environmental testing firm the city now knows there are  excessive levels of substances such as petroleum hydrocarbons, lead and zinc in some of the fill.  Based on that evidence the city wants:

A permanent injunction restraining the Airpark or anyone acting on their behalf from placing or dumping fill, removing topsoil or otherwise altering the grade or any other form of site alteration at the airpark;

An interim injunction, along the same lines as above;

An order requiring the airport to remove all fill deposited on the airpark lands that does not meet the Table 1 of Ontario Regulation 153/04 standards; and

Recovery of costs.

The city has also asked the Ontario Ministry of the Environment (MOE) to review the findings and take the appropriate action on behalf of Burlington residents and enforce any applicable ministry regulations against the airpark owner.

The city commissioned a review of the available environmental testing reports of the fill received at the airport amid growing concerns from residents and City Council.

The culvert shown here is reported to run the full width of the Air Park property with thousands of tons of landfill for which there are not adequate testing data draining to the culvert and into land on the Cousins Appleby Line farm and into the area water table.

According to the city’s Statement of Claim approximately 59% of the landfill dumped since 2011 is contaminated.  In a report from Terrapex environmental, the company that did the review of the documents that set out what is in the landfill, there are not nearly enough documents (reports on where the fill came from and what is in it) to be able to give an opinion on just what is in the landfill dumped before 2011.

The only way to find out what is in the fill is to drill a series of “bore holes” throughout the site and analyze the results.  The city feels it is up to the Air Park to do this testing at their expense and to make the results available to everyone.

The Air Park uses the fact that air parks are federally regulated – and on that point they are right; they also take the position that “everything” they do on their property also comes under federal regulation and this is where the city, the Region, the MOE and the federal department of transport bureaucrats have parted ways in terms of their thinking.

The Air Park has twenty days to prepare a statement of defense (they can ask for an additional ten days) and then the judicial process begins.  If the city can come up with evidence that the contaminants in that fill are of significant and truly endangers public health this whole business can be expedited and a hearing held that could result in an interim injunction until more facts are gathered.

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